Re: [asa] dawkins and collins on "Fresh Air" interview program

From: PvM <>
Date: Sat Mar 31 2007 - 23:43:54 EDT

On 3/31/07, Rich Blinne <> wrote:
> Also, the inability of evolution to
> explain the human conscience is also something that Collins stressed
> that would be a point of common contact.

Why could evolution not explain human conscience. What is even meant
by human conscience? I have seen some excellent evolutionary
explanations of concepts like altruism, and even religiosity. The
statement 'the inability of evolution to explain the human conscience'
is at best a strawman, and most likely nothing more than a gap

# Michael Balter (2007) Brain Evolution Studies Go Micro, Science 2
March 2007: Vol. 315. no. 5816, pp. 1208 - 1211. Unique elongated
neurons have been discovered in two areas of the human brain involved
in aspects of social cognition such as trust, empathy, and feelings of
guilt and embarrassment. Not only were those neurons unique to great
apes, but humans had many more and they were markedly larger. Feelings
of empathy and guilt are the necessary building blocks of human
altruism and conscience, precisely those properties Collins ascribes
to the supernatural. </quote>

> Technically speaking this
> doesn't point to an impersonal intelligent designer but it does point
> to a personal Creator.


> These examples point to common points between
> us -- and there are undoubtedly others -- that TE and ID can agree
> upon even if we disagree about the value of irreducible or specified
> complexity.

Sure, we can all agree that God designed the world around us but why
hide all this behind such vacuous concepts and pretenses of being
scientifically relevant? And why limit oneself to gaps which make
'design' extremely vulnerable to falsification.

> But, as long as ID allows itself to be used by YEC as an anti-
> evolutionary wedge then the dialog becomes difficult. It also
> diminishes ID's witness because the charge that ID is merely a brand
> of creationism sticks. It is the question of having a good witness
> which all three camps share that is central to my personal concerns.
> Pim keeps talking about scientific vacuity but my deepest commitments
> are theological and not scientific.

ID's claims to fame are indeed scientific more than theological.

> Again, my critique of ID stems
> from what we have in common -- the desire to be good witnesses of
> Jesus Christ -- and not what separates us. For example, at my alma
> mater, Iowa State, Astronomy Professor Gonzales' ideas and personal
> witness got unnecessarily tarred along with him being personally
> attacked by the atheists on campus all because of the DI promoting
> his work. Yes, I know the DI is an ID organization but it is so
> enmeshed with YEC at least on the rhetorical level to be almost
> indistinguishable from it. His ideas can be utterly compatible with
> TE but there was definite guilt by association with YEC going on.

It's more than ID promoting his work. Remember Augustine: The accuracy
of our scientific claims affect how people perceive our religion.

> But that's the world. What is doubly unfortunate is that some of my
> fellow TEs shunned him for the same bad logic.

> In my opinion, Philip Johnson made a big mistake by having his big
> tent only go in one direction. We all make mistakes and TE is not
> blameless here in being equally frosty. So, if ID proponents are
> willing to talk, so am I. We will be spending eternity together in
> the next world so let's act like it in this one.

Johnson made far bigger mistakes and we have to remain aware that such
mistakes reflect poorly on the concept of Christianity.

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Received on Sat Mar 31 23:44:24 2007

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