RE: [asa] Interesting review by Beckwith of the book Signature in the Cell

From: Dehler, Bernie <>
Date: Mon Dec 14 2009 - 12:12:23 EST

Not bingo for me. I agree with this part:

"Nevertheless, I am not convinced that the sort of design detected by ID advocates defeats materialism, since, as I noted above, ID advocates appear to be offering a more sophisticated version of one of the bad side affects of the Enlightenment: gaps in laws and chance are the very places in which God (or a non-natural intelligent agent) may enter."

Yes- that is the god of the gaps approach, not good.

However, I think this is wrong and misleading:

"The ID advocate tries to detect instances of design in nature by eliminating chance and necessity (or scientific law). This implies that one has no warrant to say that the latter two are the result of an intelligence that brought into being a whole universe whose parts, including its laws and those events that are apparently random, seem to work in concert to achieve a variety of ends. But this is precisely the position advanced by Thomas Aquinas and most classical theists."

That is 'precisely' the position of Thomas Aquinas? Aquinas didn't believe in 'de novo' creation of man? I think the author is wrong- Aquinas did believe in 'de novo' creation for man. Aquinas would support evolution?
"Obviously, the contemporary natural sciences are in crucial ways quite different from their Aristotelian predecessors. Aquinas and others in the Middle Ages would have found strange indeed Darwinian arguments of common descent by natural selection."
As for "classical theists," that is really vague. Who gets to pick the members of this group?

Anyways, I'm not sure why one would want to appeal to ancient theologians who were wrong on many things. Here's Aquinas on women (whom he thought were all defective):
"Centuries later, St. Thomas Aquinas still considered women as defective: "As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active force in the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of woman comes from a defect in the active force or from some material indisposition, or even from some external influence.""

This author is over-reaching in his ID rebuttal, I think.


-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Terry M. Gray
Sent: Friday, December 11, 2009 11:34 AM
To: AmericanScientificAffiliation
Subject: Re: [asa] Interesting review by Beckwith of the book Signature in the Cell



On Dec 11, 2009, at 8:08 AM, Austerberry, Charles F. wrote:

> Charles (Chuck) F. Austerberry, Ph.D.
> Nebraska Religious Coalition for Science Education

Terry M. Gray, Ph.D.
Computer Support Scientist
Chemistry Department
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
(o) 970-491-7003 (f) 970-491-1801

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Received on Mon Dec 14 12:12:34 2009

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