Wednesday, July 21, 2010

my recent letter to the editor of Reason

They decided not to publish this in response to Ronald Bailey's useful but sloppy effort in Reason...

I was surprised to see Ronald Bailey's blurb on recent research in the field of microbiology (May 2010). Although it seemed out of place in Reason, it was a pleasure to read his summary.

It was far less pleasurable to see the all-too-common conflation of intelligent design, young-earth creationism, old-earth creationism, and "irreducible complexity". Knowledgeable proponents of these ideas (and others) have no dispute with the mechanism of evolution-- but rather the narrative of Evolution as a comprehensive explanation for the development of life on earth.

Share such research if it fits your mission. If you have faith in this narrative, try to proselytize your audience if you must. But at least drop the un-Reason-able inferences and sloppy descriptions.

2 Comments:

At July 21, 2010 at 10:19 PM , Blogger William Lang said...

I would suppose that Ronald Bailey conflates intelligent design with creationists because to him, they're all the same; they're all skeptics of evolution, a theory almost all scientists in the relevant disciplines defend.

But I was amused to click on his name to read his little bio—it turns out that while Bailey is a big defender of modern biology (biotechnology as well as evolution), he himself is a skeptic of another area of science: global warming (having written a book with the title Global Warming and Other Eco-Myths). It's kind of like meeting someone who is skeptical of UFOs but is a believer in Sasquatch.

Concerning evolution, there's no need to rehash our debates in this forum. I'll just say that evolution does not pose any threat to my Christian faith; instead, I see the hand of the Creator in a system of life that developed of its own accord to be resilient, adaptable and extraordinarily beautiful.

 
At July 21, 2010 at 10:43 PM , Blogger Eric Schansberg said...

Right, and that (sloppy, un-reason-able) conflation is what I sought to address.

Of course, I find Bailey amusing and surprising from the other angle! LOL!

Since you and I are both theists, we agree here qualitatively-- that Evolution cannot explain all. Whether it explains 13% or 92%, we don't know-- and we take on varying levels of reason and especially faith. As we've talked about many times before-- but it's worth reiterating to someone who comes across this for the first time-- my beef is not with evolution, but with those who somehow think Evolution can "reason"-ably "explain" all.

As I said in my letter: "Knowledgeable proponents of these ideas (and others) have no dispute with the mechanism of evolution-- but rather the narrative of Evolution as a comprehensive explanation for the development of life on earth."

 

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