Intelligent Design

“Theistic evolutionists”: What they can expect after they have surrendered

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Here is a true story about “theistic evolution,” by Carol Iannone:

[Theistic evolution, as normally propounded today = accept on faith that God dun it and holler yer guts fer Jesus to feel good – because the evidence suggests there is no God].

Why any theist should do that today is incomprehensible to me, because the evidence is all in the theists’ camp. But tax-supported, tenured professors can say anything they want, and they certainly do.

Here is an instructive story about their true fate:

After eviscerating two new books that attempt to show that Darwinism is compatible with religion, Jerry Coyne, professor of ecology and evolution at the University of Chicago, admits that they are not, and that declarations to the contrary have been “a dirty little secret in scientific circles. It is in our personal and professional interest to proclaim that science and religion are perfectly harmonious.”

The reason for this unedifying dissembling:

“After all, we want our grants funded by the government, and our schoolchildren exposed to real science instead of creationism. Liberal religious people have been important allies in our struggle against creationism, and it is not pleasant to alienate them by declaring how we feel. This is why, as a tactical matter, groups such as the National Academy of Sciences claim that religion and science do not conflict. But their main evidence — the existence of religious scientists — is wearing thin as scientists grow ever more vociferous about their lack of faith.”

Once again, William Jennings Bryan has been proven right.

Add this one to the Theistic Evolutionists As Useful Idiots file.

Re Bryan: What you don’t hear about Bryan’s case at the Scopes trial in Tennessee in 1925 from the blowhard columnists who defend Darwinism is this: The science textbooks, including the one at issue in the trial, routinely fronted eugenics* as normal science.

Eugenics was closely linked to the idea that humans and apes had common ancestry (so we are all just apes, right, and so we kill each other for our own ultimate evolutionary good).

Bryan thought, based on his experience as US Secretary of State in the World War I era, that major social conflicts would follow from such an idea taking root, and that therefore it should not be taught in publicly funded schools.

Why should the public fund the teaching of an idea that would likely lead to disastrous social conflict?

His method – outlawing teaching it – could be contested. But not, I think, the outcome of the teaching. See WWII.

Go here for more.

*My view for what it is worth: Eugenics is not a science at all! It is not possible to say in advance who is more fit and who is less fit over time. No one can predict the effect of unknown future stresses.

You can, if you wish, consult either the eugenicist or Madam Rosa the Psychic for information about future fitness (she does health, as well as romance and business matters, I gather, and so does the evolutionary psychologist – the eugenicist’s heir).

I wouldn’t spend a dime on either of them, myself, but with all its faults, this is still a somewhat free country, so …

The evil that eugenicists did was not merely their pretense to knowledge that cannot, in principle, really exist, but their legal power to get people compusorily sterilized or euthanized.

Madam Rosa merely preys on silly people, lured on by her own delusions of grandeur. So,while I find these “psychic” shops a nuisance, that’s all they are. A nuisance, not a catastrophe.

14 Replies to ““Theistic evolutionists”: What they can expect after they have surrendered

  1. 1
    dodgingcars says:

    Interesting that you post this today. I was just in a discussion on Scot Mcknight’s blog (Jesus Creed) with one the posters their (RJS) who is an ardent supporter of theistic evolution and disagrees strongly with Intelligent Design. She insists on methodological naturalism and says God only used natural means (evolution) to create.

    In order to understand her faith better I asked a few questions about why she believes in God. Strangely, she says it’s because of the awe she gets from seeing the purpose and majesty in God’s creation…

    So I asked… Isn’t that a design inference?

  2. 2
    ploko says:

    “If Project Steve was meant to show that a considerable majority of the scientific community accepts a naturalistic conception of evolution, then the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) could have saved its energies—that fact was never in question. The more interesting question was whether any serious scientists reject a naturalistic conception of evolution.”

    Well, obviously not. Simply some degenerated, or better: unevolved, minds that believe that a minority view which is flawed could be proven be setting up a list. To call them serious scientists would be like calling Hitler a humanitarian.

  3. 3
    bevets says:

    Theistic evolution may be defined as an anesthetic which deadens the patient’s pain while atheism removes his religion. Those who have accepted evolution in the belief that it was not anti-Christian may well revise their conclusion in view of the accumulating evidence of its baneful influence on preachers, teachers and students. William Jennings Bryan

    The majority is not trying to establish a religion or to teach it — it is trying to protect itself from the effort of an insolent minority to force irreligion upon the children under the guise of teaching science. ~ William Jennings Bryan

  4. 4
    bevets says:

    force irreligion

    The preview does not appear to be working. It would be nice if there was a preview button that would allow posters to view a post before sumbitting it.

  5. 5
    nullasalus says:

    Just a few comments.

    * Not all theistic evolutionists are useful idiots. Some, in fact, argue explicitly for the presence or at least appearance of design in nature and evolution (Simon Conway Morris’ focus on convergence, Ken Miller’s focus on convergence and quantum interactions, Polkinghorne’s neutrality on biology but focus on cosmology, etc.) And when push came to shove with Coyne, even Ken Miller – among others – did not cower or ignore him, but fired back.

    * Coyne’s concept of ‘science’ is a twisted mess that fails to understand or pay attention to limits between philosophy and science. Put short, I don’t care what he thinks is compatible with religious faith – the man’s contributions apparently dwindle to nil the moment he steps out of the laboratory.

    * I actually agree with some of Denyse’s gist here. There ARE some TEs who are useless, or who – at least to me – spend way too much energy arguing against the excesses of the ID movement, without noticing that any intellectual sin they could accuse ID proponents of committing has been committed by design deniers, and often in more worrying ways. But TEs shouldn’t be condemned and attacked. They should be appealed to – Coyne is helping to demonstrate why the problem here is different than what they think it is. He wonderfully illustrates why some of their efforts have been misguided.

    Now is the time to approach TEs and ask for some understanding and re-consideration about the ID project.

  6. 6
    Rude says:

    Still I think the “useful idiot” moniker is admissible. TE’s may be nice folks and smart folks, but when they deny the legitimacy of anyone else trying to identify design they’re neither. And not only that—they’re useful to the Darwinists which was Coyne’s point.

    Folks like Coyne are useful to us in that they clarify matters whereas the TEs are useful to the Darwinists in that they muddy the waters.

    I don’t mind a TE or Deist who out of whatever theological presupposition believes that God is beyond leaving evidence. But why insist we all take that theological stance and deligitimize ID?

    Besides—ID does not ask whether God designed biological organisms. ID asks whether biological organisms were designed. If the TEs want to insist that the designer couldn’t be God, then who are we to quibble?

  7. 7
    lars says:

    [Theistic evolution, as normally propounded today = accept on faith that God dun it and holler yer guts fer Jesus to feel good – because the evidence suggests there is no God].

    With all due respect to Denyse… and while a blustery tongue-in-cheek writing style has its place… I can’t help feeling like you’re portraying TE as shabbily as the mainstream media portrays ID. If I came in here as a TE-ist skeptical about ID, and saw that portrayal of TE, my suspicions would be hardened. And any sympathy I might have for ID as an honest but unfairly-portrayed cause would be squashed.

  8. 8
    hazel says:

    I do believe TE’s are being mischaracterized: I think the TE position is not that there is no evidence for God, but rather that it’s all evidence for God.

    But from what I gather, TE’s are not very welcome here.

  9. 9
    jerry says:

    “But from what I gather, TE’s are not very welcome here.”

    There is a history. A TE website is the ASA website and you will see some there are quite unwelcoming to ID. But many of them are quite comfortable with ID and express dismay at the dispute. Many at ASA cannot agree with what a TE is and some disdain the term.

    There were a couple of caustic threads posted here two years ago about ASA and TE’s and since that time thre has been little positive said about TE by a couple people here. Denyse has been the subject of derision at ASA and her “useful idiots” comment is a sentiment that many have here.

    A frequent contributor here is nullasalus who says he is a TE though he seems very friendly to ID. In fact one could argue that many ID’s are TE’s but ID itself has no religious content even though many who espouse it are religious. TE definitely has a religious content. Some here want to pin blind adherence to Darwinism as part of TE and in fact that is true for many of them. To the critics of TE’s their theology requires acceptance of Darwinian evolution.

    Some TE’s have an abhorrence to any intervention by God in life or evolution. It demeans their concept of God to have Him tinker in events along the way. And as such these TE’s will be very anti ID because of this saying ID is both bad science and bad theology.

  10. 10
    anonym says:

    nullasalus:

    And when push came to shove with Coyne, even Ken Miller – among others – did not cower or ignore him, but fired back.

    If you have links I’d be much appreciative.

  11. 11
    hazel says:

    I don’t understand this idea that TE’s don’t think there is evidence for God. As I said earlier, my understanding is that TE’s believe that everything that happens is because that is the way God wants it to be. For instance, I just googled “God is in charge” and here is the first paragraph I came upon, from here.

    As far as rightly understanding all events is concerned, GOD IS THE CAUSE of ALL EVENTS. If He permits evil to occur, He will use it for His purposes. All things may be received with thanksgiving. Be thankful and rejoice in all things. God is sovereign. He performs. Receive ALL as from His hands.

    This sounds like a TE position to me. In respect to life on earth, God has been in charge of everything, including evolution.

    What is the alternative position? That God hasn’t been in charge?

    It seems to me that the TE position is that there is no reason for God to have “intervened”, whatever that might mean, because he is already in charge of everything. Why is that a problem for ID supporters? It’s still the position that there is an intelligence in charge rather than mindless matter “operating freely”, which seems to be the position that ID supporters reject.

  12. 12
    jerry says:

    Hazel,

    There may be a thousand TE positions. They all believe that God directed it but just how. Some will say it was in the fine tuning of the universe that led to Earth, that then led to life forming, that then led to multi cellular life after a while, which eventually led to humans. All this was built into the fine tuning.

    Some will say that the changes over time were not a necessity of the fine tuning of the universe but possibly guided by some external act such as manipulation through quantum events. Some will say there might be a more overt interference in the process such as the infusion of a soul into humans at some time in the past.

    There are lots of potential ways it could have been done and Darwinian evolution is one of them for the changes in life forms once single celled life appeared. ID would have no problem with any of these except they believe that the evidence indicates that at certain points naturalistic processes just don’t explain the evidence.

    There is a discussion on another thread on the paper this week in Nature about the manufacture of ribonucleotides. Many TE’s would welcome this because it shows that the laws God set up at the Big Bang led to this complicated molecules being formed in the hope this was a naturalistic method for the origin of life. They believe that the extraordinary processes that God set up to bring about this are just a reflection on His Glory.

    The Clock like universe is a testament to His might. That is why a lot of them disdain ID because ID seems to point to a lesser God.

    I personally think the operating through quantum events is no different than if God just willed the changes in DNA and it was done. But a God who could design all the initial conditions to a tee so that all this happened by clockwork is a God that is truly worthy of one’s worship and thanks.

    None of this would be a problem for ID supporters except that ID says the evidence does not support it. And a group has used this clock like consistency to argue that there is no need for a God, because the laws of nature rule the day. Begging the question of how the laws got set up.

    Here is a transcription of a lecture on this idea I did about a year ago. It is about what the Enlightenment did to people’s beliefs in one century.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-190514

  13. 13
    anonym says:

    nullasalus:

    Put short, I don’t care what he thinks is compatible with religious faith – the man’s contributions apparently dwindle to nil the moment he steps out of the laboratory.

    Yes, if the argument is

    “X believes E; X believes that E implies A; therefore E implies A” .

    it has to be said that if someone is wrong about one thing, then they can be wrong about two things. Also, if we’re not wise to take Coyne’s word that science is incompatible with religion, why should we nonetheless believe on his word that evolution is incompatible with religion?

    Or if the argument is simply that Coyne sees TEs as useful idiots, what of it? As long as what we’re interested in is the truth about origins, then if TE (or someone’s TE position) happens to be true then it doesn’t matter what the attitude of Coyne or the scientific community is to it. If TE is false, likewise.

  14. 14
    Rude says:

    “I think the TE position is not that there is no evidence for God, but rather that it’s all evidence for God.”

    “I don’t understand this idea that TE’s don’t think there is evidence for God. As I said earlier, my understanding is that TE’s believe that everything that happens is because that is the way God wants it to be.”

    If everything is evidence for God then nothing is evidence for God.

    If we should claim that every coin toss, every evil, every good, every idle thought, every malicious thought, every godly thought, every atheistic thought, is evidence for God, then why even look for evidence? Maybe that’s the point. Maybe if we demonize ID and pronounce our Darwinian amen with enough conviction and at the same time comfort the Christians with talk that Darwinism and God are compatible, then maybe we can mugwump our way to acceptance on all sides where it counts and not be counted with those marked for academic extermination.

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