Am I paranoid or am I right?


#1

It seems like evolution is not neutral and that many times people who teach it do so hoping that it will eliminate religion. Richard Dawkins for example when teaching religious students about evolution will say that it can coexist with their faith (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNhtbmXzIaM), while when he writes his published work he says consistently that evolution disproves religion. It seems here that he’s not being honest. Another example would be a fellow Catholic, Kenneth Miller. In his book Finding Darwin’s God, he says that his faith and his belief in evolution can coexist, but he later on calls Genesis myth (interestingly Jerry Coyne attacked him for even believing in God despite the fact that he believes in unguided evolution)

There was also the famous case where science organizations demanded that evolution be taught as an “unguided process.” More than that, even on this site, which I think otherwise does good work, there have been articles basically saying the Bible gets things wrong as a way to make evolution seem more palatable. It was articles by Dr. Peter Enns here that got me to doubt evolution as really being compatible with my faith.

Sorry if this is a long rant, but it’s been a concern in the last year or so and I’d love it if people who are more open to evolution could shed any light for me.


(Randy) #2

There are very good questions here.

I, too have (and do) struggle with meshing evolution and faith. It’s helped me to remember to look at God as the source of all truth–no matter what seems evident or not. Whether we get it or not, He’s our Father; and we’re his children. He is happy with our faltering steps to understand this very complex world. He’s not looking for us to stumble so he can punish us. So–if at times the Bible doesn’t seem correct to me in the light of science most likely, I don’t understand it yet. He is not going to zap me for not holding everything together in one space correctly. He knows how we’re made, after all (Psalm 103).

Reading broadly, as you are apparently doing, and I’m starting, has helped. After taking in somewhere around 30 books and a course by Lamoureux recently, I am impressed with how many sincere people can get a different point of view. Thanks.


#3

This is a very good response. God loves us and does want a relationship with us, and He wants us to understand Him. One Scripture that always helps me is Psalm 73.

Have you checked out Todd C. Wood? He’s a YEC who admits that there is much evidence for evolution but holds to creation with the ope of finding answers. He’s pretty interesting. I’ve not studied any YEC material, but if I did it would be his work.

What do you think the top books you’ve seen are? I’ve only read 7 Days that Divide the World and parts of The Language of God and A Matter of Days. So basically theistic evolution and Old Earth Creation.


(Randy) #4

Thanks. Yes, I like Psalm 73, too.

I really like starting out with the Counterpoints books. They’re published mostly by Zondervan, a Christian company, and allow each of 3-5 authors not only put a brief overview of their point, AND each of the others comments after; but the original authors give rejoinders. They’re pretty concise.

  1. Four Views on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design with Ken Ham, Stephen Meyer, Deborah Haarsma, and Hugh Ross

  2. Four Views on the Historical Adam with Denis Lamoureux, C John Collins, William Barrick, and John Walton.

I actually found that the first was more science-based and the second, more theology based. Both were excellent for my learning.

I respect what I’ve read of Todd Wood (mainly online), and apparently Dennis Venema considers him a friend, according to the Southeastern Baptist online series with Nathaniel Jeanson (from Answers in Genesis) and Venema --(there’s a free podcast of their discussion last year).

God bless.
Randy


#5

That actually sounds really good. I’ll check those out. Zondervan puts out some pretty awesome stuff sometimes. :smiley:

That is pretty cool. It’s really good when fellow Christians can be in fellowship despite disagreements.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #6

Hman,

The question is whether God created the universe? Yes or No? Science is not is the position to say, yes or no, so it cannot say whether God used evolution to create humans and other species or not. Therefore science cannot say that God did or did not guide evolution, even though most scientists might believe that God did not.

BioLogos believes that God did guide evolution as part of God’s Creation of the universe. Now I trust that you also believe that God created the universe also. May be you believe the God did not use evolution, but some other method to create humans. Is that really a serious problem, if we agree that God is the actual Creator?


#7

Well I’d agree that there is some question about evolution. I don’t think that common descent is necessarily a problem for Christians. Indeed, God did create the universe, but it’s dangerous to try to isolate that to smaller and smaller realms. NOMA is not a Christian belief (I hope that’s not too harsh), it’s a belief invented by non-Christians to get us to accept anything they say about the natural world. I do agree though that there is latitude when it comes to origins.

In this way I don’t have too much of a problem with BioLogos. I do not like it that they have people who deny the existence of Adam and Eve though. Those who say that God started the process and didn’t do much after (as Kenneth Miller says) are in pretty dangerous territory tbh.


(T J Runyon) #8

I’m pretty sure it was unsupervised and not unguided in that statement on evolution. Unguided doesn’t mean in biology what people thinks it does


(T J Runyon) #9

Why? Nothing about theism entails that God guides the development of life. At best, Christian theism only entails God intervened at some point and gave a certain species a soul. Though I don’t agree with Miller his position is 100% coherent


#10

I think Christian theism implies that the species that exist are those that God wanted.


#11

I can understand having an issue with the word “myth” when used in reference to Genesis. I’m not really all that comfortable with it myself, though I understand that generally when it’s used that way, it’s not quite as flippant as we might assume (not like reducing Biblical stories to Greek mythology). Anyway, I’m glad BioLogos is open to a wide variety of positions, because you can approach it from a more conservative angle and still be within the “tent.”

On the subject of “unguided process” – I’m not sure that’s really such a bad term. I certainly wouldn’t expect schools to teach meteorology as something other than an “unguided process” – or plate tectonics. I’m not sure evolution should be treated differently.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #12

The question is scientific, not theological per se. Darwin said that evolution is guided by Natural Selection, and said that Natural Selection is based on unguided survival of the fittest.

That theory is not accurate. We know now that Natural Selection is based on Ecological Change, which in turn is based on God 's process of how the earth has developed through history. God is always a hands on God, esp. when it comes to people, but God does not micromanage. God allows God’s Creation to do its thing, including us which is how humans created sin.


#13

The vast, vast majority of scientists who accept evolution don’t see it as a question that pertains to religion in any meaningful way. Scientific conferences are stacked full of people from every walk of life, and they nearly all accept evolution no matter their color, creed, or religion.

It disproves creationism, but not all religion is creationism. Dawkins no more disproves religion with evolution than Galileo disproved religion with Heliocentrism.

A better way to put it is that the scientific evidence is consistent with a lack of guidance since mutations do not appear to favor beneficial changes and adaptations in lineages do not appear to favor one specific end goal. Science shouldn’t make any ontological claims since it really isn’t set up to do so. The best that science can do is show how well our models and nature match up to one another.


(Christy Hemphill) #14

These are great and the set-up allows you to see the strengths and weaknesses and possible critiques of the positions.


(Christy Hemphill) #15

But they also have people who think Adam and Eve were historical people, like John Walton and Kathryn Applegate, as she writes here: https://biologos.org/blogs/kathryn-applegate-endless-forms-most-beautiful/why-i-think-adam-was-a-real-person-in-history


(Mervin Bitikofer) #16

“Unguided” raises my hackles for the exact reasons that you nail in your paragraph above. Unguided by what? Until those same authors are willing to stick “unguided” in front of everything that doesn’t have a conscious agent pushing it around [the unguided wind, … that unguided gravity, the unguided temperature increase there …] it is obvious that “unguided” has and always ever had precisely one target in mind: God. Was there ever anything or anybody else that was a viable candidate? It is a 100% narrowly religious word that has no place in any books purporting to call themselves science books. With all due respect to Ken Miller – I think he’s just plain wrong about this. It isn’t any more necessary in front of “mutations” than it is in front of “coin flipping” or “rock slides”. If he thinks it is needed in the one place, then he should be consistently sticking it in everywhere for nearly everything he speaks about. It adds nothing of use to any description that the phrase “apparently random” or even just “random” didn’t already get for you.

Whenever I see “unguided” in a textbook, I’ll be tempted to instead substitute in something like “…and this happens without any input from your uncle Lester” … and my creative qualifier will make every bit as much sense as the usual one --which can only make sense as an active proponent of dogmatic atheism.

Sorry – I’m back off my soap box now.


#17

This is a very good comment and you put it better than I ever could.


(A.M. Wolfe) #18

Fwiw, I really like Falk’s Coming to Peace with Science. I don’t like it for the theology (you can actually skip that chapter and not miss much of consequence) but for the extraordinarily lucid explanation of the relevant science that favors Evolutionary Creationism over Old Earth Creationism. Darrel is a science educator by trade, and it shows!

I think for most of us, to some extent, we have to crack the theological / hermeneutical nut before we feel free to explore the science… otherwise, we have our hackles up and can’t really read the science with an open mind. But if you’re at a place where you’re already at least open to considering the merits of various positions even if you’re not 100% sure what you think yet (and, based on the smattering of your posts here that I’ve read in the last few minutes, I think you may be near this point at least), then Falk’s book will give you some good grist for the reflection mill.

Blessings! We (the regulars, if you will) really welcome your participation here!

P.S. You may be the Chicken and I the Wolf(e), but you have nothing to worry about… we don’t bite around here… :smiley:


(Randy) #19

I’m chiming in because I want to say that looks like a good book. Thanks for the additional resource–I’ll look into it. I like his Youtube videos.


(Steve Schaffner) #20

I am not a historian of science (paging @TedDavis), but I believe the answer to your last question is “yes”. My impression is that the emphasis on the unguidedness of Darwinian evolution is to distinguish it from various ideas of orthogenetic evolution, in which there is some guiding principle or force, often internal to the organism, that controlls variation and the direction of evolution. (One of the complaints of proponents of an extended evolutionary synthesis is that the Modern Synthesis is so Darwinian that it downplays the extent to which existing developmental pathways determine the possible direction of future evolution.)