Re: [asa] Appeasing TE or TE Appeasement?

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Wed Dec 24 2008 - 14:30:08 EST

'Having eliminated from our discussion the forms of Evolution held by the divers schools of monists and agnostics, there now remains but the third form, known as theistic Evolution."
                        John A. Zahm, Evolution and Dogma (Regina Press, 1975 reprint of the 1896 edition), p.279.

I doubt that this is the first use of the term - Zahm seems to imply that the term was reasonably well known in 1896. He was an RC priest who, inter alia, was professor of physics at Notre Dame. The church authorities were not happy about the book, which said that some versions of evolution, if shown to be true scientifically,
weren't a threat to the faith, but Zahm & others were able to keep it from being placed publically on the Index. (The reprint intro says that it was "privately prohibited" but I'm not sure what that means.)

The capitalizing of Evolution in the text seems odd but I suspect that that's just a stylistic matter.

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Gregory Arago
  To: ; ;
  Sent: Wednesday, December 24, 2008 10:41 AM
  Subject: Re: [asa] Appeasing TE or TE Appeasement?

        Hi Ted,

        Just a short note to say that I would be grateful if you could indeed find out who (supposedly) coined the phrase 'theistic evolution.' Who are you linking it to in the 1890s?

        I've searched around on-line and the most sensible claim I've found so far is by Ted Peters, who said that the term was coined by 'creationists' in regard to the naturalistic appeasement by TEs. If it is true (e.g. similar to the coining of 'fundamentalism'), then this is precisely the ground for starting a thread with this title. Likewise, the claim that "for 300 or so years methodological naturalism has been guiding scientifically-minded Christians" is another case of retro-diction. It is simply unsupportable.

        Great thanks to Antje Jackelen, after searching for who coined 'theistic evolution,' for her abstract to "A critical view of theistic evolution" (Theology and Science, Volume 5, Number 2, July 2007, pp. 151-165), where she says: "anti-evolutionism is about anthropology and morality more than about theism." Hope to read the article soon...

        The issue of retro-diction is a legitimate one because it shows a sociological attempt to gain a following or to attribute one's personal views to more people than is suitable. That's the point, Ted. Of course we all here know the suspicion of the term 'consensus,' especially when people dissent from that 'consensus.' I find it troubling that some people who would call themselves TEs seem to assume that anyone who accepts biological evolution and is also a theist is therefore also a TE. This is certainly not the case as the variety of uses of TE

        All this said, I agree with Michael that sometimes more important things should take priority, and so I also sign off for probably a few days for services and gatherings.

        Do you hear what I hear?
        O Holy Night

        Winter wishes,


        --- On Wed, 12/24/08, Ted Davis <> wrote:

          From: Ted Davis <>
          Subject: Re: Fw: [asa] Appeasing TE or TE Appeasement?
          Received: Wednesday, December 24, 2008, 2:52 AM

>>> Gregory Arago <> 12/23/08 10:07 AM
>>> writes:

Yes and no, Michael. It is surely not accurate to suggest that all
treatments of 'evolution' by theologians, philosophers and scientists
with 'common men and women on the street') who accept the reality of
history according to evolutionary theory qualify as 'theistic
evolutionists.' Let's not forget that 150 years ago the concept duo
'theistic evolutionist' *did not exist*. Retro-diction seems to be a
preferred style employed by TEs.

Ted is wondering where this is going. I do not know precisely when the term
"theistic evolution" was first used, but it was in use at least by
the 1890s. That isn't 150 years ago, Gregory, but it's plenty long.

What's your point?


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Received on Wed Dec 24 14:30:52 2008

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