Re: [asa] BioLogos - Bad Theology?

From: Terry M.Gray <>
Date: Fri May 29 2009 - 01:45:06 EDT


A+ for you answer. And, I found no fault in your other calculations
with respect to 5 (or 64) successive heads ;-)

You may ask what is the probability of flipping five heads in a row,
but that question is irrelevant to an evolutionary account. This in
fact is the fundamental flaw in Behe's "Edge" argument. He demands
that all the mutations happen at once to create the binding site and
ends up without question with virtual impossibility. This is
irreducible complexity gone awry. This is the same case that Dembski
makes in his grocery shelf model of the chance origin of the bacterial
flagellum. But no evolutionist that I know thinks that evolution
occurs like this. The current functional biological form may well be
irreducibly complex. But that fact tell us little about its history or
origin. As the coin flip has the same probability in each of three
successive steps, so does the building of a binding site. If producing
the first mutation is within the realm of plausibility as Behe admits,
then the next mutation required has close to the same probability. If
natural selection is present (and genetic drift might actually be
enough here), as is the case with pre-adaptation, co-option,
exaptation, or whatever people are calling it these days, then
calculating the probability of the combination as the product of
individual probabilities is completely off target.

I have never heard anyone seriously advocate for the production of the
original cell or of any molecular machine via chance alone that would
allow you to calculate probabilities the way you are suggesting. Many
of the steps would involve physical-chemical process that would be in
the category of "necessity"--for example, compartmentalization due to
spontaneous membrane formation due to the presence of amphipathic
(having a water soluble end and a water insoluble end). I will be the
first to admit that we don't know how the first cell arose. Some of
the recent genetic evidence suggests that there might have been
genetic systems prior to cells. I have no idea how to calculate the
probability of the first cell forming and I don't think anyone else
does either. For all I know it may be very easy and we're just not
seeing it. If we figure it out, we will think it's easy and we'll
wonder what took so long.

Any historically contingent event would be most likely be near
impossible via similar probabilistic arguments. What is the
probability of my particular genetic composition predicted from even a
couple of generations ago? A particular sperm and egg. A particular
group of independently assorted chromosomes. A particular set of
recombination events. A particular set of parents and grandparents.
The particular me is infinitely improbable. Yet here I am (knitted in
my mother's womb and fearfully and wonderfully made--continuing the
argument for God's involvement in all the steps).

As for your other questions:

I think I agree with Ted on the broad definition of TE. I do prefer EC
(for reasons everyone gives) and have used that label long before it
became popular. I think I gave some definition/description in my
earlier post, but here's another way to put it. Evolution (even
Darwinism) describes in terms of secondary causes (detectable via
scientific methods) the way God created the various forms of life on
earth. I offered my "continuous meddling" view to describe how that
works but that's not essential to the simple definition (although I
can't live without it myself).

The only issue I have with ID is its insistence that design is proven
to the exclusion of an evolutionary explanation. I don't see it and I
don't see any reason to fight with atheistic evolutionists on the
basis of scientific claims. Of course, we don't know the whole story
and, of course, what we think today will be different tomorrow--that's
the way science works. I'm open to design in principle; although the
way I see it actually working is that we simply stop in trying to
explain the origin of something. We take it as a given, as "the way
the world is" (much the way Dawkins thinks about "why the laws of
nature are what they are"). Theologically, I would understand "the way
the world is" to be a claim about how God created the world. Dawkins
thinks it's a stupid question. I'm not sure that design would function
scientifically for me other than to suggest that further investigation
is unwarranted and fruitless (especially if the designer is God; if
the designers are LGM then perhaps we can eventually learn what they
did and how). This is how ID has always appeared to me, to be a
premature science-stopper. Now the fact of the matter is, if God
created some parts of the universe in such a way as to prevent a
further explanation of their components or origin, then we will be
banging our head against the wall if we try to find them. Perhaps
that's where we are today in some areas (mind/brain, life/non-life,
human/non-human, pre-cambrian life/post-cambrian life). I don't think
so and I think there is lots of interesting ideas to try out and
develop given the broad strokes that we have in place as of now. And,
for what it's worth, to me the fact of macroevolution (common
ancestry, for which I think there is nearly indisputable evidence--
although clearly, smart people disagree with me) does tell us
something about whether we should expect to discover the mechanism.

But, you see, for the most part ID does insist on the exclusion of the
evolutionary explanation. I have pleaded for years--it's now turning
into decades--for a united front against the atheists on the basis of
philosophical, religious, and worldview issues. I can join arms with
Phil Johnson and Mike Behe and Bill Dembski. I can even join arms with
Henry Morris and Duane Gish and Ken Ham to resist philosophical
naturalism and atheistic materialism. BUT THEY WON'T HAVE US. ID (and
YEC) insists on being anti-evolutionistic. The only way to critique
the worldview seems to be to critique the science. But most of us find
nothing wrong with the science. When he's on track and keeps to the
biology, Richard Dawkins is brilliant. Stephen Jay Gould was
extraordinary in his discussions of evolution. Of course, they didn't
always agree with each other, but they are both great writers and
spokespersons for evolutionary science.

And why? That's the part I don't get. Why not do the science and let
the chips fall where they will? Do we really think that science can
challenge our faith? Actually, I do get it. What IDers want is the
same thing I want. They want science not to be used as the instrument
of Atheistic Naturalism. But that's philosphy, religion, and
worldview. And that's what we must resist in the classroom. Why resist
evolutionary science? Why even "teach the controversy" (we don't do it
anywhere else--elementary and secondary science education teaches the
current consensus, perhaps a decade behind--it always has--my
professors in graduate school once explained that the difference
between undergraduate courses and graduate course was that "we lie to
you less"). It has little or even nothing to do with evolutionary
science. What it betrays to me is that they believe like the atheists
that if science explains then God is not involved. All the IDers I
know would deny that, and I'm glad for that. Perhaps I should be more
generous, that if they can show that science doesn't explain
everything then atheism loses its claims and so via this wedge,
religion can be restored to its rightful place in the public square.
It's a misguided project, personally, I think it has set the
discussion back 50 years or more. To give them the full benefit of the
doubt, perhaps they actually believe that the current theory is
flawed. Well, bring it on. They can't even convince most Christian
scientists who are fully sympathetic with their philosophical,
religious, and worldview disposition, let alone the broader scientific

And this does get personal. Most evolution-friendly ASAers have had to
deal with an evangelical laity that is largely informed today by ID
and YEC perspectives. Church leaders don't have to take evolution
seriously because Mike Behe said in Darwin's Black Box and Phil
Johnson said in Darwin on Trial and Michael Denton said in Darwin: A
Theory in Crisis that it's all hooey. So you guys who do take
evolution seriously are suspect in our church--you don't believe the
Bible, you've been hoodwinked by the prevailing views among
scientists, you've been kowtowed into towing the line lest you get
expelled from your ivory tower, you take your science more seriously
than your faith, etc. Believe me, I've been there. You see, we're
hopelessly trapped in the middle. Black and white is always easier. To
see Jerry Coyne rant about Francis Collins and Denis Lamoureux borders
on the hilarious. These guys are dyed in the wool evolutionists. Give
them a biology classroom and they're going to teach exactly what Jerry
Coyne does. But to hear Phil Johnson call these same people
accommodationists, deceived by the academic community, that our view
is vacuous (yes, I'm still stinging from that one from 1994, although
it was clear to me even then that it said more about him than about
me), is equally hilarious. I'm extremely conservative in my theology--
you'd never guess it from my critics.

So, Cameron, a question for you is this: what is the proper response
to Dawkins? Should we be trying to defeat his science? Or should we be
pointing out the illegitimate use of science in the defense of atheism?

Perhaps we should say "what do you expect from an atheist?" Perhaps we
need to be as bold with our religious views as he is. But that doesn't
mean we have to change the science. Mentioning these religious options
in the public school science classroom has the advantage of clearing
the air with respect to science as science rather than science as a
propaganda tool in the hand of one or the other religious perspective.
Whether that's possible in today's litigious and heated climate
remains to be seen.


On May 28, 2009, at 4:23 PM, Cameron Wybrow wrote:

> Terry:
> Testing me, are you?
> Well, assuming that you want the coin tosses treated as independent
> events, and assuming a fair coin with a probability of 1/2 for each
> of heads and tails, the probability is exactly the same on any
> single flip. So, if we are talking about the fifth coin flip in
> isolation, the fact that four heads have come up previously is
> irrelevant. The probability of a head at flip 5 is still 1/2. And
> that would be the case even if we knew that there had been a million
> consecutive heads previously.
> But that isn't the whole story. Probability theorists still can ask
> the question: in advance of flipping any coins, what is the
> probability of flipping five heads in a row? This is not the same
> as asking what is the probability of the fifth coin being a head,
> given that you already have four heads. You are in a different
> position as knower in each case.
> The probability of flipping five heads in a row, given no knowledge
> of any of the coin flips in advance, is (1/2)^5, or 1 in 32.
> The probability of flipping 64 heads in a row, given no knowledge of
> any of the coin flips in advance, is (1/2)^64, or 1 in a number
> larger than the number of all the grains of rice in China, according
> to the old legend about the sage and the chessboard.
> It is the latter sort of probability, the probability of achieving a
> given sequence, that is relevant in the ID-Darwinism debate.
> Evolution, if it is to occur by wholly Darwinian means, is limited
> by natural selection constraints (not to mention genetic and
> physiological constraints) to a certain set of sequences. The
> mutations can't occur in just any old order. To make a crude
> application from coin-flipping to mutations (which is of course
> inadequate), of all the 32 possible sequences of heads and tails, it
> might be that only the sequences HTTTH and HTTHT could produce a
> bacterial flagellum -- all the other sequences either producing no
> effect or the wrong effect or producing dead bacteria -- so that
> there would be only a 1/16 probability that the flagellum could be
> produced by chance. But of course the numbers we are talking about
> are many orders of magnitude larger than that.
> Of course the application of probability theory to biological design
> can be and has been questioned. I have no problem with genuine, non-
> mean-spirited criticisms of the use of probability theory in ID (and
> by the way, Terry, I thought your essay in *PEC* maintained an
> admirable polite tone). But according to some calculations, the
> numbers one comes up with when one tries to explain the origin of
> the first cell by chance (or, mutatis mutandis, the origin of a
> flagellum or some other complex system from chance) are so
> astoundingly large that the hypothesis amounts to an expression of
> religious faith in the power of chance. And why should scientists
> have a religious faith in the power of chance? Why is faith in the
> power of chance "scientific", whereas discussion of a designer
> (which on the face of things is the more rational answer to the
> question how life originated) "unscientific"? The insistence that
> *any explanation, no matter how improbable or how lacking in
> empirical evidence, is better than a design explanation*, puts
> "origins scientists" in the odd position of having to be irrational
> in order to prove that they are scientific. Odd, don't you think?
> Anyhow, to come back to the question I asked after points 7 and 8 of
> the post to which you refer, I am interested in hearing your view on
> whether Ted Davis has correctly defined TE, and on whether ID and TE
> are compatible, if Ted Davis's definition is employed. And I am
> interested in hearing whether you agree with me that there is zone
> of overlap between some versions of ID and some versions of TE. I
> am interested in establishing a common front against Dawkins etc.
> which allows ID and TE people to work together based on their
> agreements, but some TEs seem determined to draw attention as much
> as possible to disagreements between ID and TE, and seem to find ID
> almost as objectionable as the position of Dawkins. What I like
> about Ted Davis's definition is that it allows individual ID and TE
> people to disagree with each other over various questions, but does
> not require them to do so. Ted's definition of TE is a non-
> polarizing definition. I wish more TEs would clearly embrace it.
> Cameron.
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Terry M. Gray" <
> >
> To: "ASA" <>
> Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2009 12:11 PM
> Subject: Re: [asa] BioLogos - Bad Theology?
>> Cameron,
>> A simple statistics question for you...
>> In a coin flipping experiment, if you flip a coin four times and
>> it turns up heads each time, what is the chance of getting heads
>> on the next flip?
>> Much more to respond to in your post--but I'd like to start to
>> address points 4-6 with this question. I'm quite intrigued by your
>> Calvin questions--I'll see what I can come up with.
>> TG
>> On May 27, 2009, at 11:44 PM, Cameron Wybrow wrote:
>>> Terry:
>>> Thank your for your thoughtful reply. I cannot do justice to all
>>> the ideas expressed in it, and so will pick out a few.
>>> 1. It's my understanding that at least a couple of people here,
>>> namely Ted Davis and George Murphy, would agree with you
>>> "that an event can be seemingly by chance, yet still be under
>>> God's control and determination". I think they would explain this
>>> in terms of quantum indeterminacy, i.e., that since there is
>>> indeterminacy within the laws of nature, there would be no
>>> apparent violation of those laws in the minute changes by which
>>> God might guide evolution. God's interventions would be
>>> indistinguishable from chance events.
>>> 2. This might well be the way things work; I have no objection
>>> to the notion that God guides evolution, and if he has to be
>>> "snuck in" somewhere so as to guide evolution without flagrantly
>>> upsetting the normal paths of nature, I suppose "quantum
>>> indeterminacy" is as good a way as any.
>>> 3. However, I think that in practice, we never are in the
>>> position of witnessing evolutionary "events" as single items.
>>> Rather, we look at a string of fossil finds from which we infer a
>>> string of evolutionary events stretching over thousands or
>>> millions or tens of millions of years. In this situation, the
>>> question whether a given mutation was caused by God or chance is
>>> not really a useful question. It is the overall direction of a
>>> series of mutations that is important.
>>> 4. So for example, let's say science could determine what it is
>>> currently nowhere near able to determine, e.g., that it would
>>> take 1,000 mutations to turn a lizard into a bird, with those
>>> mutations having to occur in a certain sequence in order for each
>>> of the intermediate forms to be viable in terms of natural
>>> selection. And let's say that George and Ted are right in their
>>> claim that, even if we had a time machine and could bring the
>>> live specimens to our era, so that we had them in front of us at
>>> exactly the point at which the mutations occurred, science could
>>> say nothing about the ultimate cause of any of those 1,000
>>> individual mutations. We could not therefore tell whether God or
>>> chance was responsible for any of them. Yet the question still
>>> arises: can the *sequence* tell us something that any individual
>>> mutation cannot?
>>> 5. Here is where intelligent design comes in. From an ID point
>>> of view, while any single mutation has a relatively large
>>> probability, the sequence as a whole has an extremely small
>>> probability. So, while the probability of a mutation affecting
>>> the iris or the lung etc. cannot help us to decide between God
>>> and chance, the probability that a certain mutation affecting the
>>> iris would be followed by a certain mutation affecting the lung,
>>> and that these two mutations would be followed by a certain
>>> mutation affecting the brain centres that control the iris and
>>> the lung, and that all of these would be followed by a certain
>>> mutation affecting the development of feathers and then followed
>>> by another mutation which enabled the brain to co-ordinate the
>>> proto-feathers with other parts of the organism, etc. -- that
>>> combined probability might help us to decide between God or
>>> chance. (If you substitute alien biologists for God, the
>>> reasoning is the same, so one could generalize that to
>>> "intelligence or chance". But since we are usually discussing
>>> Christian theology here, I'll use "God".)
>>> 6. If you treat each of the mutations as independent events, as
>>> neo- Darwinism generally does, then a thousand-step string of
>>> mutations would of course have a very low probability. Let's say
>>> you come up with a figure of 1 in 10^200 for the probability of
>>> the string. Then let's say that there might be 100 possible
>>> alternate sequences, of roughly equal probability with the first,
>>> that could have turned a lizard into a bird in a way compatible
>>> with natural selection requirements. The 100 possible sequences,
>>> 10^2, are a drop in the bucket, reducing the colossal number by
>>> only a tiny amount. So you still have an incredibly improbable
>>> event. And from this the design inference proceeds.
>>> 7. The main point I am trying to make here is not about how ID
>>> argumentation works, which I'm sure you know already. Nor is my
>>> point to prove that design inferences are "scientific", or that
>>> design inferences are sound. The point I am making is a
>>> theological one, i.e., that the validity or invalidity of design
>>> inferences is a separate question from the question of how God
>>> acts to guide evolution. One could believe that God guides
>>> evolution exactly as Ted Davis and George Murphy have postulated,
>>> i.e., one could be a theistic evolutionist; yet one could still
>>> argue for the validity of the design inference. That is, one
>>> could be a TE and an ID proponent at the same time. TE and ID
>>> are not mutually exclusive positions.
>>> 8. Of course, individual versions of TE and individual versions
>>> of ID might clash; that we all know from experience. But there
>>> is nothing inherent in the definitions of TE (as defined the
>>> other day by Ted Davis) and ID (understood as a theory of design
>>> detection) that prevents them from being combined. Indeed, I am
>>> not sure how to describe Michael Behe's position other than as a
>>> combination of ID and TE.
>>> Terry, would you agree with my line of thought thus far?
>>> As for your historical point about American thinkers, I am
>>> hesitant to talk about authors I haven't read, such as Asa Gray,
>>> Hodge, etc. Ted would be the better person to comment on your
>>> remarks there.
>>> I agree with you that Calvinist theology in some respects does
>>> better justice to parts of the Bible than do some other
>>> theologies, but I want to reserve a lengthy discussion of
>>> Calvinism for later. For now, I have some questions for you
>>> about Calvin's theology. Do you know where the passage is in
>>> which Calvin called Lucretius a "dog" or "filthy dog"? I would
>>> be interested in reading the context, if there is any, for
>>> Calvin's remark. Darwinism is in many ways a modern form of
>>> Lucretian thinking, translated into the biological idiom, and
>>> Calvin's comments on Lucretius (or other Epicureans) might give
>>> us an idea how he would have reacted to Darwin. Also I would be
>>> interested in references to other passages where Calvin speaks
>>> directly about nature, natural laws, etc. Also if he makes any
>>> references to Islamic occasionalist doctrines, and distinguishes
>>> his account of God's action and of nature from that of those
>>> Islamic theologians.
>>> Cameron.
>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Terry M. Gray" <
>>> >
>>> To: "ASA" <>
>>> Sent: Tuesday, May 26, 2009 11:49 PM
>>> Subject: Re: [asa] BioLogos - Bad Theology?
>>>> Cameron,
>>>> I'm delighted to see the conversation take this direction. I was
>>>> mentally composing a message to address several of these points.
>>>> As you note, the Calvinist perspective on how God is involved
>>>> with the created order allows for some considerations that have
>>>> seemed off the table here; namely, that an event can be
>>>> seemingly by chance, yet still be under God's control and
>>>> determination. I discuss some of this in my on-line paper at
>>>> GrayASA2003OnHodge.html You also see the idea in the
>>>> Westminster Confession of Faith III, 1
>>>> 1. God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel
>>>> of his own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever
>>>> comes to pass: yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of
>>>> sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor
>>>> is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but
>>>> rather established.
>>>> and V, 2
>>>> 2. Although, in relation to the foreknowledge and decree of God,
>>>> the first Cause, all things come to pass immutably, and
>>>> infallibly; yet, by the same providence, he ordereth them to
>>>> fall out, according to the nature of second causes, either
>>>> necessarily, freely, or contingently.
>>>> Proverbs 16:33 captures the idea "The lot is cast into the lap,
>>>> but its every decision is from the LORD."
>>>> The point is that from a creaturely perspective there can be
>>>> random events. A scientific analysis would result the conclusion
>>>> that such events were undirected and unplanned, i.e. consistent
>>>> with the Darwinian claim. However, from God's perspective they
>>>> are planned, directed, purposed, etc. It's only when you push the
>>>> notion of random and undirected and unplanned into God's
>>>> perspective do we run into trouble. Of course, this is Darwin's
>>>> original error and the error (from a Calvinist's perspective)
>>>> committed by atheist and theist critic of Darwinism.
>>>> Another way of saying this is that God is the designer of things
>>>> that are the consequence of what to us are random processes.
>>>> So, how does this work? What does this mean for God's
>>>> involvement in creation? I personally hold to a radical
>>>> interventionist model. I think this is what scripture and the
>>>> Reformed confessions teach. God is involved via sustenance and
>>>> concursus with every creaturely act. I don't know the details.
>>>> I'm not sure we can know, it may well be part of what it means
>>>> to be God (which we're not). I don't think scripture tells us.
>>>> As Hodge says (cited in my on-line paper), that's all we need to
>>>> know. Notice from the WCF citations above that holding this
>>>> radical interventionist model does not deny the authenticity of
>>>> creaturely actions or the reality of other causes than God. How
>>>> can this be you may ask? I don't know. We affirm all the
>>>> scripture affirms, which is all these things even if we can
>>>> reason how they all fit together. We can confidently say that
>>>> God knows how they all fit together.
>>>> This, I think, is the fundamental theological problem in Darwin.
>>>> He rejected a God who was in all the details, largely, I think,
>>>> for reasons relating to theodicy. He, like many theologians in
>>>> his day (and many in our day) rejected the Calvinist perspective
>>>> because he couldn't reconcile his notion of the goodness of God
>>>> with "nature red in tooth and claw". Interestingly, this seems
>>>> to be the main point of Ayala's "Darwin's Gift". Since God is
>>>> not directly involved any more he his relieved of any
>>>> responsibility for the perceived gruesomeness of the biological
>>>> world.
>>>> So, Darwin rejects the Calvinist vision of the world that God
>>>> directs everything that happens, even in random events, i.e. he
>>>> pushes his scientific/creaturely notions of randomness into
>>>> God's perspective. This is where I think that Hodge's critique
>>>> of Darwin is misunderstood. Hodge cannot conceive of a world
>>>> where there are random events outside of God's determination in
>>>> both His will and His governance. If such events exist then God
>>>> doesn't--if this is Darwin's view then it's atheism. Notice that
>>>> even Hodge is willing to go to the "Darwinism" of Asa Gray
>>>> (although he is clear about not wanting to call Gray a
>>>> Darwinian) and Hodge's successor at Princeton, B.B. Warfield,
>>>> once called himself a "Darwinian of the purest water".
>>>> Gray and Warfield understood that Darwin had committed the error
>>>> of confusing categories when comparing the divine purpose with
>>>> what's observed from the creaturely realm. So, for them, they
>>>> could affirm Darwinism the way Darwin understood it in the
>>>> creaturely realm as long as you understood that you were making
>>>> no claims for God's involvement (or not). I think that this is
>>>> why the 19th and early 20th century Calvinists had less problem
>>>> with science in general and evolution in particular than with
>>>> many of the other fundamentalists. A full blown scientific
>>>> description in terms of natural causes is not the least bit
>>>> incompatible with a divine causation, even at the detail of
>>>> quarks, protons, and molecules.
>>>> Frankly, I think this same error is committed by Falk, Collins,
>>>> and Lamoureux. So it's somewhat providential that my response to
>>>> Cameron comes under this subject line. Of course, I commend all
>>>> three for tackling this difficult subject and being bold enough
>>>> to affirm the compatibility of their Christian faith and their
>>>> understanding of the science. But they do not follow my
>>>> Calvinist line here. In fact, at least Collins and Falk make
>>>> much of how God's working through the evolutionary process helps
>>>> solve theodicy to some degree. (A commitment to libertarian free
>>>> will also is part of the picture, which explains, in part, a
>>>> certain friendliness toward open theism.) But, in my opinion,
>>>> they give away the store. If the outcome of a series of events
>>>> is dependent of the prior events then the prior events must be
>>>> as much under God's control as the end event. As you noted,
>>>> Cameron, scripture seems to go this direction much more than
>>>> many contemporary folk want to go.
>>>> This leads to another thread of Cameron's on the definition of
>>>> theist evolution. I consider the view described above to be a
>>>> version of theistic evolution. On my view, chemistry is theistic
>>>> chemistry, physics is theistic physics, etc. This does not
>>>> necessarily mean that there are no miraculous interventions. As
>>>> I've said many times, I believe that scripture teaches a special
>>>> creation of human beings, particularly of the human soul. So
>>>> while I affirm the possibility of evolutionary processes that
>>>> lead to the biological form of human beings, human beings, body
>>>> AND soul, do not derive from an evolutionary process. While this
>>>> aspect of human creation is not evolutionistic, it does not, in
>>>> my opinion, disqualify me from being a theistic evolutionist.
>>>> In this view, then, everything is intelligently designed if we
>>>> regard God as an intelligent agent. Whether something has design
>>>> that is detected using the various tools that detect design
>>>> (SETI, forensics, archaeology, etc.) is another question. I
>>>> remain open to the possibility but have yet to be convinced that
>>>> any of the examples pointed to are real (and this from the
>>>> perspective of a professional biologist/biochemist for whatever
>>>> that's worth). See my discussion of the general matter written
>>>> now over 15 years ago at
>>>> While I can't give the details that Cameron (following Behe)
>>>> demands, the broad outlines of the evolution many irreducibly
>>>> complex systems are present to the point that I find them
>>>> highly credible.
>>>> I wanted to refer to one other Cameron's posts in appreciate.
>>>> While I have always appreciated George Murphy's approach in
>>>> general and firmly advocate a Christ and cross-centered approach
>>>> to theology myself, I have always felt that his perspective was
>>>> used to undermine other perspectives. The thread on "Archimedes
>>>> point" produced an "aha" moment for me. Without denying the
>>>> importance of George's approach, I would probably advocate a
>>>> more multi- perspective approach. I find this in some of John
>>>> Frame's writings and in traditional Reformed theology.
>>>> Finally, I think that it's worth saying, especially in light of a
>>>> recent post where seem to be getting our theology from Bruce
>>>> Almighty, that much of the resistance to the Calvinistic
>>>> perspective comes from a commitment to libertarian rather than
>>>> compatibilist free will. While Calvinist acknowledge creaturely
>>>> free will (see the citations above from the Westminster
>>>> Confession), they deny that it is inconsistent with God's decree
>>>> and sovereignty over all things. The Confession says that "nor
>>>> is violence offered to the will of the creatures" while
>>>> affirming God's foreordination (not just foreknowledge) of
>>>> whatever comes to pass. Non-Calvinists deny that such a thing is
>>>> possible and that compatibilist free will is not free will at
>>>> all (despite a long intellectual history that includes Calvinists
>>>> and various deterministic philosophies).
>>>> As an interesting aside, the Calvinistic perspective also lets
>>>> us have a fully human and a fully divine Scripture. Warfield and
>>>> A. A. Hodge advocate this in their view of inspiration. Their's
>>>> is no dictation theory, but their view has God providentially
>>>> forming the writer's of scripture, their backgrounds, context,
>>>> circumstances, thoughts, etc. so that what they write is exactly
>>>> what He want written and declared to be His Word. This rejection
>>>> of the Calvinistic perspective is part of what leads Clark
>>>> Pinnock in "The Scripture Principle" to abandon inerrancy. His
>>>> more recent moves toward open theism is just part of a
>>>> consistent rejection of Calvinism.
>>>> TG
>>>> ________________
>>>> Terry M. Gray, Ph.D.
>>>> Computer Support Scientist
>>>> Chemistry Department
>>>> Colorado State University
>>>> Fort Collins, CO 80523
>>>> (o) 970-491-7003 (f) 970-491-1801
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>> ________________
>> Terry M. Gray, Ph.D.
>> Computer Support Scientist
>> Chemistry Department
>> Colorado State University
>> Fort Collins, CO 80523
>> (o) 970-491-7003 (f) 970-491-1801
>> To unsubscribe, send a message to with
>> "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
> To unsubscribe, send a message to with
> "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.

Terry M. Gray, Ph.D.
Computer Support Scientist
Chemistry Department
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
(o) 970-491-7003 (f) 970-491-1801

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Fri May 29 01:45:26 2009

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