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U Maryland’s Robert Nelson has noticed that the Darwin-in-the-schools lobby is no longer policing Evolution Street

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From Robert H. Nelson at the Conversation:

The question of whether a god exists is heating up in the 21st century. According to a Pew survey, the percent of Americans having no religious affiliation reached 23 percent in 2014. Among such “nones,” 33 percent said that they do not believe in God – an 11 percent increase since only 2007.

Such trends have ironically been taking place even as, I would argue, the probability for the existence of a supernatural god have been rising.

He offers five reasons God probably exists, but that’s not new. This is:

As I say in my book, I should emphasize that I am not questioning the reality of natural biological evolution. What is interesting to me, however, are the fierce arguments that have taken place between professional evolutionary biologists. A number of developments in evolutionary theory have challenged traditional Darwinist – and later neo-Darwinist – views that emphasize random genetic mutations and gradual evolutionary selection by the process of survival of the fittest. More.

Yes., for sure. But there might be quarrels with some of the evidence he cites. For example,

In 2011, the University of Chicago evolutionary biologist James Shapiro argued that, remarkably enough, many micro-evolutionary processes worked as though guided by a purposeful “sentience” of the evolving plant and animal organisms themselves. “The capacity of living organisms to alter their own heredity is undeniable,” he wrote. “Our current ideas about evolution have to incorporate this basic fact of life.”

A number of scientists, such as Francis Collins, director of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, “see no conflict between believing in God and accepting the contemporary theory of evolution,” as the American Association for the Advancement of Science points out.

For my part, the most recent developments in evolutionary biology have increased the probability of a god.

We have reasons for thinking Shapiro would dissent from Nelson’s interpretation of his work as promoting theism. And, as for Francis Collins, please read this before you decide about any type of theistic evolution that looks to the BioLogos founder as a patron.

Most of Nelson’s observations are timely and useful. We sometimes wonder why that’s still even allowed in the age of marchin’, marchin’ for science.

See also: Philip Cunningham: Everything IS information

and

How naturalism rots science from the head down

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7 Replies to “U Maryland’s Robert Nelson has noticed that the Darwin-in-the-schools lobby is no longer policing Evolution Street

  1. 1
    Dionisio says:

    “the probability for the existence of a supernatural god have been rising”?

    How do they calculate that probability?

  2. 2
    News says:

    Dionisio at 1, I dunno how he calculates that probability? Bayesianism? What I do know is that he is one of the first feel-gooders so far encountered who actually realizes that Darwinism does not rule anymore.

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    News, I think part of the issue is that we live in an era that too often dismisses serious thought about being and so is unaware that if something . . . a world . . . now is, something always was, and that this must credibly be finitely remote relative to our temporal-causal order, i.e. there is a world-root. One of necessary being character. Indeed, without that same root sustaining the order here and now and across space-time, our contingent being would itself be undermined. And yes, that reflects cosmological thinking in a philosophical paradigm. A source of insights that we would do well to heed. Even, when it probes things like, how do we get a world in which we have responsibly and rationally free, morally governed creatures such as we manifestly are — on pain of setting grand delusion loose if that compass-sense is error. KF

  4. 4
    daveS says:

    How do they calculate that probability?

    I would assume he means that his estimate of the likelihood of God existing is increasing as more data comes in. I don’t see that he’s claiming any sort of rigorous calculation though.

  5. 5
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, I actually doubt that a probabilistic estimate is relevant in this case. As a serious candidate necessary being, the God of ethical theism is either impossible (as a square circle is) or actual. What is the probability that a square circle can be? What is the probability that we can have a world in which distinct identity, thus, two-ness [A and ~ A] does not exist? KF

    PS: I think what we can profitably discuss is our degree of confidence that God is, and its basis.

  6. 6
    daveS says:

    KF,

    DS, I actually doubt that a probabilistic estimate is relevant in this case. As a serious candidate necessary being, the God of ethical theism is either impossible (as a square circle is) or actual. What is the probability that a square circle can be? What is the probability that we can have a world in which distinct identity, thus, two-ness [A and ~ A] does not exist? KF

    Well, that would certainly be a different analysis than what Nelson is talking about. He refers specifically to the likelihood of God’s existence given developments in empirical science.

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    DS, Yes, I know — evolutionary biology with Shapiro called on. Problem is, what does God (BTW, not “god”) mean? Necessary being is baked in in ever so many ways — eternal ground of being and beyond need for us to provide sustenance etc etc, so the issues obtain, and empirical science is simply not the right discipline to resolve the matter. Ironically, for those influenced by scientism. But then, that is hopelessly incoherent anyway. I suppose the issue is empirically observable phenomena and linked patterns such as fine tuning that point to design as a material part of world-origins, but again that is far short of the God of ethical theism. Our cosmos credibly having a finitely remote beginning is similar. Anyway, Feser has a whole career worth of arguments on things like this. Not to mention, in the heart of science is a critical dependence on math, the ultimate abstract logic based discipline and a big clue that empirical investigations cannot be the main or only part of credible knowledge. KF

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