Closing our religion coverage for the week: In a 2014 article in Christian Research Journal, “The New Theistic Evolutionists: BioLogos and the Rush to Embrace the ‘Consensus’ (not online), Luskin writes:
Of course, when BioLogos claims “it is all intelligently designed,” they mean that strictly as a faith-based theological doctrine for which they can provide no supporting scientific evidence. Indeed, it’s ironic that BioLogos accuses ID of “removing God from the process of creation” when Collins writes that “science’s domain is to explore nature. God’s domain is in the spiritual world, a realm not possible to explore with the tools and language of science.” Under Collins’s view, God’s “domain” is seemingly fenced off from “nature,” which belongs to “science.”
Since CIDs [Christian intelligent design supporters] treat design as a scientific hypothesis, not a theological doctrine, they would reply that a failure scientifically to detect design doesn’t mean God was somehow theologically absent, and would say that natural explanations don’t “remov[e] God.” BTEs [BioLogos theistic evolutionists] thus fail to recognize that CIDs have no objection to God using natural, secondary causes. They also fail to appreciate that in some cases, CIDs argue that natural explanations can even provide evidence for design (e.g., cosmic fine-tuning). But CIDs disagree with BTEs that God must always use natural causes, and argue we should allow the possibility that God might act in a scientifically detectable manner. Thus, one important dividing line is:
• BTEs accept materialistic evolutionary explanations (such as neo-Darwinism) where the history of life appears unguided, and deny we scientifically detect design.
• CIDs hold we may scientifically detect design as the best scientific explanation for many aspects of biology.
[A]ccording to textbooks and leading evolutionary biologists, neo-Darwinian evolution is defined as an unguided or undirected process of natural selection acting upon random mutation. Thus, when theistic evolutionists say that “God guided evolution,” what they mean is that somehow God guided an evolutionary process which for all scientific intents and purposes appears unguided. As Francis Collins put it in The Language of God, God created life such that “from our perspective, limited as it is by the tyranny of linear time, this would appear a random and undirected process.” Whether it is theologically or philosophically coherent to claim that “God guided an apparently unguided process” I will leave to the theologians and the philosophers. ID avoids these problems by maintaining that life’s history doesn’t appear unguided, and that we can scientifically detect that intelligent action was involved.
Theistic evolutionists sometimes try to obscure these differences, such as when BioLogos says “it is all intelligently designed.” But when pressed, they’ll admit this is a strictly theological view, since they believe none of that design is scientifically detectable. CIDs wonder how one can speak of “intelligent design” if it’s always hidden and undetectable. “We’re promoting a scientific theory, not a theological doctrine,” replies ID, “and our theory detects design in nature through scientific observations and evidence.”
Some theistic evolutionists will then further reply by saying, “Since we both believe in some form of ‘intelligent design,’ the differences between our views are small.” ID proponents retort: “Whether small or not, these differences make all the difference in the world.”
And there’s the rub. By denying that we scientifically detect design in nature, BTEs cede to materialists some of the most important territory in the debate over atheism and religion. Biologically speaking, theistic evolution gives no reasons to believe in God.
To be clear, I’m not saying that if one accepts Darwinian evolution then one cannot be a Christian. Accepting or rejecting the grand Darwinian story is a “disputable” or “secondary” matter, and Christians have freedom to hold different views on this issue. But while it may be possible to claim God used apparently unguided evolutionary processes to create life, that doesn’t mean Darwinian evolution is theologically neutral.
According to orthodox Darwinian thinking, undirected processes created not just our bodies, but also our brains, our behaviors, our deepest desires, and even our religious impulses. Under theistic Darwinism, God guided all these processes such that the whole show appears unguided. Thus, theistic evolution stands in direct contrast to Romans 1:20 where the Paul taught that God is “clearly seen” in nature. In contrast, theistic evolution implies God’s involvement in creating humans is completely unseeable,
Theistic evolution may not be absolutely incompatible with believing in God, but it offers no scientific reasons to do so. Perhaps this is why William Provine writes: “One can have a religious view that is compatible with evolution only if the religious view is indistinguishable from atheism.”
So many people marketing theistic evolution these days dislike evidence. Some of them are really big on unresearchable testimonies too.
If the evolution scene were what they claim it is, you’d think we’d be the ones not to want evidence. But we totally rely on it and are comfortable with it.
See also: Is this guy the Baptist Dawkins? His Darwin is a consuming fire. Do a lot of typical Baptists think this way?
The Prophet of Patheos
What the fossils told us in their own words
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