Recently we’ve been publishing Laszlo Bencze’s thoughts on theistic evolution (sometimes called theistic naturalism, theistic Darwinism, or Christian Darwinism where applicable).
Bencze is here (Bowling with God) and here (why theistic evolution is incoherent).
Francis Collins founded BioLogos, dedicated to promoting an entente between Christianity and Darwinism (or whatever they call the latter now). It’s not just a theory, as Smith explains; it has implications:
Here is what I mean. From [Collins’] “We Need Two Kinds of Truth:”
So I do think people of faith and people who don’t have faith are capable of thoughtful ethical decision-making. So any notion that we are becoming less ethical as scientists because of a diminution I think has to be actually countered by arguments to say that a sense of ethical behavior is not distributed to just the people who are in fact interested in spiritual matters.
But that doesn’t say anything substantive, does it? What the term “ethical” means in science–as in life–depends on the context.
Example: Is it ethical to create human embryos via cloning to be destroyed in research? In the past, Collins has supported human cloning research. Many–both the religious and those who are not–disagree with Collins because they believe that human cloning is, per se, unethical as it creates human life through manufacture.
Who is correct about that? Science can’t tell us. It can tell us what is and what could be, but not what is right and wrong.
One obvious problem is that “thoughtful ethical decision-making” could lead in almost any direction.
It has for Collins.
In Newsweek (2009), journalist Lisa Miller, emphatically a non-Christian, supported his appointment as head of NIH*, saying, “Collins’s evangelicalism works to (his and) Obama’s advantage.” It soon became clear why. He not only supported destructive research on human embryos, he did so publicly and enthusiastically. A colleague told Newsweek, “He definitely supports it. I’ve worked with him closely, and I’ve never seen any evidence that he’s opposed to it. Zero. None.”
Collins has argued that such embryos are “not part of God’s plan,” whereas a child conceived in the usual manner is “very much part of God’s plan, carried out through the millennia by our own species and many others.” (Francis Collins, The Language of God (Free Press, 2006), p. 256.)
So there are humans who are “not part of God’s plan.” That is, of course, a logical consequence of the belief that God is not really in charge, but has resigned his powers to Darwinian evolution.
Collins’ argument here clarifies what he means when he says, “people of faith and people who don’t have faith are capable of thoughtful ethical decision-making”: Essentially once a Christian really embraces Collins’ version of theistic evolution, his approach to such questions will be only minimally distinguishable from that of a person of no faith.
* He resigned from Biologos in order to accept the appointment.