Why Evolutionary Creationists Need to Be Specific, or, Why George Brooks is Wrong

On BioLogos today, a frequent and apparently well-meaning poster, George Brooks, wrote the following:

God COULD arrange an entire Cosmos at the very moment of creation.

Or

God COULD nudge and prod during the entire course of the Cosmos.

It could work either way. And the difference in one scenario or another is based on premises that might be embraced or rejected by an entire denomination …. or by individuals within a denomination.

Trying to compel BioLogos to BE SPECIFIC is a diversion … and not productive … when faced with Christian real estate that varies completely depending upon time and place…. and doesn’t really matter to the BioLogos mission.

There are a few things that need to be said here. Continue reading

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The danger of dualism in theistic evolution

I’m continuing the theme here, from the last two posts, that origin of life questions may require not just new knowledge, but a new scientific paradigm – perhaps one that integrally includes God. This is counterintuitive to many Christians most involved in science, and who are comfortable with methodological naturalism as the only alternative to a crude supernaturalism. But I’ll try to justify it from a remark made to me by Joshua Swamidass on BioLogos. Continue reading

Posted in Creation, Philosophy, Science, Theology | 12 Comments

Lamarck’s Zoological Philosophy

The epigenetic revolution has reintroduced the idea of the inheritance of acquired characteristics into evolution, to the extent that some of Darwin’s devotees are trying to spin the story that Darwin believed in it all along, and that orthodox science never denied it. Which is tosh, of course – acquired heredity was the epitome of heresy throughout my lifetime, at least. As I wrote in a zoology essay in 1968, referencing Jean-Baptiste Lamarck:

There is no evidence that body cell characteristics can be transferred to reproductive cells.

Well, that ought to have settled the matter! But with Lamarck beginning to be mentioned in polite company again without the customary sneer, I thought it might be instructive to read his original work. I find “discredited” old writers are habitually misrepresented, and in some cases that they possessed valuable insights that have been lost. Continue reading

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HDYKWJWD?

Or, being interpreted, “How do you know what Jesus would do?” Soon after I thought of this title (which turns out to be unoriginal anyway), following up a train of thought in recent posts on Bible interpretation (and Bible rejection), our Pastor providentially introduced his sermon with the original phrase, “What would Jesus do?”. It was in the context of thinking about Creation care (a series based on material from A Rocha, whose founder Pete Harris did some blogs on The Hump a couple of years ago).

The pastor’s point was that we’ll look in vain for direct teaching on whether Jesus would have used an electric car, public transport or private jet, because “What Jesus would do” in those days was to walk, for sure. So it’s necessary to enquire into the Bible’s teaching on creation overall and do serious thinking in order to make our own lifestyle decisions. Continue reading

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Kenosis or pleroma?

A few days ago I wrote about the claim that Scripture is “underdetermined” even about a central Christian doctrine like providence, a doctrine on which depends not only the nature of Creation, God’s government of human history and his promises for the future, but even the fundamental practical matter of prayer. I criticised the tendency of even highly-trained academics to cherry-pick Scripture references (and the erroneous “even-handed” suggestion that for every text for a particular position, there are others against). As the old Reformers used to insist, what matters is the whole counsel of God in Scripture. Continue reading

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Peter on Simon Magus – a glossobuccal approach

Current controversies over scriptual infallibility lead scholars to reinterpret the often naive and sometimes even crude statements made by the biblical writers, including Jesus. This paper seeks to suggest how the apostle Peter might have prevented an unfortunate schism in the early Jesus community had he been better educated in the now well-established principles of academic freedom and inclusive discourse. I refer to the unfortunate incident in which Peter clearly lost his temper in his disrespectful and uncivil reponse to a fellow scholar, Simon Magus. Continue reading

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Consensus science, fringe theology

BioLogos was ostensibly, as far as I can see, constituted to deal with one main problem. And that is, the problem that Evangelicals, especially in America, did not accept evolutionary theory. This was perceived to lead to two main problems. Firstly, in apologetics, Evangelical Christianity was in danger of being intellectually sidelined, unnecessarily alienating the educated community by denying the evidence of science. Secondly, pastorally, Christians brought up in Creationist churches were liable to be stumbled on encountering the strength of the evidence for evolution when they studied science, thus leading unnecessarily to abandonment of their Evangelical faith. Continue reading

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“Underdetermination”, diversity and truth

In a recent debate between proponents of Open Theism and Classical Theism, much was made of the suggestion that Scripture “underdetermines” the matters in question. This suggestion was made, apparently irenically, by moderators of the debate but also, less intuitively, given their claim to be more Scriptural, by some on the “openness” side. This would appear to be because they are currently perceived as the “fringe” (although within academia there are grounds for saying that the “voluntary-kenotic-perichoretic-relational-panentheist paradigm” is the new orthodoxy – see this blog  re academic theology overall and this  essay  on the same trend in Evangelicalism), and can gain a better foothold by the strategy of saying, “You can’t use Scripture to disprove our views.” Continue reading

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RIP Dave Swarbrick

The demise of this great traditional fiddler was not unexpected, after a long history of emphysema and a double lung transplant, but still sad. Continue reading

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Some further thoughts on black pepper

I just want to expand briefly on some strands in the updated peppered moth story  that I didn’t follow through in the last post. Continue reading

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