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Isn’t “theistic evolution” becoming a bit of a backwater?

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Theistic evolution: Darwin was right and we defend Darwinism from critics from whatever quarter. But we feel that God did it somehow anyway (even though Darwin and most of his followers do not think that)…

In a time of such ferment around evolution, theistic evolution attracts lazy people with theology credentials and a gift for easy sloganeering. In my line of work (O’Leary for News), one learns to spot these types, whether one wishes to use, abuse, confuse, or refuse them.

Put simply: If I belonged to a church that wanted to “take a position” on evolution, I would ask, “Why? Even the Royal Society isn’t sure what its position should be. If we haven’t already gone and said something stupid in the Lord’s name— which we must now, alas, defend—why don’t we just keep quiet and pay attention to all the stuff that is currently going on?

Such people aren’t honestly asking for the opinion of non-specialist observers anyway; they just want “votes” for some religiosity scam.

Lazy? Most of their arguments sound that way. E.g.:

“What kind of a God would … ?” If you believe in God and believe that your interpretation of reality is correct, he’s that kind of God. Of course, you could revisit either thesis. Was there something else you wanted me to tell you?

“The concept of a mere ‘designer’ diminishes God.” Maybe God needs self-image counselling then. In the Scriptures, he is willing to portray himself not only as a craftsman but as the long-suffering husband of a serially adulterous wife. And when someone offers to tell us about himself, maybe we should listen…

or, my favourite:

“God can use randomness to achieve his ends.” If there are “ends” at all, it is not random. So what are we really talking about? Defending Darwin while pretending not to? Why? What’s the obsession there anyway?”

What keeps theistic evolution going, besides inertia in religious circles?

See also: Darwinism: The steam engine of modern biology

Steampunk Darwin (Barry Arrington)

and

Wayne Rossiter on the essentially arbitrary nature of TE distinctions
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10 Replies to “Isn’t “theistic evolution” becoming a bit of a backwater?

  1. 1
    Dionisio says:

    “…we feel that God did it somehow anyway…”

    Well, what one feels is totally irrelevant to the ultimate reality. IOW, the ultimate reality does not depend on our feelings.

  2. 2
    joemasters says:

    Classic arguments for an age old question – whether god exists or not. I fall somewhere in between, in that I do not see the Abrahamic religions as fact but only as a clue to what “God” really is. Perhaps a higher power, but not one with human like characteristics that uses logic and reasoning in the same way that humans do. But perhaps a more ethereal type of energy that is completely beyond our imaginations. It is either that, or we are a mere spec on a vast canvas!

  3. 3
    groovamos says:

    Yes the Creator planned to have a non-plan so that the accidental advent of human life would be a surprise to everyone, including said Creator, who would then after said accidental advent of humans, surprised Creator would have to get busy and invent souls so that soulless accidental humans would not be soulless for too long except for those humans desiring to be soulless, like the materialists. It was all such a non-planned surprising outcome.

  4. 4
    goodusername says:

    Theistic evolution: Darwin was right and we defend Darwinism from critics from whatever quarter. But we feel that God did it somehow anyway (even though Darwin and most of his followers do not think that)…

    Darwin writes that he was a theist at the time he published Origin, and believed that nature may have resulted from designed laws. And theistic evolutionists probably outnumber atheistic evolutionists (perhaps by a wide margin).

  5. 5
    J-Mac says:

    Isn’t “theistic evolution” becoming a bit of a backwater?
    I can’t remember theistic evolution being “in the water” ever…Why would it be in the backwater all of the sudden now? Are there any scientific, experimental breakthroughs that might change my mind… possibly?

  6. 6
    rvb8 says:

    ‘Theistic Evolution’, implies the long geological record, does it not? That is, these Christian evolutionists accept the age of the earth, microbes to man, and NS+RM, do they not? Well and good, we know where they stand:
    They believe God got the ball rolling then stood back.

    I’m in agreement with the ID movement here, and basically call this cowardice. God twiddled his thumbs for 3 billion years, then around the pre-cambrian got back to work? Then sat around another 5-600 odd million years waiting for us, and His plan to unfold? Childish wishful thinking, and disrespectful to any God of standing.

    ID with its ‘hands-on’ God at least has a position, however poorly backed up by empirical evidence, or any semblance of experimentation, or predictive analysis. I, (and the scientific community), think your position is without a shred of evidence, but it is at least a position that excludes the natural in favour of the super-natural, and is not afraid to say so.

    Theistic Evolutionists should take a page out of the ID book, and make plain their “cdesignproponentsist” POV.

  7. 7
    groovamos says:

    rvb: ID …[is] however poorly backed up by empirical evidence, or any semblance of experimentation, or predictive analysis.

    Don’t need to because it is our job to point out the absurdities in your so-called science which is really unfalsifiable philosophy masquerading as science. Where is the empirical evidence for any chain of so-called genetic random mutations, giving rise to form or function, as being statistically uncorrelated?

    Do it. Show your empirical evidence constituting proof of non-correlation of a sequence of mutations. If you can’t, then your Darwinian paradigm is unsupported by evidence or any semblance of experimentation.

  8. 8
    kairosfocus says:

    RVB8: you can say that to yourself and your company over and over, creating a self-reinforcing perception. Meanwhile, in the real world there are trillions of cases — a number that is growing every day (just think, messages in this thread) — that express and confirm the pattern that functionally specific complex organisation and associated information is so far a 100% reliable sign of design when we can directly know the cause. Likewise, complex, coherent fine tuned systems are reliably designed. We are epistemologically, empirically well warranted to infer confidently that the FSCO/I we see in cell based life — including coded alphabetic text! — is a strong sign of design. Likewise, a fine tuned observed cosmos that on evidence is about 13.8 BY old — i.e. it has a definite beginning — is credibly designed. The sum of your reaction to that body of evidence is in fact characteristic of cognitive dissonance and social-psychological defensive measures to maintain a prior ideological commitment, known in your case to be evolutionary materialist atheism dressed up in a lab coat. But, it can be readily shown that such systems of thought are inherently self referentially absurd. I must therefore suggest to you that you would be well advised to do a major worldview re-think. KF

  9. 9
    rvb8 says:

    Kairos,

    I have long understood the idea of FSCO/I, although I have forgotten what the ‘O’ is, is it ‘Organism’?

    We infer design by the complexity of the system, organism, or organ/organelle? If this is wrong can you explain it one more time in words and acronyms as easy this;

    RM+NS=Evolution. In adition we have ‘Sexual Selection’, Genetic Drift and the not clearly understood, ‘epygenetics’. This last, is of unknown importance, but seeing as its effects dissapear in a single generation, is probably just an interesting observation.

    BTW, ‘Theistic Evolution’, is merely Christian accomodationism. Bereft of the power of the days of yore, and desperate to remain relevant in an empirical, hopefully rational world, mainstream Protestantism, and Catholicism, abandoned their creation myths, in favour of the more likely.

  10. 10
    buffalo says:

    I have the same two questions:

    Did God know what Adam would look like? (of course He did)
    Did Adam look as God planned?

    http://www.idvolution.org

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