Monday, July 11, 2011

One "sensible creationist" on Senter's paper

As you probably know, Phil Senter published yet another paper on baraminology in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology (here). AIG's Elizabeth Mitchell weighed in with her assessment over the weekend. An excerpt:
He is still misapplying baraminology to the point of absurdity. Since he acknowledges that "mathematics has no creed," he accepts the statistical aspects of baraminology. Then he analyzes the fossil record in such a way as to consider creatures with only sparse morphological similarities to be part of the same kind. He ignores all other pertinent baraminological principles to draw conclusions no sensible creationist would ever reach.
Hmmmm.... I think he's mistaken about a couple of issues, but I don't think there's anything absurd about what he's done. Quite the contrary. Here's a real scientist who has actually taken the time to read creationist literature and try to understand it from the inside. He's not just reading books, either. He's quoting from CRSQ and Journal of Creation. As far as I can tell, he's not misquoting them either. In a world where the creation/evolution "debate" is often little more than trading insults, I think Phil Senter is exceptional.

Moreover, I think his work raises some very important methodological and conceptual issues that really need to be addressed. This isn't something I can just shrug off in a blog post. His paper is worthy of very careful consideration, which I intend to do.

This "sensible creationist" wants to thank Phil Senter publicly for his work. We don't agree on much of anything about theology or creation/evolution, but he keeps me on my toes in ways the scoffers never could. I appreciate that.

For those who are wondering what my response will be, I'm going to have to give it some more thought. You know how I am about these things. I've definitely got some ideas about how to respond, but they'll take time. So please be patient, and we'll see how this goes.

Feedback? Email me at toddcharleswood [at] gmail [dot] com.