Re: Is evolution really the central theory for all of biology?

From: Terry M. Gray <grayt@lamar.colostate.edu>
Date: Fri Sep 16 2005 - 12:33:59 EDT

Cornelius,

I do think it would help if you used the word "special creationist"
in these contexts. Dobzhansky is a creationist. He's an evolutionary
creationist. He's just not an "ex nihilo special creationist". Some
may argue that pre-determined designs are not possible, but it is
certainly not a necessary view of evolution. This is why your
arguments are so confusing to some of us.

Now I happen to agree with you that to make such a claim even about
"special creationism" entails knowledge of God's plan and purposes
and is fundamentally a theological argument. I don't believe,
however, that the case for evolution rests on such theology (even
though it's frequently used in evolution's defense, as you aptly
point out in Darwin's God). For what it's worth, I think you misread
my discussion in my review of Phil Johnson's book that you comment on
in your book (by the way, I'm somewhat flattered by the attention you
gave that small piece--I would hope that you read the latter part of
the article in light of the earlier parts.)

TG

On Sep 16, 2005, at 9:09 AM, Cornelius Hunter wrote:

> Bob:
>
> Dobzhansky writes:
>
> "The evidence of fossils shows clearly that the eventual end of
> most evolutionary lines is extinction. Organisms now living are
> successful descendants of only a minority of the species that lived
> in the past and of smaller and smaller minorities the farther back
> you look. Nevertheless, the number of living species has not
> dwindled; indeed, it has probably grown with time. All this is
> understandable in the light of evolution theory; but what a
> senseless operation it would have been, on Godís part, to fabricate
> a multitude of species ex nihilo and then let most of them die out!"
>
> Dobzhansky is saying that it would be senseless for God to create
> species and then let them die out. The claim entails knowledge of
> God's plan for creation. That is a theological claim. Make sense?
> You wrote:
>
> "Dobzhansky says that the two "are not mutually exclusive," and
> that he can be "both a creationist and and evolutionist." What do
> you think he means?"
>
> He means pretty much the same thing that Kant, Leibniz, Burnet,
> Ray, Grew, E Darwin, Chambers, Wallace, C Darwin, Powell, Chardin,
> and many other hundreds of millions Christians mean. It is improper
> to believe that God would create this world in a sort of direct
> sense. At the very least God must operate via secondary causes, and
> usually included is the idea that those secondary causes do not
> achieve predetermined designs. That is, secondary causes or
> intermediate agents themselves contribute to, or constrain, the
> resulting designs in some way. There are actually several Christian
> traditions at work here, so it is kind of a long story.
>
> --Cornelius
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Robert Schneider
> To: Cornelius Hunter ; asa@calvin.edu ; Don Nield
> Sent: Thursday, September 15, 2005 5:24 AM
> Subject: Re: Is evolution really the central theory for all of
> biology?
>
> And just exactly what is your point? You haven't made it clear
> what you mean when you say that Dobzhansky's statement "entails
> theological claims." Surely, you're not saying that if one accepts
> evolution one must also hold a theology of creation, are you?
> Dobzhansky says that the two "are not mutually exclusive," and that
> he can be "both a creationist and and evolutionist." What do you
> think he means?
>
> Bob
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Cornelius Hunter
> To: Robert Schneider ; Terry M. Gray ; asa@calvin.edu
> Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2005 9:37 PM
> Subject: Re: Is evolution really the central theory for all of
> biology?
>
> Exactly my point guys. --Cornelius
>
>
> Don Nield <d.nield@auckland.ac.nz> wrote:
> Dobzhansky writes " It is wrong to hold creation and evolution as
> mutually exclusive alternatives. I am a creationist *and* an
> evolutionist." Later he writes "I submit that all these remarkable
> findings make sense in the light of evolution: they are nonsense
> otherwise." He also writes "Seen in the light of evolution, biology
> is,
> perhaps, intellectually the most satisfying and inspiring science.
> Without that light it becomes a pile of sundry facts some of them
> interesting or curious but making no meaninglful picture as a
> whole". He
> also writes "Does the evolutionary doctrine clash with religious
> faith ?
> It does not", and he goes on to explain that statement.
> Dobzhansky presents evidence that falsifies YEC but it does not
> falsify
> creation.
> Don
>
> Robert Schneider <rjschn39@bellsouth.net> wrote:
> They reflect Dobzhansky's own Christian theology of creation,
> shared by many ...
>
> Bob Schneider
>

________________
Terry M. Gray, Ph.D.
Computer Support Scientist
Chemistry Department
Colorado State University
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Received on Fri Sep 16 12:35:47 2005

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