Re: [asa] Appeasing TE?

From: Schwarzwald <>
Date: Tue Dec 23 2008 - 21:13:03 EST

Heya David,

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?).

Scientifically, I doubt there would be a difference between a TE and an NTE.
Presumably both would (ideally, and both TEs and NTEs can fall short of this
ideal) have the same views of science's limits, and what science generally
indicates with regards to evolution. The differentiation would come outside
of science - how to regard those natural processes, maybe even whether those
processes were possibly instances of design (or at least particular intended
parts of a grander design), and so on. I certainly doubt there is a single
and monolithic TE position.

Even though I'm a TE (or I believe I am) myself, I've often wondered about
the limits. What if I believe in common descent, in an evolution that
naturally unfolded throughout history, but suspect that certain events (the
dawn of man) was certainly intended - either by way of front-loading, or a
particular intervention, while at the same time recognizing science could
never rule on such a question? Am I still a TE? There are some people, even
some scientists, who actively entertain the possibility that our world is a
simulation - do THEY believe in evolution? I think that question becomes
tricky once thought about.

It seems to me that a TE, oddly enough, could (or at least should) be open
to the possibility of an intervening act of creation, or a front-loaded
evolutionary process - with the sole and overriding distinction that such
acts or processes would be an area that science cannot address, and be a
claim that is itself unscientific. I realize others have suggested that TE
should or does require that a person not ascribe to intervention or miracle
what a natural process is entirely capable of achieving - but I think such a
position fails to recognize the limits of science, the problem (ironically)
of identifying 'nature' versus 'miracle/intervention', and more.

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Received on Tue Dec 23 21:13:16 2008

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