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

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Sat Jun 30 2007 - 20:33:59 EDT

Thank you Pim for the most cordial message I've yet
received from you. It is much easier to dialogue when
one feels they are being respected for their views.

Yes, social sciences are effectively 'non-natural' in
at least one sense of the distinction between natural
sciences and social sciences in the Germanic-Russian
division of labour in the academy. I call them
'non-natural' to suggest natural scientists consider
the import of philosophy and sociology of science as
important perspectives on the value, meaning and
purpose of science for societies/peoples. It would be
wrong to call social sciences un-natural or simply
natural, so I choose this alternative. I am open to
suggestions otherwise.

Natural sciences neither rule the roost of the academy
nor do social sciences. We are in an epoch when
simultaneity of knowledge transfer allows for
integration and synthesis, unity in diversity where
once there was fragmentation and separation. Of course
diversity of views are still present too.

"to suggest that there is no one theory of evolution
seems to miss the point. Perhaps from a philosophical
perspective you may have a point..."

First you say I miss the point, then you say I may
have a point. This is confusing. Yes, I apply
philosophy too! (There's nothing wrong with this, is

There are other theories of evolution than biological
evolution. To start with, the concept 'evolution' was
in usage philosophically before been applied
naturalistically or by biologists. E.g the Cambridge
Platonists. A. Comte used it sociologically in 1824
(even before the term 'sociology' was invented!).

"What other evolutionary theories if not biological

Today, evolutionary economics, evolutionary psychology
and evolutionary anthropology are common, as is
evolutionary political science. Sociology is at a
stage of neo-evolutionary theories, although much of
the classic evolutionary sociology is still accepted
or promoted. There have been attempted revivals of
evolutionary thought after declines at times in the
20th century. Thus, saying there is not 'one theory of
evolution' should be easy to accept ('you just stated
it' referred to the two sentences back to back that
contended 'one theory of evolution in the sense...')
and need not be dismissive toward biology's claims to

"Of course the whole issue of purpose is a confusing

Yes, I agree it is difficult. It is something that
social-humantarian scientists and scholars, including
theologians and philosophers have been concerned with
for ages. It is, imo, thus important to invite them to
share their opinions on the topic of purpose,
teleology, meaning and yes, even 'design' because not
doing so merely leads to one-sided or incomprehensive
conversations that do not reach resolutions.

Social-humanitarian actions and decision-making are
not 'quite natural' in a strict sense, because human
beings are more than reducible simply to their 'human
natures.' Thus, moves to work together in science and
religion discourse almost inevitably benefit from
multiple voices at a multilogue table.

G. Arago

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Received on Sat Jun 30 20:34:19 2007

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