Michael Behe's view on common descent

(Lisa) #1

I have read several times that Michael Behe accepts common descent but obviously his view is still considered ID. How might one accept common descent yet not old an EC view?

(George Brooks) #2


(Just thought I’d mention, you are going to drive people nuts with the spelling you show for “lstrite”!
Is that an I? Or an l? < Can you tell the difference. Obviously, I eventually figured out that it is a lowercase “L”… Perhaps the system will let you amend your login so you can make the first letter an obvious “L”? )

I have asked the same question about Behe. He says he accepts common descent, but he also tries to distinguish between “Evolution” and De-volution" - - which I think is quite the bogus distinction!

Does he ever have long discussions with YEC ID’ers? Explaining that there had to be millions of years after the Ark released the animals… or even after the animals left Eden… in order to produce the millions of species and kinds we can see for ourselves exist currently… plus all the ones that, apparently, have never been seen by humans, but are fossilized in the sedimentary rock!

(Lisa) #3

Sorry about the username! I hate it when I’m unintentionally annoying :frowning: The system doesn’t allow changes to userid, but I have my name listed (Lisa) and a nice big capital “L” as my pic…was going to put an actual pic but maybe I should leave the L :slight_smile:

So would the de-volution idea be something like YEC front-loaded genes that “evolve” via populations separating geographically plus natural selection, but not by mutation since they are seen as exclusively negative? Like evolution via front-loaded genes and natural selection ONLY?

(George Brooks) #4


I have to say, I’m not really sure how you are using the phrase “front-loaded genes”.

We have a few writers here who like to talk about evolution coming mostly from changing ratios of existing alleles, rather than through new mutations. But when I asked if the first one celled life form had enough alleles to make a whale, the whole discussion blew up!

I think you mean the YEC idea that God stored extra genetic instructions in animals, to make it possible to create new kinds of life - - without mutations. But where does that get you? I don’t believe God is offended by the process of evolution. . . . only in those who think that Evolution goes on without his say so or without God in the driver seat.

The whole notion of de-volution is kind of wacky. Is a snake a de-volved amphibian, because it doesn’t have legs? Is a human a devolved tiger because humans can’t run as fast as lions, or climb trees like they can? Is a Whale a de-volved Hippo, because it can’t stand on 4 legs like a hippo can?

It’s full of arbitrary value judgments . . . another well known hallmark of I.D. supporters.

(Christy Hemphill) #5

Some proponents of ID probably do consider themselves evolutionary creationists. Where the big dispute lies between BioLogos and proponents of Intelligent Design is in the contention that evidence of an intelligent designer is scientifically demonstrable. It is not the contention that creation has an intelligent designer (we agree with them) or the fact that evidence exists for common descent and an ancient earth (some ID proponents agree with us) that causes the division.

This FAQ page and the accompanying links provide more details: http://biologos.org/common-questions/christianity-and-science/biologos-id-creationism

(Lisa) #6

I’m only speculating on how someone might hold to common descent but not EC with the “front-loading” thing. I do mean the YEC idea that the original created kinds each somehow had the information stored that would allow them to speciate/de-volve/whatever into the species that came to be after the flood. The concept doesn’t seem to make sense genetically if you’ve only got a pair of a given animal…that’s only four alleles for a given gene. That’s what they mean when they say “front-loading” right?

(Casper Hesp) #7

Hi Lisa, welcome (back) to the Forum! :slight_smile:

I went ahead and changed it for you. So you have a clear letter L now!


(George Brooks) #8

I suppose it is how some have meant the term.

But the for the last year, this ID-supporter and I used Front-Loaded in a rather different way …

We used the expression to indicate how God precisely configured his creation At Creation, in order to produce the results he wanted, with a few miraculous “poof” events here and there>

By front loading, God arranged the Dinosaur-killing meteor at the very moment of creation …rather than miraculously create the meteor just outside of Earth’s orbit aimed right for us.

(Brad Kramer) #9

A post was merged into an existing topic: Famous Christians Who Believed Evolution is Compatible with Christian Faith

(Christy Hemphill) #10

Right. Hence the carefully worded paragraph: “Please note that several people on this list had complex ideas about evolution, which cannot be reduced into a single quote. Some were skeptical about the strength of the science, or had questions about how evolution could fit with Christian doctrine. I’m not claiming that their views are exactly the same as those of BioLogos. But they all affirm that God’s creative power could be expressed through an evolutionary process. None of them see an intrinsic conflict between evolutionary science and Christian faith.”

And it isn’t even like Dennis’ view is the only “Biologos view” anyway. Christians have differing opinions about the extent God’s sovereignty, design, and creative will interact with the natural process of evolution.

(Brad Kramer) #11

Do you think all of them believed in guided photosynthesis or unguided photosynthesis?

Put differently: I don’t know exactly what each person thought about divine action and creation, but I do believe that asking the question in the way in which you asked it is unhelpful.


Hi Brad,

I think we can make a distinction between the normal operations of nature, such as photosynthesis, which follow a law like pattern, and the supposed stochastic events that the current scientific view insists was how evolution occurred.

If God or other beings (C.S. Lewis thought that Satan had a lot to do with it) guided the events of evolution, this would be contrary to the current scientific view.

I’m willing to believe that God could have used a stochastic process (though to me it looks like he didn’t always do so). I suspect that most of the people on your list wouldn’t be as wiling. This is important. For example, you could include Michael Behe on your list. He accepts common descent (he even argues for it in The Edge of Evolution) and natural selection. He is even willing to give a large role to random mutations. He’s just not willing to buy the idea that random mutations can explain all of evolution.

So do you want to include Michael Behe on your list?

(Christy Hemphill) #13

Do you consider him a “famous Christian”? Just curious. I wouldn’t put him at the same level of name recognition as C.S. Lewis, Billy Graham, or Pope Francis.


Hi Christy,

I would put him at the same level of “famous Christian” as Francis Collins. And given that Behe is usually contrasted with Collins and BioLogos, wouldn’t it be a feather in your cap to point out to everybody that he is an Evolutionist?

(Christy Hemphill) #15

But Francis Collins wasn’t highlighted in this article.

Unless you are talking about the list of people that influenced Brad personally mentioned here: “How did I change my mind about evolution? … The list of these Christians includes Francis Collins, Tim Keller, John Walton, and N.T. Wright, among many others.”

But that is a personal list, not a generic “famous Christians who accept evolution” list.

The list in the article is B.B. Warfield, Karl Barth, Billy Graham, C.S. Lewis, John Stott, Pope Benedict, and Pope Francis. I don’t really see Michael Behe fitting in with that list.

(Dennis Venema) #16

Evolution is emphatically not a “completely stochastic process”, nor have I advocated it as such. Bilbo, you need to read my posts on natural selection and / or convergent evolution again, both of which are non-stochastic parts of evolution. :slight_smile:


Hi Dennis,

You’re right. For the purpose of brevity only I ignored that part. But unless you are willing to assign a very large role to convergence, I don’t think most of the “famous” Christians in the above list would be comfortable with the part you assign to randomness.


Hi Christy,

You’re right. Behe isn’t that famous. On the other hand, do you think Brad would put Behe on that list if he was that famous? Or would the fact that Behe is an advocate of Intelligent Design mean that Behe would forever be excluded, even though he accepts most of evolutionary theory?

I suspect the latter. But then I suspect most of the “famous” people on Brad’s list would be more comfortable with guided evolution, as opposed to one where random mutation played the major role. And that means they would be closer to Behe’s position as opposed to current scientific opinion.

(Laura) #19

As I noted in my comment about Billy Graham, which I’m sure also applies to the others on this list, involvement in the origins debate is not what any of them are largely known for. Whereas speaking for myself, I never would have heard of Michael Behe except for the origins debate.

(Dennis Venema) #20

Maybe compare marsupial and placental mammals to each other and get back to me on that one. :slight_smile: