Re: [asa] Re: On the Barr-West exchange and ID/TE

From: Ted Davis <>
Date: Mon Nov 16 2009 - 21:14:19 EST


I have little to add to this thread, and even less time to say it. I'm fine with leaving our differences out there, except to reply to these 2 points of yours:

<As for your third point, I have two problems. First, this demand that ID
proponents shrink their big tent: Take a definite stance on the age of the
earth (Despite, in my memory, never seeing a post at UD (everyone's favorite
ID example) arguing for an old earth. Maybe there's been one, but if so it's
been swamped out by other posts) and endorse common descent. Merely making a
place for people who believe in an old earth, or evolution, or common
descent is insufficient: A statement must be made. Do this, and Christian
scientists will be vastly less critical of the ID movement.>

Yes, I do think that the "big tent" should shrink, and I realize that if ID expressly endorsed an ancient earth & universe and common descent that it would shrink to perhaps 10% of its present size (perhaps even less). Nevertheless, Schwarzwald, I contend that any viewpoint on science lacks credibility if it does not grant the general legitimacy of those scientific conclusions. If you can't say those things, from what we know about geology, cosmology, physics, and genetics, then what can we say? It's one thing to have big reservations about the efficacy of unguided NS to do everything it is claimed to do; it's another thing entirely to imply that those other things might not be well established, legitimate conclusions of science.

<Second, you take issue with ID supposedly "creating doubt about the
confidence that ordinary people ought to place in the conclusions of
scientists, including the conclusions that scientists have drawn on matters
such as these." Well, Ted, I think this question is one hell of a hornet's
nest. I won't say much on it here, since far too much would need to be said.
But I have to say: I think you clearly believe there is a certain scope to a
scientist's conclusions, and scientists have gone beyond this scope and
abused their scientific authority. It's the typical example, one of many,
but I'll reach for it now: Eugenics.>

Not a good comparison, IMO, Schwarzwald. This is related to what I said above: if you don't know what good science looks like, then what's the basis for questioning "Darwinism"? Eugenics was from the get-go a social and political program in applied science, and one with profound moral implications. I fail to see any parallel here to saying that the universe is 13.7 BY old, or that our knowledge of the human genome is highly consistent with common descent. Those seem to have the status of "facts." They are either true or not, based on empirical findings. Eugenics was another ball of wax. A lot of scientists liked it, and it used some scientific facts as springboards, but it wasn't about those facts in the first place.


To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Mon Nov 16 21:14:57 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Mon Nov 16 2009 - 21:14:57 EST