Intelligent Design theistic evolution

Theistic evolutionist tilts at the God of the Gaps (again)

Spread the love

Theistic Evolution Last November, Crossways published a collection of essays, Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique, which is critical of that tendency in theology.

Theistic evolutionist Denis O. Lamoureux published a review of the book in American Scientific Affiliation’s Perspectives, “Intelligent Design Theory: The God of the Gaps Rooted in Concordism,” of which this excerpt gives some sense:

But the root of ID Theory has now been publically revealed. About one-quarter of Theistic Evolution is a strident defense of a concordist hermeneutic, which ultimately undergirds this antievolutionary God-of-the-gaps view of origins. Evidence of the theological underpinnings of ID Theory is demonstrated by the inclusion in this book of a seven-page scripture index that cites over 1,500 Bible verses. [Note: The rest is mostly paywalled.] More.

Many people think that if scholars set out to write a long book about an argument within Christianity, citing Scripture is helpful and that an index to the citations is helpful too. But apart from that, no ID theorist actually thinks in terms of a god of the gaps. That’s an accusation that Lamoureux has made for what now seems like two decades when the serious arguments have grow more sophisticated. So one wonders why Perspectives publishes this stuff at all.

At any rate, biologist Wayne Rossiter, author of Shadow of Oz: Theistic Evolution and the Absent God, responds here.

… There are many other issues I have with his review (particularly his rather blithe conflation of speciation patterns and the origins of novel features and body plans), but I want to end on one honest query I have for Dr. Lamoureux. There’s an old saying that, if you’re good at something, you don’t have to tell others. They’ll tell you. Now, I’ve never mentioned at any point (anywhere) that I’m an evangelical Christian. I don’t have to. It’s known. Yet, Lamoureux reminds readers that his view is evangelical eight times in a single article. It’s clear that he’s self-conscious about the opinion that TE is not seen as evangelical (he never defines what “evangelical” means to him).

If he is worried about this perception, I think it’s for good reason. For several pages, Lamoureux deals with Wayne Grudem’s hermeneutics. he even outlines Grudem’s charge that there are twelve “historical and scientific facts” about origins that contradict TE. We don’t need to list them all, but the main items are that human beings were created de novo, that Adam & Eve are historical real people, that human death begins with the fall of Adam & Eve, etc. Now, Grudem is but one contributor to the Theistic Evolution book, and I won’t say that I completely agree with his arguments (I haven’t read him enough to say that). But the issue of human origins and Adam & Eve are critical. … More.

Note: Theistic evolution means, so far as I (O’Leary for News) can see, finding a job for God in a cosmos that is adequately explained by randomness (optional Jesus-hollering). A church closer, for sure, but a source of academic appointments at religious colleges, not to be sneezed at in these times.

See also: Revolving the evolving God at Biologos (Wayne Rossiter)

27 Replies to “Theistic evolutionist tilts at the God of the Gaps (again)

  1. 1
    StephenB says:

    Yet, Lamoureux reminds readers that his view is evangelical eight times in a single article. It’s clear that he’s self-conscious about the opinion that TE is not seen as evangelical (he never defines what “evangelical” means to him).

    And don’t forget that TEs are typically characterized as “devout” Christians so the average reader will forget that their love for Darwin contaminates their faith commitment. I notice that the Catholic biologist Ken Miller almost always has that description tied to his name, presumably as part of a public relations campaign. We know that he is a devout Darwinist, but how could any one know if he is a devout Catholic?

  2. 2
    PaoloV says:

    StephenB.
    A person “typically characterized as ‘devout’ Christian” may not be Christian.
    Also, “devout catholic” doesn’t mean Christian.

  3. 3
    ronvanwegen says:

    PaoloVJune

    StephenB.
    A person “typically characterized as ‘devout’ Christian” may not be Christian.
    Also, “devout catholic” doesn’t mean Christian.

    I’m not sure what you are getting at here (I am actually) but as a Catholic (without which faith there wouldn’t even be “Christians” at all – you’re welcome!) I can assure you that a “devout [C]atholic” (I’m one) *is* a Christian and your attempt to delegitimize my faith and send me to Hell is not appreciated in the slightest! Might I go so far as to say that what you said was not Christian?!

    I’m sorry that none of us live up to your standards for being Christian. However, I’m doing my best!

    P.S. Please read a little history. We Catholics were around for One Thousand Five Hundred years before *you* came along to tell us we got it wrong. That’s one big woopsie by the Holy Spirit!

    Please rethink your animus.

  4. 4
    Bob O'H says:

    ronvanwegen –

    P.S. Please read a little history. We Catholics were around for One Thousand Five Hundred years before *you* came along to tell us we got it wrong. That’s one big woopsie by the Holy Spirit!

    To be fair, PaoloV could be Greek Orthodox. 🙂

  5. 5
    OLV says:

    ronvanwegen at 3:

    Please, you may want to read the comment at 2 much more carefully.

    Maybe then you will understand it better.

    Thanks.

    -Paolo Verspi

  6. 6
    Allan Keith says:

    I am always confused by the animosity towards TE on this site. This site is supposed to be about ID. By your own definition, ID is not religious and does not require the Christian god, or any god for that matter. The tent is huge and, apparently, the only form of ID not allowed in this tent is TE. Could someone please explain this to me.

  7. 7
    LocalMinimum says:

    I’m not sure what you are getting at here (I am actually) but as a Catholic (without which faith there wouldn’t even be “Christians” at all – you’re welcome!)

    Christianity existed independent from Catholicism before, during, and after the Catholic Church. But, even if that weren’t the case, if I have anyone to thank for Christianity, it’s YHWH and His Son, Yeshua. Your priorities are a mess.

  8. 8
    LocalMinimum says:

    PaoloV @ 2:

    Also, “devout catholic” doesn’t mean Christian.

    My grandfather was always quoting a Monsignor Schmidt who, if his recollections were correct, was a practicing agnostic.

  9. 9
    Silver Asiatic says:

    LM

    My grandfather was always quoting a Monsignor Schmidt who, if his recollections were correct, was a practicing agnostic.

    Then he was not a devout Catholic.

  10. 10
    Silver Asiatic says:

    AK

    The tent is huge and, apparently, the only form of ID not allowed in this tent is TE. Could someone please explain this to me.

    It’s a good question and requires explanation.
    TE is not a form of ID – it’s actually opposed to ID.
    Unlike ID, TE offers no critique of evolutionary theory. It accepts fully all the claims of materialism with regards to evolution. TE finds no evidence of Design in biological nature at all. TE opposes the ID concept that there is, in fact, scientific evidence in nature that points to Intelligent Design.

    So, what is the “Theistic” in TE?

    Basically, it is the idea that God exists and God created the world using all the mechanisms claimed by science today.

  11. 11
    Allan Keith says:

    SA,

    Unlike ID, TE offers no critique of evolutionary theory.

    Does a scientific theory have to critique another theory? It is either compatible with the other theory or it is not.

    It accepts fully all the claims of materialism with regards to evolution.

    I wasn’t aware that there was any specific requirement that the bulk of evolution was wrong. Just that there is an intelligent agent behind it. After all, it allows for everything from an intelligent agent being involved at every step of the process, to one that only intervenes at different times, to one that only got involved at the beginning and front-end loaded everything to obtain what we have now.

    TE opposes the ID concept that there is, in fact, scientific evidence in nature that points to Intelligent Design.

    Thank you. I wasn’t aware of this. Do you have a link to an article that states this? I would like to read it.

    Basically, it is the idea that God exists and God created the world using all the mechanisms claimed by science today.

    How is that anti ID? God is the intelligent agent that ID claims must exist.

  12. 12
    StephenB says:

    AK, there are basically four paradigms:

    Category 1 – ID – The Creator left clues of his handiwork.

    Category 2 – Young Earth Creation. God left clues through direct creation.

    Category 3 – TE – God left clues through a guided evolutionary process, which can easily be reconciled with ID (Michael Behe)

    Category 4 – TE – God left no biological clues (expressed as unguided, Darwinian, evolution that was, nevertheless, guided by God). Yes, you read that right. (Ken Miller, Francis Collins, etc.)

    We, at least I, am impatient with those who hold the latter position because it is irrational and anti-Biblical (The bible argues for design in nature.) To make it seem less irrational and less anti-Biblical, its adherents, who want a quiet God and a loud Darwin, hope to cover themselves by claiming to be “devout” Christians.

    The call themselves TEs, rather than Christian Darwimists (an oxymoron) so that their readers will think they fall into category number 3 rather than category 4. They survive by misusing the language and confusing the general public, leaving the impression that they leave room for God, when in truth, as Darwinist lapdogs, they have eliminated God as an explanation for biodiversity in the same way that their Darwinist masters do.

  13. 13
    Silver Asiatic says:

    AK

    Does a scientific theory have to critique another theory? It is either compatible with the other theory or it is not.

    ID is a scientific theory that competes with neo-Darwinism. So, it offers a critique of the dominant theory in favor of an alternate view. A new scientific theory is needed if the current one is inadequate.
    The reason TE does not critique evolutionary theory at all, is because TE is not a scientific theory and doesn’t claim to be one. TE is really a theological view. It attempts to reconcile the Bible with Darwinian thought. It does not attempt to give an alternative view to Darwin.
    For TE, there is no scientific evidence of Intelligent Design in nature. So, TE opposes ID.

    I wasn’t aware that there was any specific requirement that the bulk of evolution was wrong. Just that there is an intelligent agent behind it.

    Yes, you’re right except for one major difference. As above, it’s not only that, by faith, a person believes that God is behind it. For ID – there is actual scientific evidence that what we see in nature is best described as product of intelligence. For TE, there is no evidence. TE is just “faith-alone” so to speak. For some TE’s, God didn’t even know what would be created by evolution (Ken Miller claims that).

    After all, it allows for everything from an intelligent agent being involved at every step of the process, to one that only intervenes at different times, to one that only got involved at the beginning and front-end loaded everything to obtain what we have now.

    I think that’s right, referring to TE. It could be all of that. But where is the evidence that any of that is true? TE will point to the Bible, perhaps. But ID says that there is actual evidence of some Designing Intelligence. What we see in the complexity of life, DNA code, fine tuning – is function, purpose, interactivity – elements that we know from experience are only created by intelligent design.
    TE will claim that natural processes alone can create all of that.

    The big problem for TE is the idea of “randomness”. Darwinian theory is that evolution is unguided and blind. It is the result of random mutations and random environmental effects. So, how can God guide something that is unguided? Some TEs will say “it looks random to us but to God it is not random” – but that is exactly the same as saying it is just random, and also that God didn’t know what would happen. Also, finally – it’s the same as the atheistic view. We see randomness because it is blind and random, because God doesn’t exist.
    ID opposes this, for one thing, because random, unguided forces do not have the power to create what we find in nature. This can be tested scientifically. TE does not do such tests – and can’t do them – to show that God is behind the scenes making randomness. They can just go to the Bible and say something theological.

    SA: TE opposes the ID concept that there is, in fact, scientific evidence in nature that points to Intelligent Design.

    AK: Thank you. I wasn’t aware of this. Do you have a link to an article that states this? I would like to read it.

    Ok, this is an essential point and I will give you something on it. Keep in mind, this is the fundamental difference between ID and TE. For TEs, ID is wrong because it claims that there is observable, scientific evidence of Intelligent Design in nature. For TE, there is no such evidence at all. The only thing that TE sees is blind, unguided material processes at work – exactly as atheists do.

    Here’s an article from a Christian, Theistic Evolutionist. The author states that God does not intervene at all in nature. There is no evidence of design – everything we observe in biology is explainable by evolution:

    https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/aquinas-vs-intelligent-design

    God does not intervene into nature nor does he adjust or “fix up” natural things. God is the divine reality without which no other reality could exist. Thus, the evidence of nature’s ultimate dependency on God as Creator cannot be the absence of a natural causal explanation for some particular natural structure. Our current science may or may not be able to explain any given feature of living organisms, yet there must exist some explanatory cause in nature. The most complex of organisms have a natural explanation, even if it is one that we do not now, or perhaps never will, know.

    Ken Miller is another one (we started talking about him), he’s one of the most prominent TEs.

    This article explains the differences between TE and ID also.

    https://evolutionnews.org/2009/06/god_and_evolution_a_response_t_1/

    Notice where Ken Miller and other TEs say that evolution is “unguided” and even God didn’t know what would happen. There is no evidence of Intelligent Design in nature at all for them. We might wonder why they believe God exists at all – and many atheists will criticize TE on that point alone. ID does not refer to God (some ID’s believe that there is evidence of Intelligent Design in nature but the intelligence is not God – it is an alien intelligence evident through panspermia).

  14. 14
    PaoloV says:

    ronvanwegen at #3:
    Your commentary seems off target at best.
    Oscar Luis at #5 posted my suggestions for you to heed. I couldn’t post the comment by myself, but Oscar Luis did it for me.

    Bob O’H at #4:
    FYI – I’m not Greek Orthodox.

  15. 15
    ScuzzaMan says:

    From Evolution News, responding to the same review:

    “2. ID is not about God-of-the-gaps. ID is not based on holes in our knowledge. It is based on our positive knowledge about what is required for certain kinds of things to happen: an infusion of information at the dawn of life to make the first cells; more information at the great burst of animal phyla that appeared at the Cambrian explosion; the specified complexity of molecular machines; and the causal circularity of replication, transcription, and translation. What is the source of the information for these things to take place? We know of one thing, in our repeated and uniform experience that can create information: intelligence.

    We know of one thing” is a way of saying “We don’t know of any other things …

    But like all scientific theory, ID is absolutely based on imperfect knowledge. There’s no harm in being honest and admitting this. To the degree that scientists try to pretend to perfect knowledge, in a world where everyone knows that isn’t possible, they only discredit themselves and their profession.

    The far greater harm, I deem and far longer term in its effects, is the pretense. Truth always wins in the end. The struggle may be long, it may be bloody, it may be strenuous, demanding, and tiresome; but Truth always wins in the end.

    The point of distinction between ID and (neo)Darwinian evolution, and the great irony of Lamoureux’ rhetorical flourish about the God of the Gaps, is that ID is based on one piece of positive knowledge (ONLY intelligence has been seen to produce new information) whereas (neo)Darwinian evolution is based on a claim with no positive evidence whatsoever.

    It’s all gaps, all the way down.

  16. 16
    ET says:

    Allan Keith:

    Does a scientific theory have to critique another theory?

    There isn’t any scientific theory of evolution.

    And yes, TE’s reject ID because ID claims that we can detect intelligent design in nature whereas TE’s claim that we cannot except for things that humans do.

  17. 17
    Allan Keith says:

    ET,

    And yes, TE’s reject ID because ID claims that we can detect intelligent design in nature whereas TE’s claim that we cannot except for things that humans do.

    When you finally detect design in nature, make sure you publish it so that the world can know. The Nobel awaits anyone who does this.

  18. 18
    ET says:

    Allan Keith:

    When you finally detect design in nature…

    It has been detected. ATP synthase is the epitome of intelligent design. And ATP synthase is elucidated in peer-review. So the world knows. It doesn’t matter that people like you can just hand-wave it away because you don’t have anything to explain it.

    Strange that no one has ever won a Noble Prize for finding supporting evidence for evolutionism nor materialism.

  19. 19
    ET says:

    If you take a look at ATP synthase you can see it consists of two major subunits (F0 & F1) that are connected together by an external tether. This tether doesn’t have anything to do with the functionality of either subunit but without it no ATP synthase. The problem for evolution by blind and mindless processes is exacerbated. Not only does it need to produce the two subunits but one has to be embedded in some membrane so that a gradient can be formed. And the other has to to be stably tethered to the membrane the proper distance away. The tether looks like the membrane subunit F0 somehow formed an external docking site the proper length with F1 forming an external mating site.

    Again these two different protein subunits, the tether and mate, have nothing to do with the function of the protein complexes they are attached to and tether together. And without them there is no way to get the two working subunits together to produce ATP.

    There you have it- A simple external tether that stably holds the major F1 subunit/ rotary motor the proper distance away from its F0 motor force is evidence for the Intelligent Design of ATP synthase. The two major subunits and how it works is just icing on the cake.

    The architecture and subunit composition of ATP synthase

    Science and evidence- ID has it whereas materialism and evolutionism does not

  20. 20
    Allan Keith says:

    ET,

    It has been detected. ATP synthase is the epitome of intelligent design. And ATP synthase is elucidated in peer-review. So the world knows. It doesn’t matter that people like you can just hand-wave it away because you don’t have anything to explain it.

    Could you please link to these peer reviewed papers that conclude that ATP synthase was designed? I must have missed them.

  21. 21
    ET says:

    Allan Keith:

    Could you please link to these peer reviewed papers that conclude that ATP synthase was designed?

    All of them. For starters not one supports the claim it evolved via blind and mindless processes. Add to that the fact that it meets the design criteria and there is only one scientific inference to be made-> The inference to Intelligent Design.

    But then again you appear to be incapable of assessing any evidence and you have proven that you don’t care about science.

  22. 22
    Allan Keith says:

    AK,

    Could you please link to these peer reviewed papers that conclude that ATP synthase was designed? I must have missed them.

    ET,

    All of them.

    References please.

  23. 23
  24. 24
    OLV says:

    ET:
    You owe the readers of this discussion thread a serious explanation:
    Why Allan Keith hasn’t responded to your latest comment?
    Your post at #23 is over one month old. Vacation? Forgot his password to login back here?
    Any thoughts?
    Please, explain.
    Thanks.

  25. 25
    ET says:

    OLV- “Allan Keith” has been sent packing by the moderators.

  26. 26
    OLV says:

    ET,

    That explains it. Thanks.

  27. 27
    kairosfocus says:

    We should add, for cause.

Leave a Reply