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

From: David Campbell <>
Date: Tue Nov 24 2009 - 17:15:58 EST

> I understand that you think the "big tent" should shrink. But I stand by my
> reply, which demands the shrinking of another "big tent": A statement from
> the NCSE and other "pro-science" groups that it is entirely possible that
> evolution is guided, purposeful, and that the natural world is rife with
> teleology - but that science, properly defined, cannot prove or disprove
> these things. This would go a long way towards demonstrating that
> evolutionary theory really is compatible with Christianity (certainly this
> is a principle concern?), and that the groups which commit so much effort to
> getting people to "believe in evolution" are not doing so with the goal of
> harming their religious beliefs.

I would be happy with such a statement. My sense is that NCSE, Ken
Miller, etc. generally lack the theological acumen to handle such a
statement, but that's probably what they mean to convey in statements
of the compatibility of faith and science.

ID and unintelligent undesign (e.g., Dawkins) both insist that science
can prove or disprove those things. However, biology can tell us
whether something is functional, not whether it is desirable (cf. the
is-ought problem noted by Hume or Prince Caspian's point about
distinguishing between Progress and Going Bad). Biology identifies
what is and how things change, not what ought or what direction of
change is desirable.

Dr. David Campbell
425 Scientific Collections
University of Alabama
"I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Tue Nov 24 17:16:04 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Tue Nov 24 2009 - 17:16:04 EST