Re: [asa] ID question? - TE does or doesn't 'limit evolution'?

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Tue Oct 27 2009 - 17:38:37 EDT

Hi Ted, Though I appreciate you responding to the other message I wrote in a thread about Orthodox Christianity and 'kreationizm,' I wonder still if you will respond to this one. The history of 'TE' is not that important to me because I don't find it to be such a coherent position. Surely I will also respond to you later on that thread, but the serious issue still stands in this one and I hope you haven't forgotten it. Just what are you doing, Ted, as a 'theistic evolutionist,' that serves to 'limit' the meaning of the term 'evolution' in (natural) science, philosophy and as an ideology? Talking 'objectively' about history is one thing, of course, but expressing one's personal views on a topic is something else. Gregory p.s. sorry there is no more time for writing today, at a conference on 'scientists in society' and at a birthday party of a dear friend almost 60 years older than I am - what a day!! : ) ________________________________ From: Gregory Arago <> To: Ted Davis <>; asa <>; David Campbell <>; George Murphy <> Sent: Sat, October 24, 2009 3:26:03 PM Subject: Re: [asa] ID question? Hi Ted, Though I appreciate the motivation behind your post, i.e. to defend Christians who accept certain, if not all aspects of what is called 'evolutionary theory,' i.e. which you call TE, unfortunately in this case, you missed the point entirely. I asked very specifically, two times, at the beginning and end of my post, what TEs are doing to 'limit' the meaning of the term 'evolution.' On the other hand you responded with a defence of colleagues and friends, though no defence was needed as no attack or 'calling into doubt' was made. Of course, people that you call 'TE' are actively 'doing something.' That was not the issue, nor does this 'happens all of the time' defense apply to what I'm asking. You know full well, Ted, that I am challenging the notion of 'universal evolution' or 'total evolution' as it is known to some in the ASA. Again, the issue is: "What are TEs 'limit' the meaning of 'evolution'?" Or, further, as I believe is the approach taken by many TEs, is there 'no limit' to the meaning of 'evolution,' i.e. does it function as something of a GUT since it is tied so intimately together with their/your theologies? Do you have an answer for these questions, Ted? They are imo extremely important both for how Americans view 'intelligent design' as well as for how they view the 'accommodation' of science with theology and worldview expressed by TEs and ECs. And to repeat for the record, I don't think the IDM has generated satisfactory answers yet either! I've read ten out of the 13 names you mention, Ted, and, just like Peacocke and before him Dobzhansky and Teilhard de Chardin, none of them has cracked the code of how to possibly 'limit' evolutionary theory so that it does not become a type of GUT-accommodated-to-theology. Perhaps this is one reason why George does not self-label himself as a 'TE' - i.e. he sees the tendency to exaggerate the 'meaning' of 'evolution' far beyond its appropriate reach? Gregory p.s. yes, i've heard of S.C.M. - add him as number 14, same result ________________________________ From: Ted Davis <> To: asa <>; David Campbell <>; George Murphy <>; Gregory Arago <> Sent: Fri, October 16, 2009 5:35:56 PM Subject: Re: [asa] ID question? >>> Gregory Arago <> 10/16/2009 7:14 AM >>> writes, among other things: What are TEs doing other than defending the status quo of 'God uses evolution' here at ASA? This is said to provoke, of course, not to insult. But when I hear Douglas Axe looking in depth at the language of the cell, at the BioLogos (while he employs 'design' language instead), and about other IDists talking about 'information' and 'pattern recognition' - this sounds like 'contemporary' language to me (speaking as a non-natural scientist, involved in the Academy). TE doesn't seem to speak this language as effectively as does ID. *** Ted is admittedly annoyed and perplexed--provoked, to borrow Gregory's language.  Hold the phone, he says to Gregory. What are TEs doing?  Directing the NIH, for starters.  Teaching students at Stanford about Christianity and science for a quarter century (Dick Bube did that).  Inventing the maser (Charles Townes) or using lasers to cool atoms (Bill Phillips) and getting the Nobel Prize for it.  Writing great books about evolution and Christian faith (John Polkinghorne or Denis Lamoureux or George Murphy or Dennis Alexander).  Challenging Richard Dawkins head on (Alister McGrath or Francis Collins or Keith Ward).  Directing the ALCATOR plasma physics project at MIT (Ian Hutchinson).  Talking about his Roman Catholic faith in biology courses at Brown, and surprising secular students by doing so (Ken Miller).  Telling Harvard faculty and students -- as well as anyone else who will invite him to speak on their campuses -- that a scientist can dare to believe in design (Owen Gingerich).  I don't have a lot of time this morning, Gregory, but this is surely sufficient for starters.  This kind of conversation happens all of time, or at least it seems to me that it does. Someone says that TEs don't confront atheism, and when I produce umpteen examples most of them apparently don't "count," since they don't involve questioning the explanatory efficacy of Darwinian evolution.  Someone else says that TEs don't believe in a God who really does anything (it's often put that way), and when I produce umpteen examples of TEs who believe in the Incarnation, the bodily resurrection, and the saving power of Jesus I'm ignored (b/c the same thing will be said again the next month by the same person).  Someone else says that TEs are nothing more than "defending the status quo of 'God uses evolution' here at ASA."  Well, Gregory, TEs are doing plenty, as I've just shown.  If however we take your very narrow view of this, that they are simply "defending the status quo of 'God uses evolution' here at ASA," then let me point out that in this respect TEs are doing nothing more than speaking the truth on this point: they believe that evolution is basically right, they are convinced that the universe is a divine creation, and so they draw the obvious conclusion.  If you mean, TEs don't make very much noise, please reread the relevant paragraph above.  If you mean, TEs aren't out there challenging the Darwinians about how evolution works, then I have to ask whether you've ever heard of Simon Conway Morris -- who makes as much noise as Bill Dembski or Mike Behe, except with a different instrument.  So, Gregory, what exactly do you mean?  Or, have I answered your vacuous claim satisfactorily at this point? Ted  ________________________________ Make your browsing faster, safer, and easier with the new Internet Explorer® 8. Optimized for Yahoo! Get it Now for Free! __________________________________________________________________ Yahoo! Canada Toolbar: Search from anywhere on the web, and bookmark your favourite sites. Download it now

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Received on Tue Oct 27 17:38:46 2009

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