Re: [asa] Interview with Denis Lamoureux

From: Murray Hogg <>
Date: Tue Jun 09 2009 - 20:30:29 EDT

Merv Bitikofer wrote:
> Can you elaborate on the notion of TE being 'self-referentially
> incoherent'? I'm on the other side of that wall seeing it from the
> perspective of 'how can strong philosophical naturalism possibly be
> scientifically coherent?' I would like to be poked on this to see
> what it is I'm missing in yours / Dawkins' lines of thought.

Hi Merv.

I should probably start with a major clarification: I'm really only remarking on how I've been struck by the presumption many seem to hold that naturalism is a necessary correlate of evolution - and that people who hold to that view should, therefore, regard TE as self-referentially incoherent.

I'm certainly not saying I agree with them, only that the penny kinda dropped as to where they are coming from.

So what I'm saying is this;

I had never realized how strongly some people hold the view that evolution is "naturalistic" (excluding God) pretty much by definition - it's as if they effectively define evolution, in whole or in part, as "a process unguided/unplanned by God which explains the origin and development of life"

So when a Theistic Evolutionist comes along and declares that God somehow guided or planned evolution, then those who presume naturalism is necessary to evolution should, I think, translate this as follows;

"Theistic Evolution is the claim that evolution (a process unguided/unplanned by God) is a process guided/planned by God which explains the origin and development of life."

I'm not really making a claim about divine involvement in evolution, rather than making an observation that I had never really appreciated; namely, just how greatly an assumption of metaphysical naturalism impacts the origins discussion.

Another way of putting it, I guess, is that I never realized just how strongly it is held that evolution lacks purpose - but I can now see why attempts to insert any sort of teleological perspective certainly get shot-down quick-smart.

I just hadn't appreciated that those on the naturalistic side of the fence felt this way, that is that evolution is inherently naturalistic or opposed to teleology. Perhaps I'm only parading my naivete!


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Received on Tue Jun 9 20:30:49 2009

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