Re: [asa] Response to Baylor meeting

From: Schwarzwald <>
Date: Sun Aug 30 2009 - 22:29:29 EDT

Heya Murray,

I'm going to have to disagree. At least in my experience, saving specific
species really does rate high on the radar of many people. And I'm not
saying even that much is a bad thing, keep in mind. But there really are
people who devote their attention to specific animals. To whales,
specifically. To tigers, specifically. Now, I suppose those are more
properly environmentalists (or just plain 'animal-lovers') rather than
evolutionists - but I also don't think merely believing in evolution commits
one to a particular view of the environment.

I'm not saying that there's no duty Christians have to the environment, even
while recognizing the truth of evolution. But I don't think the answer is so
obvious that it doesn't need to be explained and defended in greater detail.
So whole ecosystems may be wiped out - aside from how that may or may not
affect humanity, what's the concern? So it may happen too rapidly for many
species to properly adapt - again, with the humanity caveat aside, so what?
Extinction, even large-scale extinction, isn't a surprise to someone who
accepts evolution. Worldwide catastrophes, possibly the same.

I want to stress, I'm not offering up these questions as a flippant
response. More like, these are questions I think deserve a more thoughtful,
detailed answer to. Rather than "Well, too sudden changes to the environment
are bad, and mass extinctions are bad, and why we should consider it a moral
imperative to combat such is too obvious to bother explaining." I can easily
accept evolution as a means of God's creation (even with particular, unique
instances of intervention). But the justification and approach to
stewardship does seem to change when one includes evolution as such a means.

On Sun, Aug 30, 2009 at 9:30 PM, Murray Hogg <>wrote:

> Schwarzwald wrote:
>> As for the question he has about stewardship and evolution, I think his
>> question may go deeper. If extinction is just a part of evolution, then why
>> is it a concern? I don't think this problem goes away just by increasing the
>> scope of the extinction to 'wiping out ecosystems' and 'no daughter
>> lineages'. I think this is divorced from the question of 'human specialness'
>> - even if we're 100% certain that humanity has a unique purpose, that alone
>> doesn't tell us what we should do about the rest of creation. After all,
>> extinctions happen, niches disappear, new species appear, new niches open
>> up.
> I must admit that I didn't find the question to be the most lucid and would
> like to see it teased out to make clear some of the assumptions which lie
> behind it.
> Other than that, I would urge the view that the scope of the extinctions is
> the major point of concern *in the contemporary context*. Note that this
> last is an important qualification because it's not extinction per se that I
> believe concerns evolutionists here, but rapid and widespread extinctions of
> the sort we see presently occurring.
> The rate at which ecosystems are being destroyed is also enormously
> problematic. Here global warming is a prime example of the problem. From an
> evolutionary perspective, it is not the fact of global warming which is the
> problem, but the rate - the fact that species simply can't adapt to rapid
> rate of habitat change.
> Actually, the rate of ecosystem destruction AND the scope of extinctions
> are intimately related. One can, for example, hunt a species like the Bison
> to extinction and you will merely create a "new" niche into which another
> species can evolve. But destroy the ecosystem and you destroy both the
> niches and every organism which might have evolved into them.
> I'll only add that it doesn't take five minutes of Googling "habitat
> destruction" or "endangered species" to see that this connection between
> habitat destruction and widespread extinction is precisely the issue which
> most raises its head. Concerns about the extinction of individual species
> due to some targeted threat (say a species specific disease or hunting) are
> nowhere near so prominent on the evolutionists' radar screen.
> All this predicates a certain outlook, of course: i.e. an evolutionary
> point of view which sees adaptation happening in time-frames of tens of
> thousands of years. So when we see the ecosystems of the planets changing,
> or even disappearing, in time-frames which can be measured in decades, or
> even less, I don't think the evolutionists' concerns need much explaining.
> Blessings,
> Murray
> To unsubscribe, send a message to with
> "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Sun Aug 30 22:30:02 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Sun Aug 30 2009 - 22:30:02 EDT