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

From: Gregory Arago <>
Date: Tue Nov 17 2009 - 15:30:14 EST

Hi Ted, Thanks for this! No worries about lack of replies due to going on the road, as I'll also do the same in a few days. It's a tough time right now to keep engaged with this list. I certainly get the drift of what you're saying and would not want you to disclose confidential conversations here on this public list. But Ted, your reported results betray your own percentages! You note 5 people (no doubt each is an actual person that you've met or corresponded with) who are ID leaders and only *one* of them is YEC! I assume the TE is not YEC. That's still certainly *not* the 90% you claimed were 'young earthers' in the 'Big Tent'! You write: "A few people responded, and one of them corrected a conclusion, by telling me that he or she is actually agnostic about the earth's age, whereas I had that person pegged as a YEC." The point here is that your TE position doesn't *allow* them to remain agnostic. But they are not YEC! You simply *require* a position about 'age of earth' in order for them to qualify to be a 'scientist.' With this I respectfully still disagree.  Yes, I believe you that Dembski is not a 'young earther.' No need to try to convince me. As is Behe an 'old earther'. Paul Nelson is unusual as a 'young earther' in the 'Big Tent' among ID leaders, indeed. We are in full agreement here Ted, public record and all. But this acceptance of 'old earth' is just among the IDM's leaders, and not the 'lay people,' isn't this what you're suggesting? Re: 'common descent' - I really do think there is much still to be said on this in the land of science, philosophy and theology/religious studies. 'Common descent' and 'natural selection' are both fuzzy linguistically; not tight, not rigourous. If a person, say, is a descendant of ancestors hailing from five different continents, does that make them an 'uncommon descent'? In some people's eyes they are certainly 'uncommon.' If you disagree, then you seriously need to define 'common.' And I wonder also about our 'ascent' in many ways... "Impossible that we've ascended!" will say some. "I am aware of only one [IDist] who clearly accepts common descent; that's Behe.  Possibly, one or two others (one of whom is in genetics) might also accept common descent, but I am not sure about that.  I am aware of many who do not, and I'm certain about that." - Ted Yes, I think we'll have to let this wait for another time. Cameron is much better on this topic than I am and many of his 'biological' questions have gone unanswered on this list (though I'm sure if Venema could answer them he delightfully would do so). TEs are not contributing much to this discussion either, it doesn't seem. But we really do need to see Nelson's UoChicago publication and open a new conversation about this at some point. You may be surprised, Ted, but I'd believe your private conclusions if you told me about them publically on this list. I think you're wrong about the 90/10% issue of the 'Big Tent.' And I have my own private experiences. But then again, I could just as easily turn this around to challenge TE too. Just look at Rich Blinne's recent statement as an example. You don't have a core to this flimsy philosophy of TE, isn't it obvious? There must be a better way than the unfortunate 20th century concept duo of 'theistic evolution'...and there really already is (but it isn't called 'intelligent + design')! Wrt my supposed TDI connections, you are reaching here and rightly skeptical. I do think you generally know what you're talking about and for goodness sake, you are in USA while I'm thousands of miles away with memories and friends! What I also think is that you have found no other way, than TE or YEC or OEC or ID, or MN or PN, and thus you are understandably defending your turf. Whereas someone who didn't experience 30 years of American polemics on this topic is much freer to fare forward on the topic. And let me just say that today I gave an interview with someone that will help to do fare foward. No more drifting. Gregory ________________________________ From: Ted Davis <> To:; Schwarzwald <>; Gregory Arago <> Sent: Tue, November 17, 2009 9:57:48 PM Subject: Re: [asa] Re: On the Barr-West exchange and ID/TE Gregory, I am about to go on the road for several days, and so I can't reply to all of this for awhile.  And, no, my failure to do so does not mean that I have no response (as you are inferring from Rich's silence on another matter).  I respond now only to this part: >>> Gregory Arago <> 11/17/2009 12:56 PM >>> Ted wrote: "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)." O.k. Ted, since Rich is not answering me because doing so would be putting the lie to his assertation about ID and YEC being so closely connected, the same can be asked of you: make a Top Ten List of ID theorists, your List, Ted Davis' List, and count for me how many of those individual persons don't accept 'ancient earth' or 'common descent.' Doing so will settle this ambiguity and stop annoying me because almost everyone on this list is speaking nonsense right now about things they cannot possibly know - sheer speculation! Otherwise, I'll just continue to think you're badly mistaken as I've met probaby just as many of the 'ID leaders' as you have Ted, and they don't present themselves as 'young earthers'! *** Gregory, for a few years I was in regular conversation with a very large group of ID people.  Among many other things we discussed, I tried as hard as I could to get specific responses to specific questions about these very matters.  Indeed, I went on record with a statement giving my own interpretation/analysis of the views of several Fellows of TDI and some other people.  I said, basically, this type of thing: Person 1 is probably an OEC Person 2 is probably an OEC Person 3 is probably a YEC Person 4 is definitely at TE Person 5 is definitely an OEC You get the drift. In connection with this, I pointed out specifically that, without explicit statements from each person, the best I could do was to offer a highly educated guess--based on what each person had written publicly, coupled with private knowledge of some other opinions.  I invited, begged, and challenged anyone in the range of my statements to correct any inaccurate conclusions I had drawn. A few people responded, and one of them corrected a conclusion, by telling me that he or she is actually agnostic about the earth's age, whereas I had that person pegged as a YEC.  The others confirmed them.  Most said nothing at all.  One important person then called me out in precisely the manner in which you have, above: that I was only speculating, that I had no basis for these conclusions.  Well, Gregory, I did have a basis for those conclusions: I can read literature on science/religion, including ID, with more experience than most others (I've been reading it for nearly 40 years).  I am very alert to what is said, and what is not said, about various issues.  I can read between the lines.  AND, keep this in mind, I invited anyone to correct anything I had said.  Silence, as they say, gives consent.  Since then, some of the people I had mentioned have come out with books or articles in which their views are very clearly identified, in terms of the traditional YEC/OEC/TE spectrum, and in every case I am aware of my stated conclusion has turned out to be correct.  For example, Bill Dembski is an OEC; if you don't think that's fair and accurate, go read "The End of Christianity," his latest book. I have at least twice published in an article the statement that ID is mainly a covert kind of OEC, and I believe that to be very accurate.  Behe is an exception; Paul Nelson (openly a YEC) is an exception; but, overall, it's accurate. Of the most well-known current advocates of ID (I leave out some like Denton or Robin Collins who no longer wish to be identified with ID), I am aware of only one who clearly accepts common descent; that's Behe.  Possibly, one or two others (one of whom is in genetics) might also accept common descent, but I am not sure about that.  I am aware of many who do not, and I'm certain about that.  Do you want to draw up a list of leading ID people, Gregory, and have me tell you what I think each person thinks, relative to the earth's age and common descent?  Or, do you want me to pick a list and start talking?  The problem is, I am not going to reveal things told to me in confidence, and you won't believe my conclusions without more specifics that I can provide publicly.  But, public statements are enough for lots of ID proponents.  I imagine that you will use your TDI connections to claim that I don't know what I'm talking about, but forgive me if I end up showing scepticism toward your scepticism. I have to step away from the list now for awhile, Gregory, but I'll try to come back to this later. Ted __________________________________________________________________ Ask a question on any topic and get answers from real people. Go to Yahoo! Answers and share what you know at

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Received on Tue Nov 17 15:30:47 2009

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