Re: It's the Bible or evolution

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Sat Oct 01 2005 - 12:52:52 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "Denyse O'Leary" <>
To: "'George Murphy'" <>; "'Ted Davis'"
<>; <>; <>
Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2005 11:28 AM
Subject: RE: It's the Bible or evolution

Yes. I heard what you said, George.

I am saying that you CAN'T put a fence around the word "created" and make it
mean only what you want.

If unguided nature can "create" life (that is the prebiotic evolution
account, I believe), so can scientists create life in the lab.

In either case, one can claim that God had something to do with it - or that
he didn't. No doubt, both claims will be made with equal force. So?

The only result that will be really interesting will be if scientists end up
giving up on creating life in the lab because the idea turns out to have
conceptual problems, like squaring the circle. (I am not saying that I think
this will happen, but that if it did, it would be really interesting.)

But I won't respond further because when people campaign to restrict the use
of terminology, they either succeed or fail. The odds I would give this one
don't really matter.

Denyse, the problem here is not just one of terminology. It is that you
don't make any attempt to be careful when you talk about issues that have
theological implications, leading your readers to think that you don't
understand them very well. The fact that you use "creation" in an ambiguous
way is just one indication of that, & the fact that a lot of other people do
it is no excuse. That's especially the case when people are trying to have
a reasonably careful discussion of a contentious issue. It's another matter
if all you want to do is write propaganda but I would hope you're more
interested in getting at the truth than that.

It's true that trying to restrict the meaning of words in general usage is
generally fruitless: Language evolves. But technical terms in technical
fields, like science or theology, are different. While we can't avoid all
ambiguity here we ought to make every attempt to limit it.

""If unguided nature can ..." - Wow! Already you start your supposed
explanation with the assumption that nature is, or can be, "unguided." If
you actually meant that then you would have pretty much sold the farm to the
"Darwnians," which I know is not your intention. But if you're going to
talk like that, who will be able to tell what you really mean?

Received on Sat Oct 1 12:55:50 2005

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