theistic evolution

Theistic evolution: All evolution, no real theism

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But you knew that, didn’t you?

From Waynesburg University (Pennsylvania) biology prof Wayne Rossiter, author of In the Shadow of Oz, :

I’ve jumped to the final (summary chapter, offered by Neil Spurway), because it is one of the more dramatic examples of just how far theistic evolution can go. Here we finally see someone willing to essentially throw in the towel. For starters, he offers “for me a naturalistic account of any aspect of being human is, quite simply, the only sort of account which can be correct.” He emphasizes that many of the things we believe make humans an exception to the animal kingdom (what has been called a “revolution” rather than an “evolution”) are simply points along a sliding scale. “Every owner of a horse or dog is quite clear” of primitive conditions of consciousness, morality and love. He goes on, “For me, the imago dei simply is the sum of such properties: the sum is larger in a human being than in any other animal.”

Spurway then justifies his allegiance to naturalism: “The whole evolutionary process is God-given, not any individual step.” This of course, as I’ve been saying for a while now, is an undemonstrated assumption. Since on his view, no matter what we find, God did it, absolutely any religion could make the same claim with complete immunity. This view that everything can be explained naturalistically, such that all naturalism is God’s way of working, is given far more credence than it should be. On this view, the best evidence for God’s activity in everything is our complete inability to detect Him in anything. That is, on Spurway’s view, we can explain everything in the natural world without invoking God. So why do we include Him?

When written as plainly as Spurway puts it, we can then see why concepts like creationism or intelligent design are anathema to the theistic evolutionist. For those such as Spurway, any suggestion that God (or any agent) would be required to explain any particular phenomenon somehow suggests that the God/agent isn’t present in the others. But is that true? Take the resurrection as an example. More.

Theistic volution can explain away any evidence of design. Its only purpose has been to get Christians used to rule by naturalist atheists. And the first rule is: No design

See also: Theistic evolution empties theism of meaning

and

What the fossils told us in their own words

83 Replies to “Theistic evolution: All evolution, no real theism

  1. 1
    buffalo says:

    Ask this question: Did God know what Adam would look like? All will answer “yes”.

    Then,

    Did Adam look as God planned?

    Cuts right to the chase.

  2. 2
    Mung says:

    I don’t see the problem here. Even young earth creationists believe that God created the living world and then left it alone to evolve on its own.

    The Creation. The Fall. And it’s been Darwinian devolution ever since!

  3. 3
    mahuna says:

    1. Did the Creator intend for Earth to exist at or before The Big Bang? Undoubtedly yes.

    2. Did the Creator arrange for the star Sol to form in exactly the best position in the Milky Way? Undoubtedly yes.

    3. Did the Creator arrange for proto-Earth to form at the optimal distance from Sol? Undoubtedly yes.

    4. Did the Creator arrange for the collision between proto-Earth and a smaller sacrificial planet? Undoubtedly yes.

    5. So, did the Creator always intend Earth to be the home for Humans? Undoubtedly yes.

    6. Does the Creator work in strange and mysterious ways? Yes.

    Discussions of a Creator who can patiently wait hundreds of millions or even billions of years to unveil the non-evolving, fully functional on Day 1 design for Humans (male and female, together at once) don’t make much sense if Earth itself is assumed to be an unlikely accident.

    Earth is here because humans needed a home like Earth.

    Sol is here because Earth needed a star like Sol.

    The Milky Way is here because Sol needed a galaxy like the Milky Way.

    Etc., etc. It was ALL designed.

    Peace and Joy.

  4. 4
    Seversky says:

    mahuna @ 3

    Etc., etc. It was ALL designed.

    Would that include:

    Cancers?
    Alzheimer’s disease
    Diabetes?
    Malaria?
    Spontaneous abortions?
    Earthquakes?
    Floods?
    Droughts?
    Wars?
    Starvation?
    Radiation?

    Just to name a few.

    Peace and Joy.

    Live long and prosper

  5. 5
    StephenB says:

    Mung

    I don’t see the problem here.

    TEs try to reconcile God with Darwin in two different ways. Neither approach is successful.

    If, as most TEs believe, Darwinian, chance-driven processes caused biodiversity, then we have a problem: The outcome could not have been determined in advance. That means that God did not necessarily intend to create man in his present form and the Biblical account is false.

    If, as a few TEs believe, God acted behind the scenes to assure the outcome via quantum manipulations, then it really isn’t the mechanism or process that is responsible for the outcome and Darwin has left the building.

  6. 6
    jdk says:

    Approach #3: The TE’s I know and have learned from believe that all that happens is the will of God, and that the ways he manifests his will are beyond the understanding of man.

    What is chance to man is not chance to God, and God doesn’t have to manipulate anything (see sentence 1).

    Therefore, both in science and in our daily life, we see contingent and chance events playing major and minor roles in what happens, but the TE accepts that those happen in accordance with God’s purposes, plans, and will.

    There is no conflict between this view and evolution. Of course, there is a conflict between this view and a materialist or naturalistic metaphysics, but that’s a different issue.

    Here’s a pdf of a speech that my friend Keith Miller gave at a presentation back in 2006. (I gave the second presentation that night.) http://www.kcfs.org/CFS/MillerCFS.pdf

    Here is a more scholarly essay: http://www.ouragora.com/archiv.....y_and.html,

    and Keith’s website: http://www.scifaithkansas.net/

  7. 7
    Mung says:

    Is the YEC attempt to reconcile God with Darwin any better?

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    The Sev @ 4, instead of showing how randomness can possibly produce such extraordinary fine-tuning on so many different levels in the universe, resorts to the the age old argument from evil that atheistic Darwinists are absolutely reliant on since they have no actual scientific evidence to ever support their claims.

    Yet, the argument from evil fails on two counts for the atheist. First, in order for objective evil to even exist in the world in the first place there must be an objective moral standard of good that has been departed from. In other words, the argument from evil is based upon Theistic presuppositions as to there actually being objective moral good in the world. i.e. The argument from evil defeats itself by presupposing the truthfulness of Theism in its premises!:

    “The strength of materialism is that it obviates the problem of evil altogether. God need not be reconciled with evil, because neither exists. Therefore the problem of evil is no problem at all.,,, And of course since there is no evil, the materialist must, ironically, not use evil to justify atheism. The problem of evil presupposes the existence of an objective evil-the very thing the materialist seems to deny. The argument (from Theodicy) that led to materialism is exhausted just when it is needed most. In other words, the problem of evil is only generated by the prior claims that evil exists. One cannot then conclude, with Dawkins, that there is ‘no evil and no good’ in the universe.,,,
    The fact that evolution’s acceptance hinges on a theological position would, for many, be enough to expel it from science. But evolution’s reliance on metaphysics is not its worst failing. Evolution’s real problem is not its metaphysics but its denial of its metaphysics.,,,
    Cornelius Hunter – Darwin’s God – pg. 154 & 159

    If Good and Evil Exist, God Exists: Prager University – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xliyujhwhNM

    Albert Einstein and his answer to his Professor! – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLOZDpE1rkA

    The second failure for atheists with their argument from evil is that Theists, especially Christians, never claimed that we are currently living in the perfection of heaven in the first place but that we are, indeed, currently living in a fallen world.

    In other words, when the atheist belly aches about all the death and suffering in the world he is actually affirming what the Christian holds as a foundational premise.

    The main difference being that Christians lean on God to help them get through the tough times whilst the atheist angrily blames God for the tough times and refuses to ever ask Him for help.

    In fact, Charles Darwin, though drifting away from God for a long while, was, sadly, permanently driven away from God because of what he perceived to be the ‘unjust’ death of his daughter,,

    “The death of his daughter was a significant event in Darwin’s life, and certainly consolidated his belief that a bad world is incompatible with a good God.”
    http://askjohnmackay.com/quest.....ristianity

    Here is a good quote on dealing with extremely hard times:

    “We are His masterpiece. The greatest creation he has ever made. See what God has to offer you. See what He can do and you will be amazed. When something hits you hard, don’t put that blame on God put that weight on God. Say, “God, take that weight off me.” And He will and He will carry you through the shadow of death, because He wants you to come out on the other side.”
    – Mark Herzlich – The Linebacker Who Couldn’t Be Stopped by Cancer – video
    http://www.cbn.com/tv/3775240000001

    Verse and videos:

    John 16:33
    “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

    (Centrality Concerns) The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from Death as the “Theory of Everything” – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1143437869002478/?type=2&theater

    Shroud of Turin: From discovery of Photographic Negative, to 3D Information, to Quantum Hologram – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/1119619634717635/?pnref=story

    Special and General Relativity compared to Heavenly and Hellish Near Death Experiences – video (reworked May 2016 – following two videos referenced in it)
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/1193118270701104/

    (Entropic Concerns) The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead is the correct solution for the “Theory of Everything” – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/1121720701174195/?pnref=story

    Albert Einstein vs. “The Now” of Philosophers and of Quantum Mechanics – video
    https://www.facebook.com/philip.cunningham.73/videos/vb.100000088262100/1129789497033982/?type=2&theater

  9. 9
    StephenB says:

    jdk

    Approach #3: The TE’s I know and have learned from believe that all that happens is the will of God, and that the ways he manifests his will are beyond the understanding of man.

    Non responsive. A chance-oriented, evolutionary process, acting alone, cannot produce a result that is guaranteed to reflect God’s apriori intent. Thus, Christian Darwinism cannot be reconciled with Christianity.

    What is chance to man is not chance to God, and God doesn’t have to manipulate anything (see sentence 1).

    You are confusing two ideas. Your first clause reflects the irrational nature of Christian Darwinisn: your second clause reflects TE equivocation by those who know that Darwinism needs help.

    Christian Darwinists claim that science and religion are compatible, which they are, but then they go on to say that religion reaches the opposite conclusion as science, which means they are not compatible after all. That is one of their many contradictions.

    Some of them try to provide cover by changing the definition of random to correlation, but that doesn’t help since Neo-Darwinism is clear in its meaning that randomness is purposelessness.

    Therefore, both in science and in our daily life, we see contingent and chance events playing major and minor roles in what happens, but the TE accepts that those happen in accordance with God’s purposes, plans, and will.

    Chance events do not produce specified results. They produce indeterminate results. I cannot guarantee a seven, for example, if I use a random process by rolling a pair of fair dice. I may get a seven, but it is more likely that I will not. They only way to guarantee a seven is to design the outcome by loading the dice. It is impossible to guarantee a seven with fair dice, just as it is impossible to guarantee evolutions outcome by using a random process.

    There is no conflict between this view and evolution.

    The conflict screams. Either the outcome was exactly what God wanted (Theology) or the outcome was whatever a random process happened to come up with (Christian Darwinism). It can’t be both.
    .

    Here’s a pdf of a speech that my friend Keith Miller gave at a presentation back in 2006. (I gave the second presentation that night.)

    Ken Miller holds that evolution’s result was not specified in advance. He has been very clear about this. Thus, his aberrant brand of Christianity is in direct conflict with classical Christianity, which holds that God deliberately and purposefully created man in the exact form that He wanted.

  10. 10
    StephenB says:

    Mung

    Is the YEC attempt to reconcile God with Darwin any better?

    Which YEC’s try to reconcile God with Darwin?

  11. 11
    jdk says:

    I am referring to Keith Miller, not Ken: different people.

    And I’m not interested in arguing about what is essentially a sectarian disagreement within Christianity. My main point is that your summary of two different ways “TEs try to reconcile God with Darwin” is incomplete, and doesn’t include another possibility. Whether you think that third way is any more successful than the other two (and you don’t seem to understand it) is irrelevant to me.

    However, I encourage interested readers to look at the links I provided.

  12. 12
    StephenB says:

    And I’m not interested in arguing about what is essentially a sectarian disagreement within Christianity.

    The point is that Ken Miller’s position is not consistent with Christianity. There is nothing to argue about.

    My main point is that your summary of two different ways “TEs try to reconcile God with Darwin” is incomplete, and doesn’t include another possibility.

    Your number 3 does not address the issue on the table. So it is not an alternative solution. It is simply a nice sounding phrase that doesn’t mean anything. TEs use it all the time even as they avoid discussing the irrational nature of their position.

    Whether you think that third way is any more successful than the other two (and you don’t seem to understand it) is irrelevant to me.

    If i didn’t understand your comment, I wouldn’t know what is wrong with it. The third way is neither successful or not successful. It has nothing to do with the specific arguments that TEs make or how they relate evolution’s mechanism to Divine action.

    However, I encourage interested readers to look at the links I provided.

    I encourage anyone to address my arguments. No TE has yet taken them up. Sending me to a link that evades the issue will not suffice.

  13. 13
    jdk says:

    Keith Miller, not Ken Miller.

  14. 14
    StephenB says:

    Keith Miller, not Ken Miller.

    Keith Miller has the same problem.

  15. 15
    jdk says:

    Have you looked at any of the material I linked to? Can you be specific about the problem is?

    Also, as a specific issue, do you agree that what we may appear as chance to us may not be chance to God? In fact, from God’s perspective, is there even anything as chance?

  16. 16
    jdk says:

    Darn. Edit is not working in Chrome. I’ll use a different browser.

  17. 17
    jdk says:

    #15 should say:

    Have you looked at any of the material I linked to? Can you be specific about what the problems are?

    Also, as a specific issue, do you agree that what may appear as chance to us may not be chance to God? In fact, from God’s perspective, is there even anything as a chance event?

  18. 18
    Mung says:

    Why isn’t YEC’ism called Christian Darwinism? Is it because YEC’ism denies that God has any role whatsoever in evolution/devolution? Why is that better or worse than Theistic Evolution?

  19. 19
    Mung says:

    StephenB: Which YEC’s try to reconcile God with Darwin?

    All of them. John Sandford comes to mind.

    Most of them by appealing to the Fall and/or God having completed His work on the 6th day.

    After you remove God from the picture, what’s left, other than Darwinism?

    Do you know of any YEC that claims that God is still creating new species? I don’t.

  20. 20
    StephenB says:

    SB: Which YEC’s try to reconcile God with Darwin?

    Mung:

    All of them. John Sandford comes to mind.

    Any reference to Darwinism is about Darwin’s General Theory of Evolution. It is that theory that cannot be reconciled with God. Sanford does not accept Darwin’s general theory of evolution (natural processes created all biodiversity). No YEC does.

    On the other hand, everyone, Sanford, IDs and all YEC’s, accept’s Darwin’s special theory of evolution (natural processes create micro changes). Why in the world would YECs try to reconcile God with something they don’t believe in (Darwin’s general theory). Only TEs try to do that. I cannot be done.

  21. 21
    StephenB says:

    jdk

    Have you looked at any of the material I linked to? Can you be specific about what the problems are?

    I have already described the problem. A God-guided evolutionary process that produces a specified result cannot also an unguided, Darwinian process that produces an indeterminate result. If the process is Neo-Darwinism, then the outcome cannot be guaranteed.

    Also, as a specific issue, do you agree that what may appear as chance to us may not be chance to God?

    Not in the way that TEs mean it, no. According to the Darwinian model, which TEs claim to follow, evolution is (not seems to be) a totally random process. So, the TEs try to have it both ways: First, to please the Darwinists, they provide their talking points: Science confirms that the variations are due to random chance. Then, to please the Christians, they present their contradictory claim: the variations only appear to be due to random chance. Sorry that doesn’t work.

  22. 22
    Timaeus says:

    Seversky @ 4:

    You wrote:

    ***************************

    Would that include:

    Cancers?
    Alzheimer’s disease
    Diabetes?
    Malaria?
    Spontaneous abortions?
    Earthquakes?
    Floods?
    Droughts?
    Wars?
    Starvation?
    Radiation?

    Just to name a few.

    *****************************

    I answer that:

    None of those things are incompatible with an ID hypothesis. A designer might have intended a world in which there was destruction and suffering.

    I think you are hoping that someone will be suckered into launching into one of the various Christian justifications for the existence of evil and suffering. But ID isn’t committed to explaining why there is evil and suffering. ID isn’t a religion or a philosophy of life. It’s an inference to design. If you want a religion or a philosophy of life, read Kierkegaard or Nietzsche or Plato or Kahlil Gibran, not Dembski or Behe or Meyer or Wells.

    So yes, malaria is horrible, and yes, a designer might have intended it. That might make the designer nasty or sadistic, or it might make the designer’s purposes inscrutable; it wouldn’t disprove that malaria was designed.

    Medieval torture chambers were filled with designed objects. The aim of those objects was to produce pain. It does not follow from the fact that only a cruel person would design such objects, that they are not designed objects.

    If you are arguing against the inference of design, argue against that; if you are personally rejecting the kind of God who would create malaria, that’s a different argument entirely. But don’t mix up the arguments.

  23. 23
    jdk says:

    No Stephen, you are confusing a materialistic metaphysical interpretation of evolution with the theory of evolution itself.

    You are also just responding, I think, to you negative preconceptions about TE’s (which may fit some TE’s) without addressing the theological perspective that I am addressing.

    A key issue is chance, and you haven’t answered my questions: are the things that look like chance to us (the roll of a dice, a fortunate escape from an accident) actually chance to God, or is that what looks like chance to us is not chance to God.

    The bigger question: is anything chance to God?

  24. 24
    Mung says:

    StephenB:

    Sanford does not accept Darwin’s general theory of evolution (natural processes created all biodiversity). No YEC does.

    All YEC’s accept that claim because they deny any alternative.

    Do you know of any YEC that claims that God is still creating new species?

  25. 25
    StephenB says:

    jdk

    No Stephen, you are confusing a materialistic metaphysical interpretation of evolution with the theory of evolution itself.

    No. I am responding to the arguments as the TEs present them. Please take them up specifically. Do you agree with me that a random evolutionary process cannot produce a specified result?

    You are also just responding, I think, to you negative preconceptions about TE’s (which may fit some TE’s) without addressing the theological perspective that I am addressing.

    I am pointing out contradictions, which have not been addressed. They are not based on preconceptions. They are based on TE arguments as presented.

    A key issue is chance, and you haven’t answered my questions: are the things that look like chance to us (the roll of a dice, a fortunate escape from an accident) actually chance to God, or is that what looks like chance to us is not chance to God.

    It is always possible that appearances can be wrong and what appears to us as chance is not chance to God. However, it is not possible that chance-driven evolution and its indeterminate outcomes can be reconciled with God-guided evolution and its specified outcomes. In other words, Theistic Evolution has no rational justification. If you disagree, this would be a good time to make your case.

    The bigger question: is anything chance to God?

    Its a wonderful metaphysical question, but it has little to do with the contradictions of Theistic Evolution.

  26. 26
    StephenB says:

    Mung @24. I cannot make sense of what you are saying. I will leave you to yourself.

  27. 27
    jdk says:

    When I wrote, “The bigger question: is anything chance to God?”, Stephen responded,

    Its a wonderful metaphysical question, but it has little to do with the contradictions of Theistic Evolution.

    It has everything to do with the issue, which is a metaphysical issue.

    We, as humans embedded in this world of time and causality, see multitudinous things every day (not just events associated with evolution) as being random, contingent, or a product of chance. However, orthodox Christian theology holds that those things – all things – are manifestations of God’s will (which is a metaphysical proposition.)

    So what looks like chance to us is not chance to God. To think otherwise is to think that things happen in the world that are in fact not part of God’s will.

    More broadly, all histories are full of contingency from our point of view, even though orthodox Christian theology holds that those histories reflect God’s plan and purposes. This includes the lives of individuals, the broader histories of a time, and the evolutionary histories described by science.

    TE’s (I speak only for the point of view I am representing here) are not making any special claims about evolution: they are just stating an orthodox view of how to understand God’s presence in the world.

    So the metaphysical question of the nature of chance is absolutely central to the way Christian theology and the theory of evolution can be reconciled.

  28. 28
    StephenB says:

    jdk

    It has everything to do with the issue, which is a metaphysical issue.

    I am afraid that you are not grasping the problem. Darwinian science claims that evolution is a chance-driven process. TE rejects the design hypothesis and agrees with Darwinian science. Thus, the TE cannot say that evolution simply “seems” like a chance-driven process and continue to cling to the Darwinian model, which says that evolution “is” a chance-driven process.

    We, as humans embedded in this world of time and causality, see multitudinous things every day (not just events associated with evolution) as being random, contingent, or a product of chance. However, orthodox Christian theology holds that those things – all things – are manifestations of God’s will (which is a metaphysical proposition.)

    No one questions the proposition that sometimes God’s designs can appear as chance to us. The point is that Darwinian science, which TEs accept totally, says that evolution is not one of those instances. Since TEs accept Darwinian science totally, they are committed to saying that evolution is chance-driven–not seems chance driven–is chance driven. Yet they also say at other times that it merely seems chance driven. This is a contradiction that you must face.

    The more important point is that orthodox Christianity also teaches that God’s existence is made evidence from his handiwork, which means that the TE argument that biological design is an illusion militates against the same religion they claim to believe in. Each time they accept a Darwinian doctrine, they militate against their own faith claims. Contradictions are everywhere.

    So what looks like chance to us is not chance to God. To think otherwise is to think that things happen in the world that are in fact not part of God’s will.

    No. Sorry, but that is nonsense. Not all things that are ordained by God appear as chance to us. Some things, maybe, all things, definitely not.

    TE’s (I speak only for the point of view I am representing here) are not making any special claims about evolution: they are just stating an orthodox view of how to understand God’s presence in the world.

    You appear not to know what it means to be a modern day TE. (In Times past, it referred to those who think that God designed the evolutionary process. These days, it refers to evolutionary creationism or Christian Darwinism, which is the idea that God used unguided, purposeless, Darwinian processes to create biodiversity.)

    TEs, insofar as they are TEs, accept Darwinian “science.” which really isn’t science at all. It is an ideology posing as science. In any case, Darwinian science teaches that evolution is unguided and that biological design is an illusion. That position is in direct conflict with Romans 1:20, which I alluded to earlier. God’s designs in nature are obvious. So much so, that those who deny it are “without excuse.” Read it for yourself.

    Also, you are evading the main issue. TE style evolution is non Christian. It is the TE claim that a purposeful, mindful God can use a purposeless, mindless evolutionary process to achieve His specific ends. In fact, this proposition is not logically possible. Perhaps an analogy will help:

    [a] I load the dice such that the number 7 will appear every time. (specified result) I designed the process so that 7 is guaranteed to appear. It is the only possible outcome because I have closed off all others. If I hadn’t closed them off, I couldn’t guarantee the result. (God-Guided evolution)

    [b] I use fair dice, in which case there are eleven possible outcomes. This is an open ended process that will allow any outcome from 2 to 12, including 7. I cannot guarantee that I will get 7. I may get 7, but it is unlikely. The reason I cannot guarantee that 7 will appear is because the process is opened up so that other numbers can come up as well. (unguided Darwinian Evolution).

    Notice that the loaded dice and Guided evolution produce a specified outcome and that the fair dice and unguided Darwinian evolution produce an indeterminate outcome. Just as it is impossible for fair dice to guarantee a 7, it is impossible for a random evolutionary process (as posited by the TEs) to guarantee God’s specific intentions. Thus, Darwinian evolution, which will likely not reflect the Creators apriori intent, cannot be reconciled with Christianity, which requires a process that can guarantee the desired outcome.

  29. 29
    jdk says:

    I throw the dice. I don’t know whether it will come up 7 or not. God knows: not only does he know, but whether it comes up 7 or some other number is a product of his will, as are all things.

    You may correctly understand the position of some TE’s (although I would doubt that), but you are not understanding what I am saying. The TE’s I am describing accept evolutionary science from the point of view of human beings, with our limited perspective, but they also accept the metaphysical interpretation that the course of evolutionary history reflects God’s will.

    For the record, since I’m pretty sure you didn’t read this:

    Evolutionary Theory And Continuous Creation
    by Keith B. Miller
    Introduction

    Simply stated, my position is that there is no inherent conflict between evolutionary theory and a Christian faith with a high view of scripture. By evolution, I mean the theory that all living things on Earth are descended from a common ancestor through a continuity of cause-and-effect processes. I believe that there are no necessary breaks or gaps in causal explanations. That is, all transitions in the history of life are potentially explicable in terms of “natural” cause-and-effect processes. This theory is no mere guess or hunch, but an extremely well-supported explanation of the observed record of organic change. It has great explanatory power in drawing together an incredibly wide range of data from many disciplines in an explanatory framework. It has been very effective in generating fruitful and testable hypotheses that have driven new discoveries and advanced our scientific understanding of the universe.

    I accept the Bible as authoritative and true in what God intends it to communicate. However, simply accepting the truth of the Biblical writings does not indicate the meaning of those writings. Just as our observations of the natural world must be interpreted within some explanatory framework, scripture also must be interpreted. There is no such thing as an objective reading of scripture. The question for the Christian is then – What is the best interpretive framework for any given passage of scripture? I am convinced that the best interpretation of the first chapters of Genesis is a literary one in which neither time nor chronology are part of the intended message.

    Finally, I fully and unhesitatingly accept the doctrine of creation. God is the Creator of all things and nothing would exist without God’s continually willing it to be. Creation was not merely a past accomplished act, but rather is a present and continuing reality. The best term for this view of God’s creative activity is “continuous creation.” I also believe that God’s existence can be known in the creation through faith. However, scientific observation provides no proof of the existence of a creator God, indeed it cannot. Neither does scientific description, however complete, provide any argument against a creator. Since God acts through process, evolution and the theology of creation are perfectly compatible. In fact, I see them as positively reinforcing. An evolutionary understanding of creation illuminates our theological understanding, and theology places our scientific discoveries in a more comprehensive context and provides necessary moral guidance in the scientific endeavor.

    Discussion

    Much of the controversy over evolution and creation seems to rest firmly on the widely held view that evolution and Christianity are in irreconcilable conflict. However, this conflict view has been thoroughly discredited by both theological and historical scholarship. Christian theologians (including evangelicals) have long recognized that a faithful reading of Scripture does not demand a young Earth nor does it prohibit God’s use of evolutionary mechanisms to accomplish His creative will. Many evangelical Christians at the time of Darwin found no inherent conflict between evolutionary theory and scripture. In fact, several of the authors of the “Fundamentals” (the set of volumes that gave us the term “fundamentalist”) accepted some form of evolutionary theory. One of these was B.B. Warfield, a theologian who argued forcefully for Biblical inerrancy, and who accepted the validity of evolution as a scientific description of origins. Probably the most prominent advocate of evolutionary theory in America in Darwin’s time was Asa Gray, a committed evangelical Christian.

    Evolution has been viewed by many theologically orthodox Christians, since the publication of The Origin of Species, as a positive contribution to understanding God’s creative and redemptive work. For many, important theological truths concerning the nature of humanity, the goodness of creation, God’s providence, and the meaning of the Cross and suffering find renewed significance and amplification when applied to an evolutionary view of God’s creative work. The integration of an evolutionary understanding of Earth and life history with theological understandings of God’s creative and redemptive activity has yielded important insights. The fruits of these efforts need to be more widely known and discussed. There is a desperate need to diffuse the heated conflict which has grown up around the issue of evolution. The evolution/creation “warfare” view has effectively inhibited productive popular dialogue on important theological and scientific issues.

    Despite the long theological dialogue with evolutionary theory, many people continue to view evolution as inherently anti-theistic and inseparably wedded to a worldview that denies God and objective morality. Although this understanding of the meaning of evolutionary theory is strongly promoted by some, its conflation of metaphysical naturalism with evolution is widely rejected as philosophically, theologically, and historically false. Science is a methodology, a limited way of knowing about the natural world. Scientific research proceeds by the search for chains of cause-and-effect, and confines itself to the investigation of “natural” entities and forces. This self-limitation is sometimes referred to as methodological naturalism. Science restricts itself to proximate causes, and the confirmation or denial of ultimate causes is beyond its capacity. Science does not deny the existence of a Creator– it is simply silent on the existence or action of God. Methodological naturalism simply describes what empirical inquiry is. It is certainly not a statement of the nature of cosmic reality. Science pursues truth within very narrow limits. Our most profound questions about the nature of reality (questions of meaning and purpose and morality), while they may arise from within science, are theological or philosophical in nature and their answers lie beyond the reach of science.

    Theology, like science, must take account of the evidence at hand. While distinct, our scientific and theological understandings must inform each other if we are to be intellectually whole persons. Theology and science, while addressing different realities and different questions, are not hermetically sealed ways of knowing. Maintaining clear definitions of different types of knowledge actually aids in their integration. The confusion of metaphysical naturalism with evolutionary theory inhibits the productive interaction between the sciences and Christian theology. It does so by injecting into a scientific theory a metaphysical worldview which is simply not part of the theory.

    One commonly held perspective that tends to reinforce a conflict view of science and faith is that God’s action or involvement is confined to those events which lack a scientific explanation. Meaningful divine action is equated with breaks in chains of cause-and-effect processes. This view has been called a “God-of-the-gaps” theology. God’s creative action is seen only, or primarily, in the gaps of human knowledge where scientific description fails. With this perspective, each advance of scientific description results in a corresponding reduction in the realm of divine action. Conflict between science and faith is thus assured. However, this is a totally unnecessary state of affairs. God’s creative activity is clearly identified in the Bible as including natural processes, including what we call chance or random events. According to scripture, God is providentially active in all natural processes, and all of creation declares the glory of God. The evidence for God’s presence in creation, for the existence of a creator God, is declared to be precisely those everyday “natural events” experienced by us all. Thus Christians should not fear causal explanations. Complete scientific descriptions of events or processes should pose no threat to Christian theism. Rather, each new advance in our scientific understanding can be met with excitement and praise at the revelation of God’s creative hand.

    Responses To Specific Issues

    Chance

    There is much confusion over the meaning of the terms “chance” and “randomness.” These are often seen as antithetical to God’s action. Many people understand the word “chance” as implying a purposeless, meaningless, and accidental event. Scientifically, chance events are simply those events whose occurrence cannot be predicted based on initial conditions and known natural laws. Such events are, however, describable by probabilistic equations. This understanding of chance is not in any way in conflict with God’s creative action. The Bible, in fact, describes a God who is sovereign over all natural events, even those we attribute to chance such as the casting of lots or tomorrow’s weather. This perspective has been placed into a modern scientific context by some modern theologians who see God’s action exercised through determining the indeterminacies of natural processes. God is thus seen as affecting events at both the quantum level and at the level of large chaotic systems. Regardless of how one understands the manner in which God exercises sovereignty over natural process, chance events certainly pose no theological barrier to God’s action in and through the evolutionary process.

    Design And Gaps

    Seeking scientific evidence for divine action in the failure of present scientific description actually has the effect of diminishing the perception of God’s action in the physical universe. The very designation of only certain events or structures as “intelligently caused” relegates all others to the status of “unguided natural processes.” The argument from design should not be reduced to searches for gaps in scientific description. God is personally active in all natural processes, and all of creation is purposefully designed by God. All creation declares the glory of God. The evidence for God’s presence in creation, for the existence of a creator God, is precisely those everyday “natural events” experienced by us all. To reduce it to gaps in our scientific explanation does, I believe, great disservice to the witness of God in creation. As I have said elsewhere, “If a person cannot see God in a sunset or a thunderstorm, he or she will not see Him in a strand of DNA or a mitotic spindle.” The argument from design is that God is praised and revealed through all that He has made. My objection to the arguments of “Intelligent Design” proponents is not that they posit design, but that they restrict its meaning to only certain structures or processes and make it subject to scientific verification.

    Design Vs. Creation

    Design is often discussed as though God’s action is analogous to the work of an engineer or artisan. Such human action involves the imposing of form on preexisting materials. What the engineer or artisan can do is limited by the nature of those materials. By contrast, a divine creator brings into existence the very materials themselves. God creates the substance as well as the form. If God was indeed completely free in creating, then the properties of matter would correspond perfectly to God’s creative plan. We would thus expect nature to have the inherent capabilities to bring forth what God desires. This has been termed the “functional integrity of creation” by Howard Van Till. Such a perspective is much more consistent with the continuity of processes in the physical universe than an engineering view of God’s action. It makes the discovery of each new natural capability, or each new link in the history of creation, an opportunity for the praise of God rather than another obstacle to faith or challenge to the doctrine of creation.

    Design Vs. Mechanism

    Intelligent design really says nothing about “How” God creates. It does not propose a theory for the mechanism of change. If it does not address this issue, then it does not contribute anything to the scientific description of the history of life. I believe that all of creation is designed by God and has its being in God, but that does not give me any insights into the processes by which God brought that creation into existence. Questions of ultimate origins are important, but they are philosophical and theological questions, not scientific ones. Science does not and can not deal with ultimate questions of meaning or purpose.

    Design is a concept used in science, but not in the same way in which intelligent design advocates use it. The origin and evolution of anatomical features are discussed in terms of adaptation to environmental stresses and opportunities. Biological structures and systems have particular functions and purposes for which they were selected. Science routinely deals with design and purpose in this context.

    Deism

    It is often argued that if God does not intervene in creation by breaking the continuity of natural process, then God is not acting in a way that really matters. Those Christians who accept a gapless evolutionary description of the history of life are often labeled as deists. However, such a characterization could not be farther from my view, in which all natural processes are the personal, purposeful act of a creator God. God is both transcendent over creation, and immanent in creation. God’s creative power is continually at work, even now. I believe that the biblical view is that God upholds all physical reality moment to moment. God is intimately and actively involved in what we perceive as “natural” or “law-governed” processes. I thus see no distinction between God’s activity in “natural” and “miraculous” events. If one accepts this theological view, which I believe is thoroughly orthodox, then a completely seamless evolutionary history of life would be entirely acceptable theologically. In other words, such a scientific description would not violate one’s understanding of the nature and character of God.

    I would argue that an interventionist view of God is much closer to deism than my view. It implies that God is somehow withdrawn, or at least uninvolved in creation, except during special exceptional events. As others have noted, a doctrine of God’s occasional intervention is really a doctrine of God’s usual absence.

    Methodological Naturalism (MN)

    Some Intelligent Design (ID) advocates argue that MN arbitrarily and unjustifiably excludes supernatural agency from scientific explanation. This exclusion of God from scientific description is believed to unnecessarily restrict the search for truth. It does nothing of the sort. If God acted in creation to bring about a particular structure in a way that broke causal chains, then science would simply conclude that — “There is presently no known series of cause-and-effect processes that can adequately account for this structure, and research will continue to search for such processes.” Any statement beyond that requires the application of a particular religious worldview. Science cannot conclude “God did it.” However, if God acted through a seamless series of cause-and-effect processes to bring about that structure, then the continuing search for such processes stimulated by the tentativeness and methodological naturalism of science may uncover those processes. Using an ID approach, the inference to “intelligent design” would be made, and any motivation for further research would end. Thus, ID runs the risk of making false conclusions, and prematurely terminating the search for cause-and-effect descriptions when none are yet known. Furthermore, how would a gap in the causal chain be discovered unless continuing effort was expended in searching for possible “natural” causes? Thus even the verification of gaps requires research conducted using MN assumptions.

    Some nontheists see God as an unnecessary addition to a scientific description of the universe. In fact, God is unnecessary, or rather irrelevant, for a scientific description, but a scientific description is not a complete description of reality. Scientific methodology excludes appeals to supernatural agents by definition. To then use this methodological exclusion to support a philosophical/religious exclusion is completely fallacious. That science does not make reference to God says nothing about whether or not God is actively involved in the physical universe or in people’s lives.

  30. 30
    StephenB says:

    jdk

    TE’s (I speak only for the point of view I am representing here) are not making any special claims about evolution: they are just stating an orthodox view of how to understand God’s presence in the world.

    I am sorry, but you are flat out wrong. TEs, insofar as they are TEs, accept Darwinian science, which teaches that evolution is unguided and that biological design is an illusion. That position is in direct conflict with Romans 1:20, which I alluded to earlier. God’s designs in nature are obvious. So much so, that those who deny it are “without excuse.” Read it for yourself.

    Also, you are evading the main issue. TE style evolution is incompatible with Christian Theology. It is the TE claim that a purposeful, mindful God can use a purposeless, mindless evolutionary process to achieve His specific ends. In fact, that proposition is not logically possible. Perhaps an analogy will help:

    [a] I load the dice such that the number 7 will appear every time. (specified result) I designed the process so that 7 is guaranteed to appear. It is the only possible outcome because I have closed off all others. If I hadn’t closed them off, I couldn’t guarantee the result. (God-Guided evolution)

    [b] I use fair dice, in which case there are eleven possible outcomes. This is an open ended process that will allow any outcome from 2 to 12, including 7. I cannot guarantee that I will get 7. I may get 7, but it is unlikely. The reason I cannot guarantee that 7 will appear is because the process is opened up so that other numbers can come up as well. (unguided Darwinian Evolution).

    Notice that the loaded dice and Guided evolution produce a specified outcome and that the fair dice and unguided Darwinian evolution produce an indeterminate outcome. Just as it is impossible for fair dice to guarantee a 7, it is impossible for a random evolutionary process (as posited by the TEs) to guarantee God’s specific intentions. Thus, Darwinian evolution, which will likely not reflect the Creators apriori intent, cannot be reconciled with Christianity, which requires a process that can guarantee the desired outcome.

  31. 31
    Mung says:

    YEC’s, insofar as they are YEC’s, accept Darwinian science, which teaches that evolution is unguided and that biological design is an illusion.

  32. 32
    groovamos says:

    Seversky: Cancers? Alzheimer’s disease Diabetes? Malaria? Spontaneous abortions? Earthquakes? Floods? Droughts? Wars? Starvation? Radiation? Just to name a few.

    I can name a couple more, murder, plus name-calling and insults by materialists on UD.

    Yes yes all these awful things in the universe make it a dreadful universe for sure. These things of course would never be in a universe invented by Seversky. Therefore Seversky gets to be really on it about the universe since (s)he didn’t get to invent it. A universe which invented itself in no time at all since time didn’t exist. A universe which forgot to plan ahead for cancer, except ahead didn’t exist to plan about.

    Suggestion for materialists: why not just go ahead and admit you’re mad at the universe. Angry at it for having invented itself and all these things, for example the awful liquid core of the planet which constantly quakes and renews the land masses for land based life to run around on instead of the god-awful rain washing it into the seabeds. And for inventing your life too, maybe you’re mad at the universe about that.

  33. 33
    StephenB says:

    jdk

    For the record, since I’m pretty sure you didn’t read this:

    I already know Miller’s position. He is a Darwinist, though he doesn’t always disclose that fact.

    The TE’s I am describing accept evolutionary science from the point of view of human beings, with our limited perspective, but they also accept the metaphysical interpretation that the course of evolutionary history reflects God’s will.

    They say that until someone asks them a hard question about what they could possibly mean, at which time they have nothing more to say.

    I throw the dice. I don’t know whether it will come up 7 or not. God knows: not only does he know, but whether it comes up 7 or some other number is a product of his will, as are all things.

    God knows that fair dice cannot guarantee a 7. God also knows, for the same reason, that it is impossible for random processes to produce a specified outcome. It’s a simple as that. Do you question the point? If so, we can discuss it further.

    You may correctly understand the position of some TE’s (although I would doubt that), but you are not understanding what I am saying.

    I think it is the other way around. I don’t think you understand what I am saying.

    The TE’s I am describing accept evolutionary science from the point of view of human beings, with our limited perspective, but they also accept the metaphysical interpretation that the course of evolutionary history reflects God’s will.

    If they were really interested in God’s point of view, then they would accept the evidence for biological design and reject the Darwinian paradigm, for which there is no evidence at all–none.

    Yes, there is evidence for common descent, but that is not the same thing at all. Like Miller just did, most TEs carry on endlessly about the evidence for macro-evolution, which is not controversial. Meanwhile, they ignore their responsibility to defend the really important claim: That Darwin’s random, unguided, naturalistic mechanism can drive the entire evolutionary process from start to finish. That’s Darwinism, and no one, certainly not Keith Miller, can defend it. Nevertheless, TEs continue to recruit Christians in their camp while avoiding all significant challenges coming from those who can penetrate their linguistic fog.

  34. 34
    groovamos says:

    jdk: I throw the dice. I don’t know whether it will come up 7 or not. God knows: not only does he know, but whether it comes up 7 or some other number is a product of his will, as are all things.

    You just made the above statement which is clearly outside the realm of science. It is not outside the purview of philosophy so that I am allowed to observe that a designer who is surprised by the chance outcome of evolution is not the real designer, therefor the insertion of the idea of “random mutation” coming up with surprises for the real designer is an absurdity. Evolutionary processes converging on working designs thus cannot be random. I can’t scientifically prove this statement and you can’t prove yours. It is however overwhelmingly the best inference from observation and philosophy.

    BTW Darwin to my mind never came up with a definition of “random” that would have excluded correlative dependencies between mutation events. He at least never came up with methods of measurement of correlation between events because he never identified the events themselves. I can never seem to get professionals in the life sciences to identify a single “random mutation” in a chain of such which generated any structure. Funny science, this science.

    Miller: Intelligent design really says nothing about “How” God creates.

    A complete waste of ink indicating that the author knows not of what he speaks. Zero apparently.

    1. ID says NO-THING about the identity of the designer.
    2. ID says NO-THING about creation.
    3. ID says NO-THING about “how” anything.

    I can justify 1~3 by examining the ID motivated research by Douglas Axe over the past several decades in which nothing in 1~3 has been identified in the research.

    Now I’m not going to waste your time by claiming my belief in the designer as not supernatural.

    However there is plenty of room in the ID community for people not ready to embrace supernatural agency. Some of the ID superstars fit this category, David Berlinski is one. Other examples are people following the project with open mind without endorsement such as atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel.

  35. 35
    evnfrdrcksn says:

    “That Darwin’s random, unguided, naturalistic mechanism can drive the entire evolutionary process from start to finish.”

    no one believes this. why are you railing against strawmen?

  36. 36

    #35

    Which part of random unguided evolutionary theory isn’t random or unguided? Is it the part that puts a fin on a fish, or the part that uses combinatorial permutations to encode high-content information?

  37. 37
    EugeneS says:

    Theistic evolution is a belief in a demiurge, not in the all-powerful and all-knowing God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. TE’s god is a watchmaker, not a loving God.

    Seversky’s rhetorical questions should be directed to people, not to God. God had warned us, people, hadn’t He? These rhetorical questions are in fact Adam’s first response to God. ‘It is your responsibility, God, not mine”… God, the real God, fully participated in the sufferings of this world to the point of accursed death on the Cross like an outcast criminal, in order to grant Redemption and Immortality to man.

  38. 38
    jdk says:

    Consider this scenario:

    A man leaves home to catch a flight at the airport. On the way a sudden gust of wind blows a loose newspaper page across his windshield, he is distracted, and he has a small accident. Because of his accident, he misses his flight, which then crashes and all on board are killed.

    The man then says “It was God’s will – part of his plan for my life – that I was not to die today.”

    Is the man theologically justified in making this statement, or is that statement an unjustified rationalization for what was really just a piece of luck?

    That is, is it justifiable to see this event, from a human point of view, as a lucky chance event and also see it, theologically, as a manifestation of God’s will and purpose?

  39. 39
    StephenB says:

    jdk

    That is, is it justifiable to see this event, from a human point of view, as a lucky chance event and also see it, theologically, as a manifestation of God’s will and purpose?

    On the one hand. it would not be justifiable to say from a theological point of view that it was God’s ordained will and from a human point of view it was mere good fortune. It must be one or the other.

    On the other hand, it would be justifiable to say from a theological point of view that it was God’s permissive will and may also have been good fortune from your point of view. God’s permissive will would allow for both interpretations. God’s ordained will would not. But that is not the main issue.

    Under no circumstances would it be justifiable if, like the TEs, you had already told everyone you know as a matter of principle that there is no conflict between God’s actions and your perception of those actions, when in fact the very opposite would be the case.

    Recall that TEs claim (rightly) that there is no conflict between the truths of religion and the truths of science. However, they contradict their own principle every time they say evolution is purposeful from a theological point of view and purposeless from a scientific point of view. Conflicts don’t get any bigger than that.

    Again, Theistic Evolution is full of contradictions. You provide the context, and I will provide the contradiction. Several examples are already on the table–and none of them have been challenged. Theistic Evolution cannot survive rational scrutiny.

  40. 40
    rhampton7 says:

    jdk,

    Take it from someone who’s been down this path before, you’re never going to get StephenB to acknowledge that some TEs can accept randomness and unguided processes as true descriptions WITHIN our universe while simultaneously being known and planned for by God who is OUTSIDE it. StephenB insists its either one or the other no matter how many other theologians and philosophers say otherwise. So when you speak of dice or any other sufficiently random process, it will make no impact on his thinking.

    That’s not a problem once you realize that arguments along these lines are pointless.

  41. 41
    StephenB says:

    RH7, Since you are feeling frisky, perhaps you would like to help out your fellow Christian Darwinists.

    They claim (rightly) that there is no conflict between the truths of religion and the truths of science. However, they contradict their own principle every time they say evolution is purposeful from a theological point of view and purposeless from a scientific point of view. How do you reconcile those two statements?

  42. 42
    Barry Arrington says:

    RH7 @ 40:

    That’s not a problem once you realize that arguments along these lines are pointless.

    I shall translate from Darwin-speak into plain English: “Accepting our conclusions is not a problem once you realize that it is pointless to appeal to us on the basis of logic and evidence (i.e., argument), as StephenB insists on doing.”

  43. 43
    rhampton7 says:

    As I said, I’ve been there and done that. I don’t mind that you insist that all TEs are fundamentally wrong, it’s the utter contempt that
    I’m increasingly bothered by. Thought I’d save jdk the time and trouble.

  44. 44
    jdk says:

    Thanks, rhampton7, for both your posts.

    First, this is well said:

    some TEs can accept randomness and unguided processes as true descriptions WITHIN our universe while simultaneously being known and planned for by God who is OUTSIDE it

    That is exactly the issue.

    I also agree with you that the self-righteous contempt and dismissal of the views of people who I know are devoutly Christian, theologically sophisticated, and scientifically literate is bothersome, and unseemly.

    But I have argued these same points with StephenB, Barry, and others here in the past, and am not going to spend my time doing so again.

  45. 45
    jdk says:

    Stephen says,

    However, they contradict their own principle every time they say evolution is purposeful from a theological point of view and purposeless from a scientific point of view.

    This quote shows the primary source of Stephen’s misconception about the TE perspective I am describing. The scientific view, which the TE accepts, is that science makes no judgment as to whether there is divine purpose or plan in nature: it is a-purposeful. The materialist makes the positive statement that nature is purposeless, which is a metaphysical statement that goes beyond what science can claim.

    The TE does not agree with the materialist on this metaphysical point.

    As Keith Miller says,

    Scientific observation provides no proof of the existence of a creator God, indeed it cannot. Neither does scientific description, however complete, provide any argument against a creator.

    Science does not provide the argument that nature is purposeless, any more than it can show that there is purpose. “Purposeness” or the lack thereof are not qualities accesible by science.

    Another quote,

    Science restricts itself to proximate causes, and the confirmation or denial of ultimate causes is beyond its capacity. Science does not deny the existence of a Creator– it is simply silent on the existence or action of God. … It is certainly not a statement of the nature of cosmic reality. Science pursues truth within very narrow limits. Our most profound questions about the nature of reality (questions of meaning and purpose and morality), while they may arise from within science, are theological or philosophical in nature and their answers lie beyond the reach of science.

  46. 46
    StephenB says:

    Jdk

    The scientific view, which the TE accepts, is that science makes no judgment as to whether there is divine purpose or plan in nature: it is a-purposeful.

    On the contrary. TEs accept the science of biology as it is presented to them by the evolutionary biologists. That is what both mean as “science.” Evolutionary biologists do, indeed, make judgements about guidedness, goals, plans, and purposes. All you need to do is read a biological textbook or attend an academic conference.

    From Miller & Levine: Biology
    Evolution works without either plan or purpose … Evolution is random and undirected.

    Douglass Futuyma: This experiment conveys the essence of natural selection: it is a completely mindless process without forethought or goal.

    In 2005, 39 Nobel Laureates wrote the Kansas State Board of Education to inform them that “evolution is understood to be the result of an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection.”

    National Association of Biology Teachers (before Eugenie Scott scolded them LOL):“The diversity of life on earth is the result of evolution: an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable and natural process of temporal descent with genetic modification.”

    TEs accept this nonsense on the grounds that biological “scientists” are experts to be trusted. There is only one problem: They are not disinterested scientists. They are ideological hacks pushing an atheist agenda. (94% of evolutionary biologists are either atheist or agnostic). But that doesn’t stop the TEs from lapping it up like hungry dogs.

  47. 47
    jdk says:

    Stephen writes,

    They are not disinterested scientists. They are ideological hacks pushing an atheist agenda.

    This is harshly stated, but it supports my point: the people you quote are also confused about the distinction between what we know through science and a materialistic metaphysical interpretation of that knowledge.

    Of course you can quote people who are stating the scientific perspective without carefully separating the physics from the metaphysics.

    But dualing quotes don’t decide issues: reasoned argument does.

    Saying that the universe has a purpose or that it has no purpose are both metaphysical statements. The universe just is what it is, and science describes it. Deciding that it does or does not have purpose, or that it is designed to be what it is, or not, are decisions individuals make about their metaphysical beliefs.

    The TE view I am describing accepts the theory of evolution, as described by Keith Miller.

    By evolution, I mean the theory that all living things on Earth are descended from a common ancestor through a continuity of cause-and-effect processes. I believe that there are no necessary breaks or gaps in causal explanations. That is, all transitions in the history of life are potentially explicable in terms of “natural” cause-and-effect processes.

    This understanding does not preclude evolution from being a continuous creative act of God. What the TE view does claim, and this is a sectarian theological view outside the scope of science, is that God has acted through natural causes throughout the evolution of life on earth. The fact that these natural causes contain contingent events (which we see as random or chance), as all histories do, doesn’t mean that they weren’t, or couldn’t have been, also part of God’s creative activity.

  48. 48
    StephenB says:

    Keith Miller

    Scientific observation provides no proof of the existence of a creator God, indeed it cannot. Neither does scientific description, however complete, provide any argument against a creator.

    This is just silly. Miller embraces methodological naturalism. Of course science provides no evidence for a Creator God if you rule out all the evidence for a creator God in advance.

    In any case, Miller’s comment is irrelevant. He is a geologist. I am not pointing out the contradictions in the mainstream science of evolutionary geology. I am pointing out the contradictions in the mainstream science of evolutionary biology.

  49. 49
    StephenB says:

    SB: They are not disinterested scientists. They are ideological hacks pushing an atheist agenda.

    This is harshly stated, but it supports my point: the people you quote are also confused about the distinction between what we know through science and a materialistic metaphysical interpretation of that knowledge.

    The people I quote define the mainstream science of evolutionary biology, the same science that you and your TE associates claim to follow. The mainstream science of biology, for which I could provide many more examples, includes the metaphysical claims about lack of guidedness. It is part of the Neo-Darwinian paradigm and the mechanism of unguided evolution. That was the whole point in citing them. You either accept or reject the mainstream science of evolutionary biology, which is also the bogus science of evolutionary biology. If you do reject it, then say so. Please don’t try to argue that it isn’t mainstream science.

    Once you do reject the mainstream science of evolutionary biology, complete with its metaphysical assumption of unguided evolution, we can discuss the alternative–guided evolution. Meanwhile, you have a choice to make.

  50. 50
    jdk says:

    Stephen writes,

    Miller’s comment is irrelevant. He is a geologist.

    I suppose that makes your and my comments irrelevant also (assuming you are not an evolutionary biologist)! 🙂

  51. 51
    StephenB says:

    I suppose that makes your and my comments irrelevant also (assuming you are not an evolutionary biologist)! 🙂

    That’s cute. Thanks. No, I mean Keith’s comments are irrelevant to my critique.

  52. 52
    aap says:

    Since TEs believe (and it is a belief, not science, as all they have with respect to evolution is very circumstantial inferences based on a very limited amount of data interpreted through a methodological naturalistic lens that rules out GOD or any kind of intelligent designer) that there is no evidence in our universe for the reality of an intelligent designer (a conclusion based on definitions, not a lack of evidence), why do they believe that there is a god of some kind out there responsible for the existence of our universe, world, and life? Do they believe in a god behind the scenes because of their faith tradition, family loyalty, upbringing, or perhaps some psychological need for some purpose to their life, or perhaps the need of some kind of hope beyond this present world, or maybe the result of some sort of mystical spiritual experience? Why do they profess faith in a deity, a behind the scenes intelligent designer, when they believe that everything could have come into existence through natural means alone?
    TEs claim that it is because of faith, and I ask faith in what or whom? TE’S clearly do not believe the testimony of the HOLY SPIRIT through the prophets and apostles in His Word. The HOLY SPIRIT has clearly in very simple straight forward easy to understand words testified that people can indeed objectively see GOD’S glory revealed in the universe (Psalm 19) and that there is no excuse for intelligent people not to recognize the power and wisdom of GOD revealed in His creation (Romans 1). In fact, the HOLY SPIRIT refers to those who deny GOD’S existence as blind and foolish. Why would they be blind and foolish if there is nothing in creation that gives a clear testimony to GOD?
    Most TEs do not believe the testimony of CHRIST to the historical reality of Adam and Even or to the global flood. Most TEs do not accept the testimony of the prophets and apostles to the historical reality of Adam and Eve or of their fall into sin and darkness (which includes the human mind) which has resulted in suffering and death throughout our world. They do not believe the HOLY SPIRIT’S testimony that our world was “very good” when it was created, which means it was perfect because all GOD does is perfect as JESUS testified in Matthew 5. Something is not “good” to GOD, unless it is perfect. JESUS testified that only GOD is “good” (Mark 10:18), and by that He meant Holy and perfect in every way. TEs believe that “very good” includes disease, violence, suffering and death. If according to their own beliefs that some kind of a god is the creator of all of these realities of our world, then they certainly do not believe in the same GOD that CHRIST was the visible manifestation of and that the prophets and apostles testified to. Further, if they believe that all of these realities are very good, why bother to try to heal diseases or end violence, would it not be in keeping with GOD’S “very good” ways to increase these things instead of trying to prevent them. Why should the lost world believe in a god that is the creator of all of the suffering and death that they experience in life? Lastly, since they believe that these realities are very good, do they believe that they will be part of heaven, since it is the same god who creates both? Is heaven a cycle of suffering, death and reincarnation?
    TEs say they believe in some kind of god and some kind of Jesus on the basis of faith, but it obviously isn’t faith in CHRIST or the HOLY SPIRIT or the writings of the prophets and apostles. It is not faith in the truthfulness of GOD. In fact they believe that GOD intended to deceive His people for the past 6000 years with respect to creation, since it is very clear that the prophets, apostles and even JESUS believed in the creation account of Genesis. Only TEs in their “enlightenment” (see JESUS words in Matthew 6:22-24) understand on the basis of secularized science, which by definition eliminates GOD as a direct cause for anything in this universe, that GOD’S glory cannot be seen in His creation. Many TEs say that they have a “high view” of Scripture, whatever that means to them. They may hold to a “high view” of Scripture, however they hold to an even higher view of their own reasoning ability and the beliefs of secularized science. Like all liberal theologians they pick and choose the teachings of CHRIST and His prophets and apostles that fits in with their philosophy of life and discard anything that is contrary to their secularized thinking on origins. Further, in their theological sophistication, they arrogantly look down upon the poor country bumpkins who still believe in the creation as testified to by CHRIST, His SPIRIT and His prophets and apostles, and, on the basis of their superior intelligence they refuse to listen to those who can clearly see the amazing glory of GOD in the irreducible complexity and vitality of His creation.
    If TEs subjected the rest of Scripture to the same methodological naturalistic approach that they do to Genesis, there would be no JESUS left to believe in. There would be no virgin birth, no miracles, no resurrection. The whole testimony to the life of CHRIST can be seen as merely literary devices meant to communicate some message that only the theological elite are bright enough to discern.
    For example, if one thousand 21st century scientists using the principles of methodological naturalism were given a sample of the wine from JESUS miracle revealed in John 2 to test whether it was really wine and where it originated from, what would they conclude? After conducting a battery of tests they determine that it is real wine. Their conclusion therefore is that since it is genuine wine, that its origin is the same as all genuine wine produced in our world today. Specifically, they conclude that it was produced through a lengthy process of the growing of the grape vines, which produced the grapes, which were then harvested and the juice pressed out and fermented. All of which took place over a period of many months, or perhaps years. After finishing their tests, they proudly publish their results in one thousand peer reviewed papers in scientific journals to the applause of their secular and TE colleagues. Of course there wouldn’t be a single peer reviewed paper that would conclude otherwise. Even if such a paper were written and submitted it couldn’t be published because it wouldn’t be real 21st century science based on methodological naturalism. Their case is overwhelmingly convincing to anyone who chooses to view the world and their life on the basis of methodological naturalism.
    Now let’s also assume that they could so some historical investigation and were able to interview the servants who served the wine and asked them: “Where did this wine come from?” The servants told them that this man by the name of JESUS had told them to fill some barrels with water and then instantly the water was transformed into wine. Based on their presuppositions and their extensive knowledge and understanding of the process of fermentation the thousand scientists would certainly reject the testimony of these witnesses and conclude that either they were drunk at the time, or perhaps had concocted this myth to protect them from being accused of stealing someone else’s wine barrels. From the perspective of methodological naturalism these are the only conclusions they can arrive at. Their conclusions were already present in their presuppositions.
    The point is clear: If you apply the presuppositions of methodological naturalism to determine the origin of our universe, life, kinds of life, or of any of the other miracles testified to by the SPIRIT in the Scriptures, including JESUS’ virgin birth, the miracles of His ministry, or His resurrection, you will be forced by your presuppositions to conclude that all of these accounts are mythological, merely literature. Perhaps they may have had their origin is some actual naturalistic reality, but were exaggerated and massaged to create the impression of being miraculous for religious propaganda purposes. The resurrection of JESUS would be viewed as either an outright fabrication as a result of religious delusions based on mystical experiences of dreams or visions of JESUS, or something that grew out of JESUS being resuscitated from a coma and then transformed into a resurrection story. Or, perhaps JESUS followers were a bit tipsy when they wrote the stories, but people being gullible the stories caught on and spread.
    What would theistic evolutionists say about the wine and the one thousand peer reviewed papers that declared that the wine was not miraculous? Based on the arguments I have read from TEs on the creation issue, if they are consistent in their approach to Biblical teachings, they would have to affirm the conclusions of their scientific peers that the wine was not a miracle of JESUS, but the result of the natural fermentation process. However, TEs would add that this story is a parable, a literary device used to communicate some esoteric truth. They may suggest that this is a parable about JESUS and the truth that He really did love His mother and that GOD is the creator of wine through natural processes, and therefore this is a call to celebration and the multiplication of booze to help all of the creationists and ID people out there to loosen up a bit. They would also add that it is not important for salvation whether a person believes that JESUS actually did this miracle or not, all that is important is that a person believes in JESUS. Of course, if the conclusions of methodological naturalism are applicable to the account of the transformation of water into wine, they would also be applicable to all of the other stories about JESUS including His resurrection from the dead. As many TE theologians of the past, and present in churches today, suggest, JESUS resurrection is merely a parable or mythology where the what, who and when doesn’t matter, all that counts is the message that there is some kind of existence beyond the grave in some kind of “better place”.
    Anyone who rejects the historical testimony of the HOLY SPIRIT in the Bible because it is contrary to methodological naturalism has no other option but to conclude that it is all religious mythology and nothing more. Further, if the faith of TEs is not based on the objective realty to the historical truths testified to by the HOLY SPIRIT, and Genesis is certainly a historical book, it is nothing more than personal beliefs based on some philosophical, psychological or mystical spiritual experiences, no different than those holding to Hinduism, Islam, or any other of the myriad of religious beliefs out there.
    TE is a false “enlightenment” that leads many into darkness as is evidenced by the increasing darkness in our nations today as we have turned from the GOD testified to by His SPIRIT in His Word.

  53. 53
    Timaeus says:

    I see that once again Seversky is not going to respond to one of my challenges [see 4 and 22 above]. It is a pattern with him. He offers a feeble “argument”; I present an articulate, informed response; he goes silent. I guess he feels outmatched by me. Which is not surprising, since he is outmatched by pretty well everyone. That’s why his posts are mostly drive-by shootings; he can’t sustain an argumentative conversation.

  54. 54
    Origenes says:

    JDK @23,

    JDK: A key issue is chance, and you haven’t answered my questions: are the things that look like chance to us (the roll of a dice, a fortunate escape from an accident) actually chance to God, or is that what looks like chance to us is not chance to God.

    If for Him things are not up to chance, then they are not up to chance for anyone. When one holds that the dice is loaded and the outcome guaranteed, one cannot coherently subscribe to a theory wrt the dice that assumes randomness and equal outcomes.

  55. 55
    StephenB says:

    Origenes is right, of course. His point is well expressed.

    I would also add that this concept applies to the outcomes and effects of processes and mechanisms, not the free will choices of humans who are, themselves, causal agents. Humans have the power, temporarily at least, to frustrate God’s will.

  56. 56
    Mung says:

    StephenB:

    Mung @24. I cannot make sense of what you are saying. I will leave you to yourself.

    It’s not difficult at all to follow. Whether you actually want to follow is another matter entirely.

    The title of the OP describes Theistic Evolution as “All evolution, no real theism.”

    What is the difference between that and YEC’ism, where, post Fall, God is hands off when it comes to evolution?

    YEC’ism: All evolution/devolution, no real theism.

    Let me spell it out a different way.

    By what process did the creatures which left the ark become the numerous and varied species that we see today?

    1. The species we have today were all specially created by God (YECism rejects this).

    2. The species we have today were all on the ark. There have never been any new species since the Flood. (YECism rejects this).

    3. The species we have today evolved/devolved from common ancestors which were on the ark.

    3.a. God guided that process. (YECism rejects this.)

    3.b. God did not guide that process. (YECism accepts this.)

    Godless evolution. It’s the YEC position.

    What about any of the above do you find confounding?

  57. 57
    StephenB says:

    Mung

    What about any of the above do you find confounding?

    What I am asking for is clarity. Are you saying that YECs accept micro evolution (Darwin’s special theory) but reject macro evolution (Darwin’s general theory) before the fall? Or are you saying that that they also reject micro evolution before the fall? Or are you saying that they reject micro and macro evolution before the fall, and then make a dramatic turn, embracing both micro and macro evolution after the fall? (That would be an unusual claim). If you are really saying that YEC’s believe in macro evolution after the fall, is that supposed to be the Godless equivalent of TEs, who believe in macro evolution both before and after the fall? I am simply asking you to connect your own dots. Meanwhile, I can only guess about what you mean. I am willing to entertain your thesis if you will articulate it for me.

  58. 58
    bornagain77 says:

    Dean_from_Ohio at 57,

    Thank you.

    Of related interest to the overall subject of objective morality vs. subjective morality, Atheists hold that morality is subjective and illusory. Whereas on the other hand, Theists hold that morality is objective and real.

    And the empirical evidence shows us that the Theist is correct. For instance, ‘nuanced’ morality is found to be deeply embedded in the genetic responses of humans. As well, morality is found to be deeply embedded in the structure of the universe. Embedded to the point of eliciting physiological responses in humans before humans become fully aware of the morally troubling situation.

    This following study shows that objective morality is built/designed, in a very nuanced fashion, into the way our bodies differentiate between ‘hedonic’ and ‘noble’ moral happiness:

    Human Cells Respond in Healthy, Unhealthy Ways to Different Kinds of Happiness – July 29, 2013
    Excerpt: Human bodies recognize at the molecular level that not all happiness is created equal, responding in ways that can help or hinder physical health,,,
    The sense of well-being derived from “a noble purpose” may provide cellular health benefits, whereas “simple self-gratification” may have negative effects, despite an overall perceived sense of happiness, researchers found.,,,
    But if all happiness is created equal, and equally opposite to ill-being, then patterns of gene expression should be the same regardless of hedonic or eudaimonic well-being. Not so, found the researchers.
    Eudaimonic well-being was, indeed, associated with a significant decrease in the stress-related CTRA gene expression profile. In contrast, hedonic well-being was associated with a significant increase in the CTRA profile. Their genomics-based analyses, the authors reported, reveal the hidden costs of purely hedonic well-being.,,
    “We can make ourselves happy through simple pleasures, but those ‘empty calories’ don’t help us broaden our awareness or build our capacity in ways that benefit us physically,” she said. “At the cellular level, our bodies appear to respond better to a different kind of well-being, one based on a sense of connectedness and purpose.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....161952.htm

    And although nuanced genetic responses of a moral nature, between noble vs. hedonic happiness, is pretty good for establishing that “there are moral laws of the universe just as abiding as the physical laws” (Martin Luther King), the following studies go one step further and shows that our moral intuition transcends space and time:

    Quantum Consciousness – Time Flies Backwards? – Stuart Hameroff MD
    Excerpt: Dean Radin and Dick Bierman have performed a number of experiments of emotional response in human subjects. The subjects view a computer screen on which appear (at randomly varying intervals) a series of images, some of which are emotionally neutral, and some of which are highly emotional (violent, sexual….). In Radin and Bierman’s early studies, skin conductance of a finger was used to measure physiological response They found that subjects responded strongly to emotional images compared to neutral images, and that the emotional response occurred between a fraction of a second to several seconds BEFORE the image appeared! Recently Professor Bierman (University of Amsterdam) repeated these experiments with subjects in an fMRI brain imager and found emotional responses in brain activity up to 4 seconds before the stimuli. Moreover he looked at raw data from other laboratories and found similar emotional responses before stimuli appeared.
    http://www.quantumconsciousnes.....Flies.html

    Can Your Body Sense Future Events Without Any External Clue? (meta-analysis of 26 reports published between 1978 and 2010) – (Oct. 22, 2012)
    Excerpt: “But our analysis suggests that if you were tuned into your body, you might be able to detect these anticipatory changes between two and 10 seconds beforehand,,,
    This phenomenon is sometimes called “presentiment,” as in “sensing the future,” but Mossbridge said she and other researchers are not sure whether people are really sensing the future.
    “I like to call the phenomenon ‘anomalous anticipatory activity,’” she said. “The phenomenon is anomalous, some scientists argue, because we can’t explain it using present-day understanding about how biology works; though explanations related to recent quantum biological findings could potentially make sense. It’s anticipatory because it seems to predict future physiological changes in response to an important event without any known clues, and it’s an activity because it consists of changes in the cardiopulmonary, skin and nervous systems.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....145342.htm

    There is simply no coherent explanation that a materialist/atheist can give as to why morally troubling situations are detected prior to our becoming fully aware of them or before they even happen. Whereas a Theist, since he believes morality to be real, would expect as such.

    Of personal note, Dean Radin’s work as was referenced by Hameroff, has been severely mocked and ridiculed by atheists since it directly challenges their materialistic beliefs. But I personally, as far as the science itself is concerned, find Radin’s work to be above board. For instance

    Roger Nelson and Dean Radin Defend 9/11 Global Consciousness Claims
    http://mindpowermasters.blogsp.....d-911.html

    Of related note: In the following video, Dr Antoine Suarez points out that Immanuel Kant’s empirical requirement for the moral argument for God to be validated, (i.e. which was simply evidence for influences arising from outside space-time), has now been met in quantum mechanics:

    God, Immanuel Kant, Richard Dawkins, and the Quantum – Antoine Suarez – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQOwMX4bCqk

  59. 59
    bornagain77 says:

    Of related note to nuanced expressions of networks of genes that differentiate between hedonic and noble moral happiness. Atheists can’t even explain where one gene and protein came from. Much less can they explain networks of genes acting in concert:

    Miracles in Evolutionary Theory – July 28, 2016
    Any sufficiently advanced improbability is indistinguishable from a miracle.
    Excerpt: In Signature in the Cell, building on research by Douglas Axe on protein function, Stephen Meyer calculated the probability of one relatively short protein 150 amino acids in length as being one chance in 10 to the 164th power (10-164, pp. 210-212). In other words, expecting just one protein by chance exceeds the universal probability bound calculated by William Dembski (10-150) by 14 orders of magnitude — 100 trillionth the chance! The word “miracle” doesn’t even come close to belief in such an event. Yet these evolutionists want us to believe that somewhere between 355 and 463 genes or protein products, all working in concert, emerged by chance.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....03032.html

  60. 60
  61. 61
    Mung says:

    StephenB:

    Are you saying that YECs accept micro evolution (Darwin’s special theory) but reject macro evolution (Darwin’s general theory) before the fall? Or are you saying that that they also reject micro evolution before the fall?

    Why are you asking me? Are you not a YEC? YEC’ism rejects all evolution before the fall. YECism rejects death before the fall. I ought not need tell you this.

    Now if you indeed seek clarity, why are you asking me questions about before the fall?

    Mung: By what process did the creatures which left the ark become the numerous and varied species that we see today?

    The Ark, not Eden. The process post-Flood, not post-Fall.

    There’s nothing mysterious about my questions or statements. YECism cannot be defended. It capitulates to atheism and Darwinism when it comes to the biological world of today.

    I am willing to entertain your thesis if you will articulate it for me.

    Let me state it again then.

    YECism accepts that the creatures alive today had as ancestors those creatures which survived the flood, and that the diversity of living species is not because every species that exists today was specially created after the flood. IOW, they evolved.

    YECism accepts that this diversity is due to descent with modification, and that this process is not guided by God. they evolved, via unguided processes.

    It is in fact no different from the position of “theistic evolution” that you have set out to attack.

    All evoluti9on, no real theism. Unless by theism you mean a God that is hands off.

    YECism is clearly at odds with intelligent design.

  62. 62
    StephenB says:

    Mung

    Why are you asking me? Are you not a YEC

    Heavens No. I think the earth is 4 billion years old. I also think that the universe is 13.7 billion years old. However, arguments for a young earth are not irrational. They are merely implausible. There is a difference. You are assuming that my disdain for the TE model comes from a YEC perspective. Not at all. It comes from a respect for reason and logic.

    YEC’ism rejects all evolution before the fall. YECism rejects death before the fall. I ought not need tell you this.

    I didn’t say I didn’t know. I was asking you what you thought.

    YECism accepts that this diversity is due to descent with modification, and that this process is not guided by God. they evolved, via unguided processes.

    Most YECs believe in either fixity of the species or something close to it. They do not believe that descent through modification can produce new species. Indeed, they don’t even mean the same thing as evolutionists when they use that term. For macro evolution, the addition of new information over time is necessary in order to produce new body plans. YECs do not believe in the formation of new body plans at all, either before or after the flood. They think that animals of a certain “kind” bear a resemblance to animals of that same kind at the time of the flood. So your assessment of YEC is incorrect.

    It is in fact no different from the position of “theistic evolution” that you have set out to attack.

    It is quite different. I don’t just set out to attack TE. I explain why it is irrational. There is nothing irrational about guided macro-evolution, but there is definitely something irrational about unguided evolution that is guided.

    YECism is clearly at odds with intelligent design.

    No it isn’t. I don’t agree with YEC, but it is not at variance with intelligent design.

  63. 63
    Vy says:

    I’ve been watching this thread for a while now and I’ve got to say Mung, you seem fundamentally confused.

    Your entire argument against YEC is a strawman. In fact, your description (or at least understanding of what YEC is) is a huge strawman. Simple googling answers your questions so it’s quite surprising you even ask them although that behavior is to expected of Darwinists and their brethren of the theistic variety.

    Why are you asking me? Are you not a YEC? YEC’ism rejects all evolution before the fall. YECism rejects death before the fall. I ought not need tell you this.

    YECs reject evolution – macro and micro. They’ve done so for over a decade.
    You certainly don’t think the borrowed ideas of what Darwinists define today as “microevolution” was unknown to the world before Darwin stepped on the scene, do you?

    The Ark, not Eden. The process post-Flood, not post-Fall.

    How exactly does God creating original kinds with the ability to adapt to varying environments equate to unguided mindless and blind evolution or even theistic Darwinism?

    There’s nothing mysterious about my questions or statements.

    You need to read them again.

    YECism cannot be defended. It capitulates to atheism and Darwinism when it comes to the biological world of today.

    Your strawman version of YEC? Absolutely. Actual YEC? Absolutely false.

    YECism accepts that the creatures alive today had as ancestors those creatures which survived the flood … IOW, they evolved.

    Equivocating adaptation (and speciation and …) with evolution is getting you nowhere.

    YECism accepts that this diversity is due to descent with modification, and that this process is not guided by God. they evolved, via unguided processes.

    Seriously? Did you read that before posting it?

    “Darwinian programmers accept that the way antiviruses react to viruses is not guided by the programming of the antivirus. Ergo, antiviruses are created by randomly throwing marbles at computers for x number of days then hitting ‘RUN’.”

    Does that sound logical?

    It is in fact no different from the position of “theistic evolution” that you have set out to attack.

    All evoluti9on, no real theism. Unless by theism you mean a God that is hands off.

    Strawman.

    YECism is clearly at odds with intelligent design.

    If by “Intelligent Design” you mean God creating over anything but 6 days (as stated in the Bible numerous times) and/or with evodelusion, sure.

    —-

    Sadly, your disingenuous attempt at refuting a strawmanned YEC isn’t original. Your level of confusion, assuming that is what it is, is sort of unique though.

  64. 64
    mw says:

    Wayne Rossiter posted:
    “Recently, some in the industry have expressed concerns about my general assessment of theistic evolution, which is, ‘you cannot be intended and unintended at the same time.’” https://shadowofoz.wordpress.com/2016/02/09/a-specific-brand-of-evolutionary-creationism/

    He goes on to point out what Giberson said:

    “sin is basically selfishness . . . evolution has a lot to say about selfishness . . . Selfishness, in fact, drives the evolutionary process . . . After many generations selfishness was so fully programmed in our genomes that it was a significant part of what we now call human nature.”

    Rossiter says, “So, now God is using a mechanism that causes pain, suffering and death, and literally creates us sinful. Francisco Ayala has been very clear about this (apparently aware of the implications).” (Professor Francisco Ayala, is a former Dominican priest, ordained in 1960, but left the priesthood that same year.)

    He then quotes Ayala:
    “I think Intelligent Design implications are blasphemous, because they imply that God is inept. Like in the design of the jaw. And everything else. . . every animal or plant is incompetently designed, and is a cruelty. . . I prefer to see this as natural selection, rather than [as] a consequence of design by an intelligent designer, the Creator. . . I don’t want the God of benevolence and the omnipotent God to be given the credit for having made that creation.”

    A letter from Uncle Screwtape could not have put it better – the Ten Commandments contains blasphemy by saying God created in six days. It is evolution that is a gift from God over billions of years, not some instant freakish stone mirage at Sinai through Moses.

    Indeed, Ayala’s book, Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion (Joseph Henry Press: Washington DC, 2007), also states that “evolution has solved the ‘theodicy’ problem” (p 3). Meaning, that’s got rid of Satan.

    The god endowed power of Evolution can do natural miracles without knowing the outcome of a miracle via natural selection, devoid of free will while drumming up all the material needed in the cosmos from nothing.

    Surely, the natural grand theory of evolutionism is ultimately nothing more than a meaningless human construction, from and of nothing to deny the possibility that there is God, but in which we must bow to and believe in nothing!

  65. 65
    mw says:

    Hi Vy # 64; fair comments.

    The link to “original,” appears to be not working.

  66. 66
    Vy says:

    @mw, here’s the corrected version.

  67. 67
    StephenB says:

    @63 I wrote, “Most YECs believe in either fixity of the species or something close to it.”

    Correction: That should read, most YECs believe in either fixity in “kinds” or something close to it. The point is that, while I am not on board with it, a case can be made for YEC. No case can be made for TE.

  68. 68
    Mung says:

    Mung: YECism is clearly at odds with intelligent design.

    StephenB: I don’t agree with YEC, but it is not at variance with intelligent design.

    YEC denies that God is involved in evolution. ID contradicts this claim. Both cannot be true.

  69. 69
    Mung says:

    StephenB:

    You are assuming that my disdain for the TE model comes from a YEC perspective. Not at all. It comes from a respect for reason and logic.

    So you elevate reason and logic over divine revelation!

    StephenB:

    You are assuming that my disdain for the TE model comes from a YEC perspective. Not at all. It comes from a respect for reason and logic.

    No, I merely observed that you fail to apply that same respect for reason and logic to the claims of Young Earth Creationism.

    By what process did the originally created kinds evolve?

    That process was guided by God or it was not guided by God.

  70. 70
    Mung says:

    Vy: YECs reject evolution – macro and micro. They’ve done so for over a decade.

    Bully for them. They are morons. The rejection of evolution entails the belief that all extant species were specially created by God.

  71. 71
    Vy says:

    Bully for them. They are morons.

    Based on the content of your recent comments, you just described yourself. Bravo!

    The rejection of evolution entails the belief that all extant species were specially created by God.

    That’s about as moronic a statement an individual can make. It’s on par with the usual crap that comes out of Dawkins’ mouth. Dude!

    Read your comments before posting.

  72. 72
    Vy says:

    YEC denies that God is involved in evolution. ID contradicts this claim. Both cannot be true.

    You keep yapping on about X denying Y involved in evolution but I gotta ask – what evolution?

  73. 73
    mw says:

    I have crossed referenced this post with:-

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-614330

    Thanks, Mung, that you take the time to respond to a “moron,” as you say elsewhere (# 71, http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-614284)

    However, following my main comments # 150, (to recap):-

    “Let’s apply your logic to the resurrection. In an instant Jesus created a brand new species of human, regenerating himself from the dead with a body that is duality, a super creation. That is, a body able to transcend both the spiritual and physical realms.
    Did He use unguided evolution to create anything about His new Self?
    Where did He get His cues from when He was dead?
    The Father at Sinai, was, is and remains a six day creationist. The Son died keeping divine law.”
    _____________________________________________________

    you reply # 152:

    “First, I deny that Jesus created a brand new species of human.
    Second, even if Jesus did create a brand new species of human, that’s one new species since the Creation.” #71
    _______________________________________________________
    I perceive you edge your bets!

    There is only one humankind.

    You overlook the fact, that His resurrection was the second God-Man species. His first; at the Incarnation, when the Godhead became God-Man, physically bound with flesh.

    Also, are you not confusing species with varieties or kinds? Even Darwin had difficulty distinguishing between, the words, and the word “kind,” he avoided like the ten plagues of Egypt. _______________________________________________________
    “Darwin’s failure to define a major term in his seminal work, On the Origin of Species, is not surprising. The true origin of every species is the Creator, the God of the Bible. The difficulties in defining the term “species” has more to do with the failure of evolution to adequately explain what we see in nature as well as what we have seen documented in the fossil record.”
    http://www.creationstudies.org.....ecies.html
    ________________________________________________________

    However, the original “moron” according to a plain reading of divine law, you must also tar: that is God the Creator/Jesus, and His divine law which He wrote in Stone at Sinai, as “I am.” He created in six days, the original YEC’ist.

    Still, to imply written were the Ten Commandments by a “moron” would be blasphemy if divine law is true, as said.

    Mung, I am not asking you to believe what I believe, only to try and at least understand my logic to a belief, which I readily acknowledge is not mainstream by today’s sieve-like evolutionist logic.

    Nevertheless, Mung, you do me honour by classing me as a “moron.” Jesus said: “blessed are those who mock and say all manner of things against you, for great is your reward in heaven.” And believe me Mung, I have had worse said in The Catholic Times, (England).

    Irrespective, if calling me a “moron” makes you feel better: fine.

    However, from my own experiences of being drawn or influenced by evolutionism, it was the realisation that true origin is set in a divine law that really sank home with me. At that point, scripture became clear and sound. No fancy footwork needed to get around things.

    For me, the cosmic measurements do not reflect or take into account a vast maturing miracle. Miracles affect data. The beginning miracle affects data big time.

    I believe we live in the matured wine of six-day creation. The yoke is easy and the burden light.

    Anyway, to finish, five “moron” woman to consider who were given mystical understandings of Genesis.

    Julian of Norwich (1342-1416) was the second woman to do so, and the first English woman to write a book in English, of the mystical “Revelations of Divine Love.”

    Saint Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179), made Doctor of the Church 2012, in Scivias and Book of Divine Works was given an understanding of Genesis and John 1:1.

    Venerable Mary of Agreda (1602-1665) in The Mystical City of God, through the Holy Mother.

    Stigmatic Blessed Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824) in The Life of Jesus Christ and Biblical Revelations.

    St. Bridget (1303-1323), Patron Saint of Europe, wife and mother of eight children, was the only women ever to found a religious Order, Ordo Sanctissimi Salvatoris. She may also be called the patron saint of failures.

    “The value of St Bridget’s Revelations, sometimes the object of criticism Venerable John Paul II explained in his Letter Spes Aedificandi: ‘The Church, which recognized Bridget’s holiness without ever pronouncing on her individual revelations, has accepted the overall authenticity of her interior experience’” (n. 5).
    https://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/audiences/2010/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20101027.html

    No doubt, Mung, the Patron Saint of Europe is a “moron” also?

  74. 74
    StephenB says:

    Mung

    So you elevate reason and logic over divine revelation!

    You are confusing what comes first as a priority (revelation) and what comes first in time (reason). It all starts with reason. I value revelation highest of all. However, faith and reason work together. In the beginning, I use my reason to know which claims of revelation are true. God revealed himself in Scripture, not in the Koran or Vedas or Talmud. You can’t use revelation to discover revelation, just as you can’t use faith to discover which religion is true.

    The process starts with reason. First, reason shows that God exists. Then reason helps you to discover which of those who claim to speak for God can be trusted. As it turns out, only one was telling the truth–Jesus Christ. Once reason takes you to where you need to be, then the right faith takes over and illuminates your reason. If one allows the wrong faith to illuminate his reason, he is lost.

    I also use my reason to decide which exegetical methods are appropriate for Scripture, so that I avoid the errors of TE, and yes, the errors of YEC. Without reason, people will believe that God tells them to fly airplanes into buildings. The worst advice you can give anyone is–“Just believe.” No. What you want to believe is the truth.

    No, I merely observed that you fail to apply that same respect for reason and logic to the claims of Young Earth Creationism.

    Your so-called “observation” is an illusion—and an insult. I apply my reason to all models. Reason tells me that YEC claims are likely false. YEC could be true, however, if uniformatarianism is false. Still, that requires a stretch. I think uniformatiarism is true, so I reject YEC. However, TE cannot possibly be true under any circumstances. So TE is more unreasonable than YEC.

    By what process did the originally created kinds evolve?

    If macro-evolution is true, then it would seem that God guided the variations. Random variations cannot produce specified outcomes, only indeterminate ones.

    That process was guided by God or it was not guided by God.

    Of course. Please pass the word along to the TEs, who think it can be both at the same time.

  75. 75
    Vy says:

    YEC could be true, however, if uniformatarianism is false. Still, that requires a stretch. I think uniformatiarism is true, so I reject YEC.

    Interesting :/

  76. 76
    Mung says:

    StephenB:

    You are confusing what comes first as a priority (revelation) and what comes first in time (reason). It all starts with reason.

    If it all starts with reason, then reason comes first in priority.

  77. 77
    Mung says:

    StephenB:

    I value revelation highest of all.

    Yet you claim that it all starts with reason.

  78. 78
    Mung says:

    StephenB:

    I also use my reason to decide which exegetical methods are appropriate for Scripture, so that I avoid the errors of TE, and yes, the errors of YEC.

    The errors of YEC? How do the errors of YEC differ from the errors of TE?

  79. 79
    StephenB says:

    SB: You are confusing what comes first as a priority (revelation) and what comes first in time (reason). It all starts with reason.

    If it all starts with reason, then reason comes first in priority.

    No. Prior in time does not mean exactly the same thing as prior in importance.

    SB: I value revelation highest of all.

    Yet you claim that it all starts with reason.

    That is because it does. I must first use my reason to know that God exists before I can accept and understand His revealed truth (prior in time). However, it is more important to give intellectual assent to revelation than to know God exists (prior in importance).

    SB: I also use my reason to decide which exegetical methods are appropriate for Scripture, so that I avoid the errors of TE, and yes, the errors of YEC.

    The errors of YEC? How do the errors of YEC differ from the errors of TE?

    TE subordinates God to Darwinist ideology. YEC tries to use Genesis as a scientific textbook. TE is a far more serious error.

  80. 80
    velikovskys says:

    Stephen B
    TE subordinates God to Darwinist ideology. .

    More like it subordinates the theory of evolution to theistic ideology.

  81. 81
    Mung says:

    TE tries to find a role for God in evolution. YEC claims God has no role in evolution (its Godless). YEC is a far more serious error.

  82. 82
    Seversky says:

    Timaeus @ 22

    I answer that:

    None of those things are incompatible with an ID hypothesis. A designer might have intended a world in which there was destruction and suffering.

    Quite right. There are any number of possible designers for which all that suffering is not a problem. Of course, one designer for which it is a problem is the Christian God which, as we all know, was the one the founding fathers of ID like Phillip E Johnson clearly had in mind when promoting Intelligent Design.

    I think you are hoping that someone will be suckered into launching into one of the various Christian justifications for the existence of evil and suffering. But ID isn’t committed to explaining why there is evil and suffering. ID isn’t a religion or a philosophy of life. It’s an inference to design. If you want a religion or a philosophy of life, read Kierkegaard or Nietzsche or Plato or Kahlil Gibran, not Dembski or Behe or Meyer or Wells.

    Your version of ID might just be about the inference to design but Johnson’s wasn’t, so you need to disavow his version or be vulnerable to the suspicion that you aren’t being honest about your motives

    So yes, malaria is horrible, and yes, a designer might have intended it. That might make the designer nasty or sadistic, or it might make the designer’s purposes inscrutable; it wouldn’t disprove that malaria was designed.

    No, it wouldn’t but neither would it prove it was designed and, if that’s what you’re claiming, then the burden or proof is on you.

    If you are arguing against the inference of design, argue against that; if you are personally rejecting the kind of God who would create malaria, that’s a different argument entirely. But don’t mix up the arguments.

    I am arguing against the inference to the Christian God as designer which has been the case at least since William Paley, was the case for Phillip Johnson and is quite clearly the case for many UD regulars. We can certainly discuss the lesser claim that an inference to design is warranted even where no designer is known or even specified.

  83. 83
    Timaeus says:

    Seversky wrote (83, responding to my 22):

    “Of course, one designer for which it is a problem is the Christian God”

    Even if so, that is a theological problem for Christianity itself, not a flaw in scientific arguments for design. ID theory may argue that malaria could not have come into existence without design; that argument stands or falls on its scientific merit, without regard to whether it helps or hurts Christian theology.

    ID theorists, *qua* ID theorists, have *zero* responsibility to engage in Christian apologetics. ID theorists who happen to be Christian may feel a personal responsibility to engage in Christian apologetics; but that is because they are Christian, not because they are ID theorists. Clear examples: Michael Denton has not written even one sentence of Christian apologetics; Richard Sternberg hasn’t written any apologetics, either. This shows that ID, *qua* ID, can be completely indifferent to the truth or falsehood of Christianity.

    “so you need to disavow his [Johnson’s] version”

    I don’t know that this is the case, because I haven’t read enough of Johnson to know whether or not he sharply distinguished arguments for design from their apologetic use. If he made such a distinction, I wouldn’t have to disavow him at all.

    But let’s take the worst-case scenario and say that Johnson’s writing lets Christian apologetics leak into his ID arguments all over the place. So what? Johnson is old news. He hasn’t written a major ID book or article in over 20 years. The major books representing ID theory are No Free Lunch, The Design of Life, Behe’s two books, Meyer’s two books, Denton’s Nature’s Destiny, and a few others. None of these books purports to defend the Christian God or justify suffering caused by the designs in nature.

    There are other books written by ID authors which *do* tackle the problem of evil, etc., but those books identify themselves as theological books, and their authors indicate that in them they are speaking as Christians. Several of Dembski’s popular books fit into this category. But ID doesn’t need those books to make its design arguments.

    “No, it wouldn’t but neither would it prove it was designed and, if that’s what you’re claiming, then the burden or proof is on you.”

    But of course I did not undertake, in the context of my reply to you, to prove that malaria — or *anything* — was designed. I undertook only to show you that a proof that malaria — or any other pain-causing thing — was designed would not pose a problem for ID theory. It might pose a problem for Christian theology, but not for ID theory.

    Why should ID theory be responsible for rescuing Christian theology from its problems? What other scientific theory has that burden laid on it, that it must solve the theological difficulties of Christian claims? Do you demand of the Continental Drift theory that it solve the problem of evil? Do you demand of String Theory that it deal with, say, some apparent incoherence in the doctrine of Trinity? Why should ID theorists be responsible for *anything* other than making arguments for design?

    “We can certainly discuss the lesser claim that an inference to design is warranted even where no designer is known or even specified.”

    And that lesser claim is made in the ID works that I specified above.

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