Monthly Archives: April 2018
I want, again, to critique the notion that “God uses chance” in evolution, off the back of my last piece, whose main burden was that admitting such chance into the picture utterly destroys the already dubious ability of the laws of nature to achieve divine aims, such as the evolution of mankind. Now I want to consider “randomness” from the viewpoint of divine being. Consider, for a moment, what it means for us to exist, given the truth of Christianity – as far as we can consider what is a rather deeper matter than we are used to assuming it to be.
How Hegelian! The pained responses to the unfairness of the large ID book critiquing Theistic Evolution has led to the clearer exposition of the various views within BioLogos that some of us have been calling for for years. This piece was drafted before Eddie’s recent post, which nevertheless arises from the same observation of self-examination within the organisation. I particularly recommend reading the discussion on this thread, and the clear theological and metaphysical water between, say, Ted Davis and Jim Stump there. In this piece, though, I want to examine one particular view presented by BioLogos president Deb Haarsma, not so much in her own recent “defence” piece, as more … Continue reading
After nearly 10 years of reading the writings of American TE/EC leaders, especially those at BioLogos, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is an unwritten code of conduct (probably the product of unconscious consensus rather than conscious collusion) which governs the public behavior of ECs. This code of conduct is rarely breached, at least on BioLogos (though Joshua Swamidass’s challenge to BioLogos regarding Adam and Eve provides a refreshing counterexample, and Darrel Falk’s principled dispute with Robert Bishop over Stephen Meyer’s second book constitutes another), and it could be stated in the form of a rule: “No EC leader shall directly contradict another EC leader in public, or at … Continue reading
Genesis 1:28 says: “Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” I recently mentioned a book I’d read called Silent Fields, which documents how the wildlife of Britain has been systematically wiped out over the last five hundred years, leaving a number of species extinct, many more in an endangered state, and much of the rest depleted.
“Hullo, is that God?” “Yes, Yahweh speaking, can I help you?” “Yes, as a matter of fact. I have a problem with the fact that your account of the creation of the world in Genesis isn’t scientifically accurate.”
This piece would possibly be classed as a thought experiment, except that, as I mentioned in a recent post, the kind of theistic evolution that was around in the nineteenth century came to be re-defined as “non-scientific” by the new naturalistic criteria. So since you can’t do thought experiments in non-science, this will have to be a fantasy. It just might happen to account for some features of the real world too, though.
Joshua Swamidass has become involved in what appears, at first sight, a minor disagreement on a BioLogos thread puffing a new essay by several authors entitled Is Genesis Real History? His objection was especially to one sentence (bearing the marks of John Walton’s hand, I suspect), which reads: Or consider Genesis 2:7, when God forms Adam from dust and breathes into his nostrils. This could not have happened exactly as described, because we know from other passages in the Bible that God is Spirit with neither hands nor lungs.
As I’ve described in the previous two posts, natural selection is, despite its reputation as the biggest discovery ever, the central tenet of (only) some of the theories of evolution that have held centre stage since Darwin and Wallace popularised it. One of the negative reasons for its being recurrently in doubt is the ongoing difficulty of deciding what natural selection actually is.
I left off last time by mentioning that the “time honoured status of natural selection,” which habitually appears as the basis of evolution’s incontrovertibility in discussions, is in fact a historical myth. It’s an easily documented one, too. My source in this piece is principally the Wikipedia entry on “The eclipse of Darwinism,” which nicely summarizes the authoritative history by Peter Bowler.
Despite the frequency with which the variable definitions of “evolution” are pointed out (eg Joshua Swamidass’s firm insistance that the correct scientific definition is only “change over time”) yet in common discourse about origins the mental concept nearly always reverts to “evolution by random variation and natural selection, as has stood the test of time for 160 years since Darwin.”