Re: [asa] Interview with Denis Lamoureux

From: Jim Armstrong <jarmstro@qwest.net>
Date: Wed Jun 10 2009 - 12:32:09 EDT
[late response - misaddressed]

Once again, in the absence of our ability to have a clue about all this from God's perspective (God's transcendent domain of knowledge and experience), this poses essentially the same conundrum as the quest for design. Unless one has a frame of reference that is at a minimum linked meaningfully to the perspective of the guider or designer, the cyclic quest a la science would seem to remain fundamentally unsatisfiable. >From a science perspective, we deal with a limited (in very practical and foundational ways) human sphere of experience and understanding. Virtually by definition, we cannot reach the level of evidence that would be commensurate with any step much beyond the hypotheses we might propose, leaving the remaining steps of the scientific method unaddressed. Given that, the lovely symmetry of a tomato slice must remain a suggestion of design, ...or guidance, but no more.

This does not mean that the scientific method per se is inapplicable to such a quest in principal, but for mankind (today, or perhaps forever?), the practical reach of our application of the method is bounded by our present sphere of awareness and access and tools.

Or so it seemeth to me.
JimA [Friend of ASA]

Dehler, Bernie wrote:

If you say “Evolution is God-guided” then how could you test that? If you can’t potentially test it, it isn’t science.

 

The problem may be putting science on such a pedestal that if isn’t science, then it is deemed not as worthy.

 

In other words, someone may say “I believe God guided evolution.”  Another may say “That’s not scientific.”  His reply may be “I know, and that’s ok, because this is beyond what science can tell us.”

 

…Bernie

 


From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On Behalf Of Schwarzwald
Sent: Tuesday, June 09, 2009 11:44 AM
To: asa@calvin.edu
Subject: Re: RE: [asa] Interview with Denis Lamoureux

 

Bernie,

This seems incorrect to me. I can provide you with quote after quote from various theist scientists who saw their enterprise as, in essence, "finding out how God accomplished" what we see in the universe. Not every act of God needs to be an utterly inscrutable miracle. In fact, TEs are usually the first ones to point out that giving a natural description of an event does not mean you're removing God from the picture, or saying God wasn't sovereign over what unfolded. I think this also introduces a curious problem between science on the blackboard and science as describing particular events - especially with regards to evolution.

Basically, you can both say 'God did it' while at the same time have no roadblock in your way towards investigating the physical aspects and processes of what's going on. On the other hand, a naturalistic outlook is no guarantee that you won't put certain ideas beyond science. Look at the New Mysterians and their approach to, among other things, consciousness. Where they basically say "We are only so evolved and so intelligent and there's no guarantee our intelligence is able to solve every problem so we should expect that some problems may have an explanation but we'll never discover it due to those natural limits." Which is pretty much a naturalistic version of the very problem you're attributing to a theistic outlook.

On Tue, Jun 9, 2009 at 2:01 PM, Dehler, Bernie <bernie.dehler@intel.com> wrote:

Schwarzwald:
But why must it be regarded as unguided scientifically, when there's a more apt third option available: "Science can't determine whether it's guided or unguided."?”

 

On one hand I agree that science can’t determine it- mainly because it has no way to measure anything supernatural.

 

On the other hand, any hypothesis has to be naturalistic- since that is the job of science: finding out the natural methodology behind everything, assuming a naturalistic explanation is out there.  The more we look, the more it appears there are natural rules for everything.  Progress comes in assuming it and looking for it; progress stops when you think God did it so there’s no need to look further into it (if God did it, it would be stupid and pointless to look further into it, since it was a miracle).

 

…Bernie

 


From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On Behalf Of Schwarzwald
Sent: Tuesday, June 09, 2009 10:40 AM


To: asa@calvin.edu
Subject: Re: RE: [asa] Interview with Denis Lamoureux

 

Heya Bernie,

Sure, I admit you don't demand it. On the other hand, Dick doesn't demand Adam be made out of dust either. You say being open to the possibility alone is enough to bar Dick from being viewed as accepting evolution - but then your being open to the possibility of evolution being guided would seem to put you in the same situation with quite a lot of pro-evolution types. (Probably not TEs - then again, you're the one who asked Miller about this.)

I also agree that science is utterly incapable of determining whether or not God was involved with evolution, or any particular event. But why must it be regarded as unguided scientifically, when there's a more apt third option available: "Science can't determine whether it's guided or unguided."? Science can be done without either assumption in play, so why make one? And if we're going to make any assumption, and neither view can be determined scientifically, why not go with guided? You no more have to put a miracle into your equations than an atheist has to assume intelligent/willful beings are a likely outcome of naturalistic evolution. (Indeed, evolution were viewed as likely to produce such beings, it would no longer really be naturalistic.)

Either way, I'm mostly saying that we shouldn't be so quick to demand people bow to our views of evolution lest they be accused of not really believing in it. Ken Miller of all people was essentially accused of this by Coyne, and I think it's clear he went too far in that case - and that it is, after all, possible to go too far. I also think it's important to know the difference (as you seem to) between "science cannot determine whether it is or isn't true" and "science has determined it is false". Far too many times the former gets magically turned into the latter, despite nothing - not even the power of deep time - being able to decide this question.

On Tue, Jun 9, 2009 at 12:27 PM, Dehler, Bernie <bernie.dehler@intel.com> wrote:

Hi Schwarzwald,

 

You said:
I ask this because, frankly, I've seen people argue that what seems to be your own position (evolution is guided) is a rejection of evolution itself on the grounds that a key principle of evolution IS that it's unguided.”

 

I don’t demand that evolution be guided- I’m just open to the issue, as I don’t think science can tell one way or the other.  In other words, if you win the state lottto, there’s no way to scientifically determine if you just randomly won or if God made it happen that way.

 

Pro for guided evolution: The complexity we see (brain, eye, etc).

 

Con for guided evolution: the incomprehensible power of deep time.  We can’t really grasp millions of years.  It is beyond our sensory everyday experience.

 

Scientifically, by definition, it must be regarded as unguided because otherwise a miracle would be involved and science can’t use miracles in equations, since they are indeterminate.  But what is scientific and what is true can be too different things (evolution is scientifically unguided, but may be really guided in truth).  And if God did guide it, He’d be twiddling DNA bits in the right way to make something new and useful, so it would look totally naturalistic.  He may have to do it because it may be impossible to naturalistic get what we have today in humans, or to start biological life.

 

…Bernie

 

 


From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On Behalf Of Schwarzwald
Sent: Monday, June 08, 2009 11:34 AM
To: asa@calvin.edu


Subject: Re: RE: [asa] Interview with Denis Lamoureux

 

Bernie,

What if Adam evolved biologically, but still was chosen for a particular relationship with God? Or if Adam had biological ancestors/precursors, but God intervened with his particular development? At what point does evolutionary creation become "special creation"?

I ask this because, frankly, I've seen people argue that what seems to be your own position (evolution is guided) is a rejection of evolution itself on the grounds that a key principle of evolution IS that it's unguided. Now, I disagree with that. I also disagree with one of the criticisms I've seen of Michael Behe - namely that he doesn't really believe in common descent, because if he believes that certain evolutionary events were controlled or intended [even if said events were 'natural'], then descent isn't really common because such intention/intervention breaks the common relationship. It makes me wonder what's happening in cases of animal husbandry.

If we're going to take classifications seriously, we should probably face the fact that probably every single person on this list would be considered by some to reject evolution, or key aspects of evolutionary theory, regardless of how we approach the question.

On Mon, Jun 8, 2009 at 1:50 PM, Dehler, Bernie <bernie.dehler@intel.com> wrote:

Dick said:
“Whether he had natural parents or was created out of the dust is something I leave as an open question. “

 

Then you are not a firm evolutionist if you reject (or think the rejection is reasonable) the evolutionary biological origins for Adam and Eve.

 

If you accept that Adam did not evolve biologically, then there’s no reason to understand the other animals also having been evolved.  If God made man unique, He could have done the same for other animals.

 

A pillar of “evolutionary creation” is that biological evolution is true and special creation (by fiat) is false.

 

Your views sound closer to “Old Earth Creationism,” or is “Old Earth Creationism” off the rails… a very liberal brand of OEC.

 

…Bernie

 


From: dickfischer@verizon.net [mailto:dickfischer@verizon.net]
Sent: Monday, June 08, 2009 10:25 AM
To: Dehler, Bernie
Cc: asa@calvin.edu
Subject: Re: RE: [asa] Interview with Denis Lamoureux

 

Hi Bernie:

 

The historical Adam I accept lived about 7,000 years ago near the Euphrates River as delineated by Genesis.  That is the man who Denis and others reject as having lived at all.

 

Whether he had natural parents or was created out of the dust is something I leave as an open question.  When God "created" great sea creatures they were created out of an evolutionary process.  They had precursors and Adam may have had forerunners too, but I wouldn't know how to confirm that.  If Adam had natural parents and Eve derived from him she would have his genetic makeup, psudogenes, processed pseudogenes, retro viral sequences, the lot.

 

The mitochondrial issue presents no difficulty either way.  There is a point in the Adamic line where the indigeonous population joins up.  That would be either at Noah or the wives of his three sons or perhaps all four took wives genetically connected outside the Adamic line.  So the mitochondrial DNA for all women would go back to the Eve of antiquity not Adam's wife.  Jubilees names the wives of all four, and the names of the wives of the three sons are not Hebrew or Akkadian names.

Jun 8, 2009 11:13:17 AM, bernie.dehler@intel.com wrote:

Hi Dick-

You accept a historical Adam, but it really isn't the Adam mentioned in Genesis, because that Adam was created by God scooping-up dirt and breathing life into it. On that score- Denis is right that EC by definition disallows a historical Adam, because evolutionists believe Adam evolved rather than being made uniquely by fiat. Same goes for Eve- evolved, not made from a rib. You are not fully evolutionary as you still consider Eve coming from the rib of Adam as a possibility. Evolutionists would not consider that a possibility for Eve at all. Such a action would have major ramifications for the human genome, which are absent (Mitochondrial Eve traceability would only be a few thousand years if she came unique from fiat- plus other things wouldn't make sense like pseudogenes and human chromosome #2).

But this is all playing with words (EC- and what it means)- and people make up new words and phrases all the time, like "Evolutionary Christian" and "Biologos." Why did Francis Collins have to make up a new word "Biologos?" If you find out why, and also agree with his reason for crating a new word, then you'll find yourself coming up with a new word or phrase for your position too.

...Bernie

-----Original Message-----
From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On Behalf Of Dick Fischer
Sent: Saturday, June 06, 2009 7:20 AM
To: 'Douglas Hayworth'
Cc: ASA
Subject: RE: [asa] Interview with Denis Lamoureux

Hi Douglas:

It's precisely this comment that riles me: "EC by definition rejects a
historical Adam, because this view of origins rejects scientific
concordism."

Adam is only one of the Genesis patriarchs listed in Abraham's line of
ancestry. Since Denis eliminates Adam as a human being who once breathed
air I would be curious as to how many other patriarchs EC would eliminate.
Assuming Abraham was a real person at what point would Denis propose that
mythological forebears gave birth to live human beings.

Also, since I spent 27 years of my life searching for evidence that supports
the historicity of Genesis 2-11, naturally I am somewhat miffed by one who
rejects Genesis historicity out of hand without doing any relevant research.

Biological evolution looks to be on solid ground because we have an
abundance of data and evidence to confirm it. The central theme of
Christianity has support with biblical and historical evidence which upholds
it. And the historicity of the Genesis patriarchs likewise has evidence in
support. On the flip side, there is an absence of evidence that biological
evolution is untrue or that Jesus Christ had no ministry or that Adam didn't
live. So what I would suggest is that we support the things, all things,
for which we have we have a database of supporting evidence and avoid
signing on to things for which there is no evidence in support - such as the
historicity of Adam, for example.

Perhaps Douglas you'd be so kind to as to take a glance at what I've written
and conduct a similar interview?

Dick Fischer, author, lecturer
Historical Genesis from Adam to Abraham
www.historicalgenesis.com




-----Original Message-----
From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On
Behalf Of Douglas Hayworth
Sent: Tuesday, June 02, 2009 9:06 PM
To: AmericanScientificAffiliation
Subject: [asa] Interview with Denis Lamoureux

Hi Everyone,

If you're interested in Denis Lamoureux's views and his book
Evolutionary Creation, you may be interested in reading an interview
that I did with him for my blog Becoming Creation
(http://becomingcreation.org). I invite you to leave comments and
questions (no long rants, please).

I don't join the conversations very often here on the ASA list -- I'm
always amazed at how much some of you are able to write! You're all
either very fast keyboarders or you've got a lot more time on your
hands than I do -- but I do lurk and follow most threads. I'm
especially interested in the discussions about education, especially
those relating to homeschooling. I mention this because I plan on
devoting most of my blogging efforts in the coming months to
developing content (short essays, etc.) for homeschooling students and
parents. If you are interested in that topic, please add Becoming
Creation to your RSS-feed and comment to provide corrections or
suggestions for improvement.

Doug Hayworth
ASA member
Rockford, IL

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