Evolution Intelligent Design theistic evolution

Francis Collins at Veritas Forum

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It’s now five years since I used to get invited to speak at these Veritas forums. My debate with Niall Shanks, sponsored by Veritas and moderated by Dallas Willard, took place at UCLA in 2004 and was recorded by CSPAN. I also did Veritas forums at NYU and Columbia in 2005. All that has changed. I give the theistic evolutionists credit for seeing to it that ID proponents are ostracized from such events. This is backfiring as donors are asking themselves why are these ministries now exclusively evolutionist and thus are putting their money elsewhere. [[Correction 4.30.10: Although there has been resistance to ID in some Christian circles, the Veritas Forum seems still open to it — see here for official correction.]] Compare my UCLA Veritas debate, available here, to the following pro-Darwin/pro-evolution presentation by Francis Collins:

The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief from The Veritas Forum on Vimeo.

15 Replies to “Francis Collins at Veritas Forum

  1. 1
    cranium says:

    ‘Chimps can learn sign language, but in the wild, so far as we know, they are unable to communicate about things that aren’t present. They can’t teach what happened 100 years ago, or ten years ago, except by showing fear in certain places. They certainly can’t plan for five years ahead. If they could, they could communicate with each other about what compels them to indulge in their dramatic displays. To me, it is a sense of wonder and awe that we share with them. When we had those feelings, and evolved the ability to talk about them, we were able to CREATE the early religions.’
    Jane Goodall, The Spectator , April 7th 2010


  2. 2
    Bilboe says:

    I think Dover might have something to do with the sea change, also.

  3. 3

    Bilboe: Within strictly secular circles, I think you’re right. But Veritas used to be big into Al Plantinga and Phil Johnson. Veritas, in its earlier incarnation, was not an organization with finger in the wind, checking on what will play in the secular world. We’re talking some changes in management and some intense lobbying by people opposed to ID.

  4. 4
    O'Leary says:

    The thing about “theistic evolution” is that it is a defense of Darwinism, which is – by definition – non-theistic evolution. That is what Darwinism was always intended to be.

    It is passionately defended by its “no God and no free will” company men for precisely that reason.

    Dover? Well, Dover provided an easy thinkstopper for a lot of people.

    Just like guitar singalongs with Francis Collins.

    But thought must go on, and at the end of the day Darwinism is still nonsense, right up there with “recovered memories” and “Marxist economics”.

    Even Darwin’s closest colleagues did not really believe his theory, surprisingly. They did see its value for promoting materialist atheism.

    Of course, there are always useful idiots who do not.

  5. 5
    Bilboe says:

    I think Pogo’s insight is appropriate here: “We have found the enemy and he is us.” Dover made the work of those who oppose ID much easier. And don’t just blame the judge.

    And Ms. O’Leary, by “idiots,” I hope you don’t mean people like Francis Collins. If you do, then please re-read Pogo’s words a few more times before you write anything else.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    This video, starting at the 7:17 mark, clearly highlights the unnecessary compromise of Theistic Evolutionists:

    Expelled – 05

    I would say theistic evolutionists have not only made an totally unnecessary concessions to atheists but have in fact compromised both their scientific integrity and their integrity of faith as well. i.e. What good is a scientist who can’t defend his primary postulated basis with empirics? and what good is a Christian who can’t defend his faith from compromise?

  7. 7
    Harfen says:

    Evolutionary creationists typically get very harsh treatment from ID advocates.

    Denis Lamoureux – Coming to Terms with Evolution: A Personal Story

    You can dislike evolutionary science as much as you like but you simply can’t say it is poorly supported or fails scientifically. As young-earth creation biologist Todd Wood commented;
    “People who say that are either unacquainted with the inner workings of science or unacquainted with the evidence for evolution. (Technically, they could also be deluded or lying, but that seems rather uncharitable to say. Oops.)”

  8. 8

    Harfen: Sadly, there’s plenty of invective to go around, and it can’t be justified. In my own case, however, during my five years at Baylor, it was the theistic and atheistic evolutionists who were beating on me and undermining my work on ID. See


    I’ve found when there is pushback from the ID community, it is usually under considerable provocation. By and large, the ID community is trying to develop ID as a positive program of research and scholarship. I’d challenge you to list instances where the Discovery Institute and its principal players have traded needlessly in harsh words with theistic evolutionists. The opposite, however, is the case. Consider this interaction between Edward Oakes and Phil Johnson and Co. a decade back:



    Watch EXPELLED. The ostracism described there was mainly stemming from the secular community. But you’ll notice an exception — the case of Robert Marks at Baylor, a Christian school dominated by theistic evolution.

  9. 9
    bevets says:

    From: Steve
    To: support@veritas.org
    Sent: Wed, April 21, 2010 9:14:28 AM
    Subject: Contribution

    I think your forum has been a valuable resource and I was planning on making a contribution, until I read this post:


    Please let me know when this has been corrected, so I can support Veritas in good conscience.

  10. 10
    bornagain77 says:

    semi-off topic: Here is a interesting debate that just came online:

    Are we alone in the universe? Paul Davies & John Lennox – 17 April 2010

    discription of audio:

    What does it take for life to get going in our universe? Is there intelligence in the stars or right under our nose? Renowned astrophysicist Paul Davies chats to Oxford Professor of Mathematics John Lennox.

    A popular science author, Davies is also the Chair of the SETI post detection task force. His latest book “The Eerie Silence” which marks SETI’s 50th anniversary examines the likelihood of the universe producing life elsewhere.

    John Lennox is a Christian Mathematician and philosopher. He is the author of “God’s Undertaker: has science buried God?” and has debated Richard Dawkins on several occasions.

    Davies’ work on the fine tuning of the universe for life has been sympathetic to theism. In this programme Lennox challenges Davies to look to design not just in cosmology but in the cell. They also chat about what the discovery of ET would mean for Christian theology.

  11. 11
    Rude says:

    I’m one of those rubes who have always found Darwinism utterly unconvincing. And though I respect the creationists for standing up to the Darwinists, I never could cozy up to the total package of Scriptural and scientific interpretation they demanded. Then when ID came along I was flabbergasted. Finally right here at the University of Oregon that summer of 1996 was the keen intellect and wit of one Phillip Johnson perfectly sizing up the situation with no Christian come-on, no push for peripheral issues, and no ad hominem attacks. I had already read and loved Michael Denton’s Evolution: A Theory in Crisis.

    What was so wonderful about ID was that it was not a Church and not subject to the sclerosis of organization. It was science pure and simple—an unimpeded quest to know and not just to belong.

    One need not judge the motives of the TEs by noting the danger they pose to “can’t we all just get along?” intellectuals. The commoners—not as subject to the pressure for intellectual conformity—instinctively know better. As honest Abe put it, “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

  12. 12
    dodgingcars says:

    Are we sure that Veritas is only having TE speak now?

    When I went to their site, picked topic “evolution” and then sorted by date. I show that Plantiga spoke Sept 2009, Hugh Ross and Fazale Rana in Feb 2008.

  13. 13
    Clive Hayden says:


    I’m in the process of writing a blog about that debate between Paul Davies and John Lennox. It’s a good debate, Lennox is very sharp.

  14. 14
    warehuff says:

    It’s been about three years since you published the home addresses, private phone numbers and private email addresses of the entire Baylor Board of Regents. Are you really surprised that you don’t get invited to speak much any more?

  15. 15
    gingoro says:

    Dr Dembski
    I have no strong religious or philosophical objection to ID. In fact from the “Privileged Planet” videos that I watched a few weeks ago, I agree with the ID position on fine tuning.

    On this blog you have said that EC/TEs are at best deists and O’Leary says they are atheists.
    Why you would want to teach at Baylor is a total mystery to me as obviously you consider it to be an anti Christian atheist institution or at least highly influenced by such.

    As someone with some background in statistics having read RA Fisher in the original and also having some understanding of information theory I do not find your books convincing and I do find some of the reviews seem to have very valid points.

    I also do not find the current evolutionary synthesis totally convincing by any means. At this point I keep an open mine as to the detailed methods that God used to create life in this world.
    Dave W

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