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  • Stephen E. Jones
    Group On Mon, 19 Nov 2001 19:28:25 +0000, Andreas Peterson wrote: [continued] AP The difficulty, as I see it, with ID is that it is currently expressed in a
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 18, 2001
      Group

      On Mon, 19 Nov 2001 19:28:25 +0000, Andreas Peterson wrote:

      [continued]

      AP>The difficulty, as I see it, with ID is that it is currently expressed in a
      >way in which I feel that it has very limited (if any at all) explanatory
      >power.

      That is *precisely* ID's "power". It does not attempt to explain everything.
      It focuses on *one* thing, and only *one* thing: "Is there empirically
      detectable evidence for design in nature"? If it demonstrates that, it will be
      quite enough!

      AP>I briefly touched on this issue in another post, with the quote from Behe.
      >If the reasons of the designer is "virtually impossible to know", I fail to
      >see how intelligent design can avoid falling in the same ditch that
      >Darwinism in many regards have, namely, that it `explains everything and its
      >opposites' -that is, exactly nothing.

      Andreas has just criticised ID for having "very limited (if any at all)
      explanatory power". Now he is criticising ID for "explain[ing] everything"!
      Which is it?

      I later on down found that Andreas is getting "ID" mixed up with the general
      argument from design.

      AP>Just yesterday, when I was reading about one of the differences between
      >reptiles and mammals:
      >
      >"In reptiles the legs are typically splayed outward from the
      >body, inducing a sort of body-wadding motion to their walk, but
      >in mammals the legs project directly downward beneath the body,
      >making possible a smooth walking or running motion." (Strahler
      >A.N., 1999, "Science and Earth History: The Evolution/Creation
      >Controversy", p. 417)
      >
      >I was thinking, "If legs "project[ing] directly downward beneath the body"
      >really evolved in mammals to "mak[e] possible a smooth walking or running
      >motion", how come most reptiles still have their legs "splayed outward from
      >the body"?"

      It was one of the characteristics of mammal-like reptiles that their legs
      started to come more under their body. I saw this displayed at The Russian
      Dinosaur Exhibition (http://www.dinosaurexhibit.com/) when it came to
      Perth, Western Australian, a number of years ago.

      A{>But then I continued thinking. For why, if both reptiles and mammals were
      >created by an intelligent designer, were reptiles given the "splayed out"
      >legs, while the mammals got the ones "project[ing] directly downward"? Why
      >not the other way around? Or the same type of leg to both?

      I think Andreas is getting "ID" mixed up with the general argument from
      design. ID makes no claims about why "reptiles [were] given the `splayed out'
      legs, while the mammals got the ones `project[ing] directly downward.".

      As to the answer to that sort of question, general design theory would
      probably attempt to answer it with similar adaptationist arguments that
      Darwinists would, e.g.:

      "It would appear that the highly progressive mammal-like reptiles,
      the theriodonts that approached the very threshold of mammalian
      anatomy and physiology, reached the climax of their development
      when the animals of the Cynognathus fauna were alive, during the
      closing years of early Triassic time. Thus there are known a score
      and more genera representing these advanced mammal-like reptiles.
      Cynognathus, for which the zone is named, is characteristic - a
      medium to rather large, wolf like reptile, with dagger-like canines,
      cheek teeth differentiated and specialized for cutting food, and with
      strong limbs drawn in beneath the body, thus allowing this active
      and aggressive predator to move about efficiently and probably
      with a considerable show of speed." (Colbert E.H., "The Age of
      Reptiles," [1965], Dover: Mineola NY, 1997, p.83)

      AP>These are the kinds of questions that I see as important in evaluating ID.

      See above on Andreas getting "ID" mixed up with the general argument from
      design.

      >>AP>I hope the members of this list are willing to discuss these issues
      >>>with me,

      >SJ>I am "willing to discuss these issues with" *anyone*. But my time is
      >>limited and I get a bit short with those who make no effort to
      >>understand what ID *is*, but just spin speculations off the top of
      >>their head as to what they think ID *should* mean.

      AP>I can understand this concern, and hope that I will not make this mistake.

      Andreas is starting to.

      >SJ>But I note that Andreas has a fine collection of ID books, so that
      >>should not be a problem ...

      AP>Since Stephen has omitted the ellipses ([...]), I feel I must point out that
      >I also "has a fine collection of" *Darwinist* "books".

      I "omitted the ellipses" this time because the list would be too long. I
      did not mean to give the impression that they were the only books Andreas
      had.

      AP>I try to give equal
      >time to the study of the arguments of both "perspective", so that my
      >decision will be a well-founded as possible.

      Good.

      AP>In fact, as of late, I'm
      >attempting to put myself in Darwinists' place when reading ID material,
      >trying to adopt their mindset and `think up' counter-arguments for the
      >evidence presented.

      That is IMHO essential.

      [...]

      >>AP>so that I will be able to make my choice, assured that I really
      >>>*can* defend my position when discussing it with others.

      >SJ>Good. But what "discussing it with others" does Andreas mean? Is
      >>Andreas on other Internet lists?

      AP>Not exactly on "Internet lists", but yes, I do discuss evolution/creation on
      >the Internet. I write on a Danish message board devoted to these matters (so
      >far only from the "evolutionist" side).

      Why "so far only from the `evolutionist' side"? And why is "evolutionist" in
      quotation marks?

      AP>Although the discussion is in
      >Danish, interested can check it out here:
      >
      >http://www.skabelse.dk/debat/read.php?f=1&i=341&t=341

      I note the word skabelse = "creation". Is that a creationist "message
      board"?

      AP>The site also has some English articles of varying quality:
      >
      >http://www.skabelse.dk/artikler/
      >
      >Although I have discussed some of my thoughts in private with other
      >participants over e-mail, I have yet to declare my `doubts' about Darwinism,

      It is interesting how Andreas puts it. I would have thought that if
      "Darwinism" was just a scientific theory, it would be *normal* to "declare
      [one's] `doubts' about" it. But the way Andreas puts it, it is clear that
      Darwinism is a type of *religion*.

      AP>but since I consider the feedback on this list to be of higher quality,

      Which is itself interesting. The problem I have found on Internet discussion
      lists dominated by evolutionists (theistic and plain vanilla), is that they
      become *boring*.

      AP>I would prefer to get my position `sorted out' here, before I declare my
      >`heresy' on the other list.

      OK. Perhaps Andreas will let us know when he `comes out'! :-)

      [...]

      AP>"Summarized as succinctly as possible, Basil's picture of creation is one in
      >which God, by the unconstrained impulse of his effective will,
      >instantaneously called the substance of the entire Creation into being at
      >the beginning and gave to the several created substances the harmoniously
      >integrated powers to actualize, in the course of time, the wonderful array
      >of specific forms that the Creator had in mind from the outset. Both matter
      >and the forms it was later to attain were the product of God's primary act
      >of creation. Reflecting, for example, on the earth being initially without
      >the adornment of grass, cornfields, or forests, Basil notes that, "Of all
      >this nothing was yet produced; the earth was in travail with it in virtue of
      >the power that she had received from the Creator." (Van Till H.J., in Till &
      >Johnson, 1993, "God and Evolution: An Exchange", First Things,
      >http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft9306/articles/johnson.html)

      Andreas might be interested in this debate over Van Till's interpretation of
      Basil's picture of creation"?

      Van Till:

      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
      http://www.arn.org/docs/odesign/od191/basilaug191.htm Debate Origins
      & Design 19:1 Basil and Augustine Revisited: The Survival of Functional
      Integrity by Howard J. Van Till Professor of Physics Calvin College [...]
      Abstract: The historic Christian doctrine of creation recognizes that the
      entire universe was brought into being, and is sustained in being, only by
      the effective will of God. The being of the Creation includes every element
      of its formational economy -- that is, its capabilities for self-organization
      and transformation. The doctrine of Creation's functional integrity holds
      that the Creation was gifted by God from the outset with all of the
      formational capabilities necessary for actualizing the full array of physical
      structures and life forms that have ever appeared. Therefore there would be
      no gaps in the Creation's formational economy that would require God to
      coerce creaturely systems into assuming new forms. Qualified support for
      this position can be found in Basil, although Wells's criticisms, based on a
      different reading, do merit consideration. Wells's reading of Augustine,
      however, must be rejected: Augustine was neither an "evolutionist" nor a
      "special creationist," but conceived of a Creation gifted with the
      capabilities to actualize created potentialities in the course of time. Also to
      be rejected is Reynolds's claim that God's act of "creating a soul"
      constitutes a divine intervention that bridges a gap in the Creation's
      formational economy. God's action to hold us accountable for our
      behavior, or God's action to transport us into the New Creation, is divine
      action of an entirely different sort from form-imposing interventions. The
      doctrine of Creation's functional integrity -- a concept never intended to
      address questions regarding the origin or nature of the soul -- is fully
      consistent with these other categories of divine action.
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------

      John Mark Reynolds:

      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
      http://www.arn.org/docs/odesign/od191/gaplesseconomy191.htm
      Debate Origins & Design 19:1 Are There Gaps in the Gapless Economy?
      The Improbable Views of Howard J. Van Till by John Mark Reynolds
      Director, Torrey Honors Institute Biola University [...] Abstract: Van Till's
      view of "functional integrity," while perhaps yielding aesthetic advantages
      to modern taste in metaphysics and theory, is implausible when confronted
      with orthodox Christianity. In particular, Christianity maintains that a "gap"
      in the natural order exists at the formation of individual human souls.
      Functional integrity, however, allows for no such discontinuities. Van Till
      cannot escape this problem. He must either abandon orthodox Christian
      anthropology to make his view plausible, or restrict the scope of functional
      integrity where human beings are concerned. [...]
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Jonathan Wells:

      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Debate Origins & Design 19:1 Abusing Theology: Howard Van Till's
      "Forgotten Doctrine of Creation's Functional Integrity" by Jonathan Wells
      Research Fellow The Discovery Institute Seattle, Washington [...]
      Abstract: According to Howard Van Till, the early Christian fathers Basil
      and Augustine taught that life appeared as a consequence of creaturely
      capacities which God bestowed on the world from the beginning, in
      contrast to special creationism, which teaches that God intervened in the
      creation to make living things. To reconcile Christian faith with modern
      science, Van Till advocates recovering "the historic creationist tradition,"
      which he characterizes as the "forgotten doctrine of Creation's functional
      integrity" taught by Basil and Augustine. Basil, however, believed that God
      intervened in the creation to make living things, and was thus a special
      creationist. According to Augustine, God created everything
      simultaneously and placed causal principles into the creation which
      subsequently produced creatures in time. But Augustine proposed his
      theory of causal principles to emphasize that every species was created in
      the beginning by a special act of God, and he denied that creaturely
      capacities could produce anything new. Therefore, Van Till's "forgotten
      doctrine of Creation's functional integrity" has no basis in Basil's theology,
      and its emphasis on creaturely capacities is alien to Augustine's theology;
      so "the historic creationist tradition" is not what Van Till represents it to
      be. [...]
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------

      [...]

      Steve

      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
      "Dawkins' view on the organism, is that it doesn't exist, the organism is
      just the means for propagating replicators, or genes, "We are all survival
      machines for the same kind of replicator - molecules called DNA - but
      there are many different ways of making a living in the world, and the
      replicators have built a vast range of machines to exploit them..." (Dawkins
      R., "The Selfish Gene," Oxford University Press: Oxford, 1978, p.22)
      "...Exactly how [genes specifying proteins] leads to the development of a
      baby is a story which it will take decades, perhaps centuries, for
      embryologist to work out. But it is a fact that it does. Gene do indirectly
      control the manufacture of bodies and the influence is strictly one way:
      acquired characteristics are not inherited... Each new generation starts from
      scratch. A body is the genes' way of preserving the genes unaltered."
      (Dawkins, 1978, p.24) The greatest danger of this reductionist biology is
      that we end up denying and explaining away all that is good in organisms
      and human beings, such as altruism, love and compassion. That is all of a
      piece with the dominant social reality that glorifies competition and
      exploitation, of corporate capitalism that makes the rich ever richer and the
      poor ever poorer." " (Ho M-W., "The End of Bad Science and Beginning
      Again with Life," Conference on "The Limit of Natural Selection", French
      Senate, Paris, March 18, 2000, in Institute of Science in Society, London,
      2000. http://www.i-sis.org/paris.shtml)
      Stephen E. Jones sejones@... http://members.iinet.net.au/~sejones
      Moderator: CreationEvolutionDesign@yahoogroups.com
      Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CreationEvolutionDesign
      --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    • Andreas Peterson
      Group, Stephen E. Jones wrote: [...] ... SJ [continued] ... SJ That is *precisely* ID s power . It does not attempt to explain ... OK.
      Message 2 of 2 , May 12, 2002
        Group,

        Stephen E. Jones <sejones@...> wrote:

        [...]

        >On Mon, 19 Nov 2001 19:28:25 +0000, Andreas Peterson wrote:

        SJ>[continued]

        >AP>The difficulty, as I see it, with ID is that it is currently
        >>expressed in a way in which I feel that it has very limited (if any at
        >>all) explanatory power.

        SJ>That is *precisely* ID's "power". It does not attempt to explain
        >everything. It focuses on *one* thing, and only *one* thing: "Is there
        >empirically detectable evidence for design in nature"? If it demonstrates
        >that, it will be quite enough!

        OK.

        >AP>I briefly touched on this issue in another post, with the quote
        >>from Behe. If the reasons of the designer is "virtually impossible to
        >>know", I fail to see how intelligent design can avoid falling in the same
        >>ditch that Darwinism in many regards have, namely, that it `explains
        >>everything and its opposites' -that is, exactly nothing.

        SJ>Andreas has just criticised ID for having "very limited (if any at
        >all) explanatory power". Now he is criticising ID for "explain[ing]
        >everything"! Which is it?

        The expression that a theory that explains everyhting explains nothing is a
        common expression. In fact, I just did a search on Google for `"explains
        everyhting" "explains nothing"'. It turned up a reply to the
        Talkorigins-archive, in which just this sentiment was raised WRT evolution:

        ------------------------------------------------------------------------
        http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/feedback/nov96.html

        Feedback for November 1996

        Listed below are some of the letters received from readers of the
        Talk.Origins Archive in the month of November, 1996.

        [...]


        Evolution explains everyhting, and, therefore,explains nothing.

        [...]
        ------------------------------------------------------------------------

        The point is that if a theory can explain all imaginable scenarios (either
        by saying `the designer must have done it that way' or `some mechanism we
        haven't found yet must have done it'), then it hasn't really explained any
        of them.

        [...]

        >AP>Just yesterday, when I was reading about one of the differences
        >>between reptiles and mammals:
        >>
        >> "In reptiles the legs are typically splayed outward from the
        >> body, inducing a sort of body-wadding motion to their walk, but
        >> in mammals the legs project directly downward beneath the body,
        >> making possible a smooth walking or running motion." (Strahler
        >> A.N., 1999, "Science and Earth History: The Evolution/Creation
        >> Controversy", p. 417)
        >>
        >>I was thinking, "If legs "project[ing] directly downward beneath the body"
        >>really evolved in mammals to "mak[e] possible a smooth walking or running
        >>motion", how come most reptiles still have their legs "splayed outward
        >>from the body"?"

        SJ>It was one of the characteristics of mammal-like reptiles that their
        >legs started to come more under their body. I saw this displayed at The
        >Russian Dinosaur Exhibition (http://www.dinosaurexhibit.com/) when it came
        >to Perth, Western Australian, a number of years ago.

        I know. What I was asking for was the *reason* for this being so.

        >A{>But then I continued thinking. For why, if both reptiles and
        >>mammals were created by an intelligent designer, were reptiles given the
        >>"splayed out" legs, while the mammals got the ones "project[ing] directly
        >>downward"? Why not the other way around? Or the same type of leg to both?

        SJ>I think Andreas is getting "ID" mixed up with the general argument
        >from design. ID makes no claims about why "reptiles [were] given the
        >`splayed out' legs, while the mammals got the ones `project[ing] directly
        >downward.".

        OK.

        SJ>As to the answer to that sort of question, general design theory
        >would probably attempt to answer it with similar adaptationist arguments
        >that Darwinists would, e.g.:

        If "general design theory" can use the same "adaptationist arguments" that
        Darwinists use as explanations, then Darwinism cannot be claimed to not have
        any explanatory power either?

        In fact, if "general design theory" can only explain things by using the
        same explanations that Darwinism uses, one wonders why we should chose
        "general design theory" over Darwinism.

        SJ> "It would appear that the highly progressive mammal-like
        > reptiles, the theriodonts that approached the very threshold of mammalian
        >anatomy and physiology, reached the climax of their development when the
        >animals of the Cynognathus fauna were alive, during the closing years of
        >early Triassic time. Thus there are known a score and more genera
        >representing these advanced mammal-like reptiles.
        > Cynognathus, for which the zone is named, is characteristic - a
        > medium to rather large, wolf like reptile, with dagger-like canines,
        >cheek teeth differentiated and specialized for cutting food, and with
        >strong limbs drawn in beneath the body, thus allowing this active and
        >aggressive predator to move about efficiently and probably with a
        >considerable show of speed." (Colbert E.H., "The Age of Reptiles," [1965],
        >Dover: Mineola NY, 1997, p.83)

        This just re-states the observation that having "limbs drawn in beneath the
        body" allows one to "move about efficiently and ... with a considerable show
        of speed", without explaining the distribution of this feature.

        [...]

        >>>AP>I hope the members of this list are willing to discuss these
        >>>>issues with me,

        >>SJ>I am "willing to discuss these issues with" *anyone*. But my time
        >>>is limited and I get a bit short with those who make no effort to
        >>>understand what ID *is*, but just spin speculations off the top of
        >>>their head as to what they think ID *should* mean.
        >
        >AP>I can understand this concern, and hope that I will not make this
        >>mistake.

        SJ>Andreas is starting to.

        I appologize, and hope to avoid this mistake in the future.

        [...]

        >>>AP>so that I will be able to make my choice, assured that I really
        >>>>*can* defend my position when discussing it with others.

        >>SJ>Good. But what "discussing it with others" does Andreas mean? Is
        >>>Andreas on other Internet lists?

        >AP>Not exactly on "Internet lists", but yes, I do discuss
        >>evolution/creation on the Internet. I write on a Danish message board
        >>devoted to these matters (so far only from the "evolutionist" side).

        SJ>Why "so far only from the `evolutionist' side"?

        Because, "so far", I've been an "evolutionist".

        SJ>And why is "evolutionist" in quotation marks?

        It's a while ago since I wrote that message, but I seem to remember that I
        was quoting something someone said.

        >AP>Although the discussion is in Danish, interested can check it out
        >>here:
        >>
        >>http://www.skabelse.dk/debat/read.php?f=1&i=341&t=341

        SJ>I note the word skabelse = "creation". Is that a creationist "message
        >board"?

        Yes. The top of the forum reads "Skabelse.dk - Skabelsestilh�ngere i
        Danmark", which means "Creation.dk - Creation believers in Denmark".

        >AP>The site also has some English articles of varying quality:
        >>
        >>http://www.skabelse.dk/artikler/
        >>
        >>Although I have discussed some of my thoughts in private with other
        >>participants over e-mail, I have yet to declare my `doubts' about
        >>Darwinism,

        SJ>It is interesting how Andreas puts it. I would have thought that if
        >"Darwinism" was just a scientific theory, it would be *normal* to "declare
        >[one's] `doubts' about" it.

        Part of the reason is that I have developed friendships with many of the
        evolutionists over time. I am afraid that when I renounce Darwinism and
        start *attacking* it, those friendships will suffer.

        SJ>But the way Andreas puts it, it is clear that Darwinism is a type of
        >*religion*.

        I am not so sure about this. Darwinism has no deities and no doctrine about
        an afterlight, which, IMHO, characterizes most religions. But I do believe
        that Darwinism is based on some assumptions that would best be characterized
        as metaphysical.

        >AP>but since I consider the feedback on this list to be of higher
        >>quality,

        SJ>Which is itself interesting. The problem I have found on Internet
        >discussion lists dominated by evolutionists (theistic and plain vanilla),
        >is that they become *boring*.

        This is not my experience. This forum, Skabelse.dk, is run by "Creation
        believers", but it is pretty dead. There is one discussion between an
        evolutionist and a creationists, but it is clear that the discussion was
        most intense during the first few weeks of the forum.

        >AP>I would prefer to get my position `sorted out' here, before I
        >>declare my `heresy' on the other list.

        SJ>OK. Perhaps Andreas will let us know when he `comes out'! :-)

        Sure.

        SJ>[...]

        >AP>"Summarized as succinctly as possible, Basil's picture of creation
        >>is one in which God, by the unconstrained impulse of his effective will,
        >>instantaneously called the substance of the entire Creation into being at
        >>the beginning and gave to the several created substances the harmoniously
        >>integrated powers to actualize, in the course of time, the wonderful array
        >>of specific forms that the Creator had in mind from the outset. Both
        >>matter and the forms it was later to attain were the product of God's
        >>primary act of creation. Reflecting, for example, on the earth being
        >>initially without the adornment of grass, cornfields, or forests, Basil
        >>notes that, "Of all
        >>this nothing was yet produced; the earth was in travail with it in virtue
        >>of the power that she had received from the Creator." (Van Till H.J., in
        >>Till & Johnson, 1993, "God and Evolution: An Exchange", First Things,
        >>http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft9306/articles/johnson.html)

        SJ>Andreas might be interested in this debate over Van Till's
        >interpretation of Basil's picture of creation"?
        >
        >Van Till:

        Thanks to Stephen for this. I am in fact very "interested in this debate".
        However, the order in which Stephen has posted these links indicate that
        Reynolds and Wells are responding to an article by Van Till. But in fact it
        is the other way around: It is Van Till who replies to critical articles by
        Reynolds and Wells, and therefore, Van Till's article should have been the
        last article referred to.

        [...]

        SJ>http://www.arn.org/docs/odesign/od191/basilaug191.htm

        [...]

        SJ>John Mark Reynolds:

        [...]

        SJ>http://www.arn.org/docs/odesign/od191/gaplesseconomy191.htm

        [...]

        SJ>Abstract: Van Till's view of "functional integrity," while perhaps
        >yielding aesthetic advantages to modern taste in metaphysics and theory, is
        >implausible when confronted with orthodox Christianity. In particular,
        >Christianity maintains that a "gap" in the natural order exists at the
        >formation of individual human souls.

        As Van Till points out, Reynolds' argument rests on the soul being something
        that "exist independently of the physical body", a definition not supported
        by Scripture:

        "Words sometimes translated as "soul" are also translatable
        as "life principle" or "living being" -- terms that apply
        equally to both humans and animals and do not denote something
        that could exist independently of the physical body. In
        reference specifically to humans these words could mean
        simply "life," or "vitality," or "self," or "person," and only
        occasionally does the context suggest a life beyond our present
        existence. Readers are encouraged to consult a standard
        reference such as The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible
        (Nashville: Abingdon Press) for an introduction to the
        diversity of meanings found in the biblical text." (Van Till
        H.J., 1998, "Basil and Augustine Revisited: The Survival of
        Functional Integrity", Origins & Design 19:1, n10.
        http://www.arn.org/docs/odesign/od191/basilaug191.htm)

        Also, Van Till's view is only about "structures and forms in the
        physical/material world":

        "I should also say here that I have never envisioned my
        proposal regarding the functional integrity of the Creation to
        have sufficient scope to resolve this long-standing debate
        within the Christian community. As I have so far employed the
        concepts of "functional integrity" and "robust formational economy," these
        terms apply only to the actualization of
        structures and forms in the physical/material world. To fault
        these concepts for failing to solve puzzles regarding the
        existence of immaterial souls and regarding the possible mode
        or timing of their creation by God would be comparable to
        faulting astrophysics for failing to account for the phenomenon
        of parental love for a child." (Van Till, 1998)

        [...]

        SJ>Jonathan Wells:

        [...]

        SJ>Abstract: According to Howard Van Till, the early Christian fathers
        >Basil and Augustine taught that life appeared as a consequence of
        >creaturely capacities which God bestowed on the world from the beginning,
        >in contrast to special creationism, which teaches that God intervened in
        >the creation to make living things. To reconcile Christian faith with
        >modern science, Van Till advocates recovering "the historic creationist
        >tradition," which he characterizes as the "forgotten doctrine of Creation's
        >functional
        >integrity" taught by Basil and Augustine.

        Both Wells and Reynolds suggests that the motivation behind Van Till's views
        is some desire to "reconcile Christian faith with modern science", a claim
        resisted by Van Till:

        "I would also like to say for the record, and in response to
        some of Reynolds's rhetorical excesses, that I take my
        position, not out of a determination to "save the standard
        cosmological story," nor out of "fear" concerning what might be
        the outcome of a thorough "theological examination of the
        world." I take my position on the basis of my best judgment
        regarding the nature of the Creation and of the character of
        divine creative action, and I have long welcomed the
        constructive evaluation of this judgment by scientifically-
        informed theologians. My judgment could indeed be in error, but
        let's put away the demeaning rhetoric that proceeds from the
        arrogance of claiming to know my inmost motivations better than
        I do myself." (Van Till, 1998)

        SJ>Basil, however, believed that God intervened in the creation to make
        >living things, and was thus a special creationist.

        Being unable to find Wells' article, I can't say which quotes he gives in
        support of this argument. But Van Till quotes sections from Basil's writing
        that seem to confirm his intepretation:

        "Suppose, then, we focused on Basil�s concept of the manner in
        which life forms were first actualized in the Creation. On this
        question I found Basil's commentary on Scriptural references
        like "Let the earth bring forth grass (and herb and fruit
        tree) . . . ," and "Let the waters bring forth abundantly the
        moving creature (fish and fowl) that hath life . . . ,"
        and "Let the earth bring forth the living creature (cattle,
        creeping thing, beast) . . . " to be especially illuminating
        and relevant to the contemporary discussion. Fully recognizing
        that we should not expect Basil to speak in the modern
        scientific vocabulary, I nonetheless found it highly suggestive
        that Basil placed considerable emphasis on the action of water
        and earth and on their capabilities to "bring forth."

        By God's provision of capacities for active response, both
        water and earth were able to produce the full array of familiar
        life forms. " . . . [T]he Spirit . . . prepared the nature of
        water to produce living beings. . . . " (II:6) "Let the earth
        bring forth by itself without having any need of help from
        without." (V:1) Presuming the concept of spontaneous generation
        to be valid, Basil held in high regard the earth's powers
        to "bring forth." I was particularly taken by his reference to
        the way in which he understood the formation of eels: "We see
        mud alone produce eels; they do not proceed from an egg, nor in
        any other manner; it is the earth alone which gives them
        birth. `Let the earth produce a living creature.'" (IX:2)

        Now, it is obvious that Basil had nothing like the modern
        scientific concept of biotic evolution in mind, but I do find
        great significance in the fact that Basil saw no tension
        between his commitment to seeing the universe as a Creation and
        his recognition that earthly substances possess remarkable
        capabilities for self-organization and transformation. Although
        actualized in time by the working of earth's powers "without
        having any need of help from without," grass, cattle and eels
        are no less marvelous expressions of God's creative power.
        Earthly formational mechanisms are not competitors to divine
        creativity." (Van Till, 1998, original ellipses)

        SJ>According to Augustine, God created everything simultaneously and
        >placed causal principles into the creation which subsequently produced
        >creatures in time. But Augustine proposed his theory of causal principles
        >to emphasize that every species was created in the beginning by a special
        >act of God, and he denied that creaturely capacities could produce anything
        >new.

        Van Till attributes this to "a communication problem" between himself and
        Wells about what Van Till is claiming:

        "Now, what about Augustine? Wells's principal criticism appears
        to center on the issue of whether or not Augustine's view
        allows any "new kind" to appear by some creaturely process of
        transformation after creation was finished. Here Wells and I
        seem to have a communication problem. In that context, let me
        repeat what I actually said regarding Augustine's picture of
        God's creative work in the beginning and of its historical
        manifestation in the course of time.

        In the beginning, according to Augustine, God called into being
        all created substances and all creaturely forms. At this
        beginning all created forms existed both in the mind of God and
        in the formable substances of the created world. But in the
        formable substances the creaturely forms existed, not actually,
        but only potentially. Although the creaturely forms were not
        initially expressed in visible, material beings, these forms
        were there potentially in the capacities for actualization,
        called by Augustine "causal reasons" or "seed principles," with
        which the Creator had originally endowed the created
        substances. ["Basil, Augustine, and the Doctrine of Creation's
        Functional Integrity," p. 31]" (Van Till, 1998)

        [...]

        >Steve

        [...]

        ------------------------------------------------------------------------
        In Christ,
        Andreas

        "The weak nuclear force also appears to be finely balanced to permit our
        existence. During the catastrophic collapse of a star, the matter in its
        dense core is transformed into neutrons and a vast number of neutrinos. The
        neutrinos fly outwards and in the process blow away the star's "envelope",
        triggering a supernova. Yet neutrinos interact with matter in the envelope
        only via the weak force. If the weak interaction were slightly stronger, the
        neutrinos would be trapped in the heart of the star and the explosion would
        stall. If it were slightly weaker, they would escape from the star without
        interacting with matter. Either way, the heavy elements forged in massive
        stars which are essential for life would not be catapulted into space to be
        incorporated into new stars and planets." (Chown M., 1998, "Anything goes",
        New Scientist 158(2137):26-30, p. 28)
        ------------------------------------------------------------------------

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