Terminology (was Re: [asa] Question for all the theistic evolutionists)

From: Bill Hamilton <williamehamiltonjr@yahoo.com>
Date: Sat Feb 24 2007 - 15:30:47 EST

George wrote

"Theistic evolution" is indeed a problematic term for several reasons but
we're not going to get rid of it. Once a term gets established it's very
hard to change even if it's less than ideal - e.g., "Big Bang." I don't
share Bill's objection to mixing a theological & scientific term because
what we're trying to do is speak of a scientific idea in a theological

Bill responds: Your point about discussing scientific ideas in a theological context is a good one. Still, something vaguely grates when I hear "evolutionary creation". One thing that grates is that from the creationist viewpoint "evolutionary creation" is a contradiction. While I don't have to adopt creationist sensibilities, I (optimist that I am) would like to be in a position to reach out to creationists. Another objection, and this one is more significant from my POV, is that I don't see evolution as a means of creation. I regard creation as being the process of making something new. Evolution is development, not creation. Just call me an evolution-accepting Christian. (but I'm still searching for something that is descriptive and less awkward)

Moorad says that TE is difficult because "The fundamental problem is how do
you fit Jesus the Christ in the history of life on Earth?" That's why it's
better to fit the history of life on earth into our understanding of Jesus

Bill: I like this very much. Thanks, George. Moorad's concern is real, and I think you have the right solution to it.
Bill Hamilton
William E. Hamilton, Jr., Ph.D.
248.652.4148 (home) 248.821.8156 (mobile)
"...If God is for us, who is against us?" Rom 8:31

----- Original Message ----
From: George Murphy <gmurphy@raex.com>
To: Glenn Morton <glennmorton@entouch.net>; asa@calvin.edu
Sent: Saturday, February 24, 2007 11:18:39 AM
Subject: Re: [asa] Question for all the theistic evolutionists

Below in brackets I answer 1 & 2 together & likewise 3 & 4, & add some
comments prompted by others' responses.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Glenn Morton" <glennmorton@entouch.net>
To: <asa@calvin.edu>
Sent: Friday, February 23, 2007 9:10 PM
Subject: [asa] Question for all the theistic evolutionists

I won't be here long, but this is the best place to get a question answered.
Many of you know that over the past 10 years, I have struggled with whether
or not to become an atheist. I now am totally past that point having come
out of the struggle with some really great arguments against atheism, which
I have used on the internet successfully. But, in all this, I have thought
about a YEC complaint against us TE's. And that is what my question is

1. Why is it that I so rarely see theistic evolutionists directly
confronting atheists on the internet when they dis our religion?

2. Has anyone engaged in a direct internet debate on a forum against atheism
or against an atheist? (if so, where is it?)

[In general I think presenting a positive argument for Christianity is
better than trying to refute individual arguments for atheism. Some of my
efforts in this direction have been on the internet, but that's not my
favorite venue. This doesn't mean that the points raised by non-Christians
are to be ignored, but they should be dealt with by showing how
Christianity - & not just a general theism - helps to answer those concerns,
in the spirit of Tillich's Method of Correlation.

I don't have a high regard for public debates on any topic. They may be
entertaining but they are usually tests of rhetorical skills rather than
genuine attempts to discern the truth - a point that I think Plato made.]

3. are we really, as my friend Wil Provine suggests, merely practical
atheists? (a people whose religion makes no real difference to the
intellectual climate of society?)

3a alternatively, are we merely the lapdogs of the atheists, who use us, as
Phil Johnson suggests, but who don't respect us (I guess are we a one night
stand for the atheists pleasure?)

[As you suggest, these are basically the same criticism, & I think one that
is misguided. Both non-Christian evolutionists & anti-evolution Christians
like to express their contempt for TEs & say that they have more respect for
their opposite numbers (e.g., Johnson for Provine & vice versa). The
reality is that they both hate TEs because we give the lie to the claim that
Christian faith & acceptance of evolution are incompatible - a claim that
usually rests on a misunderstanding of either Christian faith or evolution,
or both.]

[Some additional comments:

"Pons asinorum" is literally "bridge of fools." It was a term applied to
one of the early propositions in Euclid - I think the fifth. That's the
first one that is a bit complex, & medieval students who got through the
first few propositions might "fall off" at this one & never get further in

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Received on Sat Feb 24 15:31:09 2007

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