Re: [asa] Appeasing TE?

From: David Clounch <>
Date: Tue Dec 23 2008 - 20:29:43 EST

On Wed, Dec 24, 2008 at 2:15 PM, Dick Fischer <>
Dick wrote:

> What I think we would be safe in saying is that TEs believe in
> biological evolution through natural, not supernatural means.

Dick, I appreciate your statement here. But according to Stephen, if I
understand his position, this is a misnomer. It isnt "theistic" any more
than there is "theistic chemistry", for example.

Therefore I'm confused. Is TE as a set of ideas not supposed to exist? Is
there no such thing as TE?

One thing I want to make very very clear. I never claimed there to be any
such thing as TE. If there is any such thing I merely expressed a wish
for a definition and a list of the tenets so I could understand the
difference between the view and other views. That would be rather difficult
if there isn't supposed to be any such thing. Wouldn't it?

I feel I didn't make any of it up. I am only responding to what was already
I suspect the real answer is "go search the ASA website". Or, as folks have
so graciously recommended some books, "read a book on the subject". I can
accept being chided for not looking on the website first.

So looking at the ASA website:

Let me apologize ahead of time, but I am afraid I do personally assume the
people involved with the page are quite sane.

Then there is Gregory's recommended book is referenced on the ASA web site

 *Evolving Creation (Theistic Evolution): God's activity is typically
progressive in time, and
potentially understandable in terms of cause-and-effect sequences of
physical or historical events.
 K. Miller <>*

Again I assume Keith and all the ASA folks are sane. But if not, well, at
least I am not one claiming them not to be sane. Their sanity would be an
issue I could not possibly judge.

I haven't looked at any of the refernced materials yet. But apparently the
proponents of TE think it is some sort of a real idea, real enough to
deserve a label, and the idea can be distinguished from non-theistic
evolution. Inquiring minds would want to know, of course, how does one
differentiate the two? (TE vs NTE?).

Denying that there is any difference between TE and NTE would be quite a
claim! I made no such claim. Affirming a difference would also be quite a
claim. Again, I made no such claim. But it seems to me the proponents of TE
do have to deal with whether TE==NTE or whether TE!=NTE. As Dick points
out, perhaps there is disagreement on that subject. If the proponents of TE
cannot agree on this then what do they expect the rest of humanity to think?

I have never asserted that anything in the natural world is "based" on
miracles. Do TE's make such an assertion? That's a good question. I
don't know the answer. What if there are different types of TE views on
this? A broad range, as George mentioned. I myself have asserted nothing
whatsoever about miracles or of what they may consist or whether they
affect natural processes. Others talk about that. I alluded to others
talking about that.

Another related aspect: What saves Christianity, and How?

Maybe I've misunderstood something.

John Walley asserted , if I understand him correctly, Christianity is saved An intellectual position of some sort? I assumed he meant
something related to this TE question. I apologize if that assumption is way

I also assume he didnt mean Christianity is saved just for himself, but
rather saved for everyone. If thats the case, doesn't that elevate the
subject to a much higher level than our personal views? Isn't that why the
question must be asked? It has nothing to do with my personal curiosity.
Because the subject has to be explained to all of humanity.

The Bottom Line
I think the proponents of a theory are owed a chance to explain their
My crime perhaps was saying they haven't been clear enough. I thought I
was presenting an opportunity to them. Sigh.

Dick wrote:

> That
> doesn't mean we can't believe in a supernatural beginning at the
> inception of the Big Bang or a divine kick start to the appearance of
> life. And we are theists, which recognizes the Creator and an
> involvement in the Creation.

> Beyond that we can agree or disagree as to
> how deeply involved the Creator might be.
> Dick Fischer, GPA president
> Genesis Proclaimed Association
> "Finding Harmony in Bible, Science and History"
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [] On
> Behalf Of Stephen Matheson
> Sent: Tuesday, December 23, 2008 2:03 PM
> To: David Clounch;
> Cc:; Nucacids
> Subject: Re: [asa] Appeasing TE?
> John Walley:
> I'm curious though, how exactly did Stephen imply that you are promoting
> TE? I must have missed that email. I wonder if that is possibly your
> peculiar perception and if Stephen would agree with that? That strikes
> me as being out of character for both him and you. But there I go being
> a #9. :)
> David Clounch:
> Well, he said the onus is on me to explain my theory of TE. But I dont
> really have any theory. I only have an impression. I wanted to say
> that the reason I ask questions is because I am missing a definition
> and any list of tenets of TE. So for me to make any statement there is
> no context. I'd have to provide the definition myself so folks could
> know what I was talking about. I said I have an "impression" of what
> TE means. But does it correspond to what true promoters of TE would
> say? I have no idea. It would be better to go to just a reference
> source.
> David, you misunderstood completely. The onus that you bear is not to
> "explain" your "theory of TE." What you need to do is explain why "TE"
> is in need of "explanation" at all. Like most critics of evolutionary
> creation, you believe there is something unique about evolutionary
> theory, as though its mode of explanation or its overall epistemlogical
> nature is wholly unique. In fact, the real reason that you and others
> take this position is that you seek to reserve phylogenetic development
> as an arena for miraculous intervention. (Oddly, no one wants to
> reserve human embryonic development as such an arena, despite explicit
> biblical assertions that God is directly involved in the process.) So,
> read what I wrote again; it's reposted below.
> Before we get to that, let me make you this offer. You seek "tenets" of
> "TE." Maybe you could get the ball rolling by posting a list of tenets
> of a position that we both share. That position is Theistic Embryology,
> also designated "TE." Once I see how you've articulated the tenets of
> this position, I can tackle the tenets of my Theistic Evolution
> position.
> Reposted from another thread:
> The problem, I think, is that you see evolutionary explanation as
> somehow categorically different from other kinds of scientific
> explanation. And so you ask all sorts of bizarre questions about "TE"
> because you are sure that "TE" is something that needs to be specially
> examined and justified. In fact, the onus is on you, not me, to explain
> why there is even such a term as "theistic evolution" when no sane
> Christian would propose the same nomenclature for microbiology,
> gravitation, meteorology, chemistry or any other area of scientific
> inquiry. It is you, not me, who needs to defend your peculiar notions of
> "intervention" in one particular area of scientific study and not in
> hundreds of others. Unless you are prepared to confess that pharmacology
> and particle physics, embryology and endocrinology, geophysics and
> grassland ecology are all "based on miracles," your interrogation of
> "TE" will be intellectually indefensible.
> Steve Matheson
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Received on Tue Dec 23 20:30:15 2008

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