Ann Gauger's latest salvo against Dennis Venema's arguments against an original pair of human beings

@Bilbo,

From what I’ve read of Behe, he is not I.D. person you think he is.

He talks about Evolution vs. De-vollution - - which is a totally bogus concept.

And then there’s this truly wacky idea about all of genetic diversity being loaded into the first living cells:

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So you really think that if we said nothing about teaching in schools the persecution would stop? I doubt it. Scientists who object to our view will stilll object.

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@agauger,

Scientists object to I.D. because it is loaded with bad science.

BioLogos folks who object to I.D. would no longer be trying to fight off a YEC invasion into the public schools.

See how things work differently depending on what you are working on?

Hi @gbrooks9,

The Behe piece you refer to was a hypothesis he made for the purpose of an argument.

However, Behe does indeed argue for common descent in his book, The Edge of Evolution.

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The persecution only started because of Discovery’s attempts to push intelligent design into schools. Where do you think all the ill will and bad publicity came from? As far as the rest, I’ll risk quoting myself from another current thread:

Ever since Darwin on Trial, the ID movement has campaigned to paint “methodological naturalism” as a conspiracy to keep God out of science (and, by implication, the classroom). The whole approach is doomed to failure. If the Discovery Institute thinks they can reinvent the way that the world does science simply with a handful of researchers and a few polemical books and articles each year, they are dreaming. Might as well rename it the Don Quixote Institute.

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@ cwhenderson:

Just for clarification, I didn’t write the emboldened words you found offensive (your comment made it look like I was being quoted as having said that). I was just quoting from ENV.

The quote isn’t perfect, but it isn’t that bad–at worst it used the term “Darwinist” which some people find offensive (note that this word is often used as a non-offensive descriptive term in the scientific literature – see: https://www.discovery.org/f/628), but otherwise it was just complaining about people who bring the debate into “the gutter.” Those words were clearly not aimed at Dennis Venema, and I’m not sure why complaining about people who are uncivil is therefore uncivil.

Anyways, the point of that quote, which perhaps you missed, is:

(1) Dr. Venema complained that ENV doesn’t allow comments
(2) I found an instance where ENV did allow comments and even “respectfully” invited Dr. Venema to participate in the comments.
(3) Therefore, I was wondering if Dr. Venema chose to go and participate.

No response from Dr. Venema so far to my query about whether he participated in the forum. But I think I answered my own question. It took me quite a bit of searching around, but I found the referenced comment thread in the Internet Archive at:

There are over 25 comments, but none from Dennis Venema.

It seems fairly inappropriate to accuse someone of never providing a discussion forum when they have provided such a forum, even invited you to participate in that forum, and then you declined to participate. Is an apology to the ENV people from Dr. Venema warranted here?

8 posts were split to a new topic: Criticisms vs. Attacks: Where’s the line?

@Jay313: You are aware that Discovery Institute opposes teaching ID in public schools? From their science education policy:

As a matter of public policy, Discovery Institute opposes any effort to require the teaching of intelligent design by school districts or state boards of education. Attempts to require teaching about intelligent design only politicize the theory and will hinder fair and open discussion of the merits of the theory among scholars and within the scientific community. Furthermore, most teachers at the present time do not know enough about intelligent design to teach about it accurately and objectively.

Instead of recommending teaching about intelligent design in public K-12 schools, Discovery Institute seeks to increase the coverage of evolution in curriculum. It believes that evolution should be fully and completely presented to students, and they should learn more about evolutionary theory, including its unresolved issues. In other words, evolution should be taught as a scientific theory that is open to critical scrutiny, not as a sacred dogma that can’t be questioned.

Discovery Institute believes that a curriculum that aims to provide students with an understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of neo-Darwinian and chemical evolutionary theories (rather than teaching an alternative theory, such as intelligent design) represents a common ground approach that all reasonable citizens can agree on.

(http://www.discovery.org/a/3164)

They don’t support teaching ID. But what if they did require teaching ID, why should that justifiably cause “ill will”? Feel free to disagree with such a policy (which isn’t even their policy) and oppose it vigorously! But why should such a policy make you or anyone justifiably feel “ill will”? Seems kind like you’re trying to blame the victim of all the incivility here…

J Clearly you are unaware that I have always strongly believed in, and continue to defend, a historical Adam and Eve.
A Well, I for one don’t think the origin of the human body is already certain and proved. So it doesn’t seem out of date to me.
J But your opinion is irrelevant when contrasted with the overwhelming scientific evidence

Bless you, Jonathan. You bring a hammer to swat a fly. If theologians teaching theology is dictating to science, then the reverse is true also. But we are in no danger of theologians dictating to science in the Catholic Church. Far from it. Plus, I was making a joke–very bad, but a joke none the less. I had a mental image of Madame Curie and Mother Teresa in a suburban classroom together. I am sure they would be polite to each other. Remember Gregor Mendel, Louis Pasteur and Georges LeMaitre, all scientists and Catholics?
And last but not least, we agree with each other about the historicity of Adam. It’s just that you don’t like my reason for agreeing with you. And the bolded statement you made above, if true, cuts against your belief as well as mine.

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@gbrooks9 > Additionally, suppose the designer placed into the cell some other systems for which we cannot adduce enough evidence to conclude design.

What does the rest of the paragraph say? Note the word suppose. The paragraph is an argument for why pseudogenes might just be the product of damage due to age, and not the product of evolution. He sets up an imaginary scenario to make his point.

He talks about Evolution vs. De-vollution - - which is a totally bogus concept.

So bogus the Quarterly Review of Biology published it!

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@agauger

His imaginary scenario is ridiculous. But, following @Bilbo’s assertion, I am now looking for more sensible scenarios in another of his books…

Perhaps you could tell me what page “devolution” is included? I did a search and could find no
"De-vo…", “Devolu…” or any other combination…

Oh, yes, I’m well aware of it. I was a teacher in Texas. But “teach the controversy” is a work-around solution that fails for practical reasons. Don’t get me started …

I’m not blaming the victim. But I’m willing to start assigning some blame, if you want me to go there. I can show you hard data about the number of victims of the Culture Wars. The Millennial generation is abandoning the church in record numbers. The data says that the cause is the Culture Wars. Dave Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group, spells it out pretty well in You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church . . . and Rethinking Faith. I won’t connect the dots for you. That would be impolite. But I would encourage all organizations whose sole purpose is to fight the Culture War to lay down their arms. Even if they are laboring with the best of intentions, the results show that their efforts have been counterproductive.

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Document this. And not from an anti-ID site, but from a legitimate, disinterested site. Our policy is stated very clearly. We do NOT recommend teaching ID in public schools.
"

Ever since Darwin on Trial, the ID movement has campaigned to paint “methodological naturalism” as a conspiracy to keep God out of science (and, by implication, the classroom).

Methodological naturalism is a particular view of the world, that claims there are only matter and energy in the world. It is a purely materialistic philosophy. No room for belief in God there. So you think that should be the philosophy that science uses? Then what are you doing here on a predominantly Christian site?

Hi Dr. Gauger,

I think you’re confusing methodological naturalism with metaphysical naturalism.

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Ann, if you really did intend methodological naturalism in that statement, and that’s not just a typo for metaphysical naturalism, I’d be very curious to know why you think methodological naturalism and metaphysical naturalism are equivalent.

But, it’s probably just a typo.

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Perhaps you could tell me what page “devolution” is included?

No I can’t. It’s not his word. He doesn’t talk about devolution in the paper I linked to. He talked about gain of function and loss of function mutations. He shows that many mutations that are beneficial, i.e. provide some advantage in competing for food or resources, and allow faster growth, are loss of function mutations. Something gets deleted or broken because it is unnecessary at the moment, or it is an energy hog, and suddenly the cell bearing that mutation grows faster.

I can give you many examples from my own work, but this is the most striking. Yeast cells grown for generations under conditions that promote asexual reproduction, will delete their own genes for sexual reproduction.

Call it devolution if you want.

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I think you’re confusing methodological naturalism with metaphysical naturalism.

Probably so. Not a philosopher. Just tired of the hateful rhetoric.

But, it’s probably just a typo.

Hi Dennis. A mistake made out of frustration. Glad to see you.

Ann

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I lived through the textbook wars in Texas. I worked for a publisher in Dallas that employed several former Probe Ministries employees. Let’s not go down that road. It gets ugly fast. As I just said to a friend of Discovery in an email:

My only point to Discovery is that they would still have the same mission and goals if they dropped their political agenda. They could still promote ID. They could still produce educational materials and curricula for Christian and other private schools. They could still fund research and books. I think they would even receive a warmer welcome from most quarters, even if they never win over the atheist intelligentsia.

I am not being partisan when I say that the data shows that the Culture War has done more damage than good. That is an objective statement. In short, I think it’s time for the organization to rethink its strategy, if nothing else. They could drop the controversial political aspects and come out ahead in the long run, in my judgment. But, I don’t get a vote …

This is another long conversation, but as for my personal view it goes something like this:

The biblical picture of reality is a division between the seen and the unseen, or the physical and the spiritual, if you will. As far as causation, the biblical authors had no problem attributing effects to both a spiritual and a physical cause, simultaneously. They certainly understood clouds and weather patterns and rain, being an agricultural society, yet Jesus could say that God causes his rain to fall on the good and evil alike. (I’ll forego other examples for the sake of brevity.) Thus, viewed through a biblical lens, all events may be considered to have simultaneous causes — spiritual and physical, two sides of the same coin that we call “reality”. (Of course, such a view requires one to agree that God controls and governs and sustains all things, which many Arminians and Christians of a philosophical bent are unwilling to do, but that’s another question….)

Now, I don’t think many folks have actually thought through the implications of such a view, because it renders most of the discussion moot. The evolutionary process was entirely under God’s control, so I can say without reservation or equivocation that God created all life, even (and especially) mankind. Simultaneously, I can explain the evolutionary process purely in terms of physical causes, just as I can explain the hurricane in Houston by a purely physical description. Both the spiritual and the physical explanation are true.

This is also why methodological naturalism is perfectly legitimate, in my opinion. I see no reason to insist that every investigation and explanation of a physical process must somehow take into account a spiritual cause. Again, if we believe that all events have God as a cause, then we may simply assume his involvement at every step in the process and concentrate our efforts on understanding the purely physical causes.

You have been very gracious and patient. I hope you stick around.

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Two part response:

I am not being partisan when I say that the data shows that the Culture War has done more damage than good. That is an objective statement. In short, I think it’s time for the organization to rethink its strategy, if nothing else. They could drop the controversial political aspects and come out ahead in the long run, in my judgment. But, I don’t get a vote …

What do you mean by the culture war? And what do you mean by damage? What data shows it has done more harm than good? I am genuinely asking, because I want to understand. It is like we are both standing in front of the same window and seeing different views.

This is also why methodological naturalism is perfectly legitimate, in my opinion. I see no reason to insist that every investigation and explanation of a physical process must somehow take into account a spiritual cause. Again, if we believe that all events have God as a cause, then we may simply assume his involvement at every step in the process and concentrate our efforts on understanding the purely physical causes

Thank you for the kind words. I can deal with most things, except sneering.

I appreciate the beauty of your explanation. Transcendence and immanence together, with God upholding all things. My only difficulty is, what do you say when there is no sufficient physical cause? Do you allow for guidance? Then we are not far apart.

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“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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