Does God Guide Evolution?

(Christy Hemphill) #162

Those explanations would be extraneous to the scientific model. And the model is called “The Theory of Evolution.”

Did you forget a word, because this makes no sense.


I guess it comes down to how you view it. Is it worse if God creates a universe where volcanos occasionally erupt and kill people, or is it worse if God personally makes a volcano erupt which then kills people? Is indifference worse than active participation?

I agree, I don’t think we should drag this too far off topic. If you want to respond to this post feel free to do so, but I think I will leave it in your hands to sum up this little rabbit trail.


Evolution is both. There is the fact of evolution and the theory of evolution. The fact of evolution is our observations of how life has changed over time. The theory of evolution is our human made scientific model of how we think this change happens.

I don’t see why that would be the case. I see no reason to equate natural with atheistic. At least from the Christians I have spoken to, they view rain as being entirely natural but they still believe that God is involved in some way.

(GJDS) #165

God is not indifferent to our suffering - I think your comment misinterprets all of Christian theology. I am not opening a debate, but simply pointing out your error.

(GJDS) #166

I should be used to your hyperbole by now, but then? :laughing:- the prophets always warned people not to continue with their evil ways and so forth.

(George Brooks) #167


Yes. And God being God, he doesn’t even need to provide a warning, yes? But if the Destroyer can pick out the first born for destruction in Exodus, the Destroyer could have picked out the unrighteous for destruction instead of a global flood, yes?

As for Exodus, how many of the first born maids and infants do you think were guilty of grossly evil ways?

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #168

This usage creates all sorts of confusion and problems. It leads people to think that the fact of evolution is identical to a theory about evolution which it is not. Evolution has been under attack for some time now do it may be natural that people thank that the common scientific theory of evolution is only true one, but that is not necessarily true, and maybe science would say that it is unlikely to be true.

Most people accept Western dualism, which divides Reality between the Natural and Supernatural. Atheists have decides the natural is real, while the Supernatural is not. which leased the natural is without God.

Again I would focus on Natural Selection. Dawkins and his brand of Darwinian atheistic evolution have developed his survival of the fittest Selfish Gene understanding of how evolution works, which is false.
It is false for both scientific reasons andmbe4cause it supports the false dualism of natural and Supernatural.

Personally I reject the absolute separation of the natural and God, but traditional philosophy does not. This separation is the background for the ID - TE debate. IS days that because Nature is purely physical, it is dependent on the supernatural and needs God to directly guide it. TE in the old version where I think ID might be right, says that nature as understood by science is independent of the Supernatural.

Ecological evolution says that God has created a way to guide evolution through ecology which embodies the ideas of the Logos. Also that God primary concern is the human world with which God communicates by means of the Logos, Jesus Christ. We spend too much time concerned about the inert physical world and not on sensate human world that begs for justice and mercy.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #169

In life we are all in this together. The people of Germany suffered as well as the Jews and many others for Hitler’s evil ways. On the other hand the people of Germany put Hitler into power. Evil is evil because it causes the innocent to suffer. YHWH gave Pharaoh a choice and many suffered though floods and plagues because he made the wrong choice in the name of the country over which he was king.

(George Brooks) #170


Roger, the point I was making was in response to people who think Evolution poses some kind of special Theodicy issue … YECs are prone to this, because they blame everything on Adam.

But Yahweh himself already tells us that he has no problem destroying innocent life - - in pursuit of his divine plans.

Your quote above doesn’t really answer the issue … especially if you take Ezekiel seriously when he says the sons shall not die because of the sins of the father.


When you tell people that evolution is not a theory as you did in a previous post, how does that clear up the confusion?

I don’t see the harm in describing how evolution is both a fact and a theory. In fact, I think talking about how facts and theories are different will help clear up quite a few misunderstandings when it comes to the practice of science.

Just to clear this up for the umpteenth time, atheism does not state that the supernatural does not exist. It simply states that there is a lack of positive belief in the supernatural because of a lack of evidence for it.

You don’t accept that fitter genes tend to be passed on at a higher rate?

From my reading, ID states that God and nature are separate in that God has to act in violation of natural processes in order to produce the biodiversity we see today. ID advocates classify natural selection and observed random mutation as being natural and separate from God. They then have God coming in and doing things these natural processes can not. This is why people like Behe clearly state that things like irreducibly complexity could not be produced by nature.

From an observational standpoint, how would that look different from the type of evolution that Dawkins talks about?

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #172

It is my observation that defenders of Darwinian evolution thi9nk that criticism of their theories as denial of the fact of evolution. Evolution is a natural process. The theories that try to describe that process are not the process and ar4e not above criticism.

Atheism as a word means A “No or without” the “theos or God” ism indicates “a belief.” If you believe that God does not exist, you are an atheist. If you are in doubt as to whether God exists, you are an agnostic, that is you have A “No” gnos “gnosis or knowledge” of the existence of God, but are unwilling to say that God does not exist.

If you find no evidence for the existence of the supernatural, despite the all the evidence presented to you, and your belief system depends on evidence, why don’t you just say there is no supernatural and thus there is no God?

How does one identify "fitter genes?’ The answer as been fitter genes are the ones posed on a t a higher rate. This is circular thinking at the most basic level and needs to be banished from science, as Karl Popper and I have insisted for a long time.

You are right in saying that ID says that God and nature are separate, so that natural processes cannot process the biological world we have today. Ironically they then say that God directly intervenes to shape this world. TE says that God does shape and guide evolution, but does not say how without violating the separation between God and God’s Creation.

Dawkins sees life as the product of the Selfish Gene and he makes it clear that humans are governed by it even while seeming to deny this in the Selfish Gene.

Edward O. Wilson broke with Dawkins and Dennett when he wrote The Social Conquest of the Earth.
In an interview that I saw on Public TV Wilson said that natural selection/e4volution is not powered by selfishness. If you are interested in my type of evolution look the Wilson’s book. For Dawkins’ view look to the White House.

Roger's views on Darwinism and natural selection
(George Brooks) #173


Roger, you sure make it tough for the rest of us.

“Fitter genes”, or whatever phrase you want to use for them, are only a part of circular thinking if you don’t know how to use math.

Your “so-called” “Fitter Genes” can be defined by means of a time-sensitive calculation:

A) The number of fertile offspring sharing descent from an individual (or individuals)
B) with Genetic Configuration “XYZ” (compared to those with Configuration “ABC”)
C) over a 100 year period (or down to the 4th Generation)
D) in the ecological niche or system “XYAB”,
D) equals “n”.

Depending on the study, the time frame can be longer or shorter, or the generation count can be longer or shorter. It’s pure math, and can be quantified.

And it can even be quantified differently in different ecosystems (which I figure would delight you to read!).

Stating the ecological niche and time frame is important because some trait alleles can have a negative impact on an individual, while having a positive impact on the population at large.

For example, Sickle Cell anemia is usually considered detrimental. But having a percentage of the population that suffers from it tends to help populations with long term exposure to Malaria.

“In 1949 the genetic transmission was determined by E. A. Beet and J. V. Neel.[14] In 1954 the protective effect against malaria of sickle-cell trait was described…”

“The allele responsible for sickle-cell anaemia can be found on the short arm of chromosome 11, more specifically 11p15.5. A person who receives the defective gene from both father and mother develops the disease; a person who receives one defective and one healthy allele remains healthy, but can pass on the disease and is known as a carrier or heterozygote. Heterozygotes are still able to contract malaria, but their symptoms are generally less severe.”

“Due to the adaptive advantage of the heterozygote, the disease is still prevalent, especially among people with recent ancestry in malaria-stricken areas, such as Africa, the Mediterranean, India, and the Middle East. Malaria was historically endemic to southern Europe, but it was declared eradicated in the mid-20th century, with the exception of rare sporadic cases.”

“The malaria parasite has a complex lifecycle and spends part of it in red blood cells. In a carrier, the presence of the malaria parasite causes the red blood cells with defective haemoglobin to rupture prematurely, making the Plasmodium parasite unable to reproduce. Further, the polymerization of Hb affects the ability of the parasite to digest Hb in the first place. Therefore, in areas where malaria is a problem, people’s chances of survival actually increase if they carry sickle-cell trait (selection for the heterozygote).”


First, why the “Darwinian” modifier?

Second, I think we view misguided and false criticisms as misguided and false criticisms. We aren’t against the idea of criticizing a theory if there is a scientific reason to do so.

Man, you almost had it. Being without a belief in God is not the same as believing God does not exist. I don’t believe my apartment is on fire right now, but at the same time I am not ruling out the possibility that it is on fire. Understand the difference?

American Atheists have a good description of the difference between atheism and agnosticism. I would suggest reading the whole thing if you have the time or interest.

"Agnostic isn’t just a “weaker” version of being an atheist. It answers a different question. Atheism is about what you believe. Agnosticism is about what you know."
What is Atheism?

You may not have caught up with Popper.

The fact that the theory of natural selection is difficult to test has led some people, anti-Darwinists and even some great Darwinists, to claim that it is a tautology. . . . I mention this problem because I too belong among the culprits. Influenced by what these authorities say, I have in the past described the theory as “almost tautological,” and I have tried to explain how the theory of natural selection could be untestable (as is a tautology) and yet of great scientific interest. My solution was that the doctrine of natural selection is a most successful metaphysical research programme. . . . [Popper, 1978, p. 344]

I have changed my mind about the testability and logical status of the theory of natural selection; and I am glad to have an opportunity to make a recantation. . . . [p. 345]

The theory of natural selection may be so formulated that it is far from tautological. In this case it is not only testable, but it turns out to be not strictly universally true. There seem to be exceptions, as with so many biological theories; and considering the random character of the variations on which natural selection operates, the occurrence of exceptions is not surprising. [p. 346]

That isn’t what I am asking. I am asking how our observations would be different if Dawkins were right or if “Ecological evolution” were right. How would populations differ between the two processes?

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #175

First of all Paul using OT texts clearly says that there is no such thing as "innocent life."
Romans 3:10-12 (NIV2011)
10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.”

I would not use this statement to “prove” that God is just when “innocent” persons suffer, because this is not true. The fact is that we are all involved in “social sin.” African Americans continue to suffer from the result of the sin of slavery and Euro Americans continue to benefit from that sin. The issue is not that Euro Americans need to be punished, but we ne4ed to be reconciled through Jesus Christ…

This goes back to what I said about we are all in the same boat. Our problems begin when we try to separate ourselves from others by saying we are innocent or more innocent than others. The Bible says we are all guilty, but we are not all forgiven, except those who accept their sin, and then their forgiveness through Jesus Christ. It is not our sin, but how we deal with it that is most important

The point of Ezekiel is that God does not judge the sons based on the sins of the fathers. It is not true that children do not suffer from the sins of their parents. We know that that is not true. The parable of the Talents says God judges us by what we do with the gifts God gives us, not the fact that we should have gotten an A, but we got a B, while some else over-performed and got a C.

The thing is that God makes everything right in the long run, which is the most important thing.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #176

Thank you @gbrooks9 for proving my point even when you don’t realize and acknowledge this.

Of course gene frequency changes and this can be quantified. The question is causation. You have added a new element here when was not found in Darwin and is still not found in Dawkins & Co. @T_aquaticus. this is the reason that Popper was right when he said evolution was not falsifiable. (Natural Selection is a basic part of evolution so that if this part does not work, the whole does not work.

What causes Natural Selection, fitter genes or change in the environment?

When the climate became colder, and dinosaurs lost their environmental niches, was it because their genes changed or the environment changed?

When the environment of the sand pocket mouse changed fro brown sand to black, what caused the change of its coloration, its need to adapt to its new environment or a mutation?

When home sapiens moved north and eventually replaced the Neanderthals, was it because their genes were fitter or because they were better adapted to the wormer climate?

Ecology burst into public awareness about 1970 when the first Earth Day took place. Before this it was true that evolution was the basis of biology, but now that is not the case. Ecology is, but Dawkins & others. have failed to understand this. BioLogos should take leadership in this area.

Popper confessed that Natural Selection could be falsifiable and thus provable when it was more than circular thinking. That is what ecological Natural Selection does.

It is time for some people to understand that ecology makes a big change in our under5standing of Life.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #177

Interesting. For one thing we are not discussing theology, atheism, but philosophy, the supernatural. You said that you do not believe in the supernatural because you see no evidence of the supernatural. That implies that you do not believe because of a lack of knowledge, which in my understanding makes you an agnostic. But then the article says that atheism is a matter of belief and you choose to be called an atheist, so I conclude that you choose to not to believe in the supernatural.

However I also want to ask you a question. Does being an atheist mean that you are a materialist? Most people would think that they are identical, but the article says that atheist share no system of beliefs. so maybe most people are wrong.

Perhaps we need to talk about materialism here instead of atheism. Are you a materialist and if so what does that mean?

(George Brooks) #178



You are going to equate “no one righteous” with “no one innocent”? That’s a huge leap.

And even then, do you think Paul was including pre-adults as “not innocent”?

(George Brooks) #179



You would have flunked your Evolution class. This is completely non-responsive to my point.

First, virtually all evolutionists understand that the key part of Natural Selection is “nature”. You do accept that evolutionists do understand this, right? At least in the last 3 years, yes?

In a prior posting, you said that the notion of “fitter genes” is circular. The fact that it is “nature” applying pressure to the genome of a population doesn’t mean “fitter genes” is circular.

The amount of pressure nature applies to Sub-Population A vs. Sub-Population B can be quantified and thus “racked, stacked and analyzed”! 2 different sub-populations, same ecosystem (or aquarium, or fenced piece of desert, or what have you) yields numerical results for offspring:

number of offspring in one year, in 2 years, in 10 years, in 50 years.

This is a treasure trove of data … which would be impossible to say if a definition was purely circular.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #180

At the time of Popper the process was circular and the environment was not a consideration. Today as far as I can tell Dawkins has not made the change you indicate, so I li8mited my criticisms to him and those who follow him which seems to be considerable.

If the field as a whole has made the change, please provide some evidence of that fact rather than making up what you seem to think is going on. I am not impressed by people who claim that Popper is misrepresented by those who say he criticized Darwinian evolution or natural selection for not being falsifiable when this is true.

I think that Paul was a realist. I think that there is little real difference between not innocent and not righteous. Do you really think that pre-adults are innocent?

(George Brooks) #181


Roger, which part do you think I’m making up?

  1. That animals have offspring?
  2. That humans can count offspring?

I have made zero comments about Popper. That was someone else.

Do you doubt that in the vast discipline of evolution that anyone has quantized anything?