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

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Tue Sep 30 2008 - 22:36:13 EDT

A minor comment on "'God must be excluded' from evolution." Assuming that "evolution" is science, the proper statement is that we do not know how to include God into science. Consider a physicist who wants to include God into his scientific theory. How does he do that? Certainly, God does not fit into the limited language of physics, which is mathematics.



From: on behalf of Dennis Venema
Sent: Tue 9/30/2008 9:13 PM
To:; ASA
Subject: Re: [asa] Rejoinder 3B: Reply to David Opderbeck


not sure what you mean by mudslinging. I'm being brief and direct, yes, but that is due to time constraints and a desire to be clear.

I'm not intending to be insulting by referring to our anonymous interlocutor by "Tim." If it bothers you, I'll return to using Timmaeus. Keep in mind that it's not even his real name, after all.

I'm serious when I mean ID is vacuous - it really is scientifically empty. See Behe's testimony in the Kitzmiller case if you don't believe me. So, I'm not being insulting, just calling a spade a spade. If you think ID has something to offer science, by all means present it. I've read a lot of ID literature, and I have yet to see value in their approach.

Timmaeus seems to equate "Darwinism" with the notion that "God must be excluded" from evolution. So, obviously, I would not consider myself a "TD." I think it was clear from the rest of my response that I'm ok with the notion that "natural" mechanisms account for common descent. No, that has not been absolutely proven, nor is it likely to ever be- but I don't think having common descent be a "natural" process is a theological problem - no more than for chromosome segregation or antibody formation (to say nothing of quantum mechanics). Why is accepting CD as a natural process considered heretical when other processes that employ randomness are widely accepted by Christians?

that's my four for the day. see you in the morning,


On 9/30/08 4:52 PM, "Gregory Arago" <> wrote:

        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


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Received on Tue Sep 30 22:36:11 2008

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