Re: Stereotypes and reputations

From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Fri Aug 05 2005 - 12:05:44 EDT

I've exchanged ideas with George Hunter for at least two years, and although
we often disagree I'm pleased that has come onto the list to talk about his
book. One of the things that George pushes is that idea that Darwin was
moved to embrace evolution primarily by theological questions, esp theodicy
(do I state this accurately enough, George?). I think the evidence
indicates that other factors were at least as important, but it is true that
theological questions were constantly around the edges, if not always right
in the middle of Darwin's mind, while his theory was developing. And in the
Origin itself, esp in the final chapter, it is very clear that D is
comparing ideas (creation and evolution) partly on the basis of theological

The following point might go both ways (for George and against George),
I've not thought it through carefully enough to see which way it goes more
strongly. It does seem to me, that it is not possible to evaluate any
version of "Creationism" (here I use the term very broadly, to mean simply
the idea that a creator has created the world) without making assumptions
about God, from which one can deduce some consequences that can be compared
with the world as it actually appears to be. Do you agree with this,
George? If not, please try to offer a statement on this topic that you
would accept. If so, then which specific assumptions about God did Darwin
make, and what criticisms would you offer of his assumptions? You may also
want to comment on other possible assumptions that someone else might
perhaps make. I hope this is clear enough to move the conversation in a
potentially very helpful direction.

Received on Fri Aug 5 12:07:09 2005

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