Science historian Michael Flannery kindly responded to something I (O’Leary for UD News) had written to a group of friends about theistic evolution (TE): “I prefer to call it ‘Christian Darwinism’ because the element that is not compatible with design (or Christianity) is the Darwinism.” His view:
Absolutely correct! The problem isn’t necessarily with common descent or evolution per se but with wholly random and chance mechanisms behind them. Darwinists (from Richard Dawkins on one end to Ken Miller on the other) constantly conflate this issue. So TE is really something of a misnomer that winds up working to their benefit.
Yes, the term “theistic evolution” does indeed work to TE’s benefit by blurring out all the meaning from the term “evolution.” God had a hand in it somehow, but what he did is unclear.
Ask and you’d be surprised what you’ll hear: For example, process theologian Karl Giberson helped found BioLogos, along with Francis Collins. Giberson and Collins offer in The Language of Science and Faith, (IVP Books, 2011):
… we hope readers will agree with us that the relevant part of our origins is not the story of how we acquired the specific details of our body plan—ten fingers, two ears, one nose—or how we lack a marsupial pouch to carry our newborns, or why potty-training takes so long. Nothing about these details is critical to what makes us human. Our humanness is embedded more holistically in our less tangible aspects and could certainly be embodied in creatures that looked nothing like us … (Karl W. Giberson and Francis S. Collins, The Language of Science and Faith: Straight Answers to Genuine Questions (InterVarsity Press, 2011), p. 201, p. 204–5.)
Why should they hope that readers will agree with them? Unless we believe in space alien fiction, there is zero current evidence for a proposition that that the details of the human form are not “the relevant part of our origins.” Maybe they are relevant. And it should hardly be necessary to point out that we are told by a more authoritative source that even the hairs of our heads are numbered.
Then Giberson and Collins resort to an airy ad hominem dismissal of those who prefer the more authoritative source:
Many may find this thought unsettling and strangely at odds with their understanding of creation, which celebrates that God created us “in his image.” We suggest that this is due to the influence that actual artistic images have had on our view of God and ourselves Because God became incarnate in Jesus, who looks like us, we all too quickly slip into the assumption that God also looks like us. (Karl W. Giberson and Francis S. Collins, The Language of Science and Faith: Straight Answers to Genuine Questions (InterVarsity Press, 2011), p. 201, p. 204–5.)
This is disingenuous. The question isn’t whether God looks like us—or for that matter, whether man can even look on God and live*— but whether God intends us to look the way we do, for good reasons.
On a Darwinist reckoning, no. On a Christian reckoning, yes.
Theistic evolution consists first and foremost in evading such direct choices, in order to accommodate Christianity to the fads and fashions of Darwin’s followers. And that is why I call it Christian Darwinism.
* On that subject, from another authoritative source: “But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”