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

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Thu Oct 29 2009 - 13:19:33 EDT

You are apparently operating under the illusion that eveyone who is lumped in the amorphous category of theistic evolution actually holds a grand philosophy called "theistic evolution." Most don't - including, I think, all those on the asa list. TE isn't a philosophy but just a rough term designating people who think that belief in God and acceptance of biological evolution are compatible. Evolution is already limited as far as we're concerned so all your criticisms about our failure to limit it are irrelevant. Perhaps some of us can be criticized for not saying often enough, or loudly enough, that it's limited, but that has nothing to do with any lack of philosophical understanding.

Probably the reason that there is "silence from the dogmatic TEs" is that there aren't any.


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Gregory Arago
  To: ; asa ; Ted Davis
  Sent: Thursday, October 29, 2009 12:22 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] ID question? - TE does or doesn't 'limit evolution'?

  What ridiculous condscension, Rev. George! But is it 'brilliant'? No.

  Dissertation is finished. Thanks for your support! : )

  Your 'bluster' is based on a weak philosophy, sorry to say. (as you are a theologian and theoretical physicist, while I am 'trained' in philosophy, this is a legit criticism.)

  Warm as usual to your (kenotic) 'theology of the cross'. What Christian could *possibly* debate with that? The indefensible sinner...

  Dined with a Lutheran pastor/priest a few days ago. Much more humble and humourous than you (in e-version), George. It was a pleasure! ))

  Why not respect me outside of your 'sandbox,' George, instead of attacking me for thinking differently than you and your retired entrenchment. You really can't know everything, aside from pretences. Do it please, with references and not just with hot air.

  I assume that Ted's failure to 'limit evolution' is reminiscient of yours too, George. It's just as easy as speaking about "Things that don't evolve." Silence from the dogmatic TEs!

  Not a 'recent anti-theist,' but still friendly to ASA,
  - Gregory

  From: "" <>
  To: asa <>; Gregory Arago <>; Ted Davis <>
  Sent: Thu, October 29, 2009 6:34:48 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] ID question? - TE does or doesn't 'limit evolution'?

  You're great at claiming "support" & (as in the post I just replied to) victory when none exists. I answered your question. Your reply, OTOH, is just bluster.

  Shouldn't you be working on your dissertation?


  ---- Gregory Arago <> wrote:
> 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 13:19:53 2009

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