[repost time for new readers- if you want to know my general past discussion on these topics-originally posted March 02, 2004 @ 17:56]

evolution for a time

Hello,ppls. For a time , since I am not on the forums much at all, I am taking up a bit of the discussion from Ed’s place. If you hate evolution/ID or creation types of debate, chill. It is mainly the metaphysics that I am interested in, but the debate mode has a way of stirring the blood. Probably worth a few posts.
I will use my forum format- some of his comments with my answers. Read his post in entirety here.
I am trying to make the point that evolutionists are weak in the base of their arguments which are simply lots of “probablies” rather than in the idea that ID/creationists arguments have superior strength. We are sort of midstream in it.

answering Ed

I said that much of evolutionary theory is simply conjecture. Ed then replies:

“Still false. When I say that the eye and the brain probably evolved together, I mean that there is solid evidence and sound reasoning to reach that conclusion.”

This entire didactic paragraph is an interesting bit of information, but how is it proof that there is evolution, rather than a created being…where the brain and the eye are in tandem in development? I wouldn’t protest the neurological studies at all…. I don’t see how they are more in favor of an evolutionary idea rather than the ID one. The evolutionary one is weak through its probablies. It has nothing to do with Ed’s fatherly repetitions of “Certainty is rated on a continuum, not on a simple yes/no scale.” protests.

I know that, Ed. Really, I do. What I am saying is that the evolutionary theory is not so watertight as you propound. The tandem working of the brain and eye, notwithstanding.

“I could also cite many other lines of evidence for this argument from comparative anatomy and paleontology, but I fear they will still be shoved into this false dichotomy that Ilona offers,…..
Certainty is rated on a continuum, not on a simple yes/no scale.”

Although calling my argument a false dichotomy is convenient for the oppositions argument, the actual contention I offered was that evolutionary theory does not fit into the scientific methodology of replicated experimentation which creates the “Certainty is rated on a continuum”.

What is offered by Ed is more along the lines of historical hypothesis and theory…. which is an art and is more honestly represented than the “science” of
evolutionary theory.

Not that there are not the plausible parts for those disposed to believe in it. But I will still maintain that evolutionary theory is not certainty in any sense of the word. It isn’t a proven fact, and many of its parts are not proven facts. It has problems.

I previously said this:
Logical inference is only so good as the truth of the premises. And many of the ideas such as this:

“In fact, the hallmark of evolution is the modification of pre-existing structures. An evolved organism, in short, should show the tell-tale signs of this modification. A designed organism should not. Which is it?” are not grounded in factual truth.

But she doesn’t explain why that premise is false.
I made a general statement that is true. Logical inference is only so strong as the validity of its premises.

And Ed will not argue that. Instead, then comes the monolith of the evolution model, synoptically explained. But if one wants to know “Which part of the statement is not “grounded in factual truth”? It is this: “since the designer lacks the constraints that are obviously present if life evolved”.

That is not a given, and not provable. Why must a designer lack constraints? Much of what we know of what is commonly called evolution… is actually more variation from within the existing building blocks of the creature/organism.

What if the designer had something other than a static creation in mind? Ed simply produced a closed model with limited choices. I don’t agree with that. I don’t think it has to be that way.

I suspicion that it has some roots in Ed’s own ideas of what perfection of an Almighty Being might seem. Another discussion for another time….

Previously I said this:
“This was a logical fallacy in itself….. using two different definitions of evolution interchangeably.”

This is a very odd statement

Only odd when one is unfamiliar with the semantics used and the logical fallacy of equivocation. IOW, the idea of Evolution has two distinct definitions, which I explained. It has nothing to do with “What I believe”. But what is being said.

And for the record, when I use the term “evolution” I always use it to mean the following: the theory that modern ife forms on earth are derived from a common ancestor through descent with modification.

This is useful. It shows that ideas of origins are not even addressed. But when one says “Intelligent Design” that is exactly what is being addressed.

Yet, in Ed’s use of the word, where is the replication? Isn’t there a difficulty in proving that “life forms on earth are derived from a common ancestor through descent with modification”? Your theory can look pretty on paper, but can you prove it? With that degree of certainty and not of conjecture?


Evolution theorists or materialists cannot logically conclude anything on origin. They have to construct their own model of explanation for that and what is here, now. It is opinion. Without replicable science to substantiate it.

“Another very odd statement. The equation of “evolution theorists” with “materialists” is very common among creationists, primarily because they are so used to equating evolution with atheism that they use the terms interchangably. But this is simply false on many levels”

It is good we go over this.
First, I do not mistake atheists with those who hold evolutionary theory as correct.

However, if evolutionary theory is not rooted in materialist philosophy, what is it based in? Or perhaps we look at it another way: where does the idea of materialist or physicalist philosophy come from, if not the
theory of evolution? Am I wrong to see the two as inter-related?

First, because an enormous number of evolutionary biologists are not materialists or atheists. In fact, a good many of them are Christian. I know or have worked with many of them personally and I can tell you that their faith is as profound and sincere as yours undoubtedly is.

Careful, this has the look of ad hominem in the works. I don’t think I said anything in my comments about atheists, or about the validity of a fellow Christian’s faith.

The fact that some scientists are atheists and use evolutionary theory to support their philosophical positions does not mean that evolutionary theory itself is inherently atheistic.
This is a red herring feeding off of ones own argument here. As for the rest of what was said, when I say “materialist” I am referring to a general philosophy for the sake of including a wide range of ideas and areas of study that have the evolutionary theory in common.

=====ok this is about two-thirds of it======
I will finish in the next post.
A definition of materialism/materialist philosophy and naturalism

“Materialism, Naturalism, and Explanation

The fates of naturalism and materialism are intimately related. Naturalism is the doctrine that the methods of philosophy are continuous with those of the natural sciences. The following two general views of the relation between naturalism and materialism are noteworthy: (a) Naturalism is ontologically neutral regarding materialism, and thus is logically compatible with ontological dualism; (b) Naturalism presupposes materialism, and thus is incompatible with dualism. If (a) is correct, the defense of materialism on the basis of naturalism must appeal to additional supporting evidence, presumably empirical evidence. If option (b) is correct, an appeal to naturalism in defense of materialism would be question begging, because materialism would then be part of the doctrine of naturalism. We suspect that most contemporary naturalists would prefer (a) to (b).”