Evasive? (was Re: [asa] Cameron- question of Adam)

From: Murray Hogg <muzhogg@netspace.net.au>
Date: Wed Jun 17 2009 - 18:12:40 EDT

Hi Cameron,

You wrote:
> 3. My point, in which you seem uninterested but which you nevertheless
> need to hear, is that "creationism versus evolution", (the YEC-versus-TE
> concern), is philosophically and theologically secondary in relation to
> the question of "design versus chance" (the ID-versus-Darwinist
> concern). And I sometimes think that YEC people, for all their wooden,
> lifeless interpretations of Genesis and all their dreadful science,
> understand the importance of "design vs. chance" more clearly than a
> good number of TE people. I tend to interpret Genesis as a TE would,
> but I think that TE evasiveness concerning the operation of chance and
> design in nature is not at all admirable, and I give the so-called
> "fundies" points for keeping their eye on the ball.

Let me say that I find your contributions on the subject of origins to be enlightening and I regret not having more time to engage with the discussion that's been had. So let me simply say that I agree that the real issue in origins is (broadly) "design vs chance" (more properly "teleology") rather than "evolution vs creation". That said, I think your remarks regarding TE's in the above are not entirely fair.

I earlier suggested that the randomness of evolutionary processes might not be the whole story - that despite observed (or inferred from observation) randomness the process of evolution might not be contingent. To this you objected that this is contrary to the understanding of "randomness" / "chance" according to the received tradition.

Now, putting aside the merits of our respective positions, I would make the observation that in my experience TE's are generally far more aware of the problem of evolutionary contingency than the above comments allow. TE's may (stress "may") not resolve the issue of chance and design in a philosophically sophisticated manner, but it does not follow that TE's are in any way "evasive" on the matter. I think that's an unduly strong way of putting it.

My suggestion would be that if there is any evasiveness on the part of TE's it involves a desire to evade what are seen as false dichotomies: "creation/evolution", "design/chance", "purpose/contingency", "guided/random", and so on. Again, TE's may (stress "may") not resolve such issues in a philosophically sophisticated (or even philosophically responsible!) way. But I certainly don't think they are - as a general remark - seeking to evade the issue of divine purpose in the least.

That, at least, is how it seems to me.


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Received on Wed Jun 17 18:13:01 2009

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