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BioLogos and the worship of consensus


Doug Wilson, at Blog and Mablog, has some pertinent remarks about Christians defending Darwinism ( the example most familiar to us is BioLogos):

“We at BioLogos agree with the modern scientific consensus on the age of the earth and evolutionary development of all species, seeing these as descriptions of how God created.”

To which he responds,

I first want to focus on the phrase “agree with the modern scientific consensus.”

There are two possible issues at play here. The first is the harmonization of the truth of Scripture with a truth discovered elsewhere — whether or not anybody else agrees with you on that truth discovered elsewhere. The second issue — and topic of this post — is the harmonization of the truth of Scripture with what all the respectable people think. The key word from that phrase above is consensus. The word consensus means that these are the conclusions of many minds that must be taken into account. Nothing objectionable there, and the biblical virtue of humility requires us not to be automatically contrarian. There is no biblical mandate for always believing that it is the rest of the army that is out of step. But the word consensus also brings with it the concept of peer pressure. Peer review is a good thing, except when it is a thin disguise for peer pressure.

Now sometimes all the respectable people are right, but even when they are, a biblical thinker is going to triple check his motives. Why? The reason we need to check our hearts is that God has designed much of his truth to be intellectually disreputable. That’s not a bug, but a feature. Not all of it works that way, of course — you can believe the sun rises in the east without much danger, and that water at sea level boils at 212 degrees F. Nobody looks at you funny. But when the madness of crowds sets in, the fact that it is a stampede of “approved” scientists doesn’t keep it from being an approved stampede. Think of the kind of trouble you can get in for questioning the dogma of climate change. You can easily become the world’s fool for simply refusing to be a fool.

A biblical worldview thinker must therefore have a robust immune system when it comes to facing the scorn of the educated elites. More.

Actually, a willingness to buck the consensus is a prerequisite for serious thinking in any tradition. Remember, Socrates was forced to drink poison because the consensus was that his encouragement of asking questions was corrupting Athenian youth. In other words, you needn’t be Peter or Paul, just someone who won’t take “consensus” for an answer when it doesn’t coincide with the facts.

And here:

4. An essential part of the task of Christian education is to give a biblical account of evil in the world, along with the resident evil that every believer has seen in his own heart. Where did that come from?

“The sciences of evolution and archaeology can provide some insight into these questions [of original sin] but are not equipped to answer them. These questions are theological, and over the centuries the church has considered many possible answers. Some of these options are consistent with the scientific evidence currently available. [From BioLogos]

Well, I am very glad these some of these options are consistent (see Journal of Scholarly Handwaving, Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 17-28), for if they were not consistent with biblical revelation, we would have to abandon them, right? Right? Where did everybody go?

How we came to be sinful is one of the bedrock questions, and students in our schools need something better than “scholars think stuff.” More.

He warns:

And third, nothing said here is intended to question the sincerity or niceness of any particular BioLogos brothers and sisters. I believe their vision is destructive, but if a destructive vision is being promulgated here by very nice people, it wouldn’t be the first time.

No indeed. It is very nice people who do most of the damage. If a pirate jumped off his ship and shouted, “Become a Christian for Darwin or I will feed you to the sharks!”, we would all know what to think and how to react.

But the nice BioLogian assures students that they can believe anything that is a current consensus among evolutionary biologists (and presumably, if the consensus changes – remember, it reigned for decades around Piltdown Man – they must change right along with it).

Who was it said, he who marries the spirit of the age will be a widower in the next? Of course, he can always solve his problem by marrying again, right? But his catechism will be some kind of monthly newsletter about what he is permitted to believe.

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Among Theistic Evolutionists, Still No Consensus on What's Wrong with Stephen Meyer's Argument Casey Luskin November 5, 2014 http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/11/among_theistic_090921.html Karl Giberson vs. Stephen Meyer- Should Christians Embrace Darwin? - video - Apr. 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9sXsRa8vDpw The Myth of Human "Tails": A Physician and Surgeon's Perspective - Michael Egnor - May 23, 2014 Excerpt: I have operated on quite a few children (at least five) with what Giberson, a physicist, would call a "tail." I just removed one of them from a newborn about a month age. None of them -- and none of the reports in the literature that I know of -- are actual tails. A tail has vertebrae, is a continuation of the coccyx, has developed muscles, nerves and other soft tissues, etc. The appendages described in the literature, and all of the appendages on which I have operated, are dysmorphic mesenchymal tissue, often epithelialized exophytic dermal sinus tracts, that bear a superficial resemblance to a "tail." None have the structure of a tail, even in rudimentary form, http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/05/the_myth_of_hum085921.html Are Humans Ever Born with "Perfectly Formed" Tails? - Casey Luskin - May 2014 Excerpt: Human tails are extremely rare, with perhaps only a few hundred cases documented worldwide over the past half-century. Medical researchers who have had the lucky opportunity to study a human tail (state),,, "In all reported cases, the vestigial human tail lacks bone, cartilage, notochord, and spinal cord. It is unique in this feature",,, "never contains vertebrae in contrast to other vertebrate animals",,, "there are major morphologic differences between the caudal appendage and the tails of other vertebrates",,, "there is no zoological precedent for a vertebral tail without caudal vertebrae",,, "Bona-fide cases of human tails containing bone have not been documented." But what about "pseudotails" -- can't they contain bone? Yes, sometimes they can, but pseudotails don't contain vertebrae (as all other mammalian tails do), and they're not located at the base of the coccyx, where a "true tail" ought to be -- they are found in various other places along the lower back, and may even be off to the side from the backbone.,,, http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/05/are_humans_ever085411.html Do Human "Tails" Represent the Simple "Turning On" of Genes Retained from Our Ancestors? - Casey Luskin - May 13, 2014 Excerpt: "the presence of human tail can be considered a disturbance in the development of the embryo but not a regression in the evolutionary process." http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/05/do_human_tails_085451.html bornagain77
How many contributed to the MODERN SCIENTIFIC CONSENSUS. ?? How many paid scientists had anything to do with evolution conclusions these days. it seems to me its very few people. The Consensus hints at the old tactic of saying all scientists say evolution is true and have a right to demand they know better despite their particular study. Sometimes head counts should be taken when consensus is asserted. Robert Byers

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