Re: [asa] Denyse O'Leary on family values and Darwinism

From: PvM <>
Date: Sun Dec 31 2006 - 17:35:41 EST

While some may have used "Darwinian" to extend to the initial
conditions, more likely the terms used would be evolution, causing
much confusion amongst some about the meaning of these terms as
applied to cosmology versus for instance life.
Darwinism, explains the evolution of life once self replicating
systems arose, while leaving the issue of the 'origin of life' and the
'origin of the universe' as initial conditions, not explained by the
theory. This is also why many creationists have moved their efforts
towards cosmological initial conditions or the initial conditions for
life, arguing using arguments of improbability (sounds familiar?) or
arguments based on the apparent fine tuning of the various
While the origin of life may be resolved, cosmological initial
conditions may be hidden forever from science because of the Planck
time/distance, beyond which science cannot see.

But Darwinism has little to do with initial conditions of the universe
and even initial conditions of life, although there is some evidence
that Darwinian processes played a role early on in life, for instance
in explaining the origin and evolution of the genetic code. Processes
of chance, regularity and selection all seem to have played their

On 12/31/06, Alexanian, Moorad <> wrote:
> It seems to me that the logic of Darwinism is to connect the initial conditions of the universe, say, the Big Bang, with what is actually present today. In addition, Darwinism would conclude that some dynamical laws connected the beginning to the present. This would represent the apex of success for "science," however; it would invariably give rise to all sorts of questions. For instance, why the particular initial conditions, and the origin both of what existed originally and the dynamical laws that brought the present into existence.
> Moorad
> ________________________________
> From: PvM []
> Sent: Sun 12/31/2006 12:51 PM
> To: Alexanian, Moorad
> Cc:
> Subject: Re: [asa] Denyse O'Leary on family values and Darwinism
> If you want to redefine the meaning of the terms then fine. Denyse's
> comments seem to be making even less sense. However, I fail to see why
> Darwinism, redefined by Moorad cannot predict and explain kin
> selection etc? After all, if it encompasses the science of Darwinian
> evolution, does it not take Darwinian predictions forward?
> Of course, if one insists on redefining Darwinism to mean 'a
> worldview' then it also seems that one may be attacking a strawmen
> here. Either way, Denyse's piece seems to suffer from some major flaws
> and short comings which could have been avoided by doing a little
> research on these issues. In addition, I fear that ignoring that which
> Augustine observed, will do great harm to science and religion alike.
> That science or religion can be abused by some is nothing new and
> includes countless examples in both science as well as religion. That
> however is a very poor reason for conservatives or evangelicals to
> reject Darwinian theory.
> On 12/30/06, Alexanian, Moorad <> wrote:
> > One must distinguish Darwinism, which is a worldview that encompasses more the science, from Darwinian evolution, which presumably is a scientific theory. It is then nonsensical to say that, "Darwinism predicts and explains the concept of kin selection, altruism as well as reciprocal altruism. In fact, it that the most relevant biblical teachings can be explained by Darwinian evolution."
> >
> >
> > Moorad
> >
> > ________________________________
> >
> > From: on behalf of PvM
> > Sent: Sat 12/30/2006 8:07 PM
> > To:
> > Subject: [asa] Denyse O'Leary on family values and Darwinism
> >
> >
> >
> > While Denyse has more than once pointed out that she is not a
> > scientist, I find it occasionally necessary to point out the more
> > obvious errors in her 'arguments'. Especially when the arguments fall
> > in the category against which Augustine has warned us Christians.
> >
> > For instance on UcD she states that
> >
> > <quote>Darwinism predicts absolutely nothing of substance for family
> > values, which normally derive from philosophical or spiritual beliefs
> > about correct relationships. This is true whether given beliefs are
> > widely held or wisely held or linked in any obvious way to health,
> > wealth, or fertility.</quote>
> >
> > In fact, this is quite wrong. Darwinism predicts and explains the
> > concept of kin selection, altruism as well as reciprocal altruism. In
> > fact, it seems that the most relevant biblical teachings can be
> > explained by Darwinian evolution.
> >
> > Teach the controversy at least presumes that one is familiar with the
> > basic foundations of that with which one is in disagreement, lest one
> > runs the risk of both creating strawmen and falling victim of
> > Augustine's warnings.
> >
> > From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy we learn
> > (
> >
> > <quote>
> > The idea that group selection might explain the evolution of altruism
> > was first broached by Darwin himself. In The Descent of Man (1871),
> > Darwin discussed the origin of altruistic and self-sacrificial
> > behaviour among humans. Such behaviour is obviously disadvantageous at
> > the individual level, as Darwin realized: "he who was ready to
> > sacrifice his life, as many a savage has been, rather than betray his
> > comrades, would often leave no offspring to inherit his noble nature"
> > (p.163). Darwin then argued that self-sarcrificial behaviour, though
> > disadvantageous for the individual 'savage', might be beneficial at
> > the group level: "a tribe including many members who...were always
> > ready to give aid to each other and sacrifice themselves for the
> > common good, would be victorious over most other tribes; and this
> > would be natural selection" (p.166). Darwin's suggestion is that the
> > altruistic behaviour in question may have evolved by a process of
> > between-group selection.
> > </quote>
> >
> > what a little research can actually do for the quality of one's arguments...
> >
> > Happy New Year
> >
> > To unsubscribe, send a message to with
> > "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
> >
> >
> >

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Received on Sun Dec 31 17:35:55 2006

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