Re: [asa] Rejoinder 3B: Reply to David Opderbeck

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Tue Sep 30 2008 - 19:52:41 EDT

Thanks for addressing at least one of the questions, along with your seemingly rather anxious mudslinging (which almost everyone so far except you has done well to avoid in these engaging conversations with Timaeus, whose name you rather impolitely shorten to 'Tim' - don't worry, I won't interpret it as disrespect to Plato too! :).
Actually, you only half-answered the simple, direct first question: Do you consider yourself a 'Darwinist' or accept 'Darwinism'?

No need to turn it around, dance with it and say you don't know what 'theistic Darwinist' means.
It was a simple question: do you (or do you not) consider yourself a 'Darwinist' or accept 'Darwinism'?
The second question remains on the table: is there anything at all about 'Darwinian mechanisms' that you are skeptical about? Your sentence that began with "Now as to mechanisms..." didn't address my question or Timaeus' argument. I trust that you've read the thread enough to know what Timaeus means by 'Darwinian mechanisms.'

If you cannot or will not (i.e. refuse to) answer these questions, I'll consider it a point in favour of Timaeus' argument. Otherwise, as for your ideological barbs and rhetorical questions, I'm not really that concerned to read it. 

--- On Wed, 10/1/08, Dennis Venema <> wrote:

From: Dennis Venema <>
Subject: Re: [asa] Rejoinder 3B: Reply to David Opderbeck
To: "" <>
Received: Wednesday, October 1, 2008, 3:02 AM


I have yet to see a precise definition of a so-called “theistic Darwinist” from Tim, or anyone else. Tim seems to be mixing his categories with this label.

Do you really think that I would teach at a Christian university if I was an agnostic? Part of the reason I reject ID as theology is because it limits God’s activity – it falsely divides the world into “God’s actions” and “natural mechanisms.”  This erroneous thinking runs right through Tim’s line of argumentation – that describing a “natural mechanism” for a process removes it from God’s domain. Frankly, I’m not interested in worshipping a God who only drops in from time to time to fashion the odd flagellum.

The God I worship is in charge of the whole show – from creation to new creation. Now as to mechanisms – well, I see science as a God-given process by which we investigate his cosmos.

The fact that ID has nothing going for it scientifically hardly helps, either. ID, as we have seen even in the discussion with Tim, is vacuous – it reduces in the end to the standard anti-evolution arguments that are not much removed from what a YEC would present. ID presents no research, no hypotheses as to mechanism, no discussion of the designer, no suggestion of when/how/if design was implemented.

Do I think we fully understand evolution? Of course not. Do I think we have a decent idea of the major mechanisms? Certainly. Do I think that eventually we will find some fundamental discontinuity that leaves us with a gap for God to fill? Maybe, but I doubt it. I don’t think God works that way – although he is free to work however he wills – in the past the record thus far seems to suggest that he is quite happy to allow his ordained “natural” processes to shape his cosmos most of the time. Does he intervene? Of course. I am a charismatic Christian, for goodness sake. I enjoy God’s gifts of tongues, prophecy, healings, and the like. These are given and needful for his body, the church. Also, what was the Incarnation if not the most dramatic intervention in history?

Part of the attraction of being a TE / EC is that I can be open about my faith – and not take the cloak-and-dagger ID approach.



On 9/30/08 2:58 PM, "Gregory Arago" <> wrote:

Hi Dennis,
Thanks for chiming in. Since you've volunteered your background as a biologist, could you please answer a clarifying question. Do you consider yourself a 'Darwinist' or accept 'Darwinism'?
This is important because you teach biology at a Christian university. Timaeus has said a 'theistic Darwinist' (and 'theistic Darwinism') is a contradiction in terms. You may certainly be a 'theistic evolutionist' or an 'evolutionary creationist' since these terms are more ambiguous to represent. I don't think you've made your views on this clear at ASA yet, or at least I've missed it if you have. Darwin obviously considered himself an 'agnostic' and not a theist.
Secondly, is there anything at all about 'Darwinian mechanisms' that you are skeptical about?
This would seem to get at the questions Timaeus is asking.
Cheers, Gregory __________________________________________________________________ Ask a question on any topic and get answers from real people. Go to Yahoo! Answers and share what you know at

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Tue Sep 30 19:53:04 2008

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Sep 30 2008 - 19:53:05 EDT