Sunday, April 17, 2011

A reprint is not a reply

Some of my readers seem to think that Jay Richards’ recent series of posts over at Evolution News and Views (here and here) constitute a reply to my recent post about Richards.  But in fact Richards has merely been reprinting, in several installments, the very essay of his that I was criticizing in my post!  He is, quite literally, just repeating himself without actually responding to my objections.  Moreover, Richards himself says in the first of his posts that that is all he is doing.  The brief introductory material he adds there mainly just summarizes some of the claims he makes in his essay – claims I already answered in my original post – without adding anything new. 

(Actually, there is one new tidbit there: Richards informs us that he “agree[s] with Duns Scotus' critique of what he took to be Thomas' view of [analogical predication].”  Readers of my original post on Richards will note the irony.) 

So, in answer to any readers who might be wondering whether I’m going to reply to Richards’ “latest”: I already did reply! You should be asking him when he’s going to reply to me.  (When he does, I guess I can just reprint my original post about him and people will think it’s a reply…)

9 comments:

Ismael said...

He's talking the Dawking's Approach: to answer any critique to your arguments, just repeat them LOL

Bilbo said...

Drat. That means I didn't understand your original criticisms of Richards. While we're waiting for him to write something new, I don't suppose you'd like to explain what's wrong with My first Thomistic argument?

John Farrell said...

Richards informs us that he “agree[s] with Duns Scotus' critique of what he took to be Thomas' view of [analogical predication].”

And the course of philosophy has pretty much gone downhill from there.

;)

Lamont said...

Bilbo,
I read your argument and rather liked its simplicity and clarity. What is wrong with it is that the Aristotelian understanding of final causality as an aspect of the intrinsic nature of every created thing is absolutely central to everything else that Aquinas wrote on created being. The universe could not function and life would not exist if things did not fulfill the ends/purposes for which they were created.

Richards and others have unwittingly accepted a mechanistic view of life that denies final causes and is incompatible with St Thomas' analysis of created things.

In contrast, Aquinas is very clear that his comments on Genesis are based on a straight forward literal reading of the text that can be reinterpreted if there is a good reason for doing so. (ST. I q.68 a.1)

My own view is that if ID supporters were to acknowledge that natural substances have built in potencies that direct them to specific ends this whole debate would be resolved.

Bilbo said...

Hi Lamont,

Are you saying that because of his reading of Scripture, Aquinas was willing to make an exception to the rule?

BenYachov said...

>Are you saying that because of his reading of Scripture, Aquinas was willing to make an exception to the rule?

To put it briefly Aquinas held to the Augustinian view that if science contradicts a particular interpretation of scripture in regards to the nature of the natural world then the interpretation must yield to the science and the text in question reinterpreted.

Maimonides held the same view BTW.

Bilbo said...

Hi Ben,

But in this case, it seems that it might have been Aquinas' metaphysics that contradicted Scripture, which meant that his metaphysics had to give way.

But perhaps I misunderstand Aquinas.

Of course, the creation of the human body from dust and the creation of the first bacteria from dust may be two entirely different things.

My suggestion is that we allow our empirical investigations to guide us, rather than a rigid metaphysics. I could be mistaken, but I don't think Aquinas would have disagreed.

Bilbo said...

Lamont: "My own view is that if ID supporters were to acknowledge that natural substances have built in potencies that direct them to specific ends this whole debate would be resolved."

I can't speak for all ID supporters, but if there were evidence that natural substances had built in potencies that direct them to the specific ends of originating and evolving life, I would admit it. But other than what appears to be a blind allegiance to a metaphysics of one kind or another, there appears to be no such evidence.

Bilbo said...

Let me amend that from "no such evidence" to "little such evidence."