Re: [NEWS] Press Release: Dembski attacks Pennock and MIT Press

From: Glenn Morton (
Date: Thu Jan 10 2002 - 00:40:57 EST

  • Next message: george murphy: "Re: [NEWS] Press Release: Dembski attacks Pennock and MIT Press"

    I would like to disagree with my friend Burgy who wrote:

    >>>Howard, your reply puzzles me. Bill Dembski is asserting a claim about
    the "Darwinian establishment," by which he clearly is referring to people
    such as Puglicci, Dawkins, Schafersman, Provine, and others of their ilk.
    Now his claim may, or may not, be correct (I think it is, based on
    conversations I had with Schafersman at the NTSE in Austin about 3 or 4
    years ago), but it is hardly criticism of theistic evolution to note what
    some misguided atheists say about theistic evolution.

    Now if Bill were to write that he endorses that view, that would be
    another thing. I talked with Phil Johnson on this very subject at the
    NTSE; it was clear that he would not make that claim, even though he
    thinks the TE position to be incorrect. <<<<<<

    Howard is correct that the ID group goes to lengths to call us purgorative
    names which serve only to influence the lay christian and don't serve to
    further dialogue at all, then like Dembski, they want dialogue when they
    feel themselves singlded out.

    The view that Burgy is saying Johnson doesn't endorse is Dembski's attitude
    shown in this quotation from Howard:

    "Not to put too fine a point on it, the Darwinian establishment
    views theistic evolution as a weak-kneed sycophant that desperately wants
    the respectability that comes with being a full-blooded Darwinist but
    refuses to follow the logic of Darwinism through to the end"

    It seems to me that Johnson himself has come awfully close to that kind of
    statement himself. He too charges that the 'evolutionary establishment'
    holds theistic evolutionists in contempt.

    "Theistic evolutionists fare little better. Most theistic evolutionists do
    not challenge either the conclusions of evolutionary biology or its
    naturalistic methodology, but argue merely that evolution by natural
    processes is compatible with theistic religion. To the extent that they go
    farther, and postulate a supernatural directing force in evolution, they
    violate the rules of methodological naturalism and are no more welcome in
    scientific discussions than outright creationists." Phillip E. Johnson,
    "Starting a Conversation about Evolution" accessed 8.31.96

    This, of coure, comes from a Lawyer who has not been involved in day to day
    scientific talks and so has no personal experience of whether or not my
    views are welcome or unwelcome, yet he makes the charge just the same.

    "If theistic evolutionists broadcast the message that evolution as they
    understand it is harmless to theistic religion, they are misleading their
    constituents unless they add a clear warning that the version of evolution
    advocated by the entire body of mainstream science is something else
    altogether. That warning is never clearly delivered, however, because the
    main point of theistic evolution is to preserve peace with the mainstream
    scientific community. The theistic evolutionists therefore unwitting serve
    the purposes of the scientific naturalists, by helping persuade the
    religious community to lower its guard against the incursion of naturalism."
    Phillip E. Johnson"What is Darwinism?" accessed 8.31.96

    Here Johnson seems to imply that our only purpose in life is to salve the
    mainstream scientific community, and he claims in this that we are witless
    to know that we are being used. Good grief, we do have a bit of smarts, not
    that one would ever guess from this bit of polemical rhetoric.

    "To know that Darwinism is true (as a general explanation of the history of
    life), one has to know that no alternative to naturalistic evolution is
    possible. To know that is to assume that God does not or cannot create. To
    infer that mutation and selection did the creating because nothing else was
    available, and then to bring God back into the picture as the omnipotent
    being who chose to create by mutation and selection, is to indulge in
    self-contradiction. That is why Darwin and his successors have always felt
    that theistic evolutionists were missing the point, although they have often
    tolerated them as useful allies." ~ Phillip Johnson, "Creator or Blind
    Watchmaker?" First Things, Jan. 1993, pp 8-14, p. 14

    Yep, here Johnson treats us as the lap dogs of the evolutionists conjuring
    up the picture of us panting our tongues as our masters pat us on the head!

    "There are liberal theologians who embrace scientific naturalism but still
    think of themselves as Christians: in fact, they dominate mainline
    seminaries. Bryan recognises that these accomodationists have discarded the
    only metaphysical basis that can support a mystery of God incarnate
    determined to save his children from themselves, and so their Christianity
    survives only as a metaphor. That is why the Christians he respects are the
    genuine, unapologetic supernaturalists, but he thinks that opinion is
    foreclosed to one who has drunk deeply of the waters of naturalism,
    death-giving though he may know that to be." ~ Phillip Johnson, "The
    Reluctant Skeptic", First Things, Dec. 1991, p. 53

    Accomodationist is one of those terms which pollsters know cause people to
    move to the other side of the room if one is spotted in a crowd.
    Accommodationist has the implication of a compromiser (which many YECs have
    called me)

    "The specific answers they derive may or may not be reconcilable with
    theism, but the manner of thinking is profoundly atheisitic. To accept the
    answers as indubitably true is inevitably to accept the thinking that
    generated those answers. That is why I think the appropriate term for the
    accomodationist position is not 'theistic evolution,' but rather theistic
    naturalism. Under either name, it is a disastrous error." ~ Phillip E.
    Johnson, "Shouting 'Heresy' in the Temple of Darwin,"Christianity Today Oct.
    24, 1994, p. 26

    Here Johnson presumes to use naturalism as a pergorative to color the view
    others have of a theistic evolutionist.

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