Skip to comments.Is Theistic Evolution Intelligently Designed?
Posted on 05/31/2009 12:28:09 PM PDT by GodGunsGuts
May 29, 2009 A battle of websites is rising, and New Scientist is gloating. Francis Collins, former head of the Human Genome Project (and a candidate to lead the National Institutes of Health) has launched a website promoting theistic evolution called Biologos.org. The intelligent-design think tank Discovery Institute has offered a counter-site called FaithAndEvolution.org.
Amanda Gefter wrote for New Scientist, Christians battle each other over evolution. Gefter, who subscribes to Stephen Jay Goulds NOMA strategy (non-overlapping magisteria), believes that science and religion must remain separate spheres. She thinks the latest website battle betrays religious motivations behind the ID group: The Discovery Institute has now made it crystal clear that they have no interest in reconciling science and religion instead, they want their brand of religion to replace science. She used an analogy: Watching the intellectual feud between the Discovery Institute and BioLogos is a bit like watching a race in which both competitors are running full speed in the opposite direction of the finish line. Its a notable contest, but I dont see how either is going to come out the winner, she said. But even if this analogy were appropriate, presumably the first to go around the globe could still win the race, but it begs the question whether evolution is even in the race. A more important question is whether the controversy is just between Christians.
Evolution News and Views denies that their initiative is about replacing religion and science. Dr. John West of the Discovery Institute explained the two-fold purpose of Faith and Evolution: Thus, the first goal of FaithandEvolution.Org is to present the scientific information about evolution and intelligent design that is typically left out of the discussion, he said. A second goal is to tackle tough questions that are usually ignored about the consequences of Darwins theory for ethics, society, and religion. The problem with Biologos is that it caters to Darwinian natural selection without revealing these consequences.
The Faith and Evolution website was in fact prompted by the need to answer claims in the mainstream media made by Francis Collins that Christianity and evolution are compatible, not to promote Christianity or any other religion. In fact, David Klinghoffer, who is Jewish, defended the site on Evolution News. John West said, Its ironic that many of the pro-Darwin groups that claim to be promoting dialogue about science and religion are really offering only a monologue. They do their best to exclude those who disagree with them. But we have nothing to fear from a free and open exchange of ideas. John West goes into more detail in a podcast on ID the Future.
Gefters smirking attitude fails to take into account the overtly religious arguments by the new atheists that tie Darwinism to unbelief. The Darwinists routinely discuss the religious (or anti-religious) implications of evolution. If she thinks ID folk want to replace science with religion, why is she not complaining about Dawkins, Harris, and Hitchens who use evolution to justify atheism? Why is she not complaining about the NCSE, which has a Faith Network Coordinator and printed a curriculum for adult Sunday School classes? What about the activists who encourage pastors to preach from Darwin on Evolution Sunday? Gefter specifically lets Dawkins off the hook. Consistency is apparently not a virtue for Darwinists. Their beliefs evolve according to the need to combat any threats to their dominance.
Next headline on: Evolution Intelligent Design Bible and Theology
I dont understand anything about evolution... It just doesn’t make any sense to me... Therefore, it MUST be wrong.
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Poor chap, your intuition is in the right place, but you will have to understand why Darwin’s fanciful creation myth is wrong before people will start taking you seriously.
I thought it was Darwin's fanciful evolution myth.
And no wonder.
It seems there is a variety of opinion on just what the word evolution actually represents.
There are only two types of people who buy this evolution myth.
I was attacking the premise of it... and the reason it was invented in the first place.
We debate the issue of evolution, so sure of ourselves, yet there is not a one of us who knows exactly how even one species is ‘created’.
I know. You would respond, “GOD”. I think that is obvious. What I do not know is exactly ‘how’ God did it.
lol... its hard to be absurd when there is so much absurdity around to compete with.
I’m still trying to figure out what ‘Theistic Evolution’ means.
Are you familiar with the Wallace Line?
Kind of like the state of our nation. Absurd.
Yes, I am. What about it?
>>> Kind of like the state of our nation. Absurd.
Yes... and yet also illuminating... revealing... and most importantly evidential.
Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
“Im still trying to figure out what Theistic Evolution means.”
Here’s a web site that is filled with scientists who are TEs, enjoy:
American Scientific Affiliation
ASA Email Discussion Group:
This discussion is archived on the web here: http://www.calvin.edu/archive/asa/
One recent (May 2009) thread is entitled:
BioLogos - Bad Theology? Another is entitled: Darwinism (was: BioLogos - Bad Theology?)
Click here and scroll down to them and lots more: http://www.calvin.edu/archive/asa/200905/subject.html
Pay special attention to these posters in particular: Cameron Wybrow, Ted David, George Murphy, Terry M. Gray
April 2009: http://www.calvin.edu/archive/asa/200904/
etc. etc. here: http://www.calvin.edu/archive/asa/
firstname.lastname@example.org is a discussion group on matters of interest to ASA members. To subscribe, email email@example.com with the words “subscribe asa” (no quotes) in the body of the message. To unsubscribe, use the words “unsubscribe asa” (no quotes).
Older archives here: http://www.asa3.org/archive/asa/
“It seems there is a variety of opinion on just what the word evolution actually represents.”
“Which theory of evolution are you talking about?
“...What is the significance of such a theory? To address this question is to enter the field of epistemology.
A theory is a metascientific elaboration distinct from the results of observation, but consistent with them.
By means of it a series of independent data and facts can be related and interpreted in a unified explanation. A theory’s validity depends on whether or not it can be verified; it is constantly tested against the facts; wherever it can no longer explain the latter, it shows its limitations and unsuitability. It must then be rethought.
Furthermore, while the formulation of a theory like that of evolution complies with the need for consistency with the observed data, it borrows certain notions from natural philosophy.
And, to tell the truth, rather than the theory of evolution, we should speak of several theories of evolution.
On the one hand, this plurality has to do with the different explanations advanced for the mechanism of evolution, and on the other, with the various philosophies on which it is based.
Hence the existence of materialist, reductionist, and spiritualist interpretations. What is to be decided here is the true role of philosophy and, beyond it, of theology.
Consequently, theories of evolution which, in accordance with the philosophies inspiring them, consider _the spirit_ as emerging from the forces of living matter or as a mere epiphenomenon of this matter are incompatible with the truth about man. Nor are they able to ground the dignity of the person. ...”
Theories of Evolution
John Paul II
Copyright (c) 1997 First Things 71 (March 1997): 28-29. Address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, October 22, 1996
Have the Evos switched to a new origin of life theory involving primordial poop?
Since the vast majority of well credentialed working scientists in the world find the current form of Darwin’s Theory useful, credible, and supported by the evidence and there is very little that stands muster as “science” in “Creation Science”, perhaps those advocating a literally correct Bible might be better served by first defending the merits of the Biblical creation myth against the hundreds of other creation myths.
Every culture and religion has one with small to huge differences from Genesis. Why does the story in Genesis trump that of say the Navajo? Surely this would be an easier challenge than taking on all those brainy, well educated, logical, scientists. And after a warm-up round or two knocking off say the creation stories of “primitive” cultures like the Australian Aboriginals and the Navajo, then maybe Creation Scientists would have tuned their game enough to not look like backwoods hicks against the likes of say a Stephen Jay Gould.
The trouble is that I suspect you will discover your argument for Genesis over say the myth of the Navajo reduces itself to no more or less than a claim that the Bible is the infallible and literally correct word of God, an authority by definition denied anyone with a contrary view. And, of course, the only evidence you will marshal for this claim is the fact that you accept it on faith. Such a view is of course exactly that claimed by the Taliban with regard to their reading of the Koran, a book they will claim has greater divinity than the Bible.
Praytell what stands in justification of the Genesis myth over any other other than faith? Claiming anything else achieves nothing more than making you look stupid. Science is smart enough to remain mute in domains where myths are taken as correct on faith.
Charles Darwin believed in continuous, small evolution steps that would render the idea of species almost meaningless. He believed that rapid evolution would be indistinguishable from a miracle and he rejected it. By his theory, one species would be constantly turning into another over time. There would be so many intermediate steps that drawing a species line within an evolutionary line would be totally arbitrary.
Gould and Eldredge say the fossil record shows origin, stasis, and sometimes the extinction of species. The idea of species remains, and continuous change is not supported.
These are opposite claims. Who is the “backwood hick,” Darwin or Gould?
Thank you for the informative response.
He needs to taketh a little faster, because we are being destroyed by these geniuses.
I guess that depends on your definition of Evolution (and/or God).
Everything evolves. Some creatures mutate from one 'form' of life, to a completely different one, in practically the blink of an eye.
>>> Are you familiar with the Wallace Line?
I’m not. You have me curious.
I heard that bacteria rode here in the interior of meteors, and those that survived the crash of the meteorite were responsible for 'starting' life on Earth.
Of course, one must then deal with this question..Who created the bacteria to begin with , and where did it come from (same question, actually).
Not according to God. God uses the word create.
The two terms are mutually exclusive.
Mutation is not evolution either...
If anything “evolves” it is definitions.
It seems there is a variety of opinion on just what the word evolution actually represents.
Like nailing jello to a wall.
I went to the FaithandEvolution.org website. I recommend it to everyone, especially those who are familiar with evolutionary theory.
I liked the introductory video. Each of the speakers has much more to say; each has written books on their subject. But we are watching an introduction so they must be brief. Perhaps they put too much emphasis on Darwin in the video is right. He is a symbol for many of his supporters and critics alike. But I suspect the time was right for his claims. He was going with the flow. Its not hardly like he was crucified or anything like that. If anything, he was celebrated in his time.
There is a lot of good stuff in the associated links. Here’s one excerpt on the nature of “intelligent design” coming from proponents of ID.
ID makes only the minimal claim that it is possible to infer from the evidence of nature that some features or patterns in nature are explained better by an intelligent cause than by undirected processes. True, one can then ask about the nature of the intelligence, and a reasonable answer would be God. But ID does not take us that far; it is not natural theology.
That seems well stated to me. The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is a search for intelligence. The marker for extraterrestrial intelligence is something that is intelligently designed, most likely a signal. If I walk along the beach and find the image of a stylized heart, pierced with an arrow, with the words John loves Suzy, I know its no accident of nature. It was designed. Criteria for establishing design are distinct from religion, much as evolutionary theory is distinct from atheism. The text continues:
Second, and more importantly, design inferences are not arguments from ignorance. No sane person argues, I dont know what caused X, therefore it must be designed. We infer design in our daily lives when X resembles things that we know are produced by intelligence and could not plausibly have been produced without it. Irreducible complexity is one hallmark of designed things; the specified complexity of William Dembski is another. In either case, we infer design most reliably when we have more evidence, not less.
Darwin and his contemporaries thought living cells were blobs of protoplasm; it was easy for them to assume that such blobs were undesigned. But as modern biologists learn more and more about the irreducibly complex biochemical cascades and molecular machines needed for life, it becomes less and less plausible to dismiss cells as accidental by-products of unguided natural forces.
The author is no dummy. Granted there is much more to say, about the nature of the fossil record, bacterial adaptation to antibiotics, etc. It would be a mistake to assume that people at the Discovery Institute are ignorant of evolutionary theory, or are not aware of current issues and debates. Nor do they reject science. Science was never supposed to be about consensus. Its about reason and evidence. When the very religious Nicolaus Copernicus argued that the sun was at the center of the solar system, he argued from reason and evidence. His argument was not everyone says so, all scientists agree, me too, me too. He challenged the prevailing view. As far as I know, he was never accused of being anti-science.
All excellent points, CE! I’m glad to hear you got something out of that site. I found it very compelling as well.
All the best—GGG
Thanks for the ping!
I am not sure what point you are trying to make in your comment or if it reflects any understanding of Darwin’s starting point 150 years ago or the more recent views of Gould and Eldredge which you cite. Here is a link to Niles’ web page web page which includes downloads of the classic Gould and Eldredge papers and some of Eldredges more recent contributions. Certainly I would encourage all here to read Eldredge’s papers rather than accept any significance of your distorted excerpt.
Both Gould and Eldridge are of course both immensely capaple scientists that have also written broadly at an intelligent layman level regarding evolution and in support of Darwin’s Theory. Eldredge in particular has thought it important to refute “Creation Science” in a public forum and rightly in the present context I should have credited him rather than Gould simply because he has been more willing to step into the public fray.
That said, your attempt to set Gould and Eldredge against Darwin appears typical Cretin Science BS that begs an understanding of science in general and evolution in particular.
Darwin’s Theory rocked the world as new thought when published 150 (ONE HUNDRED FIFTY) years ago. Darwin offered it in explanation of the existing body of evidence, in particular as influenced by his own observations during the voyage of the Beagle.
A century+ of scientific progress later -— said progress in particular including a much expanded fossil record now organized, evaluated, and interpretted in light of Darwin’s Theory, and the Watson and Crick spawned revolution in molecular biology -— Eldredge and Gould published their famous “punctuated equilibria” papers in 1971/1972.
In particular, this was directed at explaining fossil evidence of substantial species stability (stasis) and rapid speciation (punctuation) with respect to a geologic time scale. Evidence of rapid speciation was NOT offered as an alternative to Darwins’s more gradual view, but in extension of it. And Eldredge and Gould never denied incremental change (”pure” Darwin) during the at least several millenia spanned by a point of geologic punctuation. They argue instead that the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection can act to drive speciation more quickly than Darwin might have imagined. This is visible during periods of ecological instability and particularly so when geologic events most likely serves to isolate a segment of any particular species genome.
Absent isolation and selection pressure (during periods of ecological equilibria)the apecies genome remains stable and phenotypic change is not visible. In reasonably modern genetics, this would be considered a manifestation of the Hardy-Weinberg law. Ecological change is, however, the essence of selection pressure which favors survival of those most fit for new conditions.
The point is simply that Gould and Eldredge, rather than casting any doubt on Darwin (as you seem to be implying), are viewed as providing important confirmation of Darwin’s core theoretical underpinnings while extending the Theory with 20th Century thought and discovery. This is how science and a strong theory progress.
If you want me to identify a backwoods hick, it would most likely be somebody that thinks Darwin’s Theory of 150 years ago forcast every nuance of future discovery or that Darwin’s “Origin of Species” in any way trivializes speciation. Certainly neither Niles Eldredge or Stephen Gould support such a view, though I suspect that both would be greatly amused at the idea that “creation scientists” are using their work to attack Darwin.
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