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Coffee!! Which of these theories is not like the others?

Recently, I wrote on Evolution Weekend, an attempt to convince Christians, or anyway, people who go to church, that it is okay to be Darwinists.

I pointed out that discussions of evolution in school and in the popular press nearly always focus on teaching or defending Darwinism. In its present form, Darwinism looks like a project to market atheism at taxpayer expense. Someone wanted to know, well what about endosymbiosis, gene transfer or neoteny?

Sure, those are all plausible causes of evolution, sometimes discussed.

But I have never heard anyone famously say, as Dawkins said about Darwinism, that they make it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.

Why not? Because it’s not clear that these processes could not be guided. The mechanisms are proposed simply as mechanisms by which significant changes might take place, not as mechanisms that rule out guidance. It’s the latter point that drives the fanatical attachment to Darwinism that guided Darwin’s original atheist circle, which we now see in the new atheist movement, together with the sick-making adulation of Darwin.

And that, my dears, is the point to keep in mind. As C.S. Lewis came to see, the best reason for doubting Darwin is his defenders.

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21 Responses to Coffee!! Which of these theories is not like the others?

  1. “attempt to convince Christians, or anyway, people who go to church, that it is okay to be Darwinists”

    seems totally foolish and evil to this EC or TE as you might call me.

    Denyse could you please name some of the well known Christian bloggers who support evolution and who you also consider to be Darwinists and who are scientifically knowledgeable. Remember that you have in the past said that “If you reject philosophical naturalism, you cannot be a Darwinist”. Thus all Darwinists must accept philosophical naturalism and I know of NO Christians who accept evolution and also philosophical naturalism. Please enlighten me.

    By Christians I mean someone who accepts the Apostles creed without crossing their fingers or who is Christian in the sense that CS Lewis was, not necessarily someone who fills a pew sometimes during the year. I’m thinking of people who write the main posts at BioLogos or are full ASA members and who accept evolution in the sense of at least common descent.

    Disclosure As I have said before, I accept an old earth and common descent, ie I’m an evolutionary creationist and I am open to

    a. fine tuning in the universe
    b. some intelligent intervention in the process of this world and life, coming to be
    c. as best I understand the modern evolutionary synthesis seems to be an inadequate explanation, at least for me, but then I am not a biologist… IMO is does explain some of what we observe. But maybe natural means will be found that provide a complete theory of evolution?
    c. intelligent intervention may well not be detectable using the tools of science but may have occurred in ways hidden from us or we might find that intervention seems very probable, this is an open question even after having read most of Signature in the Cell. My judgment right now is that some things beyond currently known/understood processes has likely occurred in the development of life.

    Frankly calling me a Darwinist/Philosophical Naturalist borders on an insult and I suspect most Christian’s who accept evolution would agree.

    To me God is see in the regularities of the created world not necessarily or only in gaps.

    Dave W

  2. “The mechanisms are proposed simply as mechanisms by which significant changes might take place, not as mechanisms that rule out guidance.”

    That is a really good point. I once heard a detailed Freudian theory of psychology that really convinced me for a time. It seemed to be logical and to account for all of the facts. But later I found out that most psychologists rejected it because it was unprovable and/or unfalsifiable and that there were better explanations for human behavior. The Freudian explanation could not actually be observed (“subconscious desires, id, ego, super ego” etc).

    I felt silly for having accepted the Freudian theory so completely. It is the same with Darwinists I think. Much of their theory is consistent and accounts for a lot of facts. It sounds convincing. But it is only proven when it is actually observed. Very little beneficial mutation has been observed, or rather, very little compared to how much detrimental mutation has occurred.

  3. Gingoro at 1, huffiness is not an argument. I will explain it one more time, and if you don’t get it, I am moving on to another slavish Darwin worship story. I’ve got a really disgusting example coming up soon.

    1. Darwinism is about UNguided evolution. It always was. And what most people today mean by “evolution” is Darwinism.

    2. Christianity would accept GUIDED evolution, with some important qualifications.

    3. A project aimed at getting Christians to accept UNguided evolution as the norm is a project that lessens their belief in the guidance and providence of God.

    4. “But maybe natural means will be found that provide a complete theory of evolution?” Atheists take that for granted. Christians don’t believe it.

    5. “Frankly calling me a Darwinist/Philosophical Naturalist borders on an insult and I suspect most Christian’s who accept evolution would agree.”

    Well, why do you regard it as an insult? If you really believe that God might have had nothing to do with the evolution of life (item 4 above) – that it all happened by merely “natural” means – you are exactly what I have described. You should either be proud to be justly described or amend your views.

    6. And if you think you have heard the last from me on this topic, watch for a new book announcement.

    7. Do you, by any chance, work with or for Biologos? The Clergy Letter Project? NCSE? Any stalking horse for Darwinism that specializes in confusing Christians?

  4. O’Leary nr.3.
    1. Darwinism is about UNguided evolution. It always was. And what most people today mean by “evolution” is Darwinism.

    That’s right. They dismiss orthogenesis, nomogenesis, prescribed ev. hypothesis etc… as “unscientific”. The only “scientific” approach is only neodarwinian fantasies about random mutation&natural selection.

    I was accused at Biologos that I don’t understand science (obviously natural selection in their eyes is like rocket science) and that Orthogenesis is unscienific because no one supports it nowadays. Obviously the work of Theodor Eimer on evolution of so-called “mimetic” patterns on butterflies wings does not suit with “selection” and “adaptation” mandatory approach. But as soon as you imagine in your fantasy any bizarre “adaptation” and “survival advantage” your approach becomes at that moment “scientific” one.

    In the end I was banned at Biologos. First they deleted my posts randomly and then I ridiculed their way of discussing issues – they called contributors brothers and sisters and ended their neodarwinian ravings with “Amen”. There is no such curious forum on internet like Biologos.

    My last post there was this one:
    —–
    Darrel Falk’s credo:

    All post challenging annihilation, “natural selection” and “survival of the fittest” will be deleted.

    Amen.
    —–

    That was my last post there.

  5. VMartin at 4, Your experience pretty much confirms what I had suspected: “But as soon as you imagine in your fantasy any bizarre “adaptation” and “survival advantage” your approach becomes at that moment “scientific” one.”

    If they are not interested in hearing about any evolution theory except Darwinism, and their purpose is to persuade Christians that “evolution” is okay, then they are Darwinist stalking horses.

    Your experience there was too bad, certainly, but you may well be better off at sites where you can discuss alternative views.

    It’s not at all clear, as you know, that the mimetic patterns of butterfly wings can be explained by natural selection.

    Is there not a Japanese biologist (Kimura?) who blew clear of Darwinism as a result of serious study of butterflies?

    The biggest single problem is that we can’t get to what is if we can’t get past what ain’t.

  6. Dawkins wrote that after Darwin it was “possible” to be an intellectually-fulfilled atheist not that it was necessary to be one. In spite of the contempt in which Denyse O’Leary and others here clearly hold them, there are clearly many Christians who have no difficulty reconciling their faith with evolution.

    As for the best reason for doubting Darwin is his defenders, we might also observe that the sanctimonious and judgmental posturing of some here towards fellow Christians, let alone others, is both offensive and hardly a good advertisment for their faith.

  7. “…we might also observe that the sanctimonious and judgmental posturing of some here towards fellow Christians…”

    Yes that’s right Seversky. TE’s have generally had nothing at all to say about ID, and as a class of people, they’ve gone out of the way to steer clear of the debate from the very start. How dare an ID proponent defend his position against these non-combative silent observers?

    One could imagine that such a defense would be warranted only after a TE had weighed into the debate and taken up arms with those who demand that only unguided processes are at work in the universe. But that has never happend, and likely never will.

    And then there is also the matter of intensity in this debate. I mean, let’s face it, this is a rift between two groups with some ideas that overlap among some of the individuals within each group. Yet, the ID have fired back with, what, a dozen or more books over the past ten years, and have even set up perhaps a dozen or so modest websites.

    To be fair, the rift between TE and ID is hardly the primary topic of any of these books or websites, but still, one has to wonder: Why go to all that trouble if what you are facing amounts to nothing more than every collegiate classroom, every faculty boardroom, every peer-reviewed journal, and the haphazardly willing media?

    Really! How long ago has it been sinced Miller forthrightly devoured Behe’s argument to the appropriate applause that Behe was “Lying for Jesus?”

    “Sanctimonious” is hardly a strong enough word. With even a just little bit of the humility shown by their opposition, ID proponents might possibly recognize they literally have no right to say anything at all.

  8. Seversky at 6: I have no difficulty reconciling MY faith with evolution, either, but it is incompatible with Darwinism and was always intended to be.

    In my view, Christians who think otherwise are confused. But then there are stalking horses for Darwinism out there too.

    Recently, I have run into sincere Muslims, Jews, and Hindus who realize what I do – to say nothing of scientists who see that the whole Darwin thing is bankrupt.

    My ire is directed at the Clergy Letter Project for good reason:

    There is no particular reason a church should be concerned with assuring its congregation that Christianity is compatible with Darwinism/”evolution” – or monetarism, Keynesianism, free market theory, man-caused global warming, support for NATO, auto sector bailouts, public vs. private health care, dealing with terrorists, whether John Edwards should retire from politics, or whether Tiger Woods should retire from sports.

    I don’t doubt that a Christian position can be arrived at in all these matters – probably on both sides.

    Thus, once a church makes questionable science, divisive politics, or voyeuristic celeb gossip a subject of belief, what is lost is the faith once delivered to the saints.

    In my experience, in general, those churches that succumb become (as a friend puts it) The Churches No One Goes To Any More.

    Why? Far from making the church more relevant, this stuff makes it less relevant. I can get all that stuff from the Sunday newspaper, and just sleep in.

    I hate to see that happen to a church.

  9. I believe it was David Berlinski who turned around Dawkins’ famous statement to create a saying that is much, much closer to the truth:

    “Atheism makes it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled Darwinist.”

  10. lol Matteo… think you’re correct and thanks for reminder.

    Upright,

    The Darwinist: always fair, open-minded, freethinkers and brites are keen to save the misled and misinformed youth. You can hardly blame them for standing up against the close-minded bullies of ID who seek to control everyones thoughts through the Federal allocation of tax resources and schools. Afterall, they know the dangers of allowing only one-sided philosophical views.

    Darwinist have every reason to voice opposition, indeed ridicule the systematic take over and destruction of our public schools by IDist. Just look at what IDist and even those hateful Creationist have done to the Detroit school system. There oughta be a law!

    Where is the ACLU to dethrone the religious tyrants of ID out of our public schools? Why, it was only a short 50 years ago, that Darwin ruled and atheism was king. Sigh, the good ole days are certainly missed. Our children suffer from a lack of undertanding unguided theory.

    What we need more of is Darwin and his spectacular bear-to-whale theology. If only the stupid people of America would allow Darwin back in schools.

  11. O’Leary,

    Your message is succinct. You’re attacking the leaders of false religion, not the flock. Anyone insulted by your post is protesting to much.

    I probably part ways with you on how a church addresses morality issues in differing areas. Yeshua utilized parables. Church leaders should stay away from naming names, but must address the very real issues of todays society.

    But the hypocrisy of Darwinist joining the church is not only worthy of state-church propaganda, it is the most snort-worthy religion masquerading as science today. Darwinism is paid for government teachings now entering the church, seeking religious coverage. They’ve now stepped over the very line of attachment the ACLU sought to remove from government power.

    They’ve removed Judeo-Christian values, Messiah, Prophets, and teachings about a Creator and replaced it with the false church of darwinian creation. And they’re doing so with our tax dollars.

    The ACLU should be alarmed, outraged and filing lawsuits against the darwinist that participate in such gross manipulation of federal money that educates them or faciliates their living in any way that contributes to their ability to spread their religion.

    One religion has been replaced by another. Not only is it a tragedy due to poor science. It is government encroachment upon our rights as free citizens to use our tax dollars in the name of their own religion.

  12. Seversky,

    Did you previously work as a journalist for Pravda?

  13. 13

    re” # 10 This will about sum it up: “It is absolutely safe to say that, if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I’d rather not consider that).”
    – Richard Dawkins

  14. DATCG at 11,

    My point is simply that a religious institution is not a political party or a lobby.

    If we want politics, let’s join a political party, and if we want to lobby, let’s join a lobby.

    If we want to engage in the public worship of God, we should go to church (synagogue, mosque, gurdwara … ).

    Churches can’t compete with parties and lobbies on their own turf; they can only be co-opted by them.

    And when the church begins to sound like the Darwin lobby, why go to church?

    In my view, Christian lay people should be encouraged to be active in reputable community service – as lay people.

    At my own (Catholic) church, none of the stuff I cited at 8 would be permitted as a teaching.

    There is, however, a continuous, expected parade of clergy, religious, and lay people shaking the can for the causes that have been perennially approved by the church, dating from New Testament times.

    That has worked out better for us in the long run.

  15. Denyse O’Leary.


    It’s not at all clear, as you know, that the mimetic patterns of butterfly wings can be explained by natural selection.

    Unless you are a darwinist of course. There are for instance two different butterfly species living hundreds of miles away from each other. But they looks alike.
    So darwinists posited “mimicry”.

    Limenitis albomaculata lives in West China and their “model” – males Hypolimnas misippus – in southeast Asia.

    http://main2.amu.edu.pl/~skoracka/china/tn_49.html

    http://www.inra.fr/papillon/pa.....misipp.htm

    And “selective agent” in the case? Don’t bother – some unspecified migratory birds.

  16. 16

    Denyse,

    I wouldn’t worry too much about that clergy letter. 13,000 clergy members from institutions such as MCC, Unitarian Universalist, some liberal Lutheran, United Methodist, Episcopal and a rare Presbyterian church is nowhere near a majority. And even these churches are very thinly represented. I did not find one signatory from the major denominations of Baptist, Evangelical, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Brethren, Mennonite, AME, etc. I doubt if they will ever get any. mmmmmmmmm

    (the mmmmmm was my cat’s input) :)

  17. Cannuckian Yankee at 16, your cat deserves an honorary doctorate in feline get-it-right-ology.

    But what the cat may not fully appreciate is that the confusion sown harms discussion about what “evolution” really means.

  18. O’Leary @ 3

    1. Darwinism is about UNguided evolution. It always was. And what most people today mean by “evolution” is Darwinism.

    a. Darwinism may well be about UNguided evolution if one accepts both his theory and his metaphysics or world view.
    It seems a bit strange to me that this definition is pushed as part and parcel of evolution by people like Dawkins and by yourself and others on this blog. Just because I accept General Relativity as the best theory we have in its area, does not mean that I accept Einstein’s world view. Just because someone accepts evolution does not imply that they are a darwinist… As it happens I do NOT think that Darwin’s theory ie random mutations and natural selection is an adequate explanation for life and the world as we see it. Some .EC/TEs think that the neo Darwinian synthesis explains the diversity of life as we see it or natural laws will in time, I don’t hold that position but that’s just an opinion.

    I do not consider myself a Darwinist but as someone who accepts evolution ie common descent and some amount of RM + NS. I totally reject philosophical naturalism.

    God always supervises and observes all that occurs and everything is designed either indirectly by natural law or by intervention. If you are interested we could discuss intervention and it’s detection further.

    2. Christianity would accept GUIDED evolution, with some important qualifications.

    2a Please elucidate the qualifications and also what you mean by GUIDED, I assume you mean constant, moment by moment intervention but it is not worth discussing till I understand your meaning.

    3. A project aimed at getting Christians to accept UNguided evolution as the norm is a project that lessens their belief in the guidance and providence of God.

    3a If you mean philosophical naturalism then we are in violent agreement on this point. If you mean that it is proven that the natural laws, their constants and initial conditions are capable of producing life as we know it, then we agree as I do not think they can but have yet to see proof that they can’t. By natural laws I am not only referring to those we now know but to further laws we may discover in time. Biology is a very hard science as well as a relatively young.

    4. “But maybe natural means will be found that provide a complete theory of evolution?” Atheists take that for granted. Christians don’t believe it.

    4a Some Christians do and some don’t. I don’t believe it, not as theology and not as a scientific proof. All Christian EC/TEs that I know accept “In the beginning God” and thus by definition reject naturalism.

    5. Well, why do you regard it as an insult? If you really believe that God might have had nothing to do with the evolution of life (item 4 above) – that it all happened by merely “natural” means – you are exactly what I have described. You should either be proud to be justly described or amend your views.

    5a Because you are attributing belief to me that I do not hold, namely naturalism and other items I have denied above.

    6. And if you think you have heard the last from me on this topic, watch for a new book announcement.

    6a Fine but please interact with what people really think and don’t construct a straw man as that does not further the conversation in any manner. Denyse if ID could really demonstrate that interventionist style design was necessary by using scientific and mathematical methods that would be highly significant.

    7. Do you, by any chance, work with or for Biologos? The Clergy Letter Project? NCSE?

    7a No I do not work with or for Biologos or the Clergy Letter Project or NCSE. I have written comments at Biologos just as many IDers have. I am a full member of ASA and both comment and post on their blogs to some extent.

    Again I refer you to my question in my previous comment and ask that you identify Christian TE/ECs who deny “In the beginning God”.

  19. Gingoros at 18: “Again I refer you to my question in my previous comment and ask that you identify Christian TE/ECs who deny “In the beginning God”.

    Well, how about the person who said ““But maybe natural means will be found that provide a complete theory of evolution” at 1 above?

    It is no use to claim that God set all things in motion and observes them. If God’s actions are undetectable, he either doesn’t exist or doesn’t matter.

    That is the atheist’s point, not the theist’s.

    But we have massive evidence that Darwinism is a tax-funded falsehood already, so there is no reason to worry that nature will confirm the view you consider viable.

    Your deep confusion on this point is typical of too many ASA members.

    While I am here, the very fact that a person who claims to be a Christian would have a deeply felt need to defend the theories of Darwin, Dawkins, Dennett, etc., should arouse suspicion in any reasonable person.

    A clever ten-year-old would understand, so I will say it once more and then leave the discussion:

    Darwinism is about unguided evolution via survival of the fittest. Christianity could accept guided evolution by the providence of an active God, whose work is EVIDENT in nature.

    Scripture, tradition, reason, and evidence all affirm design and evidence for God’s work. Only Darwinists and their Christian popularizers deny it.

    I am sorry to have to say these things, and must, in any event, go back to doing something more useful.

  20. O’Leary @ 8

    Thus, once a church makes questionable science, divisive politics, or voyeuristic celeb gossip a subject of belief, what is lost is the faith once delivered to the saints.

    On this we agree, although for different reasons I suspect.

    But where one narrow sect or section of a faith asserts its own perspective as absolute truth and condemns all others who do not share that view as being not true believers then churches have a duty to speak out on the question and make it clear where they stand.

  21. Seversky @ 20

    Thus, once a church makes questionable science, divisive politics, or voyeuristic celeb gossip a subject of belief, what is lost is the faith once delivered to the saints.

    On this we agree. The more interesting question is what variant theories are to be ruled out of bounds for a Christian. In particular wrt origins there may be some theories that must be ruled out on theological grounds. For example I have heard it suggested that God was not the creator of the universe but that the universe was created by a fallen creature. This was proposed as a way to deal with the problem of evil and I can’t remember any more details. To me this is unacceptable. Based upon what she has written in this thread, I strongly suspect that Ms O’Leary would rule out EC/TEs. While I would not rule out YEC, ID or OEC, any approach that explicitly denied “In the beginning God” is unacceptable.

    Dave Wallace

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