Re: Irredeemably tainted words.

Brian D Harper (
Sun, 02 Mar 1997 21:44:54 -0500

At 07:36 AM 2/26/97 +0800, Steve Jones wrote:
>On Wed, 19 Feb 1997 01:23:53 -0500, Brian D Harper wrote:
>>LH>Nope, my point is that they are all the *same* case. They are
>>different in degree, not in kind. The terms mechanics, law,
>>chance, behavior, conditioning, logic, evidence, and evolution all
>>have useful technical meanings in several branches of science. (In
>>the case of evolution, in astronomy and engineering as well as
>>SJ>No doubt once "evolution", carefully defined and used, could once
>>have had a distinct scientific meaning. But these days it has so
>>many meanings (including mainly non-theistic ones), that it is
>>indeed "tainted beyond redemption". Ask a man in the street, "Do
>>you believe in God?" and you are likely to get the reply, "No, I
>>believe in evolution".
>SJ>No comment? No doubt because it is unanswerable!

Argument from silence?

The reply to this question obviously depends on which street you
are in. As regarding most American streets, I'll let Phil answer
this unanswerable question:

"According to public opinion polls, the vast majority of
Americans are _theists_, which means they believe (or
at least say they believe) that we were created by God,
... -- Phil, from the introduction to RitB


>SJ>The *real* reason why Loren (and other TEs) don't like my quotes
>>is that since they believe that evolution is true, the posting of
>>arguments against evolution must, in the long run, be
>>counterproductive to the best interests of Christianity.
>BH>Again, Steve claims to know the heart of others and this time
>>specifically Loren in addition to "other TEs". Never mind what
>>Loren and others say, Steve knows the *real* reason. How does
>>he know the *real* reason? Perhaps he'll tell us.
>SJ>Brian's attempt to sidetrack the debate into another channel where I
>have to defend his (and Loren's) imaginary claim that I can read
>minds and hearts. One does not have to "know the heart..TEs" to
>make this rather elementary deduction:
>1. "since they" (ie TEs) "believe that evolution is true"
>therefore "they" (ie TEs) "believe that":
>2. "the posting of arguments against evolution must, in the long
>run, be counterproductive to the best interests of Christianity".
>If Brian disagrees with either of those two self-evident
>propositions, then I invite him to say which one.

It never even occured to me that "the posting of arguments against
evolution must, in the long run, be counterproductive to the best
interests of Christianity". How you think this is self evident is
beyond me. But now that you have brought it up, I will say that as
far as I'm concerned, it is false. The posting of evidence against
evolution is not counterproductive to the best interests of
Christianity in the long run or in the short run or in the middle run.

I am curious though. Do you think the posting of evidence for
evolution is against the best interests of Christianity in the
long run?


>>SJ>1. TE/ECs are "the cream of Christian scientists";
>>2. they "have largely accomodated their thinking to scientific
>>naturalism" and
>BH>How can you possibly know this Steve? Just recently you quoted
>>something I said a long time ago regarding my reasons for switching
>>postions. I stated very briefly four reasons:
>BH>3) I like the theology. Sorry, I don't mean to shock people ;-).
>BH>Funny thing Steve. I didn't list accomodating my thinking to
>>scientific naturalism.
>SJ>Brian didn't have to. It is evident in his overt hostility to
>those like me who oppose "scientific naturalism'.

First, lets review what scientific naturalism is. You earlier
gave this quote from Phil:

"A variety of terms have been used in the literature to designate the
philosophical position I call scientific naturalism. For present
purposes, the following terms may all be considered, equivalent:
scientific naturalism, evolutionary naturalism, scientific
materialism, and scientism. All these terms imply that scientific
investigation is either the exclusive path to knowledge or at least
by far the most reliable path, and that only natural or material
phenomena are real. In other words, what science can't study is
effectively unreal." (Johnson P.E., "Darwin on Trial", 1993, p116).

My record will stand for itself. I oppose scientific naturalism.
I have opposed it over and over here. I have opposed it on I oppose it in discussions with my colleagues.
Whenever I can, I oppose it in my lectures. I oppose it in
conversations with students. I oppose it in conversations with
friends at church. I have never accomodated my thinking to
scientific naturalism. To do so would be to reject everything
I believe.

>BH>In fact I specifically mentioned in (3) that "I like the
>SJ>Yes. I left that in. I thought it highly significant. Especially
>the bit "Sorry, I don't mean to shock people ;-)"

I thought it significant because so many told me I would have
to accomodate my theology to accept TE. I found out that my
theology fits TE better than PC. I'm not going to get into
a longwinded discussion of my theology. If you want a rough
idea what it is, you can read <The Baptist Faith and Message>
published by the Southern Baptist Convention.

Brian Harper
Associate Professor
Applied Mechanics
The Ohio State University

"Should I refuse a good dinner simply because I
do not understand the process of digestion?"
-- Oliver Heaviside