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

From: Robert Schneider <rjschn39@bellsouth.net>
Date: Sat Sep 17 2005 - 12:03:33 EDT

This morning I read the following in a collection of daily readings with the Christian mystics. It will be the lead quotation for the essay I am writing on "Theologies of an Evolving Creation":

"Everything exists in God. All we can perceive is the activity of nature, but with faith we can see God at work. The tiniest particle of matter and the smallest moment of time contain something of God's concealed activity. God hides behind the curtain of his creation's business."
                                                    From Abandonment to Divine Providence
                                                    Jean-Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751)

Bob
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: George Murphy
  To: Cornelius Hunter ; asa@calvin.edu
  Sent: Saturday, September 17, 2005 9:33 AM
  Subject: Re: Is evolution really the central theory for all of biology?

  Cornelius -

  I was responding only to your statement that ""evolutionary thinking is based on the idea that there must be a break in the link between God and creation" and my comment was rather narrowly focused: "All I can say for myself is, "'Wrong!'" - i.e., this does not represent my theological understanding of evolution. God cooperates with all the creaturely agencies involved in evolution. It's true that God does not do all the things that take place directly - i.e., without creatures - but this doesn't mean that God is absent or distant from what takes places. "God concurs, he does nor precur" is a classic formula. Thus I don't see this at all as a "break in the link between God and creation" anymore than I would say that the link between a carpenter & a nail being put through a board is broken because the carpenter uses a hammer instead of pushing the nail though with his hand.

  Shalom
  George
  http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Cornelius Hunter
    To: George Murphy ; asa@calvin.edu
    Sent: Friday, September 16, 2005 10:47 PM
    Subject: Re: Is evolution really the central theory for all of biology?

    George:

    Here is the previous part of the paragraph, just so the context is not lost:

    "Well this gets into a longer discussion, which I was hoping to avoid, about the various Christian traditions motivating evolutionary thought. Suffice it to say that from deism and the greater god sentiment (ie, it is "infra dig" for god to act in creation) to the problem of evil and claims of dysteleology, evolutionary thinking is based on the idea that there must be a break in the link between God and creation."

    Of course I am generalizing for the sake of brevity and discussion. There is certainly a lot more to say about this, and many nuances to be explored. Nonetheless, I can't see how one would find this to be too far off base. I'm interested in hearing other opinions on this. Can you explain why you think this is "wrong!". In what way am I mischaracterizing, for instance, Kant, Liebniz, Burnet, Tindal, Ray, Grew, Powell, Chambers, Brougham, Conybeare, etc., etc.?

    --Cornelius

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: George Murphy
      To: Cornelius Hunter ; Terry M. Gray ; asa@calvin.edu
      Sent: Friday, September 16, 2005 7:18 PM
      Subject: Re: Is evolution really the central theory for all of biology?

      Cornelius -

      You seem a bit too willing to tell other people why they think what they do. E.g. (below), "evolutionary thinking is based on the idea that there must be a break in the link between God and creation." All I can say for myself is, "Wrong!"

      Shalom
      George
      http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Cornelius Hunter
        To: Terry M. Gray ; asa@calvin.edu
        Sent: Friday, September 16, 2005 7:12 PM
        Subject: Re: Is evolution really the central theory for all of biology?

        Terry:

        You wrote:

        "Divine action occurs continually in my opinion. However, as my post to Al earlier today pointed, such divine action is not necessarily scientifically detectable. Those who claim that evolution implies no or little divine action are simply mistaken. They are asserting a theological claim that can't be supported theologically or scientifically."

        Well this gets into a longer discussion, which I was hoping to avoid, about the various Christian traditions motivating evolutionary thought. Suffice it to say that from deism and the greater god sentiment (ie, it is "infra dig" for god to act in creation) to the problem of evil and claims of dysteleology, evolutionary thinking is based on the idea that there must be a break in the link between God and creation. It is not a matter of whether divine action is detectable or not. Undetectable divine action is allowed, but not to the extent that there is no break in the link, or that the world directly reflects divine will. It would be contradictory to, on the one hand, argue that the Vitamin C pseudogene mandates common descent because God would not have intended such a thing, while on the other hand argue that the pseudogene was God's design, albeit achieved via undetectable divine action.

        You wrote:

        "I do disagree with you that evolutionary theories are not established by scientific evidence. All the evidence can be cast in terms that avoids the theological arguments that you aptly point out."

        Of course the evidence can be cast into those terms, but then it loses its force. Consider the evolutionist's use of the laryngeal nerve evidence. We are told that it is "surely inefficient" and would never have been created, but that it is "easy to explain such an inefficiency if giraffes have evolved in small stages from a fish-like ancestor." Easy to explain? Sorry, but without the powerful metaphysics, this evidence falls on its face. Giraffes evolving from fish in small stages? We can't even get the beaks of finches to change much. There are all kinds of problems with this idea. And yet we are told evolution is a scientific fact. If this were so, then it why is this not spelled out somewhere without relying on the powerful theological premises?

        Isn't it interesting that science just happened to discover what philosophers, theologians and scientists were arguing must be true for centuries in advance? And isn't it interesting that every attempt to establish the fact of evolution relies on theological arguments?

        --Cornelius

        ps--As an aside, I don't understand how you find sympathy in B B Warfield, much less Charles Hodge.

        1. Modern evolutionary thinking arose in the 17th and 18th centuries within
        Christian thought as a conclusion of theological arguments.
        2. Evolutionary theories (cosmological as well as biological) were claimed
        early on to be facts, as a conclusion of theological arguments.
        3. Today, evolutionary theories are routinely claimed to be facts, though
        this is not established by scientific evidence. And such claims, when
        elucidated, employ theological arguments to make their case.
Received on Sat Sep 17 12:04:07 2005

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