My ID Challenge

Eddie, (I respond to your post with the gentle reminder that the intention of this topic is to provide an opportunity for the EC or TE to council youngsters being exposed to the TOE, represented by me as I went through my actual faith crisis in 1974)…

…Therefore, yes, we are definitely using different definitions of evolution. I am referring to the TOE. Forgive me, I thought that was obvious. You have invoked Behe in both of your posts. Behe, while believing in naturalistic evolution, will never be a poster child for the TOE. Indeed, he is recognized first and foremost as a biochemist who has made groundbreaking contribution to ID. He presents well researched, documented evidence that there are strict limits to what naturalistic evolution is capable of (see “The Edge of Evolution”), and maintains that the evidence points clearly to the necessity of a Creator of life. Had I been exposed to the work of Behe alongside the TOE, it is possible that I would have never become an atheist. Indeed, exposure to his work (and the work of others, to include Denton) is eventually what saved me from the atheistic worldview.

I think you are looking for a fight that you don’t really need to pick here. If you believe in a form of guided evolution a’la Behe, rooted firmly in the conviction that the information and technology of life manifest clear design and the necessity for a Creator, then great!

Could part of the problem be sheltering young people from the theory of evolution in the first place? Or only ever presenting it as something to be destroyed via sketchy apologetics based mainly on a collection of “zingers” that betray a lack of real understanding of the science involved? I agree that someone who had no exposure to evolutionary theory other than in the context of “it’s lies from the Devil” will have issues when they get to college. But I don’t think those issues are brought on by evolutionary theory so much as an unfortunately narrow-minded upbringing that leaves out important parts of science education.



I hear you saying that natural or nature means without God. Clearly that is what dualistic nonbelievers want us to think. However my Bible says that God created the whole of nature, the sun, the moon, the rain, and the grass. Thus there is no contradiction be tween God creating evolution and evolution creating humanity just as it created grass and insects.

God has plenty to do trying to keep us humans in line without worrying about the frogs, although God does care about frogs too. I’m just saying that God does not have worry about unemployment and we don’t have to worry about God.


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I Peter 3:15 Sanctify the Lord Jesus in your heart and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you for the hope that is in you…"

I am truly glad that you survived your struggles. Not all have. I didn’t. Others I know didn’t.

The late Wil Provine is one who didn’t. From an evangelical home, he went to college and studying biology, he became deeply troubled that he could find no purpose in the process of evolution. He brought his concern to one of his biology professors who offered him a challenge: study evolution well. If you find any purpose at all in the process, you come to me and point it out. Provine was unable to find that purpose and became an atheist. He also became a biology professor and for decades he taught evolution to incoming freshmen. He publicly declared that his goal with this class was to turn Christians into atheists. He boasted a success rate over 50%

Is this a rare thing? I don’t know. How bad does it have to be before you will concede that it is a problem? Another professor, David Barash, gave an interview to the NY Times a few months ago where he was interviewed about what he calls 'The talk," which he gives to his students every semester. In this talk, he lays it on the line for these students: If you believe in God, you will be learning things that are true, but contradict what you believe. You are going to have to choose whether you believe in “science” or God.

You don’t have to stand down an atheist professor. But you had better stand up. If you don’t, you can very easily be knocked down. I am much more concerned about not setting our students up to fall than about not setting them up to fail.

No, people typically understand it to refer to the modern evolutionary synthesis. This is so well recognized that even in the public media it is identified simply as “evolution”, not “The modern neo-Darwinist evolutionary synthesis”.

James…I would encourage you to consider the information and technology upon which all life, to include the simplest know single cell organism, depends. Both the information of life and the technology of life far exceed anything we have been able to encounter. There is one and only one reasonable candidate for the existence of such information and such technology: intelligent agency. I urge you to celebrate this evidence and put your focus there. Darwin turns believers into atheists. ID has the opposite effect: it can turn atheists into believers

My first exposure to evolution came in college. The same is true for others. Your simplistic caricature of legitimate science based opposition to the TOE may allow you to keep your blinders on, but it is not rooted in reality.

Sorry If I am coming across harshly here, but this is how I reply to patronizing condescension.

This is indeed the problem. When Christians teach Christians that evolution is incompatible with belief in God, then those Christians are responsible when the individual becomes an atheist after accepting the evidence for evolution. Christians don’t get turned into atheists by being taught “Evolution is compatible with belief in God”.


You can stand up without “standing up against your professor.” I think it’s okay to stand quietly.

I also have no problem with professors teaching what they believe is true. As a Christian I was faced with things that contracted what I believed to be true…and some of those things that I believed to be true were false. It was in secular university that I learned about source material for biblical texts. When I pursued theological training, it turned out that this information, that challenged what I had believed to be true, was actually theologically kosher! Go figure…

My youth group and younger church experience had led me to believe what wasn’t true because, although it wasn’t taught explicitly, it was communicated implicitly.

Again, helping our students stand has more to do with giving them the tools maintain and strengthen their relationships with God than with giving them inadequate intellectual tools. Further, the students that engage well with the intellectual tools are a minority. Many people, given apologetic information, are simply “confident that a smart person ‘on my side’ has the answers” rather than actually comprehending, remembering, and internalizing what those arguments actually are.

I’m not sure what you think Christy was saying, but I agree with her. What she described was exactly my experience: evolution was consistently portrayed as “lies from the Devil” that must be contradicted by “real science” (that increasingly over time appeared to be spurious science, misleading information, poor arguments, etc.). So…what happens when the focus is on Jesus rather than defence against apparent attacks against Christianity? Evolution does not contradict Christianity. Materialism does. Naturalism does. Atheism does. But evolution doesn’t.

So–my experience was “evolution is from the Devil.”

Your experience was nothing at all about evolution until college.

First of all, I’m shocked that you were not exposed to it in high school. Second, why shouldn’t it be addressed in youth group? I have years of experience in youth ministry and for too many it’s been a nice, safe place where difficult issues are left unaddressed. But you can’t take your youth group to college with you. Difficult issues are beginning to be addressed in high school. Why not in youth group as well, with the foundational point of view of God at the center? This can be done, while still affirming Jesus as the center of Christianity, rather than intellectual apologetic arguments.


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So if pericentric inversions cause speciation with no changes in form, zero evolution has occurred by this definition, correct?

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Sure I do, I can read.

This, and the rest of what you wrote, does not change the point I am making.

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No Eddie, this is a very obvious fact that anyone can verify. No one needs 20 years of reading to determine that in popular discourse “evolution” refers to the modern consensus, not on nineteenth century precursors, or fringe twentieth century competing views.

This is so very obviously the case that groups like the Discovery Institute and Creation Research Institute write articles with the word “evolution” in the title without any explanatory text and people know immediately what they are talking about, without stopping to ask “Sorry, are you talking about pre-Darwinist Chamberism, or Lamarckism, or the views of Teilhard de Chardin, or something else?”.

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No, I’m using them synonymously, because the modern synthesis is the consensus. And clearly you misunderstand the purpose of the Altenberg conference. The purpose of the conference was not to sit down and say “Well we no longer have any consensus on the modern evolutionary synthesis, so we need to look for something else”. But this is to be expected, since “The Altenberg meeting was unfortunately misunderstood and deliberately distorted by creationists and intelligent design advocates”.

No I am not. The same applies all over the world. You can find the media in different countries using the same terminology, and anti-evolution groups in different countries using the same terminology. That’s precisely why groups like the Disco Institute and CRI don’t have to qualify their language when writing for what is obviously an international audience.

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“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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