Re: non-evolutionary theories from transitional fossils

From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Mon Dec 05 2005 - 19:33:13 EST

>>> "Michael Roberts" <> 12/05/05 5:24 PM

Here is our good friend Charlie 0n fossils and evolution, partly from his B

notebook and also from his 1844 draft on evolution. Here we see no
"theological" arguing but trying to explain the fossil record historically.

Ted: In the selections you offer, Michael, I do see D engaged in some
"theological" arguing. I include below only those sentences, lifted (but
fairly) from their context:

Having asked the when questions he then asked the why.
Crucial is his earlier statement 'Absolute knowledge that species die &
others replace them' but 'two hypotheses [individual creation and common
descent] fresh creation mere assumption, it explains nothing further,
gained if any facts are connected' (B 104) Here Darwin appears to dismiss
the view of Phillips cited earlier. Later he asked, 'Has the creator since

the Cambrian formations gone on creating animals with same general
structure. - miserable limited view'


            I must premise that, according to the view ordinarily received,

the myriads of organisms, which have during past and present times peopled

this world, have been created by so many distinct acts of creation. . That

all the organisms of this world have been produced on a scheme is certain
from their general affinities; and if this scheme can be shown to be the
same with that which would result from allied organic beings descending
common stocks, it becomes highly improbable that they have been separately

created by individual acts of the will of a Creator. For as well might it
said that, although the planets move in courses conformably to the law of
gravity, yet we ought to attribute the course of each planet to the
individual act of the will of the Creator.[6]

What I see D doing here, Michael, is making assumptions about what sorts of
things the creator would or would not do. These are the kinds of statements
that George Hunter focuses on in his book, "Darwin's God," and when he does
this I think he is being fair to the original arguments as a whole. D
engaged in theological reasoning quite a bit. I don't go all the way with
George, that is, I don't see the theological dimension as driving the
scientific dimension, but I do see it as an important piece of the larger
picture he draws himself. Perhaps we actually agree on this?

Received on Mon Dec 5 19:35:13 2005

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