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

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Tue Nov 17 2009 - 10:59:47 EST

 On Mon, Nov 16, 2009 at 2:47 PM, Schwarzwald <> wrote:
> Well, I may be outside the ID movement, but I can imagine one response. ID
> is very critical of the aid and comfort they see some Christians giving to
> atheists by means of their endorsement of "Darwinian" evolution,
> particularly via their associated with the NCSE and other groups. But I can
> imagine one way to put ID proponents, even YECs, at much greater ease. Have
> the NCSE and other groups (the AAAS, perhaps the NAS, etc) expressly state
> the following: "Science has nothing to say about the presence or lack of
> guidance, or teleology, in evolutionary theory. It is entirely possible for
> evolution to have been guided by God, or man to have been one intended
> outcome of evolution. But discerning guidance or design in evolution, or its
> lack, is entirely outside of science."
Note some excerpts from Science, Evolution, and Creationism (2008) published
by the National Academies Press, the authoritative source for all books from
the National Academy of Science, pp. 10-15. While you might be disappointed
in the lack of eschewing ateleology below but that's because to date there
has been no scientific evidence for teleology. But that doesn't
*disprove*either guidance or teleology since that would be proving a
negative and
that's what the NAS is doing over and over and over again below.

In science, explanations must be based on naturally occurring phenomena.
Natural causes are, in principle, reproducible and therefore can be checked
independently by others. If explanations are based on purported forces that
are outside of nature, scientists have no way of either confirming or
disproving those explanations. Any scientific explanation has to be
*testable *— there must be possible observational consequences that could
support the idea *but also ones that could refute it*. Unless a proposed
explanation is framed in a way that some observational evidence could
potentially count against it, that explanation cannot be subjected to
scientific testing.


Science is not the only way of knowing and understanding.
*But science is a way of knowing that differs from other ways in its
dependence on empirical evidence and testable explanations.*


*Today, many religious denominations accept that biological evolution has
produced the diversity of living things over billions of years of Earth’s
history. Many have issued statements observing that evolution and the tenets
of their faiths are compatible. Scientists and theologians have written
eloquently about their awe and wonder at the history of the universe and of
life on this planet, explaining that they see no conflict between their
faith in God and the evidence for evolution. Religious denominations that do
not accept the occurrence of evolution tend to be those that believe in
strictly literal interpretations of religious texts.*

*Science and religion are based on different aspects of human experience. In
science, explanations **must be based on evidence drawn from examining the
natural world. Scientifically based observations or experiments that
conflict with an explanation eventually must **lead to modification or even
abandonment of that explanation. Religious faith, in contrast, does not
depend only on empirical evidence, is not necessarily modified in the face
of conflicting evidence, and typically involves supernatural forces or
entities. Because they are not a part of nature, supernatural entities
cannot be investigated by science. *

*In this sense, science and religion are separate and address aspects of
human understanding in different ways. Attempts to pit science and religion
against each other create controversy where none needs to exist. [emphasis

*“[T]here is no contradiction between an evolutionary theory of human
origins and the doctrine of God as Creator.”*

*— General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church*

*“In his encyclical **Humani Generis (1950), my predecessor Pius XII has
already affirmed that there is no conflict between evolution and the
doctrine of the faith regarding man and his vocation, provided that we do
not lose sight of certain fixed points. . . . Today, more than a
half-century after the appearance of that encyclical, some new findings lead
us toward the recognition of evolution as more than an hypothesis. In fact
it is remarkable that this theory has had progressively greater influence on
the spirit of researchers, following a series of discoveries in different
scholarly disciplines. The convergence in the results of these independent
studies — which was neither planned nor sought — constitutes in itself a
significant argument in favor of the theory.”*

*— Pope John Paul II, Message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, October
22, 1996.*


*Scientists, like people in other professions, hold a wide range of
positions about religion and the role of supernatural forces or entities in
the universe. Some adhere to a position known as scientism, which holds that
the methods of science alone are sufficient for discovering everything there
is to know about the universe. Others ascribe to an idea known as deism,
which posits that God created all things and set the universe in motion but
no longer actively directs physical phenomena. Others are theists, who
believe that God actively intervenes in the world. Many scientists who
believe in God, either as a prime mover or as an active force in the
universe, *

*“Creationists inevitably look for God in what science **has not yet
explained or in what they claim science **cannot explain. Most scientists
who are religious **look for God in what science does understand and **has

*— Kenneth Miller, professor of biology at Brown **University and author of
*Finding Darwin’s God: A **Scientist’s Search for Common Ground Between God
**and Religion*. Quote is excerpted from an interview *available at

*“In my view, there is no conflict in being **a rigorous scientist and a
person who **believes in a God who takes a personal **interest in each one
of us. Science’s **domain is to explore nature. God’s **domain is in the
spiritual world, a realm **not possible to explore with the tools and
of science. It must be examined **with the heart, the mind, and the soul.”*

*— Francis Collins, director of the **Human Genome Project and of **the
National Human Genome **Research Institute at the National **Institutes of
Health. Excerpted **from his book, *
*The Language of God: **A Scientist Presents Evidence for **Belief *(p. 6).

“Our scientific understanding of the universe . . . provides for those who
believe in God a marvelous opportunity to reflect upon their beliefs.”

— Father George Coyne, Catholic priest and former director of the Vatican
Observatory. Quote is from a talk, “Science Does Not Need God, or Does It? A
Catholic Scientist Looks at Evolution,” at Palm Beach Atlantic University,

January 31, 2006. Available at
Rich Blinne

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Received on Tue Nov 17 11:00:13 2009

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