Re: A request for help Re: Evolution & Identity of the ID designer

From: George Murphy (
Date: Mon Dec 02 2002 - 17:37:05 EST

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    Walter Hicks wrote:
    > George Murphy wrote:
    > > A very simple & broad statement of evolutionary theory is not hard to give:
    > > Biological species change over long periods of time, with some
    >becoming extenct and some
    > > new species arising from old. Various species are thus related
    >to one another. Such
    > > ideas are, of course, not uniquely Darwinian.
    > > Michael has correctly noted several ways in which such a
    >simple theory could be
    > > falsified. (I waive for now the right to raise questions about
    >the falsification
    > > criterion in view of the possibility of always defending a
    >theory's "hard core" with
    > > auxiliary hypotheses.) This simple theory has not been
    >falsified. There is, in fact,
    > > no serious question about its correctness or its character as a
    >scientific theory.
    > > The question of _how_ evolution takes place is of course
    >more difficult. But we
    > > would avoid a lot of wasted time & posturing if we would agree
    >that it _has_ taken
    > > place.
    > I would say, George, that this almost equivalent to saying that a
    >theory of gravity is that
    > objects (e.g. apples) always fall to the ground.

            To begin with, what's the question we're trying to answer?
    If it's "How has the
    present distribution of living things come to be?" then the simple
    evolutionary theory I
    sketched is one answer. This answer is hardly as self-evident as the
    statement that
    things fall down, as witnessed by the fact that it wasn't the commonly accepted
    scientific explanation until about a century ago & is still resisted
    by many people.

    > The essence of a theory is that is a proposed mechanism for HOW
    >something happens. Without
    > that, it is just philosophy -- not science.

            As explained above, my simple theory is a "how" answer to the
    question of how
    species have come to be as they are. It of course only scratches the
    surface & one will
    want to go into it more deeply - i.e., develop the theory further.
    That's what Darwin,
    Wallace &c tried to do.
    > For the most part, many on this list differ in practically no
    >respect from my close Deist
    > friend: "God does intervene in the physical universe -- end of
    >story". So here we are in
    > the same category as a Deist -------- That truly is what is what
    >the "Science" posts on this
    > list amount to. What a great way to win people to Jesus Christ!

            I assume your Deist friend's quote should be "God does _not_
    intervene ..."
            I do not believe that God "intervenes" - or at least does so
    very seldom - in
    the sense of acting in some way beyond the capacity of creatures.
    But I do believe that
    God is always _active_ in the world through natural processes. & I
    think that when the
    implications of that are fully worked out, it does indeed point to
    the God made known in
    Jesus Christ rather than the deity of philosophical theism.
    > And, it absolutely _WOULD_ be possible to falsify your postulate, George.
    > (For Gravity: Release a balloon filled with helium)
    > For evolution: All that one has to do is show a species with no
    >evident chain from a
    > previous species. (Of course you would then claim incompleteness of
    >the fossil record --
    > would you not?)

            You asked for a statement of evolutionary theory and ways in
    which evolution
    could be falsified. I sketched the 1st & Michael gave some
    suggestions for the 2d.
    What are we arguing about?
            & somebody (not necessarily I) could indeed then appeal to
    incompleteness of the
    fossil record - which illustrates the "questions about the
    falsification criterion in
    view of the possibility of always defending a theory's "hard core"
    with auxiliary
    hypotheses" that I noted earlier.

    > I am NOT "posturing". I am simply calling to task those who
    >criticize creationists when
    > there own theory does not satisfy their own scientific criteria.
    >Am I incorrect? If so,
    > how? (if I may ask a "how" question.)

            You called us to task and we answered. Whether or not you
    are "posturing" will
    be shown by whether or not you are willing to take seriously the
    answers we gave.


    George L. Murphy

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