Re: [asa] BioLogos - Bad Theology?

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Fri May 29 2009 - 15:30:36 EDT

Hi Terry,
It seems to me that you,re having some of the same troubles that Herman Dooyeweerd had with evolutionary process-oriented thought. It has taken-over your ideological capacities and requires a <better and better>, perhaps towards <perfection of humanity> point of view. This is simply and clearly *not* consistent with Christianity in the Orthodox sense.
You write: <The E part of TE or EC says that we think that the explanations are basically right, certainly on the right track, and subject to the normal process of science will get better and better. If ID has a fundamental critique with E then we have a problem.>

Let me first ask you, as a Doyeweerdian, which of the <modal aspects> are approachable by <science> as you define it?
Is science really getting <better and better>, Terry? If so, what,s the reference point? Is this an inevitable part of the ideology of <scientism> or an independent view of what science actually contributes to human self-understanding in a divinely-created world? You seem to now advocate a simple <progressivism>, which is not a difficult position to argue against.
You speak of 15 <modal aspects> of the Doyeweerdian variety and then seem to privilege a certain few of those aspects, indeed, the <lower> ones. Why is this Terry? Is your view not reductionistic from time to time? You are defending Ken Miller,s view of anti-reductionism, which is rather ironic, when far better views are available. Ken Miller is a third rate philosopher (but a great <popularizer>) without debate.
There is really no problem with making fundamental and accurate critiques of <certain types> of <evolutionary theories>. Darwin made errors, indeed. Or do you think <all> evolutionary theories are immune to criticism? When a legitimate falsification of <evolution> is eventually revealed, will you embrace it, or continue to argue for universal evolutionism?
Which leads me to the question: Do you accept that <evolutionary theory> could one day <evolve> into being something other than itself? I.e. could evolution <change> so that it is not identifiable with the term <evolution> anymore? If it can, would you then admit that <evolution> is a limited view of existence? If it can,t, would you admit that <evolution> is a type of <grand unified theory> which can be equated with a <worldview>? These two options allow you to state your position more clearly.
I doubt that you think Darwinism is compatible with Christianity, Terry. But then again, you didn,t say that Darwin was a Christian either.
It seems obvious that Cameron is seeking a kind of truce or balance or possibility for collaboration between ID and TE or EC. Some folks on the ASA list, however, would, for a variety of personal reasons, <never> let that happen.

--- On Fri, 5/29/09, Terry M. Gray <> wrote:

From: Terry M. Gray <>
Subject: Re: [asa] BioLogos - Bad Theology?
To: "ASA" <>
Received: Friday, May 29, 2009, 9:27 PM


Perhaps we're coming to some understanding--unfortunately, not necessarily agreement:

1. You seem to say that ID and TE are compatible, but then you go on to say that the proper response to Dawkins and company is to point out the flaws in their science. But this is the problem. TE's don't usually see the science as fundamentally flawed. Let me make it clear that evolutionary science broadly construed includes non-Darwinian mechanisms. Technically, exaptation and even neutral drift are non-Darwinian. If you throw in the stuff that Gould liked to talk about--morphological constraint, developmental constraint, historical contingency and the Stuart Kauffmann self-organization and emergence type stuff. Then you've got a much expanded repertoire. Most of these, except perhaps the Kauffmann stuff, can be woven fairly cleanly into a Darwinian/neo-Darwinian approach. The E part of TE or EC says that we think that the explanations are basically right, certainly on the right track, and subject to the normal process of science will get better and
 better. If ID has a fundamental critique with E then we have a problem.

2. I don't quite understand how ID and E are compatible and maybe Ted can chime in here. Sure, Behe accepts common ancestry, and I'm glad for that. But isn't the bottom line argument for design the fact that that evolutionary mechanisms cannot account for a given feature. Isn't that in the end how you detect intelligent design? (And, by the way, everyone, including Dawkins, recognizes design--he speaks of things that have the appearance of being designed--and when we teach structure/function in biology/biochemistry we talk design. The real question is where did the design come from, did it evolve via Darwinian or other mechanisms, or did it come from somewhere else.) Behe accepts common ancestry but rejects that evolutionary mechanisms could have produced various molecular machines. How is this compatible with E or TE or EC?

3. I think you miss the force of the Type III Secretory System. There is a "joke" that for a creationist every time you find one missing link, you create two new ones. Your assessment of the Type III Secretory System seems to be much like that. If we're honest, and when I've heard Miller speak, I think he is, we don't know if the system is a predecessor or a subsequent development of the flagellar system. It doesn't matter. What it shows is that there is a functional system, with a completely different function, that is a subset of the "irreducibly complex" system. Pieces of the mousetrap are missing yet it still functions.

4. Your story about the flat tire is imaginable (did it really happen?), but then so is finding the English text of John 1:1 in some protein sequence using the one letter codes for an amino acid or for finding instructions in the digits of pi for a time/space travel machine. I need to think more about it, but it seems to me that your sequential probability calculation has the same problem as any historically contingent probability calculation. The probability of any particular historical event is fantastically small, however, when an event occurs, the probability of it happening is "1" and so the probability of some event being built upon it is "1 x p" where p is the probability of the individual event happening. In other words, we always have to think "given the present state of affairs what is the chance of something happening on top of that?" This is how evolution works and how evolutionary probabilities have to be calculated. No matter how improbable
 a pair of events might be, once the first of the pair has occurred, the probability of the second event happening is just the probability of the second event.

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Received on Fri May 29 15:30:41 2009

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