Another Post about Evolution

This site has been quiet for some time and it makes me wonder if we’ve stopped “thinking in a marrow bone.” I haven’t stopped thinking, but I’m not sure if I’m doing much thinking that’s worth anything. So instead, I’d like to issue a challenge and have you do the thinking for me: someone help me understand why so many Mormons accept evolution whole cloth without settling some of the most crucial divisions between doctrine and Darwinian dogma?

Let me reveal my ignorance by talking about things I don’t understand.

Carbon-dating and the Age of the Earth. So apparently the earth is really old. And apparently, back in the day, this revelation was meant to explode any creationist idea about the youth of the earth (i.e., that the earth was only 10,000 years old, or something of the sort). By now, it’s agreed by most people that the earth is millions – perhaps billions – of years old, and we know that because of carbon dating and stars and stuff.

I guess Mormons never had a problem with the earth being really old, since we believe everything has an eternal existence. But wait! we believe the elements are eternal? Then how come we accept the “age of the earth” from scientists who actually put a “birth” to the elements? Do we really believe that the earth is billions of years old? Or do we believe that the elements are eternal and have no age? Or do we believe something else entirely? I’d like to know.

Natural Selection and Being Nice. Last I heard, we as Christians believed we should live by the two great commandments: love God, love your neighbor. Last I heard, Natural Selection was all about “survival of the fittest,” whether that means loving your neighbor or not. Something just isn’t fitting here: if we really were formed through natural selection, then why are we commanded to be nice to people?

Natural Selection, Creation, and Death. Here’s another place where I’m ignorant. In fact, doubly ignorant. I know little about natural selection and I guess I know little about what Mormons believe about creation. What I thought I knew about natural selection is that it required death. What I thought I knew about Mormons and creation is that when creation occurred, death was not part of the picture – death only came about because of the fall of Adam.

So do Mormons believe in a literal fall? If so, do they believe in a literal Garden of Eden, where there was no death? If so, how does evolution and natural selection fit into the picture? I’m having a really hard time understanding that one.

Natural Selection, Resurrection, and Life after Death. And finally, if we get our bodies back after we die, then how does that fit with Natural Selection or with Creation though evolution? Did God work the whole resurrection thing into evolution before he began evolving stuff? This just doesn’t make sense to me.

And above all, I have to ask this question: why are there only two (three?) sides to the debate over creation and evolution? By this I mean, either you believe in evolution, or you’re a crazy person who believes in creationism or intelligent design (neither of which holds much scientific water). Why haven’t Mormons come up with something different – something that takes into account the eternal nature of man and of the elements; something that “fits the data” but also “fits the doctrine”? Are we really that inept?

Or perhaps we have and I’m simply ignorant of that fact. Would someone enlighten me?

29 Responses

  1. I really hope this post helps create a space for civil and constructive conversation about evolution and Mormonism. I think that Joe has raised some issues here that typically are not taken seriously. One reason is perhaps the “silencing” that comes from employing a heavy-handed science or doctrine club.

    I know that there are some compelling evolutionary arguments concerning Joe’s concerns about selfishness and death. But I hear little if anything that is compelling about his concerns about eternal matter and resurrection. And I think his call for a “third way” should be taken very seriously.

    Anyway, I hope this post engenders civil and constructive conversation around these points, rather than the arrogance and holier-than-thou attitudes that are all too often present about science and religion debates. To anyway who may need to hear this, I encourage you to put down your ax for a minute and enter into a charitable and humble conversation.

  2. From what I understand of science, dating the earth is done by dating when certain organisms lived. Organisms give off certain isotope that can be dated by how much it the isotope has decayed. So it mostly just tracks when things were mashed together in the forms they are in, not when they first came into existence.

    In terms of natural selection, not every one seems to have been commanded to be nice. Just look at the Old Testament, or civilization up til a couple centuries ago. And in this modern age, we have access to enough resources that we don’t have to fight over them any more, so being nice fits into survival of a population.

    In terms of the fall, I can’t see most of the story as literal. The principles that we should learn from are there, so that’s all that matters to me.

    And in terms of resurrection: no idea.

    My view is that God works with natural laws to bring things about, be that evolution or physics. Hopefully some of this made sense!

  3. We’re in a world of our own.

    The fight going on outside between evolution and ID with a side of creationism is about education- the principles of education. People are picking sides, lining up, taking names- the whole works.

    Where do LDS stand in all of this? It seems somewhat divided but still the heavy side leans towards order, design, and NO evolution. Evolution is a bad apple for organized religion.

    Evolutionary theory does not include the most important element- that of a designer/ Creator. For this reason alone, every Christian abiding person should ban evolution from their homes. Evolution doesn’t need God, but we do, and evolution isn’t giving us the answeres were looking for.

  4. ye gads, my lantern! have we found an honest man in the evolution debate?

    Your questions are good, however their a little mixed on the concepts.

    I’ll just take on the first one. The age of the earth for young earth creationists is (more or less) based on calculations done by Archbishop Ussher in 1640, a series of dates gained by (among other things) counting the ‘Begats’ in the bible and estimating.

    Carbon dating has nothing to do with the age of the earth, most of our calculations center around radio-isotope dating wherein the decay rates of different isotopes of radioactive materials can be precisely calculated, giving us a range for the age of the earth.

    Third concept, the whole ‘Big Bang Theory’ relates to ex-nihilo creation in no way shape or form. No physicist worth his salt would say that the elements were created out of nothing. The big bang is thought to have been caused by a hot, compressed mass of existing matter/energy (really the same thing, as Einstein showed).

    So, what you’re doing is bringing in a lot of concepts that appear to relate, but really have no connection to each other. You might want to try to break down those concepts and look into the individual aspects to get a better idea as to the conversation and the politics of evolution in education.

  5. Kelsy –

    yes, being nice does fit into natural selection, if you make it fit in. But the so-called “niceness” is rather meaningless when motivated not by concern (or love) for the other, but rather for survival’s sake. That doesn’t seem to be the love that Christ is talking about. That’s my biggest concern with natural selection.

  6. Rob-

    I might agree with much of what you say, particularly that Darwinian evolution is somewhat godless. However, I don’t think that means we need to banish the data and so-called science of evolution from our homes. It might be that all the adaptation we see in the world around us fits quite well with a theistic evolutionary theory – I’d just like to see someone more sophisticated than I come up with that theory.

  7. bloggernacledude –

    I thank you (sincerely) for helping to expose my ignorance. As the age of the earth is not really that interesting to me, I’ll respond simply by saying this: Judging by what you’ve said, it seems even scientists make no final decisions concerning the age of the earth. That’s fine; I don’t either.

    As far as your comments about education, I’ve discussed that in previous posts (rather ignorantly, I should add) and am done discussing it. Let the courts figure that out (although why we’re letting them decide is beyond me – another issue for another day).

    I’m not concerning myself with education for the time being. Some background: I work at BYU, the LDS sponsored university, and most of their biologists use evolution as their theoretical frame of reference. I want to understand why.

    So let’s scratch the whole young earth/old earth bit; that’s fine. But what about my other questions?

  8. If the whole world were one big Zion society, natural selection would still be operative. For example, some genes–or combination of genes–would still be better than others for reaching maturity and having children in Africa, while others would be better in Scandinavia. Those genes would tend to dominate those populations. By the same token, some genes would be detrimental to survival and reproduction, and those genes would tend to go extinct or remain at low frequency. All of this in spite of how loving everyone was.

    That natural selection is a fact of life means nothing for how we ought to treat each other–any more than the fact that gravity pulls us to the ground means that we should go around pushing people down.

    I hope that helps.

  9. I tend to disbelieve some of positive merits of natural selection. Natural selection as Darwins model for preserving evolution doesn’t really solve the complexity in nature issue. Take humans for example-

    Personally I believe that man has genetically gotten worse not better since the first man- Adam appeared on the scene. Natural selection has done nothing to preserve the goods, although it may have led to why Australian aborigines are tall and slender and able to therefore keep a lower body temperature in the heat while the Alaskan Eskimos are generally short limbed, and have extra fat layers where they are exposed to the cold more. But that natural selection hasn;t done much in the light of disease and other factors in the environment that move quicker than natural selection can work.

    Why is it that man lived longer in the past- in Adam;s day? The gene pool was good. Genetics have gotten worse not better in my opinion.

  10. I accept some aspects of evolution theory and reject others. However, the ardent evolutionists in the scientific community (including some in the LDS scientific community) have become so dogmatic that if you show dissention you are automatically branded an IDiot or a creationist.
    No scientific theory is absolutely consistent with the gospel, not one. Science, including evolution, is a manmade endeavor that is continually changing; the fundamentals of the gospel are not changing. How, then, can evolution and the gospel be completely consistent with one another?
    Evolution is largely a good science, but we have gone too far and given it emperor status. In reality some of the emperor’s clothes are missing, but don’t try to tell the emperor because he will have you ostracized.

  11. The age of the earth is not much of a problem. Carbon dating is only good for perhaps 50,000 years from what I understand. Dating using isotopes of other elements can extend estimates into the hundreds of millions if not billions of years. The only serious problem with an old earth, doctrinally speaking, is that the fossil record is contrary to a straightforward interpretation of “no death before the fall”.

    No death before ~4000 BC is basically ridiculous. The Cambrian explosion of various life forms was more like 540 million years ago. There are no end of fossils to demonstrate that, and the dating methods are cross checked in a large number of different ways. My pet interpretation, doctrinally speaking, is that the garden account is symbolic of an actual fall that occurred at least several hundred million years prior, in a spirit world more or less. Then Adam / Eve / etc. are born or “show up” with mortal bodies at a much later date,.

    There is a lot of controversy around the idea of divinely guided evolution, but at this point it is basically a philosophical / theological question. And there are certainly more bizarre problems in Mormon theology with evolution and embodiment than in a traditional view of God creating the universe out of nothing, and of course not having a body at all.

    “Element” is a pretty generic term that probably should be read as “matter” or “matter/energy”, not the chemical concept of an element. Either way, the earth is young enough that transformations (i.e. nuclear reactions) of elements are not much of an issue. The Sun of course is a different story.

    The really interesting problem is the Big Bang. I am kind of a Big Bang skeptic personally, but I suppose it isn’t completely out of the question eternal intelligence wise if there was time prior to the event.

  12. Speaking of the Big Bang, I have an issue with it.

    The Big Bang, is a cop-out for scientists to try to understand something they can’t possibly understand. It’s worse than making matter appear from nowhere as some Christians believe. The biggest implication to the Big Bang theory is that it attempts to cover the unseen. How? Ponder this-

    Our best telescopes, hurdling through space in the universe see no end to matter- it just keeps on going and going and going (and no, it’s not the energizer bunny). From a physics view, if space goes on forever- as far as the best eye can see, then the distance some objects have traveled surpass the age of the universe itself. It’s a paradoxial quest- if there is a moment when we know the spatial relationship of “all matter” in the universe (before the bib bang hypothetically), then it could be calculated how far space goes. In order to thus know for sure, one would have to find the “edge” of space. This of coarse isn’t to be!

  13. Why not a better theory? Why not a third way? Have at it. One of the strengths of evolution is that it’s been attacked, criticized, analyzed, deconstructed — you name it — since day one. The uncomfortable truth is that it has held up and continues to hold up.

  14. Evolution is starting to bulge and break at the seams. In another few decades it will be a heretecial monument to idiocy just as the flat-earthers are today a monument to idiocy. I am not being rude towards evolutionary theory, just saying the plain truth.

    Many do not understand the strengths of the ID movement in science. There really only is one element to evolution that could cause it’s downfall. And what is that? The validity of ID theory proving correct.

    ID makes a unique scientific case for their being an intelligent cause (God) without crossing the lines into religious thought and principles. The implications this has on the scientific community are huge once it catches on. It means that how we study biology will change- a change for the better. Whereas we may not to be able to scientifically identify who the intelligent cause is or where he exists, we will be able to scientifically understand his signature in living things. This somehow bothers evolutionists, not because it may be true, but rather they will be wrong and be on the side of idiocy- the great monument. Most “theistic evolutionists” including mormon evolutionists do not realize that they support the very principles of study of the intelligent design theory. What are those principles?

    They are principles that state that complexity in nature were designed- they just didn’t arive here through some unintelligent ubguided random process. Christian believers must believe in the God of the bible which include the “creation” as a designed planned intelligent event. That my friends, is what ID is all about- showing through scientific means that life was planned and designed by an intelligent cause. For us Mormons this means the intelligent cause would be Jesus Christ.

    Yes, mormons are ID supporters just be admitting they believe that life came about through an intelligent Creator! Think about that for a while. We know Christ will establish the truth, whose side are you going to be on? Hopefuly not part of the idiocy monument.

  15. Jared –

    If the whole world were some big Zion society, I do not doubt that we as organic beings would adapt to our surrounding climate and culture. I do doubt, however, that we would be in immense competition with each other, as natural selection implies.

    Indeed, to hear the prophecies concerning the lion and the lamb make me wonder if animals will be in competition with one another. Why can’t our Mormon capitalistic culture understand that we don’t have to compete to survive?

  16. John –

    I think you’re naively overlooking the politics of science when you say what you do about evolution. Other theories have generally have one or two things going against them (sometimes a combination of both): 1, lack of rigor, or 2, the fact that scientists are generally unwilling to change their mind because of the power and money involved. That seems to me to be the case with natural selection.

    But that aside, I’m not a scientist and I don’t pretend to be one. I lack the expertise to develop a new theory of my own and frankly don’t want to take the time to gain that expertise. But I sure know a lot of people who do have that expertise and I’m just hoping that one of them has seen through the asinine notion that we humans have little drive other than to survive. If so, then I’m issuing them a challenge.

    It appears so far that not a single person has taken up my challenge.

  17. Rob-

    You’re correct: some Mormons do support ID. I do not.

    I confess I’m a little ignorant of this theory as well as evolution, however I’m a little hesitant about using science to organize my data and “prove” that there is an intelligent designer.

  18. (cont.) I don’t think it can be done.

  19. Joe,

    If you would like to dig into understanding natural selection, I recommend this.

    If you want to understand evolution more generally, I recommend Jerry Coyne’s book “Why Evolution is True.”

    Happy reading.

  20. This debate needs some deeper questions:

    1. Can evolution be squared with the notion of primal parents of the entire human race? If not, what does this mean for Joseph Smith’s pretty clear teachings on this issue? What does it mean for Joseph’s vision of family history work, in which the entire human family would be sealed together?

    2. How might evolutionary theory look different if it BEGAN with the resurrection of Christ? I’m not interested in hearing answers about faith and science boundaries because I don’t live a compartmentalized life. So, I’m not asking what a SCIENTIFIC evolutionary theory would look like — I’m asking what a SCIENTIFIC-DOCTRINAL evolutionary theory might look like, that takes seriously the resurrection.

    3. If (2) cannot satisfactorily be answered, then how does one decide what to believe concerning human nature? Why would one choose to begin with certain assumptions rather than others?

    4. Might the evolutionary data be interpreted radically differently if one does not believe that there are fundamental, unchanging natural laws? For example, what if someone begins with the assumption that prior to the Fall, people really did live for up to 1000 years? Does this matter at all? In other words, is it that inconceivable that God might really shake things up? How could we assure that He has not? How far can we trust sense-data with these matters, if the interpretation of these data rely on assumptions about natural laws? (I really hope that this question is taken seriously, rather than immediately disparaged.)

  21. The church is pretty clear when it comes to humans and evolution. I think mostly, besides the scriptures stating no human evolution, there are paramount problems with having a race of pre-Adamites before Adam and Eve. What would these “things” be? Are they men or animals? This is one reason God doesn’t use evolution to create humans- it would be too problematic. Thankfully we have prophets who can state with recognizable authority the matters that settle whether or not humans evolved from a lower order or were created as lineal offspring of deity. Thankfully, we are the sons of God and not the sons of monkeys.

  22. Dennis, your questions seem to clarify some of the possible answers to Joe’s original queries:

    1) Age of the Earth and Radio-carbon dating: If it might be possible that the “Earth fell” as part of the fall of Adam, then all we need to do is to figure out if carbon decays at the same rate in a paradisaical sphere as it does in the telesstial world in which we now live. The age of the universe or solar system doesn’t at all matter for this question if we take seriously the Pearl of Great Price note that “Only an account of THIS world show I unto you” or the idea that the earth in our creation story was put in it’s current orbit, or “fell” or became in some important way the world as we know it AFTER the creation and fall.

    2) The Natural Selection v. Niceness: Again, this comes down to the definition of “natural.” Does a natural law describe or proscribe nature? When we say it’s a “dog eat dog” world, are we describing the current and perhaps alterable current expression of the world, or the fundamental way things are on a basic level? The latter seems to be how many people interpret King Benjamin’s comment about the natural man being an enemy to God… how ever, from the beginning, it was (and is) not so ( )

    3) Death before the fall? Again, Dennis’s questions point the way. The real question is “Was Adam born?” ( ) In other words, who are Adam’s parents? Without the benifit of the PoGP, it seems that the only answers the world has come up with are 1) Nothing and No one OR 2) Homo Erectus. The restored gospel does not seem comfortable with either.

    4) The resurrection ought to have been our starting point for this debate 150 years ago.

    In general Joe and Dennis, I think you’re right, with some rare exceptions ( ) we latter day saints haven’t done our homework on these issues… Let’s start asking some real questions!

  23. Well, BrentM, you certainly say a whole lot without offering much of a solution. haha!

    Seriously, though, I want to take up the issue of natural law. You seem to be alluding to (whether intentionally or not) something CS Lewis said about natural law, which I think ought to be put on the table here. Lewis wrote “in the history of the Universe the laws of nature have never produced a single event.” He then goes on to argue that the laws of nature do not proscribe nature, but more likely describe nature.

    So I hope I don’t kill the discussion here (that is, if it isn’t already dead), but I’m going to just come out and propose something that would fly in the face of Darwinian evolution and natural selection.

    Nature is just as lawful as human beings are.

    What I mean to say is this: humans are gods in embryo (if we take folk Mormon theology serious), and thus have an eternal “nature.” When we sin, we go against nature – that is, act contrary to the laws of our nature. Thus, at times we abide by the laws of nature and conform our behaviors to those laws.

    Nature is the same. It has laws that are “natural,” and it (just like we) can act contrary to those laws. But nature doesn’t act contrary – ever. This might explain a little why King Benjamin accused man of being less than the dust – the dust obeys.

    So how does this change evolution? I don’t know, but how bout I throw something crazy out:

    Let us assume that the laws of the animal world boil down to a simple rule: act according to the human world. In other words, it’s as though God says: “nature, you will maintain an order like that of the human world: if they live in peace, you will live in peace; if they struggle for survival, you will struggle for survival.”

    God puts man in the Garden, everything is peaceful. Man decides to rebel against God, nature follows suit. Death is introduced to the world through man, nature follows suit. Now, we spend out lives competing with one another and nature takes its cue from us. (This theory might go far in helping to understand how to turn back global warming…)

    It would follow then that, as we as humans can “put of the natural man” (or, the “survival instinct,” if you will), then we not only turn the tide of humanity and bring peace to humans, but we would also bring peace to nature and we all would live in harmony.

    That seems to fit the doctrine (loosely, at least). Does that seem to fit the data?

  24. Some of you who commented may be interested in this blog. It is written by a BYU Biology Assistant Professor.

    Some of you may find the answers to your questions here and others of you may find you should be asking different questions.

    In any case, I hope it is helpful.

    Other links of possible interest.

    Click to access Evolution%20Packet.pdf

  25. I’m obviously late coming in the game. My question – why can’t I have both ID and evolution? Must they be mutually exclusive?

    I believe that death did not exist before the Fall – I can’t scientifically explain that. However, natural law does not support resurrection, yet I believe in a resurrection. If a person can be resurrected, it seems that there must be some higher law that dictates whether a person may die or not. See also: a prolonged life such as the 3 Nephites.

    Without death, there is no evolution. Hence “intelligent design” of the creation. In faith I have little problem accepting that the God who can command “let there be light” can also form man out of the dust of the earth. In science, well, er, uh, there’s obviously some puzzle pieces missing there.

    So death enters the world. We definitely have evidence in this world that there is some sort of evolution in play. Why can’t evolution simply be a characteristic of a fallen world – the same a noxious weeds and thistles, and disease?

    In summary: The best I can fathom is that there are higher laws not observable with mortal eyes in a fallen world. It’s not a satisfactory answer, but I don’t believe that all religious notions can be answered with scientific theories.

    Though a bit of a threadjack at the moment. Someone said, “Australian aborigines are tall and slender and able to therefore keep a lower body temperature in the heat while the Alaskan Eskimos are generally short limbed, and have extra fat layers where they are exposed to the cold more.” So why are Norwegians generally tall and slender?

  26. Brandon –

    Thanks for the links. First on the blog: I have to say that this guy has thought a lot about evolution and how to fit it with the gospel. That’s nice, but I never doubted it had happened before.

    I guess you could say that my issue isn’t with the theory itself, but with the fact that given some of our beliefs, not a single LDS theory has been put forth that contrasts with both ID and evolution. There can’t be just two (viable) games in town?

    There is one thing that bothers me about his blog. I am a little hesitant to take this guy seriously, though. His thinking is rather sound, I confess, and so is his hubris. Perhaps I have no sense of humor, but he seems to be so sure in some of his posts that evolution is how it is, that it seems highly unlikely that he would even question his own position, whether strong evidence were presented to the contrary or not. You see, this sort of arrogance is problematic no matter who expresses it because it shuts down dialog.

    I may be wrong about evolution: it might fit perfectly with church doctrine. But why can’t we talk about it as though it were only a theory? Why does every single discussion have to fall on either one said (most often evolution) or another? And why is it that Mormons seem to know “more” about the eternities and STILL won’t assume that role?

    We are none of us very humble, and I’m willing to bet we are none of us very right.

  27. Janell –

    Thanks for coming, even if you are late. And no worries about being a threadjacker – I’m pretty sure this post is dead. Fortunately, if anything from this post survives, it will only have been the best-fitted for survival and we can leave the rest of the crap behind.

    One thing only, then I’ll let this horse die (maybe): evolution and ID both approach the world from a primarily modernist position. That is, in gaining knowledge makes certain assumptions about nature. We don’t have to make those assumptions.

    Just for example: modernisim (at least, today’s brand of it) demands that we assume nature to be fundamentally the same today as it has been for eternity., because it behaves in fixed, universal, unchangeable ways. Why do we have to assume that? Because it’s what we see (empiricism). But if we didn’t have to assume that (particularly because, in a real sense, we did not – past tense – SEE anything), then couldn’t we assume that perhaps nature behaves differently in different circumstances? Allowing for that simple assumption to be challenged would change things rather significantly, though the data might look absolutely the same.

    Anyway, that’s all. Rest in peace, post. May your progenitors learn from your mistakes.

  28. Joe O –

    I agree with you. I think there is room for third way here (1. ID, 2. Theory of Evolution, 3. third way). First let me make a couple of comments about what I have labeled 1 & 2.
    1. ID or Intelligent Design is a technical term and there is an important distinction here as it concerns Mormonism. The term is used to describe a movement which Mormonism has taken no part in. For example, Mormons don’t sponsor anti-Darwinian seminars, create alternative dinosaur museums, and our scholars, who work in areas where evolution is important and the foundation to everything they do, rarely stray academically from the current scientific consensus regarding evolution. This is not to say Mormons do not believe in an Intelligent Designer, but belief in an Intelligent Designer is very different from saying you are a proponent of ID or that you believe in the theory of ID over the theory of evolution. For those who want a better idea of what this theory is about, Google the Discovery Institute or Dr. Michael Behe.
    2. On to label two. The theory of evolution that everyone talks about today is still the same theory that came from Darwin. I sometimes hear people say things like they believe in evolution, just not the evolution Darwin came up with. I assume these statements are the consequence of being unfamiliar with evolutionary theory and associating Darwin with atheism. It is Darwinian evolution that is taught at BYU, although today the proper name for the theory is Modern Evolutionary Synthesis Theory (referring to the synthesis of Darwinian theory with modern genetics and other things that came after Darwin).
    3. third-way? I think Mormon scholars at BYU are similar to Dr. Kenneth Miller’s thinking (a Catholic Biologist at Brown University). The basic idea here is to blend evolution with religious thought and at the very least show why they are not diametrically opposed. In sum, those from – 1. have thrown out the science, 2. have thrown out the Designer, 3. keeps the Designer and the science while at the same time trying to understand how the science fits in with their Designer. Some may think this is the “lukewarm” or “fence sitters” third way, but I don’t think so. This is the position BYU seems to have taken in and appears to be the general ethos of BYU towards any academic endeavor, not just evolution.

    As to your other concerns, I can’t comment on arrogance or humility of the blog I refereed you to. My guess is that some of the tone from his blog comes from encounters with people who treat him like a 2, think Mormons are a 1 and think 3 cannot exist. If I am right in my “guess”, I believe that would mean that you are both concerned for basically the same reasons.

    To the third way and a more open and informed dialogue.

  29. Brandon,

    I appreciate you checking my own arrogance. Perhaps I owe the Organon another look. Perhaps I owe Miller another look, too – but I have to say, his Only a Theory was torture to read. It was very boring.

    I think I’m comfortable with the idea of “showing why they are not diametrically opposed.” As far as being a biologist is concerned, this is perhaps the best “third way.” After all, we shouldn’t require biologists (or psychologists, for that matter) to be philosophers (though, we ought to stop giving them Doctorates of Philosophy). Perhaps the onus, then, falls on the philosophers (of which I am, fortunately, not one).

    Either way, I acknowledge your “third way” as a fine third way for now.

    Ultimately, though, we (as scientists) have to acknowledge that our science is based on a philosophy, be willing to question its foundations (including the fact that there is no such thing as “objective” interpretation of the data – why does nobody ever catch that oxymoron?) and open the door for a third way that neither evolutionists nor ID theorists can even approximate at this point.

    Perhaps that’s all I’m calling for. But I appreciate your willingness to have a more open and informed dialogue. Perhaps as the old generation of modernists get old, retire, and die, those of us who are younger and impatient with the status quo will get our say.

    Or perhaps we’ll all remain uninformed (like me) and complain for others to do the work for us. ha ha!

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