Re: [asa] Conversation with Timaeus, part one

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Tue Sep 23 2008 - 16:08:02 EDT

Thank you for further explaining your views, George. Let me follow up your references to the Spirit in John with the first chapter of Luke 1: 15, which seems to indicate John the Baptist was (to be) filled with the Holy Spirit from birth, and thus, before Jesus was born. Yes, the filioque is important, but need not be as divisive as it has been in un-ecumenical thought.
I'm glad for your reassurance that my comments were to the point, as I was worried this conversation within a conversation seemed to have gone off on somewhat of a tangent; I was ready to let it go. However, I think one issue at least remains germane to the broad issue that Timaeus is raising with respect to ID and TE.
I think the terms 'invisible theistic evolution' and ‘visible theistic evolution’ may be helpful in one sense. Now one need not reduce the meaning of ‘detection’ to merely ‘vision,’ e.g. one could speak of audible detection or audible evolution too. Nevertheless, the point raised is important because the ‘guided, planned, teleological’ language that TEists use is seen as ‘for nothing’ in the opinions of IDists if there is no ‘evidence’ to support it. If the evidence of ‘guided, planned, teleological’ is ‘hidden,’ that is, if it is ‘invisible,’ then it doesn’t count as evidence at all and thus has no scientific merit, but is rather theological (and in a sense just word play).
As Timaeus write: “From the ID point of view, it often seems as if theistic evolutionists are far more concerned about theological questions than they are about scientific ones.  ID people want to reverse that priority; they want to put the focus on science, and they want to do it by re-opening the argument about neo-Darwinism.”
If IDists are going around trying to ‘detect design’ (with its inevitable theological implications) that is, if this is their technique, procedure or method of ‘doing science’ (i.e. to not disqualify those implications up front), while TEists are trying to understand nature by observing, probing, etc. (while nevertheless any transcendent connection is inevitably hidden and invisible), then we have a tangible difference in approach. Thus, you have the ID-detectives on one hand and the TE-observers on the other hand. But is there really such a big difference in what can be accomplished in biological laboratories, in field studies and experiments, in the ‘research program’ that each is following? The ID people are deeply motivated to push forward with their detection-based ‘research program’ (e.g. Biologic) and results may be forthcoming that exceed the TE-observation approach.
The apparently different position with respect to natural theology in ID and TE perspectives is thus quite relevant to the discussion because it indicates whether or not theology can properly overlap with science (read: natural science) in a practical way.
It likewise seems to me that TEists don’t really necessarily ‘do science’ any more or better than IDists do; that is, when they are ‘doing science’ they are naturalists just as an atheist is a naturalist in the sense that theology does not enter into their scientific thoughts. It would seem that ID is actually closer to rebelling against this outdated ‘pseudo-modern’ scientific perspective, in this new era which seems to be ripe for it. C’mon folks, if non-theistic sociologists can open the door to religious significance in their public addresses, why can’t natural scientists get off their high horses and join the party?! -)
Timaeus: “If we could just hear the odd statement like that coming from the TE camp, indicating a little bit of healthy scientific skepticism about extravagant claims for the explanatory record of neo-Darwinism, that would go a long way towards convincing us that TEs, like ID people, are critical as opposed to passive recipients of majority scientific views.”
Does anyone at ASA want to say otherwise? Are there ANY reasons to be critical of Darwin’s evolutionary theory and/or have we already moved passed it in some notable ways today?
As Timaeus should know, I have taken issue at ASA with the conflation of ‘neo-Darwinism’ as simply meaning ‘evolutionary biology’ (the latter which was suggested to me as ‘a’ meaning of ‘neo-Darwinism’). If a distinction is not made between them, however, then indeed it may be a waste of time for IDists to try to convince TEists of the fallibility of neo-Darwinism. If neo-Darwinism just means ‘evolutionary biology’ and if the latter is a healthy academic field then neo-Darwinism is elevated into a ‘science that cannot possibly be eclipsed.’ POFE be forgotten! Maybe Timaeus could volunteer how ‘neo-Darwinism’ and ‘evolutionary biology’ are the same or differ…?

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Received on Tue Sep 23 16:09:07 2008

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