Re: terminology &c (was RE: [asa] Evolution Conference Washington, DC - language confusion)

From: John Burgeson (ASA member) <hossradbourne@gmail.com>
Date: Wed Sep 16 2009 - 08:24:33 EDT

George == you commented that Whitehead was not a Christian? Did he
ever make this particular claim? Just asking -- I studied his writings
a few years ago and I really don't remember. I think he thought great
thoughts -- but was not too well versed in explaining them to others.
At least not to me! <G>

Burgy

On 9/15/09, gmurphy10@neo.rr.com <gmurphy10@neo.rr.com> wrote:
> Gregory -
>
> I really didn't think I was saying anything contentious in my post. My
> point was just that no academic specialty - physical science, social
> science, theology or whatever, should try to impose its own usage (which it
> is quite justified in maintaining by consensus in-house) on other
> specialties, or on the average person in the street. Ideally we would not
> have conflicts of technical terminology and would all be sensitive to the
> context of other people's speech in order to discern which possible meaning
> a word like "evolve" was intended to have. Gen.11:1-9, however, suggests
> that this isn't going to be accomplished just by a bunch of academics
> getting together for a conference! I'll respond to specific points below.
>
> ---- Gregory Arago <gregoryarago@yahoo.ca> wrote:
>> Hi George,
>>
>> I'm really glad you've said this. Surely I do agree with what you say
>> here. It seems to contradict what you have said elsewhere, however, which
>> is what is at issue.
>>
>> Simply noting that technical usage differs from everyday speech is obvious
>> (I'm speaking with you here, and not with Mr. Dehler). You seem to support
>> the 'natural-physical scientific' view of 'science' (which of course I do
>> as well). The second part of this, however, is that you also seem to
>> devalue, disregard or even implicitly to claim that the 'human-social
>> scientific' view of 'science' and 'nature' is invalid. I would be pleased
>> for you to clarify yourself on this and to show if I've misread you or
>> exaggerated your position. In other words, the fact (and it *is* a fact)
>> that human-social scientists commonly use alternative opposites to
>> 'nature' and 'natural' than *just* 'supernatural' is something that you
>> don't seem to give voice to or to openly validate.
>
> I don't see how you draw the conclusion that I reject HSS usage within that
> field from my post. I only said that scholars in that area shouldn't expect
> or assume that others will use language in the same way.
>>
>> To say this another way, I am fully justified (please tell me if you think
>> otherwise) in calling out a non-human-social scientist for saying
>> 'Evolution of Evolution" *is* good language usage, when in fact he (or
>> she) is in no position to authorise it as such. If this is so, then
>> really, what you've said George, proves my point and validates my
>> objection to Randy Isaac's belief that 'evolution of evolution' is good
>> language usage by natural-physical scientists. It was not, is not and will
>> continue to be 'bad' usage, along the same line that Moorad objected to it
>> as 'not science.'
>
> I got into the thread on the Washington conference a bit late, at the point
> where you were criticizing the claim that "ideas" evolve. I explained why
> that claim is quite legitimate in common English, with citation from a
> recognized authority on the language. I assume that "evolution of
> evolution" means that our understandng of evolution - i.e., an idea - has
> changed over the past 150 years, which of course it has. Now if "evolution
> of evolution" is supposed to mean that the evolutionary process itself
> changes - well, it does but I would agree that saying that it evolves is at
> least confusing.
>
>>
>> Do I understand your position correctly as follows: you are suggesting
>> that natural-physical scientists may operate on the presupposition that
>> "the *only* opposite possible to the term *natural* is the term
>> *supernatural*" and that this view may be 'right' (i.e. not 'wrong')
>> *inside* natural-physical sciences (but not right *outside* of them). Is
>> this correct?
>
> It's not so much a question of whether the view is correct as how the
> terminology is used. A physicist or chemist, functioning soley as a
> specialist in one of those fields (whose boundary is pretty vague!), will,
> if asked to discuss the human brain, treat it entirely as a "natural" entity
> - ~1.4 kg of complex organic molecules, EM fields &c. Some may also say
> "that's all there is" - i.e., the brain (& by implication the mind) is
> "nothing but" a natural entity in that sense. But a physical scientist is
> not compelled to adopt "nothing buttery" unless he/she is (to use a phrase
> of one of my doctoral profs) a pinhead.
>
>> Let me be crystal clear on this because it seems I am being constantly
>> misinterpreted about my position. I fully agree that natural-physical
>> scientists are under no cumpulsion to abandon 'evolution' or 'natural
>> selection' (although they ought to admit more regularly that it is a very
>> fuzzy concept duo that appropriates a discourse of 'agency' taken from
>> human-social sciences) if they 'fit' appropriately in their field (which
>> they *seem* to). But natural-physical scientists have *no authority* to
>> press human-social scientists, as the sociobiologists and eVo
>> psychologists have done, and it is wrong to say something like 'evolution
>> evolves' or 'evolution of evolution' because it is speaking as an outsider
>> to the proper domain.
>
> I've commented on this above. Let me add - it seems to me that there is an
> appropriate way to speak about "cultural evolution", recognizing that while
> that concept has some commonality with that of biological evolution, it
> can't be reduced to the latter. I gather you don't like the idea of
> cultural evolution (& in fact may have gone ballistic as soon as I mentioned
> it :).) Perhaps you could comment.
>
>> "no single academic discipline should expect everybody else to adopt its
>> conventions." - George Murphy
>>
>> This statement applies to biologists, of course, as well. Do you realize
>> how *many* biologists have expected everyone else to adopt their
>> conventions with the ideology of 'evolutionism'?!?
>
> I agree.
>
>> Also, George, you wrote that there are more types of 'evolutionism' than
>> just the (neo-)Darwinian variety.
>>
>> ""Evolutionism" - i.e., evolution as a grand metanarrative - need not be
>> Darwinian." - George
>>
>> And then you named Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who was disciplined for his
>> views by the Roman Catholic Church because they were possibly inconsistent
>> with Christian theology, while you suggest they *are* consistent with
>> Christian theology. We will have to have this out one day George because
>> Teilhard is a controversial figure and his process-orientation is *huge*
>> in his approach.
>>
>> Question: What do you call those other 'kinds' of evolutionism, other than
>> Darwinian and Teilhardian? You pluralised the word 'types' above and I am
>> reading carefully and asking accurately and for accuracy. Please use
>> another Title for another type of 'evolutionism' than either of those two.
>
> Obviously we need to try to reach some common agreement on what we mean by
> "evolutionism." In one sense the idea that everything evolves (i.e.,
> everything is always changing) goes back at least to Heraclitus. I use the
> term, as I said, to mean "evolution as a grand metanarrative", as an
> overarching philosophical principle or, to borrow a term from speculative
> physics, a "theory of everything." Such theories may be "naturalistic" -
> i.e., may hold that the observable universe is all there is and that
> "evolution" is the grand theory that explains it all - e.g., Dawkins. Such
> naturalistic evolutionisms do tend to be "Darwinian" because the idea of
> natural selection seems best suited to rule out anything "non-natural" &
> thus to serve as what I called a universal solvent. But I can't see any
> fundamental reason why there couldn't be a Lamarckian version of
> naturalistic evolutionism.
>
> But there is also process philosophy, which can be understood as a kind of
> evolutionistic theism. Here it is not only the world but God who is
> involved in process or, if you will, evolution. Teilhard's theology is
> often classified as a variety of process thought, though it differs in
> significant ways from that of Whitehead. One crucial difference is that
> Teilhard was Christian & Whitehead wasn't - though other Christian
> thelogians have used Whitehead's philosophy. & while Teilhard can't be said
> simply to reject Darwinian ideas about the mechanism of evolution, he isn't
> very enthusiastic about them.
>
> So I think there is a spectrum of views that could legitimately be called
> "evolutionism." It certainly isn't just Darwin or Teilhard.
>
>> As an aside, I would argue that it was not Teilhard's 'evolutionism' that
>> was 'distinctively Christian,' but rather Teilhard himself who was
>> Christian. Likewise, Darwin's 'evolutionism' was not religiously agnostic,
>> but Darwin himself was. Your position on Teilhard's 'evolutionism' is not
>> yet clear to me, George, as I'm sure neither is mine clear to you since we
>> haven't discussed it that much. Perhaps this is also partly why you ?
>
> The very fact that Teilhard sees evolution as being directed toward
> "Christ-Omega" indicates that there's something distinctively Christian
> about it. I've commented a number of times on what I see as + and - about
> Teilhard's though - most recently in my post to Schwarzwald last night. &
> I've never said that I "refuse to take the label of 'theistic
> evolutionist'." I've said that it's not a label I apply to myself if I have
> time or space to explain my position more fully. But I won't leap up &
> hotly deny it if someone refers to me as a TE.
>
>> Just for the record, I was in a book store today and picked up McGrath's
>> book "Christianity's Dangerous Idea' to find a section on 'evoloutionary
>> theology' (or 'evolutionary theism,' I forget exactly), which he used in
>> the same way some TEs here have described TE. I like McGrath's priority
>> language usage better than TE. But E.T. is already a common acronym!
>>
>> Gregory
>>
>> p.s. the U.S. Open tennis final happening live right now between Federer
>> and del Potro is AMAZING - 5th set, davai del Potro!!! (I've been writing
>> this message during the breaks...)
>
> Shalom,
> George
>>
>>
>> --- On Tue, 9/15/09, gmurphy10@neo.rr.com <gmurphy10@neo.rr.com> wrote:
>>
>> > From: gmurphy10@neo.rr.com <gmurphy10@neo.rr.com>
>> > Subject: RE: [asa] Evolution Conference Washington, DC - language
>> > confusion
>> > To: "asa@calvin.edu" <asa@calvin.edu>, "Gregory Arago"
>> > <gregoryarago@yahoo.ca>, "MooradAlexanian" <alexanian@uncw.edu>,
>> > "BernieDehler" <bernie.dehler@intel.com>
>> > Received: Tuesday, September 15, 2009, 2:08 AM
>> > Gregory -
>> >
>> > The fact that technical terminology may vary from one
>> > academic field to another, & that technical usage may
>> > differ (generally in being more precise & limiting) from
>> > that of everyday speech is certainly worth noting.  But
>> > let's also keep in mind that no single academic discipline
>> > should expect everybody else to adopt its conventions.
>> > Certain meanings may be ones "which human-social scientists
>> > and scholars are under no compulsion to copy" but they are
>> > at the same time ones which those in the physical sciences
>> > (e.g.) are under no compulsion to abandon.  So when a
>> > term is used in a way that differs from its meaning among
>> > human-social scientists, the appropriate thing for a person
>> > in the latter area to say (assuming that it's germane to the
>> > subject at hand) is "that is not the way people in this area
>> > use the term, not "that is wrong."
>> >
>> > Shalom,
>> > George
>> >
>> > ---- Gregory Arago <gregoryarago@yahoo.ca>
>> > wrote:
>> > > I'll wait for Mr. Dehler to respond to Dr. Alexanian
>> > Moorad, since I've agreed not to have conversations with
>> > Bernie to ASA list moderators. Let me just repeat that
>> > 'theories' are not 'natural' in the sense that 'nature' is
>> > meant in 'natural-physical sciences.' Theories involve the
>> > 'character' (e.g. particular choice of language, and not
>> > just English) of those who make them. There is
>> > likewise  no need to assume that anything 'not-natural'
>> > is therefore 'supernatural.' It is a category mistake (a
>> > tunnel-visioned one) that is being committed in such a case.
>> > To suggest otherwise (i.e. that the *only* opposite to
>> > 'natural' is 'supernatural') is to demonstrate one's bias
>> > toward naturalistic language which human-social scientists
>> > and scholars are under no compulsion to copy. Welcome to the
>> > contemporary academic landscape! - Gregory
>> > >
>> > >
>> > >
>> > > --- On Tue, 9/15/09, Alexanian, Moorad <alexanian@uncw.edu>
>> > wrote:
>> > >
>> > > > From: Alexanian, Moorad <alexanian@uncw.edu>
>> > > > Subject: RE: [asa] Evolution Conference
>> > Washington, DC - language confusion
>> > > > To: "Dehler, Bernie" <bernie.dehler@intel.com>,
>> > "asa@calvin.edu"
>> > <asa@calvin.edu>
>> > > > Received: Tuesday, September 15, 2009, 12:33 AM
>> > > > Perhaps, then, it would help if you
>> > > > were to give an operational definition of Nature
>> > or
>> > > > natural.
>> > > >
>> > > > Moorad
>> > > > ________________________________________
>> > > > From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu
>> > > > [asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu]
>> > > > On Behalf Of Dehler, Bernie [bernie.dehler@intel.com]
>> > > > Sent: Monday, September 14, 2009 4:15 PM
>> > > > To: asa@calvin.edu
>> > > > Subject: RE: [asa] Evolution Conference
>> > Washington, DC -
>> > > > language confusion
>> > > >
>> > > > "Bernie, what is "natural?""
>> > > >
>> > > > Things that come from nature.
>> > > >
>> > > > ...Bernie
>> > > >
>> > > > -----Original Message-----
>> > > > From: Alexanian, Moorad [mailto:alexanian@uncw.edu]
>> > > > Sent: Monday, September 14, 2009 11:23 AM
>> > > > To: Dehler, Bernie; asa@calvin.edu
>> > > > Subject: RE: [asa] Evolution Conference
>> > Washington, DC -
>> > > > language confusion
>> > > >
>> > > > Bernie, what is "natural?"
>> > > >
>> > > > Moorad
>> > > > ________________________________________
>> > > > From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu
>> > > > [asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu]
>> > > > On Behalf Of Dehler, Bernie [bernie.dehler@intel.com]
>> > > > Sent: Monday, September 14, 2009 11:39 AM
>> > > > To: asa@calvin.edu
>> > > > Subject: RE: [asa] Evolution Conference
>> > Washington, DC -
>> > > > language confusion
>> > > >
>> > > > Gregory said:
>> > > > "Biological entities evolve. Chemicals evolve.
>> > > > Physiological things evolve."
>> > > >
>> > > > Wow- that looks like progress to me.  I didn't
>> > think
>> > > > you thought that.
>> > > >
>> > > > Gregory said:
>> > > > "Human-social scientists (my voice representing
>> > them,
>> > > > speaking to you as a natural-physical scientist)
>> > define
>> > > > 'evolution' as 'natural development' while at the
>> > same time
>> > > > insisting that 'theories' do not 'develop
>> > naturally' because
>> > > > they are human-made things and *not* something
>> > purely
>> > > > 'natural'."
>> > > >
>> > > > This is were you go astray.  You are saying
>> > that
>> > > > theories do not develop naturally, or do not come
>> > from
>> > > > nature.  What's left- they develop
>> > > > supernaturally?  Do you think every thought
>> > comes from
>> > > > God? Do you think humans are supernatural?  Both
>> > apes
>> > > > and humans think.  Because apes think, are they
>> > also
>> > > > supernatural? Do their ideas also 'not develop
>> > > > naturally?'  Bonobo's think a lot about sex,
>> > like
>> > > > trading it for food.  Are those thoughts
>> > natural, or
>> > > > supernatural from God?
>> > > >
>> > > > So Gregory, you have to admit that at least some
>> > thoughts
>> > > > don't come directly from God (in other words,
>> > they are
>> > > > natural).  Then you have to figure out which
>> > ones are
>> > > > from God, and which ones aren't.
>> > > >
>> > > > See, your root problem is that you don't
>> > comprehend that
>> > > > thoughts are natural.  You think because they
>> > are
>> > > > intangible, they are supernatural (the only
>> > alternative to
>> > > > 'natural').  That is precisely were you go
>> > > > astray.  It is all downhill from there.
>> > > >
>> > > > To put your statements to logic:
>> > > > 1. Theories are not made from nature (therefore,
>> > not
>> > > > 'natural' but instead 'supernatural').
>> > > > 2. Darwin has a theory of evolution (and many
>> > others)
>> > > > 3. Therefore, Darwin's theories are supernatural
>> > > >
>> > > > Same for Einstein, etc.
>> > > >
>> > > > .Bernie
>> > > > ________________________________________
>> > > > From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu
>> > > > [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu]
>> > > > On Behalf Of Gregory Arago
>> > > > Sent: Friday, September 11, 2009 5:25 PM
>> > > > To: gmurphy10@neo.rr.com;
>> > > > asa@calvin.edu;
>> > > > Randy Isaac
>> > > > Subject: Re: [asa] Evolution Conference
>> > Washington, DC -
>> > > > language confusion
>> > > >
>> > > > The problem is not with the dictionaries, George.
>> > The
>> > > > problem is with the ideological baggage of
>> > 'evolutionism,'
>> > > > which you seem to be totally and consciously
>> > unwilling to
>> > > > acknowledge. Why is that? Why are you so silent
>> > about
>> > > > evolutionistic ideology (as if it doesn't
>> > exist)?
>> > > >
>> > > > Biological entities evolve. Chemicals evolve.
>> > Physiological
>> > > > things evolve. Things studied in *all*
>> > natural-physical
>> > > > sciences evolve. That's fine, no problem; that's
>> > just
>> > > > 'natural history' and 'natural now.' What I've
>> > just cited is
>> > > > three types of evolution (biological, chemical
>> > and
>> > > > physiological), not one. Therefore, to accuse me
>> > of
>> > > > 'single-mindedness' on this topic is absurd. I
>> > have studied
>> > > > the philosophy of evolution and speak about how
>> > > > interdisciplinary the term 'evolution' is. This
>> > is not
>> > > > something you highlight, George, and neither does
>> > Randy or
>> > > > almost anyone else here (nod to a select few who
>> > do
>> > > > highlight it). There are probably four or five
>> > people on
>> > > > this list who actually 'get it.' Yours is the
>> > confused,
>> > > > outdated definition of evolution, George, not
>> > mine.
>> > > > Natural-physical scientists do not study 'ideas'
>> > per se.
>> > > > They do not study theories, as theories. They do
>> > not study
>> > > > ideology. Yet the meaning of "Evolution of
>> > Evolution" is
>> > > > change in an idea, a theory, an ideology. Do you
>> > disagree
>> > > > that this is what they meant in the title, George
>> > or Randy?
>> > > > This is the simple and exact point I am making,
>> > which you
>> > > > seem unwilling to acknowledge or to say you were
>> > wrong about
>> > > > it.
>> > > >
>> > > > Human-social scientists (my voice representing
>> > them,
>> > > > speaking to you as a natural-physical scientist)
>> > define
>> > > > 'evolution' as 'natural development' while at the
>> > same time
>> > > > insisting that 'theories' do not 'develop
>> > naturally' because
>> > > > they are human-made things and *not* something
>> > purely
>> > > > 'natural'. Your view, George, seems to be that
>> > 'theories are
>> > > > natural' (i.e. because everything 'created' is
>> > > > 'natural')!!!
>> > > >
>> > > > Natural-physical scientists (and theologians)
>> > have little
>> > > > or no authority to pronounce on this topic
>> > because they are
>> > > > not learned (unless they've done lots of
>> > independent
>> > > > research and reading). Yet it is entirely within
>> > the realm
>> > > > of anyone who studies HPS or SoS, as I do, to
>> > call out the
>> > > > error in the language. Ideas do not 'evolve' like
>> > biological
>> > > > entities (humbug to the trickle-up dictionaries).
>> > To say
>> > > > they do is about as clever as accepting Dawkins'
>> > theory of
>> > > > 'memes' (e.g. like one particular non-scientist,
>> > evangelist
>> > > > on this list). Do you also invoke 'memes' in your
>> > language,
>> > > > George, as a legitimate 'scientific' concept? To
>> > do so is
>> > > > hauntingly similar to those who use 'evolution'
>> > to refer to
>> > > > 'idea change.'
>> > > >
>> > > > Well, yes, and I already spoke about the
>> > 'context' of
>> > > > "Since Darwin: The Evolution of Evolution" as a
>> > Title in my
>> > > > opening post. We do this in human-social sciences
>> > regularly,
>> > > > i.e. speak about contexts. Most human-social
>> > scientists try
>> > > > to carefully study language and semantics as a
>> > means of
>> > > > communication, which is what humans do. Here you
>> > are
>> > > > cloaking a type of biologism, a naturalistic
>> > reductionism,
>> > > > George, which is unnecessary (and which of course
>> > you will
>> > > > deny), instead of willfully improving your
>> > 'communicative
>> > > > competence' (as Jurgen Habermas calls it).
>> > > >
>> > > > "Of course it's not a matter of "evolution simply
>> > equals
>> > > > change"." - George Murphy
>> > > >
>> > > > This is an important admission. If evolution does
>> > not equal
>> > > > change, George, then please do tell what is/are
>> > the
>> > > > difference(s) between them. Please don't duck it
>> > or dodge
>> > > > it, but address it directly. If evolution is
>> > simply a 'kind
>> > > > of change' then what kind of change is it? Once
>> > you address
>> > > > this, then we can better consider whether 'ideas
>> > evolve'
>> > > > with respect to a given reference. (And then you
>> > can try to
>> > > > convince me that "ideas change gradually and are
>> > not
>> > > > discontinuous with anything prior," which is the
>> > argument
>> > > > you are most likely trying to make.)
>> > > >
>> > > > I certainly do understand what the person(s) who
>> > titled the
>> > > > conference meant (speaking to their in-group). It
>> > is really
>> > > > quite easy to understand. The fact is that they
>> > were simply
>> > > > wrong and speaking outside of their knowledge
>> > about 'how
>> > > > ideas change' to suggest that 'evolutionary
>> > theory evolves.'
>> > > > They were probably trying to be 'sexy' by using
>> > 'evolution'
>> > > > in regard to ideas, but that is a mere guess on
>> > my part (as
>> > > > opposed to the above, which is based on reading
>> > more about
>> > > > evolutionary philosophy, sociology, anthropology,
>> > economics
>> > > > and probably psychology than anyone on this
>> > list).
>> > > >
>> > > > It has been a common thing on this list to
>> > suggest that I
>> > > > attribute only 'one single meaning' to evolution,
>> > which I
>> > > > 'require' that everyone else adopt. There is
>> > truth in this
>> > > > in that I am proposing an alternative definition
>> > of
>> > > > evolution to what most people on this list
>> > currently accept.
>> > > > Indeed, as I have already said, I am interested
>> > in massaging
>> > > > your grammars (which is similar to how Cameron
>> > has tried to
>> > > > massage your grammar usage about neo-Darwinism
>> > and
>> > > > intelligent design, as did Timaeus). However,
>> > there is an
>> > > > absence of truth in that the definition of
>> > 'evolution' I
>> > > > suggest as legitimate is one that appears *only*
>> > in
>> > > > natural-physical sciences and *not* in other
>> > areas of the
>> > > > Academy. In other words, my position allows for
>> > the free
>> > > > existence of your definition of 'evolution,'
>> > whereas your
>> > > > position doesn't allow for what I am proposing in
>> > the
>> > > > human-social sciences. So really, it is your
>> > definition,
>> > > > George, which is the more inflexible, dogmatic
>> > and
>> > > > pseudo-universalistic one.
>> > > >
>> > > > The problem here (which is an uncomfortable one)
>> > is that
>> > > > almost *all* TEs and CEs simply cannot accept my
>> > definition
>> > > > of 'evolution' because their theologies overlap
>> > with their
>> > > > 'sciences' to stretch the meaning of 'evolution'
>> > into
>> > > > improper areas, just like the neo-atheists do.
>> > So, in a way,
>> > > > George, you are acting 'just like them' in
>> > refusing to
>> > > > accept the definition of 'evolution' that I
>> > propose. And I
>> > > > presume, having studied (to a degree and as an
>> > 'outsider')
>> > > > American philosophy and having read about the
>> > place of
>> > > > philosophy in your nation-state today, that yes,
>> > indeed, it
>> > > > is a lack of philosophical competence that
>> > restricts you
>> > > > from hearing what I am saying about evolution.
>> > Otherwise
>> > > > your continual refusal to change your views is
>> > hard to
>> > > > explain. But how could you actualy speak to the
>> > philosophy
>> > > > of evolution and the ideology of evolutionism
>> > with good
>> > > > effect?
>> > > >
>> > > > If Randy answers the question I put to him with a
>> > 'Yes' -
>> > > > i.e. saying that he actually believes 'ideas
>> > evolve' (which
>> > > > I highly doubt he will do) - then we can more
>> > easily
>> > > > recognize how backward Americans are (with due
>> > respect to
>> > > > those Americans who do understand) on the topic
>> > of
>> > > > 'evolution.' After all, what would he have to
>> > back up his
>> > > > view of 'evolution evolves' other than with
>> > generalising
>> > > > dictionaries?
>> > > >
>> > > > And the statistics back this up crystal clear and
>> > are
>> > > > undeniable, George. Why do so many Americans
>> > today reject
>> > > > Darwin's theory of evolution? My way of speaking
>> > about this
>> > > > topic is well ahead of yours and is more clear in
>> > offering a
>> > > > legitimate answer (but it requires that
>> > natural-physical
>> > > > scientists let go of and then once again grab
>> > ahold of
>> > > > 'evolution' instead of continuing to promote it
>> > as a 'theory
>> > > > of everything' - Dobzhansky and Teilhard de
>> > Chardin are both
>> > > > guilty of this). All your position has to offer
>> > on this,
>> > > > George, is 1) that 'warfare between science and
>> > religion is
>> > > > not necessary' (a position I agree with, though
>> > not as a
>> > > > 'theistic evolutionist') and 2) tha 'we have to
>> > accommodate
>> > > > religion to science' because scientific truths
>> > are valuable.
>> > > > Well, so are artistic 'truths' and musical
>> > 'truths' and
>> > > > political 'truths' and many other kinds of
>> > 'truths.' Science
>> > > > is one type of knowledge among others - with this
>> > surely you
>> > > > will agree. But the position you are advocating
>> > d!
>> > > >
>> > > >
>> > > >
>> > > >  oesn't integrate or synthesize those
>> > 'other' truths
>> > > > mentioned in a balanced way with scientific
>> > truths, even if
>> > > > they are balanced or integrated or synthesized in
>> > your mind
>> > > > and heart. The problem is thus with your outward
>> > words
>> > > > regarding evolution; my view of evolution gets us
>> > beyond
>> > > > many of the problem areas.
>> > > >
>> > > > As a big shot at ASA, George, and as a guy
>> > interested in
>> > > > science and religion dialogue (who gives lip
>> > service to
>> > > > human-social thought), once again you are
>> > demonstrating
>> > > > unwillingness to move forward and to embrace a
>> > 'better way'
>> > > > instead of falling back on the safety of a status
>> > quo. I
>> > > > don't feel compelled to do fall back on
>> > evolutionism; I'd
>> > > > rather innovate and be misunderstood for some
>> > time in doing
>> > > > it. What is somewhat funny this time, of course,
>> > is that you
>> > > > are appealing to dictionaries to argue that
>> > 'evolution
>> > > > changes'. It would be easier to say those people
>> > at the
>> > > > Smithsonian are confused about their languistic
>> > usage of a
>> > > > 'scientific' term.
>> > > >
>> > > > Gregory
>> > > >
>> > > > p.s. just now I read Randy's recent post in this
>> > thread.
>> > > > Please excuse, it was 'Executive Director' how I
>> > should have
>> > > > addressed you. And I am quite sure that your
>> > usage of
>> > > > evolution is 'primitive' in the sense of being
>> > 'behind the
>> > > > times.' Neo-evolutionary anthropology has gone
>> > well beyond
>> > > > your linguistic usage of 'evolution.' They have
>> > 'proved' you
>> > > > wrong already decades ago. So have other
>> > disciplines. The
>> > > > fact that you (and almost everyone you know)
>> > don't hear or
>> > > > know this marks nothing against the way I am
>> > using the term
>> > > > 'evolution.'
>> > > >
>> > > > Can ideas 'develop' (this is a preferred term to
>> > > > 'evolution' in the human-social sciences)
>> > non-gradually
>> > > > (e.g. in a punctuated or rapid manner)? If so,
>> > Randy, would
>> > > > you then allow that an idea that develops
>> > > > 'non-gradualistically' is a counter-example to
>> > 'evolution'
>> > > > as you see it? There are countless cases of this
>> > in the
>> > > > history of ideas, where 'gradualism' dies (again
>> > and again)
>> > > > a simple and easy death. If 'gradualism' were
>> > overturned,
>> > > > then would you change your grammar wrt 'idea
>> > change' as a
>> > > > non-evolutionary phenomenon?
>> > > >
>> > > > Sorry, Randy, but no, 'social structures' are
>> > today best
>> > > > not said to 'evolve,' though they surely do
>> > change. But
>> > > > don't trust me on this. Perhaps you'd better
>> > trust the words
>> > > > of one of America's celebrated evolutionary
>> > thinkers (yet
>> > > > another non-theist-evolutionist), Talcott
>> > Parsons, who wrote
>> > > > the following as a definition of 'evolution' in
>> > sociology:
>> > > > It is "a summary generalization standing for a
>> > type of
>> > > > process of change." (Societies: Evolutionary and
>> > Comparative
>> > > > Perspectives, Foundations of Modern Sociology
>> > Series,
>> > > > Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 1964)
>> > > >
>> > > > Who reads Talcott Parsons anymore?! :o )
>> > > >
>> > > >
>> > > > To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu
>> > > > with
>> > > > "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the
>> > message.
>> > > >
>> > > >
>> > > > To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu
>> > > > with
>> > > > "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the
>> > message.
>> > > >
>> > > > To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu
>> > > > with
>> > > > "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the
>> > message.
>> > > >
>> > >
>> > >
>> > >
>> >    __________________________________________________________________
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>> >
>> >
>
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-- 
Burgy
www.burgy.50megs.com
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Received on Wed Sep 16 08:26:02 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Wed Sep 16 2009 - 08:26:02 EDT