[asa] Polarising Views in/on Intelligent Design and Neo-Darwinian Evolution

From: Gregory Arago <gregoryarago@yahoo.ca>
Date: Thu Aug 27 2009 - 01:57:30 EDT

Hey Folks,

Just a brief question that forms as a branching off from what Schwarzwald and Murray have been discussing recently.

Schwarzwald wrote:
"I think it obvious that science IS harmed by the efforts of those who seek to further the warfare model. So one need not put things the least tentatively: Dawkins attitude is very much, in my opinion, a threat to science."

It seems to me that the 'warfare model' is commonly applied in the views of a significant number of people who would consider themselves either ID advocates or neo-Darwinian evolutionists (which means, NOT most of the people on this list!). The two camps 'ID and neo-Darwinian evolution' may not be mutually exclusive, but I do side with Cameron (and it seems with the new voice of Richard as well) and against Ruse in suggesting that there are aspects of neo-Darwinian evolution that are inconsistent with Christianity, ay, religion in general. Many other people are seeking a 'integration' but they don't seem clued-in to the interdisciplinary power of 'evolution' as a concept that is even elevated by some people to hold a monopoly over the meaning of 'change.'

My question is: who are the most polarising figures in the 'debate' between ID and neo-Darwinian evolution? Of course, without clarifying what each of these terms means, some people might reject even that these two ideas (i.e. ID and neo-Darwinian evolution) should be placed in opposition (as if there were legitimate space for dialogue *between* them; i.e. I could be seen as a polarising figure just by placing ID and NDE in opposition!). There are some figures on both sides of these 'camps' that are much more accommodating to their 'opponents' than are others. With this in mind, it is likely acceptable to most on this list to agree with what Schwarzwald just said, that Dawkins' attitude is a threat to science. Would anyone disagree with Schwarzwald and I about this?

In addition to the 'Who?' question is additionally the 'what topics or features are most polemical between IDists and neo-Darwinian evolutionists?' question. Are there a certain small few topics where agreement or accommodation is simply (at this moment in time) impossible or are there many such topics that are easily polemicised wherein people don't seek a synthesis or a new way forward?

One could easily get the impression that many people, especially in North America, are still lingering with the mentality they held 20 years ago when the big debate was still 'creationism' vs. 'evolutionism.' Some people have merely shifted this 'enemy mentality' against the other to the newer conversation between ID and neo-Darwinian evolution. It kinda reminds me of some of the Cold War mentalities that still linger in the minds and hearts of people over the age of say 40 or 50 years who were filled with the 'us against them' mentality toward the Warsaw pact countries (which ironically in hindsight was called a treaty of "Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance"). The shoe doesn't fit everywhere, but it will take quite a few years still before the old attitude of saying 'our common enemy' about any 'red-oriented' politikal organisation falls into a better balance with the 'green-oriented' politikal voices of today.

Things have changed since the warfare/conflict model was proposed and there are now scientists, philosophers and theological who are promoting mutual respect between science and religion (with philosophy, esp. PoS sometimes invited). Thus, I wonder why more cooperative and also interdisciplinary language has not yet entered the arena in a bigger way.

Where's the phenomenology and hermeneutics on this channel? (Or are people content to be sidetracked down trickle streams by simple questions about 'fact' these days?)


p.s. A call for more cooperative action! Aha, but then again, I've slowed down my participation here and still plan to reply to Cameron's tough question from last week. Hopefully there'll be a window and inspiration to do this in the coming days. It would sure be nice to see more cooperative language between sciences, philosophy and theology and hopefully people here will be onboard in promoting more of it. I've been commissioned for a couple of 'science, religion and culture' things this summer and may send something along if it turns out alright.)

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Received on Thu Aug 27 01:58:20 2009

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