"WANT" to believe? (was Re: [asa] Response to Baylor meeting)

From: Murray Hogg <muzhogg@netspace.net.au>
Date: Sun Aug 30 2009 - 19:04:40 EDT

Hi Randy,

From my perspective the first question is an absolute dialogue stopper.

The idea that people's positions - and I include everyone from YEC's, to ID theorists, to Atheistic Evolutionist in this - are driven by what they WANT to believe is a clear insinuation that people have some psychological motive over and above simply wanting to offer what it, to them, the best available interpretation of the data.

Personally, I can't see how one can start by impugning another person's intellectual credibility in this way and THEN allow that the defence offered by that person could itself be a matter of honest and open reflection.

In this particular instance, if your anonymous correspondent really believes that those who disagree with him are really engaging in "just another convoluted twist of a way to justify believing in the faith of evolution" then I don't see what his "opponents" are to do.

It is, in my opinion, high time people stopped throwing about accusations of incompetence, dishonesty, bias, etc, in favour of a more gracious interpretation of other people's motives and actions.

As it stands, the various accusations which do get thrown about - including those such as implied in you correspondent's first question and at other places in his post - merely invite an unduly hostile response.

You may, from my perspective, inform your correspondent that the reason I consider neo-Darwinism to be the best explanatory framework in respects of the available data is because, in my opinion, it's the best explanatory framework in respects of the available data. "Want" has nothing to do with it. He is under no obligation to concur that neo-Darwinism IS the best explanatory framework in respects of the available data. His only obligation, in my view, is to allow others the same liberty I dare say he would want for himself: that is, to to make a free and honest assessment of the data according to one's own lights.

Murray Hogg

Randy Isaac wrote:
> In a recent note to faculty at Christian Colleges and Universities, I
> provided the link to the talks at the Baylor meeting. One professor
> responded with a note to say he found the talks very sad and was
> disappointed. I started a dialog with him and have had some interesting
> exchanges. I'd like to share part of his note and perhaps gather some
> feedback from several of you that I can collect and forward to him. I
> had asked him what kind of discussion he would have found
> interesting. Here's part of his feedback:
> "When I saw the conference, I was impressed at the availability of the
> slides and audio and dug into slides of presentations that looked
> interesting.
> The first one I looked at carefully was on "Worldview" - and was
> dismayed to find it was just another convoluted twist of a way to
> justify believing in the faith of evolution while still maintaining some
> faith in Christ. This seemed to follow the lines of the complex
> machinations in the Christian Scholar's Review. Seeing the first slides,
> I thought this one would be a breath of fresh air vs. those approaches,
> but, alas, just another twist on the same story.
> Along these lines, discussions of science and faith which would be
> interesting, even from a group of committed evolutionists, might be:
> -Philosophically, why do I want so much to believe in evolution?
> -Discussion of dealing with evolution as a constructive mechanism vs.our
> observation of environmental degradation with time(even without man),
> species extinction etc.
> -An answer to the question of why evolutionists are concerned with
> extinction when this is a vital part of the process. How does a
> Christian reconcile this necessity of species destruction with the
> stewardship mandate of man?
> -As a scientist, how has a belief in evolution guided my understanding
> and research in profitable ways? For example, how using the theory has
> lead to examination of fruitful lines of research, or predicted results
> that were confirmed by experimentation, results that one who did not
> believe in evolution would never have thought to pursue. The only answer
> I have heard to this question, never stated, but implied, is that
> believing in evolution gains "respectability"."
> I may share some of the other comments later.
> I'd particularly like to solicit your comments on the last one.
> Randy

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Received on Mon, 31 Aug 2009 09:04:40 +1000

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