Evolutionary Creationism and Materialist Evolution

I’m saying that Science works within a framework that involves the interaction of matter, energy, space and time and the laws that govern the same. If god is equated to this then Science would have no problem except that it would say that the one who used such language was unnecessarily complicating things by using language that had very different meanings in the past.

He lists six general premises on which different versions of theistic evolution typically rest. They include:

  1. the prevailing cosmological model, with the universe coming into being about 13.8 billion years ago;

  2. the fine-tuned universe;

  3. evolution and natural selection;

  4. No special supernatural intervention is involved once evolution got under way;

  5. Humans are a result of these evolutionary processes; and

  6. Despite all these, humans are unique. The concern for the Moral Law (the knowledge of right and wrong) and the continuous search for God among all human cultures defy evolutionary explanations and point to our spiritual nature.

  7. and 6. seem to be what he would derive his theistic part from - or point to wrt TE/EC. However, 2. could simply be a necessary condition for matter to think (intelligent life) and still be completely within the realm of ME. The 6th would seem to be an appeal to a “god of the gaps” explanation because we don’t yet have a fully developed understanding of evolutionary psychology. Even if it is baked into the initial conditions by a god leading to what we see, everything we see is accomplished (according to TE/EC) by natural processes and laws the same as for ME. It would seem to be impossible to relate back to god as an initial necessity (or at least without major arguments and evidence pertaining to the same). ME Science would probably argue that there is no need to make this leap and there may be a totally naturalistic explanation within the Methodological Naturalistic framework. Any appeal to god would not only be an appeal to a “god of the gaps” type argument but add unnecessary complexity (and so would be subject to Occam’s razor). Whether one agrees or disagrees seems to present TE/EC with problems when trying to equate themselves with Modern Science and unnecessary as far as most modern views of Science are concerned. This is on the Science side. Theological critics would argue that it is totally inconsistent with any type of traditional Biblical understanding and theology. Hence, they would get major criticisms from both sides.

interesting article. Can’t say I remember reading about this effect before. Some very interesting engineering applications arise from this if it were understood enough to be able to engineer raw elements (i.e. developing cost effective, physically doable and mathematically accurate models to create good enough approximations in real time using numerical/approximation methods, FEA or some new type of similar mathematics and AI) so as to then have endless supplies of material without having to affect the environment. I have long suspected that at each scale there are principles like this taking place (A good book that seems to support my long standing suspicion is called Scale by Geoffrey West which hints toward this conclusion and I think West is really on to something). Mathematics is advancing at an incredible rate today - However, most people don’t realize this. Since great fundamental advances in Science are often limited or restricted by finding or discovering new ways to harness math, this is good news for all branches of Science especially the Applied Science of Engineering. Applied math is producing results that are helping to solve pure math problems and vice versa. For example, researchers outside of theoretical physics are applying topology and other very advanced forms of math to subjects such as cutting edge research areas in medicine. Other pure math problems that have been solved have direct bearing on fundamental questions within Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Theory. Just a couple of days ago, I learned of new methods in math that have been used in computational AI meteorology to run weather simulations on regular PCs that are better than traditional supercomputer based models with only a few (4 - 10) elements. All of this without even using the future potential of quantum computing! Since the same type of modelling is involved with other systems - such as thermo and hydrodynamics, engineers may be able to start to apply the same mathematical, computational and AI techniques to generate very accurate results in real time at a fraction of the current cost.

This type of advancement could lead to the Holy Grail of computation - being able to mathematically model complex living systems as difficult and impossible as it may have once seemed. Although this currently seems very far off, with the exponential increase and cross fertilization of areas of pure and applied Science, this may not actually be as seemingly intractable as it did even 10 years ago let alone 30 years ago.

1 Like

I’m fascinated by scale and its impact on the ontology, of the posit, of God.

And I’ll come out in my depthless ignorance and say that I do not believe that my PC (100 gigaflops?) will ever do better weather forecasts than the Met Office Crays (50 petaflops) formerly used by the BBC. I can do better than MeteoGroup looking out the window. I infer that the claim is that mathematics has advanced computation by six orders of magnitude overnight. Someone deserves a Fields Medal. Even so, nope, like economic nuclear fusion we will never model a single cell down to the molecular level, with tens of millions of macromolecules, a hundred trillion atoms. What difference would quantum computing make? We’d still never be able to image and capture a whole cell down to the atomic, let alone animate it. A stupid example of course, what complex living systems at what scale are you envisaging?

Thanks for the recap of Collins’ main points. It’s been a few years since I read his book.

I think you have a point about some of his points being potentially “gappish”; I would need to go back and re-read how he says it to see how he nuances his claims. But just summarized as you have here, I agree that mainstream science doesn’t go all the places that Collins goes. Then again, mainstream science isn’t Christian, and Collins is. [Nor is science ‘anti-theistic’ either - any more than mathematics or shop class would be.]

Or it would be if Collins was trying to insist on it as a necessary foundation for any science work generally. I’m pretty sure (again - without having refreshed my memory on it) that he wouldn’t / doesn’t do that. I think he was at pains to just merely demonstrate the compatibility of science with religion rather than trying to more aggressively demonstrate foundational dependence on religion in any sort of mechanical way. Philosophical dependence - yes. I can see that. I think epistemic humility prevents him from trying to lay down any more aggressive apologetic than merely showing that science, such as it is, doesn’t preclude most religious conviction.


It would be their problem. They would be adding something to science, making it science+. Because in truth science is agnostic about everything except that you follow the rules, the scientific method. It doesn’t care about your religious beliefs or your morality or lack thereof. It doesn’t care if you like science or even believe in what you are doing. It only cares if you do it right. (Anyone who has taught a general-ed lab has seen ample evidence of students who absolutely hate science but, motivated by grades, end up doing beautiful since in spite of their disdain.)

Unless a secularist can point out how a CE is doing actual science wrong (a good test would be to give them some peer-reviewed papers with names redacted and have them pick out those written by CEs) then the fact that they would still have a problem is, as mentioned, their problem for adding something to science.


Again, there is no basis for disagreement:

Your definition of faith is so broad as to be useless, it includes all categories. Faith in rationality is not the same as faith in non-rationality, particularly superstition. Faith in quantum mechanics is not the same as faith that God answers our prayers by occult changing of the laws of physics for our convenience. Whether it’s giving us a parking space or healing a loved one. I am totally dismissive of that kind of faith and the odd mish-mash faith of 2 and 6 above, the so-called fine tuned universe and assertion of magic concerning evolved human morality and search for meaning. The latter is pathetic coming from a biologist. We vaunt our significance in desperation.

Nope. Anyone who has intellectual juice and uses anti-intellectual magical thinking to support their belief in a Creator is running on less than empty in that regard. That includes all of the great scientific overwhelmingly male minds that have been discussed. Their juice is extremely limited to their magisterial areas of scientific expertise. There is no other magisterium. I don’t have their juice, neither do I have their failed hubris (I have mine very humble and untouchable own). They are all fallacious; genius in genetics, mathematics, ecology, nuclear physics does not transfer to magic past the boundary of incredulity. They are not intellectuals. No intellectual agrees with them. William Lane Craig does not count.

Who? What statistics? What numbers prove Goddidit?

What same logic? Cause and effect do not require an intelligent agent except where the effect is by design. A wind blown tree could fall on my car, but not make a pie. Unless it was an Ent. I mean really, they are sadly fallacious examples.

Again, what is the connection between Francis Collins’ genius as a geneticist and his personal religious requirements about the insignificant universe?

If Cernan said that he was a fool. Plenty of his astro, cosmo and taiko -naut colleagues came to no such conclusion. And what did he see that I haven’t?

Hello brianwhite 1066,

You wrote:

Sorry, but that’s funny. eVopsych is one of the most corrupt, worthless, and meaningless fields in the Academy today. To even call it a “field” is generous. eVopsych suffers from serious replication crisis & too many W.E.I.R.D. people in its history. And if you haven’t read Subrena Smith’s takedown of eVopsych from last year, “Is Evolutionary Psychology Possible?”, then you need to catch up. > This Philosopher Is Challenging All of Evolutionary Psychology

And then there’s “memetics” for cultural materialists! :rofl:

“most scientists would see EC Science as redundant and unnecessary to understanding nature and a carry over from a more primitive and less developed time in human history.”

Yes, agreed. However, “evolutionary creationism” is clearly not “strictly scientific”. Do we agree on that? ECism is an ideology, full stop. The term “creationism” itself denotes an ideology, qualified by the adjective “evolutionary”. Are we agreed about this?

“Science is a dynamic process that continually strives to produce more comprehensive explanations and models of how the processes, parts and the whole of nature works.”

With the caveat that “science” is not an “agent” itself. People are the agents who do sciences, who use scientific methods in their works. Iow, sciences themselves don’t “strive”, only people do.

Yes, a worldview, or more specifically, once the “-ism” is openly acknowledged, an ideology. ECism counts accurately as an ideology. I believe that’s the most appropriate English language categorization for it. Does that work for you also?

There is a fine line between something being an ideology and being a cult. I think EC is appropriately classified as a worldview or an ideology if you prefer. But ID is essentially conspiracy theorist in its approach.

Humans are by nature linear in terms of our thinking and future predictions. We over estimate what can be done in the short term and under estimate what can be done in the long. In my short life (about 60 years) I have seen this played out many times. What was said not to be possible in my lifetime in science is now starting to happen. There are exceptions of-course. Nuclear fusion is one of them. However, the science of fusion and fission is still very young compared to other technologies. Developments in engineering, applied and theoretical physics and mathematics could easily set a new course that will alter the economics of fusion to be affordable - we might just need the right conditions, and a genius with the creative insights like the made great people of the past. We must remember our history. At the beginning of the 20th century many thought we had discovered all of the main foundations of physics and all that was left was mopping up. Within 20 years or so came general/special relativity and quantum theory. Two theories that completely transformed all of science. For a more practical and engineering based example, I think of Ken Olsen the found founder of DEC and one of the people Bill Gates saw as a mentor, who said that “the PC will never amount to much more than a toy” - boy did he turn out to be wrong. Brilliant people like the late 19th century scientists and Olsen have often been completely wrong about future advancements. I would suggest that we must be careful before we make generalized statements about what we don’t know we don’t know since this is probably a much bigger ocean than everything else we know something about or don’t realize we know something about.

I could get into quantum computing and how it may transform computer science but I will leave that to another day. One final thing - I think a lot of people when they get to a certain age suffer from what I will call the “Richard Feynman Syndrome” - they just don’t want to admit they are getting old, that the torch is being passed to another generation and that they will not see incredible new advances that may appear to make what they did seem less important (or perhaps mostly unimportant and forgotten about).

1 Like

Aye Brian. I’m a great believer in logistical curves, factorials and the very basic like. I don’t see a Planck an Einstein a Bohr a Pauli a Heisenberg et al coming along anytime soon, or all of them together at the same time reaching critical mass to make any sci-fi nonsense happen. Fission will improve as it actually works in the first place. If we can make fusion work profitably we can do anything. Spintronics will give computing another order of magnitude or two, on top of your five or six. I’d love to see a colossal carbon tube space elevator cable, but I’m not holding my breath. I don’t see 1905 as a precedent. Etc, etc. Glad we nearly agree on fusion. I hope we do on the impossibility of detecting life elsewhere by telescopy, radio.

I prefer worldview as it is more of an intellectual posture, ideology incorporates a worldview but connotes a more personal and activist engagement. There are various levels of commitment that I would not presume of someone holding a worldview. I also think somebody can be an atheist without being very ideological about it - it is just a statement about what makes sense to somebody regarding questions beyond the reach of empirical resolution.

Wow, you don’t think ideology is “intellectual”?! That’s curious, since many, if not most ideologies, are developed / invented at universities.

I agree with you that there’s often an “activist engagement” by ideologues, but not always. Both worldview and ideology are “personally” held, the way I define them. Your “more personal” meaning doesn’t really hold sociologically, which is the proper field of assessment.

Would it be accurate to suppose that you likewise don’t consider “creationism” as an ideology, but rather as a “worldview”? Does that reflect your linguistic preference re: “creationism”?

No discipline is more rife with ideology than sociology, with a set of beliefs no less culturally defined than the people groups they love to study.

Creationism is a broad term, so I hesitate to make a general statement, but in terms of YEC the state of denial goes beyond worldview and that may be characterized as ideology.

With that, I am done parsing worldview and ideology. Pedantic discussions over word definitions cannot be resolved, so the last word is yours if you wish.


No worries, Ron. We’ve crossed paths before and you weren’t then ready to fairly face the sociological realm, from what I remember. The country where I did my PhD in sociology actually shut down the field of sociology for 70 years. No sociology at universities, can you imagine that!

In the USA, sociological evolutionism is a serious problem, just look at the “state of the union” nowadays.

Yes, indeed, we are on the same page that “no discipline is more rife with ideology than sociology.” Psychology is a close second, but still second. Yet there are some sociologists, a rare few - can you imagine that, Ron? - who have studied ideology intently over many years, in a way that seeks balance and proportion, instead of allowing sheer and utter abandon, which is how “theistic evolutionism” and “evolutionary creationism” appear as ideologies.

Similarly, I reject the ideological IDism you hold as a twisted and unnecessary ideology for any Abrahamic monotheist to accept, so we’ll have to agree to disagree on that, right?

“in terms of YEC the state of denial goes beyond worldview and that may be characterized as ideology.”

Glad we agree on that! :blush:

1 Like

Uh, Klax, seriously, Cernan —the last man to walk on the moon? — uh, I think he saw something from a perspective that you and I have not. And as for Collins’ “genius as a geneticist and his personal religious requirements about the insignificant universe” — hmmmm…as I said, Klax, you will need to read him…and we are going to have to agree to disagree…

Yea, I actually have a bit of trouble entirely buying all this too. However, I still try to force myself to be open since things can easily transform quickly like I wrote about previously and what I’ve seen even if in cosmic time it is less than a drop in the ocean or a grain of sand from a large beach.

1 Like

First and foremost, God is not equated with God’s Creation by most theologians, except by pantheists and panentheists, who though not mainstream have always been part of this discussion.

Second, if you separate God from the universe then you have the huge question of from whence does the universe originate? Okay, science cannot say that it originate in God, but also it cannot say that it does not originate in God. I think that it can say that it did not produce itself. If nature did not produce itself, the from where did it come. Do you say that it came from the noGod of the Gaps?

Third, science has used language that has had very different meanings in the past.

Fourth, when people think of science, they usually think of the physical sciences, but there is much to science than this. There are the physical sciences, which conform to the interactions you put forward, but there are also the “life” sciences and the human sciences, which do not.

When a scientist calls biota, including humans, “survival machines” he is denying the ability of biota to react to and learn from their environment. Life sciences are different from in content from the physical sciences. Please stop trying to make them the same.

Science is no procrustean bed where one size fits all whether it does or not.

Fifth, this is too important a question to argue about We need to sit down and work out a solution that most everyone can live and work with.

Yeah Robin, seriously. American astronauts taking their… culturally distinctive religion to space will most likely have it powerfully reinforced by the higher than mountain top experience. As would happen to you. And me for 50 years. But not me now, or any European, or Russian, or Chinese astronaut to date. Not that ANY have said. Why is that? In my 50 years of doubtlessness, of never questioning the absolute immanent personal reality of God, everything I experienced was seen through that lens, even as I rationalized away from fundamentalism, often against my will. Until the lens… scales fell from my eyes. That’s the ‘danger’ of thinking, of having no no go areas. Nothing Collins or anyone else has written can possibly change that. Certainly no apologetic, no testimony. Apart from the unsparingly intellectually honest writings of McLaren, Bell, Held Evans, Chalk, Rohr, Rollins, Tickell, Kierkegaard.

Again, we have no basis of disagreement. You’ve read none of these people, let alone met any, talked with them in your echo chamber.

You haven’t felt the implacable sufficiency of the Earth beneath your feet.

I still yearn for meaning.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

This is a place for gracious dialogue about science and faith. Please read our FAQ/Guidelines before posting.