Re: Regarding the IDEA website

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. (
Date: Sat Jan 05 2002 - 14:00:07 EST

  • Next message: "Re: Regarding the IDEA website"

    On Fri, 4 Jan 2002 17:21:41 -0800 (PST) Intelligent des Evolution
    awareness <> writes in part:
    > However, as it says on our "Quote
    > Disclaimer and Explanation Page"
    > (
    > "The Purpose: The quotes have been officially put here for the sole
    > purpose of your own personal reading enjoyment and to assist and
    > encourage
    > you in research. Some of these quotes are admittedly quite
    > provocative in
    > their meaning and their intentions, and it is our hope that you
    > might be
    > affected by them in some way, others, though are just for fun.
    > Ultimately we are not trying to say anything in particular by
    > posting
    > them, and we take no responsibility for the way you interpret or use
    > them.
    > They are officially just there for you to read, consider, and
    > hopefully
    > spur you on to your own further research. "
    > It also says, "If you are going to use any of these quotes in any
    > official
    > format, I highly recommend checking them out the original source
    > beforehand, and maybe even doing some background research on the
    > issue and
    > the author. "
    > Hope that helps.
    This is disingenuous. How often I have encountered the claim that
    Christians believe nonsense because Tertullian wrote, "I believe because
    it's absurd"! I've heard it from respected university professors and read
    it in a book by an "authority" on church history published by one of the
    best university presses. Your citations will almost [?] always be taken
    as authoritative by any who have an axe to grind. Tertullian's point is
    that the gospel record is such that it would not have been invented. He
    uses the term ineptum, not absurdum.
    > ----
    > ----
    > Darwinism:
    > First off, I agree and admit that we're using a strange and
    > unorthodox
    > definition for Darwinism here, one which doesn't really say much
    > about
    > Darwin's ideas nor other evolultionary theories. It isn't trying to
    > say
    > anything about mechanisms for evolution. I realize that the word
    > "Darwinism" is misleading, and perhaps there is a better term we
    > should
    > use. If anyone has any suggestions after reading the purpose of
    > our
    > definition, I'm willing to listen!
    > Dr. Allen Harvey says that we play a word game which makes evolution
    > look
    > like something a Christian should oppose. There is nothing
    > philosophical
    > or unscientific about theory behind the mutation-selection mechanism
    > of
    > evolution. As an earth sciences major at UCSD, I took many classes
    > directly related to evolutionary theory, so I'm not at all
    > unfamiliar with
    > the science of the theory. However, what about when we begin to
    > apply it?
    > What about when we say that scales turned into feathers through a
    > Darwinian process? When do we cross the line into the metaphysical
    > and
    > begin to say things that aren't so scientific?
    > I'm not so much critiquing Darwinism as I am critiquing the
    > uniformitarian
    > assumption with regards to origins in general. Generally speaking,
    > my
    > definition of Darwinism encompasses the science which says that
    > purely
    > natural processes are solely responsible for the origins and
    > evolution of
    > life on earth. Perhaps I've misused the words "materialism" or
    > "naturalism", and if I have, I'd like to know where and how. But
    > my
    > definition of Darwinism is the science which says that only natural
    > processes created life. Anyone who has spoken out agains that
    > science is
    > fair game for our list.
    > Uniformitarianism is a hypothesis, though often unstated, which says
    > that
    > only natural processes created life. Evolution and origins of life
    > scenarios are theories which fit under the uniformitarian
    > hypothesis. I
    > think that the uniformitarian hypothesis is sometimes testable, but
    > where
    > it isn't, it is still taken as true. And where evidence seems to
    > fit with
    > the uniformitarian hypothesis, it often is weak or circumstantial
    > evidence
    > at best. For this reason I call it a philosophy as well, and where
    > the
    > evidence is lacking, uniformitarian hypotheses are still taken as
    > true.
    > Are we attaching a philosophy to science? Yes. I have no problem
    > lumping
    > the science of evolutionary theory together with the philosophy of
    > naturalism. I see both coming out. We assume natural processes are
    > the
    > only ones at work (naturalism), we find feathers and scales, and we
    > assume
    > that feathers are genetically derived from scales. Sure, you've got
    > a
    > theoretical process by which the transformation can take place, but
    > at the
    > end of the day, that theoretical process can only be invoked if we
    > make
    > naturalistic assumptions to rule out other hypotheses, such as
    > intelligent
    > design or any creation-as-a-first-cause-hypothesis.
    > When was the last time many of you took an evolution course? Any of
    > you
    > ever heard of story telling? I once had a geology professor who
    > would
    > begin many of his lectures saying, "let me tell you a story".
    > Sitting
    > through lecture after lecture of evolutionary stories about how
    > this
    > happened and that happened shows that that's all these evolutionary
    > theories are--stories! Sure, perhaps the stories make predictions,
    > but to
    > really accept them as true, we have to make philosophical
    > statements
    > saying there were no non-natural processes involved in the creation
    > of
    > life. It's science guided by a philosophy.
    > To accomodate this, we've constructed a definition of Darwinism
    > which
    > is, "the scientific theory which, operating under the philosophies
    > of
    > materialism and naturalism, makes the assertion that life today is
    > the
    > result of purely natural processes, such as the natural chemical
    > origins
    > of the first cell, and a mutatation-selection mechanism causing
    > microevolution, macroevolution, speciation, which account for the
    > origins
    > of all cellular functions, morphologies, and common ancestry
    > through
    > descent with modification for all life forms."
    > p.s. I like John Burgeson's modifications also, as I think they
    > better
    > reflect what we're trying to say.
    > George Murphy says our version rules out that God is involved at
    > any
    > level. I disagree, for God coul be behind it as a secondary cause.
    > My
    > definition deals only with first causes, as natural mechanisms are
    > only
    > first causes.
    > A Christian who accepts evolution through natural selection, etc,
    > etc,
    > wouldn't be listed on our site. This Christian also has made the
    > metaphysical statement that only natural processes have been at work
    > in
    > the creation of life, whether God was behind it all or not.
    > Casey Luskin
    This seems to be to be the tack normally used by lawyers, defining a term
    so that their view prevails. It is also why "lawyer" is often spelled
    with four letters. As I understand it, Darwin presented a mechanism for
    change, not for origins. Those more familiar with the history will have
    to comment on whether he ever committed to materialism/philosophical

    As for uniformitarianism, there is a technical sense in which it applies
    only to a period in geological studies. There is a broader sense which I
    have noted applies to the thought of the most radical YEC: apart from
    miracles, direct divine intervention, all things follow uniform natural
    law. To define it as requiring materialism is to twist language to
    produce a desired outcome. Whether or not this is your intent, it is your
    effect. This is what several of your respondents have correctly noted.

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