Latest Gallup Poll on Origins: A Questionable Analysis by Deb Haarsma

The Gallup organization has put out the results of another survey of American public opinion on human origins. The question allowed those surveyed to choose from the same three options that Gallup has offered since 1982:

Which of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings?: 1) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process; 2) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process; 3) God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.

The survey results were as follows: God-guided evolution 38%; Godless evolution 19%; recent special creation of man, 38%; other/no opinion, 5%.

The numbers in 1982 (the first time this survey was run) were: God-guided evolution 38%; Godless evolution 9%; recent special creation of man, 44%; other/no opinion, 9%.

Now, I’m not one to read a lot of significance into a poll of a thousand citizens out of a population of over three hundred million, but supposing for the sake of argument that these numbers have something to teach us, what is it that they teach?

Point 1. The “God-guided” position (more on that exact choice of words later) has not gained support over 35 years, but sits at 38%; and this is to be read in the face of the following facts: (1) For the past 20 years many of leading lights of the ASA (American Scientific Affiliation, a group of Christian — mostly evangelical Protestant — scientists) have been pushing “theistic evolution” or “evolutionary creation” very hard, both in Christian circles and in the public sphere; (2) For the past 7 or 8 years BioLogos, backed by millions of dollars of Templeton Foundation money, has been pushing TE/EC on its well-visited website, at conferences, etc.; (3) Leading TE/ECs have put out a number of big-selling books, including Collins’s The Language of God, Miller’s Finding Darwin’s God, and others; (4) Many of the leading publishers of Christian books and magazines, such as IVP and Christianity Today, have been steadily abandoning ID and creationism and endorsing TE/EC; (5) Many biologists teaching in Christian colleges (including Calvin College) have embraced Darwin. So the question arises why, with all this institutional, financial, and cultural armament behind it, the TE/EC position has not risen above 38%.

To be sure, TE/EC folks could point out that “their” position (again, we need to qualify that below) has in fact risen by 7% since the last survey in 2014, and that this could be plausibly represented as picking up the 7% dropped by the creationist and “other/no opinion” answers since that time. But since that gain only brought the God-guided position back up from its all-time low of 31% in 2014 to the 38% it had back in 1982, the gain was merely a “break-even” gain, not a net gain over the initial position. Thus, the question still arises: why has the sustained and aggressive public relations effort of America’s leading evangelical, evolution-believing scientists over the past 20 years brought the “God-guided” option only back to where it was in 1982? Why hasn’t the position cracked the 40% support level?

Point 2. The support for the creationist answer has dropped. The drop is not huge, but is significant. The all-time high for that position was 47%; the 2014 figure was only 44%; the current figure is 38%. That is still a large fraction of the population, but there has been a drop. So where has the drop come from?

If we look only at the past three years, one could argue that the drop came mostly from the movement from the creationist camp to the God-guided evolution camp. But if we look at the overall trends since 1982 (and a handy table comparing past results with current ones is provided in the pdf of the full survey results, downloadable from the Gallup page cited above), it seems that something else is happening. The “atheistic” position (number 2) has grown from 9% in 1982 to 19% in 2017; i.e., it has more than doubled. During that time, the “God-guided” position has remained in roughly the same place. So in the longer perspective, atheism has gained 10%; i.e., it has picked up exactly the percentage that creationism and “no opinion/other” have dropped since 1982.

It seems, then, that as time has gone on, Americans are (a) neither more nor less attracted to God-guided evolution; (b) less attracted to creationism; (c) more attracted to atheism. And this has happened despite the largest historical outlay (in terms of both hard cash and multimedia publicity) of support for “evolutionary creation” since Charles Darwin first penned his historic book. The “God-guided” position, despite its greatest organized effort to date, has not been able to take advantage of soft support for creationism to get beyond 38%.

In light of these cold facts, the “spin” put on the survey results by BioLogos President Deb Haarsma is strained at best. In one of her rare columns on BioLogos, she argues that the survey is good news for the TE/EC folks. Speaking of the atheist numbers, she writes: “Meanwhile, the “God had no part” position plateaued since the last survey in 2014, stalling at 19% rather than continuing its climb.” Astoundingly, she makes no mention of the fact that this position since 1982 has enjoyed a doubling of support — as if the only metric to be concerned about is atheism’s performance over the past 3 years, rather than its huge and apparently irreversible gains over the past 35. She is trying to put the best face, it seems, on what should be for Christians a cultural disaster, i.e., that nearly one-fifth of Americans, in two consecutive polls, are convinced that God had nothing to do with human origins. But this fits in with the general attitude at BioLogos; the organization has always seemed (if we judge by its actions more than its words) far more worried about the amount of public support for creationism than about the amount of public support for atheism.

Indeed, the only good news in this survey, from a BioLogos point of view, is that the support for traditional creationism is down. But if we look at the 35-year trend rather than the 3-year change, that hasn’t led to any net gain for the God-guided option. Certainly individuals have moved from creationism to TE/EC, and BioLogos very loudly promotes their stories; but since the “God-guided” option is only just holding its own (at the 1982 level), it follows that virtually every defection from the creationist to the “God-guided” side over the past 35 years has been balanced by losses from the “God-guided” position to some other position. So some TE/ECs are moving either back to creationism, or over to atheism. How does Dr. Haarsma explain that? Why has “God-guided evolution” over the past 35 years lost, on average, as much as it has gained?

I come back now to a point I alluded to earlier, i.e., that the survey’s notion of “God-guided” evolution is ambiguous. Deb Haarsma writes: “Option 1, the “God guided” version, is similar to BioLogos views in that it affirms the scientific evidence for human origins and affirms God as our Creator.” Ahem. Hold on for a moment, Dr. Haarsma. I agree that of the three options presented by the survey, the “God-guided” option is the closest to the BioLogos position. But note how Dr. Haarsma fudges a key difference. Even if you combine “we believe in the scientific evidence for evolution” plus “we believe that God is our Creator”, you don’t arrive at “evolution was guided by God” — not unless you add another claim about how God is related to the evolutionary process. And to be sure, Dr. Haarsma is careful to use the word “similar” rather than “the same”; she is aware that the BioLogos claim stops well short of affirming that God “guides” evolution. Yet by not exploring the crucial difference between the position apparently endorsed by the overwhelming majority of BioLogos writers (going by their expressions on BioLogos) and the position set down in the Gallup survey, she fails to pinpoint something essential to any productive analysis of the survey results.

Most of the Americans responding to the survey are not internet geeks who live, eat, and sleep origins issues. They aren’t up on all the fine points, scientific and theological, of creation-evolution-design debates. They are not going to interpret “God-guided evolution” in some tricky way (e.g., God doesn’t actually “guide” evolution but mysteriously “ordains” the outcomes of a chance process to have determinate results). They are going to interpret it in a common-sense way, i.e., God has his finger on evolution, and is directing where it goes, determining its outcomes. He makes use of natural processes and trends, to be sure, but if he is “guiding” it, he is not simply leaving nature to do its own thing; he’s personally involved and in a special way, not merely “sustaining the laws of nature” but making sure what those laws will produce. To the average American on the street, “guided” evolution means that God is a hands-on manager. That may not be how BioLogos wants to see God’s role in evolution (indeed, it clearly isn’t how most of the BioLogos leaders see God’s role in evolution), but it’s how most people who answer the survey will understand it. So when they vote for “God guided the process”, most of them are thinking in terms of the sort of “interfering” God that most BioLogos leaders actively deplore. But Dr. Haarsma doesn’t discuss this crucial point.

If the “God-guided evolution” option were divided into two variant options, the meaning of the survey results would be much clearer. Then people could choose between, “God influences natural processes in direct personal ways to guide evolution to produce human beings” and “God, who loves the freedom of his creatures, lets nature do its own thing, exerting no special influence to alter the outcomes of chance or natural laws, but by a divine mystery we cannot understand, without actually guiding evolution, guarantees that human beings will appear.” If the survey question were split up thus, I predict that the first version would get three times as many votes as the second; and that would not give any comfort to BioLogos (where most of the leaders, I am convinced, would vote for the second version).

The problem with any group today (ID, TE/EC, etc.) making use of the results of the survey is as follows. This survey was designed in 1982, before the current landscape in origins discussions even existed. Back in 1982, the options in the evolution debate were (a) anti-evolutionist creationism; (b) atheistic evolution; (c) a compromise in which God literally directs evolution to pre-arranged ends. But since then, the arrival of ID and of a strong anti-ID reaction by American evangelical scientists has changed the landscape. We now have atheism, creationism, guided evolution, and two new positions, ID and and BioLogos/ASA-style TE/EC. But there aren’t five choices on the survey. So when someone selects “God-guided evolution” there is no way of telling whether that person is supporting the position of Ken Miller or Dennis Venema on the one hand, or Michael Behe or Michael Denton on the other. So neither the ID nor the TE/EC camp can make any hay out of that choice.

Indeed, in the survey as currently constituted, most ID supporters and most BioLogos leaders could not select “God-guided evolution” with intellectual honesty, because “God-guided evolution” is a minority position among ID folks (most of whom like don’t like the “evolution” part), and is also a minority opinion among the BioLogos leaders (most of whom don’t like the “guided” part).

Dr. Haarsma chooses not to go into this depth of analysis in her discussion of the Gallup survey. Her analysis is the “keep up the group morale” sort of analysis we expect Presidents of organizations to make. But it’s a shallow analysis. It glosses over two points of huge importance — the fact that since 1982 atheism has grown tremendously, while EC/TE has not grown by even one percentage point, and the fact that the “God-guided evolution” option which Haarsma sees as close to the BioLogos position is not really the BioLogos position, or the position of any considerable number of its leaders.

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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11 Responses to Latest Gallup Poll on Origins: A Questionable Analysis by Deb Haarsma

  1. Jon Garvey Jon Garvey says:

    Eddie

    It seems to me that drawing lessons from polls like this is like interpreting a horoscope or a Delphic oracle. I’ve tried to do it myself, but one usually ends up (as you do) warning about the unreliability of any conclusions drawn from the poll.

    Certainly it seems to me that drawing comfort for any position, or alternatively getting gloomy about it, is naive at best. Personally, I conclude that zillions of people are reading the Hump and that somehow that’s reflected in the poll – but I could be wrong about that.

  2. Jay313 says:

    I, alone, am worth at least 1 million readers. But I could be wrong about that.

    The Gallup poll is interesting, but it is too vague to tell us much, as Eddie points out. The Pew Forum polls usually try to drill down a little farther into specifics, but even their data leaves much to be desired.

    On the 19% “God had no part,” it’s obviously meant to reflect an “atheist” opinion, but that is far above the number of atheists in the U.S. (~7%). It is closer to what Pew calls “Religiously Unaffiliated” (22.8%), but they arrive at that by adding “Nothing in particular” to the atheist/agnostic number. I suppose they go together. Haha

    In any case, as I indicated on BL, the more troubling thing to me was that the poll implied that half of those who switched from the “present form” position moved to the “God had no part” position. Unfortunately, the poll doesn’t go into enough detail to know whether this is true or not.

    • Edward Robinson Edward Robinson says:

      Yes, Jay, both here and on BioLogos, you are definitely worth a multitude of readers. 🙂

      You make a good point: “God had no part in the process” is ambiguous. I took it to indicate an atheist/materialist position, but it is susceptible of other interpretations. For example, a modern sort of Deist might say that God got the universe rolling with the Big Bang, but after that sat back and watched thing unfold without doing anything; in such a view, man was generated by the universe’s own powers, not by any guidance of God.

      In fact, a number of modern TE/EC writers might in theory have chosen “God had no part in the process” to stress that they don’t believed that God “guided” anything, in the sense of intervening to bend or break natural laws. Denis Lamoureux has sharply rejected any notion that God “guides” evolution.

      So the “God had no part” vote could be from a mixture of atheists, Deists, and TE/EC supporters whose view of God’s role in evolution is quasi-Deistic.

      If I were to rewrite my column, I would modify it to take into account your point. I would say that both the “God-guided evolution” and the “things evolved, but God had no part in the process” answers are ambiguous, and therefore the survey is an even clumsier tool than I indicated.

      I can think of alternate lines of questioning that would produce less ambiguous results.

      For example, the first question might ask:

      1. Do you think that evolution — meaning, for the purpose of this survey, the descent by modification of all living creatures (including man) from earlier creatures — has occurred?

      And the second might ask:

      2. If you answered “Yes” to Question 1, do you think that the process of evolution took place without any input from God, or do you think that God was involved in some way?

      And the third might ask:

      3. If you answered “Yes” to Question 2 above, how do you see God as involved in the evolutionary process?

      And a list of several answers, allowing for various views, might follow, e.g.:

      a. God guided or steered the evolutionary process to produce man by means of special divine actions (whether or not those actions were detectable or non-detectable by senses or instruments);

      b. God “front-loaded” the results of evolution; that is, God set up the laws of nature and the initial arrangements of matter so that without any special divine action on his part, nature eventually had to produce the forms that it did, including man;

      c. God employed some combination of a. and b.

      d. God neither guided the process nor front-loaded anything, but left nature entirely free, and it produced random combinations of genes, bodily arrangements, etc., which were tested by the environment for survival value; yet by some mysterious divine providence which we cannot fathom but must accept on religious faith, this chance-driven process guaranteed the specific evolutionary outcome of man.

      e. Other (please explain briefly, in three sentences or less, in the blank below)

      In such a survey, the results would be more easily interpretable. We know something about how certain people would choose. For example, to #3, Robert Russell would choose (a) — and so would a good number of the churchgoing Christians who accept evolution. But Michael Denton would choose (b). Others, possibly including Michael Behe, might choose (c). Virtually everyone strongly associated with BioLogos would choose (d).
      Many others might choose (e), and their written answers in the blank space would help the surveyors to see where ambiguity still remained in the options offered, and would provide grist for the design of future options under #3.

      The spread of choices under #3 would be illuminating. It would show, I believe, that the role of God in evolution held by most BioLogos leaders is definitely a minority view among Christians who accept evolution. (But of course I can’t be sure until someone actually conducts such a survey.)

      An analogous set of sub-questions could be built into the “creationism” option, whereby distinct positions such as OEC and YEC could be indicated.

      Further information could be gleaned if additional questions pinpointed the religions and confessional orientations of those taking the survey. For example, we might discover a high correlation between Episcopalians and answer 3d, and a high correlation between Reformed and Catholic Christians and answers 3a or 3b. Or we might discover that OEC is more common among Presbyterians and larger groups of Baptists, and YEC more common among small congregational churches.

      Still further information might be gleaned if the survey were administered in some cases specifically to religious denominations, and clergy, seminary professors, etc. within those denominations were asked to identify themselves as such. It might be that the clergy and seminary professors much more often choose evolutionary options, whereas the laity in the same denominations much more often choose creationist options. That would be useful information for the denominations to have — so that they could thrash out why such a distinction should exist.

      And of course it would get to be really fun if there were an option endorsing Open Theism, and the clergy and seminary professors in each denomination leaned strongly that way, whereas the lay people in each denomination were solidly against it. 🙂

      • Jay313 says:

        Yes, I would love to see a survey along those lines. The Gallup thing has some limited usefulness, I suppose, in giving a general drift of society. But for those of us wanting to dig a little deeper, there is precious little data at the moment.

  3. Robert Byers says:

    I think these polls are accurate. Why not?
    There has been massive immigration from nations that are not YEC creationist.
    There must be a youth factor. It might be also these youths easily will become YEC. There is a age issue i think.
    So I draw that nothing has changed in hugh nillions of people.
    i agree that evolutionism or decay of creationism should be very obviously going on , if polls are accurate, and so WHY NOT?
    I think the ID/YEC movement is being very effective.
    Conversation and advocacy does work for the side thats right and is not given equal time.
    That also means some 100 million yanks believe God created mankind pretty much as is. thats mopre then there are people in the UK.
    Creationism is doing very well.

  4. Edward Robinson Edward Robinson says:

    “I think these polls are accurate. Why not?”

    Robert, I already explained that in the column.

    The choice of answers isn’t refined enough for the results to be clearly interpreted.

    For example, does a TE leader like Dennis Venema, who appears to believe (insofar as one can get a direct answer out of him) that God did *not* guide the evolutionary process, choose the “God-guided” option, or the “God had no part in the process” option? If he chooses the former, then he is indicating a belief in “guidance” that he doesn’t endorse; if he chooses the latter (in order to stress that he thinks God keeps his hands off the process), his answer will be most likely be interpreted as agreeing with the atheists and materialists. So no matter which he chooses, his actual view won’t be represented.

    Did you read my reply to Jay above? I provided an example of how one could increase the number of answers, so that “God-guided evolution” really means what it says — that God was personally involved in steering the process, and there is another option for those who want to affirm that God was involved, but refuse to characterize that involvement in anything but very broad, loose, and vague terms.

    The trick is to increase the number of choices. There can’t be too many, or the survey would be too confusing; but three is not enough to give a clear picture of what people actually believe. Also, as I said, it would be very instructive to leave a few lines blank at the bottom to allow those taking the survey to suggest other options, alternate wording, etc. In that way, the survey could grow more refined over time.

    I disagree with your explanation involving immigration. In fact, I think that quite the opposite is the case. Many of the non-traditional immigrants to North America in the past several decades are from the global South or the Islamic world, and they tend to be *more*, not *less*, conservative in their religion (and morality) than people raised in North America, Britain, etc. You’ll find more creationists among Nigerian Christian or Turkish Muslim immigrants than among nominally Christian university professors, civil servants, journalists, lawyers, etc. whose families have lived in North America for decades or centuries. Liberalism in religion in North America (and Europe, for that matter) hasn’t come from immigrants; it is home-grown. The immigrants, often from very traditional Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, etc. backgrounds, find themselves in very secular civilizations in which most of the people with power and influence are atheists, agnostics, or liberals, and in which their more traditional faith is regarded as primitive or backwards. They feel social pressure to liberalize their religion, morality, and customs in order to “fit in” and thus have a better chance at social acceptance, good jobs for themselves and their children, etc. So it’s not the immigrants who are to blame for the religious and moral decay of Western civilization; Western Christians who have abandoned their own convictions are the cause of the problem.

    • Robert Byers says:

      I agree better questions would give better understanding of the peoples conclusions. Yet its still pretty good for important divisions in real society.
      I don’t think the beief in God creating man as he is now means those people believe in genesis/the flood story. people are cherrypicking but it still shows a healthy rejection of other options.

      In the foreign immigrant thing I’m referring to a slight drop in the group that believes in God making man as he is now.
      In N America we get heaps of europeans, Asians from china, etc who easily don’t believe in that. In fact even Muslim types might not put it that way. I’m not sure. We get plenty of secular third world peoples.
      It must make a difference in all thre groups.
      However I was referring to the particular group. yes I think they wouldf believe in a creator more then Canadians/Americans or foreign citizens of these countries.

      There has been a moral decay in certain conclusions and religious decay and native or foreign are all responsible. Remember however it was former immigrants that turned a very protestant North America into less so.
      However we are veery moral, in some ways more, but its about conclusions. Nobody admits to having immoral conclusions. nobody ever did.
      I think there is more love, effective love, in society now even though they are pro-choice, pro-gay, pro-feminist, pro-immigrant.
      its about conclusions.
      In the past only a tiny percentage were of the true faith.

      • Edward Robinson Edward Robinson says:

        Robert:

        I grant you that immigrants who hold to Eastern forms of Christianity are going to be less preoccupied by literal interpretations of Genesis, and so are Muslims, Hindus, etc. So yes, that could partly explain the drop in numbers for YEC-type views in surveys.

        But that is only part of the explanation, since Genesis literalism has been on the wane within North American and European Protestantism for some time. Even if there had been no immigration at all between 1900 and today, internal developments within Protestant theology would have reduced the number of literalists.

        On questions of sexual morality, abortion, etc. it is interesting to look back in time. I read an article once by someone who grew up in Detroit early in the 1900s. He wrote that in Detroit back then, the sexual morality of Protestants, Catholics, and Jews (most of whom were in those early days Orthodox Jews) was pretty much the same — puritanical. And many of the Catholics were Irish or Italian immigrants, and most of the Jews were East European immigrants. So there was no tendency of immigrants back then to weaken the traditional sexual mores of North American life. So it isn’t the admission of “immigrants” or “Europeans” per se that has caused the trouble. An immigrant, taken as an individual, might well be as morally conservative as, or even more morally conservative than, anyone born in North America to a Presbyterian, Baptist, Anglican etc. family. So might a European be more morally conservative than an American.

        Of course, if you are speaking about modern European immigrants, you are going to get a more liberal group, because modern Europe is more liberal than the Europe of a century ago. But again, why is Europe more liberal? In part, because the leaders of the European churches have voluntarily abandoned their ancient confessions and teachings. And who made them do that? Certainly not immigrants, Asians, etc. The liberalization of faith was well underway before Europe experienced significant non-European immigration. It was a response to the Enlightenment, which was a home-grown European movement. It was an internal choice that European churches made, to liberalize and secularize themselves.

        North American churches do the same as the Europeans have done, when they hire Wesleyan college professors who preach Open Theism or appoint flagrantly homosexual bishops. No Europeans, no immigrants, are forcing them to make such choices. Indeed, the theological conferences and colleges where such things are preached and justified are inhabited largely by white people of Protestant heritage who can boast of several generations of American (or Canadian) citizenship in their families.

        You might be right about the effect of secular European and Asian immigrants on the survey results, but I wanted to speak against any temptation to blame immigrants as such for religious liberalization.

        • Robert Byers says:

          Your right its a general rejection of pritan/protestant ideals on morality.
          I do see the North America, even Brit middle class, morality conviction as coming from the evangeliocal/dissenting faiths a great deal more.
          I don’t agree Catholic/Jewish/other protestant immigrants from the european nations was not responsible for liberal social vales. they didn’t have a personal conviction about these things. it was from the top.
          In puritan protestant circles its not from the top. Its personal.
          Upon entering America, the next generation of euros, easily drop the moral conclusions along with regular native protestants.
          however the cities will always be more non puritan protestant because there are far fewer.
          the foreigners are to blame more then the natives.
          Same as today.
          Identity is the most important thing that influences new born children.
          I do, by the way, think moral conclusions on all issues can be changed to the right answer without belief in gods commands.

          • Edward Robinson Edward Robinson says:

            I agree with some of your remarks, but not all. My experience of Catholics, Jews, etc. is obviously different from yours. So, too, is my experience of evangelical, Bible-following Protestants.

            I have taught in widely different places: secular universities, Protestant colleges, Catholic colleges, etc. I have seen Protestants of the type you describe — filled with inner conviction. I have also seen, in the same Protestant educational institutions, both teachers and students whose convictions are shallow. Jesus is mentioned lots of times, and so is the Bible, and so is a long list of these people’s “religious experiences,” but there isn’t always the deep inner spirituality you speak of. Fancying oneself “truly Biblical” is no guarantee of religious depth or orthodox theology or better-than-secular morality.

            At the same time, I have seen Catholics of the type you describe — whose religion is a matter of mere obedience to authority and not out of inner conviction; but I have seen Catholics whose inner conviction is every bit as great as that of devout Protestants.

            So I simply can’t accept your blanket characterizations.

            I get the sense from your posts that your religious life has been largely confined to the world of Bible-believers of a literalist Protestant sort, and that you don’t know many Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Anglicans, Jews etc. through much personal interaction. You can correct me if I’m wrong on that, and tell me some of the long-term contacts you’ve had with non-evangelical Protestant religion (i.e., close personal friends and family members from other traditions, or interdenominational projects where your congregation worked closely with those from other traditions for charitable works, or regarding issues of social morality, etc.), but that’s the sense I’m getting. I’m in a different position. My family background has included Presbyterians, Anglicans, Catholics, and agnostics; my personal friendships have been with liberal Protestants, conservative Protestants, Catholics, Jews, and “none of the above”; my professional work has been with theologians and teachers of religion of many denominations, including Methodists, Anglicans, Catholics, Jews, agnostics, Baptists, Reformed, Hindus, Buddhists, and others; my students have been Catholic, Anglican, Baptist, Reformed, Salvation Army, Pentecostal, and others. My in-laws have a mixed religious background as well. Over my lifetime I’ve attended services in many different churches, including two different types of Baptist churches, many Baptist-like congregational churches, Presbyterian, Methodist, Anglican, Catholic and others. I’ve been a guest in Jewish homes for sabbath dinners and at bar mitzvahs. I’ve had dinner in a Muslim home, and have known formerly Hindu and Sikh Christians. So life has brought me frequently into contact with people from many different religious groups, and I’ve seen great depth and inner conviction in members of all groups, and superficiality and shallowness in all of them, too. Given this experience, it’s just not in me to characterize groups in the way that you’re doing. So I think we are going to have to agree to disagree on some things, and leave it at that.

  5. Edward Robinson Edward Robinson says:

    ***UPDATE***

    Thanks for Merv for alerting the BioLogos folks to my column above.

    For the reactions of some BioLogos commenters, see:

    https://discourse.biologos.org/t/new-gallup-poll-shows-significant-gains-for-biologos-view/35824/24

    As might be expected, George Brooks takes the offensive, raising objections which would best be dealt with here, where I can reply. (I can hardly reply on BioLogos, since I have no posting privileges there.) He repeats his error about the position of Francis Collins and the BioLogos leaders (not one of whom — contra George’s repeated and unsubstantiated assertions — has ever in print or in speech asserted that God “guides” evolution). More generally, he rejects all my arguments as utterly wrong-headed, knowing that I can’t respond on BioLogos to his statements. In the interest of fair play, I would suggest that he reply to me here, and we could have a proper give-and-take conversation.

    I would add that not only George but others at BioLogos are welcome to post comments here, whether to continue BioLogos conversations or to join in on our own. I think they would enjoy the conversations here. We’re very civilized, and BioLogos folks would meet some other commenters here, and get a chance to offer their views to all Hump readers. It’s a no-lose proposition, even if George Brooks chooses not to embrace it.

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