Re: A new subscriber

Stephen Jones (
Fri, 03 Apr 98 06:07:39 +0800


Fri, 27 Mar 1998 19:38:48 -0500, Ed Brayton wrote:

EB>I have just joined the evolution reflector and thought I would send a
>brief message to introduce myself to everyone else. My name is Ed
>Brayton. I was referred to this list by John Burgeson, who I know from
>the Compuserve Religious Issues Forum. I have been a long time
>participant in the creation/evolution debate as an interested amateur. I
>have virtually no formal academic background in any relevant field, but
>have studied the matter on my own for many years.

Welcome to the Reflector, from one `amateur' to another!

EB>A quick and basic introduction to my position on the subject at hand: I
>am a staunch advocate of the theory of evolution (I prefer Plantinga's
>phrase "Theory of Common Ancestry (TCA)", and a deist.

Which "theory of evolution" in particular are you a "staunch advocate

And why do you assume the "Theory of Common Ancestry" necessarily
entails a "theory of evolution"? As Denton points out, common
ancestry is compatible with "almost any philosophy of nature",
including "creationist":

"It is true that both genuine homologous resemblance, that is, here
the phenomenon has a clear genetic and embryological basis (which as
we have seen above is far less common than is often presumed), and
the hierarchic patterns of class relationships are suggestive of some
kind of theory of descent. But neither tell us anything about how
the descent or evolution might have occurred, as to whether the
process was gradual or sudden, or as to whether the causal mechanism
was Darwinian, Lamarckian, vitalistic or even creationist. Such a
theory of descent is therefore devoid of any significant meaning and
equally compatible with almost any philosophy of nature." (Denton
M., "Evolution: A Theory in Crisis", 1985, pp154-155)

And as for being "a deist", could you please expand on this.
Traditionally deists rule out supernatural revelation and divine
intervention. Do you?

EB>I do not accept the atheistic interpretation of evolution
>advocated by Dawkins and Dennett, nor do I think that evolution has
>any bearing on the question of the existence of god (though perhaps
>God is another matter depending on your specific conception

OK. But do you "accept" the *facts* "of evolution advocated by
Dawkins and Dennett"?

EB> I think the TCA is entirely seperable from abiogenesis theories
>and would not be a bit surprised to find out that the first life
>forms were placed on earth by a creator, though I personally tend
>toward an even weaker version of the anthropic principle that that

If you would "not be a bit surprised to find out that the first life
forms were placed on earth by a creator", would be surprised if
that self-same Creator also `genetically engineered' the appearance
of new designs by modifying existing designs, and `seelctively bred'
the results?

EB>I'm looking forward to interacting with everyone on the list.

I am looking forward to interacting with you too!


Stephen E (Steve) Jones ,--_|\
3 Hawker Avenue / Oz \
Warwick 6024 ->*_,--\_/ Phone +61 8 9448 7439
Perth, West Australia v "Test everything." (1Thess 5:21)