Re: It's the Bible or evolution

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Sun Oct 02 2005 - 17:49:01 EDT

Hello Denyse,


Please excuse this mild objection to your present argument. But no, I don’t think you heard what G. Murphy said. And if you did, you have apparently chosen to ignore it.

You wrote: “I am saying that you CAN'T put a fence around the word ‘created’ and make it mean only what you want.”


But isn’t this exactly what you’re doing with the words ‘intelligent design’? In fact, isn’t this exactly what you’re doing when you pit ‘design’ and ‘chance’ against each other as if in intractable opposition? It seems that if you are wishing to criticize someone else’s vocabulary so strictly then yours too is open to criticism.


From this recent foray, it appears you are engaging in linguistic recontructionism in order to (try to) gain an audience for the cause of ID theories. As a journalist, I am sure you must be well aware of the power of words and their agreed upon meanings and how some people try to change meanings to suit their personal ideologies, theories and perspectives. There is nothing new about this in the histories of discussions concerning science, philosophy or theology and there are certainly entrenched communities involved. Instead, I’d thought you wanted to report on rather than ideologize for ID.


Nevertheless, when you refused, on your own discussion list, to make a proper distinction between 'intelligent design' and 'Intelligent Design,' claiming instead ideological innocence and retreating to a claim of Editor's rules, you gave up on a willingness to seriously engage in the scientific, philosophical and theological dimensions. At least one member of the ASA community (two, if you count me) was there to witness it. The linguistic dimension of this conversation is interesting in itself. However, the claim of evolution being scientific vs. ID being unscientific will not stand up in such a journalistic or literalistic milieu. Please leave the science to scientists.


“I won't respond further because when people campaign to restrict the use of terminology, they either succeed or fail.” – Denyse O’Leary


‘Special creation’ does have invested meanings for many people. As a Canadian, I assume that you have less sensitivity to this meaning than do most Americans who are invested in its linguistic, scientific, theological and even political connections. The American legal system abolished ‘special creation’ from public schools, something quite different from what you suggest it may or could mean in your messages. It is clear that IDists, who are sometimes referred to as neo-creationists, have tried to distance themselves from ‘special creation’ (other that M. Behe’s ‘poof’ slip) and to re-invest their sci-phil-theol claims in the words ‘intelligent’ and ‘design’ combined. This is why, for example, D. Lamoureux said he was confident that ID wouldn't have gained anywhere near the attention it has (newsworthily or otherwise) if it weren't for its linguistic dimension. But that’s probably enough about language already.


On another front, nobody (and I mean nobody) calls human beings 'intelligent designers' except those who are trying to promote ID theory. If you really believe it makes sense to call people 'intelligent designers' as if that gives ID theories some claim to social-cultural resonance rather than narrow ideologizing, then please explain why no one in the IDM has yet confronted the question of how to scientifically, philosophically or theologically differentiate between ‘human-made things’ and ‘non-human-made things,’ with any semblance of scholarly rigour. I have yet to read anything about ID in social science and rather appreciate the views of the ASA discussion group towards social sciences as much more philosophically and theologically (if I might in my youth suggest it) mature.


Thanks to Dr. George Murphy for helping us to contextualize ‘creation’ and ‘special creation’ in the contemporary discourse of science, philosophy and theology.



Gregory Arago



p.s. please excuse that this message diverges from the original thread topic

George Murphy <> wrote: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.


Find your next car at Yahoo! Canada Autos
Received on Sun, 2 Oct 2005 17:49:01 -0400 (EDT)

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sun Oct 02 2005 - 17:50:12 EDT