RE: [asa] Evolution - A Biological Law, a Social-Cultural Assumption

From: Jon Tandy <>
Date: Fri Jan 11 2008 - 09:33:59 EST

I've read a number of your posts in the last two years in which I confess to
feeling quite lost as to your meaning, your purpose, and which seemed to
express mainly hostility toward the position of some in ASA, without clearly
elucidating the positive message you were trying to convey.
I feel like your title and first paragraph below are an excellent
introduction to an article that ought to be written and submitted for
publication, on the influence of evolution within the social sciences, the
distinction that ought to be made between the biological and social
varieties of evolution, and the consequences of evolutionary thought on the
social sciences. In fact, I was disappointed that you hadn't gone on to
write that article. It seems to me that if an article like this were
written, as a scholarly paper on the subject and not just carping about how
"natural scientists" at ASA don't understand the problem of evolution in
modern social science, I could see how such an article could be a positive
contribution to the purposes of ASA in promoting Christian as well as
scientific truth.
Jon Tandy

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of Gregory Arago
Sent: Friday, January 11, 2008 7:40 AM
Subject: [asa] Evolution - A Biological Law, a Social-Cultural Assumption

Evolution: A Biological Law, a Social-Cultural Assumption
Despite the fact that most natural scientists who accept biological
evolution have elevated (read: accepted) evolution as a biological law, much
the same as gravity is considered a universal law; the same law is not
applicable to human society and culture. Evolution may be a biological law,
but it is simply a social-cultural assumption (though Darwin was
nevertheless inspired by Rev. T. Malthus). This assumption of evolution in
society and culture, including ethics, morals, values, language, meanings,
purposes and teleology, is what the majority of Americans are rightfully and
stubbornly against. It is not evolutionary biology that is the REAL problem.
Clarify this argument and the difficulty of defending evolution merely in
biology, geology, botany, ecology, etc. will be much easier to make.
'Concessions': what are they? They are not, in this conversation, places
where one can buy ice-cream cones and cotton candy at a local fair.
Concessions: this is recognizing that you have to give a little bit and be
willing to stand back from your dug-in feet, head and heart. Concessions:
this is what TE's at ASA must be willing to make in order to become
relevant, and not just a marginal group of religious natural scientists who
have found a way to individually balance between being a scientist and being
a religious person, that the average man or woman on the street hasn't
realized (and doesn't seem to want).
TE's have much to give in concession because they have intertwined their
theologies with evolutionary biology so deeply that they find it hard to
admit there is ANYTHING that does not evolve (cf. discussion on ASA list
last year). In this situation, aside from safely positing that the Creator
doesn't evolve, they are just as guilty as E.O. Wilson, D. Dennett, R.
Dawkins, S. Blackmore, M. & S. Harris and S. Pinker of elevating evolution
into a world-view that is beyond its theoretical province. The REAL problem
is that TEs and ECs have (perhaps unwittingly) intertwined their theologies
with social-cultural evolution as well.
Question for American ASA voters: there is much talk of 'change' right now
in the (long, long, long and drawn-out) lead-up to the U.S. presidential
election in November. Would anyone at ASA like to make the argument that
American politics are currently 'evolving' into the election of a new
President? If using the term 'evolution' in this case is silly, we can
expect TE's and EC's at ASA to acknowledge it and say so.
Is it natural and just simple, everyday progress?
Political cycle = no evolution.
But then again, who ever said that social-cultural evolution has any valid
status at all?


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Received on Fri Jan 11 09:35:17 2008

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