An interesting conference bringing together ID proponents and theistic evolutionists is coming up in Austin this October: The Vibrant Dance of Faith and Science (http://vibrantdance.org). The organizers are hoping to bring unity to the science-faith debate:
Our Mission is to inspire, educate, and unify pastors, scientists, Christian leaders, and concerned lay people, as well as seekers and skeptics, with the growing congruence of scientific discovery with our Christian faith and to explore the implications and applications of that congruence.
The key word here is CONGRUENCE. The problem is that ID theorists and theistic evolutionists see such congruence in very different terms. For ID theorists who are also Christians (some are not), evidence of design in nature mirrors the faith claim that God by wisdom created the world. For theistic evolutionists, by contrast, evolution is a way of making sense of divine providence. ID theorists hold that evolution, as it is understood by the mainstream scientific establishment, is largely mistaken. Theistic evolutionists, on the other hand, hold that evolution is the best thing science ever did for theology.
The other key word here is UNIFY. Can a conversation between these two camps provide a unified vision of the relation between science and faith? I’ve been at this game for 20 years. ID and theistic evolution remain very much at odds, so I’m not holding my breath. Even so, I think there’s merit in engaging in conversation over our differences, so I’ll be doing a break-out session at this conference (I’ll be speaking on the Law of Conservation of Information).
It’s perhaps unfortunate that no young-earth creationists were invited to this event. Young-earth creationism is a very widely accepted position among conservative Christians, so by not inviting any of its proponents, any attempt at theological unification will accordingly be limited. Young-earth creationists have noted their exclusion:
Called The Vibrant Dance of Faith & Science, this symposium will be held in Austin, Texas, this fall and is intended to teach pastors that it is okay to believe in and teach evolutionary ideas in their churches.
This quote, by Lawrence Ford, appears in ICR’s most recent ACTS & FACTS newsletter (go here). Henry Morris III, who heads ICR (the Institute for Creation Research), likewise raises concerns about this conference (go here).
In any case, I wish the conference well and intend there to represent ID vigorously. And I will NOT be teaching “pastors that it is okay to believe in and teach evolutionary ideas in their churches.”