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

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Thu Oct 29 2009 - 11:53:19 EDT

I have often said that the sandbox physicists play in is limited to the physical aspect of Nature. I have also defined the subject matter of science to be within the confines of that sandbox. Once one gets out of that well-defined sandbox, one enters the sandbox that contains the whole of reality and so the meaning of the word “science” becomes very equivocal. We end up, as you constantly all are, in the no-man's-land of defining all sorts of terms to make sense of what you are all arguing about.
From: [] On Behalf Of Gregory Arago []
Sent: Thursday, October 29, 2009 11:29 AM
To: George Murphy; Ted Davis; asa
Subject: Re: [asa] ID question? - TE does or doesn't 'limit evolution'?

George wrote:

"I agree that evolution as a totalizing metanarrative should be challenged."
Yes, Amen!

O.k. and so now what?

Especially repeated for the 'anti-creationists': almost nobody wants to be called the 20th century - 'creationist' - term in the 21st century. But, as ASA says, "We believe in Creation!" And let me add, "in creativity".

This view supports my question about "how TE limits evolution." I don't think many people have been very successful thus far in their task (all of Ted's 'heroes' included). Perhaps this is one reason why you resist the label of 'theistic evolutionist' George?

Perhaps there is something better waiting in the wings???

- G. Arago

From: George Murphy <>
To: Ted Davis <>; asa <>; Gregory Arago <>
Sent: Thu, October 29, 2009 5:57:19 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] ID question? - TE does or doesn't 'limit evolution'?

Gregory -

To Ted's comments let me add a bit. 1st, of course, a question about what
TEs are doing assumes that TEs are a well-defined group, which is highly
debateable. But let that pass for now.

Saying "biological evolution" instead of just evolution & distinguishing
that as a science from "evolutionism" as a philosophy - & especially as a
"totalizing meta-narrative" - is one way TEs "limit evolution." I often try
to do that at least at the beginning of a presentation for non-specialists.
Perhaps TEs could do that more consistently. But I have to return to a
point I've tried to make to you before. Especially in brief comments &
informal discourse among people who know what the subject is, it becomes
very tiresome to repeat qualifications that everyone in the community of
discourse understands. If one doesn't realize that & puts in all the
qualifications every time one uses a word then every conversation takes on
the character of a legal brief & it becomes very tedious.

I agree that evolution as a totalizing metanarrative should be challenged.
But that's something different from what I think you may want (correct me if
I'm wrong) - i.e., limiting the use of the word entirely to biological
evolution. The term "stellar evolution," e.g., is generally accepted
terminology in astronomy & astrophysics.
It isn't the same kind of thing as biological evolution. (If you tried to
talk about a "struggle for survival" among stars you'd be faced with the
fact that the stars that get the most resources - i.e., material - in an
interstellar cloud survive for the shortest time!) In practice you're not
going to get rid of the term - astrophysicists just won't pay any attention
if you try.

I suspect your concern, though, is more with "cultural evolution." Whether
or not that's an accepted term among cultural anthropologists you might know
better than I. In any case I can't see that it should be problematic as
long as one doesn't view it as just a sub-category of biological evolution.
(In particular, cultural evolution - if you allow the term - has a strongly
Lamarckian character lacking in biological evolution.)


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Received on Thu Oct 29 11:53:52 2009

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