Re: [asa] Rejoinder 4D from Timaeus – to Ted Davis: Martian Sculptures and Owen Gingerich

From: William Hamilton <>
Date: Mon Oct 06 2008 - 21:33:59 EDT

Ted here expresses very well some thoughts I have had over the years. I have
become very weary of being chastised by creationists for not adhering to
what they believe is _the_ _correct_ definition of evolution. When faced
with a scientific theory that contains (IMO) correct elements, that also
comes with philosophical baggage that it doesn't depend on, the wise course
is to accept the correct elements. One is under no obligation to accept the
philosophical baggage.

On Mon, Oct 6, 2008 at 2:58 PM, Ted Davis <> wrote:

> [snip]
> We also agree, Timaeus, that Darwin would have rejected Owen's view that
> perhaps God has determined the nature of certain variations. So what? As I
> stated in my review of this book for First Things (
>, this is not too
> dissimilar to Asa Gray's belief that God had guided variations along certain
> beneficial lines. Darwin told Gray that such a view made NS superfluous, so
> I'm sure that Darwin would say the same to Owen Gingerich if he were shown
> the book. Again--so what? As I say repeatedly in conversations with ID
> advocates, why is anyone ever under an obligation to accept the metaphysics
> that was flourishing inside the head of the founder of a theory when it was
> introduced? Are we obligated to accept Einstein's nihilistic positivism,
> simply b/c we may accept special relativity? Are we obligated to accept
> Newton's Arianism, even though it was closely linked with his understanding
> of God, nature, and gravitation? Are!
> we obligated to accept Faraday's theology, even though it influenced him
> to look for connections between forces in nature that he subsequently found?
> Neither Owen nor me has to interpret "Darwinian" evolution in a "Darwinian"
> manner, any more than you are obligated to interpret QM as Heisenberg did,
> in terms of ultimate irreducible uncertainty and freedom in nature. (I
> gather, Timaeus, that you are more attracted to Bohm's view of this, even
> though most physicists think the Copenhagen interpretation is fine.) In
> other words, to use your own categories, we aren't "theistic Darwinists"
> even though we are happy with Darwin's view that the causes of variations
> are unknown. ("Our ignorance of the laws of variation," Darwin wrote, "is
> profound." Mendel and DNA haven't yet fully reversed our ignorance.)
> As I say, so what? Natural law itself has always been open to multiple
> interpretations at the level of metaphysics and theology. On that, see the
> essay that Robin Collins (at the time a fellow of TDI) and I wrote on
> "Scientific Naturalism," for Gary Ferngren's collection on science &
> religion. That's what is happening here, Timaeus: we're giving an
> alternative interpretation that does not challenge the basic accuracy of the
> science itself, and this seems to bother you greatly.

William E (Bill) Hamilton Jr., Ph.D.
Member American Scientific Affiliation
Austin, TX
248 821 8156

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Received on Mon Oct 6 21:34:30 2008

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