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

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Thu Oct 29 2009 - 14:08:12 EDT

How am I challenging totalistic evolution? For starters, if I may quote from my earlier post:

'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.'

I also pointed out there that the meaning of "evolution" in terms like "stellar evolution" and "cultural evolution" differs significantly from that in "biological evolution."

& there's also what I don't do - i.e., talk about evolution all the time. Even though I certainly think it's appropriate, & at times even necessary, to address evolution & issues it raises in preaching, in the great majority of my sermons over the past 28 years I've never mentioned it. A lot of what I've written about religion & science makes little or no mention of evolution.

Other points:

If I don't emphasize the limits of evolution often enough it's not because of a fear of being identified as a "creationist" in the popular sense. No one who understands my views even slightly would make that mistake.

It may be ridiculous to suggest that "God evolves" but in a loose sense at least that's what process theology does. I'm not a process theologian.

I'm not sure what's made you think I believe that "God's ethics evolve." It's certainly true that there is development in the ethical standards in scripture - e.g., from unlimited vengeance through limited retribution to forgiveness & love of enemy. But I see that as God's accomodation to human capacities rather than in any sense God deciding, e.g., that maybe exterminating the family of someone who injured you isn't a good idea.

I think I want to have more discussion of the matter - and definition of terms - before I sign up to defeat "physicalism."


  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Gregory Arago
  To: Gregory Arago ; ; asa ; Ted Davis
  Sent: Thursday, October 29, 2009 1:34 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] ID question? - TE does or doesn't 'limit evolution'?

  "I agree that evolution as a totalizing metanarrative should be challenged." - George Murphy

  Yes, Amen!

  So, how are you challenging totalistic evolution, George?

  What are the limits of 'evolution' as a concept, idea, paradigm, framework, Rev. George? Surely there are some.

  To me it seems ridiculous to suggest that 'God evolves.' Yet you have suggested that 'God's ethics evolve,' haven't you?

  I don't expect you to have an alternative to 'naturalism' (i.e. raising the conversation to ideology), but rather that you might somehow contribute to a dialogue in which 'physicalism' is defeated, 'materialism' is defeated, and in which 'naturalism' is placed in contrast to *higher* (i.e. more complex) fields such as anthropology, economics, psychology, or sociology (i.e. where the most important topics that sway the 'public' about the *reality* or *non-reality* of 'evolution' remain), so that a crude (let's even call it 'vulgar') 'evolutionism' as a totalizing ideology cannot gain a foothold. But it seems that you resist this role, George, for whatever reason, and I don't understand why. But then again, I am not american!

  You are against 'evolution' as a totalizing metanarrative. Hurrah!!! Yet it seems you are hesitant to take this view any further because you don't want to be seen as a 'creationist' by Americans. Is this accurate?


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Received on Thu Oct 29 14:08:55 2009

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