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Darwin’s Christians on the Cambrian explosion: The God they worship wouldn’t do it that way!

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Darwin's DoubtReaders may vaguely recall: If anyone cares, Biologos (Christians for Darwin) will now actually review Darwin’s Doubt, which shows why the Cambrian explosion can’t be explained by the theory that guides their lives and work.

Author Steve Meyer responds to their attempts to defend Darwinian naturalism here:

In any case, it is not at all clear that BioLogos has declined to take an official position on methodological naturalism. In their description of the theory of intelligent design on their website, BioLogos affirms its commitment to explaining all natural phenomena (including presumably the origin of life and novel forms of life) by reference to strictly natural causes. As the website explains:

[Intelligent Design] claims that the existence of an intelligent cause of the universe and of the development of life is a testable scientific hypothesis. ID arguments often point to parts of scientific theories where there is no consensus and claim that the best solution is to appeal to the direct action of an intelligent designer. At BioLogos, we believe that our intelligent God designed the universe, but we do not see scientific or biblical reasons to give up on pursuing natural explanations for how God governs natural phenomena. [Emphasis added.]

Indeed, BioLogos writers have repeatedly affirmed the principle of methodological naturalism — as the preceding statement surely does — in numerous contexts.4 Bishop critiqued my book precisely because it repudiates “methodological naturalism.” All this would seem to make it entirely fair to question the extent to which a priori commitments to this principle disincline the BioLogos reviewers from considering the evidence for, and the logical basis of, intelligent design as an explanation for various classes of evidence. By denying that these commitments, or at least intellectual proclivities, played a significant role in the judgment of her team of reviewers, Haarsma denies the obvious and, in so doing, reverses some of the progress that her reviewers had made in clarifying the real issues that separate our two groups. More.

By “natural explanations,” they mean the ones Darwin’s followers would approve of.

Oh, by the way, at 1:00 am EST March 5, 2015, Darwin’s Doubt stood at:

Must have been some other God then.

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A few comments. - I heard Deb Haarsma at a conference in 2003 say "I believe in a God who can do miracles, but I've never seen one." In my mind, that captures the Biologos spirit perfectly. We should believe anything Science reports implicitly, but miracles must be handled very skeptically. As you will no doubt notice, the step from "never seen one" to "don't exist" is a very small step of induction--taken by scientists all the time. - Time is a relative thing. Stop lights, dentist visits, and according to Calvin, math classes take an enormous amount of it. To properly quantify "explosion", one should probably divide "quantity distributed" by "time of distribution". In this case, information is the thing quantified, and whether 10 My or 120My (which is highly questionable), the information is so many orders of magnitude greater that "explosion" is appropriate. If you doubt me, have a look at the number of different lifeforms from 3850 Mya -- 600Mya, and divide by elapsed time. Robert Sheldon
So far, the reviews are mostly, "Well, I disagree with Meyer, but it is well written, and should be read." They claim to be civil; and, they appear to be just that. The only real criticism comes from the paleontologist in the bunch, and I wonder if he has a problem of not being able to see the "forest for the trees." He seems to suggest that the Cambrian ranges from 600mya to 480 mya. I've never heard that before. And recently---within the last four or five years---there have been studies done, rather comprehensive studies, that suggest the "Cambrian Explosion" is just that: an "explosion." Something ranging over 120 million years doesn't fit my idea of an "explosion." So, something is amiss here. PaV
Collin: Just for the purposes of adding perspective, ID easily accommodates the notion of "front-loading," where an intelligent agent, seeing in advance what will be needed, prepares certain forms with all that will be needed as adaptation takes place in future environments. Taken to its extreme position, "front-loading" would then say that within the 'laws of nature' are already to be found all that is needed for life to emerge and develop. Michael Denton favors this kind of approach, although not, perhaps, to this extreme degree. Nevertheless, there is not much space between Denton's position and that of EC's, "evolutionary creationists." Interestingly, the ID position merges at one end with neo-Darwinism, as most IDers accept "microevolution," and, at the other end of things, via Denton's "Final Destiny" approach, merges with the EC position. We have 'enemies' on both sides. What fun! PaV
"to give up on pursuing natural explanations for how God governs natural phenomena." Can we all agree that this is an illogical statement? I mean, it's like they are just sticking God onto the end, like a tail on a donkey. They could have said, "to give up on pursuing natural explanations for how supernatural beings govern natural phenomena." Would that be any different than what was said? Collin
What theory sez we came from the ocean? Joe
I'm still waiting for any creationist to explain how there only having been small marine organisms 550 million years ago is at all problematic to a theory that says we came from the ocean. CHartsil
Went over to Biologos myself, and find that they do believe in "miracles." That's good. But I don't understand their position on methodological naturalism. If God can work via miracles, then why can't there be interventions in nature other than at the beginning of time? Why this restrictive view? But I'm looking at their review of Darwin's Doubt. Maybe I'll get my answers that way. PaV
The full statement of the Biologos position which was excerpted above is given here. nightlight
Someone from Biologos can comment, but if the position they take is the one indicated above, then Biologos Christians seem to be Christians who don't believe in miracles, since, of course, miracles supersede "natural explanations for how God governs natural phenomena." This might be a bit of a stretch, but I do wonder. Could someone please comment. What is the position of Biologos on "miracles"? PaV

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