Re: What my tiny little brain was thinking... [was Re: [asa] Two Amino Acid Difference in Gene May Explain Human Speech]

From: Schwarzwald <>
Date: Fri Nov 13 2009 - 18:09:01 EST

Heya Rich,

The problem I have here pops up when you say "ID argues that theism and the
evolutionary process as understood by modern biology are mutually
exclusive". Again, while I think there are absolutely some ID proponents who
have a problem with evolution (well, 'macroevolution'), full stop, for the
ones who have no bone to pick with "evolution" I think the issues are

1) The very idea that "modern biology" does, in fact, understand the
evolutionary process to the degree it's so often claimed, or at least
strongly implied - and that a front is typically put up of understanding
vastly more than we really do, when in reality many times the best we have
is a nice story.

2) Whether the presentation of "modern biology" is, in fact, wholly
scientific. John West of the DI made this point in his exchange with Stephen
Barr. Barr insisted that evolution was true, but that words like 'random'
don't mean "unguided" or "unplanned" in the relevant sense (ie, 'truly
random', which is in the realm of philosophy, metaphysics, theology, etc) -
that they are qualified terms for the sake of models, etc, and that he
(Barr) believes that God has planned out every event from eternity. John
West replied that if Barr really believes that, then he is in essence on the
side of ID - but that biologists themselves often don't make this
qualification, and that some of them explicitly associate Darwinism with
"true randomness", and metaphysical commitments to unguidedness, etc. And
again, I think it's hard to deny that what West claims has a lot of truth to
it. for
more of this exchange, which I think is one of the most important ones that
have taken place between an ID proponent and a TE in the past year.

3) I think there's an a different major split between ID proponents and TEs:
TEs too often seem vastly more interested in countering YECs than atheists,
and ID proponents (even the ones who believe in evolution, in common
descent, etc) have next to no interest in countering YECs as opposed to
atheists. I do agree that some ID proponents make "unnecessary high stakes"
of their claims (Francis Beckwith explicitly cited this as a major bone of
contention between him/thomists, and ID). And I should stress here, I don't
think 'anti-evolution' types take this route entirely, or even mostly,
because of theological convictions. I think they've bought into what amounts
to well-poisoning by popular atheists - where Darwin's extra-scientific and
exaggerated narrative (which even Lynn Margulis rejects), the recent history
of eugenics, etc.

4) On the other hand, I also think that some TEs seem far too interested in
arguing "science is compatible with..." rather than "from science we can
infer..." And mind you, I say this as someone who thinks evolution,
certainly evolution as we know it, provides a vastly better argument for
theism than atheism. I think 'compatibility' is too modest, vastly too
modest, of a stance to take with regards to evolution. TE's should take the
next step - what we know of evolution and the development/biology of life
and species is a better fit with theism than with atheism. And that's one
reason I repeatedly cite Denton and Conway Morris with enthusiasm - they're
the ones coming closest to making this claim, and they aren't shy about it.

I don't think the second one is quite right. It's the TEs who see the
> unnecessary high stakes of the ID argument and not the ID proponents. More
> on this in a moment. ID says that if evolution didn't happen naturally then
> atheists are out of a job. According to ID, TEs who argue that evolution did
> happen naturally are thinking like -- and in Johnson's opinion are worse
> than -- atheists. What they don't see is the contrapositive of their
> position which you noted. The reason why the contrapositive holds is because
> by and large ID commits the excluded middle fallacy. In other words, ID
> argues that theism and the evolutionary process as understood by modern
> biology are mutually exclusive. This is the biggest difference in my
> opinion between ID and TE. TE sees these as potentially compatible (and so
> does the two premier scientific societies in America, the NAS and AAAS). So,
> disproving ID in essence proves atheism. The New Atheists understand this
> intuitively and have jumped all over this.
> And this brings to the second major issue that TE has with ID. In addition
> to creating the high stakes ID v atheism either/or environment, they produce
> lousy arguments making it easier for the atheists to win. Even if ID in
> theory could produce a good argument, the arguments currently being
> promolgated leave -- shall we say -- much to be desired. And that is why I
> have been very critical of their lousy arguments here. Not because I am in
> any way siding with the atheists but because I am four-square against them.
> Rich Blinne
> Member ASA

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Received on Fri Nov 13 18:09:20 2009

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