RE: Introduction

John E. Rylander (
Tue, 2 Jun 1998 18:34:44 -0500

Just to clarify, I think what Glenn means by "destructive criticism" is
criticism that harms allegedly incorrect theories. I think what Stephen
means by "destructive criticism" is criticism that harms the cause of
Christianity by attacking the theories put forward by some leading Christian

Given this radically different usage, there is no agreement (despite
occasional and very unfortunate shared use of "destructive criticism") on
whether or not Glenn is offering "destructive criticism". I believe there
is agreement that Glenn is offering destructive criticism in the first
sense. The question is whether his doing so in his characteristically blunt
and taking-no-epistemic-prisoners way implies that it is also destructive
criticism in the second sense.

My opinion: I hope we don't make whole a thread out of this discussion!!
It doesn't warrant it, in my view. Could Glenn be more sensitive to the
feelings of others? Sure -- as could many of us. But I hope not at all at
the expense of his (or our) intellectual forthrightness. In my view, Glenn
has done far more than most on this list to ground the discussion in
relevant data, rather than just speculation. For that, I at least am
grateful. I also note that Glenn has been more than willing to admit error
on a number of occasions, and tends to be thick-skinned regarding brutal but
meritorious attacks on his own theories (remember when the faux-Trivers was
on the list? the most obnoxious poster in living memory? Glenn was, as I
recall, fairly polite to him because some of what the person was saying
against Glenn's theories was possibly worth taking seriously, even though
the guy was a -total- jerk).


-----Original Message-----
[]On Behalf Of Stephen Jones
Sent: Tuesday, June 02, 1998 5:44 PM
To: Adam Shohet;
Subject: Re: Introduction


On Fri, 29 May 1998 09:41:21 +0100, Adam Shohet wrote:

AS>I joined this list about a week ago and perhaps now is as good a time as
>any to introduce myself. I am a 23yr old evolutionary biologist and I am
>studying for a Ph.D in the area of sexual selection..


AS>Right that's the introductions over with. Now I have a question. How
>discussion of actual issues is conducted on this list? I don't mean this
>as a slur against anyone, but to date about 75% of postings that I have
>read have dealt primarily with accusations against individuals. If someone
>could fill me in on the current thread under discussion I would be very

At the moment we are going through a difficult patch, due to my defence of
Christian apologists from destructive criticism by a Theistic Evolutionist
challenging that same TE for what I perceived as ad hominem attacks
against myself. I have terminated the latter thread, but the former is still

But hopefully we will soon get back once more to "actual issues"..

For yourself and other newcomers, my position on the Creation-Evolution
is Mediate Creation. It is close to that of Phil Johnson:

"I am a philosophical theist and a Christian. I believe that a God exists
could create out of nothing if He wanted to do so, but who might have chosen
to work through a natural evolutionary process instead. I am not a defender
of creation-science..." (Johnson P.E., "Darwin on Trial", InterVarsity
Downers Grove Ill., Second Edition, 1993, p14)

and David Wilcox:

"I have no metaphysical necessity driving me to propose the miraculous
action of
the evident finger of God as a scientific hypothesis. In my world view, all
forces and events are fully contingent on the free choice of the sovereign
God. Thus,
neither an adequate nor an inadequate "neo-Darwinism (as mechanism) holds
any terrors. But that is not what the data looks like. And I feel no
necessity to exclude the evident finger of God." (Wilcox D.L., "Tamed
in Buell J. & Hearn V., eds.,"Darwinism: Science or Philosophy?",
Foundation for
Thought and Ethics: Richardson TX, 1994, p215)..

Specifically, I have no problems (Biblical or personal) with the Earth
being 4.6 billion
years old, or man having had hominid ancestors. I do not even have a problem
the most extreme forms of `blind watchmaker' Neo-Darwinism, since the
Biblical God
is fully in control of apparently `random' events (Proverbs 16:33; 1Ki

But I believe the actual evidence (when considered as a whole) is against
naturalistic evolution, and in fact better fits a broad creationist model
like Mediate
Creation. But Naturalists just refuse even to consider the possibility that
is a God, who might have intervened at strategic points in life's history
(eg. origin
of universe, origin of life, origin of life's complex designs, origin of
consciousness, etc)..


"Evolution is the greatest engine of atheism ever invented."
--- Dr. William Provine, Professor of History and Biology, Cornell

Stephen E (Steve) Jones ,--_|\
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Warwick 6024 ->*_,--\_/ Phone +61 8 9448 7439
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