Re: [asa] Re: natural theology, bad and good

From: Ted Davis <TDavis@messiah.edu>
Date: Tue May 05 2009 - 13:10:02 EDT

Hi, Greg,

My response will also be brief.

First, thank you for the interesting information about the fields in which
ID fellows have degrees. There are indeed more with some training in
theology than I had realized or remembered--I knew about Jon Wells'
background and simply forgot. Most of those fellows, as far as I can tell,
do not actually work in theology or write about it (this is what Cameron
Wybrow was getting at, concerning Gilson and Coppleston). My degree in
physics (B.S. plus a year of grad work) means that I understand physics
better than most people (i.e., better than most people who did not study
physics), but it doesn't mean that I work in physics (I don't) or can
readily evaluate the latest discoveries without a lot of help from those who
do (I can't). Bill Craig (TDI fellow) would be someone who does work in
theology; Jon Wells would not. Neither does Ben Wiker, as far as I can tell
from his publications, though he certainly has the relevant terminal degree
(he's a science writer). What I do not see, other than Dr Craig, is someone
who does what Russell, Peters, Polkinghorne, or Murphy do: someone who reads
and writes theology for a living (or closely related to what they do for a
living).

So, yes, several ID proponents have theological training. If so, Greg,
have they given much space to engaging the ideas of individuals such as
those I just listed? I would really like to see what's been written, but I
am not able to point anyone to that literature if it exists. Your knowledge
of ID literature is probably more extensive than mine, and if you can point
the way I will go look at some examples of it.

You wrote: "If you would wish to contend that TEists are not predominantly
'process-oriented' I think you would have a seriously difficult challenge on
your hands."

Agreed. Many TEs are predominantly process oriented. Others are not, and
those who are not are much more likely to interest a typical ASA member.
All I am calling for, Greg, is the recognition that TE is a loose
description of an approach to origins issues that covers quite a wide range
of different, sometimes incompatibly different, views on God, nature, and
humanity (I didn't forget to type "humanity" this time). Some years ago, in
a conversation read by a large number of ID proponents and interested
parties, I tried to persuade Phil Johnson that the gulf between a
Polkinghorne and a Peacocke or Barbour was a lot greater than the gulf
between a Polkinghorne and a Behe (or some other ID proponent, I no longer
remember which person I mentioned), and that it would be very helpful if ID
proponents would see this and acknowledge the point. Phil did not think my
point was very important, though I think he saw its validity. Anyone who
wants to comment on TE vis-a-vis ID, however, does need to see its
importance as well as its validity; those who don't read modern theology are
not likely to see either its importance or its validity.

As for process philosophy, I confess that I see its relevance here only
insofar as it has influenced process theology.

Ted

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Received on Tue May 5 13:10:59 2009

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