Re: "Rennie's rant"

Date: Fri Aug 23 2002 - 14:09:42 EDT

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    Peter Ruest observed that:

    > Although the wide spectrum of theists' opinions about creation and
    > evolution has been known for decades, Rennie, in the usual atheist
    > manner, keeps throwing all of them together into the same bin. He
    > rightly insists that science is restricted to methodological
    > but he surreptitiously extends this to ontological naturalism, ruling
    > out of court any suggestion that science may perhaps never be able to
    > explain "all there ever was or is or will be". His contempt for YEC
    > views is understandable, but his haughty manner ("nonsense") of
    > conflating all criticisms of evolution with YEC is downright repulsive,
    > particularly if his knowledge of the subject is as superficial as his
    > article makes it appear.

    To a certain extent, I think your criticism here has a valid point here.

    My feeling about the article was "why in Scientific American?".
    SA usually
    publishes reports that summarize current scientific research in a way
    that makes them accessible to the layman. They are usually written by
    professionals actively carrying out this research. Whereas it cannot be
    completely devoid of all cultural values in a magazine intended
    for popular
    consumption, SA's editors have tended to keep the magazine largely
    to the
    science side of the balance. Certainly, I think this is fair to
    say of the
    of most of the articles I have read.

    However, I must admit that "Rennie's Rant" reminded me more of the
    pulp I
    might anticipate from "Skeptic Briefs". It would be nice if the
    editor and
    had given a little more thought about his readership. Are they mostly
    members of Do most of them quote the great writings
    of Richard Dawkins? Yet most such folk already know the places to
    run to,
    so why did he write to them? His title is also misleading. At least he
    have been forthright enough to say "Philip Johnson's nonsense".
    There are
    all different flavors of ID some leaning far to the YEC end, and
    some leaning
    more toward a some sort of theistic involvement scheme. Would the editor
    and chief also class Howard Van Till's work as "creationist" and
    "ID"? Good
    grief, ID could be defined as "anyone who doesn't agree with John
    for all I can tell.

    I started to comment on some of your comments, but finally opted to cut
    them. I just have this to say on it. Whereas evolution has not
    rapidly as a deterministic science, it is strongly hampered by the
    of such problems. The 20th century did see it moving more in the
    of a serious science, but there is a long way yet to go. It is hard to
    to what extent it will progress, but with computers becoming
    faster and more
    accessible to many people, there is a lot of potential to find
    ways to model
    a more realistic fitness landscape and work out less contrived
    models for the
    dynamics. From this view, I recommend not to be too aggressively against
    it, but let it move its way. I think that over the very long run, good
    will emerge if the basic idea is right.

    By Grace alone we proceed,

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