Recalling my own experience as a student sitting in discomfort and disbelief when learning about evolution, I have tried to find fun ways to help break the ice and engage my students on the topic. Here are four fun activities and games I’ve landed on over the years to help destigmatize evolution, disarm defenses, and address common misconceptions. As a Christian educator, it is my hope that students of faith in my classroom will not be driven to a faith crisis over anything I teach them but that they will find renewed curiosity about God and science.
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Because God controls everything, and to teach that evolution acts to deny God’s control is a lie taught by both atheists and evolution deniers.
Because it is the truth, God is the source, as confirmed by the Bible, The fact that evolution is the mechanism God uses does not invalidate that.
Some Christians want to enable students to see God in all creation as described in Psalm 19 and Romans 1 19-20 as well as in Genesis, Job and elsewhere in the Bible, rather than to see God as limited to their narrow views.
God does not control TOE. (unless you beleive that He is the author of every change instead of Chance/random)
At best God is an interested bystander who set it in motion.
TOE does not teach that God is in control TOE teaches that we are the result of random changes controlled by survival.
I am sorry. I am not trying to undermine Christian scientists. (As in Cristinas who do or teach science). I am just trying to make them (you) aware of what they are actually teaching, not what they may or may not believe about God and His involvement.
That is deism. The ToE does not teach anything about God, but God teaches that he is in control of even random (to us) processes. Perhaps you feel God does not allow freedom in creation or in life, but opinions may differ.
Whether you or I believe that it is not part of TOE. As soon as God is inserted anywhere it is no longer TOE. it is no longer what is being taught.
TOE is self-sufficient. or at least that would be its ultimate goal (personified) TOE as taught cannot include God anywhere except as the instigator and maybe provider of the system. The system itself is devoid of God’s control.
Deism is just a label,
I might suggest you look at the Designer thread where another member is claiming God is controlling every change. If God controls every change then Natural Selection does not play any part.
I am sorry. I am not trying to impose God onto anything or even impose a belief. All I am saying is that Teaching TOE as it is excludes and even denies God. That is just the way it is.
And, probably, there is nothing I or anyone else can do to change that at the present time.
Take out ToE and substitute auto mechanics.
I think our difference in viewpoint is that you feel randomness is not under God’s providence and I do, so that random events can be ordained of God, and do not require the dice to be loaded.
It disturbs me a bit how quick some Christians are to deny the obvious evidence for the design of the cosmos for advanced carbon based life because they have backed themselves into a corner with philosophical ideologies. I get it. We keep filling in gaps but the evidence to me is very strong.
What bothers me is the intellectual inconsistency as well. If science excludes anything supernatural that simply means that if supernatural events occur, science can scarcely deal with them and if so, science cannot give us a complete picture of reality. Science uses cause and effect and uniformitarianism. There is no logical necessity indicating these things must always be in effect or true. Nor is there any logically necessity saying God cannot tinker with creation as and when He sees fit.
History is in the same boat though. The same methodology that excludes the divine from science excludes the supernatural from history. God of the gaps to scientists are miracles to historians. So many Christian’s here would claim biblical scholars are biased or prejudiced because of their denial of miracles in historical reconstruction. Yet scientists get a free pass? Be consistent. And there is the problem. We have two major ways of viewing the world that make a concentrated effort to remove anything supernatural from them. To me, as a Christian who believes the world was created by God, this just shows the limitations of both methodologies. Both ways of learning about the world remove God but if God truly interacts with the world, both methodologies will miss it completely. It’s like trying to filter sand in a pasta colander.
Personally, I think what is needed is a better understanding of science and history, neither of which entail atheism. They are just ways of looking at the world that do not allow supernatural (nature defying) causes as explanations. We confuse history with exactly what happened in the past but in reality it’s just a probability based reconstruction based on starting assumptions. Science is just a method of learning about the world. It’s track record and repeatability putnit well above other modes of learning by neither includes or excludes belief in a deity. As a Christian, science shows me how God ordered the world. I personally just cannot prioritize a description of creation in a 4000 year old myth over what modern science seems to have learned. Sola scripture is about as reasonable as young earth creationism to me. The Bible is wrong on many points and theistic evolutionists have to jump through a lot of hoops: instead of harmonizing it’s “what God intended to teach” or “this is just cultural.” To me it’s just the same mental gymnastics repackaged.
Where science ends rationality continues and I do find that the findings of science easily lead into the view that the universe was fine-tuned for life. I sometimes grow weary of theistic evolution and being an intellectually weary and defeated, retreating Christian. That is what I see in many here and elsewhere. Science and theology have to cooperate. One has no precedence over the other to me. But we have to be willing to listen to both and evaluate all the evidence.
I would dispute your interpretation of the Bible and to be honest, probably your model of inspiration that it is based off of. I don’t think the Bible claims otherwise. I think you and many others interpret the Bible to claim otherwise. Genesis 1-11 is pure myth and while the rest of Genesis may contain some history, it is not overly concerned with it. The authors are expressing God and faith in the best way they can, in their world view with all their background assumptions. In fact, the entirety of scripture does this including our precious Gospels. I honestly think I am done with calling the Bible the “word” of God simply because the connotations are “God wrote it from heaven.” I’m not interested in this type of “virtue signaling” anymore. All this myth, error, immorality and accommodation in the Bible…… it’s clear to me that both sides don’t view the text the same way. I’d rather speak clearly and unambiguously then adopt terms that are only misleading. The problem is once a liberal view goes to far it will never be heard in mass audiences so I feel like we have to pay lip service to the Bible as “God’s word.” It condoned slavery, rape, misogyny, child abuse and a host of other nasties in addition to all its glorious parts. I’d rather view it as a window to God. We look through it to see God. We don’t worship the window (as I believe so many Christian’s really do today!). The Bible is not synonymous with God, nor a 4th member of the Trinity despite what some of its proponents appear to believe. The truth is that window is our sacred scripture. It goes hand in hand with Christian faith but window has dust, smudges, hair-line cracks and bug-splatter in spots. But we can still see the other side, even if it’s dimly lit at times. We can also distinguish between the cracks and imperfections and what lies on the other side.
For me Genesis 1 says the form and function of reality were carefully created by God and humans, the stewards of the earth are the climax, being created in his own image. I can’t but help in seeing how the remarkable degree of fine tuning in our universe coheres with that extremely well. To be honest, I don’t know what to make of the garden story. I think it came to be about Israel and the Babylonian exile when the Pentateuch was edited together. Paul has to stand or fall on his own. The idea of a fall is problematic and based on Augustine’s use of a mistranslation of Romans. We, as one of the articles in the OP notes, no longer attribute death, cancer, natural clam with and so on to some fall. God’s good creation includes things for centuries the church has deemed bad. Calling God’s good work bad is a problem for any Christian.
Of course, one has to consider, if the Bible is truly from God, there is a canonical dimension to it but that still leaves a lot to be desired from an interpretive standpoint.
I really enjoyed all the links to articles that were included in what you presented. I feel a stickied thread on this forum always at the top with something similar would be nice. Since few here usually represent the official views of Biologos on the forum, that might be helpful. And what would t-Rex taste like sure is an interesting way to start a lesson.
I struggle with the randomness because I grew up with deterministic thinking. I can’t help but think there is an underlying reality to all things that just isn’t random. I feel what we see as random is just a limitation in our knowledge. Then again I believe in free will so maybe I’m not consistent in my own beliefs. It’s a tough area for me. But there are verses in scripture like “before I formed you in the womb I knew you.” I guess a good question would be, does God possess exhaustive definitive knowledge of the future? If so can anything truly be “random?” Science is all about finding explanations and reasons for why things happen. Random chance as underlying explanation for something just strikes me as off and incomplete.
And on another level, God could have tinkered and moved evolution in any way He desired, even utilizing mass extinctions, which He certainly did not prevent!
“Random” seems to make it like humans are just lucky cosmic accidents. If so I think that is 100% incompatible with Christian belief and any interpretation of Genesis 1 that believes the Bible is inspired by God. That is one of the essential points of what Genesis 1 intends to teach in a non-scientific account.
That is the one point I am trying to emphasise.
I am not promoting any other aspect of Scripture.
Otis interesting to consider. And especially since there are a few places in the Bible where chance is used to define God’s will. The two that come to mind are Paul deciding which path to travel and the choice of Judas’ replacement and of course the Proverb addressing the casting of lots
Actually the Bible seems to claim that chance does not exist. The casting of lots is not the same as tossing a coin, it is asking God to show which answer is correct. Just like the umah and Thuramine. God controls every option. it is not random it is diviine control.
And this is how some people here are looking at evolution. God controls each and every change in a sort of predestined long-term computer program that is guaranteed to reach a certain result.
But, like I said, that sort of arrangement makes Natural selection redundant, because each change is controlled already by God to have the best result. It does not need another control system. (AKA survival - they will automatically survive)
It changes TOE beyond recognition, It means evolution is not controlled by Natural Selection it is controlled by God
PS this is not my view of evolution
I can’t shake the idea that if I know the exact weight distribution of a die, the exact force and angle Ilaunch it at, details about the surface it hits and the medium it travels through, the result can be predicted. For example, if I toss a die in the air, I believe God know or has a ridiculously good guess as to what it is coming up as. The result isn’t truly “random” at all then is it? Which one of the 6 outcomes are all predicated on initial conditions. That is how I look at the world. I realize quantum uncertainty/probability has something to say about that (slapping me upside the head)and I respect the overwhelming success of QM but I’m not ready to concede reality is truly like that at it’s deepest level. Maybe it is. It’s an open area for me. Something about true randomness doesn’t click.
Does random just mean unpredictable (by humans) before hand?
Also in the Bible, who is to say when the lots were casted they didn’t think God was guiding the outcome and that is why they were casting them to begin with?
Jesus chose disciples very carefully and authoritatively. and sent some other potentials away. To just leave something like that up to pure chance doesn’t seem overly consistent with that. I think Luke might have invented that story anyways though. He provides a “proper” history of the church and smooths things out. That guy (13th apostle) comes from nowhere and goes nowhere in the tradition. Luke wants to reestablish the 12 called by Jesus since in Luke 22 they are told they would judge the 12 tribes of Israel. 11 apostles (minus Judas) judging 12 tribes doesn’t work out as nicely). I very much could be wrong.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the games suggested in the blog article are wonderful! I will have to keep them in mind if I am in a position to teach them. Adults would find them useful as well.
The gummy bear game remind me of an illustration using gummy bears being cut up and the parts representing their genes in straight Mendelian inheritance that is pretty good at demonstrating gene loss and inheritance. Learn Genetics Quickly With This Simple Gummy Bear Experiment.
Are you claiming that there is no such things as chance? That is that everything is under some sort of control?
Accidents can be seen as a collision of unrelated processes, or a random coincidence. Would you say that all accidents are actually being orchestrated? A person falling in the river was pushed? One or both of the car drivers had a death wish? The gas explosion could not be avoided because gas is combustible. A person becomes senile because it was ordained?
The only way any of these could be is if there was some influence (God) controlling the minutia of life. And, by the same reasoning, we are predestined to whatever fate God has ordained. The child was always going to die and the mother might as well as never given birth to them. I am blessed to be 63. Shame about the baby who never even breathed a single breath.
That overbearing view of God is calous, sick and domneering. It does not show universal care it shows nepotism, favouritism, and disdain for human life as a whole. It wuld also make life on this earth completelty pointless
Therefore, if chance exists that is what TOE claims is the driving force of change, with Survival being the control. (And God is nowhere to be seen) Any other view of random and chance changes TOE but also the whole meaning of life.
The recent pandemic showed us how little the population trust scientist or can understand simple science. There are 100,000’s who deny the usefulness of immunization. I bet there are few who know anything about the soldiers who risked their life to test the yellow fever immunization right on Americas back door. So why are you not promoting experimental, reproducible, testable ideas so the population can understand science here and now. You seem confident about things that happened a million years ago when no one was watching and that can’t be directly reproduced in the now. You are NOT promoting useful science. Stop it! Teach proper science!!
In a scientific usage, “random”, or, more properly for the context “chaotic”, events are any which are described by Chaos Theory, i.e., so dependent on initial values as to require infinite measurement precision to determine long-term outcomes. Weather and dice rolls are the most familiar examples.
That is a topic where there are different opinions. My understanding is that knowing things before they happen does not take away free will, as long as what will happen is at least partly based on the decisions of the individual. The track of life may follow a trajectory that is known before the person is born but the trajectory reflects the small decisions made by the individual.
I am uncomfortable with any notion that all things can be predicted or measured. Chaotic is not a synonym for random. Chaotic still has some form of control even if it is hard to identify. Random, as I see it, has no such control.
Is the lottery controlled or truly a game of chance. Does every ball have an equal chance of being picked at any one time? Almost certainly not because it will depend on their proximity to the push mechanism. Could you calculate the movement of each ball in the drum? Maybe if you knew where it started and in theory each time it is started the balĺs go in in the same order. Does this place a bias on the result? I am sure if it was possible to predict the outcomes it would have been done by now. As it is some balls do seem to get “hot” every now and then.
The point is not that the lottery is at all rigged but that trying to identify some patterns is, to all intents and purposes futile.
Claiming that God could secretly be doing something like this is opening a very large can of worms with far reaching consequences.
Hi Kai and @Vinnie . I did not grow up with a deterministic theology, and as one who is open to Open Theism, I am comfortable with the idea that God does not know the future exhaustively and does not meticulously determine all events (or even the precise trajectory of evolution). In this view, God’s “sovereignty” is not equated with control of all events, but God’s exercise of his own free will to give up some of his control of events to other free-will actors in the universe.
As to those passages in the Psalms like “before I formed you in the womb I knew you…”, I think one must read the text according to the genre–which is Hebraic poetry. The use of hyperbolic expressions, which was a common device of Semitic poetry, should caution us against relying on it to settle doctrinal disputes. I think the point of this passage is to poetically express God’s care for the psalmist from his conception, not resolve metaphysical disputes regarding the nature of the future.