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

From: Murray Hogg <>
Date: Tue Nov 17 2009 - 17:35:55 EST

Hi Greg,

Respectfully, I think you missed the point of my remarks.

I know you make the same "critique" (reason for quotes discussed below) of TE's that I offered in respects of Behe - indeed that one could offer similar criticisms of ID/YEC as others have offered in respect to TE/Darwinism was precisely my point. "What's sauce for the Goose..." and all that.

In that regard the point of the articles was not that they were accurate - I quite clearly acknowledged that their accuracy could not be assumed. The point was simply that Behe's appearance at a conference which was avowedly anti-evolution and pro-YEC is just inviting people to conclude that ID and YEC are very cosy bedfellows at the very least.

What I actually find bemusing here is that that ID proponents seem to find such an obvious connection between TE and Darwinism DESPITE loud, long, and frequent objections to that association by TE's.

And yet, here we have a prominent ID advocate who has made NO such objection to the connection of ID and YEC, who had the opportunity to distance himself from YEC in the Kitzmiller (Dover) trial yet refused to take it, who has accepted a place on the podium at an anti-evolution, pro-YEC conference, and who is himself very clear that he is NOT dogmatic on the question of direct divine involvement in the evolutionary/creative process - and yet I am met with the instance that those who infer from this that Behe is pro YEC are the ones making unjustified inferences?

Let me be clear here: I'm not asking Behe to make any denunciations of YEC, nor even arguing that his view IS in anyway compatible with it. All I'm pointing out is that one might allow that there are legitimate reasons why people make the ID/YEC connection - just as their are reasons why people make the TE/Darwinism connection. Particularly so when those making such connections - in both instances - are relatively ignorant of, or perhaps don't even care about, the finer details of the debate.

And let me get back to those quote marks around "critique" above. Note that in NONE of this have I accused Behe of dishonesty or disingenuity or anything of the sort. I actually agree with Cameron Wybrow that Behe is one of the more civilized proponents in the entire origins discussion. And in that regard my comments about his naivety and optimism are, in a certain respect, compliments. They are indications that Behe is prepared to enter into discussion in the hope that people might actually be open to new ideas.

I also don't consider Behe to be under any obligation to take a trenchant position with respect to YEC, any more than I believe TE's are under any obligation to take a trenchant position with respect to "Darwinism". He is perfectly at liberty to court YEC's, to engage in respectful dialogue with them, and whatever else he desires to do. Let's just not continue with any patronizing nonsense that in so doing his critics are obliged to interpret this as a clear and decisive distancing of ID and YEC on Behe's part.


Gregory Arago wrote:
> Hi Murray,
> I wouldn't take the American media (or Metanexus) too heavily on this...
> But I too "challenge Darwinian evolution's fitness to survive", along
> with many others, including biologists like Lynn Margulis - she does it
> out loud and proud! Do you know that being 'post-Darwinian' is not so
> bad around the world today, rather progressive even in some cases?
> ASA issued a statement saying "We believe in creation!"
> ( Does that make
> everyone in ASA a 'creationist'? No. (Just like *always* going into
> foreign conflicts with America doesn't bring one a peaceful
> international name! Australians usually are friendly people!)
> From one of the articles you cite: “Evolution is God’s way of
> creating.” I'd be much more comfortable with less exclusive language:
> 'evolution is *one* of God's ways of creating.' There are other ways
> too! Can this possibly be acknowledged by TEs?
> Behe is not a YEC. Does he have certain things in 'common' with YECs?
> Sure he does. As do you and I, Murray!
> Wrt naivety, optimism and uncertainty, I'd say exactly the same thing
> about most TEs I've ever heard. Not the one's who are ascribed to being
> 'TE' by others, mind you, but the ones who actually call themselves by
> that confusing concept duo. They are most surely not in the avant garde
> either!
> “The teaching that we ought to treat others as we would like to be
> treated,” Furton said, “is incompatible with a philosophy of the
> survival of fittest.”
> Wouldn't you call that anti-Darwinian, or at least anti-Spencerian?
> Darwin used Spencer's terms in his own writing, we should remember. The
> British naturalist took from the British social philosopher to suit his
> agnostic purposes. Boo on Victorian England for this anti-Christian legacy!
> Gregory
> p.s. thanks for the link! in the words of Behe: "much of our view on the
> way the world works is based on sociology" : )
> p.p.s. as for Lonergan, as a fellow canadian i'd agree within limits,
> and surely would want to set up a debate between Bernard and Pitirim at
> the earliest possible date; they were both integralists, you see!
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> *From:* Murray Hogg <>
> *To:* ASA <>
> *Sent:* Tue, November 17, 2009 11:32:43 PM
> *Subject:* Re: [asa] Re: On the Barr-West exchange and ID/TE
> Gregory Arago wrote:
> > 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,
> Hi Greg,
> I've been reflecting upon reports of a recent presentation given by Behe
> at a recent Catholic conference on ID and creationism;
> Even acknowledging the possibility of, and so allowing for, distortion
> in these reports and the fact that I haven't any access to the
> proceedings, I'd offer the suggestion that no reasonable person would
> deny that Behe's presence at the conference indicates that there is,
> indeed, some sort of connection between at least one prominent ID leader
> and YEC.
> So the question becomes "what sort of connection"?
> Personally, it seems to me that Behe suffers from naivete, optimism, and
> uncertainty in equal measure. Uncertainty in that he seems to sense some
> sort of tension between the ideas of Irreducible Complexity and
> evolution - he certainly can't hold BOTH with assurance and his writings
> seem to me quite clear that he considers this far from a closed book.
> Optimism in that he hopes his work might lead YEC's generally to
> acknowledge that evolution is, by and large, a scientifically well
> grounded theory. Naivety in that he thinks that - in the absence of any
> strong comment by himself one way or the other - people will refrain
> from drawing their own conclusions.
> I'm not saying that Behe is a YEC - but as you yourself routinely point
> out in respect of TE's unguarded advocacy of "evolution" - if it looks
> like a duck, and quacks like a duck, and waddles like a duck, it's
> probably going to give the broader public the perception that it is,
> indeed, a duck.
> Blessings,
> Murray
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Received on Tue Nov 17 17:36:20 2009

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