In fact, just three weeks away. And already I have intimations that I will be a busy little bee. I don't want to toot my own horn too much, but I seem to be in demand locally as a commentator on the upcoming festivities. More on that later, when I have firmed up the details.

On the evening of the day in question, I'm aware that a local house of worship (New Covenant Community Church)* will be sponsoring an event with the Fresno chapter of Reasons To Believe, the 'old-Earth' creationist outfit founded by Hugh Ross that is greatly enamored of 'fine-tuning' arguments in astronomy and occasionally ventures opinions about biological evolution. Short take: Ross and company, like most creationists, don't think Darwinian evolution is sufficient to account for life's diversity, but they don't spend time railing against it as the 'root of all evil' like a Ken Ham seems prone to do.

Anyway, RTB house philosopher Ken Samples will be in attendance with a presentation entitled "Darwin's Doubt", which...but I will let their publicity speak for itself:

I think we can see where this is going. 'Darwinian naturalism' is not exactly a household phrase, but I think the phrase is essentially a gloss for 'Darwin's theory makes supernatural explanations for biological diversity superfluous'.....which is, of course, true as far as 'special creation' is concerned, and nothing especially concerning to me. Darwin's theory does not necessarily render supernatural explanations for the universe and its properties superfluous, of course, but that is the very definition of an irrelevant criticism. Darwin's theory is not a theory about the universe and its properties, after all. One might as well complain that how an elephant's tusk grows fails to explain the arrangement of piano keys.

What arguments might Samples employ? I'll hazard a guess or two: perhaps he will pish-posh the efficacy of natural selection by using probability arguments against abiogenesis (which is not, strictly speaking, a problem for Darwinian evolution). Along the way, he may trot out the 'Cambrian Explosion', the role of cosmic (and galactic, and local system) 'fine-tuning' for life, and the supposed insufficiency of chance processes to generate information. All pretty standard for this crowd. There is also a chance that he will focus on Darwin's uncertainty on all things theistic for much of his life, which is irrelevant to the question of whether natural selection causes evolution but always seems to be one of those things that people want to know. Or (and this intrigues me) he may want to latch onto this jewel, crafted by Alvin Plantinga.

Well, who knows what we'll hear? I'd like to keep an open mind, but I just got that latest issue of Time, and....owch!


Fantastic Forrest said...

You are clearly the man I've been looking for. Could you possibly lend me your brain for a minute or two?

I'm teaching a mature learning course at community college level on social justice issues. I'll be showing some popular culture films to spark discussion of issues. One of them is Inherit the Wind. I would love it if you could share some suggested questions about the conflict between science and religion.

Looks like I need to get a copy of Tim.e

Fantastic Forrest said...

Duh. I meant Time.

And I should have given you the URL for the post so that you could easily comment.


Clearly I am not very evolved.

Fantastic Forrest said...

Wait a sec. Just looked up that article at Time.com and it is all science-y. That cover is a big fat liar. No Republican/Democrat creationism/evolution debate stuff. Or did I skim to quickly? All I know is there were an awful lot of words like genome.