Francisco J. Ayala, Abortion and Bad Designs

Francisco J. Ayala is a scientific in the Biological science and specialized on evolution (i.e. human origins ) and a Christian evolutionist. In his book “El origen de la humanidad y su futuro biologico” in english the origin of humankind and his biological future , in the last sub chapters he comment about religion and evolution. He claimed that there are several bad designs in for example the human body that makes creation or inteligent design inviable , and claims that if God create us , God can be considered as the greatest abortionist in the history, he also claim that the jaw have too many theet and almost every human engineer could have done in a better way , and he shows very against the inerrancy of the history of the bible ,taking the example of the exodus , Joshua “stopping” the sun etc. being too liberal in my opinion . My questions are the following . Can life be designed intellectually and also be produced by evolution? Is God the greatest abortionist in history? Are these flaws only apparental ? Is the inerracy of the bible incompatible with evolution?

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Hi @Joao_Lisboa_Soto, welcome to the Forum. I have two tips for you:

  1. Please avoid the subject of abortion. That topic is off-limits here because it is so inflammatory.
  2. Conversations work best when they are centered around a single question, rather than multiple questions about multiple topics. So please pick one of your questions and center the conversation around that.
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I haven’t read the book and I know Ayala is on one end of a continuum when it comes to Christians and evolution in his views of divine intervention, but it still seems to me that arguments against intelligent design are not necessarily arguments against a Creator. I think the argument is that if God intervened in evolutionary history and intentionally designed each species, then he did a bad job and possibly becomes responsible for some natural evil. I don’t think the argument is that if God is the Creator, then he is responsible for every “flaw” in nature.

A number of people in the ID movement affirm common descent/evolution, (although they don’t agree that Neo-Darwinistic mechanisms provide the whole picture) so evolution and ID are not mutually exclusive.

Clearly this was a rhetorical device to get people who promote ID to reconsider their premises, not an actual assertion. It’s like when people say, “If the earth is 6,000 years old, God is a liar and a deceiver because he put so much evidence into the world that speaks of a totally different history.” The point of saying such a thing is not to assert the conclusion that God is a liar and a deceiver, it’s to get people to reconsider their commitment to the premise of a 6,000 year old earth by pointing out an unacceptable conclusion that follows from their premise.

People mean different things by inerrancy. What do you mean by it? The idea that the Bible is without error or fault in everything it “teaches” is not incompatible with evolution. That view of inerrancy leaves open for interpretation what a particular passage actually teaches.


I thinik that is already good answered 2 or 3 of the 4 questions , I will center in the question about , the parts of the bible that teach as thruth as the exodus or the relate of joshua “stopping” the sun , these are examples of “flaws” on the biblical inerracy , should we accept it ?

The fact in wich biblical text that have been written with lirical context should be interpreted as such and biblical text that have an historical or are written as facts should be interpreted as facts[quote=“Christy, post:3, topic:37041”]
(although that Neo-Darwinistic mechanisms provide the whole picture)

Are you saying that is perfectly compatible naturalism with the origin of life/humankind?

I was summarizing what ID proponents claim, not my personal view, and that sentence was not clear, so I edited it in my original post. ID people that accept evolution think that Neo-Darwinism is not enough to explain everything. Personally, I think you can affirm that God intelligently designed creation and at the same time brought creation about through natural processes. I don’t think you need to be able to explain exactly how God is sovereign over natural processes or search for scientific proof of God’s involvement.

I think an attitude that approaches everything in Scripture that isn’t clearly poetry as a proposition that is true or false is a bad way to approach literature. I don’t think Joshua’s prayer literally changed the planetary motion. I don’t think the fact that the sun did not literally stop in the sky means the description in Joshua is “wrong.” I think we need to do our homework to understand what the statement was trying to communicate in its cultural and linguistic context.


Keeping away from the issue of abortion etc I think that point is that there are things in the human body that are better understood as result of evolution rather than design. The human body is not perfect and suffers from several defects and tendencies to go wrong that has very little to do with human morality or responsibility

Secondly all the horrible diseases in the world are better and more reasonaby understood as bi-product of evolution rather than something deliberately designed by God For if God creates terrible diseases that can affect innocent newborns what does that say about God? Such a God could not be the loving Father of Jesus Christ.

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Good reply. But some are perfectly happy with a not-so-loving God who creates horrible diseases. And most diseases disproportionately affect the poor, the very young, and the elderly. Look at Michael Behe and his intelligently designed malaria.

Could be that our literal undestanding of God miracles fails. God can and will do miracles great as joshua stopping earth rotation or keeping a light on it , i think that God’s word doesnt fail anywhere but our understanding , Do you think that joshua story was only a tale?

What does “only a tale” mean? Do you think it is only a list of objective facts? I think it is Israel telling their history in a way that would be most inspiring and meaningful to their audience. It is supposed to be a thrilling tale, but that doesn’t mean it is not a history or not true.

As a good commentary will explain, in the ancient world the celestial realm was the realm of signs and wonders not physics. In Mesopotamia, the language describing the sun or moon “stopping” or “standing still” related to a full moon being visible while the sun was in the sky. If this happened on the the fourteenth day of the month, it was a good omen and the days of the month were said to be the right length. If it happened on the fifteenth or thirteenth day of the month, it was a bad omen, and could mean cities would be destroyed or enemies would overrun the land. I think Joshua was asking for the sun and the moon to be in the position that the pagan astrologers in the enemy camp would take it as a bad omen for battle, giving the Israelites a psychological advantage. Joshua asked for a sign that was meaningful to the people watching, and God listened to his prayer. I don’t think any laws of nature were thwarted that day, but I don’t think laws of nature need to be thwarted for something to be miraculous. A miracle is something that is interpreted by the people watching as a sign of God’s power, it doesn’t matter if there is also a natural explanation.

Why there couldn’t be an naturalistic explanation of the relate. I mean tale when something is not objectivly true (i.e) a fable .

I don’t understand the question. I think figurative language is often used to describe historical events. The presence of figurative language doesn’t make a narrative a fable. Language must always be interpreted to determine what it is trying to communicate. I believe the language about the sun standing still in Joshua is not intended to be interpreted as describing physics, but as figurative language that refers to a sign in the heavens, a sign that was interpreted to mean God would imminently defeat the Canaanites. I believe what was considered a sign was a natural event, but it was endowed with supernatural significance in the context of the event.

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While I agree completely, YEC and ID adherents simply attribute all of this to sin. I’m not saying it makes sense, I’m just saying what their response would be to this problem.

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