Re: The exchange (was Uncle)

Stephen Jones (
Fri, 07 Mar 97 06:15:02 +0800


On Wed, 26 Feb 1997 20:02:29 -0500 (EST), Loren Haarsma wrote:

LH>How would I summarize the last several months' worth of exchanges?
>Like this:

>SJ> Since TE/ECs virtually rule out God's supernatural intervention
>in creation, I would not regard their position as "thoroughly

>LH> TEs/ECs in general do not _a_priori_ "rule out" God's
>supernatural intervention in creation. After studying nature and
>scripture, they conclude that he probably didn't supernaturally
>intervene (beyond normal providential overisght) in biological
>history, and that this is the best assumption from which to move
>forward scientifically and theologically. That is an important

>SJ'> That isn't an important distinction. You effectively "rule
>out" supernatural intervention.

>LH'> Yes, it is an important distinction.

>SJ''> No it isn't.


LH>If my summary is accurate, then perhaps the time has come for me
>to stop repeating myself on this point.

It would be even better if Loren realised that to "conclude that he (God)
probably didn't supernaturally intervene (beyond normal providential
overisght) in biological history" is to "effectively `rule out'
supernatural intervention." If he claims it "isn't" then he needs to *show*
why it "isn't". Just trivialising and ridiculing his opponent is hardly the way
to progress the debate.

On Thu, 27 Feb 1997 10:15:42 -0500, John W. Burgeson wrote:

JWB>Loren wrote, in part: "How would I summarize the exchanges?
Like this:


JWB>FWIW, that's how I "see" the exchange also. I have a "gut feel"
>that the TEs/ECs have done this (conclude) in most cases with sobor
>reflection & study; I talked with several and heard others at the
>NTSE conference who fit this description. "Face to face"
>discussions, (where you can see skin) are terribly helpful in this
>respect; e-mail and reflector postings have an unfortunate tendency
>to polarize. One's opponents become one's enemies all too easily!

Yes. It is clear from their hostile posts that to some TE/ECs,
those on the creationists side are regarded as "enemies". It is
therefore difficult for me not to regard TE/ECs as "enemies" in return. No
doubt Satan is pleased at this warfare between Christian brothers.

JWB>An instance of this at the NTSE (for me) came when I listened to
>Schafersman speak, asked him a question or two, and talked with him
>both after his presentation and in an exchange at another
>presentation. I came to appreciate his concern, even though I do
>not (obviously) agree with it, that, on moral grounds, theists
>(including TEs) ought not do science at all. For details of this --
>look at his paper. BTW, Rob Koons tells me the papers will be
>posted on that web site "indefinitely" but, by implication, not
>forever. I advise downloads of anything you want to read within the
>next few weeks.

This confirms what Johnson says. TEs are regarded by naturalistic
evolutionists as little better than young-Earth creationists:

"Immediately after the passage above about the Cambrian explosion,
Dawkins adds the remark that, whatever their disagreements about the
tempo and mechanism of evolution, scientific evolutionists all
"despise" the creationists...What Darwinists like Dawkins despise as
"creationism" is something much broader than biblical fundamentalism
or even Christianity and what they proclaim as "evolution" is
something much narrower than what the word means in common usage.
All persons who affirm that "God creates" are in an important sense
creationists, even if they believe that the Genesis story is a myth
and that God created gradually through evolution over billions of
years." (Johnson P.E. "Evolution as Dogma:", 1990, p5)

JWB>Loren says that "this is the best assumption from which to move
>forward scientifically and theologically." If he would agree that
>it is not the only assumption possible, that competing ideas have a
>place of respectibility, then I would agree.

On Thu, 27 Feb 1997 11:36:40 -0500 (EST), Loren Haarsma wrote:

LH>I agree completely.

I am sure Loren thinks this is true of himself. His posts often
contain nice-sounding statements about how he appreciates PC/MC. But
unfortunately after two years on this Reflector, I have come to
realise that they mean very little of substance.

I wouldn't even agree that it is "the best assumption from which to
move forward scientifically and theologically". Some form of
mediate creation where God creates progressively over time is clearly
Biblically superior to TE, where God did all the creating in one hit
on or before Day 1.

JWB>If, OTOH, it is changed to read " this is the only possible
>assumption from which to move forward" I would not agree. I think
>Loren would not agree to that alternate reading, although it is
>possible some here might. Some at the NTSE certainly thought so.

The problem is that TE/EC is stuck in its theistic-naturalistic view
of reality. If it admits that God actually *created* through time,
starting at the Big Bang, through plants, animals and finally man,
then it must part company with naturalistic evolutionists to whom
this is anathema. According to TE/ECs "functional integrity"
doctrine, God could not have supernaturally intervened in His
creation without admitting that His creation was flawed:

"The elements of the world, created by God from nothing at the
beginning, lacked none of the capacities that would be needed in the
course of the ages to bring forth what God intended. The economy of
the created world was, from the outset, complete-neither cluttered
with things that had no useful function nor lacking any capacity
integral to its functional economy...Every category of structure and
creature and process was conceptualized by the Creator from the
beginning but actualized in time as the created material employed its
God-given capacities in the manner and at the time intended by the
Creator from the outset...But as I reflect on the sorry state of
contemporary discussion regarding the relationship of Christian
belief and evolutionary science, I am convinced that the fruitfulness
of our discourse would be vastly improved if we could recover from
their theological work what I have come to call "the forgotten
doctrine of Creation's functional integrity"...a world endowed by the
Creator with a functionally complete economy-no gaps, no
deficiencies, no need for God to overpower matter or to perform
theokinetic acts in order to make up for capacities missing in the
economy of the created world"...Material systems need
only employ their God-given functional capacities to discover some of
the possibilities thoughtfully prepared for them...I have a dream
that some day the forgotten doctrine of Creation's functional
integrity will be recovered; that it will once and for all displace
all variants of the God-of-the-gaps perspective..." (Van Till
H.J., "God and Evolution: An Exchange: Howard J. Van Till - Phillip
E. Johnson", First Things, June 1993.

I reject this TE/EC doctrine of "functional integrity" as unbiblical
pagan Greek evolutionary philosophy. One could read the Bible from
cover to cover and never come up with this idea. It has all the
hallmarks of "a hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on
human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on
Christ" and which can take the people of God "captive". (Col 2:8

JWB>Burgy's "rules" of e-mail / reflector conversation:
>1. Irony NEVER works. Never never never. Someone will always take
>you seriously.
>2. Often your direct conversationalist will take you seriously.
>3. Don't use it.


JWB>4. Smiley icons do not help. Not at all.

I found this out the hard way! :-(

JWB>5. At least one "face to face" meeting improves subsequent dialogs

A bit hard 25,000 miles away! My wife and I will actually be visiting
the States in September-October (San Francisco, Seattle, Niagara
Falls, Boston, New York, Washington DC). I would love to meet some
Reflectorites, but that will be difficult.

JWB>6. Just a photograph is better than nothing! (Does anyone here
>have a web site with a picture?)

Maybe Terry can start a mug's gallery?

JWB>7. ALWAYS assume the best interpretation of what the other guy says
>and does. Always. If you are wrong, and he/she is a real nasty,
>that will show up eventually.


JWB>8. Take every opportunity to apologize/back down when you perceive
>that either you've said something less clearly than you should have,
>thus it's been misinterpreted, or imputed the wrong meaning to
>someone else's posting.

Agreed. But I'm not sure it does much good.


Strangely enough I agree with this.

On Thu, 27 Feb 1997 17:30:39 EST, David Bowman wrote:

DB>I would just like to tenatively add a rule to Burgy's "rules" of
>email / reflector conversation:
>10. When quoting material in support of a point you wish to make or
>as a foil against which you wish to argue try to keep the total
>amount of quoted material less than 50% of the total post length.
>It is sometimes painful to scan through reams of extended quotes to
>search out a few tidbits of information which are the postor's own
>words on an issue. It is best to see what the *postor* can add to
>the discussion rather than see mostly the recycled quotes of others.
>(Ruthlessly edit the quotes you use in addition to being brief

I agree with this too and am trying to only post the minimum
quotes necessary to support my point.


On Fri, 28 Feb 1997 09:42:42 -0500, Bill Hamilton wrote:


BH>I have mixed feelings about long quotations from the literature --
>popular or otherwise. I know Stephen Jones gets roundly critcized
>for this practice, and usually I'm more interested in knowing what
>Stephen Jones has to say now than in what Gould or Dawkins or Denton
>wrote a while ago.

What "Stephen Jones" has to say is of no account. But what leading
Darwinists like "Gould or Dawkins" is of great importance:

"Evolutionists have often protested unfair to quoting an evolutionist
as if he were against evolution itself. So let it be said from the
outset that the vast majority of authorities quoted are themselves
ardent believers in evolution. But that is precisely the point...The
foundations of the evolutionary edifice are hardly likely to be
shaken by a collection of quotes from the many scientists who are
biblical creationists. In a court of law, an admission from a
hostile witness is the most valuable." (Snelling A., "The Revised
Quote Book", 1990, inside cover)

BH>But if I haven't read the book in question the quotations can be
>quite useful. Perhaps the best policy is to write what you want to
>write and put quotations at the end of your post, as end notes.

I will think about this. But it probably would make it more
difficult for readers because they then would have to check the
endnotes to see if my point was supported by the quote

The thing is that for every person who criticises my posting of
quotes, I get two messages of support from lurkers appreciate them.
Probably the only useful thing about Brian's poll is it indicated how
few care about the issue, one way or the other.

God bless.


| Stephen E (Steve) Jones ,--_|\ |
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