Re: It's the Bible or evolution

From: Terry M. Gray <>
Date: Thu Sep 29 2005 - 13:46:22 EDT


For a theistic evolutionist of my stripes, all natural processes
involve divine action. I will assume that you will grant that point
to us on this list. After all, you're talking to us and not Leibniz
or Kant or Darwin.

Given that I take that the "divine action" that you are talking about
is somehow inconsistent with a natural process (say, some known
evolutionary mechanism).

If so, then what does such divine action look like empirically? In
the fossil record, in the genetic record, etc?


On Sep 29, 2005, at 9:41 AM, Cornelius Hunter wrote:

> Randy:
> 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 random."
> 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
>> 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

Terry M. Gray, Ph.D.
Computer Support Scientist
Chemistry Department
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
(o) 970-491-7003 (f) 970-491-1801
Received on Thu Sep 29 13:48:10 2005

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