theistic evolution

Science writer John Farrell gets BioLogos right

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How I Changed My Mind About Evolution Cleaning out the in tray here, and came across this from science writer John Farrell, a while back, at Forbes, on evangelicals (BioLogos types) “coming out” for Darwin in a recent book:

While I appreciate the candor in There is more to the challenge of evolution than just accepting the age of the universe and that all species, including humans, are deeply related.

The way the world came to be has to say something about the character of its creator, according to many theologians.many of these essays, the book could have cut even closer to the bone.

And how does “evolution” portray the world? As Farrell quotes contributor Schneider,

Schneider, in particular, lays out this challenge: worth quoting from an article he wrote for Zygon in 2011:

Evolutionary thesis, the Darwinian World, depicts the planetary and biological past as one in which entire biomes have come and gone in apparently purposeless and brutal fashion, and reveals that ours is merely one of them. In his recent book, Nature Red in Tooth and Claw, Murray ably describes the deep conflict that this depiction creates for Christian theism. Was this wrought by a loving and kind God? More.

Farrell is polite about the BioLogos sucker punch drunks, but there is no concealing that rejecting design in nature means embracing naturalist atheism in the end. The trick is to spin out the “religion” schtick long enough that people don’t notice. Being nice helps.

By the way, he also notes,

Notably absent from the pages are the thoughts and reflections of Karl Giberson, John Schneider and Peter Enns. All three scholars (Giberson a physicist, Enns and Schneider theologians) also found themselves ostracized from their schools for embracing evolution and criticizing biblical literalism. Giberson and Enns, as I understand it, were also early leaders of BioLogos but soon left.

Well, one reason could be that both Enns and Giberson were just to far off any mainstream interpretation of Christianity to avoid frightening the herd. For Enns, see Theologian Peter Enns talks about why BioLogos did not renew his contract


Does Karl Giberson represent the new face of American evangelicals, “accepting” Darwin?

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4 Replies to “Science writer John Farrell gets BioLogos right

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    BioLogos is just an extension of the bad liberal theology, instead of empirical evidence, that has always given the false illusion that Darwinian Evolution rests on a solid scientific foundation.

    The Warfare Thesis and BioLogos – Cornelius Hunter – August 7, 2015
    Excerpt: BioLogos is not merely pointing out some particular, current examples of religious resistance to science. Instead, BioLogos fits precisely into, yes, the Warfare Thesis.
    BioLogos advocates the spontaneous origins of the world (i.e., evolution according to chance plus natural law), claims that this evolutionary conviction is a compelling, empirical scientific conclusion, and then accuses skeptical Christians of using their religion to oppose science. This is precisely the argument of the Warfare Thesis. And like earlier Warfare Thesis proponents, they (i) appeal to Galileo, as though that brings some justification and (ii) seek a “harmonization” in which today’s Epicureanism determines the facts, and skepticism is demoted to mere feeling and faith. Where it counts, this is no different than yesterday’s Warfare Thesis.
    But in fact evolutionary thought is soaking in religious influence. Theological proofs are what motivate and justify evolutionary thought—they are at its foundation. Evolutionists, from the seventeenth century to today, have made that abundantly clear. And they use the Warfare Thesis claim the high ground of science and blame the other guy for what they do.,,,

    Indeed, Charles Darwin, who himself had a degree in Theology, used bad liberal Theology extensively throughout his book “Origin of Species”:

    Charles Darwin’s use of theology in the Origin of Species – STEPHEN DILLEY
    This essay examines Darwin’s positiva (or positive) use of theology in the first edition of the Origin of Species in three steps. First, the essay analyses the Origin’s theological language about God’s accessibility, honesty, methods of creating, relationship to natural laws and lack of responsibility for natural suffering; the essay contends that Darwin utilized positiva theology in order to help justify (and inform) descent with modification and to attack special creation. Second, the essay offers critical analysis of this theology, drawing in part on Darwin’s mature ruminations to suggest that, from an epistemic point of view, the Origin’s positiva theology manifests several internal tensions. Finally, the essay reflects on the relative epistemic importance of positiva theology in the Origin’s overall case for evolution. The essay concludes that this theology served as a handmaiden and accomplice to Darwin’s science.

    In other words, contrary to popular belief, Charles Darwin was NOT one of the “greatest scientists who has ever lived.” Far from it. Darwin was primarily a liberal theologian who practiced bad theology rather than a great scientist who practiced good science. In fact, with the adoption of neutral theory, population genetics has cast Natural Selection, which was supposedly Charles Darwin’s greatest contribution to science, under the bus as to being a major player in the theory of evolution.

    Haldane’s Pre-Cambrian Rabbits plus Natural Selection Falsified by Population Genetics – video

    (With the adoption of the ‘neutral theory’ of evolution by prominent Darwinists, and the casting aside of Natural Selection as a major player in evolution),,,
    “One wonders what would have become of evolution had Darwin originally claimed that it was simply the accumulation of random, neutral variations that generated all of the deeply complex, organized, interdependent structures we find in biology? Would we even know his name today?
    What exactly is Darwin really famous for now? Advancing a really popular, disproven idea (of Natural Selection), along the lines of Luminiferous Aether?
    Without the erroneous but powerful meme of “survival of the fittest” to act as an opiate for the Victorian intelligentsia and as a rationale for 20th century fascism, how might history have proceeded under the influence of the less vitriolic maxim, “Survival of the Happenstance”?”
    – William J Murray

    To this day, as BioLogos itself makes clear, bad liberal Theology, instead of any real empirical evidence, undergirds Darwinian thought:

    Methodological Naturalism: A Rule That No One Needs or Obeys – Paul Nelson – September 22, 2014
    Excerpt: It is a little-remarked but nonetheless deeply significant irony that evolutionary biology is the most theologically entangled science going. Open a book like Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution is True (2009) or John Avise’s Inside the Human Genome (2010), and the theology leaps off the page. A wise creator, say Coyne, Avise, and many other evolutionary biologists, would not have made this or that structure; therefore, the structure evolved by undirected processes. Coyne and Avise, like many other evolutionary theorists going back to Darwin himself, make numerous “God-wouldn’t-have-done-it-that-way” arguments, thus predicating their arguments for the creative power of natural selection and random mutation on implicit theological assumptions about the character of God and what such an agent (if He existed) would or would not be likely to do.,,,
    ,,,with respect to one of the most famous texts in 20th-century biology, Theodosius Dobzhansky’s essay “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” (1973).
    Although its title is widely cited as an aphorism, the text of Dobzhansky’s essay is rarely read. It is, in fact, a theological treatise. As Dilley (2013, p. 774) observes:
    “Strikingly, all seven of Dobzhansky’s arguments hinge upon claims about God’s nature, actions, purposes, or duties. In fact, without God-talk, the geneticist’s arguments for evolution are logically invalid. In short, theology is essential to Dobzhansky’s arguments.”,,

    Here is a bit deeper look at the bad liberal Theology that lays behind BioLogos in particular:

    Theology at BioLogos: The Curious Case of the “Wesleyan Maneuver” – Part 3
    Excerpt: So what we have had in the leadership and the columns at BioLogos is a theologically skewed segment of American evangelical Christianity, with Calvinism grossly underrepresented, and Wesleyanism grossly overrepresented.
    To summarize what I’ve said so far: BioLogos has an “Arminian” emphasis on human freedom, which, without explanation of any kind, it extrapolates to produce the notion of a “freedom” of nature; and this “freedom of nature” theology, while not formally labelled by Venema, is labelled generally by BioLogos as “Wesleyan.” It is for this reason that I have called the climax of Venema’s performance “the Wesleyan Maneuver.”

    Of related note, here is a book which critiques Theistic Evolution, by, of all people, a former ‘cantankerous atheist’:

    In Shadow of Oz, Biologist Wayne Rossiter Critiques Theistic Evolution – Casey Luskin December 6, 2015
    Rossiter tells some of his own personal story. He entered grad school as a “staunch and cantankerous atheist,” studying under “an equally atheistic advisor who was of Dawkins’s ilk.” But soon he started having doubts about atheism, sparked in part by his increasing doubts about Darwin.

    One final note, the only real war between science and religion that has ever really been going on is the war that is being waged between science and the religion of Darwinian evolution and of naturalism in general.

    Let us be VERY clear to the fact that ALL of science, every discipline within science, is dependent on basic Theistic presuppositions about the rational intelligibility of the universe and the ability of our mind to comprehend that rational intelligibility.,,,

    The Great Debate: Does God Exist? – Justin Holcomb – audio of the 1985 Greg Bahnsen debate available at the bottom of the site
    Excerpt: When we go to look at the different world views that atheists and theists have, I suggest we can prove the existence of God from the impossibility of the contrary.
    The transcendental proof for God’s existence is that without Him it is impossible to prove anything. The atheist worldview is irrational and cannot consistently provide the preconditions of intelligible experience, science, logic, or morality. The atheist worldview cannot allow for laws of logic, the uniformity of nature, the ability for the mind to understand the world, and moral absolutes. In that sense the atheist worldview cannot account for our debate tonight.,,,

    Moreover, if we cast aside those basic Theistic presuppositions about the rational intelligibility of the universe and the ability of our mind to comprehend that rational intelligibility, and try to use naturalism as our basis for understanding the universe, and for practicing science, then everything within that atheistic/naturalistic worldview, (i.e. sense of self. observation of reality, beliefs about reality, free will, even reality itself), collapses into self refuting, unrestrained, flights of fantasy and imagination.

    Darwinian evolution, and atheism/naturalism in general, are built entirely upon a framework of illusions and fantasy – Sept. 2016

    It would be hard to fathom a worldview that is more antagonistic to modern science than Darinian evolution, and naturalism in general, have turned out to be.


    1 Thessalonians 5:21
    but test everything; hold fast what is good.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    podcast – Non-Religious Skeptics of Darwinian Evolution

  3. 3
    tjguy says:

    These guys are simply trying to redefine evangelicalism. They really should not qualify as evangelicals at all – IMHO.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    And now for something completely different. The ‘Christians’ of BioLogos, besides arguing for Darwinian evolution as they usually do, are now trying to argue that God did not even create the first life (which even Darwin himself reluctantly conceded).

    Did BioLogos Find a Damning Error in Meyer’s Signature in the Cell? Nope.
    Evolution News & Views October 3, 2016

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