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

From: Schwarzwald <>
Date: Wed Nov 25 2009 - 04:22:23 EST

Heya Dave,

I'd be happy with it too. But I disagree - I don't think the NCSE even
desires to make this statement. At most, I think they are open to making
statements which are vague enough that they can be interpreted as being
broadly compatible with such a statement, without their having to actually
say or defend as much. In practice, they have tremendous trouble condemning
"unintelligent undesign". And when "unintelligent undesign" proponents take
them to task for being "appeasers", the response is to - amusingly enough -
attempt to appease them.

Lacking such a statement, they should be dumped by sincere TEs (the type who
believe in an evolution guided by God, in whatever way - front-loaded,
undetectable direct intervention, etc - even while believing detecting such
is entirely outside of science's capabilities). They are presenting a
politically hobbled, intellectually mousy view of evolution and science -
and as a TE myself (with, admittedly, strongly ID-sympathetic tendencies), I
could never recommend anyone to them for a proper understanding of the
distinctions between science and non-science, much less a proper view of
evolution and its compatibility with Christian belief.

On Tue, Nov 24, 2009 at 5:15 PM, David Campbell <>wrote:

> > 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"
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Received on Wed Nov 25 04:22:45 2009

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