[asa] Another take on TE

From: George Murphy <GMURPHY10@neo.rr.com>
Date: Wed Dec 24 2008 - 08:16:32 EST

In debates about the term "theistic evolutionist" people are focusing on the "theistic" part. It's worth giving some attention to "evolutionist." In this context "evolution" can usually be taken to mean "biological macroevolution" (though as Gregory points out there are broader meanings), but what is an "evolutionist"?

In my life as a physicist I worked in general relativity and specialists in that field are often referred to as "relativists." (That may be less common today since GR is more integrated with other areas of theoretical physics than it was when I was in school.) Now the vast majority of competent physicists accept Einstein's theories of relativity, special and general, but not all specialize in it, and a solid state physicist e.g. would think it odd to be referred to as a "relativist." I suspect it would sound vaguely like a suggestion that he/she was committed to some kind of relativistic faith.

Correspondingly, scientists who work more or less directly on biological evolution could appropriately be called "evolutionists" - though usually more precise designations (paleontologist &c) are used. & again, virtually all competent biologists, & indeed all competent scientists, accept biological evolution. But it's questionable for physicists & even biologists whose work is only loosely connected with evolution (yeah, I know the Dobhzhansky quote) to be called "evolutionists" in that sense. Again, when it's not used as a description of scientific specialization, it sounds like a devotee of an ideology. (& in some but not all cases, appropriately!)


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Received on Wed Dec 24 08:17:17 2008

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