What is the BioLogos Strategy for replacing Atheistic Evolution?


(charles cox) #1

Only atheistic evolution is being taught in virtually all public schools and universities, which denies any direction or supernatural cause.

As Richard Dawkins summed it up; “For Darwin, any evolution that had to be helped over the jumps by God was no evolution at all. It made a nonsense of the central point of evolution.” The Blind Watchmaker (1996) p.249

Does BioLogos Have a strategy to impact or replace this atheistic teaching with Theistic Evolution and it’s very different definition of “evolution”? Without doing this, isn’t “Theistic Evolution” just “Theistic Atheism”?


(Phil) #2

Interesting question, though you may not like my perspective. Let me start by reminding you that opinions expressed on these posts are the posters alone, and do not represent BioLogos, myself included, so do not think of them as Biologos positions as they are expressed on the the site, not the public forum.

That said, my opinion is that the biggest driver to atheistic evolutionism is the false dichotomy presented by the fundamentalist young earth segment and related groups that present a deceptive and antagonistic viewpoint, leading people, particularly youth into thinking they must abandon Christianity if they are to live in truth. Ironic, isn’t it, that they do so in order to be morally consistent?
In any case, getting back to your question, the way to combat that is to show that Christianity is truth, and is not in conflict with truth, thus providing an alternative that does not require moral compromise.


(George Brooks) #3

@ridgerock

Do you feel that the Bible requires Christians to undo the judicial interpretation of the American constitution for separation of Church and State?

How can BioLogos accomplish your proposal when we are particularly opposed to Young Earth Evangelicals doing exactly the same thing with the wrong ideas?


#4

I was under the impression was that we cannot discern a supernatural cause, not that there was no supernatural cause. Most primary school biology teachers are actually pretty careful about making that distinction. That would be consonant with a theistic viewpoint.

I also hear that people are taught that disease has a biological basis as well, and not necessarily part of a divine plan. :innocent:


(Christy Hemphill) #5

They have a strategy for helping people reconcile the facts they learn about the natural world from the sciences with the metaphysical truth claims of the Bible that are not scientifically provable.

I think it is mistaken to think that BioLogos has a very different definition of evolution. Evolution is a scientific model to explain the diversity of life. Both atheists and theists affirm the same scientific facts.

BioLogos prefers the term ‘evolutionary creationism’ because that situates the discussion in the realm of faith and theology. Science does not reveal the truth claims most relevant to evolutionary creationism, but evolutionary creationism takes into consideration and counts as valid the evolutionary model of biology. This is a different exercise than trying to come up with a scientific model that explains God’s work in the evolutionary process.

When I learned the theory of evolution in public school and university, no claims about God’s existence or non-existence were part of the discussion. It is not true that all teaching of the theory of evolution presents a necessarily anti-theistic picture. Evolution is science. Science does not explore the supernatural. Just because an explanation focuses on the natural world, it does not entail that God is absent. Christians believe God created, sustains, and works in the natural world.


#6

Don’t forget about atheistic gravity, atheistic chemistry, atheistic thermodynamics, atheistic electromagnetic radiation, atheistic microbiology, . . . well, you get the idea.

Can you name any theory in science that incorporates the actions of a supernatural deity of any kind? If not, are you arguing that we shouldn’t teach any scientific theories at all?


(charles cox) #7

Thank you for your questions.
I feel I should clarify up front that I am NOT a creationist!
I was recently given a fatal diagnosis, (ALS), took time to "check my Christian “parachute”, and ran into the claims of evolution and 99% of all scientists as “believers”, which left little possibility of any God. I have resolved my resulting personal doubts but in the process realized that millions of young people are being taught the same evolution as fact from kindergarten to grad school with many becoming atheists or “nones”. Hence my appreciation for what I see with BioLogos.
In answer to your questions:

  1. None except evolution, which is the only scientific theory of historical origins taught as fact or certainty and as undirected, random, with only an illusion of purpose or design, which eliminates any possible supernatural role in creation.
    For instance, there are at least 10 theories of the origin of life - with none remotely claiming to be fact. Neither Biology - or we - exist without this detail being explained.

  2. No. My question was concerning the very different BioLogos view of evolution contained under “What we believe”. Many stark differences to the evolution taught, for instance #9; "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. - See more at: http://biologos.org/about-us/our-mission/#sthash.06SD3LWl.dpuf

Is there a plan to do anything proactive to state Biologos beliefs outside of this site, or just provide a safe place for Christian scientists to quietly explain “what they really mean” when they publicly say they “believe in evolution” as has been required to get a job or be taken seriously in science - along with 99% of other scientists who also “believe in evolution”?


(Mervin Bitikofer) #8

Also not speaking for Biologos of course. Rather than thinking that anybody is trying to remove any inherent atheism allegedly embedded in evolutionary concepts, it seems more accurate to see efforts here as an attempt to remove an unnecessary and unhelpful atheistic addition that some have tried to bundle in with scientific evolution. I too remember learning about evolution in highschool over 30 years ago without anything being mentioned about this somehow showing that God isn’t the Creator. So maybe some of the efforts by many of us here could be seen as an attempt to call everybody’s attention to the reality of a situation and away from a lot of anti-theistic wooo.


(Phil) #9

Great question, as I think it is something there is a bit of struggle with. We all struggle with how best to share the gospel in our daily lives, be that within the ministry of our local church community or the workplace and world outside. I think Biologos is trying to support us in that, but has limited resources. Hopefully with time, it will expand in scope and budget.


(GJDS) #10

The theory of evolution was embroiled in theistic/anti-theistic notions from the very beginning. As a result it is difficult to view it as just another theory of one branch of the physical sciences. This makes it difficult for anyone to adopt a neutral stance regarding it - we are left with “if one is not for evolution, one must be against it”. This smacks of ideology and religious positions and not science.

The only way imo to counter this is to either (a) realise it is not as relevant to life and faith as some pretend it is, and avoid arguments that seek to promote evolution, or try to counter it, using pseudo-scientific arguments that amount to rubbish, or (b) become sufficiently knowledgeable of the way scientific theories develop over centuries and in this way personally assess the importance of biological evolutionary theory within the context of all of the physical sciences.


(George Brooks) #11

I would suggest that this is true for those with YEC inclinations.

Is it difficult for everyone to accept Geology? Does anyone propose that Science doesn’t get any benefit from the “Geological Sciences”? Geology had proclaimed the age of the Earth long before we knew anything about DNA.

And I dare say, humans have no problem with the idea that God uses principles of Geology in his creation either.


(Mary) #12

When I was at school in the UK (40+ years ago!), the teaching on the Big Bang and Evolution, with no mention of God provoked me into having a conversation with the teacher, and then doing a project on the different views of Christians to these ideas! With the help of my dad, I investigated YEC, ID, and something on the way to EC. The teacher was amazed, gave me A++ and had a 2 hour chat with my parents at the parents evening. (Don’t mess with a preacher’s kid!) So this had a profound effect on me and on the teacher. Now UK schools are different to the US in that we have Religious Studies as a subject. However, the typical message these days is still that the choice is a dichotomy between atheistic evolution for almost everyone or the YEC position for all Christians! So there is still some communicating to do. But I think it is best done in churches - informing people that it is not as simple as a 2-way choice. Once the young people get that, they can subtly evangelize their teachers as I did! I expect the curriculum in the UK is studiously careful not to exclude God, but the teachers are more influenced by Richard Dawkins. They need to see examples of Christians who hold a BioLogos perspective. The way forward is to communicate by relationship rather than changing the curriculum or being militant!


#13

What scientific evidence is there for evolution being guided by a deity? If there is no scientific evidence for what you believe, then you can’t blame teachers for not teaching it in science class.[quote=“ridgerock, post:7, topic:36062”]
For instance, there are at least 10 theories of the origin of life
[/quote]

That’s abiogenesis, not evolution.


#14

In my experience, the vast majority of people claiming that evolution disproves the existence of a Creator are Creationists.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #17

That may well be true, but I don’t think that large population sprang into existence out of a vacuum. Where there is fire one can always find a source of fuel, and the significant historical (and still contemporary) source for that fuel seems to me to be a cadre of outspoken anti-theists who want to fancy their position as being somehow friendly to science. Yes, they may have so spectacularly succeeded that the “fires” are almost self-sustaining with very liitle help now. And one can always point to prior things on the Christian side that fueled the atheistic flames a generation earlier. I’m not interested, though, in assigning blame. One of my own agendas in participating here is to help expose the intellectual poverty of the anti-theistic agenda trying to attach itself to science and being spread by so many unwitting creationist foot-soldiers.


(Chris Falter) #18

Hi ridgerock -

Welcome, and thanks for asking such interesting questions.

If you think biology is the only branch of science that deals with randomness, I suggest that you investigate quantum physics more deeply.

I would also point out that from the scientific perspective, randomness just means that not all outcomes of a process can be determined. That doesn’t deny the possibility that our Creator can determine whatsoever He pleases.

Grace and peace,
Chris Falter


(charles cox) #19

Specific reply to “T” comment; “In my experience, the vast majority of people claiming that evolution disproves the existence of a Creator are Creationists.”

I can’t speak for your experience, but I would suggest that NO ONE needs to “claim that evolution disproves the existence of a Creator” to assure that no consideration whatsoever of a Creator should ever take place.

All that is needed is to teach evolution as scientific FACT - as it has been taught for at least 50 years.

Anyone of any age or education level who is taught that evolution is the true and only explanation for how life developed, by trusted authority figures, presented as absolute FACT and backed by 99% of all scientists in the world who also “believe it” - would never give the slightest thought to any other possible explanation. Certainly, the concept of “God” or “Creator” would never cross the mind of a person so instructed unless from another source.

Evolution MUST be a FACT to serve the purposes of the naturalistic/materialistic philosophy which has controlled science since Darwin. As Richard Dawkins said, “Charles Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled Atheist.” But NOT the way Darwin presented it with many doubts and arguments against it.
It HAD to become “FACT” to be the “Godsend to Atheists” Huxley and others recognized it had potential to be. Huxley did not agree with Darwin’s central point of gradual change, but that did not stop him from selling the theory as at least “almost certain” and science has been trying to make it an unquestioned FACT ever since, and have largely succeeded.

Today, they are making it possible to HONESTLY claim evolution is a FACT OF ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY - simply by defining it as “any change in alleles over a generation” (microevolution, adaptation or breeding") so they can honestly say things like Richard Dawkins’ famous quote;

“It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).” Richard Dawkins – Zoologist and Atheist “Put Your Money on Evolution” The New York Times (1989)

Absolutely true - but it has nothing to do with real claimed “facts” of evolution. (Macroevolution)

When challenged on this gross misrepresentation - they now simply say “It’s all basically the same thing!”

No, I don’t believe any claim evolution disproves the existence of a Creator - or any mention of the “God thing” - is necessary to assure that atheism is being very effectively taught by simply representing evolution as a scientific FACT!


(charles cox) #20

Thank you for the welcome and nice comments!
My brother is the quantum physics guy in our family! Way over my head!

Appreciate your comments on randomness. I have concluded the ultimate proof for a Creator God is if it really turns all life developed as evolution teaches! Only God could pull that one off!

I have had ALS for 3 years now, and since I can’t speak, eat, or move much, have explored most all aspects of evolution, always pulling on the string to find out what is really going on! The amazing thing is how little depth is behind what is taught and represented as evidence.

The most surprising revelation is learning historical science is not the disciplined field I thought it was! Definitely “wild west”! Having built large and high technology plants around the world, with all the precision, planning, regulation, auditing, inspection, quality assurance, etc. - I expected to find much of that same kind of infrastructure. The reality I found is far different! But fascinating!

Anyway, have followed the BioLogos site and forum for a long time and see much more potential value to this unique “hangout” for Christian scientists who must believe in evolution to work in this exciting and important field which profoundly impacts how humans view their existence!

Thanks again - and please feel free to reel me in if I ever get out of line!


(charles cox) #21

Just wanted to say I appreciate your perspective - one many folks prefer not to address candidly.

I missed your reply to “T” before I also replied. Agree with your comments and on the foot - soldiers! I’m sure they mean well and don’t realize how they are actually being used.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #22

Thanks for your affirming words, but your other post above seems to indicate that we may be in very different places on this. You wrote that teaching evolution is assured to be effectively teaching atheism if I understood you correctly. (I would show your quote here except that I’m tapping this out on an Ipad which makes text selection a tortuous and broken process).

The notion that scientific evolution inherently defaults to atheism is the very thing I’m challenging and want to expose to the light of day. If it were true, then I would have to repent for teaching my students mathematics or about inertia or laws of conservation or elements of the periodic table and the myriad of other things that I’ve also taught without explicit mention of God. Did that make all those inherently atheistic too? Balancing my checkbook is something I typically do without any explicitly expressed religious sentiments (though maybe some prayer is involved for that particular activity in my case --but I hope you see the point.). Am I an atheist if I am not invoking and using religious sounding speech in any given daily activity? So why would this suddenly become true when studying evolutionary propositions? The only people that are disturbed (an unfortunate many in the U.S. I know) are those who have unwittingly accepted a form of Scientism into their faith foundation and have extended the conviction of the infallibility of God’s Word to include also an infallibility of their own culturally embedded understandings of the same. When those understandings turn out to be at odds with reality, then something has to give. But for those of us who believe that God is a God over everything and everybody, there is no truth we need fear. In fact we want to bring as much of it into the light as we can while growing in trust and relationship with the Source of all truth. That is the agenda I unapologetically promote here. I want to help other believers ditch the embarassingly erroneous philosophy of Dawkins & co.

Sorry if this response all stems from a misunderstanding of your expression. But when a guy has agendas like I do we use any little excuse or provokation to then spout our spiel! :open_mouth: