Re: [asa] Conversation with Timaeus, part one

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Wed Sep 24 2008 - 09:04:00 EDT

The 'terminology vs. substance' issue is crucial in the realm of communication. This is not simply about biology or about biological evolution (you know, George, I have a harp to play on 'varieties of evolutionism'). Only those who support 'biologism' would suggest that it was. I personally think there's little 'substance' to TE other than 'accommodation,' which is the point Timaeus made in his opening post - a point which not one TE/CE (or otherwise) at ASA has yet addressed. The majority of responses (many of which I heartily agree with in criticising IDM-ID) have been to challenge ID, not to volunteer anything about the criticisms Timaeus made about TE.
"[T]here is simply no point in adjusting Christian theology to accommodate Darwinism if Darwinism, in the final analysis, is a much weaker and more questionable theory than everyone supposes." - Timaeus
I am glad that you do not 'rule out' miracles, George, because as it turns out, you are a Christian Priest! Christian Priests by definition *should* believe in miracles!!! If the origin and development of life didn't involve miracles (clearly, you say 'mustn't have' or 'needn't have' rather than 'didn't'), then it seems Creation is much less meaningful than the vast, vast, vast majority of Christians, Muslims and Jews that I have ever met (on four continents!) would support. Darwin's universe is apparently a universe 'without miracles,' without higher purpose, without plan, without guidance, without teleology, without design - even if he personally argued with himself about religious issues in private. This is why Darwinism (if not evolutionary biology) is hollow!
If you want 'more evidence of miracles,' as Arthur Peacocke said as I witnessed (audited) in a room represented with Orthodox Christian Priests, only to be told by one that he was 30 years behind the times (of course he critically objected!), then don't please depend on 'scientific knowledge' for confirmation of 'miracles.' There are 'other' types of knowledge and experience than a 'purely scientific' one that count in this discussion. Physics carries no priviledge anymore in this regard; it is biology that holds the reigns of relevance and there are 'dissenters' from Darwinism in the realm of biology (e.g. Lynn Margulis, Michael Behe, Michael Denton, etc.) whose voices have started (some time ago) to be heard.
The visible/invisible distinction is not helpful to your position, George, because it shows that 'invisible/hidden theistic evolution' is a marginal one and not a common perspective. [Humbly I suggest that you read Heidegger's philosophy to 'uncover' the 'hiddeness' that you profess in your trinitarian theology - to more openly encounter the Spirit. Even better the philosopher N. Berdyaev or Fr. Sergei Bulgakov. Most people (including TEists) believe in miracles (no matter if Dawkins says they are naive or stupid or lost to do so) which can be touched, smelled, tasted, heard or even seen!
Why can there not be 'miracles' revealed in the so-called 'process' (which is a redundant term - i.e. evolution is predominantly if not completely about 'processes') of 'biological evolution'? Yes, I believe there can! And you know this (if only as an echo of a resounding voice) and that is why 'theistic evolution' is merely a shadow of an accommodationist doubt rather than fireworks and sunshine for a new generation.

Gregory Arago

--- On Wed, 9/24/08, George Murphy <> wrote:

From: George Murphy <>
Subject: Re: [asa] Conversation with Timaeus, part one
To:, "ASA list" <>
Received: Wednesday, September 24, 2008, 1:50 PM

My "hesitations" about TE had - & have - to do with the terminology, not the substance. 
"I do not rule out some small number of miraculous interventions in the evolutionary process" simply because I do not rule out miracles in general.  I see no reason why the origin or development of life must involve miracles.  (I use "miracles" there in a traditional sense, phenomena beyond the capacities of creaturely agency.  Not everything commonly called a miracle is one in that sense.)   Just because a person believes that miracles have occurred doesn't mean he/she thinks they have been part of the process of biological evolution.  Conflation of the question of miracles with that of visible/invisible TE (which I think is not terribly helpful terminology) confuses matters.

----- Original Message -----
From: Gregory Arago
To: ASA list ; George Murphy
Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 2:42 AM
Subject: Re: [asa] Conversation with Timaeus, part one

Also a quick reply -
George wrote: "I hesitate to simply identify myself as an 'invisible TE' in your terms since I do not rule out some small number of miraculous interventions in the evolutionary process.  OTOH I see no good theological reason to insist that these were necessary."
We should not forget, George, that not long ago you also hesistated to defend TE, i.e. to call yourself a TE on this list. Now are are tied right back into the heart of Timaeus' message and the ID and/vs. TE question. A 'small number of miraculous interventions in the evolutionary process' is exactly why many Americans are skeptical of TE; they believe in a LARGE number of miracles in history! And I would say that George is the odd man out on the ASA list in suggesting 'small number of miracles,' though this is easily open to be shown as being wrong. Thus, the label 'invisible TE' or 'invisible EC' (nobody has raised the issue of 'evolutionary creationism' here and it might be fruitful to invite Denis Lamoureux back, one of it's leading voices) is apt because most TEists are 'visible TEists' thus challenging the claim that 'guided, planned and teleological' is unscientific or outside of the realm of scientific inquiry. Burgy's question about
 water-into-wine is thus a good example; Catholic Christians who accept sainthood and its miracle requirement are obviously not 'invisible TEists.'
Some people are calling Michael Behe the 'odd man out.' Let's see who says this is so. Mike Gene isn't as close to knowing the 'inner circle' as he might lead on (e.g. Charles Thaxton is much more important than Gene lets on and may be called the 'father of ID' more than Johnson, who was the 'initial ringleader of the IDM' [though he is ringleader no longer]. Only quite recently has MGene called himself a 'theist' in on-line conversation) and I actually doubt his characterization of them is true on the topic of CD. I suspect that more than half of the 'inner circle' either have no problem with CD or (and here's the great BIG rub), don't have an opinion on it or don't pronounce on it either way (i.e. they leave the question OPEN). To the ID-science they are working on (i.e. pattern recognition, 'detecting/discovering/finding/etc.' 'specified complexity,' sinking their teeth into the information revolution in biology, etc.), the age of the earth and
 whether or not human beings 'descended' or ascended' from a common ancestor with some or with all living beings is (hush geologists and paleontologists!) IRRELEVANT.

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Received on Wed Sep 24 09:05:09 2008

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