Amy Julia Becker, who blogs at “Thin Places,” on faith, family and disability, at Christianity Today wants us to know that faith and science are compatible (STOP the presses).
Apparently, last week, she went to a BioLogos (Christians for Darwin) seminar and learned the following:
First, as Richard Mouw (former President of Fuller Seminary) reminded us, God is slow. The universe is 13.4 billion years old (I think I’m remembering that correctly!). It took billions of years for life on earth to exist, much less for humans to populate it. That’s how much time God has. That’s how long God is willing to work in order to create and ultimately recreate this world. …
And finally, God is in control. I heard these scientists talk about how God has used random processes in a purposeful way, in a way that resulted not only in human beings but also in human culture—in art and music and love and laughter and hope and joy. Through billions of years and a vastness of space that I cannot comprehend, God has been at work in a purposeful way.
(Conceptual map: Darwinian evolution is based on the proposition that it looks guided but is really random. People only imagine there is a God behind it, so believing in a “purposeful way” is a matter of sheer, blind faith. Non-Darwinians say it not only doesn’t look random, but is not random. Becker might wish to investigate them. Any suggestions of sources?)
So Darwinism first, Christianity second. Christianity survives if it is acceptable to Darwinism.
Philosopher Laszlo Bencze responds gently,
“I heard these scientists talk about how God has used random processes in a purposeful way, in a way that resulted not only in human beings but also in human culture”. quoted from Amy Becker.
OK calm down. Let’s see if logic can help us here. Any process that is random is not controlled by anything. It just happens… uh, well, randomly. So using a random process purposefully removes the randomness and makes it purposeful. Sorry. That didn’t help. Let’s try again.
Random processes are controlled by a god who is also random. Now that’s consistent. But shoot, a random god can’t have any purposes because, well, uh, he’s random after all. Gosh that didn’t help either.
Wait! Wait! I’ve got it. “Random” is just a synonym for “purposeful” so god can use random processes because they are actually as purposeful as he is! Brilliant eh? Oh, you say that’s not what random means to evolutionists. They say it’s just like playing craps in a back alley and the dice are not loaded so there’s no predicting the outcome.
Well well. This is a tough nut to crack. How about this one? Logic itself is outmoded and non-functional in our world. It is just a mind game for the cultural elite.
Therefore, contradictions do not exist and a thing can be both itself and not itself at the same time in the same place. Whew. That took some heavy lifting. What? Huh?
You say I used logic in proving logic does not exist and so contradicted myself. Well what sort of a creep are you? Oh, you’re a professor of biology at State U and you need logic to put Christians in their place. And you say it also helps you in understanding our meaningless universe.
I think it’s best if we just pretend not to notice any problems with what Ms Becker said and proceed to lunch.
Except, of course, that Becker is just the sort of person BioLogos seeks to influence (she announces that she comes to them in all humility and ignorance, when she should realize that she is walking into a den).
They influence them to forget reason, logic, and evidence—and accept an impossible proposition (guided randomness) in a storm of religious incitements, and then they all go off happy, to tell others the good news.
Incidentally, friends have expressed surprise that the concept of slowness would even be applied to God, except in a metaphorical sense. God is traditionally understood to be outside time, and for good logical reasons.
Of course, if one’s acceptance of God hinges on his compatibility with Darwinian evolution, then presumably, he is subject to the same strictures as Darwinian evolution, or more strictures if he is actually the lesser of the two (the evolving God).
That at least makes sense.
Note: Re faith and science being compatible, doesn’t it depend on whose faith and what science? Boko Haram, a Nigerian terrorist group, acts from religious motives. The name means “books are forbidden” – “books” referring roughly to Western culture. Do these people strike readers as science-friendly? See what harm is done when vague terms like “science” and “faith” are tossed around like that?
The worst damage “liberal” Christianity does is rob people of the ability to ask common sense questions and make common sense distinctions, all in the effort to make them seem godly but up to date. What they really need, which Biologos cannot give them, is a sharp edge, a clear mind, and firm principles. – O’Leary for News
See also: If anyone cares, BioLogos will now actually review Darwin’s Doubt.
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21 Replies to “The High God of Random strikes at hazard”
I think that what may appear random could be something more like “indirect”. The sequence of cosmic events that produced the Earth as we know it took hundreds of millions of years in which proto-Earth and the Collider slowly moved into exactly the right positions for the collision. The closest humans come to anything like this is imperial dynasties where I plan for my grandson to be in a position to conquer all of China or something. In any particular intermediate year, the events appear to happen without control or “randomly”.
News, you left out the last step:
“Darwinian evolution is based on the proposition that it looks guided but is really random”. . . but is really guided, which we thought in in the first place but can’t say unless we’re tenured.
It looks guided but it’s really random, but random means it’s really guided.
Some TEs agree with this. “God couldn’t predict what would evolve”. So, for them, that proves God is totally compatible with Darwinism. All you have to do is radically change the nature of God and everything works out fine.
There is something truly farcically surreal about the mismatch between the mathematically-calculated, operational certainty of the findings in quantum physics, to as much 28 standard deviations, and the statistical impossibilities of materialists’ gratuitous, conjectural narratives.
Why is it not a criminal offence for scientists to refuse to renounce conjectures (usually posing as theories – even established science) statistically proven to be operational impossibilities?
And for seats of learning to condone such pig-headed anti-science behaviour?
‘It looks guided but it’s really random, but random means it’s really guided.’ The Silver Fox.
Silver Asiatic, you see, we had to bomb the village to save it. It makes sense. To understand such paradoxes, though, you need to administer a cocktail of strong hallucinogens. Then remember what you realised when you were spaced out.
Yes and if people actually read what God said, they would know how valubale they are.He was personally involved in the creation of man, He took clay and formed us to his image and likeness and personally breathed life into us. Imagine your worth if he Went on His hands and knees to take clay from the ground to form you.
Silver Asiatic at 4: “All you have to do is radically change the nature of God and everything works out fine.” Yes, and I believe there is good reason for thinking that that is the project.
Consider how utterly unlike anything we read in Scripture the God of BioLogos is.
Barry at 2,tenure is much less common these days. So if that is so, it becomes one of the many truths today that everyone knows but no one is allowed to say. Except here.
Yeah. It’s one thing to lie to your neighbor or relative but it’s another thing altogether to try to deceive the entire human species with a hugely orchestrated con game. The words ‘evil’ and ‘treason’ comes to mind.
Axel at 5 and Mapou at 10: That would resurrect the Galileo problem. See, contrary to nonsense we hear, Galileo had no way of knowing whether Copernicus was right (or wrong). No one did. Later astronomers had a much better chance at that one.
So Galileo was urged by a highly placed churchman friend to hold his views “as a hypothesis,” not as a fact. That would have been okay. But he wouldn’t budge (though he didn’t really know). Then the trouble started.
Anyway, one oughtn’t to go there.
“Survival of the Fittest” has been reduced to a silly slogan. Just a metaphor, a parable, not to be taken literally.
What is the next pillar of dogma that will fall? I vote for “Evolution is Unguided”. Although “Appearance of Design” is a doozy too.
The hills of evidence are turning into mountains of evidence.
Denyse, it was said by me, ‘tongue in cheek’, though not directly for the reasons you state, but perhaps, indirectly. I mean that I don’t believe that is ever how power-structures are taken down. Even though the parallel with Galileo might not be valid, since I was talking about mathematically unassailable evidence of quantum mechanics-based research.
Consequently, it strikes me (rightly or wrongly) that the parallel with Galileo’s problem, i.e. that the latter should have adduced it as only a provisional finding, ought not to apply here, since I was talking about findings mathematically proven, for example, to 20 plus sigma; operational certainties that the materialist foot-draggers will one day absolutely have to face.
Mapou, you gad it. But evil and treason have always been simply considered by the multinationals as ‘good business’ practice, and they have more power now than ever to impose their psychopathic lexicon!
I wonder if Dawkins means that plants, for instance, just give the appearance of being designed, but are really just cardboard cut-outs, like those pop-up pictures in children’s books.
But, as with quantum mechanics, they only assume living, breathing, biomimetiferous reality, after they’ve been observed? When the tendril function collapses, as you might say…?
Axel – your axles keeps spinning the witticisms for us and I certainly appreciate the laughs, even the morbid ones:
That must be why I can’t understand Darwinian thinking – they’re keeping the cocktails for themselves.
News @ 8 (sounds like what they say on TV – except it’s “at 6”)
So true. The “non-interventionist God” would ruin the incentive to prayer-of-petition, not to mention destroy all the supernatural interventions presented in Scripture. I’ve discussed this with such-types who openly agree that’s the case and they don’t have a problem with it. Open theology and all that.
Theistic evolutionists are merely Darwinian groupies. They think that hanging around the Big Shots and enthusiastically nodding their heads at every proclamation made by Dawkins, the NCSE and the like will win them cool points. In reality, they are pitiful weak-thinkers who wear “kick me” signs on their backs, all the while as the materialists silently snicker at their gullibility.
Reading the OP made me consider randomness and “processes” (whatever that could be) in general. Here’s a question my fellow armchair philosophers who read the boards.
Are there really such things as truly random processes, or is it a better description to say that the outputs are random? I can see the definition of a random process as being defined as having a random result. Or put another way, as a process which has as a property of its being as delivering beings.
However, I wonder if that isn’t entirely correct. Could it be that we could simply say that the process itself has a purpose, yet its results are random (or at least statistically improbable enough to be considered random). I think this definition is slightly “better” from a design perspective. In the one sense you can truly say that there is no random process, only random results.
The process of flipping coins for instance. One could say that the process of “flipping coins” (provided it is a fair coin) always has a purpose. That purpose would be to yield a head or a tail once flipped. Or depending upon its use, to decide “who goes first” at ball games; to provide a member value to a population sample (set of outcomes from a fair coin) for use in stochastic analysis; and so on. However, a coin never flips itself, so there would have to be a purpose behind the process. An agent that is desiring to use the results of the coin flip’s function.
Similarly, we could assign a purpose to radioactive decay. The process of decay generates instances of new atomic elements while removing instances of existing elements from existence. Additionally, the process of decay can also be used to provide member values to population sample for use in stochastic analysis.
Apparently, my ability to proof read before posting is impaired. 🙁
Please see below for my edits.
Should read: Here’s a question for my fellow armchair philosophers who read the boards.
Should read: Or put another way, as a process which has as a property of its being as delivering random results.
Should read: The process of decay generates instances of new atomic elements while removing instances of existing elements from existence, or simply removes instances of an element from existence.
God is traditionally understood to be outside time, and for good logical reasons.
I have used the above phrase and have caught myself in a logical inconsistency. “Outside, inside’ are an antonym pair having to do with a spacial description. I would say that God and we ourselves are independent of time and space although our bodies are not, and to the extent that we identify with our bodies, (ego identification) we delude ourselves into thinking we are not. This is a common theme in consciousness research, where folks far along the way to spiritual health experience instances of banished ego, and invariably the sense of time disappears during these experiences, which is when the encounter with eternity onsets. But being in bodies, eternity is only temporary for us but so is being in bodies; leaving eternity as really permanent. And real. And true.