Re: [asa] Humanity and the Fall: Questions and a Survey

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Wed Apr 30 2008 - 09:10:01 EDT

On Apr 29, 2008, at 10:57 PM, Terry M. Gray wrote:

> Gregory,
> I've stayed out of most of these discussions recently because I
> really have nothing new to add. But, I have to say at this point
> that I don't think it's fair at all to say that most TE/EC positions
> are against such an idea.
> This may be where George is and where Denis L. is, but many of us
> are quite comfortable with the notion of "circumventing the
> evolutionary process at a critical point". I find my view similar to
> that taken by David Campbell in his post. At this point many will
> say that we're no longer TE/EC but are embracing a form of special
> creationism. So be it, if that's the case. Personally, I reject
> those semantics and consider myself in the TE/EC camp on most of the
> scientific and theological questions...but up the critical point of
> the origin of the humanity in the image of God in covenant
> relationship with God. The question of whether or not homo sapiens
> as a biological form existed up to this point in time is largely
> irrelevant to the discussion.
> This is a tact that many evangelicals friendly to biological
> evolutionary ideas have taken since the days of Darwin. To be frank
> about it, in my opinion, orthodoxy is on the line with respect to an
> historical Adam and Eve and an historical Fall. However, ASA is
> broader than my narrow conservative Reformed orthodoxy.
> TG

My own sense is that Terry and my positions may in fact be in the
majority. (For once! :-) The two things that seem to indicate that is
that George was saying that not only those of us who are conservative
Reformed but also Catholic hold to this and again the one-sided debate
with Pim concerning atheism, morality, altruism and evolution. In
addition to theological considerations concerning the Fall, the
scientific evidence provided by E.O. Wilson and David Sloan Wilson in
my opinion is still not very solid. The evidence provided by Richard
Dawkins is just as vaporous as ID.

One of the reasons we have confusion here is because scientific
consensus is viewed as monolithic. Randy Isaac's three stages of
science are helpful here. (I am doing this from memory so I may be
labeling them differently):

1. Discovery. No real working hypothesis. This is where ID, "social
Darwinism", and eugenics is. Steve Matheson's label of "folk science"
is also apropos here.

2. Debate. Some hypotheses -- usually competing ones -- are out there.
Some scientific support is there. This is where abiogenesis and so-
called group evolution is.

3. Consensus. This is the result of many confirming evidences over
many years and often from many disciplines and approaches. This is
where so-called neo-Darwinism is, especially common descent where even
the biologically savvy ID proponents such as Michael Behe admit to it.

The New Atheists, ID, and global warming deniers and alarmists all
conflate two and three. Sometimes one, two, and three are conflated in
the case of Expelled. For the most part the difference between
theistic and atheistic evolution is purely on the theological level
and not the scientific one. Yet, I also think that when it comes to
much if not all of stage two science most TEs come down on one side
and AEs come down on the other. Still, I don't see us "dying" for the
scientific points here to the extent we would for the theological
ones. This difference I believe adds to the confusion that ID has in
its perception of us who are willing at least to metaphorically die
for their scientific beliefs as documented in Expelled. Here's an
example where Expelled fails to make a distinction: abiogenesis. They
rightly claim that there is not a lot of evidence for abiogenesis --
although there is more than they admit -- and make it sounds that
"Darwinists" hold to it when many don't because there is still no
consensus. The failure to understand the distinctions by some and the
way Expelled obliterates them continues the coarsening of the public
discourse and most likely contributes to the increase and not the
decrease of the persecution of Christians which they (and us) seek.

One last point on science education if we didn't have to deal with
Supreme Court decisions, I see no problem with teaching the
controversy as long as it is understood that ID is stage one and
biological evolution is stage three science. This would have the
salutary effect of the general public finally understanding what
scientific consensus is and that it is not a poll of of my favorite

Rich Blinne
Member ASA

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Received on Wed Apr 30 09:12:40 2008

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