Re: Evolution's Imperative (was Def'n of Science)

Tim Ikeda (
Mon, 15 Mar 1999 23:07:24 -0500

TI>I'm not terribly interested in what wild-eyed fanatics think about
TI>any particular theory (& I would hesitate to place Dawkins or
TI>Crick in that extreme category); I'm interested in what "reasonable"
TI>people think. The fact is that there are reasonable scientists
TI>(Christians among them) who are not metaphysically wedded to scientism
TI>& who also happen to think that evolution can be addressed within the
TI>realm of science. One might be more effective worrying about what these
TI>people think than fanatics.
>Most people aren't interested in that Tim, but I would say that who are
>categorized as "wild-eyed fanatics" is a decision made by individuals. Some
>people wouldn't hesitate to place either of your examples in extreme
>categories, others who would place them on the border, and yet others who
>would say they're right on to the truth. Extremism is entirely a matter of
>opinion, sometimes shared by a number of people, but very relative

While it may be true that extremism is a matter of opinion, I do
believe that most can come to reasonable agreement as to what this
constitutes. For example, with regard to evolution, do we know for
sure that Dawkins and Crick would not abandon it if conditions had been
different? Is there no evidence that could have been accumulated that
would cause them to reject evolution in favor of an active creator?
I don't think so. Crick in particular is noted for breaking away from
the more commonly held suspicion that life originated on earth. Like
Yockey, Crick admits to having no idea how abiogenesis may have worked
out. And Crick's notion about the possible extraterrestrial origins for
life is in principle a testable & scientific proposition; not a dogmatic,
reactionary claim per se.

> (hmmm, very postmodernistic for a Calvin student huh?) :)

Excellent. Being open to new experiences and different ways of thinking
has its benefits. Shockingly few people make the effort.

>I think all sides should be careful when addressing issues almost
>entirely dependent on individual values.

Jason, I believe that I was being careful in that matter. Please
recall Vernon's statements which lead to my response. In his post,
one of Vernon's objections to evolution as a scientific theory was
his belief that it had supporters (Crick and Dawkins) who would
continue to support it regardless of evidence. I was speaking to
the problems of that claim. My primary objection was about the
logic of the claim. The second (and minor) objection was about
the validity of Vernon's characterizations. If that validity
is further underminded by the relativity of personal opinion, well,
I suppose that makes Vernon's objections even less tenable.

Brian Harper made exactly the same point about the logic in a reply
from today:
BH> Also, let me make sure that my original point is clear. The
BH> faith of true believers displayed by their ability to overlook
BH> disconfirming evidence has nothing to do with whether their
BH> position can be falsified.

"True believers" or "wild-eyed fanatics"; whatever names are used,
I think most people get the point.

Tim Ikeda (despam address before use)