Podcast: Sy Garte | Beginning to Wonder

Sy Garte (@Sy_Garte ) didn’t have the kind of upbringing that would typically lead one to preaching sermons. His parents were members of the Communist party, materialists, and atheists. But as he started studying science he found some things that started him wondering about this idea that science can answer every question. His wondering opened the doorway, and he walked through, eventually encountering Jesus Christ and finding that his study and practice of science could go hand in hand with being a follower of Christ.

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@Sy_Garte and @jstump, thank you for the interview. It was enlightening and inspiring.

I do have a problem, but I hope I have your attention because I think that you two are the best qualified to help solve it. The problem is that it does little good to talk about the wonders of science, when we have a a scientific mess festering before our eyes that few people seem to see. If science and Christianity cannot solve the riddle of natural selection, which gave us life, then what good are they?

Why this quote taken from the Language of God is important to me. Dr. Collins attributes the position I would take concerning natural selection to Darwin. I never claimed that my position unique and against science and this is the proof, however it has been rejected by people at BioLogos even though it seems that it was and is held by its founder.

Collins than says that believers in God reject evolution, which embraces survival of the fittest instead of survival of the adapted, because it is “an apparently random, potentially heartless, and inefficient process.” Natural selection is the determinant aspect of evolution.

Without an effective concept of natural selection which survival of the fittest is not, evolution is random, while science is not random. The struggle for survival is not potentially heartless, it is heartless and completely contradicts the fact that God is Love. Evolution does not have to be efficient, but it does need to have a purpose, or who can say that it is efficient or not.

Please, if you do not listen to me about natural selection and adaption to the environment, listen to Dr. Collins. God guides evolution by guiding the environment. There is nothing mysterious in theory in that but this fact can explain so much and heal so many wounds. This is what we need in these times of division. I just hope it is not too late.

Can you document this claim, Roger? I don’t know anyone here who would reject it.

eventually encountering Jesus Christ and finding that his study and practice of science could go hand in hand with being a follower of Christ.

This is True, i can testify to this. However when Science contradicts the Word of God that is a Science that you should not believe.

May I translate that to indicate what you are saying actually means?:

“However, when my understanding of science contradicts my interpretation of the word of God, that is a science that I do not believe.”

 
You believe your understanding of science is adequate and your interpretation of the Bible is infallible.

Truth comes from reality – the truth that comes from the reality of the data that God has revealed in the Bible and the truth that comes from the reality of the data that God has revealed in creation. They do not and cannot conflict. If they appear to, then your interpretation of one or the other or both is flawed.

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@jstump, I have been told by the people at BioLogos that policy concerning science must be approved by a scientific advisory board, which at the present time seems to think that the Selfish Gene is settled science and therefore the standard for the organization. This while you and Dr. Collins might disagree the Selfish Gene, the organization does not. Please correct me if I am wrong.

However, more important than this, do you agree with me that “survival of the better adapted” provides a solid scientific foundation for evolution while also the means for God to guide evolution, reconciling theology and science in this manner?

When your reading of scripture contradicts the evidence of science which is based on written procedures anyone can follow to get the same results no matter what you want or believe, then that is a reading of scripture you should abandon because it is not reasonable. The earth is NOT flat with four corners like a table, nor is it fixed and immovable. Likewise human beings are not descended solely from a golem of dust and a golem of bone created by necromancy. One should not read the Bible that way because God is telling us in all the information He sends to us from the earth and sky that this is not what the Bible intends us to understand.

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Just a belated note to say thank you and praise God for this podcast.

@Sy_Garte’s reading of his sermon at the end had me bawling my eyes out. Not only was it such a powerful testimony that reminded me of my own experience.

More than that, it jolted me into re-opening my heart to God and asking him for help, both of which were sorely needed. And of course He answered.

More than that, there were a few “coincidences” about this. I was driving down the highway on a long trip, listening to this podcast; an “interesting” parallel with the circumstances of Sy’s sermon. I had selected BioLogos in the podcast app without any real thought and picked this episode “randomly” from the back catalog. Also, I was on the road to a hunting destination. The previous time I had hunted in this area (or anywhere not local), months earlier, was when I, as an agnostic, found myself saying my first prayer, and so let God into my heart and felt His love for the first time.

Yes indeed, God loves us, even us!

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Thanks for sharing, Russell.

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Perhaps I have misunderstood you in the past. I think the idea that the environment is the driving force in evolution is self-evident, as technically, the environment is everything around us. What that statement seems to say is that evolution is in fact a by-product of an intelligently designed environment. So, an asteroid hitting the earth at a vulnerable position at a vulnerable time is really God throwing stones, so to speak? Perhaps so, but probably not something we can study with science.

@jpm, Phil, Thank you for your statement of support. You do not know the resistance that many people, like Dawkins have to the suggestion that genes do not drive evolution.

Ecology is the science of the environment. The suffix -ology indicates that it is the study of intelligent or rational processes. The asteroid is certainly part of climate change, but only a part of what took place, and indeed science does study it.

John 1:1-3 asserts that the Father created the universe through and with the Logos, Jesus Christ. The Logos is a concept taken from philosophy and its use by Christianity helped bridge the gap between the new faith and the old gods of the Greeks who were not involved in philosophy. This Christianity asserts that the universe is rationally created and structured.

Some have pointed out that the earth has gone through a number of transformations over its long existence. It began as a Black basalt rock. Then volcanic activity brought to the surface Gray granite rock. This was followed by Red oxidated iron, and then by Blue water, and then by White ice and snow and finally by Green foliage.

I am sure that this is oversimplified, but it points out a very long process of change that can not be based on chance as opposed to long period of no change. If we add that life was coming into existence and developing at this time, it is not a simple coincidence. The anthropic principle affirms this.

It seems to me that it is clear that God “designed” the physical universe. How God guides the bio world is less clear, but we can see that the physical universe determines the structure of the bio one.

Not too long ago I challenged Dawkins’ view that the universe is basically random and naturally evil (survival of the fittest) I was quickly confronted by a supporter of Dawkins, called me everything but a child of God and claimed that he was going to publicly embarrass me if I did not retract. He said that I had no right as a non-scientist to criticize the views of Dawkins.

What I replied was that “science” did not have the ability to prove whether the universe was good or evil, but could only express an opinion with some facts to back it up. Somewhat surprisingly he agreed and conceded that Dawkins should not say that his was The definitive scientific opinion. Then I defended my view by citing eminent scientists who disagreed with Dawkins.

We need to reconcile science and faith. The problem is those who still maintain ideology over science and theology, which includes Dawkins & Co. In my book I try to point a possible way to reconcile good science and good theology which are not far apart.

I have been away from the Biologos Forum for a few years. I decided after Church today (in a rare moment of free time) to check out the Forum to see if there were any reactions to my podcast with Jim. Thanks so much for this comment, @Russell2 it means a lot to me. Blessings and peace to you.

Sy

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I don’t see the “mess” you refer to. What is ir?

As for purpose in evolution, no no no. No purpose.

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@Relates
Why do you think evolution needs some force to direct it?
Ie that God lacked the capacity to set off the Big Bang with
basic law that enables stars, math, and, people.
No tampering or course corrections needed.

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Human beings apparently have the ability to use computers to drive a car or truck for long distances without a driver. Even though it is the computer, which is guiding the truck, it is the human programmers who are telling the truck where to go, and hopefully they are keeping track of the truck to make sure it does not get lost or stolen. Thus I would say that using natural and moral laws for programing is the basic way God guides the future.

People cannot live without meaning and purpose. If God created the universe for human life, God would need to give it meaning and purpose. This what I take the beginning of John 1 to mean. While Nature can possibly run on autopilot, although it does experience periodic extinctions, humans are not so lucky. We need more help.

In the USA people are very polarized. A distinct minority is using its power to prevent the majority from moving forward with its program, and threatening to overthrow democratic elections, so every one is very frustrated.

The purpose, meaning, guidance etc that you describe might be true.
In the absence of any evidence that it is so, or of
a guiding agent, i will assume that there is no such.

I am not an American so dont have a dog in the fighting.
I thought you were talking about science making a mess.

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Are you familiar with the Anthropic Principle? What do you think about it?

Anthropic principle…I worked out my own version of that
as a kid, after getting into a study of the properties of water.

Its an idea, but I decided there is nowhere to go with it.

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Where did you want to go with it?

We might have something in common. I was interested in the properties of water also when I was young. I am now trying to explore how thermal energy which is basically responsible for the phenomenon of rain and weather is related to space.

I don’t see how science not being able to answer every question, that can therefore be ‘answered’ by rationalistic discursion, leads to God that ‘answers’ them with infinitely more unnecessary unanswerable complexity.

Now the story of the desire for the Jesus story to be true is another matter entirely.

“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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