Re: [asa] YEC--What can we offer them?

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Fri Jun 29 2007 - 23:12:56 EDT


It seems you have validated the point of my point
quite effectively. What do you have to offer YECs
other than 'The earth is not young - deal with it!'?
NOMA is good and so is theology?

"[A] willingness to accept assistance from people who
are familiar with the more complicated system should
be encouraged. Importantly, people need to be
reassured that if they change their spectacles they
are not going to be on a slippery slope leading to
blindness." - Don

If Don (engineer) had been as charitable to my
perspective (sociologist) as he was to Christine's
(geologist) then we'd be able to have a discussion
instead of a monologue. Let me just point out that
social-humanitarian 'science' is many times more
'complicated' than engineering 'science' since it
involves human choices and decision-making. But for
some reason a stubborness is displayed toward
accepting those who study what is 'more complicated'
than applied science, perhaps because
social-humanitarian scientists speak about things with
'more complicated' words.

I would suggest that Don consider allowing himself a
brief 'change of spectacles' in order to potentially
understand the social-humanitarian grievance with
evolutionary thought (e.g A. Giddens or P. Sztompka).
Otherwise, he could just tow the line of natural
science and remain stuck in his unreflexive state of
a-human existence, accepting the theory of universal
evolutionism. What a schmock to wear!?
Just as with Don, I am a 'critical realist' and thus I
refuse to bow to the pseudo-proposition of natural
scientific dominance over what counts as socially
important knowledge. Likewise, I speak the language of
'convergence,' which obviously shows that evolution is
a limited theory that cannot possibly account for all
of the things that advocates of evolution use it for.
There are overdoses of evolutionary theory (can it be
true?) being advocated by scientists, even religious
scientists, who pretend that evolution is a
cutting-edge theory when it is rather on the decline.
Change is not limited to evolutionary language - this
has been established in ASA discussions already - the
hegemony collapses there.

"The current evidence for evolutionary theory is so
strong that it is not reasonable to suppose that it
will ever be overthrown completely." - Don

This is absurd! So strong? Which 'evolutionary theory'
are you talking about? Mere biology? Mere physical
science? Pim van Meres says there is 'only one'
evolutionary theory. But such a view is obviously
false as any survey of philosophy of science
literature will tell. If you read Kuhn, Popper,
Lakatos and Feyerabend you would recognize the error
in a defense of universal evolutionism. But it seems
those who privilege natural scientific perspectives of
evolution often do not allow non-natural scientific
perspectives of evolution their legitimate place in
the discussion.

Paradigms pass on - this is a so-called 'law' of
provisionality in science. If you aren't willing to
acknowledge it, then the damage is not to science
(which DOES move on) but to your own lack of personal
flexibility to the facts. When the time comes
evolutionary theory CANNOT defy historical precedent.
It is unfortunate when theistic evolutionists tie
their theology too tightly with their science to allow
for changing their views when the best explanation for
the facts goes against them. That time both has come
and is coming.

"The arbitrary paradigm shifts that some post
modernists talk about are irrelevant to science." -

I have a suspicion that you have almost no idea what
post-modernism means! 'Post-modernism' is not
something that either natural scientists or applied
scientists usually study. Please give me your sources
(as if I ever challenged you on how to engineer a
physical structure)! What 'arbitrariness' are you
speaking of - who said that?

The knowledge of natural and applied scientists about
post-modernism is something imported, which they
filter through spectacles of 'otherness,' most often
probably never understanding what the 'discourse' (cf.
Foucault, a post-modern term!) is really about.

"Sorry, but must I must gently inform Gregory that
the MN/PN distinction is not a fig leaf" - Don

Fig leaf it really is, Don, gently or not! These are
not even my original words! Methdological naturalism
is a pseudo-philosophy swallowed by natural scientists
for convenient regurgitation. Btw, on what grounds
does 'engineering science' deal with these things?
Doesn't it deal with only 'natural' or 'physical'
things? Isn't there definitionally no space for
non-natural or non-physical things in engineering,
except perhaps for ergonomics which involve living,
breathing, feeling persons (and perhaps other

I can tell you plainly that I don't deal with only
'natural' or 'physical' things in my academic work. So
how I am supposedly limited to either philosophical or
methodological naturalism? What a giant fig leaf!! Why
wear that uniform?

Respectfully critical of reality,

G. Arago

p.s. Miller and Levine still wrote it; it is in print.
Carefulness is respectively a natural science, applied
science, social science and humanitarian concept.
According to the domain of 'engineering science'
matter IS the stuff of all existence, i.e. the only
stuff that matters to engineers when they are
engineering. So what's the problem?

--- Don Nield <> wrote:

> My comments are interpolated below.
> Gregory Arago wrote:
> > "what positive alternatives/perspectives can we
> offer
> > them?" - Christine
> >
> > The views of many at ASA are apparently
> represented in
> > the text "Perspectives of an Evolving Creation."
> This
> > book openly admits that 'creation,' as if in the
> > beginning God created creation, is a 'fact' of
> Literal
> > Truth. Thus TE's are also literalists - the
> Christian
> > God IS a creator God. Therefore most, if not all
> > persons at ASA are 'creationists' of one kind or
> > another. Please allow me a -broad- definition of
> > 'creationist' in saying this, while acknowledging
> that
> > I say it from outside of the American context.
> >
> > Unfortunately, I don't see much +positive+ to
> offer in
> > 'evolving creation' that does not ultimately
> > contradict itself at one point or another. TE's,
> in
> > uplifting '(natural) science' in the name of
> > (neo-Darwinian) evolution, get things backwards.
> It
> > seems that TEs and ECs are seeking a balance
> between
> > science and religion that will inevitably be
> > imbalanced with the 'progress' of scientific
> > knowledge. They are tightrope walkers. What I mean
> is
> > simply that evolutionary theory will not, nay,
> > last forever! Provisionality of science dictates
> this
> > inevitability. What will theistic evolutionists do
> > when the paradigm of evolution is
> > overtaken/overthrown? (Silence is heard, while
> YECs
> > sing psalms.)
> >
> DN: In response to Gregory, I say that I am a TE and
> I do not concede that my position is fragile or
precarious. I am a
> critical realist. I would not use the phrase
"Literal Truth" because the
> word "literal " is ambiguous (and it seems to me
that Gregory is
> exploiting that fact) but I would say that there is
a real world and the
> models employed by scientists are successive
approximations generally converging to truths about
that real world. The current evidence for evolutionary
theory is so strong that it is not reasonable to
suppose that it will ever be overthrown completely. It
will certainly be modified, just at 19th C geological
theory has been modified by plate tectonics. -- that
is the sort of paradigm shift that occurs in science.
The arbitrary paradigm shifts that some post
modernists talk about are irrelevant to science.
> > 'Old' earth, common descent, descent with
> > modification...these are one thing. Materialism,
> > naturalism (the meaning of which natural
> scientists
> > understand quite differently than 'others'), and
> > physicalism are something else. What can YOU
> (meant as
> > plural form, i.e. ASAers) offer to someone who
> accepts
> > the science of old earth and common descent, yet
> who
> > doesn't accept the naturalistic assumptions of
> > universalistic evolutionism? Please don't revert
> to
> > the fig leaf of MN/PN ideology in answering such a
> > question!
> >
> Sorry, but must I must gently inform Gregory that
> the MN/PN distinction
> is not a fig leaf. It is the proper uniform for the
> job
> >
> > Please see the quotes below from TE perspectives.
> >
> > G. Arago
> >
> >
> > "Darwin knew that acceptin his theory required
> > believing in philosophical materialism, the
> conviction
> > that matter is the stuff of all existence and that
> all
> > mental and spiritual phenomena are its
> by-products.
> > Darwinian evolution was not only purposeless but
> also
> > heartless - a process in which the rigors of
> nature
> > ruthlessly eliminate the unfit." - Kenneth Miller
> and
> > Joseph Levine ("Scientific and Philosophical
> > Significance," in "BIOLOGY: Discovering Life."
> > Toronto:D.C. Heath and Company, 1994, p. 161)
> >
> Kenneth Miller and Joseph Levine should have been
> more careful in what
> they wrote in that 1994 edition. I understand that
> they now accept this.
> Don N
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Received on Fri Jun 29 23:13:22 2007

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