RE: [asa] A Message from the RTB Scholar Team (fwd)

From: Dehler, Bernie <bernie.dehler@intel.com>
Date: Sun Apr 20 2008 - 15:08:21 EDT

As Rich wrote in response, I'm not the one who wrote those words- I
guess he did. You quoted the wrong guy.

 

RE:
"And Bernie writes: "Note: any time I use the term "evolution" by itself
it means biological evolutionary theory. Arggh." Please excuse that I
am challenging the position of an electrical engineer and a
tele-evangelist, as it says on (Bernie's blog - please forgive if my
google search points to a person who is not you!) about the 'meaning of
evolution'."

 

________________________________

From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On
Behalf Of Gregory Arago
Sent: Sunday, April 20, 2008 3:55 AM
To: Rich Blinne
Cc: Dave Wallace; asa@calvin.edu
Subject: Re: [asa] A Message from the RTB Scholar Team (fwd)

 

Though it will convince no one who has not stepped outside of their
'normal science' paradigm, let me reiterate the problem and a solution.
George says 'human evolution.' I ask for greater nuance because humans
are not ONLY biological entities, but also social, cultural, ethical,
spiritual, etc. Thus, when one says something like 'humans evolve,' they
are of course correct, but ONLY on the biological level. The other
levels, however, cannot be 'reduced' to mere biology; they must be given
their own respective position, which simply calling it 'human evolution'
obscures. So really, what I am claiming is that George is (in one sense,
and probably lovably so) an obscurantist who is stubborn to protect his
particular (imo outdated) philosophy of science (PoS). I am glad and
ready to pit my PoS against his and to challenge him to investigate the
sociology of science, which he knows little to nothing about. This in no
way lowers my respect for his contribution to theological knowledge, to
his pastoral role or to his particular command of theoretical physics.

 

Two comments display the difficulty in expressing my argument quite
clearly. Rich writes: "Evolution = biological descent with modification
unless marked otherwise. If you put an adjective in front of evolution
then it may be something completely different." And Bernie writes:
"Note: any time I use the term "evolution" by itself it means
biological evolutionary theory. Arggh." Please excuse that I am
challenging the position of an electrical engineer and a
tele-evangelist, as it says on (Bernie's blog - please forgive if my
google search points to a person who is not you!) about the 'meaning of
evolution'. These two statements are so strongly opposed to criticism,
so dependent upon a particular view of what science is and what it
isn't, so unflexible to the new knowledge that has been added by
history, philosophy and sociology of science (not to mention hermeneutic
philosophy and linguistics), that to change their minds would be
exceedingly difficult!! Yet, I persist on my course with the view that
in the long run it will win out, even with natural scientists.
 

'Evolution,' speaking etymologically, is considerably older (17th
century) than the 'field of biology' (19th century - Lamarck, 1802).
Modern biology has appropriated it as 'it's own' and this part of the
problem I am highlighting. Others seems to take it for granted that the
field of biology 'owns the rights' to the term 'evolution.' I beg to
differ.

 

For example, Jaroslav Pelikan traces the roots of 'evolution' in the
English language to the Cambridge Platonists. Of course, the Latin word
'evolvere' is older than the English 'evolution.' If one attempts or
assumes that 'evolution' by itself MEANS 'biological evolutionary
theory' then they are impressing their view on others who disagree. I
disagree and am not impressed because in the last five years I have done
considerable research, both academic and personal, on the diverse
meanings of evolution. Thus, to conflate evolutionary psychology,
evolutionary economics and evolutionary sociology (just to provide three
examples), with evolutionary biology, and to assume (without asking the
bigger questions) a priority for biology in one's 'hierarchy of
knowledge,' is to do a disservice to those 'other' fields and the
serious multi-logues they have had (and sometimes still having)
regarding this contentious term 'evolution'.

 

Particularly to Rich, let it be noted I am quite prepared to admit my
failure to convince people at ASA about certain things. The 'miserable'
part at least does not accurately apply to my disposition in the face of
this failure. This has been frustrating because to me it seems quite
logical that natural scientists could openly accept and respect the
perspective of a human-social scientist on his (or her) own terms. Quite
obviously I am a multi-logue partner at ASA completely unfamiliar to
most of the participants there.

 

You have not embraced my vision of expanding your understandings of
evolution outside of the natural sciences and you have, with all due
respect, not understood the importance for Christian ministry,
apologetics, '(natural) science and religion' discourse or
self-knowledge of distinguishing between origins and processes, between
society, culture and nature (cf. socialism, culturalism and naturalism),
which inevitably includes reflexive methods that positivistic science
generally excludes categorically (e.g. Moorad's position that psychology
is not 'scientific' in the same sense as 'physics'). I am sad for this,
but hopeful that someday ASA will come to seek a cooperative
relationship between natural sciences, human-social sciences and
humanities that mirrors or somehow echoes its insistence on minimizing
the conflict between science and religion, the woefully misguided
'warfare model' that was foisted on it by those without holistic
knowledge, who protested what was then in America the status quo.

 

Regards,

Gregory

Rich Blinne <rich.blinne@gmail.com> wrote:

        Quorum systems serve as a basic tool providing a uniform and
reliable way to achieve coordination in a distributed system. They are
useful for distributed and replicated databases, name servers, mutual
exclusion, and distributed access control and signatures. How would a
quorum system process this thread? You have one node called George that
sends a message. Node Rich, node Dave, node Iain, node Scott, node Don,
and node Steve all send positive acknowledgements. Node Gregory sends a
negative acknowledgement. The quorum system concludes that node Gregory
is bad, not node George. In other words, communication involves a
speaker and one or more listeners. When one listener doesn't "get it"
when all the rest do, it is the height of arrogance to blame the
speaker.

         

        I've seen the same dynamics in church politics. A pastor
preaches to the entire congregation. Yet, it doesn't match the
particular idiosyncrasies of an individuals or individuals. Usually this
is to make it more "precise" or "scholarly" all in the name of "meat".
That this might not minister to the majority of the congregation is not
important because the all important "me" is "not fed". For some
inexplicable reason a particular vocabulary is needed. Equivalent forms
of communication are not considered as correct because of the insistence
of a lazily computed orthodoxy. By not considering the other "nodes" we
may not truly know whether we have the truth. Note that the faith
delivered once for all is delivered to the saints plural and not
singular.

         

        Getting back on topic. One the major issues I have with Expelled
is its insistence on its own use of terms. Christians who believe in
evolution are excluded *by definition* of the word Darwinism or
neo-Darwinism all in neat "scare quotes". No wonder the producer finds
interviewing Ken Miller as confusing because it undercuts their
redefinition of standard terms. If there is a standard exposition of the
term it is incumbent on the neologist to justify their new usage and
that bar is quite high. IMHO, in this regard Gregory has failed
miserably. Evolution = biological descent with modification unless
marked otherwise. If you put an adjective in front of evolution then it
may be something completely different. For example, stellar evolution
just means slow change with time. That's the great thing about standard
terms. You can avoid verbal diarrhea and that's what Dave means by
"unnecessary verbiage".

         

        Rich Blinne

        Member ASA

         

         

        On Apr 19, 2008, at 3:26 PM, Gregory Arago wrote:
        
        

        You've got to be kidding me!! -) You seriously think it is
'unnecessary verbiage' to distinguish between 'human evolution' and
'biological evolution of humans'??? That's two words difference (or
nearly twice the amount of letters, for you statisticians), but a major
difference in 'category'. Cat-e-gory! It would take such little effort
and go such a long way. It is a shock to me that no will is present to
adjust what could be so easily done for the cause of communicative
clarity.

        
        Dave Wallace <wdwllace@sympatico.ca> wrote:

                Gregory Arago wrote:
> Yes Don, nail on the head! Why couldn't George have
said this in the first place, to avoid misunderstanding? Thanks for your
clarity! - G.
                 
                Because it was unnecessary verbiage ie overabundance or
superfluity of words, as in writing or speech; wordiness; verbosity.
                
                Dave W

         

        
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Received on Sun Apr 20 15:10:33 2008

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