Monthly Archives: September 2012
Here’s another set of contrasts. In my last post I looked at the mindless inefficiency of neutral-theory evolution and junk DNA in juxtaposition with the wonder of one particular group of organisms, the raptors. But one might also contrast them with the intelligent and rational actions of the human beings who have discovered, and applied, these “undeniable truths”.
I had the privilege yesterday of getting up close and personal with various raptors at the Hawk Conservancy Trust in Hampshire. I got to meet various species of owls, a young secretary bird and some vultures, and actually to fly one of the African vultures and some Harris’ Hawks. These are in deed very special creatures.
In my series on the phases of theistic evolution I touched on the interesting link between the spirit of the age and which scientific theories (and what kind of theistic evolution) are popular, or even possible. It’s hard sometimes to tell what dictates that spirit, but it does seem that it is at least as much the case, or possibly more so, that worldview dictates science rather than that the scientific evidence forms the worldview. Which is curious indeed.
Interesting thing – the ENCODE results were announced 6 days ago. Everyone’s talking about them. Except BioLogos, which hasn’t mentioned anything about them yet. Nobody’s written about James Shapiro yet, either, even though his book came out last year and has earned him a regular column at Huffington Post. There have been five articles on Junk DNA this year alone, however. Oddly pedestrian, for an organisation started by the head of the cutting edge Human Genome Project, don’t you think?
When I was young, the issue of Christ’s miracles was a big problem to Christians. Scientific determinism had infiltrated the public mind so thoroughly that the Bible’s miraculous claims were one of the greatest stumblingblocks in apologetics. Even within Evangelical churches rationalising the miracles as social or psychological events was common. I find it fascinating how much that has changed over forty years. Of course, atheists have become more vocal and rationalistic, but within the general community, there is much more of an attitude that, should the historical claims about Christ be true, then his miracles make sense. Yet it’s hard to pin down the reasons for this subtle shift … Continue reading
In my last post I showed how, to the theistic evolutionists of his time, Darwin’s original theory was capable of delivering, without God’s direct intervention, all that the Biblical doctrine of creation described (with the exception, mainly, of mankind’s spiritual qualities). To people like B B Warfield, then, evolution was a true efficient cause, for which God as the original Creator was the primary cause. But then the theory changed.
I want to show how changes in evolutionary science have led to changes in the theology of Christians who accept it. It should cause us to question if theology should be so much the handmaid of a variable science. Charles Darwin developed his evolutionary theory in the context of a worldview that was, essentially, deterministic. Newtonian physics, of course, was thoroughly so. So, essentially was the uniformitarianism of Charles Lyell’s geology (particularly as it led to a complete eclipse of any catastophism at all, presumably in reaction to the Biblical Flood narrative). The overriding social idea of the time was of progress, and particularly of progress towards the triumph of … Continue reading
I finished my last post by suggesting that any divine action in the natural world would inevitably resemble chance in its deviation from the predictions of lawlike processes. I queried whether a genuinely indeterminate chance might or might not be distinguished from God’s actions, and hence God’s work be considered “detectable.”
I’m returning, like a dog to its vomit, to the old questions revolving around “freedom” in creation, and the “detectability” of God’s work. That’s partly because it keeps coming up (eg on the new Alvin Plantinga thread on BioLogos), partly because certain people keep challenging me about it even if I’m dealing with something different, and partly because I haven’t finished thinking about it yet. I’m looking here at the implications of global hypotheses about God’s involvement in the Universe. What I’m not much concerned with today are what, or why, particular people might hold these views. As usual I’m dealing mostly with the non-human creation, but I’ll be drawing … Continue reading
When I first read Francis Collins’ The Language of God in 2007, it was from the viewpoint of appreciation that the head of the Human Genome Project was a fellow-Christian, defending the compatibility of science and faith. That was before I had any dealings with BioLogos the organisation. But now I thought it might be useful to return for a more critical look at the book, one 14-page chapter of which is, essentially, a manifesto for BioLogos as a concept. What does Collins mean by it, and to what extent does the present BioLogos reflect that?