The fossil record fits best with progressive creation

(Marty) #556

Hi @jpm

This is a sidebar comment to open, but just to be clear, CR does not demonstrate intelligent design, but does demonstrate the limits of the natural processes. But maybe you get that, and just worded this too succinctly.

Your main point is extremely important! I think there are two approaches, the first is a brief scientific one, and the second theological.

Scientifically, there are vastly more bacteria and viruses that are an utterly essential part of the ecosystem than those that cause us harm. AJ Roberts has good discussions on this, for example In some cases diseases are just bacteria out of place, like gut flora getting into the abdominal cavity – very bad. But we humans absolutely require the microbiome that lives symbiotically within us. There are only a tiny tiny fraction that cause disease and suffering in humans.

Turning to the theology, there is still a question about those few that cause so much suffering. I’m with you on struggling with it. Behe mentions in passing that his argument raises these questions about falciparum (malaria) itself, but says that’s a discussion for another time.

For myself, I start with Jesus. If not for him, I would not know what kind of deity this is. But since he has revealed his heart to us in Jesus, I can say “There are things I do not like and I do not understand, but other things I do know let me trust you.”

We may one day find out many of these had or have a good purpose in the story of life. I think we run the risk, since we don’t know their purpose, of using “BadGod-of-the-gaps” thinking. In other words, because I don’t like it and some diety made it, the deity is evil. Some of this is clearly beyond our pay grade.

I’ll add a couple of personal thoughts. For me, recognizing that there are a handful of uncomfortable possible implications in places does not trip me up from being able to honor God for the incredible beauty and complexity of all he has done. Touching biology at this level is like trying to touch infinity or eternity - the complexity of the molecular biology utterly boggles the mind. I know a couple of college students studying biochem, and they are slack-jawed at it all, and wonder how anyone can think the biomolecules figured this all out on their own. So I think it’s right to be grateful for the gift of life in all its splendor, while acknowledging the pot holes on my road. I can’t fix the potholes, but I have good reason to drive around them and keep moving forward. And I can’t stop others from focusing on the potholes and missing the glorious views.

Hmmmm, posed as darkly as possible, cuz perhaps that’s the way aggressive atheists most likely would ask it? But for that particular question, I personally think God is done creating (we’re in the seventh day).

Hope that all helps!


(Phil) #557

Thanks, that helps put it in perspective.


Good questions. Did God take on human flesh to heal diseases that he caused himself?

(Matthew Pevarnik) #559

In some sense that sounds a little like the Gospel (not how I would personally phrase things but similar to how I’ve heard certain groups think)- God makes specific laws and all humans are designed such that they will fall short- the only solution to the problem that technically was solely set up by God is that God himself must redeem mankind back into Himself by Himself.


Like the occasional disturbed firefighter you hear about who sets a fire deliberately so he can be the hero and put it out…

(Marty) #561

@beaglelady, as I mentioned, some people focus on the potholes. In this case, it feels to me more like making a canyon out of pothole: anthropomorphizing God as sociopath, and assuming our tiny little brains can psychoanalyze a God who is bigger than this universe and sort it all out better than he can. I honestly don’t mean to seem rude, but your responses boil down some very complex matters and keep only the scum.

But be careful. You can make almost anything dark and sinister if you want. Taking the incredible gift of life and characterizing it’s author as darkly as this reminds me of when the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons by the prince of demons. I’m not sure that’s where you want to go.

So how about proposing your alternative? We’re open to other solutions here that are compatible with the math and science. I’ve given mine, and if you’ve got something better, by all means let’s hear it!



I think I brought up good objections, and so you decided that I was dark and sinister. I also had objections to “Mr. godly biology,” and at that point things also went south. I was accused of being ungrateful, etc.

(Marty) #563

Really? OK then! Let’s hear what you believe, since you obviously have something much better.

No, I said your comments present a dark and sinister perspective on God.


But I’m not the one who believes that God engineered chloroquine resistance. Your Behe and you believe that.

Actually, At the Kitzmiller trial, Behe agreed that there might be multiple competing designers. So that might be a way out of the dilemma.

(Marty) #565

Yes, but would you please post what you do believe?! I so desperately need to be rescued from my folly, and I’m sure you can save me!


@marty Can you expand on what being “done” means to you? In particular what that means for the new species that are seen.

(Marty) #567

hi @Bill_II. Have you read my posts above?

It looks to me like God was active regularly throughout the development of life. He also created the adaptive evolutionary process, which sometimes produces speciation.

Which new species are you referring to, and do they have new information in their genome that is not found in related species?


I believe in God.

(Marty) #569

And how does your God avoid culpability for evil?


He doesn’t directly create diseases.


@marty Yes. I thought you were an I.D. advocate.

This sounds like EC to me.

My definition of the difference.
ID = God did it and science can prove it.
EC= God did it and science has nothing to say about His involvement.

I have looked for but can not find the reference but I did read (this is from memory) about an invasive plant species that only produced infertile seeds when crossed with a closely related native species. After 125 years there was a mutation which made the seeds fertile and therefore a new species. This new species couldn’t produce fertile seeds when crossed when either parent but could reproduce successfully. Sort of the textbook definition of a new species. Certainly sounds like new information that was added to produce a new function.

(Marty) #572

I typically identify myself under the Progressive Creation banner. In conversations with my EC friends, the differences between us I would summarize perhaps as:
PC: I’m comfortable talking about where I think the math and science shows there was probably divine intervention. This often looks like ID, but may hinge on the relationship between the science and the concept of “proof.”
EC: Christians have been wrong so many times when they have thought science showed divine intervention or the Bible talks about it. I would prefer you don’t go there (but I kinda get your points).

One EC friend said to me, “It’s really hard to argue Gen 1:1 is NOT the Big Bang.”

Yeah, that sounds well within the boundaries of natural processes. Navel oranges, I heard, are one mutation different from some other orange species.

This issue of the boundary between natural processes and “information” can be subtle. When does it become beyond the likelihood that natural processes pulled it off without help? But yeah, that’s ultimately the point of Behe’s book (Edge), to run the math, probe whether there’s a boundary that’s been crossed.

(Marty) #573

First, it’s more subtle than your characterization, and too much we don’t know about our biosphere. Second, we don’t decide our science or math based on our theological preferences.

But most important, your God is not thereby absolved at any level. Philosophically, even if I agreed with your characterization, we’re in the same camp with the same problem.


I thought you believed that chloroquine resistance is an example of intelligent design. Something the intelligent designer brought about. What subtleties are we talking about? Do you think it was a mistake, an experiment horribly gone wrong?

But I don’t do that. I accept mainstream science.


In my example if memory serves it was a simple point mutation that created the new species. Something that is well within the bounds of natural processes.