Re: Bill Buckingham testifies in Dover...

From: Jim Armstrong <>
Date: Tue Nov 01 2005 - 19:36:30 EST

I always loved the those occasional "dons" at conferences who were able
to offer a competent "state of the union" message concerning a
particular technology or science. There's a good bit of traffic here
about gaps and gap-closure, but has there been a recent, reasonably
steely-eyed and balanced status report concerning the evolution gaps?


Ted Davis wrote:

>David responded to one of my points as follows; my response to him is added
>>>>"Dr. David Campbell" <> 11/01/05 1:52 PM >>>
>>>Many scientists sneer at Behe's reference to "gaps," but Ruse
>>>himself--the most influential witness at the Arkansas trial--makes
>>>reference to them here. Of course he goes right on to say that
>>>there is thus plenty of "unfinished business to keep researchers
>>>working away," and that's appropriate. But it is also appropriate
>>>to point out "large gaps" in our knowledge of mechanisms, precisely
>>>what Mike Behe said in court.
>It is, however, inappropriate to claim that those gaps are evidence of
>failure of evolutionary explanations when researchers are in fact
>working away and filling those gaps. Also remember that many of the
>gaps are only just being discovered themselves with the vast increase
>in molecular data over the past several years. It takes time to
>analyze things and come up with explanations, especially as
>evolutionary biology is not exactly a major focus of funding and
>effort in comparison with, e.g., drug discovery.
>Ted responds as follows.
>I agree, David, that the scientist should always try to advance the
>paradigm along the lines you point out. I suspect Mike Behe would not
>object to this either. The historian that I am, however, thinks it is fair
>for a scientist to say to his/her colleagues, "We've had a theory now for a
>long time and we still have 'large gaps' in this area of the theory. Isn't
>it legitimate for me now to propose that we've taken NS too far, farther
>than its exlanatory efficacy actually warrants? Shouldn't I be free to
>propose in scientific journals that the discarded idea of 'design' might
>have been discarded too hastily? Might it not perhaps be possible to spell
>out criteria that justify an inference to design?" Now the historian in me
>also knows that this isn't likely to persuade many scientists, for many
>reasons--including the reason that for a signficant percentage of modern
>scientists the idea of an unevolved mind is *utterly and completely
>unacceptable*, not only as a scientific hypothesis but also as a
>metaphysical/philosophical/religious idea. Completely unacceptable. This a
>priori does foreclose further conversation, does it not?
>Theologically, however, I get very nervous about floating cultural
>transformation on half a glass of water, as I said in one of my commentaries
>on the trial.
>Philosophically, I think the ultimate goal of science ought to be truth,
>not simply understanding of mechanisms. What is actually true about nature
>and how it has come to be? The problem of course is that this is a much
>bigger question than science alone is equipped to answer. But to bring up
>one of Galileo's points, if it's true it can't be heretical. If some parts
>of nature *really are* designed, as Behe and some others believe they can
>demonstrate, then it can't be heretical for them to say so. See above for
>one of the reasons it is heretical.
>If we could somehow divorce the cultural agenda from the ideas
>themselves--which might be like asking whether we can take the leopard
>without its spots--then perhaps, just perhaps, the ideas would not subject
>their advocates to excommunication. I won't hold my breath waiting for
Received on Tue Nov 1 19:39:44 2005

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