Author Archives: Jon Garvey
“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.”
Back in 2015 I did a post on my own personal twin study, describing the interesting phenomenon of how one of my identical twin daughters, who learned to walk via the minority (5%) technique of bottom-shuffling, rather than the usual (95%) crawling, gave birth to a baby daughter who did the same thing. I wondered then about what would happen to the newborn daughter of the other twin, who crawled in the usual way, and what would be the genetic, or epigenetic, explanation of whatever resulted. I may even have updated the story since, but if so I can’t find it.
Contrary to what many believe, the Bible does not teach that God stopped creating (Heb. bara) after the sixth day, though clearly the seventh day, God’s sabbath, draws a line under that special week of work. There are nevertheless a good number of references to God’s ongoing secifically creative acts scattered throughout the Old Testament. Some of those uses of the word relate to the creation of Israel as a nation, in Isaiah ch. 43.
I was reading a Young Earth Creationist’s critique of Theistic Evolution last week. He made the (usual) case that because of accepting as authoritative the human findings of science over the word of God in the Bible, mainstream TEs have denied virtually every major doctrine of orthodox Christianity.
In the light of my previous post on methodological naturalism, Ian Thompson kindly made me aware of a book on the Victorian debate between the majority of theistic scientists, such as James Clerk Maxwell, and the naturalists such as Thomas Huxley and the X Club, who eventually triumphed in establishing their programme. It’s an enlightening read.