Human Creativity Revisited, Responses

Human Creativity Revisited, Responses

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Metaviews 058. 2000.07.28. Approximately 2915 words

Below are a number of response to the exchange between Michael Ruse and Billy Grassie on the thread about Human Creativity. The firstresponse is from Steve Petermann, who addresses the question ofChristian Theology and Darwinism. The second response is from Enezio E. de Almeida Filho in Brazil, who address the significance ofDarwinism in Biology. The third response is from Rudolf Brun inTexas, who addresses the role of natural selection in genomic evolution. The fourth response is from Phil Skell, who challengesthe relevance of Darwinism to most contemporary scientific research.The fifth response is from Phil Johnson, who looks forward to the endof Darwinism. The sixth response is from Nat Lehrman in New York,who wants to direct religion away from unknowable question and focuson ethical behaviors. The seventh and final response is from JerryBrink from Massachusetts, who cautions against the tendency of alphamales to diminish an opponent’s integrity in these academicarguments. There is much to consider in these seven postings.

— Billy Grassie

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From: Steve PetermannSubject: Re:[METAVIEWS] 056: Human Creativity Considered Critically,by Michael Ruse

These comments concerning Michael Ruse’s critique:

I agree with Michael that the theory of Darwinian evolution is notnecessarily in conflict with Christianity. However, quite typicallyalong with the theory comes the baggage of materialism. That extrabaggage, if employed, *is* in conflict. One of the main tenets ofChristian theology is that God *acts*. The Christian God is neithera deistic God who sets things in motion and then idly watches thingstranspire, nor even a neo-deistic God who keeps natural law workingbut doesn’t interject any intelligence into the mix. The ChristianGod is an intelligent participant in creation, a *living* God as theHebrews assert. But if God is an active participant in creation thenhow does that relate to evolution? Studies of evolution over theyears have presented compelling evidence for the theory. Only byignoring the data could one deny, at least to a point, the validityof Darwinian evolution.

So the rub for those who embrace both Darwinism and Christianity isto find some sort of resolution to the apparent conflicts.Fortunately that project is being actively undertaken by someprominent scholars. One example of an attempt to deal with theseissues is _Evolutionary and Molecular Biology : ScientificPerspectives on Divine Action_ edited by Robert John Russel.

I have seen other attempts in the past to reconcile Christianity withDarwinian evolution but they typically skirt around the deep issuesof God’s acting. I would hope that other attempts along these lineswould take seriously the difficulty of addressing the full scope ofissues.

I look forward to reading Michael’s forthcoming book on this.

Best Regards,Steve Petermann

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From: Enezio E. de Almeida FilhoSubject: Re: [METAVIEWS] 057: Human Creativity Revisited, by William Grassie

Dear Dr. Grassie:

It is very hard for me to understand your Human Creativity essaysfrom your Post-Darwinian Weltanschauung. The only conclusion I havederived from them sounds like a muazzin calling out believers torecite the Darwinist Credo: Only Darwin’s theory is TheoriaPerennis in Biology, and Mayr, Dawkins and Dennett his true prophets.

The main reason an unfounded saying [There is no alternative theoryin Biology to replace Darwinism] is gaining the status of truthbeyond doubt is due more to the philosophical naturalism gatekeepersblindness to what the biological and paleontological evidences aresaying rather than the lack of a theory to replace it.

Either chance and [mild] natural selection has brought forth allcomplex living organisms as per Darwin’s prescription or … There isno other way around.

Enezio E. de Almeida FilhoScience Education/History of Science ResearcherBrazil

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From: Rudolf B. BrunSubject: Re: [METAVIEWS] 057: Human Creativity Revisited, by William Grassie

Billy:

Darwinism must be expanded because of new insights from the field:Evolution and Development. There is now good evidence thatevolution not only works on organisms (phenotypes) by naturalselection, but also directly on the their genes (genotypes).

Genomic evolution seems to work in a three-step process: duplicationof existing genes, variation of the duplicated genes by mutations,and integration of the mutated genes into the original genome. Inthis way, genomes increase the quantity of available genes. As ananalogy, one can perhaps think of this process as increasing thenumber of different keys, to generate bigger key board.

There is a second mechanism that works on genomes: it is how genesinteract with one another. This interaction of genes generatesgenetic programs. These control, for example, the development ofembryos. In this case, the genetic programs guide the differentiationprocess by timing what happens when and where in the developingorganism.

To stay with the analogy of the key board, genetic programs providethe music played on the extended key board. The program might berelatively simple (e.g. twinkle, twinkle little star..) or highlycomplex (a fugue by J.S. Bach).

From Amphioxus to humans??
Be well!

Rudolf Brun

For more inf.:

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From: Phil SkellSubject: Re: [METAVIEWS] 057: Human Creativity Revisited, by William Grassie

Evolution Theory is a broadly overarching historical theory thatpertains to the developmental history of living organisms over thepast 3.5 billion years. Darwinian enthusiasts, popularizers andresearchers alike, have insisted over the past 140 years that hisConcepts are the foundation of all biology, some maintaining itundergirds all modern scholarship. Is this a reasoned, sound, or evenuseful perspective? Does it risk creating obstacles to sciencefunding?

It is reasonable to examine its credentials for its current utility.Does it have an intimate impact in the inductive, or experimental,sciences, such as Physics, Chemistry, and Biology? Despite statementsin the literature that make it out to be vitally important in modernMicrobiology, Neurobiology, Genetics, Plant Biology, Medicine,Surgery, Pharmaceutics, etc., I believe this is a highly doubtfulclaim. Nobel Laureate, Francis Crick wrote: It might be thought thatevolutionary arguments would play a large part in guiding biologicalresearch, but this is far from the case.

I am mindful of the statement of a professor at a prestigious medicalschool, that Darwin is not mentioned in the four-year medicalprogram. And, another from a researcher in the pharmaceuticalindustry, that his company does not have a Division of DarwinianConcepts to help in making more effective their choices for futureresearch.

A half century ago, during WW II, I was personally associated with anantibiotics research group, engaged in the full range of activities,from finding organisms which inhibited bacterial growth to theisolation and proof of structure of the antibiotics they produced.Since then there has been astounding sophisticated advances ininstrumentations and methodologies, but nonetheless persons engagedin current activities make no more use of Darwinian Concepts than inthose earlier days; those Concepts do not, and did not, have adeterminative impact on the prosecution of the projects.

Genomics is currently in the news headlines with the remarkableachievements in detailing the human genome. This technologicalbreakthrough would have occurred regardless of one’s beliefs onDarwinism. The question that must be addressed: Is the Theory mainlyof overarching historical importance with modest relevance to modernresearch? Granted, those engaged in exhuming ancient artifacts,fossils, can claim the Concepts are Absolutely vital in their fieldof natural history. Paleontology may, with some justification claimthat Evolutionary Theory provides a useful framework.

To clarify the discrepancy in perceptions, I suggest that personsworking in biological fields, and all other science-orientedDarwinists, enlighten us by responding to: {In your research, isdesign of new programs dependent upon Darwinian Concepts, in thesense that if you did not agree with its major tenets, your programwould be significantly different?}. I have posed this question to 40persons in scholarly activities, two-thirds in scientific areas, theremainder broadly across other fields, and thus far I have not had ayes response, with justification of a claim of relevance in themodern context for the heuristic importance of Darwinian Concepts. Iexpect there may be some positive responses. If I have not searchedwidely enough for relevance, there should be ample opportunity forcorrection of my assessment: That those overarching historicalConcepts play a negligible role in most modern research programs.

Can the case be made that, without the Concepts evolution claims tobe, there would be no research programs, no further progress? To beconvincing advocates must give their assessment with reference tospecific research programs. The global question, Is Darwinismimportant? invites the arm-waving reply: Absolutely, vital!!.Vital to one’s world view perhaps, but vital to particular researchprograms?

No doubt most scientists feel more comfortable with the Darwinisthistorical scenario than with the Creationist alternatives. Pollsindicate the reverse for the general population. But, Science isthreatened both by the religious fundamentalists as beingantireligious, and by the Darwinian Enthusiasts who see science as avehicle for their secular views. Science may be best served bymaintaining a wall-of-separation between its inductive/experimentalactivities and disputes regarding world-views, a separation from theextremists of both varieties. It is one thing for atheists to usescience to support or lend respectability (as Richard Dawkins has putit) to their views. It is another for atheists to advance their viewsunder the banner Thus Speaks Science, when it is only atheists, whoperhaps happen to be scientists, propagandizing for their beliefs.

Illustrative of the current relevance of this matter is the responseof the Science Community to the recent events in Kansas. TheirBoard indicated they would not include in their state-wide finalexams questions on three subjects: 1. Origin of Life from aprimordial soup, 2. Micro-evolution entails Macro-evolution, and 3.Big Bang origin of the Universe. They made no restriction on teachingthese matters, nor any requirement or recommendation, as oftenclaimed, that Creationism be taught; the old standards, dating from1995, had much less about evolution in them than the new standards.Each of these subjects omitted from the state-wide exams is part ofancient natural history, arguably of questionable relevance to thegraduating high school senior. One must wonder at the distortedperspectives that provoked the Science Community to suchdisproportionate responses, including remarks in some reputablepublications, recommending that Kansas graduates be denied admissionsto colleges and universities. Why all this fuss in the sciencecommunity?

With regard to the polls and the prevailing public attitude, theproponents of evolution are teachers, let them teach and persuade thepublic, not by appeals to authority but with scientific evidence.Their failure to do so in the generations since the Scopes trial isexactly that, their failure. Before they blame the public for itsobtuseness, let them remember that, as it is a poor workman whoblames his tools, it is a poor teacher who blames his students.

Meanwhile, let us recognize that the debate between the extremes onboth sides has only marginal relevance to modern scientificactivities, and if the debate is continued in the current intemperatemanner, they may be putting at risk the future funding of vitalactivities. The Congress, a microcosm of the general public, holdsthe purse strings! We are all vastly indebted to the sciencecommunity for the excellence of their scholarly activities, but thisdoes not give members of our community the right to breach theWall-of-Separation and to use, as a pulpit, our public schools forindoctrination with their religious or antireligious views. Thepolitical route may be the only means by which the attention of theEnthusiasts can be gained, to encourage them to desist fromconflating their metaphysical world-views with the science they do socapably. If that route is taken we will all suffer.

Philip S. SkellEmeritus, Evan Pugh Professor of Chemistry,The Pennsylvania State University,University Park, Pennsylvania, 16801member, National Academy of Science.

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From: Phillip E. JohnsonSubject: Re: [METAVIEWS] 057: Human Creativity Revisited, by William Grassie

At 11:48 PM 7/26/2000 -0400, William Grassie wrote:

>I am happy to call myself a Post-Freudian or a Post-Marxist, because

>I take what is useful from these great thinkers and leave the rest.
>I recognize their important roles in the history of our civilization
>and also their roles as fathers of the disciplines of psychology and
>sociology. There are some orthodox Freudians and Marxists still
>around, but their voices are very small in contemporary intellectual
>discourse. I predict that within ten years, strident Darwinism will
>be as embarrassing to biology as would be a strident Freudian or
>Marxist today in most academic departments. Michael, it is time to
>move on and separate the fact of evolution from the theory of
>Darwinism.

Hi Billy —

I guess Ruse and the other Darwinists just aren’t ready yet to acceptthe fate of Freud and Marx, and go quietly into that dustbin ofhistory they had prepared for Jesus. Nice essay! But I think thatthose who move on and separate the fact of evolution from the theoryof Darwinism will discover that the fact becomes ever more lackingin specific content.

Best wishes,

Phil Johnson

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Subject: Re: [METAVIEWS] 057: Human Creativity Revisited, by William GrassieFrom: Dr. N.S.Lehrman

Billy –

What you call homo sapiens’ Lamarckian wild card is really history,which unlike evolution, which has been determined by chance, has beenlargely determined by the intentions of people. That’s because humansare the only species with language, history and religion.

I think these discussions have tended to neglect the history ofreligion, and of Christian monotheism in particular. That sprang fromJewish monotheism, which came in turn from near-eastern paganpolytheism. That polytheism saw gods as very like humans (e.g. on Mt.Olympus), who therefore had to be placated with sacrifices andceremonials. Although Temple Judaism continued the sacrificial cult,its new and unique concept of the One God changed over the years,with the greatest change having resulted from the prophets. Notionsof justice and law as the heart of religion appeared alongside thesacrificial cult, and actually replaced it after the Romandestruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E. Christianity andrabbinic Judaism, both of which arose then, have much more in commonthan either has with sacrificial Judaism.

Emphasis on law, and obedience to it, rather than on faith, is one ofthe most important differences between rabbinic Judaism and earlyChristianity, and between the two faiths today. The concept of themitzvah – obedience to God’s commandments – has always been at theheart of Judaism, with obedient deeds (which included ritualactivities) far more important than mere passive belief. Indeed,Judaism has always seen worship as an important tool in strengtheningpeople to obey the laws and universal obedience to those laws as theroad to the messianic age.

Profound differences exist in defining what Moral Law is, especiallyin the sexual area, among and within contemporary Judaism,Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. I believe that focusing more onthese issues, and on the role of worship, might be more fruitful, andbetter help religion become the important constructive force it canand should be, than endless discussions of the existence and natureof God. Why discuss unknowable questions when other important,accessible ones are pleading for attention and understanding?

Nat Lehrman

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From: JERRY BRINKSubject: Response

Dear Bill,

I have read with enthusiasm and satisfaction yourmagnificently articulated piece on hypercomplexity as a criticalparadigm for understanding biological evolution at all levels fromthe molecular to the organismic. Its promise for future insights intothis pattern arises from the unpredictable manifestations ofexpressed features that one can readily see in fractal or chaostheory and may be emerging in human nature in the form of creativity,intuition and spirituality. The concept of emergence has beenelegantly addressed by George Ellis in the Meta series and seemsperhaps to be a natural element of the hypercomplexity paradigm.

As a retired neuroscientist, I can ponder these issues from anon-competitive perspective and revel in the aesthetic of the variousperspectives that you, Michael Ruse and others bring to the table.However, it saddens me to see competing ideas presented in hurtfullanguage that diminishes the integrity of the opponents even thoughthis is the standard tactic for defense used in the arena of academicexcellence and tenure. It appears to me that this type of dialecticis a manifestation of the insidious decline in modern society of theessential glue of a civilized culture viz. common courtesy taken toanother level of cruelty by couching it in sophisticated terminology.I feel that mutual critique of a complex idea at a level ofintellectual insight and articulation gives far more credibility tothe different philosophical postulates of the idea than does derisionof the motives or integrity of the discussants. I must admit thatderision of an opponent does convey a sense of satisfaction that onesees more overtly in the behavior of alpha males to subordinates inother primate species and suggests that it may be innate in us also.

I look forward to seeing more of the development of yourideas in this area since I personally think this is where the futurefor studies in human spirituality will dominate.

Best wishes,

John Brink, Prof. Emeritus of BiologyClark UniversityWorcester, MA 01610Email: [email protected]

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Copyright notice: Except when otherwise noted, articles may be forwarded, quoted, or republished in full with attribution to the author of the column and Metanexus: The Online Forum on Religion and Science. Republication for commercial purposes in print or electronic format requires the permission of the author. Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 by Metanexus Institute. Metaviews 058. 2000.07.28. Approximately 2915 wordsBelow are a number of response to the exchange between Michael Ruseand Billy Grassie on the thread about Human Creativity. The firstresponse is from Steve Petermann, who addresses the question ofChristian Theology and Darwinism. The second response is from EnezioE. de Almeida Filho in Brazil, who address the significance ofDarwinism in Biology. The third response is from Rudolf Brun inTexas, who addresses the role of natural selection in genomicevolution. The fourth response is from Phil Skell, who challengesthe relevance of Darwinism to most contemporary scientific research.The fifth response is from Phil Johnson, who looks forward to the endof Darwinism. The sixth response is from Nat Lehrman in New York,who wants to direct religion away from unknowable question and focuson ethical behaviors. The seventh and final response is from JerryBrink from Massachusetts, who cautions against the tendency of alphamales to diminish an opponent’s integrity in these academicarguments. There is much to consider in these seven postings.– Billy Grassie=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=From: Steve PetermannSubject: Re:[METAVIEWS] 056: Human Creativity Considered Critically,by Michael RuseThese comments concerning Michael Ruse’s critique:I agree with Michael that the theory of Darwinian evolution is notnecessarily in conflict with Christianity. However, quite typicallyalong with the theory comes the baggage of materialism. That extrabaggage, if employed, *is* in conflict. One of the main tenets ofChristian theology is that God *acts*. The Christian God is neithera deistic God who sets things in motion and then idly watches thingstranspire, nor even a neo-deistic God who keeps natural law workingbut doesn’t interject any intelligence into the mix. The ChristianGod is an intelligent participant in creation, a *living* God as theHebrews assert. But if God is an active participant in creation thenhow does that relate to evolution? Studies of evolution over theyears have presented compelling evidence for the theory. Only byignoring the data could one deny, at least to a point, the validityof Darwinian evolution.So the rub for those who embrace both Darwinism and Christianity isto find some sort of resolution to the apparent conflicts.Fortunately that project is being actively undertaken by someprominent scholars. One example of an attempt to deal with theseissues is _Evolutionary and Molecular Biology : ScientificPerspectives on Divine Action_ edited by Robert John Russel.I have seen other attempts in the past to reconcile Christianity withDarwinian evolution but they typically skirt around the deep issuesof God’s acting. I would hope that other attempts along these lineswould take seriously the difficulty of addressing the full scope ofissues.I look forward to reading Michael’s forthcoming book on this.Best Regards,Steve Petermann=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=From: Enezio E. de Almeida FilhoSubject: Re: [METAVIEWS] 057: Human Creativity Revisited, by William GrassieDear Dr. Grassie:It is very hard for me to understand your Human Creativity essaysfrom your Post-Darwinian Weltanschauung. The only conclusion I havederived from them sounds like a muazzin calling out believers torecite the “Darwinist Credo: Only Darwin’s theory is TheoriaPerennis in Biology, and Mayr, Dawkins and Dennett his true prophets.The main reason an unfounded saying [There is no alternative theoryin Biology to replace Darwinism] is gaining the status of truthbeyond doubt is due more to the philosophical naturalism gatekeepersblindness to what the biological and paleontological evidences aresaying rather than the lack of a theory to replace it.Either chance and [mild] natural selection has brought forth allcomplex living organisms as per Darwin’s prescription or … There isno other way around.Enezio E. de Almeida FilhoScience Education/History of Science ResearcherBrazil=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=From: Rudolf B. BrunSubject: Re: [METAVIEWS] 057: Human Creativity Revisited, by William GrassieBilly:Darwinism must be expanded because of new insights from the field:Evolution and Development. There is now good evidence thatevolution not only works on organisms (phenotypes) by naturalselection, but also directly on the their genes (genotypes).Genomic evolution seems to work in a three-step process: duplicationof existing genes, variation of the duplicated genes by mutations,and integration of the mutated genes into the original genome. Inthis way, genomes increase the quantity of available genes. As ananalogy, one can perhaps think of this process as increasing thenumber of different keys, to generate bigger key board.There is a second mechanism that works on genomes: it is how genesinteract with one another. This interaction of genes generatesgenetic programs. These control, for example, the development ofembryos. In this case, the genetic programs guide the differentiationprocess by timing what happens when and where in the developingorganism.To stay with the analogy of the key board, genetic programs providethe music played on the extended key board. The program might berelatively simple (e.g. twinkle, twinkle little star..) or highlycomplex (a fugue by J.S. Bach). From Amphioxus to humans??Be well!Rudolf BrunFor more inf.:=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=From: Phil SkellSubject: Re: [METAVIEWS] 057: Human Creativity Revisited, by William GrassieEvolution Theory is a broadly overarching historical theory thatpertains to the developmental history of living organisms over thepast 3.5 billion years. Darwinian enthusiasts, popularizers andresearchers alike, have insisted over the past 140 years that hisConcepts are the foundation of all biology, some maintaining itundergirds all modern scholarship. Is this a reasoned, sound, or evenuseful perspective? Does it risk creating obstacles to sciencefunding?It is reasonable to examine its credentials for its current utility.Does it have an intimate impact in the inductive, or experimental,sciences, such as Physics, Chemistry, and Biology? Despite statementsin the literature that make it out to be vitally important in modernMicrobiology, Neurobiology, Genetics, Plant Biology, Medicine,Surgery, Pharmaceutics, etc., I believe this is a highly doubtfulclaim. Nobel Laureate, Francis Crick wrote: It might be thought thatevolutionary arguments would play a large part in guiding biologicalresearch, but this is far from the case.I am mindful of the statement of a professor at a prestigious medicalschool, that Darwin is not mentioned in the four-year medicalprogram. And, another from a researcher in the pharmaceuticalindustry, that his company does not have a Division of DarwinianConcepts to help in making more effective their choices for futureresearch.A half century ago, during WW II, I was personally associated with anantibiotics research group, engaged in the full range of activities,from finding organisms which inhibited bacterial growth to theisolation and proof of structure of the antibiotics they produced.Since then there has been astounding sophisticated advances ininstrumentations and methodologies, but nonetheless persons engagedin current activities make no more use of Darwinian Concepts than inthose earlier days; those Concepts do not, and did not, have adeterminative impact on the prosecution of the projects.Genomics is currently in the news headlines with the remarkableachievements in detailing the human genome. This technologicalbreakthrough would have occurred regardless of one’s beliefs onDarwinism. The question that must be addressed: Is the Theory mainlyof overarching historical importance with modest relevance to modernresearch? Granted, those engaged in exhuming ancient artifacts,fossils, can claim the Concepts are Absolutely vital in their fieldof natural history. Paleontology may, with some justification claimthat Evolutionary Theory provides a useful framework.To clarify the discrepancy in perceptions, I suggest that personsworking in biological fields, and all other science-orientedDarwinists, enlighten us by responding to: {In your research, isdesign of new programs dependent upon Darwinian Concepts, in thesense that if you did not agree with its major tenets, your programwould be significantly different?}. I have posed this question to 40persons in scholarly activities, two-thirds in scientific areas, theremainder broadly across other fields, and thus far I have not had ayes response, with justification of a claim of relevance in themodern context for the heuristic importance of Darwinian Concepts. Iexpect there may be some positive responses. If I have not searchedwidely enough for relevance, there should be ample opportunity forcorrection of my assessment: That those overarching historicalConcepts play a negligible role in most modern research programs.Can the case be made that, without the Concepts evolution claims tobe, there would be no research programs, no further progress? To beconvincing advocates must give their assessment with reference tospecific research programs. The global question, Is Darwinismimportant? invites the arm-waving reply: Absolutely, vital!!.Vital to one’s world view perhaps, but vital to particular researchprograms?No doubt most scientists feel more comfortable with the Darwinisthistorical scenario than with the Creationist alternatives. Pollsindicate the reverse for the general population. But, Science isthreatened both by the religious fundamentalists as beingantireligious, and by the Darwinian Enthusiasts who see science as avehicle for their secular views. Science may be best served bymaintaining a wall-of-separation between its inductive/experimentalactivities and disputes regarding world-views, a separation from theextremists of both varieties. It is one thing for atheists to usescience to support or lend respectability (as Richard Dawkins has putit) to their views. It is another for atheists to advance their viewsunder the banner Thus Speaks Science, when it is only atheists, whoperhaps happen to be scientists, propagandizing for their beliefs.Illustrative of the current relevance of this matter is the responseof the Science Community to the recent events in Kansas. TheirBoard indicated they would not include in their state-wide finalexams questions on three subjects: 1. Origin of Life from aprimordial soup, 2. Micro-evolution entails Macro-evolution, and 3.Big Bang origin of the Universe. They made no restriction on teachingthese matters, nor any requirement or recommendation, as oftenclaimed, that Creationism be taught; the old standards, dating from1995, had much less about evolution in them than the new standards.Each of these subjects omitted from the state-wide exams is part ofancient natural history, arguably of questionable relevance to thegraduating high school senior. One must wonder at the distortedperspectives that provoked the Science Community to suchdisproportionate responses, including remarks in some reputablepublications, recommending that Kansas graduates be denied admissionsto colleges and universities. Why all this fuss in the sciencecommunity?With regard to the polls and the prevailing public attitude, theproponents of evolution are teachers, let them teach and persuade thepublic, not by appeals to authority but with scientific evidence.Their failure to do so in the generations since the Scopes trial isexactly that, their failure. Before they blame the public for itsobtuseness, let them remember that, as it is a poor workman whoblames his tools, it is a poor teacher who blames his students.Meanwhile, let us recognize that the debate between the extremes onboth sides has only marginal relevance to modern scientificactivities, and if the debate is continued in the current intemperatemanner, they may be putting at risk the future funding of vitalactivities. The Congress, a microcosm of the general public, holdsthe purse strings! We are all vastly indebted to the sciencecommunity for the excellence of their scholarly activities, but thisdoes not give members of our community the right to breach theWall-of-Separation and to use, as a pulpit, our public schools forindoctrination with their religious or antireligious views. Thepolitical route may be the only means by which the attention of theEnthusiasts can be gained, to encourage them to desist fromconflating their metaphysical world-views with the science they do socapably. If that route is taken we will all suffer.Philip S. SkellEmeritus, Evan Pugh Professor of Chemistry,The Pennsylvania State University,University Park, Pennsylvania, 16801member, National Academy of Science.=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=From: Phillip E. JohnsonSubject: Re: [METAVIEWS] 057: Human Creativity Revisited, by William GrassieAt 11:48 PM 7/26/2000 -0400, William Grassie wrote:>I am happy to call myself a Post-Freudian or a Post-Marxist, because>I take what is useful from these great thinkers and leave the rest.>I recognize their important roles in the history of our civilization>and also their roles as fathers of the disciplines of psychology and>sociology. There are some orthodox Freudians and Marxists still>around, but their voices are very small in contemporary intellectual>discourse. I predict that within ten years, strident Darwinism will>be as embarrassing to biology as would be a strident Freudian or>Marxist today in most academic departments. Michael, it is time to>move on and separate the fact of evolution from the theory of>Darwinism.Hi Billy –I guess Ruse and the other Darwinists just aren’t ready yet to acceptthe fate of Freud and Marx, and go quietly into that dustbin ofhistory they had prepared for Jesus. Nice essay! But I think thatthose who move on and separate the fact of evolution from the theoryof Darwinism will discover that the fact becomes ever more lackingin specific content.Best wishes,Phil Johnson=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=Subject: Re: [METAVIEWS] 057: Human Creativity Revisited, by William GrassieFrom: Dr. N.S.LehrmanBilly -What you call homo sapiens’ Lamarckian wild card is really history,which unlike evolution, which has been determined by chance, has beenlargely determined by the intentions of people. That’s because humansare the only species with language, history and religion.I think these discussions have tended to neglect the history ofreligion, and of Christian monotheism in particular. That sprang fromJewish monotheism, which came in turn from near-eastern paganpolytheism. That polytheism saw gods as very like humans (e.g. on Mt.Olympus), who therefore had to be placated with sacrifices andceremonials. Although Temple Judaism continued the sacrificial cult,its new and unique concept of the One God changed over the years,with the greatest change having resulted from the prophets. Notionsof justice and law as the heart of religion appeared alongside thesacrificial cult, and actually replaced it after the Romandestruction of the Second Temple in 70 C.E. Christianity andrabbinic Judaism, both of which arose then, have much more in commonthan either has with sacrificial Judaism.Emphasis on law, and obedience to it, rather than on faith, is one ofthe most important differences between rabbinic Judaism and earlyChristianity, and between the two faiths today. The concept of themitzvah – obedience to God’s commandments – has always been at theheart of Judaism, with obedient deeds (which included ritualactivities) far more important than mere passive belief. Indeed,Judaism has always seen worship as an important tool in strengtheningpeople to obey the laws and universal obedience to those laws as theroad to the messianic age.Profound differences exist in defining what Moral Law is, especiallyin the sexual area, among and within contemporary Judaism,Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. I believe that focusing more onthese issues, and on the role of worship, might be more fruitful, andbetter help religion become the important constructive force it canand should be, than endless discussions of the existence and natureof God. Why discuss unknowable questions when other important,accessible ones are pleading for attention and understanding?Nat Lehrman=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=From: JERRY BRINKSubject: ResponseDear Bill, I have read with enthusiasm and satisfaction yourmagnificently articulated piece on hypercomplexity as a criticalparadigm for understanding biological evolution at all levels fromthe molecular to the organismic. Its promise for future insights intothis pattern arises from the unpredictable manifestations ofexpressed features that one can readily see in fractal or chaostheory and may be emerging in human nature in the form of creativity,intuition and spirituality. The concept of emergence has beenelegantly addressed by George Ellis in the Meta series and seemsperhaps to be a natural element of the hypercomplexity paradigm. As a retired neuroscientist, I can ponder these issues from anon-competitive perspective and revel in the aesthetic of the variousperspectives that you, Michael Ruse and others bring to the table.However, it saddens me to see competing ideas presented in hurtfullanguage that diminishes the integrity of the opponents even thoughthis is the standard tactic for defense used in the arena of academicexcellence and tenure. It appears to me that this type of dialecticis a manifestation of the insidious decline in modern society of theessential glue of a civilized culture viz. common courtesy taken toanother level of cruelty by couching it in sophisticated terminology.I feel that mutual critique of a complex idea at a level ofintellectual insight and articulation gives far more credibility tothe different philosophical postulates of the idea than does derisionof the motives or integrity of the discussants. I must admit thatderision of an opponent does convey a sense of satisfaction that onesees more overtly in the behavior of alpha males to subordinates inother primate species and suggests that it may be innate in us also. I look forward to seeing more of the development of yourideas in this area since I personally think this is where the futurefor studies in human spirituality will dominate.Best wishes,John Brink, Prof. Emeritus of BiologyClark UniversityWorcester, MA 01610Email: [email protected]=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=This publication is hosted by Metanexus Online https://www.metanexus.net. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Metanexus or its sponsors.Metanexus welcomes submissions between 1000 to 3000 words of essays and book reviews that seek to explore and interpret science and religion in original and insightful ways for a general educated audience. Previous columns give a good indication of the topical range and tone for acceptable essays. Please send all inquiries and submissions to. 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