God and Science in America after Darwin

How did Darwin change American thinking about science and the Bible?
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://biologos.org/blogs/ted-davis-reading-the-book-of-nature/god-and-science-in-america-after-darwin
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I always enjoy answering questions and hearing your comments.

Well … one way Darwin changed my slice of America… my great grandfather, Rev. James Hattrick Lee, who was an Episcopal Priest … resigned because he could no longer teach a six day creation from the pulpit.

And yet religion was still his life He would later help found St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Milton, Massachusetts… and serve in the church leadership. After several years teaching Latin and Greek at Milton Academy, he went to Rome for his sabbatical - - to study ancient documents face to face.

And he died in an outbreak of typhus; he was buried in the protestant cemetery in Rome.

I think this should be an interesting series.

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Ted, I always enjoy your posts because I like to see how past ideas have influenced the present. I was not going to comment but there is one concept that keeps coming up which I have questions about concordism. As you say“concordism,” seeks a harmony or concord between science and the Bible. In a previous post you pointed out Bernard Ramm’s view: “As Ramm defined it, concordism “seeks a harmony of the geologic record and the days of Genesis,” by which he really meant an old-earth creationist approach.” From reading your posts I get the idea that you are using Ramm’s definition. That the terms concordism,progressive creationism,old-earth creationism could be synonyms.

It seems to me that Ramm’s definition of concordism is too narrow. If concordism seeks the harmony between science and the Bible there are other ways to achieve this end that just OEC. You could say that YEC is concordism by other means. The YEC’s want the “two books” to agree, science and scripture to be in harmony. The way they get to that end is by creating their own science. If they simply rejected modern science the two books would not agree. So they are required to create a pseudo-science for the sake of concordism. If Fundamentalists could just say they can’t accept the conclusions of modern science because of the way they understand the Bible it would be better. But because the two books must agree, be in concord, they are forced to come up with their own science.

I also think that EC’s can be concordist if they think the two books must agree. Of course they gain harmony by other methods but the goal of concord between science and scripture is the same. This comment is already too long so I won’t go on about how they do that now.

I don’t mean this to be a" Humpty-Dumpty" discussion about the meaning of words but am more interested in what you think about the idea of concord between science and the Bible.

Yes. See Old-Earth (Progressive) Creationism: History and Beliefs - BioLogos and Old-Earth (Progressive) Creationism: History and Beliefs - BioLogos.

Again, yes, with a major caveat: the YECs have explicitly rejected the idea of “two books” since the 1960s. In a few months I’ll detail that more fully with several pertinent examples, but for now take a look at Galileo and the Garden of Eden: The Principle of Accommodation and the Book of Genesis - BioLogos (the part right before the conclusion).

So, if concordism means that one is willing to re-interpret Genesis on the basis of science, the YECs are wholly against it. If it means that one seeks a harmony between the Bible and genuine science (that is, not what the YECs call “science falsely so-called”), then the YECs are in favor of it. In fact, I think the YECs are modern proponents of the classic “handmaiden” view developed by the Patristics, in which science is always the obedient servant who never challenges the authority of theology, the “queen” of the sciences. That is the very view that Galileo explicitly rejected in his letter to Christina in 1615, replacing it with the classical concordist model of “two books.”

My own view is non-concordist in the Galilean sense. I don’t seek any close relationship between the Bible and science. Rather, I view the Bible and Christian theology (which are of course related but hardly identical) as rounding out the more limited picture of reality offered by science. In other words, a type of what is usually called “complementarity.”


It seems to me that there are three real possible ways with variations to look at Reality. The first is Monist or Queen with handmaidens, as you have indicated. Scientism makes Science the Queen, Traditional Theology makes Theology the Queen, and Idealism makes Philosophy the Queen. This explains why YEC and Scientism feed off each other. They are the some concept with reverse roles of Science and Theology.

Then we have the Two Books, which is dualistic in name, like Western dualism, but since you really can’t have two equal
partners in a system, at best it is complementary with one or the other being the leading partner.

That leads me to the Triune Model where Philosophy becomes the third partner, even if it is Philosophy reformed and restructured. That is the only way the whole system will work and fortunately humanity has been given the model the Trinity to show us how it can and does work.

“God and Science in America after Darwin”.
I have taken a different perspective on this title. My thoughts have gone to the point where America has replaced Darwin’s theory with a better explanation of the cause of life.
After almost three decades of research into the enormous amount of super-intelligent, dexterous, and careful physical work of building living cells and entities with atoms, we have a new proposal and hypothesis.
It is a proposed new Godly science we, at RealityRandD.com are calling ‘Atomic Biology’.
Describing the basics as simply as possible, let’s look at the cells in the surface of our hands.
I think we have to agree that our various cells are wonderfully made of the right numbers of the right atoms (the “Building blocks of the universe”).
Where did the atoms come from? Mainly from the food we have eaten and air we have breathed. Logical?
And where did the atoms for our food come from? Mainly from the soil, rain, and air.
If we can agree on this logic, it is easy to state that we are basically made from the ‘dust’ with a two-step process: from atoms in the soil and rain to our food, and from those atoms in our food to our cells and us.
(It seems that Adam was made from the dust by God’s one-step process).
Knowing how complex each part of each cell is, it is fascinating to at least some of us, to visualize the sorting, selecting, and precisely assembling the right numbers of the right atoms, into every complex part of every cell starting with the first tiny root-hairs for a carrot seed from which to later build cells for all parts of us.
Some of the works are totally mind-boggling, e.g. after piecing together the research of several other scientists regarding our red blood cells, the number of right atoms that have to be found in the digestive system of a 70 kg male, and then precisely and reliably assembled just for his regular replacement of rbc’s, is approximately 6400 Quadrillion per second 24/7. Knowing the complexity of cells, who wants to rely on an unintelligent, unguided theoretical process for even just this one crucial part of our lives?
This is just a brief basic peek into this proposed Godly science.
We are seeking and gathering interest from scholars to look into the subject and recommend its thorough investigation.

How Did Darwin change things in America? Ota Benga (circa 1883 – March 20, 1916) was a Congolese man, an Mbuti pygmy known for being featured in an anthropology exhibit at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, Missouri in 1904, and in a human zoo exhibit in 1906 at the Bronx Zoo.

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