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Friday, March 16, 2007

Remarkable statement from The Panda's Thumb

"The Panda's Thumb" is a vociferously anti-Intelligent Design blog, and, it usually seems, anti-theistic. However, sometimes, at least some of the authors (there are several) back off a little bit. Here's part of a post from two days ago:

Random heritable variation and natural selection may very well be responsible for all of biological complexity, but I doubt any scientist - even an atheist - would attest to that particular phrasing. (You don’t know what you don’t know and it is entirely possible that something else
amenable to scientific investigation is responsible.) Further, there exist people who fully support evolution and yet also think that some non-natural agent is involved somehow, whether through a mechanism scrutable to science or not. Arguing in favor of the idea that all biological complexity arose only due to random heritable variation and natural selection would needlessly alienate those theists who also support evolution and would make statements that would be potentially rebutted by whatever is discovered to create complexity that isn’t evolution. (The data don’t demand it, it would be needlessly divisive: who else but a creationist would suggest that such language be used?) "Hey Dr. Egnor: At Least Galen Dissected Animals, Not Straw Men" March 14, 2007. A "bhumburg" is given as the author.

The post is in response to a statement by a Dr. Egnor (the reference is given in the original post, if you are interested) who, probably, did set up a straw man in a pro-ID argument (I didn't read his post). There are a couple of remarks that I'd like to make about the quotation above.

First, Amen and Hallelujah! Such a statement doesn't mock or negate the possibility of God's creative activity, and it was a pleasure to read it.

Second, regardless of this statement, I would expect most readers who read "The Panda's Thumb" on a regular basis to come away with the impression that the authors do, indeed, believe that "Random heritable variation and natural selection" are the only agents involved in the existence of "all biological complexity," and even in the existence of life itself. I wonder what other authors of "The Panda's Thumb" think of this part of this post. Such a belief, as bhumburg says, is not a scientific belief, but a faith statement, but anti-theists don't always understand that.

Thanks for reading.


Weekend Fisher said...

I'm sorry, I'm confused. Reading your site, I'd have been prepared to bet that you yourself thought that "random heritable variation and natural selection" were the only agents involved. I was really, really surprised to see this piece on your blog. Have I missed something?

Martin LaBar said...

Thanks for your comment. You have missed something, which must be my fault. See about half of the posts in the upper right side-bar of my blog, listed as those most important, which relate to this subject, in particular the 1st, 4th, 7th, 10th, and last of these, if you want to find out more of what I really do believe.

Genesis 1:1 doesn't say when, where, how, or why, but it does say WHO. God, not "random heritable variation and natural selection" was the most important agent in the creation of the universe, life, etc. He may have used some, or maybe a lot, of what seems to us to be "random heritable variation and natural selection," but, if so, it was possible because of His original design that the system would work.

I do have problems with ID and YEC, and may have said too much about these problems.

(I have commented further on one of Weekend Fisher's blogs.)

I thank him for reading.