Re: [asa] Why the kingdom of heaven belongs to children, why people reject evolution

From: PvM <>
Date: Fri Jun 01 2007 - 13:15:32 EDT

On 6/1/07, David Campbell <> wrote:
> > Their argument also shows once again why "theistic evolution" is an
> > incoherent proposal. The dominant model of evolution rejects any claim of
> > design -- end of argument.

Not really, what the dominant model of evolution shows is that we need
not appeal to a God to explain patterns in evolution, just like we do
not have to appeal to a God who keeps our planets in their orbits (a
concept proposed by Newton for instance).
In addition, the concept of design or teleology in nature is a tricky
one since we surely are aware of the 'appearance of design' and the
capabilities of natural selection and variation to lead to functional
systems. Such teleological notions have been well explored by Mayr,
Ayala and others.

> This would only show that theistic evolution is out of line with the
> dominant model of evolution, not that it is incoherent. However, what
> is the dominant model of evolution?
> If we are to look at biological evolution, and consider the scientific
> consensus as the model of interest, we see an agreement that evolution
> itself is not an intelligent designer. However, that should come as

Except amongst IDers who propose an approach which cannot exclude
natural selection as an intelligent designer.

> no surprise to anyone who rejects the deification of nature. If God
> created all things, then there aren't assorted gods or powers or
> whatever working their own goals. Gravity is not trying to make
> things come together, nor are things better on the floor than on the
> shelf. Biological evolution likewise has no goal of its own, nor is a
> horse's foot morally or otherwise better than mine because it is more
> changed from the primitive form than mine. A horse's foot is better
> than mine at some functions and worse at others; that is all biology
> can say.

Well, not really, biology can say far more than that and trace back
the origin of the foot to other organisms, determine the genetic
foundations etc

> But if such a restriction against teleology within science is
> accepted, it follows that biology is incapable of addressing questions
> about whether a designer might be making use of evolution to achieve a
> particular goal. We see throughout the Bible examples of God making

Here we come to a problematic assumption, namely that science, or in
this case biology denies teleology as a possibility. I'd say that
history shows exactly the opposite, teleology is accepted and the
(appearance of) design has been explained by scientific arguments.
Even Darwin looked at artificial evolution to strengthen his case.
So is science able/unable to address if a designer might make use of
evolution to achieve a particular goal? Not really, we know that human
designers do so, however when it comes to God we really have no idea
how to understand His interests, abilities etc. Of course, we may
argue, God can do anything so why not, but that is not an issue of

> use of pagan rulers, etc. to unwittingly further His plans; is it not
> at least as easy for Him to use organisms, forces of nature, etc.,
> which are not in rebellion agaisnt Him?
> It is the atheist who denies that biology tells us about teleology and
> then claims teleological conclusions from it who is being incoherent.

What teleological conclusions? What atheist? What exactly does this
atheist 'deny'? The concept of teleology is just too loaded a concept.
I can surely see atheists and Christians alike, accept the concept of
teleology proposed by Ayala et al, or Michael Ruse. However when it
comes to 'final purpose' I believe theist and atheist alike are left
to argue at a philosophical not a scientific level. Both can claim
that science supports their conclusions as science itself has nothing
to say about the (non) existence of a final purpose.

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Received on Fri Jun 1 13:15:58 2007

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