Re: [asa] on science and meta-science

From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Thu Nov 12 2009 - 09:56:53 EST

>>> Gregory Arago <> 11/10/2009 3:04 PM >>> wrote, among other things:

You wrote, about ID people believing "the age-old creationist distinction between "microevolution" and "marcoevolution" has real validity."

The terms 'microevolution' and 'macroevolution' were not coined by creationists, but by the Russian entomologist Yuri Filipchenko in 1927.

A parallel case can be identified with 'micro-economics' and 'macro-economics,' which only with difficulty and manipulation collapse into each other. They are really quite different realms of study that nevertheless overlap.


Ted comments:

This is all very interesting, Gregory. I wasn't familiar with the history of this term. The following link seems to be accurate, though I have no particular expertise on this and I can't verify it.

I also agree with the author's assessment, quite succinctly stated: "The misuse of the terms by creationists is all their own work. It is not due to the ways scientists have used them. Basically when creationists use "macroevolution" they mean "evolution which we object to on theological grounds", and by "microevolution" they mean "evolution we either cannot deny, or which is acceptable on theological grounds"."

That pretty much sums it up.

The other point of yours, Gregory, to which I reply is this one:

I am quite sympathetic to Polkinghorne and appreciate you quoting him; he seems to have a very good balance of when to say 'science can't' in enough places that it effectively puts the breaks on a 'total evolution' viewpoint. But as you could guess, Ted, I wouldn't call Polkinghorne a TE, but rather simply a theologian who accepts a limited view of evolution, particulary in the biological sciences. Same goes for McGrath and many others that you call TEs, but which don't need to be called that and which only reluctantly, like George Murphy, would take on such a label.


Ted comments: I won't prolong our disagreement about the term, "TE," and whether or not it has any value. You are however correct that it emerged, as far as I can tell, in an American context; the word "fundamentalist" also emerged in this context but has wider applicability. I'm glad that you like Polkinghorne, Gregory: that's something we can certainly agree on.


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Received on Thu Nov 12 09:57:25 2009

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