Griffin book

From: John W Burgeson (
Date: Mon Feb 11 2002 - 15:10:36 EST

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    I had written to Allen: "In trying to decipher your argument, it has
    become obvious that Naturalism and Creationism should be defined: I
    commend to you the definitions used by my friend, David Griffin. You can
    read them in his excellent book, RELIGION and SCIENTIFIC NATURALISM."

    Allen replied (at length), saying: "I have been reading and studying your
    review of Griffin's book. You state "Seeking a religion/science harmony,
    he [Griffin] sees three
    things as necessary:"

    It is right at this point that I and many YECs are in disagreement with
    Griffin. ..."

    Allen -- I did not tell you that you should AGREE with Griffin; I did say
    that I, and others here also, had found his definitions useful.

    "Therefore, Creationary Catastrophists would disagree with the three
    things that Griffin things are absolutely necessary -- i.e. that Science
    and Religion must:

    1. share a worldview
    2. science must insist only on naturalism(ns),
    3. religion must live with naturalism(ns) and no supernaturalism"

    I'm sorry you thought I was recommending Griffin because I "agreed with
    him." As far as the above is concerned, I probably do agree
    (provisionally) with #1 and #2 but I do not agree with #3 at all,
    although I do not "read out of the faith" those who subscribe to it.
    "It is no wonder that Griffin disagrees with P. Johnson. He doesn't
    understand what Johnson is talking about."

    I'd not hold this opinion about Griffin myself. To disagree with one or
    more of his holdings is fair game. To say "he does not understand" is to
    judge his book, which I assume you have not read, by my review, which did
    not treat Griffin's views of Johnson. As a matter of fact, all I wrote in
    the review on that particular sub-subject was

    "Griffin examines three alternatives (of the many that exist), which
    challenge one or more of these theses:

    1. Theistic Science, as proposed by Plantinga and Johnson.

    2. Scientific naturalism within a supernaturalistic framework, as
    proposed by Van Till and others.

    3. Accommodating religion to naturalism(sam), as proposed by Drees.

    The discussions on these, 38 pages in all, are very well done. One of the
    strengths of this book lies in the way Griffin can find merit in some,
    but not all, of these competing ideas. Advocates of any of these
    positions can benefit from his remarks."

    How you can conclude from the above that "Griffin does not know what
    Johnson is talking about" is problematical, to say the least.

    "However, Creationary Catastrophists and Evolutionists do hold in common
    assumptions that must be true for the scientific method to have validity.

    1. Uniformity of law over time and space.
    2. Uniformity of process over time and space.
    3. Uniformity of rate over time and space.

    Creationary Catastrophists add the following caveats acquired from their
    Biblical worldview:

    1. These assumptions are valid only since origin.
    2. They are unable to define origins.
    3. That inorganic and organic origins are beyond the ability of science
    to explore.
    4. That time is limited to that defined by God's word.
    5. That non-uniformity of rate and non-uniformity of process are
    possible on occasion"

    I think that's a fair statement of your particular worldview, based on
    your particular interpretation of scripture. Of course, it IS a worldview
    which attributes to scripture certain characteristics which almost all
    scholars regard as silly. That does not make it "wrong," of course, but
    it does "put the ball in your court" to defend that particular

    "Unlike Evolutionary theorists, who focus their study on developing
    theories of Origin of matter/energy/motion, Abiogenesis and the origin of
    species from common ancestory according to natural law, Creationists
    start with knowing how the universe and types of life forms originated.
    They have no need and, indeed, will not even attempt to
    develop theories of origins. Creationists study nature not to discover
    it got here, but how it functions as designed by the Creator. The
    origins were
    singular events which have little to no relationship to the day-by-day
    functioning thereafter."

    So the Creationist starts by "giving up." That's OK, of course. But how
    would you answer a "Creationist Shaman" who insists that "God makes the
    thunder" and therefore disdains any investigations into natural causation
    for thunder?

    "Since Creationary Catastrophists disagree with Griffin's primary
    assumptions, the rest of his book is basically irrelevant to the issues
    between Creationists and Evolutionists."

    That's a very easy position to take, my friend. In my book it is called
    "the ostrich position."

    John Burgeson (Burgy)
           (science/theology, quantum mechanics, baseball, ethics,
            humor, cars, God's intervention into natural causation, etc.)

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