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Is Theistic Evolutionist an oxymoron?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Gold Dragon, Sep 16, 2005.

  1. bapmom

    bapmom New Member

    Sep 3, 2005
    Likes Received:
    I think there could be, sure. Don't know if this is what you were thinking....but I don't think I need to believe in evolution in order to believe in ET. [​IMG]

    After all, aren't angels alive? And don't they live somewhere other than Earth?

    UTEOTW New Member

    May 8, 2002
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    "My only purpose in quoting evolutionists writings was to show that many do not believe there is a fossil record.

    The reason I said "confirmed" evolutionists is all these writers continue to believe in evolution despite this admitted problem.

    I did not edit these comments.

    First I want to ask a question which will be repeated at the end.

    Do you think that your source accurately reflected Gould's opinion?

    I did not suggest that YOU editted the comments. I do suggest that whoever you got the quotes from did not present them in the proper context. I assert that the meaning as presented is not the meaning as intended. If you quote someone as saying something other than what they meant, it is not an honest quote.

    As an example, I will take the last of your quotes since it is a common one. Your quote was

    “The extreme rarity of transitional forms is the trade secret of paleontology ... The history of most fossil species includes two features particularly inconsistent with gradualism: 1. Stasis. Most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking much the same as when they disappear; morphological change is usually limited and directionless. 2. Sudden appearance. In any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors; it appears all at once and ‘fully formed.’” [S.J. Gould; Natural History 86:14 (1977)]

    Now. First off, let's put some of the context around the quote.

    Darwin's argument still persists as the favored escape of most paleontologists from the embarrassment of a record that seems to show so little of evolution. In exposing its cultural and methodological roots, I wish in no way to impugn the potential validity of gradualism (for all general views have similar roots). I only wish to point out that it is never "seen" in the rocks.

    Paleontologists have paid an exorbitant price for Darwin's argument. We fancy ourselves as the only true students of life's history, yet to preserve our favored account of evolution by natural selection we view our data as so bad that we never see the very process we profess to study.

    For several years, Niles Eldredge of the American Museum of Natural History and I have been advocating a resolution to this uncomfortable paradox. We believe that Huxley was right in his warning. The modern theory of evolution does not require gradual change. In fact, the operation of Darwinian processes should yield exactly what we see in the fossil record.</font>[/QUOTE]Now if you pay careful attention, you will see an important distinction. It is subtle, but important.

    What Gould is arguing against is not the fossil record. He is arguing against the idea that most evolutionary change is gradual. He opposes the idea of "gradualism." This is because most of the transitions we find are between higher levels of taxa and not at the species level. This is because the pace of change at the species level is so erratic, you are likely to find fossils from times when change was slow and to not find fossils from times when change was rapid. Some of the finely divided series that we do have often show this jerky and erratic pace of change.

    This observation should give you no comfort. Notice, it is the short, quick changes between species that are lacking. We have very good records of change at higher levels such as new families and classes and orders. YEers often talk about only "microevolution" being possible. But the fossil record is long on macro changes and short on micro changes.

    Finally, I wish to give another quote from Gould that better addresses his view on this topic and his outrage at the kinds of quotes you are passing along.

    Emphasis added.

    Gould, Stephen Jay 1983. "Evolution as Fact and Theory"

    You can read the whole thing here.


    The question for you then becomes, do you think that your source accurately reflected Gould's opinion?