Re: [asa] Response to Baylor meeting

From: Murray Hogg <>
Date: Mon Aug 31 2009 - 16:17:00 EDT

Hi Greg,

I think this a fair enough clarification - although it has to be urged that when Christians claim to accept "Darwinism" they are not claiming to accept the broad sweep of Darwin's philosophy of life.

So, if the claim is that "Christian Darwinist" is a contradiction in terms because "Darwinism" means "agnostic" (in respects to the Christian view of God) then, fair enough.

But, in reality, people generally restrict "Darwinism" to that scientific theory which Darwin laid out in "On the Origin of Species" and Christian Darwinists deny that such a theory necessarily entails the other metaphysical speculations in which Darwin otherwise engaged.


Gregory Arago wrote:
> Clarification, before anyone jumps on it:
> "A Darwinian can perhaps *become* a Christian, [that is, if they reject]
> [while rejecting] the agnosticism in Darwin's extra-scientific
> speculations and ruminations."
> This was meant to speak to the idea of 'unity of knowledge' or
> 'philosophical principles' which are betrayed when knowledge is entirely
> compartmentalised and there is no holistic theory to re-unite the
> fragmented pieces, sciences, philosophy and theology. Darwin's writing
> is filled with science, ideology and 'implications' for religion (since
> he refused to speak about religion or his theory's implications for it
> in public). We are now seeing this provocative language
> of 'implications' resurfacing to bite back upon those who would claim to
> be 'Darwinists' and also 'orthodox' in their religious faiths. There is
> nothing wrong with honouring the science that Darwin contributed; the
> problem is when one who claims to be a neo-Darwinian evolutionist can't
> answer fundamental questions, the answers upon which their theory is
> purportedly based.
> Can evolutionary theory, as theory, become extinct?
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *From:* Gregory Arago <>
> *To:* Murray Hogg <>; ASA <>
> *Sent:* Monday, August 31, 2009 11:09:25 AM
> *Subject:* Re: [asa] Response to Baylor meeting
> Hi Folks,
> Just another short message as I have a deadline tomorrow and a lot of
> work to do to meet it. I've not read all of the messages in this thread,
> the question goes to the issue of extinction and evolution.
> The questioner to Randy has a problem with evolution, extinction and
> stewardship. I would like to ask a simple thought experiment about
> whether or not 'theories' can become 'extinct' as well as 'species.'
> Is it possible that 'evolutionary theory' could
> 'evolve/change-over-time' into something that is no longer itself? For
> example, if anomalies were found along with things that evolutionary
> theory cannot explain in its current forumulation (which, according to
> evolutionary theory is a 'fluid' definition, and not a fixed or absolute
> one, that is, because nothing in this world is fixed or absolute
> according to evolutionary theory), and another theory then 'migrated'
> into the niche left by evolutionary theories, would it be possible for
> evolution to become 'extinct'?
> Would treating Darwin as an icon of agnosticism/celebrity of natural
> science become an obsolete practice?
> Alongside this question, there is one for Murray: what is the difference
> or sameness in your view between 'neo-Darwinian evolution' and
> 'Christian evolutionist'? I see you challenging Cameron by suggesting
> that neo-Darwinian evolution (or 'the modern synthesis') is 'good
> science' (I am assuming this is how you would label it - i.e. best
> explanation of the evidence to date) and that there is nothing
> contradictory about being both an 'evolutionist' and a 'Christian' (or
> Muslim or Jew, etc.). But Cameron has made repeated points that the term
> 'Christian Darwinist' is a contradiction in terms. Do you disagree with
> him about this or is it a matter of clarifying our terms 'Christian
> evolutionist' and 'Christian Darwinist', along with what the differences
> between Darwinian and Darwinism, and evolution and evolutionism,
> actually mean?
> Ruse answers "Can a Darwinian be a Christian?" with a 'Yes.' I would
> answer that a Darwinist cannot be a Christian, but someone who follows
> *some* Darwinian principles will find them anti-thetical to their faith.
> To follow *all* Darwinian principles, however, is tantamount to becoming
> just as agnostic as he was. And this raises the question of whether or
> not it s possible for a religious person to become agnostic due to their
> contemplation and acceptance of certain aspects of 'Darwinian
> principles' to their logical conclusion. A Darwinian can perhaps be a
> Christian, while rejecting the agnosticism in Darwin's extra-scientific
> speculations and ruminations. However, it is also possible for a
> Christian to become agnostic (van Till?) as a result of their embrace of
> Darwinist ideology. TEs don't seem to highlight this 'reverse'
> possibility and rather highlight only the positive aspects of accepting
> 'biological' evolution or 'cosmological' evolution (and sometimes TEs
> even promote 'cultural' evolution). It is not difficult to realize why
> this is the case.
> One might even wonder if TE might become an 'obsolete' theory. (!!!) But
> then again, I still haven't heard a coherent theory of TE (i.e. one that
> potentially 'could' become obsolete because it actually exists in the
> first place), other than ones which thrive on instrumentalist logic,
> i.e. "God 'uses' evolution". This is highly unsatisfactory language for
> many scholars, including Christian ones, in the academy.
> Gregrory
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Received on Mon Aug 31 16:17:26 2009

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