Interesting mystery

BioLogos is, from its statements, committed to reconciling an Evangelical Christian position with mainstream biological science – hence “bio” and “logos.” In a whole series of posts commencing here I queried why it gives so much space to the far-from mainstream Open Theism. But other interesting streams are present there too.

Now Brian Godawa has just completed (I think) a five part series presenting the case for hyperpreterism, which is not only outside the main stream, but frankly heterodox, on the fairly foundational basis of denying articles of the Apostles’ Creed. There are, of course, more substantial criticisms than departure from tradition, even when that tradition is the foundation of the wordwide Church. I don’t intend to do a whole series on them, but a review article is here. I have to say that some parts of the Bible lend themselves to a (moderate) preterist view, but that is a different matter. The only thing going for hyperpreterism in the context of BioLogos is that it enables one to stick to a naturalist view of the world from big bang to heat death, which is convenient for evolution. But inconvenient for orthodoxy.

To be fair, BioLogos has also recently had some spiffing articles by Mark Noll (including references to BB Warfield) and a sound two-parter on inerrancy, but only after an interminable series by Peter Enns questioning it and disparaging the Evangelical formulations trying to codify it. The interest generated by the latter articles, as I have mentioned before, is strangely muted and, in some cases, fairly hostile. Mainstream Evangelicalism is a fringe view amongst active BL posters.

Presenting a range of viewpoints, I guess, can be said to encourage thinking. Iron sharpens iron, and all that. Yet when it comes to the “bio” part of the equation, BioLogos is as orthodox as one could wish. The modern synthesis, in the King James version, rules the day. Not only are creationism and intelligent design slated, but even the rebellious young bloods (and the not so young like Lynn Margulis or James Shapiro) within the biological community get barely a mention. It’s a mystery to me.

Can anybody suggest why the bio is so much more Catholick than the logos?

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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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6 Responses to Interesting mystery

  1. Avatar photo penman says:

    I can’t suggest an answer, but the absence of Shapiro is mind-boggling. If yours truly, who is no scientist (beyond O-levels), can be aware of Shapiro, buy his latest magnum opus, & try to struggle through it (as I hope to do), then why on earth are his peers on BioLogos not eagerly discussing & dissecting his eminently state-of-the-art ideas? It isn’t as though he is some half-baked would-be philosopher or has an ID position to discredit him.

    I wonder whether BioLogos has fallen into a habit of just endlessly “peddling” the Same Old Thing – which would be a pity, since it has far greater potential, & some high quality contributors.

    But yes, hyper-preterism is just HERESY.

  2. Cal says:

    I suppose there’s an element in BioLogos that is trying to get Christianity to look respectable to the world. This is a fools endeavor.

    Let me clarify. Yes, I think the what the Scriptures present is a clear paradigm, it has a logic, it is not just mad ravings. And yes it does answer within the confines of reality, how things truly are.

    But at the end of the day, the objection is to look at the cross and find it a horrible mess. It is a stumbling block to those lost. Their eyes are blind to the Light of Resurrection, the Hope of Glory, in Christ Jesus. And that God Himself incarnated as a poor, ugly/average, Jew in a world run by Gentiles and was nailed to the cross, bearing all shame, for the sins of the world. Credo quia absurdum.

  3. Gregory says:

    Hi Jon, Cal and Penman,

    Nice to see you all here! At least I’m not the only left-over from BioLogos coming = )

    Jon wrote: “Can anybody suggest why the bio is so much more Catholick than the logos?”

    Well, I’d suggest it is mainly based on the biology-heavy ‘roster’ of scholars that BioLogos has tried to attract. One might even call them biology-centric, though one could never forget that BioLogos aims at evangelicals because of the way it ends sections and tries to interweave theology with natural sciences-only.

    BioLogos thinks the biggest ‘problem with evolution’ is actually in biology, not when it involves worldview or ideology. So they lure people into thinking they should simply ‘trust biology.’ This is the only reason why I can imagine they allow a certain person there to condescendingly ‘biologize’ others – he forces people to try to ‘have faith’ & the only option he allows in order to do this is by everyone ‘becoming a biologist.’ That is ‘the solution’ to all woes for BioLogos – education & more education in BioLogy & a ‘new evangelicalism,’ even a ‘new creationism’ (Lamoureauxian) in the natural-physical sciences.

    BioLogos has rejected the study of Logos in all fields except for 2: biology & theology. Is it any wonder that those who operate in other ‘Logos’ realms are disatisfied by BioLogos’ myopia?


  4. Avatar photo penman says:

    Looks like we’re in danger of turning into a refugee camp for mavericks puzzled by aspects of BioLogos….!

    I like Gregory’s point about an attitude of “simply trust biology”. The problem with that is (a) it allows biological theories to ride roughshod over theology & catholic orthodoxy, notably on a historical Adam & historical Fall, as I’ve moaned ad nauseam (b) trust WHICH biology? how about giving Shapiro’s biology a hearing? It doesn’t come across as entirely fair or even truthful to just keep on waving Natural Selection around as the end-all. The General Theory of evolution (descent with modification over deep time) seems well-established to me, but the Special Theory (mechanisms) is surely more open to revision? why be afraid of discussing it? let’s hope for better things….

  5. Avatar photo Jon Garvey says:

    Hi all. What do you know – a thread!

    Gregory, I recognise your anonymous BioLogos poster, whose version of “trust biology” is (apart from accusing people of lacking faith) often a demand to “look at the data”. This is qualified, in many discussions, to exclude books, symposium papers and peer-reviewed papers by “ID creationists”, Evo-Devo heretics and the like. If one actually reads the papers and then disagrees with the conclusions drawn, this is taken as evidence that one does not understand evolution. (One sees that same accusation made by people against non-ID scientists with whom he disagrees, eg, so one shouldn’t feel too intimidated!).

    But the net result is “trust orthodox biology”, “orthodox” being somewhat difficult to define. “Who are you to lecture us – you were steeped in sin at birth!”

  6. Gregory says:

    Glad to be with fellow mavericks!

    Yes, perhaps in danger, but perhaps that’s a good thing too!

    Let me say up front: it is biologism and not biology-alone that is the problem here.

    BioLogos is basically synonymous with ‘biologism’ due to the hyper-focus on the work and ‘authority’ of biologists.

    I had never imagined that ‘science and religion’ dialogue could be so narrow, until BioLogos came along!

    Yes, I would be glad to hear from them also, “why the bio is so much more Catholick than the logos?”

    The Logos ‘applies’ to *all* spheres of the Academy – there is a ‘logic’ in medicine and engineering too; why does BioLogos get stuck only biology? Would be pleased to understand how or why they do not seem to recognize this.

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