Re: [asa] Rejoinder 3 from Timaeus: to Don Nield; major statement re Denton

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Date: Wed Oct 01 2008 - 20:13:08 EDT

Hi Timaeus:
I noted Ted’s suggestion that we slow things down,so I have waited a while
to respond to you. I now do so briefly. I confine myself to the first part
of your message, and I will snip the rest (re my response to Mike Gene)
which deserves a separate response.
1.I did take on board your statement that you had read carefully both of
Denton’s books. By my statement that you have read into them something
that is not there I simply meant you have taken an implication from those
books that Denton himself would not have intended. I apologize for giving
you the impression that I might have been saying that had not read those
books carefully. For the record I mention that I own both books. I have
read the second (ND)in full. Because it is obvious that the first (ETC)is
severely dated (after all, it appeared in 1985) I have paid less attention
it. I mention now just one of the ways that ETC is dated. Nowadays much
more is known about evo-devo –- the way in which small changes at the
genomic level can lead to large changes at the structural level.
2.I agree with you that ND is very convincing about fine-tuning, but the
TE’s that I know are happy to accept that. As I understand it, the ID
position that you are advocating goes beyond fine tuning.
3.Steve Matheson is on this list, so I will leave him to respond himself.
I have read little by Francisco Ayala, but I question your association of
him with the other four people that you have named. However, I have read
quite a bit by Denis Lamoureux, Ken Miller and Francis Collins and I do
not recall seeing anything that would imply that they would not agree with
the falsity of Darwinism in the narrow godless sense that you are using
that term.
4.Others on this list have already told you that there is no single TE
position. The people who are generally classified as TE’s hold a range of


> I‚€™d like to reply to Don Nield‚€™s latest two posts (his earlier reply
> to me, and his newest remarks to Mike Gene). After doing so, I will make
> a major statement regarding the thought of Michael Denton, and its
> relation to ID, TE, and Darwinism, and I hope that not just Don but others
> will respond.
> I‚€™ll start with his earlier reply, which was to me.
> Mr. Nield:
> It is irrelevant, from a theoretical point of view, why Denton is no
> longer a member of the Discovery Institute. But supposing, for the sake
> of discussion, that it is important to know this, I‚€™d say the following.
> If you are implying that it is due to a break on his part with the views
> of Behe and/or Dembski, you should provide biographical evidence, either
> from Denton‚€™s own statements about why he left, or from a second-hand
> account written by someone who was close to the ground at the time of his
> departure, that theoretical differences were the cause. But whatever his
> reasons for leaving Discovery, certainly he is completely on-side with
> Discovery regarding the extreme inadequacy of the Darwinian mechanisms to
> do what they purport to do, and no close and attentive reading of
> Nature‚€™s Destiny and The Edge of Evolution can fail to disclose a number
> of substantial agreements between Denton and Behe.
> Now, as to your point about Denton‚€™s alleged abandonment of the language
> of design. I‚€™m going to get a little impatient here, and I ask you not
> to take it personally, but merely as a point about responsible
> argumentative methods. I indicated to you that I have read both of
> Denton‚€™s books with extreme care, and that I have read them recently,
> and that my summary was based on this recent close reading. Yet here you
> charge me of reading into Denton‚€™s books something that isn‚€™t there.
> I would naturally assume that would you would not bluntly correct me in
> this fashion unless you, too, had read his books carefully. Yet, you tell
> me that you believe that ‚€œdesign‚€ is no longer very important for
> Denton in Nature‚€™s Destiny, because you cannot find the word in the
> Index! This (among other things) indicates to me that you have not read
> the book, but are inferring its contents from a quick perusal, a glance at
> the Index, and from his remarks in the later essays. !
> This is, in my opinion, an irresponsible way to persuade oneself or
> others that one understands a book. For your information, the word
> ‚€œdesign‚€ is used many, many times in the book. Also, the word
> ‚€œteleology‚€ is used many times in the book (even though it isn‚€™t in
> the Index, either), and if you are familiar with the subject-matter, you
> should know that teleology is the study of design. Please read pages
> 384-389, the final statement of the book‚€™s thesis, for starters. The
> words ‚€œdesign‚€ and ‚€œteleology‚€ are all over the place. I think
> Denton should know better what his own book is about than you can
> determine from looking at his Index.
> Finally, you say that Denton‚€™s latest views are more in line with a TE
> perspective than with an ID one. If you had actually read ND, instead of
> just trying to divine its contents, you would know that it combines some
> essential ID with some essential TE elements, exactly as I said, so that
> it is hard to say which position it is more in line with. But you would
> also know that the first 2/3 of the book is nothing but a huge
> demonstration that design in nature is both detectable and detected, a
> conclusion which many TEs would utterly reject. And you would also know
> that for Denton Darwinism is in crucial ways substantially false. So if
> TE can embrace the view that Darwinism is substantially false (but you‚€™d
> better run that by Steve Matheson, Ken Miller, Denis Lamoureux, Francisco
> Ayala, and Francis Collins!), then Denton may indeed be very much
> compatible with TE.
> But, more important ‚€“ and this will be my final point ‚€“ you have not
> clarified what ‚€œthe TE perspective‚€ is. Note what I said to you in my
> last post:
> **************************************************************
> One of the reasons I am here is to find out from you people whether there
> are any core, theoretically articulate propositions advanced by TE about
> the nature of the evolutionary process, or whether TE is little more than
> a faith-gloss upon standard Darwinism.
> **********************************************************
> There I was inviting you to explain the TE position. You have not done
> so.

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Received on Wed Oct 1 20:13:38 2008

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