Re: It's the Bible or evolution

From: Cornelius Hunter <>
Date: Thu Sep 29 2005 - 11:41:35 EDT


Your descriptions below are nice and symmetric, but I think there is more to
the story. For instance, if TE is not breaking the link between God and
creation, and God can accomplish his will via the evolutionary process, then
why must the detection of divine action be out of bounds? And why is
evoluiton a fact? I would be delighted if this were merely a
misunderstanding, and if I am guilty of imposing a particular view of what
"evolution" means.

We discussed the problem of evolution searching the DNA space and creating
new species. You mentioned that it is probably likely that this would
happen, with the justification that "We certainly know that the full design
space doesn't need to be tested and that any such 'testing' is not at

Actually, the idea that the full design space need not be searched is weak,
and the idea that the search is not random is non evolutionary. The only way
I know that the full design space would not need to be searched would be if
that space was largely filled with useful, functioning designs. But this
clearly is not the case. It certainly is true that there is flexibility in
known genomes. One can make all sorts of changes and still have a
functioning genome. But this should not be confused with any idea that
functioning genomes are common in the DNA space. Quite the opposite. The
bottom line is a search through the DNA space would have to cover the
majority of the space before obtaining appreciable probabilities of hitting
on functioning genomes.


> Cornelius,
> I think this is a very pertinent paragraph in the sense of
> understanding the fundamental difference between ID and TE. Do I
> understand the issue correctly as follows?
> ID perspective:
> In common usage among scientists and laity, evolution refers to the
> development of species through random, purposeless, unguided events rather
> than by any type of divine action. As such, evolution is inherently
> antithetical to any orthodox view of creation. In response to the
> specific retort of TE folks that that this combines a metaphysical
> interpretation of meaning and guidance (or the lack thereof) with the
> science and is not truly core scientific evolution, the ID community
> responds, "indeed, but that's just the point--scientists have combined
> scientific and metaphysical views into a single concept called evolution
> and that is what we oppose."
> TE perspective:
> The "common usage" is wrong and evolution can and should be
> divorced from the "random, purposeless, unguided.." metaphysical
> interpretation. Then it can be possible to harmonize with various views of
> creation. In response to the specific retort of ID that this is not how
> evolution is discussed and taught in practice, the TE community responds
> "indeed, but that's just the point--evolution is too commonly taught with
> a metaphysical atheistic flavor and we should oppose that error rather
> than agree with the fusion and oppose evolution altogether."
> So I do think you are correct that many people (though not all!) use
> "common descent" and "evolution" to mean "as opposed to any divine
> influence". The ID community chooses to accept the definition and fight
> the terms while the TE community chooses to accept the terms and fight the
> definition.
> Randy
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Cornelius Hunter" <>
> To: <>; <>
> Sent: Monday, September 26, 2005 4:25 PM
> Subject: Re: It's the Bible or evolution
>> Clearly there is a conflict between evolution and orthodoxy, so I don't
>> think that the conflict view is "simply false." A way to avoid this
>> would be to remake the theory of evolution such that it is considered to
>> be merely God's deterministic creation tool, but of course this is not
>> evolution as we know it. The point is not whether common descent or
>> evolution, *per se* can be viewed as orthodox. Of course they can when
>> the additional evolutionary thinking is not attached. But this is not
>> what is meant by these terms. Common descent and evolution are used to
>> refer to the idea that there is a break in the link between God and
>> creation, such that designs in creation do not represent divine will. How
>> can this be orthodox?
>> --Cornelius
Received on Thu Sep 29 11:47:42 2005

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