Re: [asa] Endosymbiosis

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Mon Nov 02 2009 - 13:11:15 EST

Ted has already mentioned Polkinghorne. His book The Faith of a Physicist, while its discussions of evolution are relatively brief, might be a place to start on him. The book follows the format of the Nicene Creed.

My own approach, that I've labelled "chiasmic cosmology," has been to put the scientific picture of the world in the context of a theology of the cross. Several of my articles in Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, available at the ASA website, deal with this. My most thorough treatment is of this is The Cosmos in the Light of the Cross (Trinity Press International, 2003). Large portions of this, including most of the chapter on evolution (but unfortunately omitting the one on divine action), are at .

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Schwarzwald
  Sent: Sunday, November 01, 2009 8:41 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] Endosymbiosis

  Heya George,

  I agree a serious Christian theology should do that. And certainly it does not have to be "created from scratch", and I'd further agree that traditional Christianity has much, very much, to say on these "modern scientific" topics that are relevant.

  Can you name some examples, then? I'm talking here about books in particular, even articles, that relate to this - and how you see them relating, if you care to say.

  On Sun, Nov 1, 2009 at 8:21 PM, George Murphy <> wrote:

    Developing an adequate narrative that contextualizes the science in a responsible way is precisely what a serious Christian theology should do. & such a narrative does not have to be created from scratch because the necessary components already exist within the Christian tradition.


      ----- Original Message -----
      From: Schwarzwald
      Sent: Sunday, November 01, 2009 6:42 PM
      Subject: Re: [asa] Endosymbiosis

      There's something I'd like to draw attention to here: The fact that Margulis (and seemingly neo-darwinists) place quite a lot of emphasis on and stock in something that seems very "extra-scientific". Namely, narratives. Nature as being competition-centric, "red in tooth and claw" versus nature as cooperative, achieving symbiotic relationships, etc. I suppose we could add in other views, like Michael Denton's perspective on nature as arranged such that the introduction and development of life (and eventually, intelligent life) as being inevitable. Or Simon Conway Morris' views that nature is rather tightly constrained, inevitably leading to certain forms (and again, inevitably, intelligent life). I'm sure there are others.

      Now, I'd argue that all of these views - from Margulis' and the Neo-Darwinists' to Conway Morris' and Denton's - are ultimately not pure science. And I also recognize that TEs don't have a unified view on such things. However, I do think this sort of thing is incredibly important for TEs (and ID proponents) to not only think about, but to write about, even cooperate on. And I also think that the reaction to Margulis and Lovelock should be taken note of. If I'm right that these "narratives" are ultimately extra-scientific, yet still treated as topics of professional interest by scientists, then I think this illustrates a problem that TEs are going to eventually have to face (and are being faced now by men like Conway Morris, etc.) Namely, the bulk of the controversy with religion and evolution does not have to do with the science itself, and that accepting the science yet rejecting the narrative (or worse, proposing an alternative narrative - say, one that emphasizes teleology and otherwise) is inevitably going to lead to a conflict that will at once be both inside and outside "science".

      Or, put another way: For TEs, just as with ID proponents, it's not going to be enough to accept the science and the data. Rejecting that extra-scientific narrative means that the spot that (rightly or wrongly) Behe and Dembski occupy today, will be occupied tomorrow by Ken Miller, Conway Morris, and others (and, at least with the more rabid wing - whose influence even I think is on the wane - 'tomorrow' is 'today'.)

      On Sat, Oct 31, 2009 at 8:53 PM, Randy Isaac <> wrote:

          Lynn Margulis has done a lot of railing against neo-Darwinism over the years. She really is a maverick--and a rather refreshing one, in a way. (She was the first wife of Carl Sagan) She came up with the endosymbiotic theory which emphasized the cooperative element in prokaryotic evolution. That is, different prokaryotic strains merged. Strongly rejected at first, it's become more accepted now, I think. In a broader sense, she emphasizes cooperation among various species, and consequent gene sharing, instead of competition. She loves to tweak neo-darwinists for their emphasis on competition.
          She's pretty feisty in her manner. I think she was somehow involved with Lovelock in developing the Gaia hypothesis.
          When she calls a "mechanism" of evolution as being bogus, it's pretty clear she's trying to get more acceptance of her own ideas of the importance of cooperation relative to competition. As usual, both sides have probably exaggerated the relative importance of their own ideas and there's an element of truth on both sides.

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: David Clounch
          To: Gregory Arago
          Cc: George Murphy ; Ted Davis ; asa
          Sent: Saturday, October 31, 2009 7:02 PM
          Subject: Re: [asa] ID question? - TE does or doesn't 'limit evolution'?

          I just witnessed Lynn Margulis rail against 'neo-Darwinism' *and* 'western' biologists wrt their supposed 'mechanisms' of 'evolution,' which she thinks are bogus)

          Can you point to this? Thanks.

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Received on Mon Nov 2 13:11:47 2009

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