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Al Mohler weighs in against BioLogos

Al MohlerAl Mohler, my former boss at Southern Seminary in Louisville, has excellent theological instincts. On his blog today, he put his finger on what’s driving the theistic evolutionists at BioLogos:

The BioLogos approach to the issue is now clear. They want to discredit evangelical objections to evolution and to convince the evangelical public that an acceptance of evolution is a means of furthering the gospel. They have leveled their guns at the Intelligent Design movement, at young earth creationism, and against virtually all resistance to the embrace of evolution. They claim that the embrace of evolution is necessary if evangelicalism is not to be intellectually marginalized in the larger culture. They have warned that a refusal to embrace evolution will doom evangelicalism to the status of an intellectual cult.

Later in the article, responding to BioLogos’s Mark Sprinkle, Mohler remarks,

Dr. Sprinkle writes with concern about “Dr. Mohler’s repeated implications and suggestions, if not outright pronouncements, that I and anyone else who does not reject evolutionary processes are, therefore, not Christian in any but a nominal or diminished way, not authentic followers of Jesus no matter what we say and despite the evidence of the Holy Spirit both in us and working through us.”

At this point, given the public nature of this statement, I have to ask the only question I know to ask. Can these people read? I defy anyone to locate a single sentence where I have ever questioned the salvation of anyone in any context where I have addressed anything related to BioLogos. I have never questioned their salvation, nor have I attempted to interrogate their hearts. I accept at face value that their ambitions and intentions in their own minds are worthy. I cannot read their souls.

I’ve found this charge coming from theistic evolutionists as well: “Oh, you ID people. You think that Darwinists can’t be Christians.” We’ve never said this. What we have said is that, as a sociological fact, people who embrace Darwinism find it easier to reject Christianity. This is easily verified.

And it is also irrelevant to the central point at issue, which is whether Darwinian evolution, which is the science on which theistic evolutionists pin their hopes, is in fact false and demonstrably so. The ID community argues that it is. If we are right, the theistic evolution’s entire raison d’etre — reconciling Christian faith with Darwinian evolution — falls to pieces. It becomes the solution to a problem that no longer exists.

God bless Al Mohler for calling it the way it is.

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23 Responses to Al Mohler weighs in against BioLogos

  1. I find myself in the middle on this one. I would agree that to accept evolution requires in some ways a different understanding of Adam and the fall, but I deny that it requires denying either a historical Adam or a historical fall. (That humanity is sinful and in need of a savior, I think, is plainly evident.)

    I agree that evolution ‘makes it easier for people to reject Christianity’ – but I consider that to say vastly more about the cultural and political forces at work behind communicating the theory and what it means than about evolutionary (again, not Darwinism as I see it) theory itself. On the other hand, the people at Biologos could be doing a vastly better job than they have been on that front. Theistic evolutionists – and I count myself as one, in essence – simply haven’t been doing their damn jobs.

    Therefore I agree that arguing for Christianity, and pointing out why evolution does not make Christianity untrue or even less likely, is important – and this is regardless of whether evolutionary theory is true or not. At the same time, I also object to this bizarre urgency to ‘get Christians to accept the truth of evolution’, and I think the ridiculous overemphasis on evolution as seemingly the solitary issue in science education is downright creepy (there’s no other word for it.)

    So, there’s my own thoughts. I also wish someone at UD would throw into the FAQ the accepted definition of ‘Darwinism’ around here.

  2. It becomes the solution to a problem that no longer exists.

    I believe it was Denyse who coined this phrase, and it encapsulates in very few words the essence of the issue. Denyse’s formulation is on the order of a Biblical proverb.

    Let us be honest. Whenever theistic evolutionists refer to “evolution” they are referring to undirected, purposeless, materialistic processes. Any attempt to reconcile this definition with historical Christianity is a quintessential exercise in trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.

    The real issue is as follows, and it’s trivially easy to figure out: Theistic evolutionists have been bamboozled and coerced by the Darwinian establishment into believing that if they don’t bow at the altar of Darwinian materialism, they’ll be excommunicated from proper society for the unpardonable sin of not being “scientific.”

    Never mind that virtually all contemporary scientific evidence has elevated Darwinian orthodoxy to the historical apogee of pseudoscience.

  3. Albert Mohler writes, quoting a BioLogos contributor:


    “But theology, he argues, “is put to the test not just by our logic, but by the witness of what God is doing in our lives and in the lives of others around the world.” He then states this: “Evidence of the Spirit at work is the only true measure we have of our theology; all other measures, including whether it fits our carefully-reasoned arguments of who is in and who is out, are vanity.”

    Oh, please. Enough with the subtle self-congratulation, BioLogists.

    Lots of folk who follow a church-emptying theology lead exemplary private lives. And every reasonable person is thankful that judgment belongs to God alone.

    So when people imply that their lives are the witness to their theology – and no one else had especially noticed their lives, let alone volunteered to be their Judge – one must assume that one is overhearing a soliloquy and politely desist from germane comment.

    As Bill and I will show in Christian Darwinism (Broadman and Holman, 2011), there can be no reconciliation between Christianity and Darwinism (survival of the fittest). Nor did Darwin and his circle ever intend one. And Darwinism is in fact the only theory of evolution that is vigorously defended.

    Any Christianity that survived by embracing Darwinism would be a monstrous perversion, so we have little to lose by rejecting it.

    Definition of Darwinism: Not strictly possible because every Darwinist has his own, and for political reasons, Darwinists tack swiftly between one and another.

    But the key characteristic is the belief in the awesome powers of natural selection acting on random mutation to produce all forms of life – and, for most Darwinists, mind and for some, even universes. Darwinism undergirds and explains everything.

    Mohler responds, re the “Spirit at work” stuff:


    That is an interesting statement, but it is nonsensical unless there is some means of evaluating what is and is not authentic evidence of the Spirit at work. And that, of course, would mean some kind of biblical and theological test. The effort to escape theology gets us nowhere.”

    But, Dr. Mohler, won’t we soon be hearing an account of how the Bible can be attributed to the selfish gene at work? And soon after, a Christian Darwinist will proclaim that it can nonetheless be accepted as the authentic Word of God. And, despite the universal rule of the selfish gene, it turns out that he himself is a nice person and a member of a praiseworthy community.

    Fine. Now if they would all just collect their brownie points and GO AWAY, we could have a real discussion of the accumulating failings of Darwinism, and what should replace it. Which is what we want.

  4. Dr. Sprinkle’s concern that:

    anyone else who does not reject evolutionary processes are, therefore, not Christian in any but a nominal or diminished way, not authentic followers of Jesus no matter what we say and despite the evidence of the Holy Spirit both in us and working through us.”

    is a red herring.

    “evolutionary processes” (micro or speciation) plainly exist and no one rejects them. But Evolution (macro), i.e. Darwinism, does not account for the diversity of body types or their origin.

    But are Theistic evolutionist’s Christian only in some nominal or diminished way?

    Mat 19:4 NASB And He [Jesus] answered and said, “Have you not read that He [God] who created [G2936 ??????] them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE,

    Jesus is a Creationist. There is no escaping or ignoring that fundamental biblical fact.

    For an ostensible Christian to deny the creation of male and female in the beginning, is to deny what Christ (whom they profess to be Lord) taught, which denial arguably demonstrates a nominal or diminished belief, and not evidence of the Holy Spirit working but, best case, striving, period.

  5. … the witness of what God is doing in our lives and in the lives of others around the world …

    Their ideas are as incoherent and contradictory as the Darwinists who they are trying to impress.

    If God is “doing in your lives”, then this is Design (purpose). Darwinism fails.

    Even someone as intelligent as Francis Collins cannot see that self-refuting principle.

    He condemns ID as God of the Gaps and claims that there’s no evidence of design in nature. He then follows this argument by marvelling at the scientfically-inexplicable fine-tuning of the universe and the non-evolvable origin of morality.

  6. I think this all comes down to linear worldview vs. non-linear worldview. The current naturalistic worldview of material processes and causes tries to be linear at least when it comes to the proximal causes. This is by necessity a reductionist way of looking at the world.
    However by necessity Christian worldview accepts non-linear immaterial causes which are not linear in materialistic terms i.e they are beyond scientific method.

  7. Even someone as intelligent as Francis Collins cannot see that self-refuting principle.

    He condemns ID as God of the Gaps and claims that there’s no evidence of design in nature. He then follows this argument by marvelling at the scientfically-inexplicable fine-tuning of the universe and the non-evolvable origin of morality.

    Is this true? Link? I’m not denying, I would just like to see that for myself. If every event in the universe, including our thoughts, are not perfectly explicable by the laws of nature (like electrical and chemical interactions in our brains), then Darwinism is WRONG. If you believe morality and/or consciousness did not evolve via mutation and selection, then you don’t believe the theory of “natural evolution” is true. Even if one thing defies it, it is defeated. Personally, I believe there are millions of biological examples that could not have clumsily stumbled into existence assuming even the most preposterous probabilistic resources of this universe.

  8. 8

    When I was growing up and we visited my uncle on his dairy farm, he would always give us the same warning when we went out to walk around in the fields: “Don’t step in it.” (If you don’t know what it is, let me give you a little hint–pssst! it rhymes with it.)

    Here is an example of our friends over at Biologos “stepping in it”(speaking metaphorically).

    Dr. Sprinkle writes with concern about “Dr. Mohler’s repeated implications and suggestions, if not outright pronouncements, that I and anyone else who does not reject evolutionary processes are, therefore, not Christian in any but a nominal or diminished way, not authentic followers of Jesus no matter what we say and despite the evidence of the Holy Spirit both in us and working through us.”

    At this point, [Mohler responds] given the public nature of this statement, I have to ask the only question I know to ask. Can these people read? I defy anyone to locate a single sentence where I have ever questioned the salvation of anyone in any context where I have addressed anything related to BioLogos. I have never questioned their salvation, nor have I attempted to interrogate their hearts. I accept at face value that their ambitions and intentions in their own minds are worthy. I cannot read their souls.

    I can understand this sort of thing happening once or twice, (everyone, after all, makes mistakes) but it seems that it has become something of a trend with the Biologos crew. For example, they have people doing book reviews on books that they apparently have not even read (like Dr. Francisco Ayala’s review of Stephen Meyer’s book, Signature of [sic] the Cell)*, or repeatedly quoting ID’ists out of context, or even misquoting what some ID’ists, like Michael Behe, have actually said. To make matter worse, this has repeatedly been pointed out to them.

    Has any one from Biologos admitted to any of this? Please someone point it out to me if they have.

    It is one thing to occasionally step in it. It’s quite another thing when someone repeatedly steps in it. But this is even worse. This is like someone repeatedly stepping in and completely denying it.

    So tell me how is any of this suppose to impress an unbelieving atheistic scientist? I’m just curious.

    (*Meyer entitled his book, Signature in the Cell. But hey, maybe Meyer is being a little thin skinned when he points that out to the reviewer. After all, it is such a long technical and complicated title. Yeah, right.)
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....35371.html

  9. Though I do not question these persons at BioLogos professed faith in Christ, seeing as I don’t even want to see someone like Hitler go to hell,,,

    23 Minutes In Hell – Full Length – High Quality – Bill Wiese – video
    http://www.vimeo.com/16641462

    ,,, it is none-the-less very perplexing for me that these people over at BioLogos deny the overwhelming obviousness of God’s handiwork in life though claiming to be Christian. The simple fact is that even the simplest life on earth vastly exceeds in complexity what man has accomplished, by concerted effort, in his most sophisticated machines,,,

    Three Subsets of Sequence Complexity and Their Relevance to Biopolymeric Information – David L. Abel and Jack T. Trevors – Theoretical Biology & Medical Modelling, Vol. 2, 11 August 2005, page 8
    “No man-made program comes close to the technical brilliance of even Mycoplasmal genetic algorithms. Mycoplasmas are the simplest known organism with the smallest known genome, to date. How was its genome and other living organisms’ genomes programmed?”
    http://www.biomedcentral.com/c.....2-2-29.pdf

    First-Ever Blueprint of ‘Minimal Cell’ Is More Complex Than Expected – Nov. 2009
    Excerpt: A network of research groups,, approached the bacterium at three different levels. One team of scientists described M. pneumoniae’s transcriptome, identifying all the RNA molecules, or transcripts, produced from its DNA, under various environmental conditions. Another defined all the metabolic reactions that occurred in it, collectively known as its metabolome, under the same conditions. A third team identified every multi-protein complex the bacterium produced, thus characterising its proteome organisation.
    “At all three levels, we found M. pneumoniae was more complex than we expected,”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....173027.htm

    “a one-celled bacterium, e. coli, is estimated to contain the equivalent of 100 million pages of Encyclopedia Britannica. Expressed in information in science jargon, this would be the same as 10^12 bits of information. In comparison, the total writings from classical Greek Civilization is only 10^9 bits, and the largest libraries in the world – The British Museum, Oxford Bodleian Library, New York Public Library, Harvard Widenier Library, and the Moscow Lenin Library – have about 10 million volumes or 10^12 bits.” – R. C. Wysong
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-363647

    The Cell – A World Of Complexity Darwin Never Dreamed Of – Donald E. Johnson – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4139390

    Ben Stein – EXPELLED – The Staggering Complexity Of The Cell – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4227700

    “Although the tiniest living things known to science, bacterial cells, are incredibly small (10^-12 grams), each is a veritable micro-miniaturized factory containing thousands of elegantly designed pieces of intricate molecular machinery, made up altogether of one hundred thousand million atoms, far more complicated than any machine built by man and absolutely without parallel in the non-living world”. Michael Denton PhD

    etc.. etc.. etc..

    ,,, and yet, though the evidence for functional complexity that greatly exceeds what man has done in his most sophisticated machines is overwhelming, there is not one iota of evidence that material processes can produces ANY functional integrated complexity whatsoever, much less the massive amounts we find in the simplest cell,,,

    Stephen Meyer – Functional Proteins And Information For Body Plans – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4050681

    Dr. Behe states in The Edge of Evolution on page 135:

    “Generating a single new cellular protein-protein binding site (in other words, generating a truly beneficial mutational event that would actually explain the generation of the complex molecular machinery we see in life) is of the same order of difficulty or worse than the development of chloroquine resistance in the malarial parasite.”

    That order of difficulty is put at 10^20 replications of the malarial parasite by Dr. Behe. This number comes from direct empirical observation.

    Richard Dawkins’ The Greatest Show on Earth Shies Away from Intelligent Design but Unwittingly Vindicates Michael Behe – Oct. 2009
    Excerpt: The rarity of chloroquine resistance is not in question. In fact, Behe’s statistic that it occurs only once in every 10^20 cases was derived from public health statistical data, published by an authority in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. The extreme rareness of chloroquine resistance is not a negotiable data point; it is an observed fact.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....est_s.html

    An Atheist Interviews Michael Behe About “The Edge Of Evolution” – video
    http://www.in.com/videos/watch.....34623.html

    Thus, the actual rate for ‘truly’ beneficial mutations, which would account for the staggering machine-like complexity we see in life, is far in excess of one-hundred-billion-billion mutational events. So this one in a thousand, to one in a million, number for ‘truly’ beneficial mutations is actually far, far, too generous for an estimate for evolutionists to use as an estimate for ‘truly’ beneficial mutations.,,,

    ,,, Are these observations I listed wrong??? Can someone please point me to the relevant studies that show Dr. Behe to be wrong? Can someone please point me to the studies that show the simplest cell to be less than the sheer wonder of exceptional nano-technology that it is???,,, Since these facts I’ve cited, of which many more facts along the same line could be quoted, are accurate as to the true state of the awe inspiring complexity of life, and also accurate as to the Grand Canyon wide gulf that separates material-darwinian from achieving even one iota of such complexity, then please tell me why in the world these Christians over at BioLogos are not on the rooftops shouting of the glory of God that is clearly revealed in molecular biology? What in the world are they scared of?

  10. Prof. Dembski,

    If I remember correctly, in a previous essay, Dr. Mohler made it clear that the only legitimate interpretation of Genesis was a young earth creationist interpretation. This would mean that all of us old earth Christians, yourself included, have it wrong.

    So to Dr. Mohler, not only are the Biologos people compromising God’s truth, so are you and I.

  11. Now leaving Dr. Mohler aside, we IDists must ask the question of whether we have both scientific and theological objections to Evolutionary Creationists (Theistic Evolutionists), or merely scientific objections.

    I personally see no irresolvable theological conflict between accepting neo-Darwinism and Christianity. My objections are merely scientific. But then, ECs (TEs) think that my science is mistaken and that their science is correct. Given that premise, it makes perfect sense to them to try to reconcile Christian faith with Darwinian evolution. So I find their efforts perfectly understandable and justified, given their premises.

  12. Hello BA,

    Your Denton quote in #9 – I just don’t remember it. Where is it from?

  13. Upright:

    Michael Denton, “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis,” 1986, p. 250.

  14. Thanks BA,

    Looking it up now…just didn’t remember it.

  15. here’s another one:

    Each cell with genetic information, from bacteria to man, consists of artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction and a capacity not equaled in any of our most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours” Geneticist Michael Denton PhD. Evolution: A Theory In Crisis pg. 329

  16. Is this true? Link?

    Yes, it’s pretty surprising that Dr. Collins can make these absurdly contradictory statements, and his Biologos team simply repeats them without ever noticing how ridiculous it is. Collins’ book, The Language of God (pgs. 71-78) gives the fine-tuning argument which is virtually identical to what one can read from any number of ID theorists. He uses the analogy of a man facing a firing squad of 50 marksmen and they all miss. Chance or Design? He goes through the Anthropic Principle and concludes “… for those willing to consider a theistic perspective, the Anthropic Principle certainly provides an interesting argument in favor of a Creator.” (p. 78).

    In the same book (pgs 24-28, Collins argues against “Darwinian selection” (or any evolutionary process) as the origin of the Moral Law. He state that the Moral Law has a supernatural origin and is not reducible to matter (cannot have originated through chance or physical law).

    For whatever reason, none of this stops Dr. Collins from attacking ID in all of the usual ways (non-science, marginal at best, bad theology, incoherent, non-convincing, Behe is wrong, etc.).

    I’m not denying, I would just like to see that for myself.

    You can find the extracts that I quoted via Google books “Language of God”.

    If you believe morality and/or consciousness did not evolve via mutation and selection, then you don’t believe the theory of “natural evolution” is true.

    Exactly right. This, alone, destroys the Christian Darwinist position. Natural (unguided, purposeless, blind) evolution requires that moral norms are determined by physical processes, and are ultimately reducible to molecular processes (and then to the atomic level) — and thus measurable by Physics.

    Even if one thing defies it, it is defeated. Personally, I believe there are millions of biological examples that could not have clumsily stumbled into existence assuming even the most preposterous probabilistic resources of this universe.

    Again, absolutely correct. This argument should be so much easier with anyone who claims to be a Christian. If a Christian believes in only one true miracle — a supernatural action by God which affects physical nature, then the Darwinian claim is falsified.

    The grand proposal of materialist-evolution is summed up by Darwin himself in his argument against Paley where he claims: “Everything in nature is the result of fixed laws”. It’s not “some things” but “everything”. The laws he is talking about are physical laws — deterministic/materialistic. That’s Darwinism (extended to the cosmological scale – “everything in nature”. And that’s what Francis Collins thinks he has refuted in his book.

    From Darwin’s autobiography:

    “Although I did not think much about the existence of a personal God until a considerably later period of my life, I will here give the vague conclusions to which I have been driven. The old argument of design in nature, as given by Paley, which formerly seemed to me so conclusive, fails, now that the law of natural selection has been discovered. We can no longer argue that, for instance, the beautiful hinge of a bivalve shell must have been made by an intelligent being, like the hinge of a door by man. There seems to be no more design in the variability of organic beings and in the action of natural selection, than in the course which the wind blows. Everything in nature is the result of fixed laws.”

  17. Nice post Proponentist.

  18. Time after time after time the argument against ID is blown apart. Logic, observation, evidence.

    Doesn’t anyone out there have a cogent argument against ID that is not incoherent, logically unsound, question begging, factually incorrect, politically motivated, or simply stupid?

  19. OT: RTB has a new e-magazine out, that may be interesting, since Fazale Rana has a article defending his view of the genetic evidence for “Adam and Eve”, a view that was attacked by BioLogos not to long ago by Falk and Collins:

    e-magazine:
    http://www.reasons.org/files/e.....010-04.pdf

    Human Evolution? – The Compelling Genetic Evidence For Adam and Eve – Dr. Fazale Rana – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4284482/

  20. Upright, no, they don’t. :-)

  21. Thanks, Upright. I would like to see the Biologos folks try to answer your question, but they don’t seem to want to debate their position openly.

  22. I went on there site last nite and took it seriously. I found nothing.

    I did however note the war between the Telic Thoughts folks and the Biologos folks. As near as I could tell, the score was 1 to 0 when Biologos pulled the plug.

  23. OT: David Klinghoffer has a interesting piece:

    I’m a Reformist Conservative – and I Doubt Darwin – November 2010
    Quote of note: Other scientific verities have had to retreat under the pressure of reality. The discovery of ultra fine-tuning in cosmology, the discovery that the cell (contra Darwin’s German disciple Ernst Haeckel) isn’t a “homogeneous globule of plasm” but an intricate marvel of nanotechnology, the discovery that the linear code of DNA does not explain anywhere near everything about us or any creature — but rather, that some immaterial source of information seems to be at work in the genome — all these spooky revelations have combined to seriously undermine the foundations of materialism.
    http://www.frumforum.com/im-a-.....ubt-darwin

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