Re: [asa] Theist Evolutionists - Write your own theory and textbooks [Re: Ditch Darwin...]

From: Jack <>
Date: Sat Mar 03 2007 - 10:41:09 EST

It seems to me you are conflating two aspects of "Darwinism".

In terms of Darwinism being a philosophy/ideology, TE's never accepted that aspect of Darwinism. We have never thought that there is no supreme being that controlled evolution in some sense. And please, here I am just addressing the aspect of Darwinism that some evolutionists, especially the vocal ones like Dennet, and Dawkins propose which is that Darwinism supports atheism.

The other aspect of Darwinism, the mechanism of biological change, is a scientific question. TE's as a group would not be opposed to some other mechanism if the evidence supported it, (such as no single ancestor tree of life.) I dont think the TE's need to "think outside the box," it is the evidence that will speak for itself.
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: (Matthew) Yew Hock Tan
  Sent: Saturday, March 03, 2007 10:26 AM
  Subject: [Norton AntiSpam] [asa] Theist Evolutionists - Write your own theory and textbooks [Re: Ditch Darwin...]


  Thanks for your response.

  I understood what you mean, and I also knew from your website that you are a physicist.

  I suppose the use of the words "ditch" and "ideology" makes it sound "quite emotive". But I am simply using the same words the Chronicle uses, which I thought might stimulate brilliant minds here. And the bacteria "not stupid" is from the title of a cool-headed scientific article which is certainly not emotive.

  I was just thinking how far Theist Evolutionists here are prepared to go to drop these aspects of Darwinism (the ideology/philosophy) - not Darwin himself. This was prompted by the Chronicle's report that "scholars from both sides of the Atlantic agreed that scientists should change the way they present their views" and "Terms like Darwinism can make evolutionary biology seem like an ideology".

  Don't you agree that to change the way to present the evolution theory so that it does not seem like an ideology and to "win the argument" on evolution might require revamping or reformulate the theory -- make it more scientific and evidence-based and drop those aspects of Darwinism that seem like "ideology" (actually I mean philosophy).

  If the Theist Evolutionists would think out-of-the-box, many of the philosophical assumptions I mentioned are not really necessary for the theory. If evolution really happened, it might not happen in the way the textbooks presented it; there might not be a single-ancestor tree of life, evolution of novel structures and organs might not have come about through "random" mutations. Why put in all these unscientific stuffs which are really philosophical worldviews - making the theory seems like a dogmatic (and in extreme cases even anti-God) ideology?

  No wonder Theist Evolutionists here have admitted (in another thread) that the creationists see you as "lapdogs" of the atheists to serve as "one night stand" for their apologetic purposes. I am not being emotive here. These were actually written by the Theist Evolutionists here.

  Is it not high time Theist Evolutionists write your own textbooks and theory of evolution?
  -- Given the recent articles by evolutionist biologists Doolittle and James Shapiro, the URL I repeat here:

  (1) "Uprooting the Tree of Life" by Doolittle
  (2) Bacteria are small but not stupid:
  Cognition, natural genetic engineering, and sociobacteriology
  by James A. Shapiro

  George Murphy <> wrote:
    I should make it clear that when I approved of "ditching Darwin" I was speaking about de-emphasizing (not eliminating) Darwin as an individual in arguing for evolution.
    (When I speak about relativity I of course may refer to Einstein but don't spend time eulogizing him or refer to "Einsteinism.")

    I am not a biologist & so won't comment on the proposals below except to say that they're stated in quite emotive ways that are not really appropriate for scientific proposals.

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: (Matthew) Yew Hock Tan
      Sent: Saturday, March 03, 2007 3:02 AM
      Subject: Re: [asa] Ditch Darwin To Advance Theory of Evolution, says Professor of Evolutionary Biology

      To what extent are Christian scientists willing to ditch Darwin - supposing that there is a general agreement that the theory of biological evolution as presented today (Darwinism) is "dogmatic ideology"?

      1. Ditch the principle of blind, undirected/direction-less, purposeless operating forces?
      2. Ditch "random" mutations as a mechanism? Maybe intelligent nonrandom correlated mutations? Or simply, unknown mutations? Or, better still, just say "changes in the genome".
      James Shapiro suggests that bacteria are sentient intelligent ("not stupid") beings capable of re-engineering themselves intelligently (with computational and information processing capabilities). (Read the Abstract)

      3. Ditch "natural" selection? That will mean ditching "dogmatic ideology" of materialistic naturalism to allow for unknown forces operating the selection.

      (With respect to macro-evolution)

      4. Ditch the assumption that micro-evolution can be extrapolated to macro-evolution?
      5. Ditch the dogmatism of single-ancestor tree of life?
      After all, there is already an article by Doolittle titled "Uprooting the Tree of Life" -
      If we go far enough, that will allow for creationist notion of "limited evolution" within "kinds" of creatures.

      6. Redefine evolution to mean simply the change over time in the morphology and/or genome of living organism? (without the assumption of the tree of life)

      I believe all these ditching will satisfy the Intelligent Design proponents and Old Earth Creationists, but not the Young Earth Creationists.

      George Murphy <> wrote:
        He's right. Emphasis on Darwin as an individual, the use of the term "Darwinism" and (what was discussed at one AAAS session) the coupling of "Evolution Sunday" with Darwin's birthday serve to antagonize conservative Christians and keep them from giving evolution a fair hearing. Of course Darwin's name needn't be avoided studiously, but there's no need to inflate his role either. Evolution can be discussed without talking about the histopry of the subject, just as classical mechanics can be presented without talking about Newton. & to the extent that the history is discussed, giving Wallace partial credit can help.

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: (Matthew) Yew Hock Tan
          Sent: Thursday, March 01, 2007 12:16 PM
          Subject: [asa] Ditch Darwin To Advance Theory of Evolution, says Professor of Evolutionary Biology

          The theory of biological evolution as it is presented today is dogmatic ideology? This professor has called for scientists to de-emphasize Darwin. It is significant that he made this call at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, held in San Francisco.
          This news article is for subscriber. But you can read it from the
          "cache" of Google search result.
          The Chronicle of Higher EducationMonday, February 19, 2007

          De-emphasizing Darwin Might Advance the Argument for Evolution, Biologist Says at Scientists' Meeting
          In his controversial book, The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins insisted that scientists should work to dispel the idea that God exists. Without religion, Mr. Dawkins has said, the conflict between scientists' beliefs about evolution and the fundamentalist religious belief that a supernatural intelligence created all life would vanish. Now an evolutionary biologist has proposed a different tack. In a meeting last weekend in San Francisco, he suggested scientists might win the argument by ditching Darwin.


          Mr. Kutschera, a professor of plant physiology and evolutionary biology at the University of Kassel in Germany, said scientists should emphasize that evolution is a fully formed field of biological study "built up by generations of non-dogmatic scientists." Terms like Darwinism can make evolutionary biology seem like an ideology, rather than a focus of empirical work, he said.
          Few think that Darwin himself is such a divisive figure. But at a session on growing anti-evolutionary sentiment in Europe, scholars from both sides of the Atlantic agreed that scientists should change the way they present their views.
          Pressure from religious groups to teach alternatives to evolution, such as intelligent design, in science classes once seemed mostly an American problem, but that is no longer true.

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Received on Sat Mar 3 10:41:34 2007

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