Re: On Gray, "Darwinism," and "design"

From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Fri Feb 10 2006 - 15:53:49 EST

I completely share Keith's frustration about the way in which terms have
been used and defined, in such a way as to try to marginalize (within the
Christian community, at least) TEs, many of whom (some would not fit this
description) are actually *not* on the margins of this issue, many of whom
hold strongly to divine transcendence as well as divine immanence (as Gray
did and Behe does). A great irony, that I keep mentioning, is that the TE
position articulated by Behe is so often seen as an anti-evolution position.
 But frankly, Asa Gray would today be seen by many as an ID and *therefore*
not a TE, even though he was really both, as Behe is.

In the politics of science, I keep having to say, the politics dominates
the science.

Another point on "Darwinism." During the trial last fall, as is well
known, one of Darwin's descendents was assigned to cover it for a
magazine--I think it was Harper's, and I think the story is now out though I
haven't seen it. After Behe's first day in court, as the reporters were all
gathered together around him and around the lead defense attorney (Mr
Thompson), and as my visage was being captured by photographers as I stood
in the only open space available (directly behind Behe), Darwin's descendent
asked Behe why "Darwinism" was always being attacked--that is, why that
specific name being used for evolution. Mike gave a reasonable answer in
terms of modern scientific references to it, but the real reason I am
convinced is historical--namely, that Hodge had called it that and
identified it by that name as a theologically dangerous view of the world,
equivalent to denying divine purpose in the creation. I mentioned this
point privately to Darwin's descendent, and he contacted me later to say
that this was a very helpful point.

Received on Fri Feb 10 15:57:46 2006

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