Science and pantheism

Unfortunately you can’t, for the simple reason that “Darwinism” is a weasel word.

What do I mean by that? Well, for starters, there are three questions which you need to ask yourself when you are saying that you use the word “Darwinism.”

First of all, which of the following are you actually referring to?

  1. Abiogenesis?
  2. The sufficiency of evolution to account for the origin of biological diversity?
  3. Universal common ancestry?
  4. All forms of macroevolution above the species level?
  5. The relationship of humans to the great apes?
  6. The age of the earth?

Secondly, which of the above do you intend your audience to believe that you are referring to?

And thirdly, which of the above does your audience actually believe that you are referring to?

Here’s the thing. With people who use the word “Darwinism,” the answers to all three questions are almost always completely different. Many of the signatories of the Scientific Dissent from Darwin are only challenging points 1 and 2, if that. Many of them (including Michael Behe for example) fully accept the scientific consensus on the age of the earth, and even universal common ancestry. They simply believe that Darwinian evolution is an incomplete explanation for biological diversity, not an incorrect one. Yet there are many people – both Christians and non-Christians – who believe that it is a list of qualified scientists who believe in a young earth and fully reject any form of macroevolution above the species level. It is this kind of disconnect between what people actually mean and what their audience understands them to mean that makes something a weasel word.

The answer? Be clear and specific about precisely what aspects of the theory of evolution you are doubting, which aspects you accept, and which aspects you are leaving open.

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This is not a video explaining abiogenesis or misconceptions about it. This a piece of pure anti-science religious rhetoric going on and on about what he thinks are misconceptions of his own ideas and his spiel opposing the scientific investigation into the origin of life. That is the misrepresentation in this video which angers me. A course on abiogenesis would go into the recent developments in this field of biology – pre-biotic evolution and metabolism first theories. Of course this is only an intro to a series he plans on posting, but it is pretty clear what we can expect from the rest of the series… more rhetoric arguing against the work of science to explain the origin of life.

For a real intro into abiogenesis try these web pages

I took the description from here. Perhaps I understood it wrongly.

‘We are adherents of Darwinian evolution, and we think that Charles Darwin’s insights underlie all of biological science. By this we mean acceptance of the principle of descent with modification of all life from a common ancestor, through the mechanisms of genetic variation and natural selection’.

Thank you.

That’s OK- You’re allowed. See you on the other side.

You may have taken the description from there, but most other people who hear the word “Darwinism” or “neo-Darwinism” don’t.

I hope there is one, but I cannot visualize it in the slightest.

Well… I’m obviously not most people. :sunglasses:

I maintain that one can not keep one’s intellectual integrity once they understand the scope and depth of the evidence which supports the theory of evolution and then deny the theory is well evidenced.

It is also hard to hold onto one’s intellectual integrity once you throw out the Law of Parsimony.

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Bliss. But 140 years later the Jungian esoteric gnostics still arrogantly know better.

I take it that Hamilton equates religious faith with that of superstition and it is the law of parsimony which determines the matter? It should be reasonable for the critical observer to ask from whence comes this ‘law’. Has this ‘law’ been arrived at scientifically? Has it been tested in a laboratory? Not at all-it is a human philosophical construct. An assumption, which although may be useful as a general principle can in no way be rolled out as an incontestable law of nature.

However, It is actually a great example of how scientific naturalists can commandeer the use of certain words to make a proposition appear ‘scientific’. If we are to ask ‘why is this a law’? The answer would be, from the same quarter, ‘because a scientist said it’!

But it is only the way that evolutionists use philosophical language to bolster their own crypto-religious ideology of neo-gnostic evolutionism. It is purely scientistic propaganda.

Secondly I do not deny that there are evidences which may be interpreted as evolution. But be wary of those who would use such interpretations as the only way of looking at the world. This has a tendency to morphe into a form of intellectual totalitarianism with its own attendant thought police. who use their own ideology by which to deny another persons freedom of thought. This is dangerous territory as history has often shown.

Finally, I don’t accept your proposition that I am a Post-modernist as you previously implied. I do not deny that there is such a thing as truth. Only that when you arrive at something you believe to be ‘the truth’ realise also that this also your own personal ‘belief’ that it is the truth which you have a right to impose upon others who do not wish to accept it.

Neither do I accept that a person can take what is merely another ‘ism’ and add it to Christianity to form their own sub-Christian cult.

I must make this my last post and give space for others who wish to enter the debate. It becomes extremely futile and pointless to debate with those who have already decided that the other person has no intellectual integrity.

As a Christian I am free in Christ. I will allow no one here to oppress me or take away that freedom. ‘See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ’. Col 2:8.

Goodbye to everyone here… at least for now.

Hamilton equates superstition with the invocation of the supernatural to explain a phenomena that is already explained by natural processes. Without this law of parsimony we would have to throw out every single natural explanation we have because it could have been caused by the supernatural. Disease caused by germs? Nope, could be caused by the supernatural. Lightning? We can’t say that it is caused by natural processes because it could be thrown down from the heavens by Zeus.

I would love to hear your explanation of why this law of parsimony should not be used. Should we throw out every natural explanation we have because the supernatural might have done it? Should we throw out every piece of forensic evidence because God might have planted DNA and fingerprints at a crime scene? Should we not use antibiotics because it is really demons that are making us sick instead of a natural infection? How far do you want to take this, or does it only apply to things in science you don’t like?

Why don’t you show the worth of other ways of looking at the evidence? How are these other explanations better?

But you do deny there is truth. You claim that truth is whatever a person decides it is.

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As a courtesy to your good self, I will endeavour to answer your questions and then, finally, I must go. Although why you would love to have a question answered by someone you believe to have no intellectual integrity I cannot imagine.

In answer to this I would consider it important first of all to distinguish between the universal and the particulars. While the principle of ‘the law of parsimony’ (or Occam’s razor) might be useful as a general procedural methodology regarding particulars, it would be a mistake to make this principle a cast iron grid imposed upon a universal grand narrative which then becomes an essential component of that grand narrative. There are bound to be occasions where it is bound to be inappropriate.

There are often different ways of looking at evidence and interpreting it. The solution to a problem or a conundrum may not always be the simplest, as any good crime investigator might tell you.

When it comes to fossil evidence, as regards the geological establishment, the stratigraphical and paleontological evidence must always conform to the previously established universal meta-narrative of evolution and this itself is undergirded by the phiolosophical assumption of ‘uniformitarianism’ (i.e. the present is the key to the past). Evidence which does not support the grand meta-narrative is dismissed as an anomaly. However, the meta-narrative must never fall.

You persist in this assertion but I have nowhere said it. I refer you only to my last post where I said ‘I do not deny that there is such a thing as truth’. It is only your interpretation of what I have said elsewhere that has led you to your false conclusion. A case in point of where Occam’s razor does not apply.

In this it might be useful for you to to look into the difference between ‘mimesis’ and 'poiesis and how these two terms are poles apart. I would take the position that no one actually ‘decides’ what the truth is. We can only make propositions and accompany them by an account. The truth exists independently of what way might perceive it to be and consequently it is not ‘us’ that ‘decides’ it.

I would refer you to the work of Charles Taylor in what he refers to as ‘the social imaginary’. In ‘A secular Age’ Taylor reflects upon how modern society in general has drifted away from the Christian worldview to the degree it is no longer the default of most people. He uses the term ‘social imaginary’ to address the question of how theories developed by social elites might be related to the way ordinary people think and act even when most people have never read these theories.

‘mimesis’ and ‘poiesis’ are terms which connect to this idea of the ‘social imaginary’. They refer to two different ways of looking at the world. A mimetic view regards the world as having a certain ‘given’ order and meaning and in turn requires human beings to discover that meaning and conform to it. Definition of Mimetic Theory - Pen and the Pad

‘Evolution’ as such has now become a dominant factor in the social imaginary to the degree that the theory has now become an establishment ‘closed shop’.

Poiesis contrastingly, sees the world as the raw material out of which meaning and purpose can be created by the individual. (I lean upon Carl Truman’s ‘The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self’)

In another paper I recently read- the author said this:

‘If the question is simple, the answer is enormously difficult. To think about it properly, one must obviously know a great deal of science. On the other hand, the question crucially involves both philosophy and theology: one must have a serious and penetrating grasp of the relevant theological and philosophical issues. And who among us can fill a bill like that?’

Eternity is simple. As a concept. No great deal of science, theology or philosophy are needed to grasp it. It’s common sense. Dress it up in ten cent words if you like: like strong uniformitarianism, the principle of mediocrity. Folk with a high school education can realise it looking out the window.

The uniformitarian designation, while still used for specified processes, is anachronistic as an overarching guidance. Geologic history now encompasses a tumultuous early Earth history, radically altered atmospheres and mineralization, and nearly complete freezing of the planet. Geologists and paleontologists largely accept that the dinosaur era ended with a massive asteroid impact. What could be less uniformitarian?

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That may be so, but it’s not a free pass to make things up, nor is it a free pass to dismiss out of hand anything and everything that you don’t like.

There are rules that the different ways of looking at the evidence and interpreting it have to follow. Rules that have nothing whatsoever to do with “uniformitarianism” or “secularism” or “naturalism” or any other weasel word ending in “ism” that you may want to come out with. Rules that are simply concerned with honesty, factual accuracy and mathematical and logical consistency. Such as, for example, having accurate and honest weights and measures.

Sorry, but that is simply not how it works.

Scientists do not blindly make “philosophical assumptions of uniformitarianism.” They devise tests to determine which rates of change could have been the same in the past and which could not. For example, by cross-checking rates of continental drift determined through radiometric dating with direct measurement from GPS satellites. And no, these don’t give the same results because they both “make the same assumptions of uniformitarianism.” Cross-checks such as these are a test for assumptions of constant rates, and tests of assumptions are not assumptions themselves.

And just how much evidence, pray tell, do you think is being dismissed in such a cavalier manner? And how much money, pray tell, do you think is being wasted on gathering and analysing that evidence in the first place before it gets dismissed?

For the “universal meta-narrative of evolution,” as you put it, to be wrong in this way, they would have to be discarding many, many results for every one that they publish. That would amount to millions of results for the best part of two hundred years at the cost of trillions of dollars.

The occasional result being disregarded as experimenter error does not signify anything other than the fact that scientists are human and make mistakes from time to time. But the idea that millions of scientists could have been systematically cherry-picking evidence on an industrial scale for hundreds of years is simply not credible. Conspiracies on that scale do not happen. Period.


“Conspiracy”’? This is your word for it. This is a perfect example of a straw man argument.

What I am proposing is really very simple i.e. that students in geology are indoctrinated in textbook evolutionism well before they reach university. The rest is down to establishment consensus and ‘natural selection’. Candidates are selected for positions whether academic or otherwise who are deemed most ‘fit’ for purpose. This goes for most if not all areas of professional life. I would be willing to say that most professional geologists, academics and professionals in all spheres are perfectly sincere in what they believe, if they weren’t, however they wouldn’t be there.

It’s just how the world works.

Did you ever have a job? After years of engagement, were you any better at it than some random person right off the street? Geologists and scientists actually study their specialty day in and day out; not just by reading, but hands on. You are essentially suggesting that scientists are complete witless wonders as to the foundations of their work. Do you really think that the objections you raise just never occur to them or are summarily dismissed? It is not a matter of sincerity, but of competence. An oil geologist who did not accept science would not find much oil.


Well if you think it’s a straw man argument, then you’re missing the point of what I’m saying altogether.

The fact is that what you are proposing would not be sufficient to produce what we see in the scientific literature. In order to produce the level of detail, of consilience, of mathematical precision and of predictive power that we see in evolutionary science, you need far more than just “indoctrination in textbook evolutionism” and “establishment consensus” and “natural selection” as you snidely put it. You also need an element of making things up. In other words, scientific fraud. On an industrial scale. In a tightly coordinated manner. For more than two hundred years. At the cost of trillions of dollars.

A straw man argument would be you saying X and me claiming that you had said Y. What is actually happening is that you are saying X and I am pointing out that because you are not saying Y, what you are saying can not explain what is going on and therefore does not provide any challenge to evolutionary science whatsoever. That is a completely different matter.


Do you mean the earth is not flat and that it is spherical is not a conspiracy included in textbook indoctrination?! :flushed:

“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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