Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Letter to thinking Christians (and other theists)


Writing letters to a broad public is all the rage nowadays, so I thought I would try my hand at it too:

Dear thinking Christians/theists/non-materialists,

Some people have expressed deep concern over the sudden surge in anti-God/anti-spiritual activists, opposed to traditional spiritualities.

Yes, it is a good idea to keep an eye on these anti-spiritual movements, but – based on decades of watching social trends and covering controversies – I do not think that these people should be our main concern. They are acting out of desperation. The materialism they espouse is simply not confirmed by evidence and not working in society either. Worse, even the most generous and favorable media attention has not made them look or sound attractive. More publicity will only deepen the hole they are digging themselves into.

In my experience, a far more serious concern is the gutting of a spiritual tradition from within. Along those lines, be on the lookout for the following trends, whether in your church mosque, synagogue, or whatever:

– Evolutionary psychology In some liberal Christian settings, I have noticed a growing interest in “evolutionary psychology” (God, it turns out, is that buzz in our genes that cause us to leave viable offspring.

Yeah really. All theistic traditions of which I am aware teach that people believe in God because God exists and reveals himself to them. The only inheritance they need is a mind capable of taking in the idea of God at some level. By contrast, evolutionary psychology argues that your experience is no proof of a transcendent reality. You believe what you do because of your genes.

Now, how anyone could fail to see the implicit atheism in such a perspective is quite beyond me, but happily, it isn’t my business to figure that unhappy conundrum out. Only to warn that some fall for this stuff.

Evisceration of actual belief, accompanied by protests of sincerity. For example, famous mid-twentieth-century Darwinist Theodosius Dobzhansky is often fronted as a Christian. Here’s the reality. His convictions had nothing to do with Christianity. In the present day, a prolific contributor to the American Scientific Affiliation‘s discussion site on these issues, who is a Lutheran, writes,

I long ago made peace with the idea that God could use evolution to form our physical bodies. What was new to me, from the atheists’ perspective, was the idea that the intangible aspects of us, like feelings, emotions, consciousness, etc. (which I had equated with the God-given, eternal soul) could also arise (ala emergent properties) naturally. Thus, I’ve acquired a new-found interest in the fields of pyschology, neurology, and computer science as I try to reconceptualize the idea of a “soul”.

At least in the vast majority of cases God works “in, with & under” the activities of creatures so that we don’t see God at work directly. Luther called the created things through which God acts “the masks of our Lord God, behind which He wants to remain concealed and do all things.” This means, I think, that we shouldn’t be surprised if, among other things, human beings don’t contain any special “supernatural” component.

The question is not whether such beliefs – or persons – are good or bad, or sincere or otherwise. What you need to ask is a much simpler and entirely determinable question: Is this stuff compatible with your spiritual tradition? If not, recognize the situation for what it is: undermining from within.

(Note:  A reader has kindly advised that in the first paragraph above, the quoted author (George Murphy) is quoting someone else. I didn’t notice an attribution. My focus, however, is the readiness with which the fans of Christian Darwinism flirt with dispensing with a supernatural component in the human being. I am afraid that I have never heard of an orthodox theology of the cross (an interest of Murphy’s) that denies humans a supernatural component. That is, however, a pillar of orthodox Darwinism. I think that what Murphy, his quotee, and many on the ASA list from which this sample was taken clearly demonstrate is the slow rot of non-materialist understanding of life that any long and close embrace of Darwinism brings about. Mind you, I expect them to want to discuss just about anything else.)

Random embrace of materialism. The American Episcopal Church was so anxious to sell out to materialism that it insisted on a materialist origin (“emergence”) for life, even though no one knows how life originated. Most Anglican (Episcopal) bishops worldwide consider the failing American denomination heretical for unrelated reasons – but they might wish to consider this incident as a straw in the wind. – The American Episcopal Church was so to sell out to materialism that it insisted on a materialist (“emergence”) for life, even though knows how life originated. Most Anglican (Episcopal) bishops worldwide consider the American denomination for unrelated reasons – but they might wish to consider this incident as a straw in the wind.(Oh yes, did I forget to mention? Materialism will diminish and eventually close your worship centre. Do you love God? Your worship centre? Write that down, as a possible reason not to consider materialism, or its creation story, Darwinism.)

– The American Episcopal Church was so to sell out to materialism that it insisted on a materialist (“emergence”) for life, even though knows how life originated. Most Anglican (Episcopal) bishops worldwide consider the American denomination for unrelated reasons – but they might wish to consider this incident as a straw in the wind.(Oh yes, did I forget to mention? Materialism will diminish and eventually close your worship centre. Do you love God? Your worship centre? Write that down, as a possible reason not to consider materialism, or its creation story, Darwinism.)- “Fideism”, evacuated of content. That is, loud protests of traditional belief, held simply as an irrational conviction, unrelated to the person’s assumptions about how the universe really works. Beliefs are supposed to sound like foolishness; that’s what makes them faithful.

All of these trends are of far more significance than doctrinaire atheism in undermining a spiritual tradition. Here are some suggestions for spotting such trends at work:

Key changes in the information that is considered relevant when addressing controversial issues: Suppose, for example, your tradition is wrestling with questions around homosexuality. You suddenly find yourself in a discussion about whether homosexuality contributes to “evolutionary fitness” or whether it is “natural”, “innate,” or whatever.

Well, stop the discussion right there. Yes, right there . Ask, how did we get here? In the Christian tradition, for example, a tendency to sin is regarded as innate, without restriction as to type of sin. And sin – as defined in Scripture – is to be rejected, whether or not the behaviour is considered “natural” or the outcome is “evolutionarily fit.” If you cannot discuss controversial questions in that light, you are no longer in the Christian tradition. And Darwinism is one way of getting right outside the Christian tradition very quickly.

(Note: For your own peace of mind, try to avoid acting astonished at the number of grey eminences that have bobbled above a pew for some fifty or sixty years without developing a Christian mind. They are perfectly happy to make major decisions without any such mind. It’s mostly not even their fault. For decades, clergy of many denominations have functioned as therapists and social workers, not spiritual directors – and the results show.)

Subtle appeals to turn your faith into mere fideism: Watch out for platitudes like “all truth is God’s truth.” While that’s correct, as far as it goes, the mantras of materialism are not truths of any sort and should not be godfathered as “God’s truths,” kicking actual spiritual truths into an irrelevant attic. Materialism and Darwinism can be rejected outright with no loss.

Here’s another dangerous platitude: “Don’t get the Rock of Ages mixed up with the age of the rocks.” Oh? Why not? Either the Rock of Ages is responsible for the age of the rocks or he isn’t. Can you see the subtle appeal here to replace your Christian worldview with a materialist worldview when considering such questions as the origin of the universe, the earth, or life?

Oh and let’s not forget, “The Bible isn’t a science textbook.” Well, anyone who gets around to reading the Bible much will notice that it is a collection of 66 books (more if you are a Catholic and count the Apocrypha), written in a variety of genres on a variety of subjects, with the unifying theme of the relationship between God and people. So there is no question of a science textbook, or a textbook of any kind. But … where there is a conflict between the view of man portrayed in the Bible and similar scriptures and a view that originates in a materialist system like evolutionary psychology, which view should prevail at your worship centre?

Finally, recognize that many Western Christian academics are co-dependent with materialism – it’s how many of them have managed to stay where they are in systems dominated by materialists. They have seen what happened to, for example, Rick Sternberg, Carolyn Crocker, Nancy Bryson, Frank Beckwith, etc., so they know the rules: As long as they

1) avoid raising any serious problems with any materialist system, and

2) attack or disparage anyone who is more forthright against materialism than they are,

they are themselves left alone – for now. At any rate, to the extent that they have placed their bets of materialism and made all sorts of sacrifices for materialism for years, they need the materialist system to prevail.

And it won’t be their fault if it doesn’t.

If that is what some call peace, no wonder increasing numbers are for war. That is a key reason why there is an intelligent design controversy. And there will soon be more than one controversy. New fronts are opening up as people in various disciplines question materialism.

Anyway, materialist undermining at your worship centre can be detected by careful listening and observation. Be ready to ask the right questions at the right times. If you wait too long, it may be far advanced and therefore harder to stop.


Denyse O’Leary

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[...] I write this post to put into perspective Denyse O’Leary’s recent remarks about the “gutting of a spiritual tradition from within” (see here — the relevance of her remarks to the ASA cannot be missed) and to highlight that with the efforts by Dawkins, Dennett, and Harris to ramp up their propaganda for atheism since this letter by Jack Haas was written suggests that the ASA was mistaken in shifting its emphasis away from “the sweeping tide of scientific materialism.” Lay Education Committee of the American Scientific Affiliation PO Box 668 ~ 55 Market Street Ipswich, MA 01938 [...] American Scientific Affiliation — Whatever happened to its mission? | Uncommon Descent
[...] In other words, science is not about assessing the evidence, it is about accumulating evidence that supports an atheistic perspective. The really interesting result is not the way in which such a perspective deforms our understanding of religion but - as Mario Beauregard’s and my forthcoming book, The Spiritual Brain will show - the way it deforms our understanding of science. [...] Are you (a) a religious robot or (b) a religious freak? | Uncommon Descent
Under homology in the previous post, include molecular similarity of genomes and molecular clocks. There may be other things I left out so anyone who wants to can add to the list. Let's hear it for the defense of NDE. jerry
jmcd, I will make the following observation. When anyone who holds the gradualist point of view is asked to defend why they do so, the most frequent response is to punt. There is nothing I personally would like better than a discussion of the evidence. But my experience is that most who hold the gradualist approach assume there is some but few ever try to present any. When pushed to present something to support their position they cannot. As an experiment, I asked dopderbecker and George Murphy to do so. Read their responses here and the responses on the Ted Davis thread 10 days ago. There is no close minded attitude that I can see. How is the post closing off freedom of inquiry. All we are saying is please justify your conclusions about the gradualist approach. I often make emphatic statements to try to provoke someone into thinking. I probably could make a better defense of Neo Darwinism than most who come here that believe in it. If you can make a defense of Neo Darwinism, go ahead and there would be an interesting discussion, not a closing off of discussion. The opportunity to do so exists on over half the threads here but we get few visitors who ever try. Read the thread that linked to Allen MacNeill's comments to see if it closed off discussion. He doesn't come here very often but when he does he can say what he wants and others can challenge him. Great_ape is a gradualist who defends his position but admits there isn't much evidence to support the conclusions of gradualism. The strongest evidence for a naturalistic theory of evolution (not necessarily a gradualist one) is imperfection of design, lack of rationale for the long time a designer took if there were one, homology, continual increase in complexity over time and the geo diversity of life. All are circumstantial. There is no direct evidence they can point to. But they dare not admit this because they would be thrown out of the text books tomorrow. jerry
Jerry You say that TE's never defend the science, but only have arguments from theology. While this is obviously not true let's go ahead and assume it is. What are they to say to the caucophony of arguments, that one need look no farther than this site on any given day to find, that constantly attempt to demonstrate that evolution is not compatible with God. I also find this post somewhat troubling in the sense that it seems to closing off freedom of inquiry. I am essentially hearing: follow the evidence where it leads as long as you agree with our interpretation of the evidence and certain apriori assumptions that we can never prove but you must believe the way we believe. To insist that there is no reason to think that life may well have had a physical beginning or vice versa is to throw away any pretense of objectivity. People on both sides are guilty. jmcd
The Woese link does not seem to work. Let's try this https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/start-the-revolution-without-id/ jerry
Imf3b, By all means get the book. It is an interesting but sometimes difficult read and I would love to see what others take from it. I will order the Falk book too to see what he says. As I said he was here for a few days last year. Here is the post where he recommended Carroll's book https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/ken-miller-the-closet-id-supporter-backpedals-and-dissembles/ There are several current non-ID friendly researchers who don't think Darwin's ideas make sense. Here are a few. I do not claim to understand them all. Jeffrey Schwartz and a thread discussing him. https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/the-sound-of-the-molecular-assumption-exploding/ Carl Woese who like HGT or horizontal gene transfer https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/quote-mine-we-regard-as-rather-regrettable-the-conventional-concatenation-of-darwin’s-name-with-evolution/ Allen MacNeill who is very vocal on the subject. Here is one thread https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/cornell-evolutionary-biologist-declares-neo-darwinism-dead/ jerry
Again, I'll reserve judgment until I've read Carrol, but I know of few if any well-received science books that offer strong statements supporting a particular scientific theory without citing evidence. As I recall, Falk addresses the micro/macroevolution distinction and offers evidence that the same mechanisms are at work in both cases. Finally, can you provide an example of one of these speculations biologists are considering for a non-neo-darwinian mechanism that produces gross changes in species over time? lmf3b
George Murphy, When we use the term Darwinism we are usually referring to Neo Darwinism or what is also known as the Modern Synthesis which is a combination of Population Genetics and some form of allele creation in the genome. The allele creation is often some form of mutation that can come about by various means and includes single nucleotide polymorphism or grosser changes to the genome through other means. ID has no problems with any of this. Neo Darwinism is supposed to work through creating small changes over time or a gradualist approach. ID recognizes that such a process is possible and occasionally happens but there is no evidence that it actually resulted in anything really new. It explains some micro-evolution but there is no evidence that it ever accounted for anything but trivial changes in an organism. It is especially useful for medicine since many diseases are just small changes in a single nucleotide and medical diagnosis is paramount for proper treatment. So when someone says ID doesn't recognize changes in protein structure by mutation or changes in bacteria through mutation, it is utter nonsense. There are many out there who make these accusations. For evolution it has never been shown that this process accounted for anything besides trivial events. Population genetics says that allele frequency change over time is usually based on two processes, natural selection and genetic drift and of the two, genetic drift is probably the most important. Natural selection tends to eliminate any new alleles and keeps the species in stasis which is what is seen in the fossil record. For grosser changes in genomes as seen in the fossil record some other mechanism must exist and many in biology are searching for such a mechanism. However at present all they have are speculations, not any real theory. We are aware of the philosophical additions that are added to Neo Darwinism and are often part of the theory for many. We obviously do not agree with these philosophical additions but we also do not believe there is any evidence for the actual physical process producing anything but trivial changes. jerry
George Murphy said
"...debate here with someone whose mind appears to be closed on the subject of evolution (aka “Darwinism.”)."
Foul #1. Many here (perhaps all) are of the view that "evolution" and "Darwinism" are not equivalent terms. "Evolution" being change over time, and even common descent. "Darwinism" being the blind-watchmaker thesis that claims that random mutation + natural selection is ultimately responsible for all the CSI present in bio-forms. That you would conflate the two here indicates to me that either you don't understand the ID view, or ID proponents, as much as you think you do, or you do understand it and deliberately misrepresent it. Maybe YOU should stick around here and open YOUR mind for while, eh? mike1962
lmf3b, Carrol makes strong statements supporting Darwinism. He just offers no real evidence on why his work actually supports a gradualist approach for evolution. Nor have I found anyone who can make the argument either. It is a very interesting book and what I often call a kindergarten to graduate school approach. Some of it is very accessible and meant for the person off the street but then it gets bogged down in extreme complexity and detail that it would take a lot of a hard studying to digest. He makes the case for what he calls switches that control how proteins are actually expressed in the organism during gestation. He implies there are several thousands of these switches in the genome and this is where the complicated instructions are that control everything. If anyone has a different take on Carroll then I would be glad to see what they think he has shown. jerry
sajones97 For clarification only: When I said "evolution (aka 'Darwinism')" it was a reference to the fact that some anti-evolutionists pretend that anyone who accepts evolution is an adherent of "Darwinism." E.g., it was suggested here that I "could make the argument for Darwinism," something I have no interest in doing - & that in spite of the fact that I think that biological evolution has happened & that the mechanism of natural selection proposed by Darwin & Wallace is at least a major factor in the evolutionary process. "Darwinism" implies an ideology, like Marxism, rather than a scientific theory. [Most of my scientific work has been in the area of general relativity and its applications, but I (& I think others in the field) have never thought of ourselves as being adherents of "Einsteinism."] There are of course proponents of Darwinism in that sense - e.g., Richard Dawkins -but few if any Christians who accept evolution are. George Murphy
I have not read the Carroll book, but from glancing at the overview on Amazon, as well as Carroll's other writings, I would be shocked if the book was not strongly supportive of the mainstream scientific principle of evolution. Whether this principle is the same as what you are calling "darwinism," I cannot say. Falk clearly believes there is much scientific evidence that humans arose gradually; the term "gradual creation" abounds in his book. Again, I recommend his book as the best illustration of why he believes this, and how this belief can be reconciled with a Christian worldview. lmf3b
Lutepisc, Thank you for your reply. I meant my comment about destroying ID as a general assessment of the situation. For those who think ID is a negative factor in the evolution debate, all they would have to do to really marginalize ID more than it is currently would be to provide a solid defense of Darwinism. But none do which I think is telling. Their comments always end up some place else. Imf3b, Darrel Falk was on this site last summer and when asked what he would recommend that supports Darwinism, he said we should read Sean Carroll's "Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom" which I did but this book had no support at all for Darwinism. In fact the book indicated how complicated the process is for an organism to develop during gestation. So it is wonder how even a small part of the instructions evolved let alone all that would be necessary to produce a human. He estimated it would take 10,000 pages of small print to list the instructions to make a human, hardly support for something to develop gradually. jerry
If I may suggest another good book from a TE perspective, it would be Falk's Coming to Peace with Science. The back cover quotes an endorsement of the book from Dr. Dembski, as well as from prominant TE's like Keith Miller and Francis Collins. lmf3b
George Murphy, Please define evolution as you are using it here. No, "aka Darwinism" is not acceptable. "Darwinism" is dogma. The dogma of Darwinism is pretty much the whole reason for this blog. If that escapes you, there are plenty of blogs out there where your beliefs will remain comfortably unthreatened. Cheers. sajones97
Hi, jerry. You wrote, "One way to destroy ID and this site would be to present a coherent framework for Darwinism." I, for one, am not out to destroy ID. I count myself as a fan of ID. I do not consider myself a "proponent" of ID, though, because I'm not a biologist. You also wrote, "All of us here would like someone who opposes ID to correctly express what ID stands for." I believe you have a very good point there, jerry. ID's opponents have managed to conflate it with creationism...for legal purposes, I believe. But a side effect of this conflation is that it gives ID little credibility with theologians in mainline denominations. This is unfortunate, since what is being rejected is most often a caricature of ID. Lutepisc
George Murphy, Examine each of our statements. Who has the closed mind? Who has asked for the dialog? Who refuses the dialog? The people at UD believe in their position and are willing to discuss it. That is the challenge. An open discussion. Is anyone who supports the theistic evolution view point willing to discuss the science alone, without any theology attached. Find someone and have them open a dialog. They will be treated with respect. It will also be a breath of frresh air. jerry
Lutepisc, You said "I would say that theological evolutionists have, for the most part, accommodated their theology to the prevailing science." I have no idea of the theology of the theological evolutionists because is seems to span over many different religious beliefs but only know the prevailing science. And the prevailing science is false on evolution. So according to your observation the theological evolutionists have accommodated their theology to a falsehood if in fact the premise of this site is correct, that the prevailing science on evolution is false. That is a fairly devastating observation if you accept the premise about the science. And one of the premises of this site is that Darwinism is false. One way to destroy ID and this site would be to present a coherent framework for Darwinism. Most here would go their way very much wiser if that is done but no one has been able to do so yet. We will listen to whatever is presented but it never rises above the trivial or the irrelevant, mostly distortions of what ID stands for. All of us here would like someone who opposes ID to correctly express what ID stands for. That would be a breath of fresh air. Instead we usually get anger and disdain. jerry
What we are to think is that there are better ways for me to spend my time - & specifically, better ways to contribute to good science-theology dialogue - than debate here with someone whose mind appears to be closed on the subject of evolution (aka "Darwinism."). Nothing more should be read into the fact that I choose not to continue this conversation. To repeat, my only reason for replying to your post was to correct your false claim that Christians who accept evolution deal only with theology and not with science. You might try to learn something from that correction & be a bit less dogmatic about your statements. George Murphy
George Murphy, Thank you for your kind words. I said I haven't read the books you suggested. For eight years I have read many other books including some of Dawkins books. I have watched the evolution sections of the biology courses at Berkeley by more than one professor. They are availble to anyone on the web. I have yet to see a coherent defense of Darwinism. No one has presented one here and you certainly haven't tried nor has anyone else who has a theistic evolution view point which is why I made my comments. This is not the first time the topic comes up. In fact it comes up about every month or so. What I do see is constant distortion of the ID positions by people who have never read about ID. Otherwise they could not honestly make the comments they do. Some suggestions: go through the textbooks on biology and list the examples they provide that support Darwinism. See how little they actually have. I suggest you read Ken Miller's responses to Behe and if you think they are good science then come here and discuss them. They were pathetic but my guess is that you have not read them or else you wouldn't be so confident. Go read anything that supports Darwin and bring it back here to discuss. My guess is that you will not because no one has done it before when challenged. The best that is presented is micro-evolution and few dispute that but it is trivial stuff in the whole debate. I suggest you read about Meyer's analysis of the Cambrian Explosion as well as James Valentine's analysis of the same subject in terms of Darwinism. There is no way a gradualist approach can explain the origin of the phyla. The phyla all appeared simultaneously out of nowhere and the proverbial tree of evolution is a magnificent work of fiction only defended because it was in Darwin's book. By the way I have ordered from Amazon and Caiman four of the books you suggested before making my previous comments. I will read them and see what science they contain. The reason I don't expect they will contain anything significant is because we have not seen anything presented to us when we have asked. You have an opportunity to do so now. It could be a very fruitful exchange. If you think Collins presents good support for Darwinism, then counter what Denyse wrote. But if we don't see anything what are we to think? jerry
Smoly hoke! Just happened to tune in and read that Denyse is a liar? Denyse writes a public letter, essentially asking pertinent questions about sensing a subtle influx of materistic notions within an extended Christian community. As most folks know, asking certain sorts of questions, or making observations that appear to demonstrate heterodox views, can invite rather heated reponses. It's inevitable: RC traditional orthodoxy facing off with relatively new opinions spawned by relatively new Protestant ideas. So we get to the theologies of God and his creation, and how divine activity/energy interacts with that creation. How does God operate in, or through, his creation? How is Providence manifested in what is observed or measured? Early Fathers talked about synergy or cooperation, an idea that allows freedom and necessity to work together, but never at the expense of either. According to Orthodox Christianity the divine, uncreated energies are God's acts in the world. IOW, if I've got it right, design would be a part of the divine uncreated energy. There is, therefore, a close connection, a synergy, between the Creator and his created but they are ontologically distinct. So when a traditionalist senses that divine cooperation could be diluted by materialist unction, so to speak, alarm bells ring. God cannot use Godless means to make life in his image any more than he can fiddle square circles to fit Lutheran algebra. So to claim that Denyse is a liar because her traditional equations do not fit new-fangled algorithms is quite silly. eebrom
So - you haven't read any of these books but still knew what theistic evolutionists said? What Christians who accept evolution had you read before making your claim? You discount Collins because of the criticisms of a journalist with no discernible scientific qualifications & Ken Miller because he's dismantled the claims of some IDers. It's easy to see how open you are to scientific arguments. I got onto this blog only to correct some misrepresentations & have no interest in fruitless debate with someone who so casually dismisses scientists who actually know what they're talking about. I responded to your post to correct your false statement about "Theological Evolutionists" & your reply just shows again that you didn't know what you were talking about. That will be sufficient. George Murphy
George Murphy, We are getting some place. You have put some specifics on the table. I haven't read any of these books but maybe a discussion of the claims of each should be examined in terms of their science not their theology. Which do you suggest is the best one to start with? I do not suggest Collin's book as the first one because Denyse wrote a devastating criticism of it. I know the stuff that Ken Miller espouses is suspect. I have seen his criticism of the Behe and Minnich's discussion of the bacterial flagellum and it is specious at best. In fact it is embarrassing that anyone who wants to be known as a scientist would make it. I have also seen him distort Behe and ID positions in the Dover trial even though he should be quite familiar with the non-religious aspects of ID since he debated them enough. I don't find his methods very "Christian" behavior. I would hope that the content of all the books you have mentioned be eventually examined here for their science. Maybe some of the moderators could arrange something. Maybe some here have already read them for their scientific content. There is another possibility. Namely, you could make the argument for Darwinism. Why do you accept it as valid science? What evidence convinces you? We have yet to see anyone here who can defend it. But we are eager to learn and hopefully a productive dialog will happen. But you should also listen to the objections that people will make here and see if there is a reasonable answer to them. jerry
"We have an interesting phenomena here. The YEC’s are against Darwinism because it is inconsistent with their religious views." Yep. "The Darwinist and Theological Evolutionist are for Darwinism because it consistent with their religious or philosophical views. None of the three are interested in the truth of the science of evolution." Well...not exactly. I would say that theological evolutionists have, for the most part, accommodated their theology to the prevailing science. I think a better proposal for mainline Christian theologians--especially those interested in a dialog with science--would be that they give ID a fair shake. Our Lutheran periodical ("The Lutheran"), for example, recently ran a four-article series on ID. However, the articles clearly confounded ID with "creationism," which is easily defeated from a theological perspective. I wrote a letter to the editor suggesting that he actually run a series on ID at some future date, since the four articles dealt with creationsim rather than ID. My letter didn't get published because there were more articulate letters making the same point. This, I think, is where we need to begin. Lutepisc
According to jerry, "As a group the theological evolutionist really seem to only discuss one thing and that is theology. They don’t care about evidence or scientific truth." This is manifestly false. I suggest that he read some books by Christians who accept evolution -e.g., Ted Peters & Martinez Hewlett, _Evolution from Creation to New Creation_. David Wilcox, _God and Evolution_. Francis Collins, _The Language of God_. Kenneth Miller, Finding Darwin's God_. Keith B. Miller (ed.), _Perspectives on an Evolving Creation_. (I wrote Chapter 16 here.) Others could be cited. He will see that scientific data and theories are taken into account in all of these. In addition, the degree to which the various authors are committed to "Darwinism" in any strict sense varies considerably. Whether or not one agrees with the various authors' assessments of the science is not the point now. It is simply not true that they are not concerned about science. Could we please stop this kind of misrepresentation? George Murphy
Maybe someone could inform me just why Darwin should ever be a part of any discussion of Christian theology. Oh, I understand the implications of Darwinism for atheism but why should any Christian theological position of any sort ever hang its hat on it or even consider it as part of a theological discussion. The only reason they would possibly do so if it is truth and somehow it supports the theology. But then the argument should not have even a whisper of theology only that it is good science and probably truth. Only then should it be looked at in terms of theology. So when Theological Evolutionists come to some understanding of their theological position, there should be no necessity to point to Darwin or neo Darwinism or any other scientific theory. They should be looking for truth first. Every scientific theory should be subject to the same scrutiny. So why do they defend Darwinism so strongly? There should be no theological reason to do so and the only reason for acceptance should be they think it is the truth or maybe they do not even care but only want a theory that is consistent with their theology. Maybe that is why they are not ready to defend it on science grounds but only with theology. When they resort to theology instead of science they are admitting there is no evidence for Darwinism or any other naturalistic mechanism for evolution. Science should not be based on theology; it should however be consistent with it. As a group the theological evolutionist really seem to only discuss one thing and that is theology. They don't care about evidence or scientific truth. Funny position when some have been lawyers. We have an interesting phenomena here. The YEC's are against Darwinism because it is inconsistent with their religious views. The Darwinist and Theological Evolutionist are for Darwinism because it consistent with their religious or philosophical views. None of the three are interested in the truth of the science of evolution. Interesting phenomena. jerry
Think about someone like Dawkins. A guy like Pat Robertson is anathema to him, and the thought of losing Darwin and having Robertson’s running around unchecked is just too much to bear. To be perfectly honest, I don’t want Robertson’s running around either. OTOH, if I had to choose between neighbors, I'd pick Robertson in a heartbeat. tribune7
Denyse: I agree that people like Harris and Dawkins—the current poster children for hard-core materialism—are likely not the greatest threat that the christian thinker faces. In fact, these guys can be useful apologetic foils because their tone is self-righteous, and their moral appeals are without any foundation in a materialistic universe. I also agree with the general point that the danger from within is greater than without. A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. Having said that, I’ll have to admit I’m a little unclear on what your thesis is. You address your article to “thinking xians,” but then repeatedly say things like (emphasis mine): • Some people have expressed deep concern over the sudden surge in anti-God/anti-spiritual activists, opposed to traditional spiritualities. • a far more serious concern is the gutting of a spiritual tradition from within • Is this stuff compatible with your spiritual tradition? • Along those lines, be on the lookout for the following trends, whether in your church, mosque, synagogue, or whatever... So, is the appeal to develop a christian mind, or merely one that's compatible with a catch-all spiritual "whatever," in which you seem to be saying that any flavor of spiritual belief is good as long as it’s not materialistic. Maybe you could clarify this. -sb SteveB
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