Re: [asa] Question for all the theistic evolutionists

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Mon Feb 26 2007 - 09:50:02 EST

"…it seems Francis Collins doesn't like the "TE" term, but..." - Ian Strachan
  …at least he takes on Richard Dawkins and has a scientifically adequate (i.e. high) profile to do it. I find McGrath’s attack on Dawkins from the perspective of Christian theology quite convincing. McGrath’s scientific arguments against Dawkins’ hyper-evolutionism/atheism are not the linchpin of his ideological appeal.
  "Theistic evolution is a balancing act that few can accomplish and still fewer master." – A. Moorad
  While I agree with this statement and have read many things from TE’s that fall short of ‘master’ status, it does seem that there are those few persons who have higher degrees both in (usually one and not more than one; e.g. biology or physics or engineering) science and in theology who have managed to balance themselves ideologically on this issue. Often they use the MN/PN distinction as a leaning post. Ultimately, however, I remain unconvinced by the attempted integration-motive of any TE argument I have heard, while at the same time (and hopefully for those at ASA who don’t take personally what is spoken about objectively) have found great value oftentimes in their theological steadfastness in the face of apparent scientific challenges to faith. It would be wrong to suggest a label like ‘conservative’ as if it represented all TE’s, yet there does seem to be a conserving function that TE’s have toward evolutionary logic (cf. process thought).
  "I also have a problem with 'evolutionary creationism' because it mixes a scientific term and a theological term. So I'm still looking for a label..." – Bill Hamilton
  Yes, this expresses the same problem I have with TE. D. Lamoureaux’s ordering at least puts the priority on God’s creation rather than on the ‘scientific concept of evolution.’ He operates in Canada where the term ‘creationism’ at least does not have the same giant-judicial precedent set against it, that is, you can’t teach it in a public school classroom, but the label is likely less detested, less difficult to carry than in the USA. It seems he has a book on “Evolutionary Creation: An Evangelical Approach to Evolution” coming out rather soon (or even maybe it is already published?).
  “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) 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)” – Bill Hamilton (the evolution-accepting Christian :->)
  Indeed, I also believe in the ‘new label’ search that Bill expresses. I regret (classic sense), however, that most TE’s would not be receptive to the new label when it finally and inevitably comes. In the Kuhnian sense, ‘normal science’ will move on and those who are stuck with that concept duo will be left behind, i.e. their views will become obsolete.
  “I agree that TE is difficult to pull off” – D. Siemens
  “I don't think I'm a TE” – Jon Tandy
  “‘Theistic evolution’ is indeed a problematic term for several reasons but we're not going to get rid of it.” – George Murphy
  This is the most defeatist remark I’ve read in about a year and a half of appreciating George’s contributions at ASA to science and religion/theology/faith discourse!
  “…general claims that such an effort isn't possible aren't very helpful” – George (to A. Moorad about fitting one thing into another)
  (Please note: I am not suggesting that George said that an effort to look to get rid of TE isn’t possible.)
  I would be glad to hear from George about how ‘TE” is a problematic term, but at the same time probably wouldn’t want it made publicly lest it be used by YECs against him!
  Perhaps a new paradigm may someday enable that which is problematic about the perspective of TE (since this has been admitted by several people in this thread, many who are TE’s!) to be corrected and/or that which is relevant and important in the theory (or theories) of TE maintained. I find it difficult to imagine, however, that a natural scientist will be responsible for the conceptualization of this new paradigm, given the allegiance of natural science (i.e. by definition) to confine itself to natural/physical things. It seems there is as much need to discuss the distinction(s) between naturwissenshaften and geisteswissenshaften as to discuss the distinction(s) between science and religion.
  When George writes: “what we're trying to do is speak of a scientific idea in a theological context,” this can certainly be appreciated. Though I differ from most on this ASA list in regard not only to my field of specialty in the academy and perspective definition of ‘evolution,’ there are many things I have gained from reading the words of scientifically-minded and dedicated Christians at ASA. At the same time, I wonder: when it is o.k. to speak about a theological idea in a scientific context? If the answer is ‘never’ then this seems like an unbalanced discourse rather than a friendly way to integrate science and faith.
  Theistic evolution, imho, ‘inflates’ the meaning of evolution into places it doesn’t belong. ‘Biological theology’ or ‘naturalistic theology’ seems to be almost a synonym of ‘theistic evolution,’ not to mention the uses of evolutionary terminology in anthropology, psychology, sociology and economics. The most difficult thing for me to dig up in conversation with people is the evolutionary philosophy (cf. process philosophy/theology) inherent in the evolutionary science, the latter which TE’s sometimes seem to wield as scientific prophecy of the late-modern and now post-modern age. Evolution everywhere in everything is (in the words of Agent Smith in The Matrix), ‘inevitable.’
  In the attempt to make/maintain a coherent Christian perspective, when do you draw the line around your (particular, specialized) ‘scientific’ concept of evolution and say, ‘that’s not (now) being used as a scientific concept/percept?’
  G. Arago

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Received on Mon Feb 26 09:50:29 2007

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