Re: [asa] Interview with Denis Lamoureux

From: Merv Bitikofer <>
Date: Wed Jun 10 2009 - 01:26:30 EDT

Thanks for the extra explanation ... I see your points now --and my
misunderstanding of your previous post is rectified.

I don't think the realization of how strong the naturalistic assumptions
can be shows naiveté. It's good to be reminded of how arguments can
sound to the ears of those who have long been immersed in "the other
side" (which includes more than just atheists but many Christian
anti-evolutionists as well). The given predisposition for both is that
evolution = "no God" by definition! I think TEs can offer a valuable
service here (if done right) that comes from a significant advantage
many TEs have here: many have actually been on BOTH sides of that
fence and hence have some empathy and understanding for where people are
coming from, which they can hopefully use to gently challenge those
predispositions and build bridges expanding others' intellectual and
theological horizons. (I'm assuming here that a significant number of
Christians who are now TE migrated there from the warfare model
--probably gradually and with bumps and bruises along the way. But
those (Christians) still caught in the warfare model have probably never
been on both sides of this fence to see / understand clearly from the
non-warfare point of view. They are at a disadvantage in trying to
understand TE. And the self-labeled "anti-religious" are at an even
larger intellectual disadvantage yet, as they have locked themselves
into an even smaller box; although many of them may have migrated there
from early zealous religious upbringing. But that will (I'll wager)
almost always have been a warfare model view of religion that they
turned their backs on. To them, all religion & Christianity is painted
with the same brush.


Murray Hogg wrote:
> 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!
> Blessings,
> Murray

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Received on Wed Jun 10 01:26:57 2009

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