Intelligent Design theistic evolution

Will Joshua Swamidass have the floor at Uncommon Descent?

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On Friday, we riffed a piece in which ID defender Douglas Axe defended himself against a claim by theistic evolutionist Joshua Swamidass that he offered a “confrontational approach” in a book Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique.

A reader suggested we get in touch with Dr. Swamidass and ask him, would you like to enlarge on that a bit? He got back to us and said he might later discuss Dr. Axe’s comments in a more favorable light.

He directed our attention to this piece:

There was a new round of deletions and edits at BioLogos. No retractions. That’s how they roll it seems. So be it.

The good news it that this quietly vindicates a lot of people, including William Lane Craig, Fazale Rana, and Vern Poythress.

The bad news is that BioLogos also is claiming vindication, with what seems to be a rewrite of history. According to them, though they overstated they evidence, their conclusions are entirely unchanged. Quite a magic trick.

Joshua Swamidass, “18 Million Years Ago Means…500,000?” at Peaceful Science (July 19, 2021)

He also asks us to consider this article which he wrote earlier this year:

year ago, yesterday, BioLogos[1] quietly deleted an article, from 2010, published on their website, “Does Genetics Point to a Single Primal Couple?” The deleted article reports, incorrectly, that any notion of Adam and Eve, ancestors of us, is in conflict with the genetic evidence.

The claims made in the 2010 article, however, went far beyond the evidence. The authors claimed conflict between science and traditional readings of Scripture where there was none.

Still, this article would come to have an outsized influence. Dennis Venema was one of the scientists who authored this article. In Adam and the Genome (2017), Venema recounts how the claims in this article were presented to a larger audience.

Asked how likely it is that we all descended from Adam and Eve, Dennis Venema, a biologist at Trinity Western University, replies: “That would be against all the genomic evidence that we’ve assembled over the last 20 years, so not likely at all.”

Evangelicals Question The Existence Of Adam And Eve, NPR, 2011 quoted it Christianity Today, also, published a widely read cover story covering these claims. The 2010 article became the cornerstone of BioLogos’s scientific position on Adam and Eve.

The problem, however, was that Venema’s response to the reporter was just not true. To the contrary, the best evidence at the time showed that Adam and Eve, if they were real people in a real past, would most likely be ancestors of us all. If they were ancient, maybe the evidence many not even demand there were people outside the garden.

Joshua Swamidass, “BioLogos Deletes an Article” at Peaceful Science

Here at UD, we just report news. But look, here’s an offer:

We will print, at Uncommon Descent, whatever Dr. Swamidass wishes to say further on this interesting topic of disappearing articles. We’d also be happy to hear him address how he thinks Dr. Axe has misrepresented him. Hey, we’re listening.

Here’s the relevant vid:

See also: Douglas Axe vs Joshua Swamidass… Axe: First and foremost, Swamidass dislikes the “confrontational approach” that he thinks I promote and exemplify, along with other ID proponents. In his words: “Doug Axe in Undeniable and also in the recent Crossway book on theistic evolution talks about how there’s a need to have a confrontational approach to evolutionary science.” Swamidass must be feeling threatened.

5 Replies to “Will Joshua Swamidass have the floor at Uncommon Descent?

  1. 1
    ET says:

    Genetics doesn’t determine biological form. Our DNA isn’t what makes us human/ an upright biped. That is the first mistake both Joshua and Venema make.

  2. 2
    jerry says:

    The concept/incident of Adam and Eve involves an intervention by the Judeo Christian God. Surely an example of intervention by the Judeo Christian God is not a natural incident.

    To then use natural processes to determine that such an intervention did not happen seems absurd when the incident in question is based upon an unnatural intervention.

    This is the begging the question fallacy. It’s not a valid argument.

    So to argue that Adam And Eve did not exist based on natural processes is not a sound argument.

  3. 3
    chuckdarwin says:

    more like a rag than a riff….
    Oh, and of course Profs Swamidass and Venema, as biologists, don’t know what they are talking about.
    More DI hubris…….

  4. 4
    ET says:

    Neither Swamidass nor Venema knows what determined a human would develop after the successful mating between a man and a woman. That is other than the parents were both human.

  5. 5
    Yarrgonaut says:

    It sounds like Swamidass is more concerned about his question “What if you’re wrong?”, and the idea of “pushing belief” than the actual science, and seems to be a bit confused. He might benefit from reading ‘Structure’ if he hasn’t, but he seems trapped in the idea that “progress” is whatever happens to validate current ‘normal science’. In any case, I think I should say a few things about his other objections.

    ID isn’t forcing Theism on anyone. Even if one is a committed Atheist, they can simply take the position that Design is a useful metaphor that allows us to coherently discuss biology since is squares so well with how humans naturally think (in terms of directedness and purpose). This is so useful in fact that it is very hard not to use purposive language even now.

    If ID in biology is proven wrong, then it doesn’t mean that God doesn’t exist, only that if God exists, his purposes in biology and evidence of design therein cannot be directly known.

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