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.

First, the alternatives posed by George are correct, though the first one is not entirely clear. By “arrange an entire Cosmos at the very moment of Creation,” does he mean “instantly produce and arrange the stars, planets, living beings etc.”? Or is he talking about “front-loading,” whereby God packs the potential for all future evolution into the original situation, and the universe unfolds over time, in an evolutionary manner? I suspect, given George’s dislike of special creationism and his general endorsement of evolution, that he means the latter, but it’s not clear. In any case, I’ll assume that he means the latter for the rest of these comments.

Second, what does he mean by “trying to compel BioLogos to be specific”? Does he mean that I or Jon Garvey or others have insisted that BioLogos come down institutionally in favor of one or the other of his alternatives? I certainly have not asked BioLogos as an institution to take a stand on one or the other of the above alternatives, and I don’t think anyone on the Hump has made such a demand, either here on the Hump or over on BioLogos. But one thing is certain: individual BioLogos columnists do have their own views. Some of them very definitely reject the first alternative; some of the them very definitely reject the second. But it is hard to get them to say so directly. One has to infer it, from reading scores of their posts over a long period. So since they have these views, why not state them forthrightly?

Does George believe that if they did so, people might confuse their individual views with the BioLogos view? That would not happen, if due care were taken in expression. BioLogos columns always are prefaced by the disclaimer (I paraphrase), “The views expressed in this column are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the position of BioLogos,” and if any given columnist reinforced that point by stating that he or she was speaking for himself or herself, there is no danger that his or her view would be mistaken for an institutional view.

I’m quite willing to accept that EC/TE is a “big tent” containing differing theological views. I don’t have any problem if Applegate disagrees with Stump or Stump disagrees with Haarsma or Haarsma disagrees with Venema over theological matters. I don’t think that such disagreements in themselves would undermine the case for evolutionary creation, any more than the fact that Gould disagrees with Dawkins over evolutionary mechanisms undermines the case for common descent. But TE/EC would be infinitely stronger as an intellectual position if its proponents, whether at BioLogos or elsewhere, stopped hiding behind a fraudulent unity (which appears to be adopted for the tactical reason that it is unwise to show any internal disagreement in the face of those dastardly IDers and creationists) and openly discussed their differences.

For example, if Deb Haarsma, who at one point appeared to endorse a near-deterministic front-loading that must produce intelligent life, were to openly disagree (I don’t mean in a nasty way, but in a civil, constructive way) with Dennis Venema, who appears to endorse the very opposite of front-loading, i.e., God leaves the universe and evolution alone to do their freedom thing (so that no result, not even man, is or can be guaranteed), that would be useful, because then people would know more clearly how different the theology of Haarsma is from that of Venema. By hiding behind a show of non-existent theological unity, the BioLogos columnists actually make the EC position harder, not easier, to understand. And I would have more respect, not less, for TE/EC, if I could easily tell from the theological argumentation, “Ah, this TE/EC is a Calvinist, whereas that one is a Wesleyan, and that one is a Lutheran, and that one is a Thomist.” I would take TE/EC folks as serious theological writers, willing to lay their cards on the table as real academic theologians do.

Third, what George fails to see is that TE/EC is making a very big claim, i.e., that the Darwinian, anti-teleological evolutionary process is completely compatible with traditional, evangelical, Biblical, orthodox Christian theology. It claims that evangelicals don’t have to give up a single thing from the Bible or the orthodox Christian understanding of creation in order to embrace Darwin. But that very claim then requires TE/EC proponents to explain how Darwin’s claims are compatible with traditional Christian claims. It’s not enough to say, “As a biologist I think neo-Darwinism is a completely adequate account of the origin of species, but as a Christian I love Jesus, too, so everything fits together.” People can believe all kinds of incompatible things side-by-side. Humans are great compartmentalizers, great disguisers of their own cognitive dissonance. It’s not enough to merely assert there is no contradiction between a random, non-teleological evolutionary process and divine providence; one must show possible ways of harmonizing the two notions. And I’m not insisting that all TE/EC proponents adopt the same harmonization. I would be happy if each one would offer his or her own harmonization. Then I could analyze and evaluate the harmonizations, one by one.

The main target of BioLogos evangelization for Darwin is American conservative evangelicals. BioLogos wants to convince these people that evolution does not undermine evangelical faith. Well, for gosh sakes, why doesn’t BioLogos have the wit to realize that if you want to convince someone who strongly suspects that evolution is anti-Christian, you can’t just assert the harmonization, but must show the harmonization? Isn’t that plain common sense?

This is where George is wrong. While it is true that it is not necessary for BioLogos as an institution to come down on the side of one or the other of his alternatives, it is necessary for EC/TE columnists on BioLogos to offer their own individual harmonizations of Christian doctrine with evolution. It is necessary for them to state how they believe that God is involved in the evolutionary process. Their statement doesn’t have to be rigid or inflexible. They can offer a tentative view. And it doesn’t have to involve either of George’s proposed views; it could be a third view that George has not thought of. And they can say very clearly that they are speaking for themselves and not for BioLogos or other TE/ECs. But they should be offering a view. They shouldn’t be hiding behind vagueness, lack of definition, failure to be clear where they stand within the theological spectrum of the Christian tradition, etc. The whole claim of BioLogos — that Protestant, evangelical, Biblical Christians can safely accept evolution — is not credible without examples of particular formulations of Christian theology in relation to evolution.

Those examples have been sadly lacking on BioLogos. Or rather, in the few cases where they have been provided, they have come from outsiders, guest columnists such as Russell or Plantinga, not from any of the BioLogos leaders or regular columnists. The general approach of BioLogos columnists has been to be as general and non-specific as possible regarding how God is connected with evolution. And that general approach is not working. Most of the American evangelical world is still deeply suspicious of the BioLogos project. It would be less suspicious if BioLogos spend as much time explaining how Darwin harmonizes with orthodox Christian thought as it spends explaining the significance of synteny and whale fossils or demanding that the traditional understanding of Adam and Eve be scrapped.

I can’t at present interact with George due to a slight disagreement of opinion with officials at BioLogos which prevents me from posting there. But he is welcome to sign up and continue the conversation here. I hope he will.

 

Edward Robinson

About Edward Robinson

Edward Robinson (Eddie) started his university career on a science scholarship, but ended up as a philosopher/theologian researching the relationship between religion and natural science. He has published several books and articles on religion/science topics in both mainstream academic outlets and denominational and popular periodicals. He has also taught courses in various departments in several universities.
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20 Responses to Why Evolutionary Creationists Need to Be Specific, or, Why George Brooks is Wrong

  1. Jon Garvey says:

    Thanks Eddie for this post.

    I pointed out in response to George’s remark that the column of mine that prompted him to start his thread isn’t actually about divine action at all, but a metaphysics of nature. So I didn’t pursue the distinction he makes there any further. So I’ll do it here.

    Keeping in mind your reminder of BioLogos’s mission, as opposed to (say) ID’s less specifically Christian aim to wave a flag for design, there are differences between the two scenarios that ought to be explored by BioLogos, if they are in the business of harmonisation of science with doctrine.

    The frontloading position (taken as an exclusive one) is absolutely the same as Deism – what I am beginning to call “Action at a distance and past thought”. One poster on a thread there has recently articulated the view: (1) God set everything up so cunningly that he has not had to “interfere” since (= “past thought”) – or in the quintessential Deist Leibniz’s phrase, “a perpetual motion”. Or you could use the analogy of a clock, or Paley’s watch. (2) God keeps the clock in existence moment by moment, but without determining any events (= “action at a distance”), since they are built into the mechanism.

    Now there is a whole list of theological issues that any thinking Christian ought to address in critiquing this view. The simplest is, “What has passé Deism to do with Evangelicals, who stood pretty much alone in resisting it during the Enlightenment?”

    More substantially, though:
    * Why would the eternal God take pleasure in a clockwork universe?
    * Why would the loving God restrict his activity and will to one initial instant in created time?
    * How can such a system possibly include the creation of specific individuals, answered prayer, special providence, God’s government of human history, saving grace or miracles – all attested in the Bible?
    * Does basic physics give any indication of such a degree of determinism (answer: no), and does current biology allow for anything approaching such a precise targeting of, say, the evolution of Homo sapiens (answer: no)?

    The other “tinkering” scenario is almost not worth discussing because it has so few supporters at BioLogos, mainly because of the appeal to the tidy scientific mind of Leibniz and his perpetual motion machine. And indeed it is, at face value, a rather crude model in which God appears to work against his own creation, breaking the laws he has given it, etc. Nevertheless, it embodies God’s ongoing activity in the world, which is crystal clear in the Bible – so if you reject it, you have to account for why inspired Scripture insists on it at every point – rather than simply snorting at it.

    “Nudging” is a crude description of what Scripture decribes, though, which is why in former, more intelligent, ages, it was never on the table, and more subtle discussions of, in particular, divine concurrence, were developed to affirm and try to account for providence within an intellectual frame. The failing of BioLogos is that, although such formulations are long established in Christian, and especially Evangelical, theology, they are not noticeably put on the table.

    As you rightly say, the third alternative – that of a God whose idea of “creation” is to determine very little, but to make an autonomous natural system with open outcomes – is bubbling beneath the surface in Theistic Evolution. It is a true elephant in the room, because it is the preferred position of most TE theorists, many TE popular writers and many posters not only on BioLogos but in the ASA.

    It is fundamentally at odds with tradition ideas of God’s sovereignty, but is neither openly championed nor seriously critiqued at BioLogos, to the extent that it appears to have remained invisible to those like George Brookes.

    There is, I see, a new thread on divine action which I haven’t explored, but whose point seems to be that we can’t ascertain how God acts in nature… I suspect that this will be from a scientific/philosophical angle, rather than asking what Scripture says on the matter – which is a lot. Perhaps that again reveals the tendency I spoke of in my previous post to resolve natural-supernatural “dualism” in favour of the natural, in this case by asking science, rather than asking Scripture.

  2. GBrooks9 says:

    Jon Garvey, you write:

    “The frontloading position (taken as an exclusive one) is absolutely the same as Deism – what I am beginning to call “Action at a distance and past thought”. One poster on a thread there has recently articulated the view: (1) God set everything up so cunningly that he has not had to “interfere” since (= “past thought”) – or in the quintessential Deist Leibniz’s phrase, “a perpetual motion”. Or you could use the analogy of a clock, or Paley’s watch. (2) God keeps the clock in existence moment by moment, but without determining any events (= “action at a distance”), since they are built into the mechanism.”

    This just isn’t so. The “God-as-Clockmaker” comparison is tempting … if all you are talking about is natural law. But once humans arrive on the scene, God must stay engaged IN REAL TIME to communicate by Prayer and other means with his human charges.

    No Deist scenario allows for divine interaction with human consciousness and human will.

    As for Eddie’s article…. I’m still pondering what, if anything, I should say.

    • Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

      George – you’ll see I deliberately specified “frontloading taken as exclusive” – divine interaction in real time removes that exclusivity (as I also acknowledged in replying to Joshua Swamidass regarding your post at BioLogos.)

      I have a piece to follow soon on divine action.

      • GBrooks9 says:

        Jon Garvey,

        If I were to ask 100 average readers to explain what you meant by the phrase “…I deliberately specified “frontloading taken as exclusive” – divine interaction in real time removes that exclusivity…”, I think virtually nobody would have understood what the other options would have been.

        If you want to be earnest in your writings, I think you should avoid that particular phrasing. Creating an artificial category where you could (technically) be correct about Deism doesn’t do anybody else any favors.

        I NEVER assert front-loading “taken as exclusive”…. and I don’t know anyone else who would either… except Deists.

        If mis-representing my position is the only way your discussion can succeed, you should come up with another discussion.

    • Edward Robinson Edward Robinson says:

      George, welcome to the Hump — the place where we attempt to relate evolution to the doctrines of historical, orthodox Christianity. Hope you will like it here.

      Regarding your statement:

      “As for Eddie’s article…. I’m still pondering what, if anything, I should say.”

      The answer to that is simple. Say which points of mine you agree with, and which points you disagree with, and state your reasons. Then we can continue the conversation, in hopes of coming to a broader agreement.

      • GBrooks9 says:

        Eddie,

        Before you and I can discuss the topic at hand, I think we should take care of a house-keeping matter. Below is the “bio” for you:

        “Edward Robinson (Eddie) started his university career on a science scholarship, but ended up as a philosopher/theologian researching the relationship between religion and natural science. He has published several books and articles on religion/science topics in both mainstream academic outlets and denominational and popular periodicals. He has also taught courses in various departments in several universities.”

        I find this a little difficult to believe. Because Wikipedia says you died in New York City in 1863. But the article does confirm that you were one fine scholar!

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Robinson_(scholar)

        Within the pristine confines of BioLogos.org, I don’t mind sharing my innermost feelings with the ghost of H. Erectus Past. But I don’t see how I can proceed these circumstances – – the whole world knows my name, and not even **I** know your true name.

        George Brooks

        (A possible solution is for you to privately identify yourself under my promise not to reveal it to anyone else.)

        • Edward Robinson Edward Robinson says:

          George:

          There must have been about a million “Edward Robinsons” in the world in the past 200 years, and probably there are at least 100,000 of them now. How you decided that I am supposed to be a particular “Edward Robinson” that you dug up on Wikipedia, I’ll never know.

          The biography given here on the Hump is correct. It is only a sketch, but everything in it is true. If you are not inclined to take my word for my self-description, there is little chance we can have a good-faith conversation. You will see that in my column, I describe you as “apparently well-meaning” — I give you the benefit of the doubt. I expect you to do the same for me.

          Your obsession with names is odd. I have no idea whether your real name is “George Brooks”; for all I know, your real name is “Theophrastus Sump” (which I am told was actually the real name of a person), and “George Brooks” is only a pseudonym. It really doesn’t matter, because here on the Hump we measure the worth of an argument by its contents, not by the name of the person who offers it. If you have an intelligent argument, we would love to hear it, and we’ll pretend that “George Brooks” is your real name even if it isn’t.

          Apparently you think I am interested in your “innermost feelings,” which you claim you can share freely on BioLogos. Well, first of all, I would advise you not to share your “innermost feelings” about anything on BioLogos, because they will be savaged or sarcastically sneered at by the likes of beaglelady, benkirk, or Jonathan Burke. Public forums are not the places to bare your soul; complete strangers are reading, and some of them will use the personal knowledge you reveal against you, as I know from bitter experience. Second, I am not into touchy-feely pop psychoanalysis of the innermost feelings of strangers; in an impersonal medium such as this, where emotion cannot be properly conveyed, and where we lack anything near sufficient biographical context for the people we converse with, I prefer to stick to rational argument. So don’t bother baring your “innermost feelings”; just give me your arguments.

          In my column above, I explained why, in my view, individual BioLogos columnists ought to indicate their tentative judgments regarding whether and how God actually does anything in evolution. If you are persuaded by my arguments, you can say so, and modify your original statement accordingly. If you are not persuaded by my arguments, you can say why not.

          I would be very happy to listen to your reasoned response to my column above, and promise to reply politely. However, just to avoid further digressions on irrelevant personal matters, I will tell you that the subject of columnists’ identities is taboo here (as it also is on BioLogos, by the way) and that if you raise it again, the relevant paragraphs or posts — if they are under columns written by me, anyway — will be removed. So by all means, keep commenting here, but comment on the columns and the issues raised in them, not on the identities (or imagined agendas) of the people who write them.

          We welcome fresh intellectual input on faith/science matters. You have the floor.

          Best wishes, George.

  3. GBrooks9 says:

    Eddie,

    I think I will remain in the Eden that is BioLogos, where the rules of engagement are much more confidence inducing. Even there, I am not particularly delighted with how you treat me as your correspondent.

    Your reply above gives me no reason to think you are more cooperative or gentle here.

    See you in BioLogos.

    • Edward Robinson Edward Robinson says:

      No, you won’t see me at BioLogos, because, as I hinted in my article above, I am not currently allowed to post there. That’s why I suggested we continue the conversation here.

      As for your suggestion that my reply was not gentle, it was in fact quite gentle and restrained, considering (a) your insulting implication that I was lying about my academic accomplishments and (b) your impertinent demand that I reveal my identity to you as a condition of your participation here.

      I don’t want to waste any more time conversing about how we converse. I want to converse only about the issues raised in my column. If you have any objections to my arguments in the column, you are free to raise the objections here. And this venue is actually superior to BioLogos, because you can be sure your discussion won’t be interrupted by insulting yahoos like Burke, benkirk, and beaglelady. You’ll have a better conversation here than there. But do as you please. In the meantime, my column stands unrefuted.

  4. Robert Byers says:

    I was banned at biologos a few years ago because I said the anglo-American civilization was superior, morally and intellectually, to all others due to the high number of evangelical christians over the centuries. Gods favour and raising the moral/intellectual average and affecting the rest of the population.
    I think they saw that, or pretended to, as racism.
    Anyways.
    The bible is very clear about boundaries. Creation week. Adam not born. Eve not born.
    The serpent losing its legs. Eve getting birthpains. Long lives in years. kinds made instantly. A rest day after creation. In short the fable of evolution is not workable in genesis. It ain’t.
    Case closed if a intended narrative to a audience matters.
    Those accepting evolution but saying they accept the bible are just plain in awe of human ability to figure things out.
    They can’t question conclusions in very obscure processes and results dealing with complicated matters.

    • Edward Robinson Edward Robinson says:

      Robert:

      I don’t know whether or not this is first time you have posted here. If it is, welcome!

      I can’t comment on the motives of the BioLogos people who banned you, as I don’t know what they were thinking at the time.

      Regarding your claim about what civilization is higher, that is not a topic we address here on Hump of the Camel. It’s our mission to think about evolution/creation/design issues, and more broadly theology/science issues. So your claim pertains neither to our mission nor my column above, and I will simply leave it aside.

      Your final point is about the compatibility between evolution and the Bible. You make two sub-points:

      1. That people who accept both evolution and the Bible are unduly impressed by the claims of natural science or human reason generally.

      2. That evolution is incompatible with a straight literal-historical reading of Genesis.

      Regarding point 1, I would say it is sometimes true. I think many Christians accept evolution on the authority of “consensus science,” without critically analyzing evolutionary claims. I agree that it is a bad thing to accept current human wisdom uncritically. All current philosophical and scientific views should be subject to critical analysis.

      On the other hand, I don’t think it is the case that *all* Christians who accept evolution have been uncritical about scientific evidence. People like Ted Davis at BioLogos are well aware of the possibility of error in scientific theorizing, and they have concluded that evolution is true on the basis of a preponderance of evidence. If you don’t agree with such people about that, you will have to make your arguments against them individually.

      I think that in the end we have to set aside questions of possible motive (atheism, being too impressed by modern science, wanting to follow the popular view, seeking career advancement in biology, etc.) and concentrate wholly on questions of evidence. People on both sides of the creation/evolution wars in the USA are loaded with prejudices and questionable motivations. Ken Ham is as loaded with prejudice as Richard Dawkins. We have to rise above those prejudices and examine the evidence with an open mind.

      On your second point: Yes, evolution is incompatible with certain literal-historical readings of Genesis 1-3, particularly the ones popular in the USA. But the question arises how those particular readings came to be sanctified as *the* correct readings. We know from the history of Christian thought that many champions of Christian doctrine, including Augustine, did not always read the Genesis stories as entirely historical. (Augustine, for example, thought creation took place all at once, and that the 6-day scheme was there as an aid to our understanding, not as a representation of how God proceeded.)

      My own corner of the Christian tradition has no place for Genesis literalism, or mechanical Biblical literalism of any kind. “The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life,” would characterize how I read the Bible. I think the Bible contains much that is meant to be understood as historical, and some that is not. I think the stories in Genesis 1-3 fall under the latter category.

      That’s not to say that there is *nothing* historical about Genesis 1-3. That there was a real creation, that man is placed at the top of creation, that all creatures owe their existence to God, that a rupture has taken place that has distanced man from God and that subsequent human history concerns ways of overcoming this rupture — in this sense the early Genesis stories are “historical.” But I don’t read them as moment-by-moment news dispatches about what happened.

      For example, it’s quite clear to me that the Garden story deliberately employs figurative language, and is not meant as a videotape preserving exactly what happened. There is a real rupture between man and God, but the story of the rupture is told in the language of fable or myth. The “Fall” is real, but the story which expressed that reality is not of the genre we call “history”. And note that as long as the Fall is real, Pauline theology is not threatened.

      I’m unlikely to change my position on this, as I’ve been considering the “literalist” positions for about 5 decades now, have read thousands of pages of literalist argument, and know pretty well every Biblical passage a literalist will appeal to, and exactly how he will interpret it, before he even opens his mouth. I can almost complete the literalist’s sentences for him. And I’ve never been persuaded by the literalist position.

      So in my view, Genesis leaves room for evolution. Of course, that does not make evolution true. Evolution still has to prove itself in the court of scientific evidence. And I’m open to arguments against common descent, and even more, against various proposed evolutionary mechanisms. I don’t start from the assumption that evolution is true. On the other hand, I do think that Christians have to be ready and willing to formulate a theology in which evolution is true. But the difference between BioLogos and the Hump on this is that BioLogos is much more willing to negotiate away key understandings of classical Christian theology than the Hump is. We at the Hump are interested in how evolution might be harmonized with traditional, orthodox Christian faith, as opposed to the ultra-liberal travesty of that faith offered by some past and present BioLogos columnists such as Sparks and Oord.

      On the science side, I think the Darwinian explanation for evolution is wildly implausible. I think BioLogos has been consistently wrong in trying to wed the Bible to neo-Darwinian evolution. But I don’t think that *all* possible evolutionary positions are incompatible with Biblical foundations. It depends on how they conceive of evolution.

      If they conceive of evolution as an intelligently planned or intelligently guided process leading to certain ends (such as man) which God decreed from before the beginning of time, then I think they are compatible with Christian faith. But when they start saying that the outcomes are random or that God is surprised by the outcomes or has no control over them, etc., I think they are incompatible with Christian faith.

      So I don’t here enter into any crusade against “evolution.” I do criticize *Darwinian* evolution, or any form of evolution in which God is essentially out of control of what happens. I see the main theological or religious debate as not between “evolution” and “creation” but between “design” and “chance”. I think that the error made by many at BioLogos is not that they support “evolution” but that they have bought into an understanding of evolution as guided by chance, and that they have to do ridiculous contortions to harmonize a God who leaves everything to chance with a God who is a Creator.

      So if you want to criticize the aimlessness of neo-Darwinian evolution as a bad model of divine Providence, you will find me (along with all our columnists) an ally; but if you insist that no Christian can accept any version of evolution, you will not find me (or anyone else here) an ally. I simply don’t subscribe to American Biblicist literalism; it’s not a form of Christianity I find historically sound or even theologically or personally attractive. I don’t agree with its hermeneutics and I don’t agree with its overall populist, anti-intellectual, anti-cultural leanings. My mind and soul are European, on questions of theology anyway. My Christianity is the Christianity of Oxford and Paris, not of Iowa or Grand Rapids. And that isn’t going to change.

  5. Robert Byers says:

    Thanks for the interesting and clear intent of this blog and you on these matters.
    my civilization sin was based on theology or rather the true faith people being more rewarded by God but through mechanisms of hum,an motivation.
    Anyways.
    I am literalist of coarse.
    You have heard it all but it seems very clear a audience was expected , back in the days the bible was written, to understand the actual origins for so much. The main points and a few others.
    adam not being born or eve and all mankind coming from thier reproduction efforts.
    They had no belly buttons.
    Yes any believing person in Christ death and resurrection for forgiveness of sins , after faith, is Gods child. A christian. Origin beliefs are irrelevant to that .
    Yet origin beliefs are relevant to truth and biblical truth.
    I think accuracy in origins would move man forward in healing. I think biology mechanisms are not being looked for because of evolutionism’s syep by step claims. I think we have innate triggers to chanmge our biology.
    Also a soul and not a brain. A big issue in healing mental issues.
    I do think Ken ham is a intellectual hero and YEC will prevail, or beat the other side , if not still become popular more.

    I do insist evolution must ba based on scientific concepts of evidence in biology.
    Right now there is none. None on biological processes which is what evolutionism is claiming to explain.

    • Edward Robinson Edward Robinson says:

      Robert:

      “Yes any believing person in Christ death and resurrection for forgiveness of sins, after faith, is Gods child. A christian. Origin beliefs are irrelevant to that .”

      If you acknowledge this, then why do you seem to fear evolution so much?

      Suppose that evolution were proved true tomorrow. Would your Christian faith be threatened? If not, then why get so exercised about the fact that some people believe in evolution?

      It seems to be your life’s mission to convince people that evolution is not true. Why? You’ve just said that someone could be saved while believing in evolution, so what is the problem? Why not let those Christians who accept evolution accept it, and leave them alone? Why do you feel compelled to fight them?

      I’m not saying you personally should accept evolution; I’m saying that there is no reason why you should be so aggressively trying to get others to disbelieve in evolution — unless you think that belief in evolution is incompatible with Christian faith. But you have just said that it isn’t.

  6. GBrooks9 says:

    Robert Byers, isn’t all your concern about biological processes rather irrelevant if sub-disciplines withing physics and geology virtually converge to show the Earth is MILLIONS or even BILLIONS of years old?

    Once the 5000 year YEC scenario is disproved … aren’t we pretty much done with the debating?

    • Robert Byers says:

      Gbrooks
      Sure. The opposite is also true. without these silly long ages claims evolutionism is impossible.
      The great intellectual question for evolutionists and science defenders IS about whether evolutionary biology is demonstrated without a previous paradigm of geology presumptions..
      Most evolution evidence is based, and baseless, with fIRST a geology deposition claim.
      To be a actual scientific investigation biology hypothesis must rely on biology evidence and not rely on other sub-disciplines.
      Biology processes are never demonstrated by evidence of that process but by results from the process where the process is presumed and then the results are the proof of the process.
      This has been going on since darwin.

  7. GBrooks9 says:

    Robert Byers,

    I think you missed my point. It’s not really a biology issue.

    It’s a geology issue. If the Earth is older than 5000 years old, the discussion is over.

    • Robert Byers says:

      I got your point. If the geology is wrong for either then that one is wrong.
      However your side needs geology to allow your biology claims a option to be true. Without geology your side is already wrong in any biology evidence.
      I then add this proves evolutionary biology is not a biology science.
      Its case is made on geology presumptions.
      Darwin said this too. He said place his book down if geology presumptions were not already accepted about long earth spans.
      I agree. Put his book down if you think its made on biology evidence

      • Edward Robinson Edward Robinson says:

        Robert:

        You may not have noticed my new reply to you above. Probably I should have placed it lower on the page. But if you scroll and up and read it, you will see that I have asked you a question. Would you have a look, and take a shot as answering it?

  8. Robert Byers says:

    Edward Robinson.
    Its not fear of evolution.
    Yet biblical truth is the origin for the foundation of salvation.
    Its very important as much as the principals behind our laws. Even if not knowing same principals has any effect on obeying/not the law.
    Biblical truth is defending Gods word and honesty.
    then its a intellectual demand for mankind to get things right. We have boundaries here and only need fill in the pieces. Denying the boundaries is a embarrassment and hinder to progress in many areas.
    Evolutionism does strike at christianity and gives people an excuse to deny Christ.
    Its evangelical historic heritage to uniquely defend the bible. Not the cAtholics or the rest.
    Its intersting about the truth of origins.
    Its just damn true and truth about important conclusions is a high calling for thinking people. its evangelization also.
    Aggression about creationism is an identity affecting all aspects of the true believers and we need to persuade other true believers about Genesis being right.
    I didn’t see your post as I thought this blog did it in a order of posting. i’ll keep a eye out.

  9. Edward Robinson Edward Robinson says:

    Robert:

    Replies are nested here — notice that some posts are indented further than others. So you have to look not just at the newest posts, but at the indented posts higher up.

    The indentation keeps increasing, so the newest posts in each exchange are the skinniest ones, indented the furthest.

    This is different from the way they do it at Uncommon Descent, but it has the advantage of enabling you to follow one conversation through without having to scroll way up and down, because all the replies (presuming everyone clicks the appropriate reply button, right under the post he is replying to) in a given exchange are right underneath each other. On Uncommon Descent, on the other hand, you might get someone in Comment 89 responding to someone in comment 25, way up and out of sight, so you have to do more scrolling to follow one line of argument.

    On the religious question, we will have to agree to disagree. You and I agree that the Bible contains “truth” about origins, but you insist that the “truth” has to be historical, whereas I think it is more metaphysical than historical. I don’t think the 6-day pattern of creation is meant as history, and I don’t think the story of the Garden is meant as history — though I think that both stories have a “historical” core — the actual creation of a universe out of nothing in Genesis 1, and the voluntary separation of man from God in Genesis 2-3. The “truth” I take away from Genesis 1 is the goodness of creation, the dependence of the world on God, the special position of man, the functional relationships of the parts of creation, the estrangement of man from God, etc. Six literal days, talking serpents, etc. are to me part of the literary vehicles in which these truths are expressed, not the core of what is being taught.

    For this reason, I can easily fit evolution in as God’s mode of creation. Not that I need to. If evolution could be disproved tomorrow it wouldn’t bother me. I don’t get my sense of meaning in life from evolutionary theory. But if evolution is the truth about natural origins, it’s compatible with my way of reading Genesis — provided that the evolution is guided or steered or planned by God, not the accidental transformation of molecules, genes, etc. without plan or direction.

    Of course, man as a cosmic accident is not compatible with the Bible or Christian teaching — but no one here at the Hump believes that man is a cosmic accident or that evolution proceeds by random searches and just gets lucky.

    So if by evolution, you have in mind Dawkins, etc. then of course I’m as opposed to it as you are. But that’s not the only way of construing evolution.

    I don’t think we are going to get any closer together, as it seems that a literal Genesis is non-negotiable for you. But at least we can agree that materialism and reductionism are to be opposed.

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