Karsten Pultz, author of a book on intelligent design in nature (in Danish) Exit Evolution, writes to comment on this recent exchange at ENST between Doug Axe, ID theorist and author of Undeniable, and Hans Vodder, theistic evolutionist, at ENST :
In my [Axe’s] previous response to Hans, I tried to show why all attempts to explain life as something accidental require unreasonable appeals to coincidence. Biologists have been charmed into thinking that natural selection demystifies would-be miracles by performing them a bit at a time, but brilliant invention is actually no less miraculous in slow motion.
Hans has responded with these points:
First, as God can “make” things in a variety of ways, including ways that involve natural processes, I don’t quite understand the distinction between “designing” and “making” here. Is the idea that God could not have ordered natural processes to result in the evolution of life and that He had to intervene with a de novo act of creation?
Theologically, I am comfortable either way — God can do as He pleases! But I don’t see how probability calculations can settle the matter. If God is sovereign over nature, He can just as easily ordain the occurrence of a fantastically improbable event as create by divine fiat. More.
Pultz, who will be helping with the Danish translation of Axe’s Undeniable, offers,
It seems to me that what Axe’s friend Hans is doing, is conjuring up his own version of evolution, – a practice I see again and again among Christians who want to defend theistic evolution.
When I gave a talk last year at a Bible college, I used the following argument against theistic evolution:
First I have to define the scientific theory of evolution, and the only reasonable way to do that, is to look at scientific papers promoting, or just mentioning evolution. When doing that, I find only one version, namely the one where random mutation and natural selection is the driving mechanism.
So second, I can establish the fact that evolution, according to its proponents, is driven by random processes.
Third, I argue that random processes are the opposite of intentional creation, which is what the Bible tells us that life is the result of.
Fourth I conclude that the idea that God created through an evolutionary process is therefore a purely made up theory, because you then remove the mechanism on which evolution rests, namely random mutation and natural selection.
Fifth, if you remove the mechanism on which the scientific theory rests, you are no longer accepting the theory, but have instead made up your own version of it.
My claim is that those who adhere to theistic evolution, have made up their own version of evolution, a version you won’t find in the literature. If they want to pursue the TE project they will need to start from scratch and search for evidence that God was directing the evolutionary process. When they have found the evidence for this, they can establish their own theory, as the proponents of ID have done. They must show us the empirical evidence for how God directed the evolutionary process.
It might be that people like Francis Collins can defend their own version of evolution. But when I speak with theologians or just regular Christians, it is obvious to me that all of them, like Axe’s friend, are creating their own version, one I do not find in the scientific literature.
So is TE not logically unsound? Are proponents of theistic evolution not defending a theory that doesn’t exist? I tend to agree with Dawkins when he said in an interview that (paraphrasing) the evangelicals have got it right: It’s either-or, you cannot combine evolution with the belief in God; evolution is inherently materialistic.
See also: Theistic evolution: There is no clear definition of the term, says reviewer of a critique
William Lane Craig takes on Adam and Eve
Theistic evolutionist tilts at the God of the Gaps (again)
Mock at your peril! Naturalism is a jealous fraud
4 Replies to “Theistic evolution: Conjuring up one’s own version of evolution and calling it God’s”
You can’t have biology until you can specify a thing among alternatives and simultaneously describe the specification. It’s no small thing, and you can get nowhere without it.
TE’s need to ask themselves how that can be. Their best answer thus far is to run (run) to a speculation that neither specifies a thing among alternatives nor describes its specification.
Faculty Lounge: 0
Let’s not confuse them with facts please.
In such cases I like to ask, “What is the scientific difference between theistic evolution and atheistic evolution?”
What is the scientific difference between theistic evolution and atheistic evolution?
There is no evolution without God.