Re: teaching evolution in Wisconsin

Chris Cogan (
Sat, 2 Oct 1999 23:39:54 -0700

> >>SB>:-) I've frequently heard views like that expressed on
> >>>the general consensus that if all the evidence for creationism was
> >>>it would take up about an hour or so (How long does it take to read
> >>>I and II?) and then you'd be free to present the evidence for evolution
> >>>the rest of the year.
> >AC>>Interesting. I wonder, then why there is so much resistence to this
> >>from evolutionists.
> SB>well, it might have something to do with the fact that it would amount
> >teaching Christian (but not Zuni or Hindu or ancient Greek) mythology in
> >science class.
> Susan is here getting mixed up with creation as Special Revelation (ie. as
> taught in the Bible) and creation as General Revelation (ie. as a
> theistic general theory of creation based on inferences from nature).

Well, someone's mixed up, alright, but it's not Susan. It doesn't matter how
you package it, it's still mythology. That it happens to be *your* mythology
is not sufficient reason to teach it in science classes. The "philosophical
theistic general theory of creation based on inferences from nature" is just
as much religious mythology as is the theory that the Earth is carted around
by a large turtle. If it ever establishes premises that can lead to a
specific theory that's testable, *then* would be the time to start
considering whether to teach it in science classes.

This is aside from the fact that there are no such inferences except
circular ones that lead to the theory to begin with, at least given present
scientific evidence. Let us all know when someone actually *does* infer a
"theistic general theory of creation" from nature. I, for one, would be
amazed and fascinated no end to see any such inferences and any such theory.

> In a multi-cultural, secular society it would probably not be possible, or
> even desirable, to teach the Judeo-Christian doctrine of creation in
> schools, except maybe to briefly touch on it compared to other creation
> (eg. Hindu, etc).
> But it certainly would be possible to teach creation as *philosophical
> compared with its counterpart philosophical materialism-naturalism, which
> underlies the modern Neo-Darwinist theory of evolution.

Why philosophical theism in the science classes as opposed to a multitude of
*other* relgious theories of creation? Simple: Because you want *your* views
taught. That they are not science does not seem to be even *relevant* to

> There are some
> very strong philosophical arguments available to theists these days,
> since the discovery of the Big Bang and the fantastic degree of fine-
> tunedness of the universe.

Careful, the "fine-tuning" argument is about as shabby as such arguments can
get, along with it's cousins such as the so-called "argument from
information," etc. The Weak Anthropic Principle, and simple considerations
of probability theory and logical possibility leave all such arguments dead.
The Big Bang has not been *discovered*, it *is* a theory, in a much weaker
sense than is the fact of evolution. It's a good theory, in many respects,
*but*: a), Alternative theories are still possible that account for the
same data, and, most importantly, b), It has none of the wonderful
implications theists would like to force it to cough up for them.

I wouldn't have bothered pointing these facts out to you, but it was obvious
that you had managed to glom onto "Sunday School" popularizations of these
ideas, and had decided that they had some great significance for your cause.
Perhaps I shouldn't have bothered, because probably most people on this list
have long since realized that you are not very reliable on such issues, but
I thought it might be well to set the record straight for anyone naive
enough to think you might be right.

> I think this is what the leading evolutionists are *really* afraid of.
> know that if they allowed creation to be taught in schools, but tried to
> limit it to the literalist interpretation of Genesis 1-2 (as opposed to
> three or four other systems of interpretation), they would not be able to
> prevent other, broader models of creation from gaining a hearing.

I personally don't mind it being taught in schools, as long as they are not
*government* schools. It is not the business of government to be teaching
religious beliefs (whether in the name of science or not). It's not the
business of government to be teaching beliefs at all, but that's a slightly
different issue. Science is at least objective and testable. When are you
going to come up with a creation theory that meets criteria for a scientific
theory? Until someone does, it's wishful thinking, mythology, and religion,
not science.

> Considering that the majority of the population of the USA are already
> philosophical theists of one sort or another, despite decades of
> naturalist indoctrination in the name of evolution,

Not to mention a few *millenia* of *religious* indoctrination. Where do you
think you got *your* religious ideas? You sure didn't make them up yourself
from whole cloth, or *infer* them from anything. You got them from that
great mass of religious views that has permeated world culture for thousands
of years.

> the evolutionists know
> that if creation as philosophical theism was ever allowed on the table for
> serious discussion, their own materialist-naturalist creation stories
> stand a chance!

However, that is not what you are proposing. You are proposing teaching
religion as science, pure and simple. Besides, not everyone is as
closed-minded to, genetics, chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer
science, animal husbandry, history, geology, and logic as you are, so don't
be too sure that your intellectual glop would be preferred over science by
as many people as you seem to think it would.

> This is why the materialist-naturalists are so panicky about the ID
> movement. It is basing its case on philosophical theism, in particular the
> argument from design, not on Genesis.

Since the argument from design *still* hasn't gotten off the ground, this
does not seem like much of a threat, some how. We're all still *waiting* for
you folks to come up with a scientifically testable theory of ID that hasn't
already been refuted by the evidence. As to being panicky, I'd wait until
the ID movement came up with something better than "It *looks* designed to
*us*," before even getting nervous.

My general challenge still stands: Suppose your theory is true. Then, what
would have to be different were it *not* to be true? That is, suppose there
were no designer, and then specify how things would then *have* to be
different now as a result of a lack of this designer.

Then *prove* it.

Grasse P.-P.:
> "Today, our duty is to destroy the myth of evolution, considered as a
> simple, understood, and explained phenomenon which keeps rapidly
> unfolding before us. Biologists must be encouraged to think about the
> weaknesses of the interpretations and extrapolations that theoreticians
> forward or lay down as established truths. The deceit is sometimes
> unconscious, but not always, since some people, owing to their
> sectarianism, purposely overlook reality and refuse to acknowledge the
> inadequacies and the falsity of their beliefs." (Grasse P.-P., "Evolution
> Living Organisms: Evidence for a New Theory of Transformation",
> Academic Press: New York NY, 1977, p8)

Evolution "rapidly" unfolds before us? Who *is* this idiot Grasse P.-P.,