Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

theistic evolution

Ten (or so) Anti-Intelligent Design Books You Should Read

I have posted the second video in my two part book recommendation series on the YouTube channel. In the previous video I highlighted many books that argue for intelligent design. My view is that proponents of design should face the strongest criticisms possible, and not be afraid of doing so. In line with this philosophy, in this video I talk about just a handful of the many books that attempt to refute ID. Again, I would be interested to know what others think are the best books that attempt to show ID is wrong. Ten (or so) Anti-Intelligent Design Books You Should Read

Design Disquisitions: How/Why I Became a Design Advocate

One of the main pages on my new blog has a brief account of my journey towards accepting ID. I’ve taken a few different stances on the biological origins question in the past so it’s been a bumpy ride for me. This article is mainly autobiographical, but it gives me a chance to lay my cards on the table so I don’t have assumptions made about me and so readers know roughly where I’m coming from. Here’s a snippet: So, how and why did I become an intelligent design advocate? It’s a long(ish) story… I am, perhaps unsurprisingly, a Christian. I was raised in a Christian home and, with the exception of a period of ephemeral teenage agnosticism, I have Read More ›

Debating Darwin and Design: A Dialogue Between Two Christians

A couple of months ago, I agreed to take part in a written debate with a good friend of mine, Francis Smallwood. Francis, like me, is a commited Christian. Unlike me though, he is also a neo-Darwinist. On his blog Musings Of A Scientific Nature he writes on many different scientific issues, although his primary focus is on Darwinism. I encourage UD readers to check his blog out. As an enthusiastic ID proponent, I obviously think his embrace of Darwinian theory is profoundly mistaken, and equally I think his criticisms of ID are weak. However, he is at least willing to engage in debate with people of opposing view points and is not as dismissive as most Darwinists. Our idea Read More ›

Children of a better god?

 I have been listening to a few lectures by Christians who are convinced that the standard models of evolution explain all of biology including life’s origin. They say that evolution also explains all of cosmology. For them, this gives them, the evolutionary creationists, “a better god” than any model that requires a lesser form of “interventionist god”.  To quote loosely from a conversation between two of these good willed gentlemen.  “If we think of the cosmos as a game of billiards. The ID proponents have their god taking in turns and using the cue. Chance and nature are given a turn, then god comes in and sinks a ball. Finally after a long game, the eight ball is sunk, and we have Read More ›

A blow-by-blow response to Dr. Denis Alexander

In the last year and a bit I’ve done a lot of work in trying to understand and then critique the approach of Dr. Denis Alexander of the Faraday Institute in Cambridge (UK). I know that many readers of UD are familiar with Alexander’s big-selling work, “Creation or Evolution – Do We Have To Choose?”. This book is probably (alongside Francis Collins) the work with the most traction by Darwinists seeking to argue from a Biblical Christian viewpoint. I’ve previously drawn attention to IVP’s “Should Christians Embrace Evolution”. In this post I want instead to draw attention to my own response, “Creation or Evolution – Why We Must Choose”. If you don’t want to read the blurb and just want Read More ›

Vatican to exclude ID & Evolutionists from Origins conference

The Vatican apparently seeks to understand biological evolution, as long as speakers do not address the issue of origins whether advocates of Intelligent Design, Creationists, or Evolutionists. That appears to a priori exclude the foundational issue of causation. It also appears to assume that papers on “biological evolution” do not have any unstated assumptions on mechanisms or causes. It will be interesting to see the papers and results from this conference. See following articles and Dembski’s previous post: The Pope Circling Around ID:
“Intelligent design” not science: Vatican evolution congress to exclude creationism, intelligent design

Speakers invited to attend a Vatican-sponsored congress on the evolution debate will not include proponents of creationism and intelligent design, organizers said.

The Pontifical Council for Culture, Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University and the University of Notre Dame in Indiana are organizing an international conference in Rome March 3-7 2009 as one of a series of events marking the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s “The Origin of Species.” Read More ›

A sociologist’s perceptive look at “theistic evolution”

Recently, I have been reading Warwick U sociologist Steve Fuller’s Dissent over Descent: Intelligent Design’s Challenge to Darwinism, and was intrigued by his comments about “theistic evolution”, as understood by members of the American Scientific Affiliation and promoted by Francis Collins in The Language of God:

Theistic evolutionists … simply take what Collins calls ‘the existence of the moral law and the universal longing for God” as a feature of human nature that is entrenched enough to be self-validating. But is their dismissal anything more than an arbitrary theological intervention? If humans are indeed, as the Darwinists say, just one among many species, susceptible to the same general tendencies that can be studied in the same general terms, then findings derived from methods deemed appropriate to animals should apply to us as well. Collins’ own comprehensive but exclusive training in the hard sciences may explain why he believes in a God who communicates straightforwardly through the natural sciences but appears less willing to cooperate with the social sciences, including such biologically inflected fields as sociobiology and evolutionary psychology. Instead Collins finds intuition, anecdote, theology and sheer faith to be more reliable sources of evidence. Why God should have chosen not to rely on the usual standards of scientific rigour in these anthropocentric matters remains a mystery. (p. 104-5)

Collins is unlikely to understand the problem Fuller raises – why should anyone take Collins’s faith as anything more than an evolutionary glitch?

I am glad that a sociologist is researching the debate, because ASA-style theistic evolution makes sense only as sociology. It doesn’t make sense intellectually. As I have said elsewhere, it is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist (= how you can continue to believe in God even though the universe shows no evidence of design). But everyone realizes that the universe shows evidence of design. Design theorists must explain it, and materialists must explain it away.

The other, less benign role of theistic evolution is to confuse traditional religious people by implying that, for example, “you can believe in Darwin – and Jesus too!” Well, Darwin didn’t.

The way you believe in Jesus and Darwin too is by keeping yourself in a permanent state of confusion about the basic issues, or, Collins-style, not really understanding them. Some clergy are happy to help.

A friend alerted me to this article which nicely illustrates the muddle in progress. The article features the efforts of the Vatican to address the current Darwin cult. My friend asked me for a comment, and I replied, Read More ›