Is it dangerous to teach evolutionary theory to children?

The entire evolutionary theory is based on straw man. I have read straight from the writings on this website things like since we see that bacteria can adapt (but never actually change to non bacteria) AND you combine this with long ages, this provides the evidence necessary that evolution from common decent is factual via naturalistic process only. So God is left out minus sharing seed planting detail with aliens and asteroids. This entire theory is straw man. This is only natural because we were not alive that many years ago…if the scientific method is not engaged, then the use of the straw man is highly beneficial. I hate it when folks use the straw man argument to put another down.
And I never claimed to be there when God created so to me, straw man arguments that help us determine the logic of another straw man based theory I believe are only reasonable for the fight against one another. Some of you say you want stats. How in the world does one do this? Even if evolution were true, we could never determine exactly the way it really occurs in order to even assign any math to the thinking.

I may a simple person, but I am definitely not alone in this. Brilliant Christian philosophers and scientists across the globe are with me. They won’t represent the majority but they are out there. And thankfully the church is listening more intently to them than the naturalistic philosophy.

I would feel more sympathetic to your pain if it was not so easily debunked. Yes, I’ve studied feathers.

According to your logic, penguins and ostriches should have no feathers and run around on all fours, to boot, since they weren’t created with any need to fly.

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OK, I’ll accept that clarification, Ben. When people use the term “working with your hands,” they generally refer to trades like carpentry, pottery, electrician, and not to a white-collar trade like scientist or programmer. But I agree that the general use is a bit imprecise.

Best,
Chris

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You might want to look up what “straw man” means. You are using it in a way that shows you don’t know what it means. Since you don’t know what it means that would make it hard to stop using it.

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Hi Bill: I have read a number of articles where biologos goes to battle against even the likes of the intelligent design community as if they are an enemy. I have been blown away about accusations…One I read somewhere suggested that a prominent member of this community had never considered the chemical nature of dna before and thus did not understand such and such from a scientific perspective. From here it seems that the entire worldview that theistic evolutionists base their rationale upon is the all mighty, wonderful purely objective nature of science for determination, thus characterizing groups like the intelligent design community as not scientific as they let their preconceived beliefs get in the way of science. I personally see almost any of these arguments as developing straw men in the other in order to bolster personal claims. We cannot help it. When it comes to discovery on the unseen past of millions or billions of years ago, I have no idea how one proceeds towards discovery unless they pit their philosophy against another’s which most likely necessarily trample on the other’s intent which we cannot see which will lead that party to declare “strawman!”

If I tell a theistic evolutionist that I see no rationale whatsoever in a worldview that says that God planted a bacteria and let the whims of energy, time, chance and selection develop an eye that can even see color and for this I suggest that because seeing color is a thing that God was not allowed into the designing process to determine that this insinuates nominal belief in God at best or atheism at worst, then of course I will be charged with “strawman!” But I have no where else to go but to see what the trail of evidence leads me towards in order to define the terms. I don’t want to believe that you guys are philosophical naturalists but the evidence so far points this way with a “God” nametag placed on the batch. If you can steer me in a direction of the real facts of this matter, then I will gladly listen.

I do believe that some in the theistic evolution camp have good intentions. In light of the battle that is going on from this single group of theistic evolutionist against the old earth creationists, young earth creations, intelligent design community, I believe I am put here to challenge you to look deeply at what you are saying… really. If you believe that it is appropriate to call yourselves creationists by buying 100% of the naturalistic philosophy worldview’s methodology but replacing the alien or asteroid with God as seed planter, then that is your right. Just tell me that it is so and the Christian community will assess the validity of your beliefs from there. If you say that you are the most objective form of discovery of our beginnings, then prove this in a holistic way that you are indeed so by for example no longer concluding that the observation of inner species evolution combined with lots of time insinuates that evolution from common decent to be factual and all other ideas false.

Have you ever heard of the doctrine of God’s providence? If you think TEs simply relegate God to the corner of the room after he set the whole thing going, you are severely mistaken. God has been intimately involved with the process of the formation of stars, planets, and life on earth since the Big Bang. He didn’t just set it going and then sit back; that’s Deism, which BioLogos rejects:

http://biologos.org/about-us

[Updated with link to “About Us” page.]

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Thank for this info Jay. I wanted to clarify a few things if this is okay. Here is what your website says:

“We believe that the diversity and interrelation of all life on earth are best explained by the God-ordained process of evolution with common descent. Thus, evolution is not in opposition to God, but a means by which God providentially achieves his purposes. Therefore, we reject ideologies that claim that evolution is a purposeless process or that evolution replaces God.”

In light of precepts spoken about often in Scripture that our doing is the fruit of true believing and faith, can you help me to understand exactly how you perceive this non deistic God you believe in performing in the creative process? For example, those in the naturalistic philosophy camp do not allow God in any of the process of creation including the very beginning but many times they might give him a shout out at the beginning as seed planter but from an agnostic perspective only. The only difference I sense from you based on these statements is that the only difference between you and the naturalistic philosophy camp is that God is being confirmed as the seed planter only and the natural forces of nature take it from there only…with a few bumps of Jesus turning water into wine that have nothing to do with the process of development.

Can you help me to discover specifically how you are any different in the naturalistic methodology, the very “do’s” of the faith of naturalistic philosophy?

Words and semantics are cheap. If we are going to tell the folks a gospel of supernatural love yet insinuate a picture of weakness and inability in God who has to rely on time, chance selection and energy to create, then the goal of the gospel seed truly growing unto salvation may falter. Just placing the label “God is in control” on the process does not get the folks, who are made in God’s image and who are smarter than we take them for, a strong inclination towards truly believing God being in control. The necessity of a holistic accurate picture of the Biblical worldview I believe is tantamount for the gospel to sink in and grow in peoples hearts. I see this spoken about directly in 1 Cor 15 where Paul suggests that one must hold fast to His teaching on the gospel which includes the very important precept in Ro 1:20 as well as the rest of the whole picture in the rest of Romans.

So far, I have sensed that theistic evolution pushes against this in the walk they are walking while confusingly proclaiming in their words different than the walk. Of course God works in the natural…but the natural CREATING things like eyes that can see color is a whole different story…and deceitfully suggesting that the natural is some sort of pixie dust with creative powers.

I have had to study the issue of Biblical hypocrisy deeply in my time as a Christian in order to confront the ego in myself over the years. This hypocrisy is not saying one thing and doing another as much as it is playing a part in a play. Labeling oneself for a lead role knowing that it is just for the sake of the show with no reality at stake. From this, if one claims God as Creator but relies on a naturalistic worldview for actual creation, regardless of semantics plastered, then this to me points to acting a role instead of living a truth. For this all of the creationist groups, old earth, young earth and intelligent design groups who identify themselves as Christians and understand the gospel are hands down more in line with the gospel than theistic evolutionist who borrow so strongly from naturalism.

I don’t mean to sound judgmental…this is what I sense and for whatever reason I find myself in this discussion. Can you help me in this concern?

This just came to mind-I am coaching my son’s bball team in what is called an Upward league which is Christian based. I was told that I have to give stars to the players for things like effort, sportsmanship, service, Christlikeness and that it is very important that I give all of the stars in all categories to all of the players. I am not kidding you, the very first day of practice after I told the boys I would be distributing stars to the players through the season for different attributes, the youngest boy on the team who happened to play last year piped up and said in a sarcastic tone something like, “yeah, last year I was given a star for something I did not even do in a game I did not play in…” Something like that. I started to laugh and told the boy how observant of him and assured him that things would be different with me. See, when the coaches are told to make sure to give all of the stars out, they may have to rely on giving them out for just following procedure and this kid sensed the act! I don’t think that this boy’s parents are believers as I have found out so I have made the effort to be real and to only give stars when they are deserving. I have seen the demeanor in all three change from almost “here we go again” to cheery and upbeat even towards the claims of Christ.

In the same vein, if a group gives themselves stars for believing in a God of transcendence and power and gives the same to their followers but in their walk and promoted methodology relies on a naturalistic worldview perspective picture of how God does His work-who is so much in line with naturalism …then from this, if someone following this naturalism method group does not speak up with sarcasm about the lack of reality of belief in such a God, they may surely be believing it in the deepest recessed of their hearts for good soil to potentially never be produced necessary for the gospel seed to grow. And this naturalistic philosophy vein is flowing with lifeblood because I see the folks who believe it become defensive against the intelligent design movement in their challenges toward them as if the suggestion of intelligent design is a bad thing

This is why I think I have personally seen so much rotten fruit from the seeker churches because they are in line with the very same philosophy I believe at play here…they say that they believe the gospel but rely on for example, pop psychology for marital advise… and the result long term…sin issues, divorce, suicide, pregnancy out of wedlock, interest in computer games over reading the Bible…this is literally the generalized basket of fruit I have seen in the only 10 or dozen or so families I know of who attend these seeker churches.

Sorry for the length…back to work I go to make a living! I understand the dynamic that perhaps you and others personally are not in your hearts what I depict here as these generalizations. The gospel coalition and biologos are voices that are loud and clear and my emphasis is to suggest careful observance in how we lead and influence and I sense theistic evolution on the very wrong track. I do believe that promoting a man made agenda of fitting in to the god of the age for reaching folks, no matter the value of the good intentions is not founded upon the precepts of the word of God and therefore is dangerous territory.

Serving God whose hands were directly involved in designing, purposing, fashioning and creating in a direct way all of the living creatures in their kinds, Adam and Eve included!

Greg

2 posts were split to a new topic: On what basis do Christians believe in God’s providence over creation?

To help you out, this is a straw man argument. This is not the BioLogos position. What you are describing is a atheistic position. You are also conflating the origin of life and evolution. Evolution says nothing about how life originated. It requires life to begin with.

You are wrong again. Yet another straw man.

Of course you are seeing straw men. The straw men you have creatged.

You will never have an idea when you refuse to look at the evidence or learn how science actually works.

Straw man again.[quote=“grog, post:290, topic:35076”]
I don’t want to believe that you guys are philosophical naturalists but the evidence so far points this way with a “God” nametag placed on the batch. If you can steer me in a direction of the real facts of this matter, then I will gladly listen.
[/quote]

A philosophical naturalist does not believe God exists. Do you get any hint from what you are reading here that maybe we believe in God?

Sorry but many of has have already looked very deeply at this and we don’t come up with the same conclusions as you do. But then we know how science works and look at the evidence.

Again with the straw man. “When will you ever learn?” quote from a song I was just listening to.

And so in summation, your last straw man.

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Do you realize you just defined theistic evolution? Where kinds refers to cows giving birth to cow, pigs to pigs, etc.

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You clearly don’t know what “straw man” means, Greg. Maybe you should look it up before pontificating?

Once again: none of us think nor propose that evolution happens to individuals. Only populations evolve.

Is it too much to ask that you stop misrepresenting our position?

And once again: if I was your customer and refused to pay based only on what someone else said (and called this hearsay “evidence”), while you produced real evidence (blueprints, photos) that everything you did was done to spec, would you feel that I was being unfair to you by refusing to pay?

Do you have even a speck of Christian empathy?

I think it’s important when contrasting biologists who do work with their hands with the propagandists at AiG or Eddie’s bizarro world of formal debates with judges.

The best thing I can say about any student or postdoc in my recommendation letter is, “S/he has good hands.”

I usually wear a T-shirt to work in the lab. And working paleontologists are definitely not running around in white collars.

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Then why do you place them above all evidence, and why do you use so many of them in monologues instead of engaging in dialogue with fellow Christians?

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Yes! I had exactly the same reaction to Greg’s statement. I certainly agree that God’s “hands were directly involved in designing, purposing, fashioning and creating in a direct way all of the living creatures in their kinds, Adam and Eve included!”

Most people would call me a “theistic evolutionist” (though I prefer the term “evolutionary creationist”) and I can agree with Greg’s statement without reservation. Greg would probably disagree with me about the meaning of the word “directly”, but I’ll explain with an example. Does the fact that God was directly involved in designing, purposing, fashioning, and creating me mean that he didn’t use my parents (and grandparents and great grandparents) to create me? No.

My God is great and powerful enough to “directly” create by means of all sorts of natural processes which God created. When a deity is totally sovereign over EVERYTHING he created, there is in an ultimate sense no such thing as “indirectly” in how God creates.

In other words, “poofing” something into instantaneous existence is no more “direct” for God than when God wills to set in motion an entire sequence of events and natural processes.

Once again, Greg, you need to greatly expand your understanding of the providence and sovereignty of God. God is far more powerful and far bigger than the tiny box in which you try to confine him. God’s ways will never be confined to that tiny box.

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No, look at the evidence in Dennis’s articles. With your own eyes. Dennis does a fine job of presenting it, so you have no excuses for deceiving yourself and others into thinking that this is just rhetorical.

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kinda hard in this environment. There are some great pieces by Nancy Pearcey you might check out about the baggage that naturalistic evolution labeled as “theistic” produce. One of them is that creation via the crushing results imposed by selection is not becoming as of a God of goodness and love. The second I have read is that if we are created via natural processes, then we are a product of these processes. If we are a product of these processes, then how can we know that this product is capable of correctly interpreting the process! That is deep. Pearcey does a much better job…can google her.

I would let this slide more if I had not noticed such a feverish debate between you against both creationists and intelligent design folks. That is strange to me as those are pointing to God and you naturalistic forces labeled with God.

I seriously read them. I re read some 3 times. I don’t agree. I see worldview pushing the science along to significant lengths. The Christian worldview needs to be the engine that drives the science train and the science he comes up with is driven by the naturalistic one. I have to run to a mtging. blessings sir.

We are a product of the natural processes of reproduction and gestation and birth. If we are a product of these processes, then how can we know that this product (us) is capable of correctly interpreting those processes?

Why is that a problem? The fact that I am the product of processes like reproduction and gestation does NOTHING to prevent me from contemplating and understanding those processes!

Truly. I’m baffled as to why you think it a problem.

Moreover, God is the one who created and ordained these processes. He wanted us to be able to contemplate the natural processes which produced us. Why do you find that so impossible? Once again, you seem to believe that God is very limited in what he can create (that is, us.)

Why would that be “deep”? It is something that I would totally expect of God!

If you mean “It is amazing that God can creating a creature in his image which can contemplate the natural processes which God used to create him.”, then we agree. God’s creative abilities are quite awesome and deep!

You keep refer to nature and that which is naturalistic as if it is a synonym for great evil. Why? God created the natural world. God also declared that natural world to be very good. So why are you declaring evil that which God has called very good ?

God created natural processes like photosynthesis, gravity, electricity, and chemical reactions. Those natural processes are all part of the very good creation. The Bible even says that nature itself shouts the praises of God, the Creator.

Yet all I hear from you about nature is that it is “naturalistic” and therefore somehow evil.

I realize that you are ignoring my questions to you. But at least I hope that my post will help you by explaining why so many of us are totally baffled by your positions. Lots of us who have worked in the sciences did so because we are impressed and fascinated by the natural processes God created. And methodological naturalism is the scientific method. It was one of the great gifts of Christian philosophers to the modern world. It takes the position that “God did it” is good theology but not helpful scientific description. You keep confusing methodological naturalism with the philosophical naturalism of atheism.

It sounds like the only “baggage” of such a view is the collection of misunderstandings and bias imposed by people who don’t understand it. Moreover, it is also a good example of the Argument from Negative Consequences fallacy. Whether or not some fact has implications that are harmful to someone or something does NOT make that fact incorrect. For example, somebody might want to deny Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation and his Laws of Motion because both make bombs and ballistic missiles possible—and those can kill people. Yet, that fact does NOTHING to invalidate those laws of physics.

Likewise, whether or not some author thinks that the Theory of Evolution comes with “baggage” is irrelevant to whether or not the Theory of Evolution is the best explanation of the available evidence. You may think that evolutionary processes are “befitting” the God we worship. But that is irrelevant. Personally, I have emotional reactions to death and suffering—yet both are described in the Bible as important parts of God’s plan for the redemption of sinners and even for how Jesus learned obedience. So I often have to remind myself that my ways are not God’s ways. My objections don’t matter! God is sovereign and will do as he will!

You might find it valuable to save this entire thread for rereading in the future. When I was mentally processing the conflicts I felt about what I was learning in the scriptures and in science, I was able to go back and reread some criticisms of my writings which were written many years before. I was amazed at how differently I understood then than I had years before.

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You’re not responding coherently. I wrote that you should read less and examine evidence more.

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The reading I do is examining the evidence. On your side, I read evidence that Messenger RNA in bacteria doing such and such but resulting in NO CHANGE from a bacteria combined with millions of years proving that bacteria will change to something other than bacteria and thus evolution from common decent is not science. And science has never shown one single example of life coming from non-life. AND the science of statistics shows that complexity from simplicity by chance, the power of gravity, and energy from the sun is so necessarily impossible that we don’t bother to call into play probability! And since science is so revered by your side, I find it troubling that you claim common descent based on this pseudo science when it is really highly philosophical and less truly scientific. From this and the numerous assumptions along the way, I find it even more strange that indexes based on these assumptions and worldview tainted conclusions are developed to disingenuously show support for your claims.

Then there is the opposite end of the spectrum and extreme that says my way of interpreting early Genesis in a literalistic way must be exactly right therefore I throw all science that wholeheartedly disagrees from this extreme measure of interpreting early Genesis out the window all together. I find myself pulling away from this extreme a bit too but with reserve and this is why:

When I look at these two options and consider the fact that when I became a believer, I did so when I placed my faith upon the objective principles of God’s Word, mainly surrounding the cross then I grew in this faith by trusting in the Word when it declares God as all together outstanding and outside of the boundaries of explanation at times, I must therefore conclude that for the two options above, the latter is the better, hands down. I may not agree 100 percent with young earth creationists which I am allowed to do and still go to heaven, I am still 100 percent more in line with them in principle than any evolutionist who places too much allegiance on naturalism and less on this depiction of God, no matter their intent and no matter how many God semantics they place upon the concept of naturalistic occurrence so adored by the likes of the religion of naturalism.

And I want to tell you a story: I am not kidding you Ben (my son is a Benjamin) just last night after my son’s awesome bball game after they beat an undefeated team in their last game of the season, Benjamin and I went upstairs and were hanging out talking about the game and such when one of my daughters who was downstairs started screaming for me to come down immediately to “get my gun.” I freaked. I could not make this up either. I ran and learned that my wife and daughters heard behind closed windows and doors what sounded like a loud vicious dog attacking a helpless rabbit or such and after the sound of this, they heard crying from what sounded like from writhing pain from what must have been the pain inflicted on that helpless animal that got attacked. Where I ran down the stairs in a panic thinking I needed a weapon from the gun safe to prevent a potential intruder, instead I got word that my ladies wanted me to put this poor animal out of its misery! I grabbed a flashlight and searched our rear yard (where there is a 12 acre greenbelt of hiking trails) and was not surprised to have found nothing. I never even heard any of this crying that they had heard…

After this, it was if the Holy Spirit immediately reminded of principles spoken about God creating in Genesis. 1:21: God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the water swarms, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. And He blessed them…"

I thought to myself, "man, evolutionists suggest that God created via agonizing suffering and pain, disease, death and survival of the fittest and this to me does not sound like a very blessing worthy process of creation at all! Maybe God creating in a gracious way by designing animals in order to survive the brutality within nature as imposed by the likes of satan and sin in Adam and Eve perhaps, but graciousness and suffering and pain coinciding together does not make sense.

The last piece of evidence in this whole worldview battle we speak of is surrounding how to interpret history. I have literally read the history of figures like Abraham Lincoln of only 150 years ago where a liberal historian calls Lincoln unheroic because they slant their interpretation of the evidence towards Lincoln less interested and compassionate about black people and more interested in freeing the slaves to preserve the union. Then I read more what I would call conservative slants about interpreting Abraham Lincoln where He is indeed called a hero because he did have a compassionate heart that was probably welling up with compassion due to events like His deep deep love for His son, I think his name was Tad where Lincoln’s tremendous love and care for his little helpless boy who he’d bring to the White House often with him, turned to deep sorrow upon his early agonizing death. Lincoln went into a depression as I would have had it been me…which may have formed this man into a man of compassion and care for not only American people but perhaps more so for those helpless souls who were treated with such unjust punishment, suffering and hatred just to make a buck in the slave trade and agriculture industry.

There is one truth about Abraham Lincoln, but two completely different slants based on pre conceived notions. That was only 150 years ago! We will probably never know the whole truth until we get to heaven. I believe we will find that there may have been a balance of both viewpoints of Lincoln’s history where we will realize that the ultimate hero was Jesus as He sovereignly worked in the midst of American history. I am sure that if Lincoln is in heaven right now, he has no ability in his nature to be giving himself pats on his own back!

When it comes to my Christian faith where I KNOW God and have seen Him not only work in my life when I abide in His Word that consist of such a sincere sense of care for the poor and love for God that never makes much of selfish pride… but have also seen Him do miraculous which I was not given any opportunity to write off as happenstance, I simply choose to be a stronger believer in Him and His Word and more agnostic to man’s ability to interpret the past significantly more than 150 years ago! When I put those things in order, the interpretation of the evidence is 100% more sensible in the holistic scope of things that our good God created kinds, called this event “good” and created them to be able to evolve within the fabric of their makeup to develop and survive in the realm of the natural environment in which they were placed. The Bible no where calls natural forces means for creation. He calls Himself means for creation for survival in the natural world. For this, I place my faith upon this fact that I find in Scripture and chose to interpret natural history upon the idea that God is indeed the hero and I would encourage all people claiming a Christian worldview to go the way that God’s prophets here declare in principle for blessings in the outpouring of His Spirit for the renewal of the saints and the revival of the church and awakening of the lost into life!

You guys are obviously free to do what you will. I can hear your suggesting in your minds in response to all of what I write and how I have chosen a pathway of unintelligence in choosing belief in my interpretation of an ancient text over objective means of determination but would call you to brilliant scientists and philosophers who I have been encouraged by and who think like I do and who bring real intelligent holistic reasoning to the table of this discussion too. I also believe that a vibrant church which they and I are apart across the world will leave the likes of those succumbing to too many naturalistic viewpoints against the better judgement in God’s Word behind. My prayer is that we be unified upon the principles of God’s Word and if going separate ways is a must, then so it may be. And that is my prayer to our God so worthy of our worship!

I have a real busy season approaching and have to put this to the side for awhile.

Thanks for interesting discussion.

In our Creator’s service and love,

Greg

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

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