Denton, emergence and common descent

In between spotting rare birds in the reedbeds and sampling real ales in country pubs, I took the opportunity of some time away this week to read Michael Denton’s Evolution, Still a Theory in Crisis. As agreed by both Darrel Falk, former President of BioLogos and Sy Garte, respected colleague on The Hump of the Camel, in their respective reviews it is an important book, which is why I will put it on the Books We Like page at the earliest opportunity.

Tradesman's Arms, Stokenham - one to visit!

Tradesman’s Arms, Stokenham – one to visit!

Not that Denton’s thesis is entirely new. Perhaps the simplest summary is that it is a re-affirmation of his first book questioning the Neodarwinian Synthesis thirty years ago, now strengthened by much work in biology since, combined with a new structuralist viewpoint which he inherits from Richard Owen before and during Darwin’s time.

I might add (because Denton doesn’t stress it) that structuralism – the idea that much of biological form depends on lawlike constraints, rather than adaptive contingency – was the prevalent theory of evolution, in the form of orthogenesis, at the time when Darwinism was found wanting in explanatory power at the beginning of the twentieth century. It was only the Neodarwinian Synthesis that rehabilitated Darwinism, and it was the hegemony of that Synthesis within western biology that not only wrote the case for structuralism out of science, but virtually out of history as well. The replacement of Owen’s statue in London’s Natural History Museum, which he established, with Darwin’s, is the epitome of that rewriting of history, as Denton mentions.

Denton’s structuralism is a well-argued return to the reality of essentialism in biology: there are indeed true discontinuities between taxa that simply cannot be explained by natural selection. If so, then Aristotle was actually observing nature more accurately than we have for the last century or so, in our dogma that all life is a continuum of contingently changing components. Because these discontinuities constitute some of the most significant features of living things, they radically relativise the significance of natural selection. To a large extent, selection becomes the tinkerer that merely fine-tunes microevolution, whereas what Denton argues to be natural laws of emergence are what paints the grand picture of life.

Although his main aim is to show the evidence for such emergent phenomena, Denton extends the argument from his previous book, Nature’s Destiny – that nature’s laws reveal a fine-tuning for human life at all levels from cosmological constants to chemistry – to the evolution of life itself (a belief shared by Owen, all the early theistic evolutionists and even Alfred Russel Wallace).

I want, in a couple of posts, just to air some implications that seem to arise from his insights, for a truly theistic understanding of nature. Today, I just want to play with the idea of common descent, which Denton himself regards as demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt on many fronts. I have no problems with that – but I do begin to see that, divorced from the belief in universal Darwinian gradualism, common descent becomes an idea without much significance. Owen, for example, saw no reason why life would not emerge repeatedly in many places, since he saw it as no fortuitous accident, but built into the fabric of natural law.

Let’s begin by floating an idea that Denton actually quotes from Darwin himself: that the features that we highlight to construct the nested heirarchies used to support common descent are by their very nature those farthest removed from adaptive selection. To take his first example, the pentadactyl vertebrate limb (extensively studied by Owen), the whole point is that it has remained universal amongst the whole vertebrate clade for 400 million years, despite every adaptational exigency to which it has been turned from flying or swimming or digging holes to writing books. It cannot possibly, then, be evidence for Darwinian evolution. Indeed, Denton points out that the very existence of a nested heirarchy is evidence against Darwinian processes as the major player in evolution, for change without direction ought to lead to taxonomy without patterns.

Denton himself considers that pentadactyly, and similar examples, constitute good evidence for common descent itself, but I should remind you that the nested heirarchy was formerly, by those like Linnaeus, considered telling evidence for the special creation of every possible species by God. (As Denton points out, it was a garbled adoption of that idea that led Darwin to quote, more than once, Aristotle’s aphorism natura non facit saltus in insisting on gradualism).

If there are emergent laws of form, as Denton argues, then gradualism is no longer a requirement in evolution. He consistently argues that the evidence from the fossil record, taxonomy and much genetics is that the important changes were relatively, at least, saltational. Let me run with that for a moment, commencing with an example that seems fairly well established: the saltational acquisition of mitochondria by eukaryotes through Lynn Margulis’ suggestion of a fusion of two disparate forms of life. Whatever further adjustments arose by adaptation through that assumed saltation, there was a profound discontinuity between the two pre-existing lineages and the resulting clade of eukaryotes.

Or, in less easily-conceived processes, let us suppose that emergent laws explain some of Denton’s other examples, such as the necessarily sudden (and yet horrendously complex) extrusion of the nucleus from the mammalian erythrocyte, the evolution of the theropod feather or, indeed, that pentadactyl limb. Or ORFan genes. Or turtle anatomy… or the phenomenon of developmental systems drift. Such discontinuities have no known, and in most cases no conceivable, adaptive origin. They arose de novo – and perhaps they even arose more than once in different lineages, as some examples of “convergent evolution” suggest. In such cases (a majority, in fact, of taxon-defining features), not only do we have no clear knowledge of the ancestors in which they occurred, but it doesn’t appear to matter much anyway.

To use some biblical analogies, we would learn little about the miracle at the wedding in Cana by comparing the wine with a sample of the water. In fact, we would have no way of knowing which of a set of water samples was “ancestral” to the wine. Neither would it matter very much. In like manner, perhaps genetic examination of the scraps of fish after the feeding of the five thousand would confirm they were from two separate genomes of a commonly-eaten local fish. But that would tell us nothing whatsoever about their multiplication, which is the only point of interest. In the same way, if some fundamental and unpredictable change occurs in a living form, not demonstrably influenced either by its history or its external circumstances, what does the genealogy tell us that is useful, or even interesting?

Here we are, of course, considering miracles rather than what are, Denton insists, entirely natural saltations resulting from emergent laws within nature. But I use these miraculous examples advisedly, because I find myself asking what the difference actually would be between a “natural saltation” or a “fine-tuned emergent law of life” and a direct creative act of God. I’ll look at that in another post (or two).

Meanwhile, I’ll just ask you to consider whether the obsession of biology with common ancestry would have any purpose whatosever if the day came when Darwinian gradualism were finally concluded to have only secondary importance for the origin of the species.

This week's uncommon sighting - a cirl bunting (not my photo). The morphological taxonomy of buntings (surprise, surprise) is at odds with the genetic: in this case possibly due to another gradualist misunderstanding mentioned by Denton - the equidistance phenomenon studied by Shi Huang (http://www.thethirdwayofevolution.com/people/view/shi-huang)

This week’s uncommon sighting – a cirl bunting (not my photo). The morphological taxonomy of buntings (surprise, surprise) is at odds with the genetic: in this case possibly due to another gradualist misunderstanding mentioned by Denton – the equidistance phenomenon studied by Shi Huang (http://www.thethirdwayofevolution.com/people/view/shi-huang)

Jon Garvey

About Jon Garvey

Training in medicine (which was my career), social psychology and theology. Interests in most things, but especially the science-faith interface. The rest of my time, though, is spent writing, playing and recording music.
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17 Responses to Denton, emergence and common descent

  1. Edward Robinson Edward Robinson says:

    Hi, Jon.

    I wish I could have been with you at that pub pictured above!

    I think the column above is an excellent discussion of the high points of Denton’s book. Also, your further reflections on common descent and on the relationship between saltation and miracles are worthy of everyone’s consideration.

    Like you and Denton, I have no problem with the notion of common descent, but like you I have wondered about the difference between a saltational change and an outright miracle.

    In Denton’s second book, he floats the idea that the changes are saltational from an external point of view, but are ultimately gradualistic in origin, because all kinds of tiny genetic changes are being “stored” (though not applied in the phenotype) for generation after generation, until they add up to something phenotypically significant, and then — Bang! — a radically different biological form appears. This was his attempt to reconcile the appearances described in his first book — the appearances of “creationism” — with a naturalistic biological mechanism of mutational change which was, though invisible, entirely natural and gradual. But oddly enough, this idea appears to have been entirely dropped from his third and newest book.

    Why has it been dropped? I think that in the intervening period (of over 15 years!) Denton has been reading the evolutionary literature in large quantities, and especially the evo-devo literature and the literature connected with mathematical and physical notions of “form”, and I think the emphasis upon “form” as something with its own internal rules and principles, not derivable from merely contingent factors (such as mutation and selection) has become part of his mental framework in thinking about evolution. So the idea of storing up random mutations for a rainy day, when all in concert they might produce something useful, has been dropped. The mutation/selection model, already de-emphasized in the second book, seems to be abandoned in the third book (except for the more trivial changes, the “adaptive masks” as he calls them). He now wants to connect “form” with “law,” and in the end, there is no way that an accumulation of random mutations can be the basis of a “lawlike” account of evolution.

    Also interesting in his third book is the downplaying of traditional teleological language. In the second book, he says near the beginning that he seems to have uncovered a new argument for traditional natural theology, and at times in the second book he uses “design” and “God” without restraint. In the third book, he does not speak of natural theology (other than in passing), he does not stress “design”, and he rarely speaks of God. He also uses “design” in a slightly different way. In the second book, while not identifying with the ID movement, he employs “design” frequently enough, and in such ways, that he can be seen as an ID proponent of the fine-tuning type. In the new book, he refers to ID respectfully as an endeavor in some ways parallel to and compatible with his own, but still as something different. In terms of Paley, I think he sees ID as in the line of thought of Paley, but his own enterprise in different terms. His “laws of form” appear to be something not quite “designed by a mind,” but inherent in the very nature of nature, so to speak. Are these “laws of form” thoughts in the mind of God? Or are they merely the structure that pervades a self-existing nature? His expressions seem to have changed, between the two books, from expressions which are clearly “God-friendly” (fine-tuning by some superintelligent mind) to expressions which, though certainly not “God-hostile”, leave the existence of a personal and intelligent divine being as a question mark.

    I don’t mean to say that there is no way of incorporating Denton’s new view into a theistic religious perspective; but the de-emphasis on design and natural theology leaves theological work to be done; and Denton does not seem interested in doing it. He seems to prefer to keep the discussion on the plane of scientific theory, or at most on what Gilson calls “philosophy of nature.” Beyond “philosophy of nature” into “theology” he does not seem to wish to go.

    I don’t condemn him for this; he may have more than one good reason for staying out of religious discussion. But it does mean that Christians who think that Denton has hit upon some truths regarding the origin of biological form have some theological work to do. He can afford to remain silent about how his work fits in with Christian theology, but Christian thinkers don’t have that luxury.

    • Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

      Hi Eddie

      There are almost too many strands from Denton’s book to respond adequately (when many of our readers haven’t read it). Another way of stating your first major point is that his change of viewpoint is accounted for by his adoption of structuralism – which in turn (as you say) arises from and is furthered by his reading of developments in biology. And also, one must add, his reading of older authors like Owen and the realisation that, like modern non-Darwinists, they’ve been effectively silenced by the monolithic science of today.

      One thing that might seem to distance him from ID is the opposition, in his book, of “teleology” to “law”, the former EDIT: “Support for law” being the position of himself and Owen (for example), and the latter “teleology” lumping together Darwinian adaptationism, Paley and Creationism. Looking at that carefully, it was clear that by “teleology” he meant here “function dictates form”, ie that everything in life has a benefit for the organism.

      But he was careful to add that to Owen (and, I think, him), the “global” teleological purpose of God is served by the lawlike processes he envisages. In other words, theologically one should look beyond the mere utility of characteristics to bigger purposes – such as the pentadactyl limb perhaps being, from the start, directed towards its instantiation in mankind.

      Since that is beyond science, and not derivable from the emergent laws he is trying to establish, it would sufficiently explain, I think, why this book is much less “theological” than the last. But the link is clear if one joins the dots from Nature’s Destiny as a tour de force regarding fine tuning for life to structuralism as the fine-tuning of life itself.

      As you saw, my main point above was to explore how a proper understanding of “natural law” doesn’t necessarily lead to deism or semi-deism and a distant God rerstricted by his own past legislation, but a dynamic involvement with the world (maybe Geoff Schloss would be interested?? 🙂 )

  2. Edward Robinson Edward Robinson says:

    Jon:

    The way I wrote the above post, it might seem as if the bulk of the post is an elaboration of the third paragraph, but that is misleading. I actually intended the third paragraph, about saltations and miracles, as a stand-alone point, and the rest of the post as a different point.

    I meant also to discuss a third point, about your final remarks on common descent, which are quite interesting, and I think would win you praise from many of the ID proponents I know. They would say that the borderline — between the miraculous creation of utterly new biological forms and the drastic modification of old forms by sudden emergent leaps, as nature decides it is time for a new form to arise (reshaping both genotype and phenotype at once) — is blurry, and that “common descent” is hard to identify in the context of sudden massive reorganizations of existing genetic material. The more creationist ID folks would therefore say that Denton doesn’t go far enough; they would say that if the only way to explain evolution is by massive emergent changes according to “laws of form” — laws of form that aren’t derivable from the rules of population genetics — then common descent itself becomes a conclusion of dubious worth. Common descent wouldn’t *explain* anything; it would merely indicate continuity of the material substratum (some DNA sequences and some cellular structures) through massive organismal reorganizations caused by the “laws of form.”

    Evolutionary change would thus not be like the change envisioned by neo-Darwinism. It would be like tearing down one’s old garage and using the materials from it to built a hut to store garden tools. The material continuity between the two structures could be demonstrated empirically (telltale marks on a piece of wood would indicate that it used to be part of the garage roof), but the continuity wouldn’t explain how the hut arose; only a designing mind could account for how the garage became a hut. So the ID folks I’m speaking of (those who differ from Behe over common descent) would applaud Denton’s demolition of Darwinism, but would want Denton to go on to attack common descent itself. Once you dump neo-Darwinism, they would reason, why do you need common descent any longer? Why not suppose that a designer periodically reorganizes the living matter of the world (albeit making use of many of the same strings of genetic material and pre-existing organismal mechanisms)? Isn’t that just as economical an explanation as mysterious “laws of biological form” which periodically cause new forms to emerge in a saltational way? What stands in the way of such a conclusion, other than a preference for wholly natural explanations for origins?

    I think you know that I’m not here arguing against common descent; I’m merely trying to follow the consequences of your own remarks. Are these thoughts akin to what you have in mind?

    • Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

      Hi Eddie

      Yup (continues strand of thought of my reply to your previous post). It’s what I mean to explore a little further in subsequent posts.

      A few initial thoughts for people to ponder:
      * What actually is a “law of nature”, seen in the way the early moderns envisaged it? Something like “an eternal decree of God directing inert and featureless matter”, maybe? I’ve discussed this in the past – “scientific law” is a pretty nebulous idea in the absence of a directing God.
      * What is a law of nature in a post-Enlightenment world in which matter itself is not just inert atoms (having special potentia according to all kinds of things like electron structure, apparently spontaneous quantum properties etc)?
      * What is an “emergent law of nature”, if it is not derivable/predictable from the more basic laws?
      * What is a postulated emergent law of nature, which cannot actually be defined of reproduced, and is massively complex; and how does it differ from a direct creative act of God? How did we get to the position, in science, of divorcing God’s logos from his essence and will, as if “law” was something God was bound by, rather than a human way of expressing his eternal activity?

      That’s enough for one bowl of Weetabix, I think.

  3. Ron S says:

    Hi Jon,

    Excellent thoughts! I really appreciate what you do because I have little technical understanding of evolutionary thought/beliefs. I do understand theology (and some non-biological sciences) and I find you do a great job of bridging these areas.

    Looking forward to your next posts on this. Laws are important ideas but sometimes posses little innate explanatory power in and of themselves. The “why” and the “how” are really separate concepts — gravity being a wonderful example. Newton described gravity very well despite not knowing about Relativity or the Higgs particle.

    I have read about emergent laws involving statistics and chaos so I look forward to your thoughts and discussions.

    • Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

      Thanks, Ron.

      The trouble with the biological sciences is that they’re so “politicized” now that you can even have a PhD in evolutionary biology and still be regularly told you “don’t understand evolution” (whereas some teenage internet troll with a “Darwin” bumper sticker understands it perfectly!).

      As for me, I can only say that I’ve had a nodding acquaintance with biological science throughout my life, and probably have more of a feel for it than I have for the other sciences. My aim is to bring that “little knowledge” into other spheres, including theology.

      I take comfort in the fact that real biologists like Sy Garte haven’t found me out yet (though sadly I’ve not infrequently been told on BioLogos that I don’t understand evolution – but so has Sy.)

  4. Ron S says:

    That is truly a sad state of affairs – and I have noticed it myself. People are free and openly encouraged to question and test Einstein’s theories every day of the week (and so far his ideas hold)! Yet to do the same with evolution is forbidden and anathema? Has it the appearances of a dogmatic religious system?

    I don’t mean to be unnecessarily critical but I have heard it said:

    What would you call a system where people attend special schools, to receive special education, to wear special clothes, to enter special rooms, to perform special practices, and where special words are recorded in special books that people cannot question? A religion or a science?

    PhD from XYZ wears the white lab coat while performing the experiments in the lab to report it all in a peer-reviewed journal. Is it relativity? Question away! Is it evolution? How dare you!?

    Is this what it has come to?

    • Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

      Ron

      I wouldn’t have believed it possible six years ago when, after retiring from medicine, I started trying to resolve origins science and faith more thoroughly than I’d had time to do.

      I didn’t come to that activity with any ID (or still less Creationist) persecution complex or conspiracy theory – I’d hardly read anything of either: I started with an orthodox theology that seemed to have no trouble taking on board anything that science turned up, and just sought to flesh it out.

      But I began to see a pattern in the way that Neodarwinism – even, at times, when defended by Christians – sought to silence all opposition by fair means or foul. That was, sadly, where this blog took off back in 2011, when I reviewed Stephen Meyer’s book Signature in the Cell.

      I hadn’t read very much then, but eventually saw that the same thing had been happening since the Modern Synthesis got hold of the “reins of power” back in the 1930s. Hence the general amnesia about structuralism, the rewriting of the history of biology, the need for the formation of the Third Way by those researchers who, in many cases, have difficulty getting published, and the strange association between evolutionary theory and militant atheism.

      All significant and worthy of study – and a good number of previous posts on here!

  5. Sy Garte Sy Garte says:

    Jon, I found you out a long time ago. 🙂

    I dont think the situation is quite a bleak as you and Ron are painting it. There has emerged a dogmatic view of evolution, coming mostly from marginal scientists like PZ Myers, Jerry Coyne and Sam Harris, whose militant atheist credentials far exceed their evolutionary biology expertise. But that view has been successfully challenged, first by Kimura (neutral drift) and Gould (punctuated equilibrium) and Conway Morris (convergence) and now by Laland and Wagner et al, with the Extended Synthesis, which is as you know the heart of Denton’s new book. What I admire about the book is Denton’s willingness to forgo a strict ID interpretation of biological development, once he could see an alternative, satisfying approach focussed on the concept of law.

    The subject of laws in biology has fascinated me for decades. I have two posts on my blog about biology as a lawless science (https://thebookofworks.com/2015/09/02/biology-the-lawless-science-part-1/)

    and I am in the process of writing another one. I happen to believe that there ARE laws in biology, but they might require a whole new way of being expressed, compared to the standard laws of physics and chemistry. The analogy might be to Einstein needing Hilbert and Riemann before he could express general relativity, or the need for the operators in quantum theory equations, etc. Personally, I am very far from being smart enough to be able to figure that out, but somebody should.

    I think its important, because Denton is on the right track. Natural laws are to me a clear manifestation of God’s creative majesty. There could be a universe with no laws or laws that were so much more complex and non comprehensible that we would never get them. Such universes might be governed by the whims of conscious beings, much like the pre Judaic religions of gods, demons and demiurges. Or they might be ruled by complete random accident. Sometimes a star will exert a lot of gravity and sometimes none at all. In other words a probability distribution (as for the Schoedinger equation) applied to all matter, not just subatomic particles. (I have no idea if this is even possible physics, probably not, but who knows).

    But what do we see? Insanely simple laws like F = ma and F = Gm1m2/R^2. Thank you Lord, that does make things a lot simpler. Will this simplicity hold for biology? I doubt it, but I think we need to find out.

    • Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

      Hi Sy

      Well, I’m going to be arguing in the next post for some degree of inscrutibility in natural laws (and even more so as they apply to life – that’s the following post, I think).

      But that doesn’t detract from the main point of your post (or of your research), since my main aim is to suggest that there is a closer relationship between God’s personal activity and involvement and the regularities of nature than is usually granted.

      Of course, that’s a fairly safe activity whilst nobody has yet bottomed out how complexity laws in life might work out, or even if they truly exist!

      • Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

        Sy – forgot to add that I believe the influence of those you name (or those like them) is nevertheless sufficient to hold up scientific progress… not to mention the greater goal, the increase of human knowledge and wisdom.

        A number of those in The Third Way, for example, have had articles blocked at or before peer review stage, because their findings were heterodox. And those who have published usually have to phrase their work carefully to mask the challenge to the ruling paradigm – they must be afraid of something substantial. And of course, it wasn’t Myers, Coyne or Harris who cost the structuralist Richard Sternberg his job.

        Neither is this a new phenomenon – McAtee’s critique of adaptationist explanations of animal colouration, just as the Modern Synthesis was gaining ascendancy, coincided with his being unable to get his research published – here.

        However, it is somewhat academic in the end, as truth will out as human defences against it crumble.

  6. Ron S says:

    Well, I’m glad to hear that it isn’t that bad. I’ve been wondering about laws within biology and realize it maybe far different than physics but interesting none the less.

    I look forward to reading your links (and I know not everyone is dogmatic on this issue).

    Much thanks.

  7. Robert Byers says:

    I agree common descent will be diminished by other mechanisms while still clinging to the idea of common descent. there was never any evidence for common descent except comparing things and presuming thats why things look alike.
    yet it would also be that way from common design plus some mechanism to allow flexibility to survive.

    • Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

      Hi Robert, and welcome to the Hump.

      I disagree that there’s no evidence for common descent, or else nobody would believe in it, just as I would reply to the claim of atheists that “There’s no evidence for God.” The question is whether the evidence is best interpreted that way, and perhaps in current debates whether it’s the only possible interpretation.

      Clearly the latter isn’t the case, or nobody like yourself would believe in common design instead. As for me, I’m far from impressed by arguments for common descent from nested heirarchies, etc, since they were equally well explained by Linnaeus on a creationist understanding by the principle of plenitude: he believed God created every possible variation, so that there were no gaps.

      Darwin even inherited a little of that idea, but putting his gradual variations across time, rather than scattered around the present world.

      Yet I still hold to common descent because of the general trend of development in the fossil record (having been far from impressed by young earth arguments in geology decades ago). It was observed early on that whenever a new species appears in the fossil record, there’s always something rather similar preceding it, which is compelling evidence that God either transforms existing species or (for some reason) transforms the designs of existing species rather than recycling old designs or starting from scratch.

      That’s a simple thing known for 200 years, but is still a strong argument.

      What I’m exploring in these posts, however, is whether common descent is even a matter of any great significance if Michael Denton’s ideas have any truth in them, in which case we would expect there to be true transformations breaking up the continuity of the “tree of life”. In such a case the dinosaur precursor of a bird would be of little more significance than the earth from which Adam was formed.

      • Robert Byers says:

        Thanks for the reply.
        AS a yEC i would see KINDS as created on creation week. Then mechanisms to bring the fantastic diversity we have now.
        No God involvement since creation week.
        Yes common descent greatly, in your example, needs the geolgy or rather the deposition of the sediment and so biology caught within it, TO make a case.
        Yet the geology is making the case and not the biology.
        the biology could have other options like simply great diversity being caught up in the deposition events.
        Its not really true there is in any place on earth a spectrum of something in the geology strata. its greatly put together from many places.
        anyways common descent , as i see it, doesn’t have biology evidence but instead biology data bits in a geology paradigm.
        without the geology the biology evidence claims vanishes.

        If common descent is about biology it must be on biology evidence and not geology even if the geology was true. i don’t think it is.

        • Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

          Robert

          Even though an old earther and, in heavy quotes, a “theistic evolutionist” I agree with you that the weight put on biological evidence per se for common dewscent is greater than is strictly warranted. Other explanations are quite possible – some more plausible than others. As evidence for Neodarwinian evolution (rather than just common descent) evidence used for common descent is even less supportive.

          Rather, the various biological evidences make a cumulative case, with all the other evidence, for common descent as a plausible explanation – perhaps one needs to look at the anomalous cases more as “evidence” rather than as “noise” to reach the “best” explanation.

          That said a version of young earthism in which much, or most of the variety in created kinds occurs after the creation week, especially “with no God involvement”, absolutely requires a powerful theory of naturalistic evolution to explain that diversification: and common descent would have, by definition, to be a big part of that.

          I’ve up to now, for several years, been arguing against versions of theistic evolution that restrict God’s creative and providential activity to the beginning of time – which I think is not the biblical view of the God who goiverns creation moment by moment. Looks like the same discussion may be necessary with some creationists at some stage!

          • Robert Byers says:

            Its a big subject. I’m sure these topics will come up on your blog over time.
            I do say there is no biological scientific evidence, much less accumulative, however that a bigger subject to be carefully done.

            Yes if creation week was the end of gods work, it says so, then YES other mechanisms are needed and indeed common descent kicks in.
            Yet like in peoples case. We are from, I say, adam/eve but look at all the different colors and types of people. so mechanism to bring this about is real and we have a common descent.
            Anyways I’ll pay attention to your blog.

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