Re: Evolution Statement

From: John W Burgeson (
Date: Sun Dec 09 2001 - 18:09:02 EST

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    Moorad wrote: "I looked over the review that you wrote and it seems to me
    that the fact that Casti gives quantum mechanics a "D" in explanation and
    an "A" in prediction tells me much of what Casti means by the word
    explanation. Nature is rather complicated and the attempt of quantum
    mechanics to describe it is quite successful. One ought not to demand the
    kind of explanations one feels comfortable with but instead find the one
    that nature may be imposing on us."

    I think I appreciate this response, though I still urge you to read
    Casti's book for itself. It is a worthwhile read.

    I am in agreement with much of what you and Bob DeHaan have been arguing
    here recently -- am on vacation and then a move until late December so I
    comment here these days only rarely (some will cheer at this, I know). I
    am not so sure my reasons for the argument are the same as either of
    yours, but that's what makes a ball game.

    Thinking a little (perhaps VERY little), there are several reasons why I
    am skeptical that macroevolution is "microevolution writ large."

    1. The incredible hubris of certain scientists in claiming far too much
    for the concept. Whenever I see something like "the assured results of
    modern scholarship are ... ." I am immediately turned into a skeptic --
    and sometimes a cynic, I'm sorry to admit.

    2. The lack of mathematical thinking in the "story" of the evolutionary
    tree. Perhaps I have not read the right stuff, of course. But I do recall
    some analyses of this made at the Darwin Centennial some years ago, which
    were not kind to the "grand scheme."

    3. The fact that animals appear in very definite classes, cats, dogs,
    elephants, etc. Yes, I know the "niche" arguments, but they are not
    really very satisfying.

    4. The fact that "microbe to man" is the ONLY naturalistic (i.e.
    scientific) possibility possible to conceive of. So, as a scientist, I
    accept it; there is no competition (in science). As a philosopher, I
    remain skeptical.

    BTW, in all of the above, I do not include any religious reasoning.* If
    Van Till's "gifted creation" idea is correct, that's fine; I see no
    impact of this on my own relationship with the Lord. If Griffin's God of
    Process Theology is correct, I have a little more trouble, but by simply
    positing that God's finiteness is a finiteness deliberately chosen by
    him, I can live with it. The God of P rogressive Creation, a God who
    frequently interacts with his beloved creation, in the sense of a violin
    master playing Mozart on his Stradivarius, makes the most sense to me,
    and so that's the model I feel most comfortable with. But I will be the
    first to admit my perception of God, as it is with all of us, is "through
    a glass, darkly," and I fully expect to be amazed and surprised in a few
    years in another life. Along with you, my friend, and Howard, George and
    many many others here. Being age 70 now, I expect to find out these
    things before most of you, so I'll get to tell you! Well, maybe that's
    how it will work.

    John Burgeson (Burgy)

    * My conversion to Christianity took place at age 30 or so, long after
    I'd read Darwin and other "just so" stories and decided that they had
    less that adequate believability, at least as a "grand scheme of things."
    My god at that time, insofar as I thought of one, was simply the master
    clockmaker of Thomas Jefferson.
           (science/theology, quantum mechanics, baseball, ethics,
            humor, cars, God's intervention into natural causation, etc.)

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