Home » Atheism, Christian Darwinism, Intelligent Design » BioLogos claims not to be Darwinist after all … and it’s not April 1 either.

BioLogos claims not to be Darwinist after all … and it’s not April 1 either.

Bio_Symposium_033.jpg

O'Leary/Laszlo

Well, at least one of the two title statements is true.

In “Southern Baptist Voices: An Ongoing Series” (February 27, 2012), BioLogos, founded by NIH head Francis Collins, is publishing an article by Bill Dembski and Richard Land:“Is Darwinism Theologically Neutral,” adding as an editorial comment:

BioLogos does not subscribe to Darwinism, but Dr. Dembski has chosen this title and we will respond to it.

What? After all the spouting at the BioLogos site about how Christians must change their theology to accommodate Darwin?

Or that a theory of evolution explicitly promoted by atheists to rule out design is in some way compatible with Christianity, a faith whose creed begins, “I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and Earth, … ”?

Darwinism: natural selection, acting on random mutation, produces the complex life forms we see around us, so that an amoeba of sorts gradually transforms itself over many generations into a man.

Let me put it like this: If someone informs me that the Catholic Church must change its theology to accommodate Marxism – and then denies he is a Marxist – why should I not send him packing? Who but a Marxist or his useful idiot would demand such a thing?

Or is BioLogos trying to back away from its Darwin-happy roots now? Fair enough, we all make mistakes and some of us admit them. But that raises the question:

What, exactly, is their point? Does BioLogos exist simply to be an airborne plop on the growing ID community?

Folks, the ID community is only one of an increasing number of voices insisting – among other things – on accountability from Christians who flirt with the creation story and all the other stories of materialist atheism and accept the latest materialist nonsense as evidence.

Currently, the atheist creation story is Darwinism, but – to give BioLogos its due – the atheist elite might well come up with a more believable packet in a few years. Given the dismal evidence for Darwinism coming back from the field, it’s no secret that many evolutionary biologists would be glad to exchange it for some other -ism as long as these principles stay intact: No God and no free will.

That won’t happen for a few years though. Darwinism is now one monster of a garbage scow, and it takes a long time to turn a big ship around.

But then won’t BioLogos be right in there – as I suspect – promoting the atheists’ next big thing? Is that what this is about? Repositioning? Stay tuned.

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Note: As usual, the atheists are way ahead of the Christian Darwinists (or whatever they are). Atheist philosopher Jerry Fodor, commenting on this “we are not Darwinists” claim as made by materialist atheists, says,

They told us, ‘no one is that kind of Darwinian any more.’

He adds,

We’d be happy if that were so, but there is good reason to doubt that it is.

(sound of rube whistling)

PS: Dr William Dembski, Research Professor of Philosophy and Richard Land, Director for Cultural Engagement, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary

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65 Responses to BioLogos claims not to be Darwinist after all … and it’s not April 1 either.

  1. I think that BioLogos tries, very unwisely, to hide behind a ill defined concept of ‘randomness’, saying that God can direct what appears by all rights to be a completely undirected and ‘random’ processes to us. The problem with this view of a ‘hidden God’ who is undetectable in his actions in this universe from randomness (contra Romans 1:20), is that we now have a very good idea of what randomness actually is in this universe and even know that random has a deep connection to the word “entropy”. A word which generally means “chaos”, “disorder”, or “uncertainty”.

    Thermodynamics – 3.1 Entropy
    Excerpt:
    Entropy – A measure of the amount of randomness
    or disorder in a system.
    http://www.saskschools.ca/curr.....rgy3_1.htm

    As well, Computer programs with the best random number generators, usually always derive the ‘randomness’ in their program from a physical source which exhibits ‘maximal entropic decay’;

    Seeding random number generators
    Excerpt: For this, we ideally want to pick a number (or some sequence of bits) that is “truly unpredictable”. Or put another way, we want to find some source of entropy (or “true unpredictability”) available to the program.
    http://javamex.com/tutorials/r.....ding.shtml

    And we now have a very good idea of what the maximum source of entropy-randomness is in the universe.

    Entropy of the Universe – Hugh Ross – May 2010
    Excerpt: Egan and Lineweaver found that supermassive black holes are the largest contributor to the observable universe’s entropy. They showed that these supermassive black holes contribute about 30 times more entropy than what the previous research teams estimated.
    http://www.reasons.org/entropy-universe

    “But why was the big bang so precisely organized, whereas the big crunch (or the singularities in black holes) would be expected to be totally chaotic? It would appear that this question can be phrased in terms of the behaviour of the WEYL part of the space-time curvature at space-time singularities. What we appear to find is that there is a constraint WEYL = 0 (or something very like this) at initial space-time singularities-but not at final singularities-and this seems to be what confines the Creator’s choice to this very tiny region of phase space.”
    Roger Penrose – How Special Was The Big Bang?

    Further notes:

    Blackholes – The neo-Darwinian ‘god of entropic randomness’ which can create all things (at least according to them)
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1fxhJEGNeEQ_sn4ngQWmeBt1YuyOs8AQcUrzBRo7wISw/edit

    Is Randomness really the rational alternative to the ‘First Mover’ of Theists?
    Excerpt: The atheistic-materialistic insistence that ‘randomness’ is the rational ‘designer-substitute’ in science is, in itself, in reality, ultimately, the ‘anti-science’ position that destroys science;. i.e. Insisting on randomness as the ‘first mover’, the ‘first cause’, for reality within science, as atheists insist that we do, instead of appealing to God as first mover’, ends up, at the end of the day, destroying the very presuppositions in science that enabled humans to practice science rationally in the first place!!!:
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1pSSfbR2QFZ5JAJTOsrEXQDqkJ_6zPTvYNGwcI4YDvRY/edit

  2. BA, I disagree in two counts. Firstly, trying to get the leadership at Biologos to admit that “random” events are under God’s control is like trying to get blood out of a stone. And yet Scripture clearly teaches that they are (eg lots, falling sparrow, flying axe-heads, random arrows).

    Secondly, although I see no reason to say that God’s handiwork might not be evidentially present (though never proveable – even Jesus’s miracles were denied to be God’s workby his enemies) I don’t think Romans 1 necessarily implies that.

    Alvin Plantinga makes a good case for belief in God being justified without scientific evidence, in the same manner as belief in the objects of ones senses or of other minds is warranted without evidence. Romans might well be teaching that God’s work is obvious except to those who blind themselves, not that it’s evident scientifically.

  3. I certainly agree that even ‘random events’ are under God’s control, but I hold that the entropic randomness Darwinists have appealed to as their ultimate source of creative variation is futile for Darwinists to do for God has purposely subjected this source of randomness they appeal to, to try to deny God created life, to ‘frustration’!

    notes:

    Romans 8:18-21
    I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

    Are You Looking for the Simplest and Clearest Argument for Intelligent Design? – Granville Sewell – video
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....56711.html

    Psalm 102:25-27
    Of old You laid the foundation of the earth, And the heavens are the work of Your hands. They will perish, but You will endure; Yes, they will all grow old like a garment; Like a cloak You will change them, And they will be changed. But You are the same, And Your years will have no end.

    Thermodynamic Argument Against Evolution – Thomas Kindell – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4168488

    Can Anything Happen In A Open System – Granville Sewell PhD. Math – video
    http://www.math.utep.edu/Facul.....ondlaw.htm

    The common sense law of physics – Granville Sewell – July 2010
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....f-physics/

  4. as to:

    Romans might well be teaching that God’s work is obvious except to those who blind themselves, not that it’s evident scientifically.

    I disagree for one reason because science is not even possible without God as a basis:

    Why should the human mind be able to comprehend reality so deeply? – referenced article
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1qGvbg_212biTtvMschSGZ_9kYSqhooRN4OUW_Pw-w0E/edit

    Epistemology – Why Should The Human Mind Even Be Able To Comprehend Reality? – Stephen Meyer – video – (Notes in description)
    http://vimeo.com/32145998

    Presuppositional Apologetics – easy to use interactive website
    http://www.proofthatgodexists.org/index.php

    Random Chaos vs. Uniformity Of Nature – Presuppositional Apologetics – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/6853139

    and the second reason I disagree is that the scientific evidence we now have in hand overwhelming reveals God’s handiwork;

    Predictions of Materialism compared to Predictions of Theism within the scientific method:
    http://docs.google.com/Doc?doc....._5fwz42dg9

    Verse and Music:

    Romans 1:20
    For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

    4-Him – Can’t Get Past The Evidence
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WiRQxEOWdDw

  5. BA – a bit of logic, please! Neither science being possible because of God nor scientific evidence in support of God mean that that’s what Romans 1 is teaching. Science as such didn’t exist, nor those scientific findings, when Paul wrote it – and it was as valid then as now.

  6. Their defintion of Darwinism in the OP is as much a statement of faith as “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”

    From a amoeba (of sorts) to a man with only random mutations and natural selection? Really?

  7. Well Jon, logic happens to be another proof of God! :)

    I hold that what was self evident to Paul in Roman’s 1:20 of God’s handiwork being plainly evident in creation,

    have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made,

    at the time he wrote it, is exponentially more self evident today because of science. I really don’t want to argue scripture as that really accomplishes nothing as far as I’ve seen, but the plain meaning of the text surely would make clear that ‘what has been made’ is what leaves men ‘without excuse’. You can disagree if you want. But I will not get into a theological argument over the text. And thus will respond no further if it is just a disagreement over interpretation of the Bible.

  8. OT: New video of John Lennox was just loaded by Veritas:

    God: Rendered Irrelevant? An Oxford Professor Discusses Science and Faith – John Lennox
    http://vimeo.com/37670839

  9. OT:

    Dr. Michael Denton on Complexity and the Failure of the Machine Metaphor – podcast
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....5_44-07_00

  10. link correction:

    Dr. Michael Denton on Complexity and the Failure of the Machine Metaphor – podcast
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....4_31-08_00

  11. BA77 & Jon,

    Aren’t you guys are both right? Don’t we all think there is enough evidence without looking at things scientifically to see that the universe and life has been designed and created? I doubt we need “science” per se for this verse to be true else it would be meaningless until science was invented and meaningless to those out of the reach of science.

    That being said, modern day science done properly should also verify this design and intelligence and supernatural creative work. I doubt any of us would argue with that either. That is the whole point of the ID movement – to show that there is intelligence behind the design that we see.

    It’s true also, philosophically speaking, that you need God to do science also. Oh, they certainly cna do their science without a belief in God, but they can’t validate their presuppositions and assumptions from their own worldview. They have to borrow from the Judeo-Christian worldview to do that. Only the existence of God and man created in His image makes sense of logic, truth, free will, trusting your thoughts to be accurate, etc.

    By the way, BA, I’m still waiting for some answers in our previous thread. Mainly I want to know how you reconcile belief in an old earth with belief in a global flood.

    Thanks for the link to Dr. Lennox’ talk at Duke.

  12. OT: Seems Jacobovici is trying to stir up more controversy with another false Jesus tomb claim. This following video and article reveals his just how bogus his first claim was, and should rightly cast doubt on this subsequent claim of his:

    The Jesus Tomb Unmasked (1 of 3)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....plpp_video

    The Jesus Tomb Math – William A. Dembski and Robert J. Marks II
    Bottom line: when the math is done correctly, probabilities that might be cited in evidence for the Talpiot tomb being the final resting place of the New Testament Jesus are not very impressive and would not even achieve a minimal level of significance as gauged by conventional statistical theory.
    http://www.designinference.com.....b_Math.pdf

    Perhaps Jacobovici, instead of chasing after sensationalists headlines, should take some time to soberly consider, and reflect on, the Shroud of Turin:

    Turin Shroud Enters 3D Age – Pictures, Articles and Videos
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1gDY4CJkoFedewMG94gdUk1Z1jexestdy5fh87RwWAfg

    General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy, and The Shroud Of Turin – updated video
    http://vimeo.com/34084462

    As well, leap day is today, February 29th, which brings up this amazing tidbit:

    It may surprise some to learn that the biblical ‘prophetic’ calender is more accurate than our modern day ‘scientific’ calender. The Gregorian calender uses a fairly complex system of leap days to keep accuracy with the sun, whereas, on a whole consideration, the prophetic calender uses a simpler system of leap months to keep accuracy to the sun. When these two systems are compared against each other, side by side, the prophetic calender equals the Gregorian in accuracy at first approximation, and on in-depth analysis for extremely long periods of time (even to the limits for how precisely we can measure time altogether) the prophetic calender exceeds the Gregorian calender. i.e. God’s measure of time exceeds the best efforts of Man to scientifically measure time accurately.,, But why, as a believer in God, am I surprised about this? :)

    Bible Prophecy Year of 360 Days
    Excerpt: Is the Biblical ‘prophetic’ calender more accurate than our modern calender? Surprisingly yes! Excerpt: The first series of articles will show the 360-day (Prophetic) calendar to be at least as simple and as accurate as is our modern (Gregorian) calendar. In the second part of our discussion we will demonstrate how that the 360-day calendar is perfectly exact (as far as our ‘scientific’ measurements will allow).
    http://www.360calendar.com/

  13. tjguy, I thought I made it clear to you that I was not going to respond anymore.

  14. I like to cut through the fluff and get to the point, which in this case is obvious to me. If Francis Collins were to admit that ID proponents have a point — that there really is evidence of design in biological systems — he would immediately lose all credibility in the “scientific” community and his career would be over in an instant.

    He therefore finds himself in the extremely awkward position of being required to somehow reconcile two hopelessly incompatible propositions:

    1) His Christianity dictates that the universe and living things are the product of design.
    2) Darwinism (and its philosophical offshoots) dictates that the universe and living things are not the product of design.

    I’m a just a simple aerospace-engineering/software-engineering dude with elementary reasoning power. But even with that abysmally inadequate reasoning power I can detect rational inconsistency when I encounter it.

  15. Ba77,

    You won’t reply – I guess that means you have no justification for holding to self-contradictory views. I have asked this question 4 times now! Come on. We’re mostly on the same side here. If you do have an answer, I would really love to hear it. Why refuse to answer a simple question?

  16. tjguy, my reasons were already stated in the previous post. But to reiterate, primarily it has to do with the way you will not allow empirical evidence to influence your interpretation of scripture. I have no desire to create conflict in this area since it will not do any good, apologetically, nor change anyone’s mind, theologically. Besides, as you somewhat alluded to, we already share the most important thing in common for human beings to believe and share, our belief and common salvation in the redeeming work of Christ on the cross.

    John 8:23-25
    And Jesus said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” Then they said to Him, “Who are You?” And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning”

    Empty (Empty Cross Empty Tomb) with Dan Haseltine Matt Hammitt (Music Inspired by The Story)
    http://www.godtube.com/watch/?v=F22MCCNU

  17. Gil, still awaiting your response here: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ell-being/

    In kind, a recent look at i+d/ID:
    http://donhoward-blog.nd.edu/2.....nt-design/

    Thanks for the J. Lennox link,
    Gr.

  18. to reiterate, primarily it has to do with the way you will not allow empirical evidence to influence your interpretation of scripture.

    Yes, we do have fundamentally different approaches to and probably different views of Scripture, but I don’t see why that is a reason not to discuss our views together. That is probably what the Darwinists think about you as well.

    I appreciate the fact that you believe in the global flood. Most old earthers do not. But that creates another problem. How to maintain belief in an old earth if most of the rocks were laid down recently in the flood as opposed to millions of years ago by slow geological processes.

    I’m simply interested in how you solve this problem and I’m sure many others are too.

    In this case, it seems that you are the one not allowing empirical evidence to influence your interpretation of Scripture. You maintain an old earth position in spite of all the empirical evidence you gave for a global flood that contradicts an old earth position.

    You start with the Bible when it comes to the flood, as opposed to most old earthers. Why not start with the Bible when it comes to the age of the earth as well?

    OK, I’ll shut up now and let you off the hook, but I feel like you are saying that you won’t discuss anything with me simply because I have a different view of Scripture than you. It seems like this is simply an excuse to avoid the discussing the difficult problem that your view presents.

  19. Gregory,

    was “design in living systems and the universe” obvious to you before 1994?

    No. But prior to 1994 some stuff didn’t seem to make much sense to me. I figured that the really smart guys had it all figured out about how there was no design in stuff that seemed obviously designed to me.

    Upon further investigation it turned out that my skepticism was justified.

  20. Gil:

    I had a similar experience. I grew up accepting the Darwinian narrative, and assumed that behind the broad generalities of the popular presentations of evolution there was real technical knowledge about how evolution happened, tucked away in museums and universities and libraries by learned scientists. I inferred that any objections to Darwin must be religious, since all the scientific evidence seemed to be on Darwin’s side.

    Some time during my university years, doubt started to creep in. The source of the doubt was not religious, because at the time I had no religion to speak of. My problem was that the Darwinian explanation for evolution depended far too much on chance. I began to doubt that random mutations could ever become coordinated, even over millions of years, into anything useful. I wondered why scientists were so sure about such a speculative mechanism.

    The study of the history of evolutionary ideas, and of philosophy, only increased my doubt. It seemed to me that Darwinian thought was as much philosophy as biology, and that insofar as it was philosophy it was reminiscent of ancient Greek and Roman materialism, which was a philosophy I rejected.

    I was in this state of mind for probably 20 years before I ever heard of “intelligent design” as a body of thought. I then heard some row about Michael Behe, and from what I oould make out of his arguments secondhand, they sounded quite reasonable. So I sat down and read Darwin’s Black Box, which I took to be a work not of theology but of science. I saw nothing in it that seemed religious, no arguments from the Bible, no quarrels against radioactive dating, no talk of fossils “planted” by God in the wrong strata to test our faith — in a word, none of the argumentation I had come to expect from fundamentalism and creation science. I saw instead mathematical, chemical and engineering concepts applied to criticize a biological theory. And the conclusion Behe came to supported both common human intuition and the results of the rational tradition of philosophy: random mutations and selection alone, without design, could not have done the job. Here was science, not undermining the perennial human perception of order (as in Darwinian theory), but strengthening it.

    I don’t know what the motivation of Gregory’s question was. I’m not sure why he zeroed in on the year 1994, either, since Behe’s book came out in 1996. But if he was suggesting that after 1994, ID writings “planted” religious, scientifically illegitimate anti-evolutionary thought into the minds of credulous people, I would dissent. I would argue that ID writings struck a chord in many thoughtful people, including thoughtful non-religious people, because they voiced in precise scientific terms the healthy rational skepticism which many already had for Darwinian explanations of biological origins.

  21. Timaeus expressed curiosity: “I don’t know what the motivation of Gregory’s question was. I’m not sure why he zeroed in on the year 1994…”

    Here is the simple answer:
    “My life has been indescribably and profoundly enriched since my conversion from atheism to Christianity in 1994 …” – Gil Dodgen

    My question was directed to Gil – whether or not he became a design theorist before or after becoming a Christian. The main point is this: by history, first Gil became a Christian and second he ‘saw design.’ Is there now any debate about this? No.

    “Design in living systems and the universe is so obvious to me that I can’t begin to comprehend how anyone with reasonable intelligence can deny its existence.” – Gil (after his 1994 conversion to Christianity)

    What Gil calls ‘reasonable intelligence’ depends (entirely?) on his religious conversion. Would anyone ask to differ?

    If Timaeus has legitimate training in a philosophy program (which I doubt), he will know that ‘order’ is the core concept. Does the universe have ‘order’ or is it a simply a matter/case of finding order in chaos (POGG)? Here is the notion of chaos that Dembski faced wrt Prigogine and Stengers & the ‘systems approach’ to reality. Personally, as a monotheist I believe in ‘order’ as a feature of the Divine Creation.

    Ronald Fisher and Theodosius Dobzhansky were both Christians and both accepted the contribution to natural science that Darwin made. Obviously, they were not ‘materialists’ but believed in reality beyond matter-alone. Why does Timaeus not cite their acceptance of Darwinian/Wallacean ideas in his blanket condemnation of ‘Darwinism’ &/or ‘natural selection’? Dobzhansky never claimed to be a ‘Darwinist’ or ‘Darwinian,’ yet he (properly?) credited Darwin’s contribution to natural sciences, e.g. botany, comparative biology, etc.

    My basic question to Timaeus: what did Darwin get right? Iow, which aspects of Darwin’s thought, discoveries, framework, should we keep (i.e. call ‘legitimate’) today? This is not a negative question; I am only asking for positive remarks.

    What I find too often amongst the ‘anti-Darwinists’ (including both YECs & OECs) is no (read: zero) concession of actual ‘good science’ done by Darwin. Shoveling it off to ‘mere philosophy,’ when Timaeus indicated he personally has studied philosophy, is convenient, but not satisfactory. Perhaps because Timaeus has not studied biology at the PhD or Masters level, he feels it is appropriate to philosophically challenge the ‘scientific purity’ of (neo-)Darwinian biological explanations, which includes the Christians Ronald Fisher and Theodosius Dobzhansky, among others more recent such as Francis Collins?

    On the other side, we see at BioLogos no willingness to embrace what some people call ‘Darwinism.’ I recall asking people at BioLogos directly on several occasions: are you or do you consider to be a ‘Darwinist’? Never was I given a straight answer. Iow, I think it is true that BioLogos does not embrace ‘Darwinism’ but rather ‘good evolutionary science.’ They even (summer 2011) removed discussion of ‘Darwinism’ from their Questions section, where previously it equated Darwinism with natural selection and biological evolution.

    The question for Timaeus and Gil: can there be ‘good evolutionary science’ that is not ‘Darwinian’?

    Fisher’s ground-breaking book The Genetical Theory of Natural Selection was dedicated to Leonard Darwin, Charles Darwin’s son, who supported Fisher. Fisher considered L. Darwin as his mentor. Of course, Timaeus already knew this, so his argument for ‘design’ in biology must be above reproach mainly because it is ‘anti-Darwinian’?

    Tell us please, Timaeus, was Behe’s book (1996) what supposedly convinced you of ‘design’ and was it after or before you were already (once again) a religious Christian?

  22. Gregory

    was “design in living systems and the universe” obvious to you before 1994?

    Gil Dodgen 19

    No. But prior to 1994 some stuff didn’t seem to make much sense to me. I figured that the really smart guys had it all figured out about how there was no design in stuff that seemed obviously designed to me.

    Upon further investigation it turned out that my skepticism was justified.

    Timaeus 20

    I had a similar experience… Some time during my university years, doubt started to creep in. The source of the doubt was not religious, because at the time I had no religion to speak of… The study of the history of evolutionary ideas, and of philosophy, only increased my doubt. It seemed to me that Darwinian thought was as much philosophy as biology, and that insofar as it was philosophy it was reminiscent of ancient Greek and Roman materialism, which was a philosophy I rejected… I was in this state of mind for probably 20 years before I ever heard of “intelligent design” as a body of thought.

    Gregory 21

    What Gil calls ‘reasonable intelligence’ depends (entirely?) on his religious conversion. Would anyone ask to differ?

    Tell us please, Timaeus, was Behe’s book (1996) what supposedly convinced you of ‘design’ and was it after or before you were already (once again) a religious Christian?

    Former militant, Dawkins-style atheist, now born-again Christian. I changed my mind to a great extent because of ID arguments. ~ Gil Dodgen

    Why do I believe this, given that I expounded and defended atheism for more than a half century? The short answer is this: this is the world picture, as I see it, that has emerged from modern science. Science spotlights three dimensions of nature that point to God, The first is the fact that nature obeys laws. The second is the dimension of life, of intelligently organized and purpose-driven beings, which arose from matter. The third is the very existence of nature. But It is not science alone that has guided me…Over the last two decades, my whole frame work of thought has been in a state of migration. This was a consequence of my continuing assessment of the evidence of nature. ~ Antony Flew

    Now, suppose that it’s not only the case that ID’s negative attacks have been refuted, but also that ID itself has been refuted. Even so, this doesn’t make ID unscientific. Consider Newtonian physics – this is uncontroversially a scientific theory. Note that it counts as a scientific theory even though it has been refuted. (For example, Newtonian physics predicts that clocks in differing gravitational fields will run at the same rate, while it has been empirically shown that clocks in stronger gravitational fields run slower.)

    One might be tempted to say that under the supposition that ID is false, we can at least conclude that it shouldn’t be taught in public school. But even that doesn’t follow: Newtonian physics is false, and yet that is the theory that everyone is taught in high school physics classes. ~ Bradley Monton

  23. My mistake, Gregory. Because Gil’s original words were posted under another column, I didn’t remember that he had dated his conversion at 1994. So my question about your motivation was unnecessary. My apology for the confusion.

    OK, so strike my last paragraph out as irrelevant. However, the rest of my remarks are still perhaps useful, as a stand-alone testimony of how even a non-Christian might come to doubt Darwinian theory and incline toward the view that living systems are designed, even if Phil Johnson or Mike Behe had never written anything.

    As for Darwin, I believe that I have on more than one occasion praised him. I’ve said he was an assiduous empirical biologist, tireless and careful about detail, a good scientific writer, and a fair and gentlemanly debater (granting possible objections, admitting unsolved problems, avoiding ad hominem remarks, etc. — unlike many of his modern defenders). I’ve said that his Origin is a classic which every educated person should read. I just don’t happen to think that he was correct in his main contention, i.e., that tiny changes in the genetic material, acted upon by natural selection, could serve as a designer-substitute and create radical biological novelty. And what applies to Darwin applies to the neo-Darwinists who believed the same thing (but supported it with a much more accurate understanding of inheritance). However, outside of his main contention, Darwin contributed much to natural history — his discussions of biogeography, of species and varieties (and hence of microevolution), of volcanic islands, orchids, barnacles, etc. I have no problem with praising Darwin. (Though all this pious Darwin Day nonsense is ridiculous overkill: Clerk Maxwell and Boyle and Newton and Faraday and Galileo and Archimedes and Pasteur don’t have days of their own, and their accomplishments were more substantive.)

    When Biologos denies being “Darwinian,” it means that it denies holding to a materialistic, secular, anti-Christian philosophy that is often called “Darwinism.” And so it does. But as far as the conception of evolutionary mechanism goes, Biologos adopts the classic form of mid-20th century Darwinian theory, i.e., neo-Darwinism. Falk, I believe, did his post-doc in Ayala territory at Irvine, and Ayala was a disciple of Dobzhansky. And Venema is mainline population genetics stuff, all the way. You’ll never see a column dedicated to the evolutionary ideas of the various members of the Altenberg group, or of Lynn Margulis, or of James Shapiro, on Biologos, the way you do here. Biologos’s conception of evolutionary mechanism is narrowly Darwinian, and dated.

    Can there be good evolutionary science that is not Darwinian? Of course. I’ve already named some people whose evolutionary ideas are to my mind in some respects more plausible than Darwinian ideas. Unfortunately, the popular debate about evolution has tended to be dominated by figures like Dawkins, Coyne, Miller, Scott, Falk, etc., who trade exclusively or almost exclusively in the Darwinian brand of evolutionary theory. The public is thus getting a false choice, i.e., between an outdated brand of evolutionary theory on the one hand and “creationism” (i.e., Bible-controlled science) on the other, when it should be informed that some forms of evolutionary theory do not necessarily exclude notions of design.

    Your last question is puzzling to me. I already explained that I seriously doubted Darwinian theory, on non-religious grounds, long before I read Behe, and that Behe just confirmed with more detailed science what I had already come to think on more general grounds. One doesn’t need to be a Christian, or even a theist, to decide that the world looks pretty darned designed. So I was already a believer in “intelligent design” (small id) before I ever heard of Behe or Intelligent Design (big ID), and before I resumed contact with the Church. The biographical order for me was: doubt Darwin, infer design, resume Church connection, discover Behe. Does this reformulation answer your question?

    Again, my apologies for misreading your question to Gil. Best wishes.

  24. “My basic question to Timaeus: what did Darwin get right? Iow, which aspects of Darwin’s thought, discoveries, framework, should we keep (i.e. call ‘legitimate’) today?”

    Sorry to butt in, but I’d have to answer “Not much.”

    Let’s see (just glancing through some of the chapters of The Origin):

    - Because domestic husbandry is able, by careful selection, to produce some noticable physical differences in traits, natural selection must be able to do much more. (Inference without empirical support.)

    - The Malthusian struggle for existence will drive a relentless struggle for survival in which the “slightest variations” can play a decisive role. (Completely wrong in many cases. Way overstated in most others.)

    - The geological record, which did not support Darwin’s theory well in his time, will eventually come to support the pervasive march of slight, gradual, successive variations. (Wrong. In general, just the opposite.)

    - The history of life can best be represented by a tree, with the larger categories (kindoms, phyla, etc.) coming on the scene later. (Completely backwards.)

    - Embryology recapitulating phylogeny. (Do we need to even mention what is wrong with this?)

    - Successive, slight variations filtered by time and the vagaries and hazards of life can eventually result in new species, genera, etc. and inded in all the diversity of life we see around us. (Wrong.)

    ——

    As one of the relatively small number of folks who have actually waded through The Origin cover to cover (present company probably have as well), I will say that I was hugely disappointed.

    At the time, notwithstanding Darwin’s polished writing style, I concluded it was one of the worst books I had ever read, possibly the worst. Thinking about it later, I have come to understand that the reason I found it so wanting is that I had approached The Origin looking for a scientific case supporting evolution. Instead, what I was treated to were speculations, ruminations, complaints about how God would not have done it this way, etc. Yet later I have come to appreciate Darwin as a skilled rhetorician — able to weave a small collection of mostly-superficial observations into what is largely a philosophical and religious argument about how God wouldn’t have done it.

    Darwin was a skilled rhetorician and a decent naturalist. Perhaps as decent as most anyone of his time. But in terms of what we would consider “science,” it isn’t too impressive. No calculations, no numbers, no attempt to quantify.

    —–

    What did Darwin get right?

    Well, there is variation in nature. There is also evidence for some geographical isolation significantly impacting populations. RM+NS has some influence in certain circumstances; there are real examples, such as the things Behe explores in The Edge of Evolution. There is a general history of life that needs to be taken into account (I think this is a very valuable underlying point Darwin makes in The Origin); we shouldn’t think that every organism was specially created just as we see it today.

    What else? OOL? No, not much there other than an occasional unsupported speculation. The white race being superior to the negro race? Nah. Man descended from an ape-like creature? Some would argue it is a correct hunch, but still hotly debated. Almost certainly incorrect in terms of the “how” being RM+NS.

    So what did he get right?

    A couple of worthwhile things, but it is a pretty short list . . .

  25. Only short time, not enough to do justice to the responses…

    Thanks to Gil for confirming the order of his ‘design detection’ sequence. First conversion, then visible/haptic design.

    “I’ve said that his Origin is a classic which every educated person should read. I just don’t happen to think that he was correct in his main contention…” – Timaeus

    Confirmed that you give supportive words for Darwin’s ‘classic’ contribution to natural science; one’s anti-Darwinism should imo be tempered by respect for the ‘good science’ that Darwin did. This includes, as Eric suggests, “there is variation in nature…geographical isolation significantly impacting populations…RM+NS has some influence…[and] we shouldn’t think that every organism was specially created just as we see it today.

    This last point is crucial, make no mistake. Personally, I don’t see Darwin’s main contribution as offering a ‘design substitute,’ as Timaeus does, but rather as convincingly showing that a ‘special creation’ of *each* and every species “just as we see it today” is less probable than there having been a long history of mainly natural change-over-time [which of course could have been ‘transcended’ by a Designer/Creator/Maker as ‘intervention’ or ‘tinkering’ at any moment in ‘natural’ history], whether it happened in gradual or punctuated periods.

    Darwin slam dunked on literalistic-special creationists (cf. YECs), while being supported by many mainstream Anglican Christians in England, many of whom had already accepted ‘old earth’ geology by Darwin’s time.

    Do you accept the power of this argument against ‘fundamentalist’ biblical literalists, young earthers & special creationists, some of whom are present & active on UD’s blog? If so, then Amen to Darwin’s contribution toward over-taking the pre-Darwinian worldview held by some theists that the earth is just a few 1000yrs old and that there were no ‘pre-Adamic humans!’ But of course, ID theories are conspicuously *silent* about A&E, right, while BioLogos is taking that topic head-on?

    “what applies to Darwin applies to the neo-Darwinists who believed the same thing” – Timaeus

    Well, Dobzhansky, one of the architects of the ‘neo-Darwinian’ Modern Synthesis called himself a ‘creationist.’ I don’t recall Darwin using that term to refer to himself. What applies to Darwin does not always apply to neo-Darwinists.

    We are agreed, Timaeus, about the Darwin Day ‘overkill.’ At the same time, is it not astonishing to you how many US citizens proclaim to believe in a ‘young’ earth, even now in the 21st century, using ‘biblical literalism’ or bibliolatry as a shield? Do you reserve some of your criticism of Darwin to also criticise them?

    “When Biologos denies being ‘Darwinian,’ it means that it denies holding to a materialistic, secular, anti-Christian philosophy that is often called ‘Darwinism.’ And so it does. But as far as the conception of evolutionary mechanism goes, Biologos adopts the classic form of mid-20th century Darwinian theory, i.e., neo-Darwinism.” – Timaeus

    The so-called ‘mechanism’ seems to be less important than the ‘worldview’ here. It would be interesting to engage a dialogue with BioLogos, say, with K. Applegate about ‘non-Darwinian’ views of biological evolution. Would she speak openly? I doubt they are as ‘muzzled to Darwinism’ as you make it appear, Timaeus. (Soon shall we see at Wheaton College?)

    Falk is not a ‘practising biologist,’ but he is an openly evangelical Christian with some knowledge of biological sciences, which is why he’s now BioLogos’ President. That said, Falk knows much more about biology than Timaeus does! It seems, however, that ‘biologism’ should be discussed among BioLogos leaders; too often do they defer to biology or genetics on topics (e.g. A&E) that require more anthropological and philosophical rigour. ID may be more skilled wrt philosophy of science than BioLogos, but it is just as deficient in terms of anthropology. James Kidder is at least BioLogos’ anthropologist; who is the IDM’s?

    “You’ll never see a column dedicated to the evolutionary ideas of the various members of the Altenberg group, or of Lynn Margulis, or of James Shapiro, on Biologos, the way you do here.” – Timaeus

    Conversely, where is discussion of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Theodosius Dobzhansky, Ervin Laszlo, Niklas Luhmann, W.G. Runciman and for that matter, the Modern (evolutionary) Synthesis, which is broader than simple ‘Darwinism’, at UD? The main target (opponent) of the IDM is focussed on Darwin, Darwinism, naturalism and reductionism, at potentially the cost of missing a broader critique of ‘evolutionism,’ an ideology which it (surprisingly) tacitly supports through Dembski et al.’s (blanket?) acceptance of ‘technological evolution.’ Thus, it seems there are cross purposes in the processes vs. origins foci between BioLogos and the IDM.

    “One doesn’t need to be a Christian, or even a theist, to decide that the world looks pretty darned designed.” – Timaeus

    This is contestable. *Everyone* at BioLogos already believes in ‘intelligent design’ (small id) regardless of Behe’s existence too. It would be difficult, however, either to be an atheist or to *remain* an agnostic after having concluded ‘design’ by a ‘Mind,’ don’t you think Timaeus? At least, once one concludes a ‘designer/Designer’ mind/Mind was involved in e.g. ‘the origins of biological information,’ they have in principle admitted to ‘knowing’ or ‘believing’ something ‘transcendental’ (to human or earthly existence), wouldn’t you agree? The Flew-Denton-Berlinski triad is convincing to a certain degree, but not of a clinching kind.

    “So I was already a believer in “intelligent design” (small id) before I ever heard of Behe or Intelligent Design (big ID), and before I resumed contact with the Church.” – Timaeus

    A believer? Sure, one needn’t be a Christian to accept ID. This is exactly how BioLogos distinguishes itself from the IDM; it unequivocally aims its TE/EC at Protestant Evangelical USAmerican Christians, a disproportionately large number of which believe in a ‘young’ earth, which you have called ‘bad science.’ I’m supportive of BioLogos ‘correcting’ the ‘bad YE science’ of such persons. Are you supportive of anti-YEC education, Timaeus?

    “The biographical order for me was: doubt Darwin, infer design, resume Church connection, discover Behe.” – Timaeus

    Can I ask then, Timaeus: before ‘doubting Darwin’ were you at any time in your life already a Church-goer or ‘religious’ in the sense of believing in a Divine Mind/Heart/Spirit *before* you accepted ‘design/Design’? And likewise, does accepting/believing in ID in any way strengthen or validate your “Church connection” today; do you promote ID at your local church?

    p.s. no worries about your misreading re: Gil’s design order…

  26. Some quick comments of my own.

    Gregory,

    This is contestable. *Everyone* at BioLogos already believes in ‘intelligent design’ (small id) regardless of Behe’s existence too.

    Only if ‘small id’ is redefined radically, to the point where it can mean “God had absolutely no idea what the results of evolution would be, nor did He get involved in any way to design those results beyond a cosmic throwing of the dice”. At which point ‘small id’ is being watered down to the point of near meaninglessness.

    It would be difficult, however, either to be an atheist or to *remain* an agnostic after having concluded ‘design’ by a ‘Mind,’ don’t you think Timaeus?

    On what level? In what way? Francis Crick inferred intelligence as having played a role in the origin of life on earth. Did he ditch his atheism?

    At least, once one concludes a ‘designer/Designer’ mind/Mind was involved in e.g. ‘the origins of biological information,’ they have in principle admitted to ‘knowing’ or ‘believing’ something ‘transcendental’ (to human or earthly existence), wouldn’t you agree?

    First, Crick’s aliens (and he’s just one example of a number I could bring out) were ‘transcendental to human or earthly existence’. Did he, therefore, forsake his atheism?

    Second, maybe you mean the ultimate origins of biological information – actually you’d have to mean that, because otherwise your claim wouldn’t add up. Humans engage in plenty of design of our own. I don’t think identifying human design, or even many kinds of alien design, in and of itself gets one to big-G God.

    Third, let’s say I was right about the second. But ID doesn’t, as far as I’m aware, attempt to answer the question of the ultimate origins of biological information. At best, a particular origin whose originator may or may not be ultimate.

    Conversely, where is discussion of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Theodosius Dobzhansky, Ervin Laszlo, Niklas Luhmann, W.G. Runciman and for that matter, the Modern (evolutionary) Synthesis, which is broader than simple ‘Darwinism’, at UD?

    I’ve seen discussions of Dobzhansky at UD before, as well as the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis. Evo-Devo as well – in fact a professor who was a major advocate of that, and ID critic, used to be a regular around here. Allen MacNeill I think? It certainly was discussed in the past.

  27. Hello nullasalus,

    1st question: are you a YEC? Do you think the earth is ‘young’ or (‘medium’ or) ‘old’? Or are you un-committed on the topic? Does it matter as a scientific hypothesis the age of the Earth?

    “I don’t think identifying human design…in and of itself gets one to big-G God.” – nullasalus

    If you accept imago Dei, does this not follow?

    BioLogos accepts what ASA accepts; ‘design’ in the universe, Mind, Creation. “We believe in Creation,” says ASA. Is this scholar-Christian unanimity meaningless?

    What ‘intelligence’ did Crick ‘infer’? Please define it. Transcendental intelligence…embodied or unembodied? Is this far from what ‘Intelligence’ BioLogos accepts?

    “I’ve seen discussions of Dobzhansky at UD before, as well as the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis.” – nullasalus

    Links please.

    & de Chardin, Laszlo, Luhmann, Runciman…?

    “ID doesn’t, as far as I’m aware, attempt to answer the question of the ultimate origins of biological information. At best, a particular origin whose originator may or may not be ultimate.” – nullasalus

    Perhaps not ‘ultimate,’ at best ‘particular,’ please then do tell what ‘explanatory power’ the signification of ‘design’ + ‘intelligence’ carries? How does ID surpass the inability of TE/EC to scientifically ‘measure’ the guiding of ‘evolution’ compared to the ‘desigining’?

  28. Gregory,

    1st question: are you a YEC?

    Nope. And never have been. I’m a TE, and the resident skeptic of ID, though sympathetic with the project and what I think drives it.

    Do you think the earth is ‘young’ or (‘medium’ or) ‘old’? Or are you un-committed on the topic? Does it matter as a scientific hypothesis the age of the Earth?

    The earth? Roundabout 4 billion I believe. Seems reasonable for me – I don’t look into it much, and have little reason to question it personally.

    On the flipside, I don’t think the question is the stuff of supreme importance. I used to be a tremendous ass to YECs – no longer. I think that was an improvement on my part.

    If you accept imago Dei, does this not follow?

    What’s imago dei got to do with anything? I’m taking a minimalist view here, one divorced from Christian reasoning or much (but not all) metaphysical presupposition. And I’m pointing out the obvious – to infer design is not to infer God exclusively. Dembski himself says this flat out.

    BioLogos accepts what ASA accepts; ‘design’ in the universe, Mind, Creation. “We believe in Creation,” says ASA. Is this scholar-Christian unanimity meaningless?

    You may want to ask Ted Davis if Biologos and the ASA are intellectually united on this question, because all signs point to no – he’s in a better position to comment, but I’ll certainly back that negative assessment. Go ask Falk whether he thinks God even knew what the results of evolution would be. Go see what they think of Francisco Ayala’s “God didn’t know what evolution would produce therefore He’s off the hook regarding the Problem of Evil” move. Go see Biologos hosting a guest post – without criticism by them that I’ve seen – by Michael Ruse arguing that if one wants to be in tune with science or “Darwinism” one has to conceive of God as creating multiple universes in a kind of cosmic crap shoot, because the very idea that something remotely ‘in the image of God’ likely arising in a *single universe* runs counter to science and Darwinism as he defines it.

    Sorry man, this sounds persuasive only to people who haven’t been following Biologos for so long.

    What ‘intelligence’ did Crick ‘infer’? Please define it. Transcendental intelligence…embodied or unembodied? Is this far from what ‘Intelligence’ BioLogos accepts?

    Yeah actually, considering even Crick’s inferred intelligence would be regarded negatively by Biologos. My point was that you can infer intelligence in various cases ID does, and not automatically get God, much less the God of the Bible, as a result. Crick is a great example of that. He’s not the only one I can offer.

    Links please.

    Go get ‘em. Type those names into the on site search engine and you’ll get your links. I’ve been on and off reading this site since the heyday of Davescot. I’ve personally interacted with MacNeill on this site, discussing his criticisms of the modern synthesis.

    How does ID surpass the inability of TE/EC to scientifically ‘measure’ the guiding of ‘evolution’ compared to the ‘desigining’?

    First of all, “TE/EC” and ID are distinct categories. ID is not inherently theistic. TE/EC is. ID is viewed by its most prominent proponents as being scientific. TE/EC proponents do not consider their views to be scientific, as much metaphysical, philosophical, or theological.

    Second, not all proponents of TE/EC regard science as having an “inability” to “measure” the guiding of evolution. Indeed, not all of them agree that evolution was guided, or that God knew what the results of evolution would be. Some, like Stephen Barr, hold this. Others are silent on the question. Biologos has certainly entertained the notion that God had zero idea what would evolve in this universe (even if He, I suppose, really hoped He’d get certain results.) Hence so much emphasis on God granting nature “Freedom”, aka, “the ability to develop in ways not even God foresaw, much less planned or guided”.

    Are you telling me that Biologos unequivocally is committed to the idea – even with the qualifications that science cannot demonstrate this, even if this is taken as either the stuff of philosophical inference, even if this is taken purely as revealed Christian teaching – that God knew the results of evolution in advance, and chose said results? That God guided evolution?

    If so, would you care to make a friendly wager?

    Darrel Falk is the President of Biologos. A contact email for him is prominently displayed on the Biologos website. You can email him, or contact him in a thread, and ask, “Does Biologos unequivocally affirm that God knew and chose the outcomes of evolution, and that God guided the process towards particular ends known in advance, even though science is silent on this issue?”

    If Falk says yes – if he clearly affirms this, rather than punts to something like “We affirm God is the creator, but God granted Nature some freedom, who’s to say how much, this is a difficult question, I can’t give you a straight answer” – I’ll write a post up on this site not only reporting on his affirmation, but praising both him and Biologos straight up for (finally!) boldly taking such a stand.

    If Falk says no, or if he punts, you concede that Biologos’ position on these matters is problematic and could reasonably merit criticism from orthodox Christians, whether YECs, OECS, TEs, or Christian ID proponents.

    Two fair warnings: one, this is a win-win for me, because I’d be delighted at Biologos taking that position (if they could stand up to the hell they’d catch in the inevitable aftermath). And I suppose I’d take some small pleasure from having an apparent defender of Biologos concede to the very real problems with their approach.

    Second, while I’d win either way, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll lose this wager. Falk won’t take that position. He’s been asked before, and he’s hedged. Others, like Dennis Venema, have hedged. Now and then I’ll find someone on Biologos making a broader affirmation of God’s design and guidance, or even possible design and guidance, in natural history. It’s similar to how, now and then, a person can find a needle in a haystack.

    I just got done with a protracted defense of TE Stephen Barr on this very site, arguing that Barr’s views were commendable precisely because he took a very clear, bold, and orthodox stance, even while being critical of ID. And part of my reason for defending Barr was because I see what passes for TE representation on Biologos, and it’s pathetic – most of that site is dedicated to hammering ID proponents and skeptics of evolution, and is very, very thin on any affirmation (philosophical or otherwise) of design in nature. I wish this wasn’t the case. I had high hopes for Biologos at first. I would love for them to take far bolder, stronger stands on this subject. With extraordinarily rare exception, they haven’t. I don’t expect this to change in the near future.

  29. Gregory:

    I thank you for your courteous reply.

    You wrote:

    “Personally, I don’t see Darwin’s main contribution as offering a ‘design substitute,’ as Timaeus does, but rather as convincingly showing that a ‘special creation’ of *each* and every species “just as we see it today” is less probable than there having been a long history of mainly natural change-over-time”

    It’s not either/or. It’s both. And he didn’t think that the changes were “mainly natural” — he thought they were “all natural.” That is why “designer substitute” is the right phrase. Nature, which in Darwin’s understanding acts without intent, and purely in accord with contingencies and laws, can shape the most elaborate and exquisite organic systems, which seem (but only seem) to have been designed for the functions they exhibit.

    You wrote:

    “Do you accept the power of this argument against ‘fundamentalist’ biblical literalists, young earthers & special creationists, some of whom are present & active on UD’s blog? If so, then Amen to Darwin’s contribution toward over-taking the pre-Darwinian worldview held by some theists that the earth is just a few 1000yrs old and that there were no ‘pre-Adamic humans!’ But of course, ID theories are conspicuously *silent* about A&E, right, while BioLogos is taking that topic head-on?”

    There is much to be said here. First of all, as I’ve said here before in a number of contexts to a number of different people, my Christianity is Platonist, and I’m not a “creationist” as that term is generally understood in popular discourse, i.e., a literalist who thinks science should be constrained by narrative statements from Genesis. You have probably already discerned that, so I’m not sure why you want me to say it again, but there, I’ve said it again.

    Second, because ID is a broad tent — defined by rejection of chance and affirmation of design, not by any particular stance toward the Bible or any particular Christian theology — I am neither able to nor wish to exercise any control over what individual ID supporters think about Genesis. If this were a theology web site, not an intelligent design web site, I might choose to debate some of the theological beliefs of some of my ID compatriots. But that is not the goal of this site, to settle which is the correct theology. The goal of this site is promote design against chance. (That having been said, I have ventured into theology from time to time, criticizing certain views of God’s arbitrariness and violence, for example.)

    Third, I find your stance on “pre-Adamic humans” puzzling. If you are the same Gregory who has posted on Biologos, you seem to have changed your position. If I recall your criticism of Biologos on Adam and Eve, it was that Biologos is unorthodox for toying with non-historical notions of Adam and Eve, when Christian tradition is very clear about their centrality to the Fall and Redemption. But now I hear you seeming to agree with Biologos, i.e., accepting that there were pre-Adamic humans, something you seem to think that Darwin and Co. have established. Could you clarify your beliefs in this area? If you think there were pre-Adamic humans, i.e., physically human beings who were not in the image of God and who were not involved in the Fall, then what is your beef with Biologos, which says the same thing? And if you think there were no pre-Adamic humans, i.e., if you think that Adam and Eve were the ancestors of the entire human race, then what is your beef with the creationists?

    You wrote:

    “I doubt they are as ‘muzzled to Darwinism’ as you make it appear, Timaeus. (Soon shall we see at Wheaton College?)”

    Well, in the four years or so that they have been running, they have never showcased any view of evolution other than that of traditional neo-Darwinian population genetics, and they have never responded to any of the criticism of Darwinian mechanisms that have been appearing in the scientific literature with increasing frequency. I judge people’s thoughts by their deeds, and their deeds indicate that they are wedded to neo-Darwinism.

    I have no idea what your reference to Wheaton College means. Perhaps you could let us all in on whatever you are talking about.

    You wrote:

    “Falk is not a ‘practising biologist,’ but he is an openly evangelical Christian with some knowledge of biological sciences, which is why he’s now BioLogos’ President. That said, Falk knows much more about biology than Timaeus does!”

    The reason that Falk is Biologos’s President is that Francis Collins had to resign to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest with his NIH position. Were it not for the scientific prestige of Francis Collins, Biologos would never have received the Templeton grant which allows it to exist. Falk and Giberson, neither of whom, it seems, had published any refereed scientific paper in years (perhaps decades) at the time when Biologos got started, rode in on Collins’s coattails.

    Does Falk know more general biology than Timaeus? I freely grant it. Has Falk paid as much attention to Margulis, the Altenberg group, Shapiro, etc., as Timaeus has? I doubt it. Having a Ph.D. in genetics from 35 years ago is not the same thing as regularly monitoring the cutting-edge debates over evolutionary mechanisms of the past 15 years. I see no evidence that Falk is even dimly aware of these debates.

    You wrote:

    “I’m supportive of BioLogos ‘correcting’ the ‘bad YE science’ of such persons. Are you supportive of anti-YEC education, Timaeus?”

    Not as Biologos does it. One doesn’t need to throw out large parts of the Bible and the Christian tradition in order to expose the excesses of YEC. I don’t agree with much of what YEC people say, but their religious attitude is much more admirable than that of Biologos. They have some non-negotiables. I don’t see any non-negotiables at Biologos, other than “Jesus is my Savior and I know that through faith, not science.” Everything else in the Christian tradition is open for debate. And Christian theology is only allowed to say things that “science” (meaning the reductionist science accepted by Biologos) will permit; “science” has veto power over theology, whereas theology has no such veto power over science. Yet Biologos claims to respect both fields equally.

    A much better model for trying to relate evolution to Christian theology is provided by one of the commenters on Biologos, Jon Garvey, who does not embrace YEC but has much more respect for traditional Christian theology than Biologos does. I commend his web site (Hump of the Camel) to all ID people, and to all TE people who don’t want to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

    You wrote:

    “Can I ask then, Timaeus: before ‘doubting Darwin’ were you at any time in your life already a Church-goer or ‘religious’ in the sense of believing in a Divine Mind/Heart/Spirit *before* you accepted ‘design/Design’? And likewise, does accepting/believing in ID in any way strengthen or validate your “Church connection” today; do you promote ID at your local church?”

    I was raised in a church, and therefore was exposed to the idea of a creator. In that sense, I was predisposed to think in terms of design. But I certainly drifted away from the church after childhood. I did not acknowledge any of its teachings as authoritative, not even the basic teaching of creation. I read widely in popular science, and from that imbibed the teaching that the universe and life arose out of the blind concatenation of atoms, with no role for God other than perhaps to start the ball rolling. I had scorn for YEC and its deformed offspring, Creation Science. I resented any attempt by religion to dictate to science. What undid my attitudes was not “conversion” or any dramatic religious experience; what undid my attitudes was reason and study. I realized that the Darwinian account was theoretically dubious and largely unsubstantiated, and I learned from the history of science that “scientific truth” was always governed by non-scientific assumptions which change from age to age. Finally, I learned the heart of rational thought from the study of Plato. After that, it was inconceivable to me that design was not in some way operative in living things and elsewhere in the universe. But I lacked the detailed scientific knowledge to relate this insight to particular scientific fields. Behe and later others, including Denton, provided this knowledge.

    Obviously belief in design facilitates faith, in the sense that it removes the objection to faith that the existence of life is just an accident. But inferences of design do not need to be motivated by faith. That is where I completely disagree with Biologos. I do not believe in design because I am a Christian Platonist; rather, my Christian Platonism and my belief in design, which were reached independently, harmonize. I don’t count that harmonization as a proof of Christianity, however. An orthodox Jew might also accept design inferences. They are not faith-specific.

    Now let me ask you a question, Gregory: Do you believe that God either guided or preprogrammed the evolutionary process so that it would produce man? Or do you take the Biologos view that he did neither, but relied on “randomness” to get the job done? I ask you this because you generally take the stance of a critic, but rarely offer any positive doctrine of your own. I think we would all understand you better here if you were more generous in your exposition of what *you* believe about creation, evolution, and design.

  30. nullasalus, Thanks for answering about YEC in the negative. Sorry to ask you such a silly question; perhaps it was just that I’ve been provoked by 2 YECs here at UD recently that made me ask it. I had thought that ID is predominantly an OE movement; for which I do have some direct confirmation via university-aged ID supporters.

    “What’s imago dei got to do with anything?” – nullasalus

    Are you really saying that ‘imago Dei’ is *entirely irrelevant* for ID according to ID leaders? I’d suggest it has to do with much, much more than nothing.

    To infer ‘design/Design’ *in biology* (or other natural sciences), as you contend, may not infer God exclusively, but it infers a designer/Designer and a mind/Mind, as far as I understand Stephen C. Meyer’s argument for informational design/Design. The ‘small id’ could very well be aliens or…, but the ‘big ID’ is pretty much exclusively G-d, Allah, YHWH (however one calls the Divine in their own language and identity/relationship), wouldn’t you say?

    Here I am reminded of what Timaeus wrote: “I was already a believer in ‘intelligent design’ (small id) before I ever heard of Behe or Intelligent Design (big ID).” That is, ‘belief,’ even in small id. In your view, nullasalus, does Timaeus not link ‘big ID’ with Michael Behe, and also big ID with ‘exclusively divine,’ e.g. Behe is a Catholic Christian theist?

    nullasalus wrote: “You may want to ask Ted Davis if Biologos and the ASA are intellectually united on this question…”

    For me, it’s not a question of ASA’s unity about ‘design,’ but rather about ‘Creation.’ The ASA statement “We believe in Creation” seems fairly united to me. ASA is broadly non-creationist, and totally for Creation (In the beginning…). Most ASA members accept small id (apologetic argument from/to design), but reject big ID, which they interpret as meaning that “science can prove (or give super-duper-strong implications towards) Divine/Intelligent Design.”

    Ayala is an easy foil; so is Howard van Til. Last I checked these are not ‘BioLogos’ evangelical Christians, but rather called ‘liberal Christians.’ Theodosius Dobzhansky is a much more difficult nut to crack, as is Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. There is an Orthodox and Catholic feature to the latter two, which is not present if one sticks only with Protestant Christians, especially with those like Ayala and van Till whose position is questionable wrt to ‘orthodoxy.’

    “you can infer intelligence in various cases ID does, and not automatically get God, much less the God of the Bible, as a result.” – nullasalus

    Personally, when I ‘infer intelligence,’ I infer human intelligence. What other ‘Kinds’ or ‘Categories’ of ‘intelligence/Intelligence’ do you have in mind? Here I surely agree that Timaeus’ ‘small ID’ vs. ‘big ID’ distinction is valid. Most of ASA (including Ted Davis and Randy Isaac, if memory serves correct) and BioLogos agree with this valid distinction too. Do you accept it?

    “ID is not inherently theistic. TE/EC is. ID is viewed by its most prominent proponents as being scientific. TE/EC proponents do not consider their views to be scientific, as much metaphysical, philosophical, or theological.” – nullasalus

    This is a complex statement. Is it possible that the IDM could have been born without ‘inherently theistic’ principles about the ‘logic’ or ‘rationality’ of the Universe? Did team prayers occur at the Pajaro Dunes meeting (1993)? From what I’ve seen and heard, ID is equally – neither more nor less – infused with philosophical and theological presuppositions as TE/EC. Actually, in many ways I would call it philosophically superior; at least it is speaking about information and pattern recognition.

    “Are you telling me that Biologos unequivocally is committed to the idea – even with the qualifications that science cannot demonstrate this…That God guided [and guides] evolution?” – nullasalus

    Yes, that’s what I’m suggesting. BioLogos believes G-d ordered and guides biological evolution. Though they can’t ‘scientifically’ prove this, nevertheless, that is what they appear to believe. If you want a debate about divine foreknowledge, that seems to sometimes be outside of ID’s sphere of interest and sometimes within it, depending on the person.

    I have contacted Darrel personally, though did not ask him this question. You mistake your wager; I am not a “defender of BioLogos.” I fully concede that “BioLogos’ position on these matters is problematic and could reasonably merit criticism from orthodox Christians.” Imo, they merit criticism from orthodox Jews and Muslims also. But they are putting religion forward, which the IDM is not doing.

    Natural science by definition *cannot* demonstrate extra-natural ‘guidance’ or ‘tinkering’ when it studies things ‘in nature.’ One needs theology and/or philosophy to make such a ‘design-like’ suggestion. So, in this case, it is surely understandable why BioLogos is, as you say, “very, very thin on any affirmation of design in nature;” though they wish to speak (even if rarely) of ‘guidance’ rather than ‘design’ using ‘natural science’ + philosophy + theology.

  31. When I asked Timaeus: “Are you supportive of anti-YEC education?” the response was “Not as Biologos does it.” Well, that is fine as a negative answer, but I’m looking for something positive. Whose anti-YEC education do you then support, Timaeus; if not BioLogos, then who/what organisation? Or have you given up thinking that ‘Creation Science,’ what you called the “deformed offspring of YEC,” is still worth opposing?

    “I have no idea what your reference to Wheaton College means. Perhaps you could let us all in on whatever you are talking about.” – Timaeus

    http://www.wheaton.edu/Academi.....osium-2012

    If it was happening local, I’d well be interested to attend.

    “…‘science’ has veto power over theology, whereas theology has no such veto power over science. Yet Biologos claims to respect both fields equally.” – Timaeus

    This is worth exploring. What makes you think that BioLogos does not privilege theology over science; just because they allow their theology to be informed by, but not dictated to by natural sciences? Please name them if you see instances of dictation from natural science [not just using a contested ideological meaning of ‘Darwinism,’ please!] and capitulation of their evangelical Christian theology. There are of course claims by various persons demonstrating ‘scientism’ and ‘naturalism’ linked to *both* BioLogos and the IDM. On the ID side, this is ironic because P. Johnson wrote specifically to challenge ‘naturalism,’ as an ideology. On the BioLogos side (notice the big ‘L,’ Timaeus – you’ve continuously forgotten the capital letter); there is a tendency toward ‘biologism’ that I do not observe (at least, not in the same way) on the ID side.

    “I was raised in a church, and therefore was exposed to the idea of a creator.” – Timaeus

    Is this ‘idea of a creator/Creator’ comparable to what you now conclude as an ‘idea of a designer/Designer’ or do you have no ideas about designer/Designer? It leads me to wonder how you distinguish ‘creation/Creation’ and ‘design/Design,’ and whether it could be orthodox or not. It is a chicken and egg question, isn’t it; does ‘design/Design’ come before ‘creation/Creation’ or ‘designer/Designer’ before ‘creator/Creator’ or vice versa? Or can a creator/Creator/designer/Designer (possibly) both create and design simultaneously?

    “I learned the heart of rational thought from the study of Plato. After that, it was inconceivable to me that design was not in some way operative in living things and elsewhere in the universe.” – Timaeus

    Goodness, you’re not suggesting Plato as a precursor to ‘intelligent design theory,’ are you?! Would you share some Plato ‘design’ quotes then, please, Timaeus?

    “Obviously belief in design facilitates faith, in the sense that it removes the objection to faith that the existence of life is just an accident. But inferences of design do not need to be motivated by faith. That is where I completely disagree with Biologos.” – Timaeus

    Belief in angels facilitates faith too. Such beliefs presuppose that ‘life is not just an accident.’ Should I understand, Timaeus, you’d accept that inferences of big D-ID, if not small d-ID do in fact “need to be motivated by faith”? That is, without faith, big D/Design could not be posited.

    “Do you believe that God either guided or preprogrammed the evolutionary process so that it would produce man? Or do you take the Biologos view that he did neither, but relied on “randomness” to get the job done?” – Timaeus

    As to “what I believe about creation, evolution, and design,” I’ve published several papers in academic journals and conference proceedings on this. They include papers on science, philosophy and theology that raise the topic, albeit sometimes tangentially, of intelligent design/Intelligent Design. Do you wish me to blow my cover, covered Timaeus? As I wrote to you in another thread (http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-418277), I attended the DI’s Summer Program for students and met many leaders of the IDM, so I’ve learned what they mean by creation/Creation, evolution and design/Design firsthand. And I also learned about the secrecy precautions that (young) IDists are encouraged to take.

    As it is, I’ve written a short book on the topic that is soon to be released. Would you be interested to read it, Timaeus? There you may find what you call a ‘positive doctrine’ involving the notion of ‘intelligent design.’ I will post the link here if any persons are interested.

    And, simply because it is also a fair question to ask to those who promote ‘scientism’ while misunderstanding how it impacts people in one of the most ‘scientistic’ societies on Earth today (e.g. Dawkins & Dennett have expressed confusion at this fact), I’d like ask to Timaeus again: “is it not astonishing to you how many US citizens proclaim to believe in a ‘young’ earth”? In such a climate where people don’t care what ‘natural science’ says because they will simply believe what their local Pastor or Priest, Rabbi or Mullah says anyway, is this a welcoming environment for the ‘natural science of ID’ to take root?

  32. Gregory,

    Are you really saying that ‘imago Dei’ is *entirely irrelevant* for ID according to ID leaders? I’d suggest it has to do with much, much more than nothing.

    Insofar as ID itself goes? Yes, I stand by my words: the imago Dei has exactly nothing to do with ID. Include theology, philosophy and metaphysics with ID, and then absolutely the imago Dei has something to do with the topic – but that’s due to what’s being added to ID. Not ID itself.

    You say you suggest that. Fair enough: connect the dots for me. Show me where Dembski or Behe or, etc, make the direct connection between the imago Dei and ID. It won’t do to just point out the fact that ID proponents believe that God is the designer of life, anymore than you can connect evolutionary theory (considered purely scientifically) with theism just because Stephen Barr believes God guided evolution.

    To infer ‘design/Design’ *in biology* (or other natural sciences), as you contend, may not infer God exclusively, but it infers a designer/Designer and a mind/Mind, as far as I understand Stephen C. Meyer’s argument for informational design/Design. The ‘small id’ could very well be aliens or…, but the ‘big ID’ is pretty much exclusively G-d, Allah, YHWH (however one calls the Divine in their own language and identity/relationship), wouldn’t you say?

    It’s not at all clear. What’s the difference between ‘small id’ and ‘big ID’? Because as far as Behe, Dembski and the rest have ever said – consistently – ID is incapable of getting one beyond ‘a designer/designers’. Dembski has flat out outlined the possibilities among everything from ‘aliens’, ‘advanced civilizations’, ‘a matrix-like setup’, ‘demiurge’ to, yes, the God of the Bible.

    So no, your charge seems incorrect.

    Ayala is an easy foil; so is Howard van Til. Last I checked these are not ‘BioLogos’ evangelical Christians, but rather called ‘liberal Christians.’ Theodosius Dobzhansky is a much more difficult nut to crack, as is Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. There is an Orthodox and Catholic feature to the latter two, which is not present if one sticks only with Protestant Christians, especially with those like Ayala and van Till whose position is questionable wrt to ‘orthodoxy.’

    Questionable? Ayala won’t even state outright he believes in God, and his position is more than ‘questionable’ with regards to creation specifically, and orthodoxy generally. He denies God knew the outcomes of evolution. He does this explicitly. Michael Ruse said flat out on Biologos’ site that to believe God knew the results of evolution in advance, to believe God guided evolution, is at odds with science and ‘Darwinism’. Ayala was lauded on Biologos. Neither man was criticized in any major way, certainly not by Biologos’ stewards.

    You say the problem isn’t “Biologos” Christians, but “Liberal” Christians. Draw a Venn diagram, and there’s going to be tremendous overlap there on the subject of creation. Maybe not total – in fact, I know not total – but man, tremendous overlap all the same.

    Personally, when I ‘infer intelligence,’ I infer human intelligence. What other ‘Kinds’ or ‘Categories’ of ‘intelligence/Intelligence’ do you have in mind? Here I surely agree that Timaeus’ ‘small ID’ vs. ‘big ID’ distinction is valid. Most of ASA (including Ted Davis and Randy Isaac, if memory serves correct) and BioLogos agree with this valid distinction too. Do you accept it?

    Insofar as the topic is ID, no, I don’t accept it. ID, right or wrong, infers ‘intelligence’, period. Not ‘human intelligence’. Nor do I personally infer just ‘human intelligence’ when I infer it – however, I don’t believe inferring intelligence or its lack is at all scientific (I have a much narrower view of science’s scope and utility).

    Now, the ID argument is that there are traits of intelligence’s products that we can roughly generalize. Cue the SETI example where we’re looking for examples of non-human intelligence in space. Cue the (in philosophy) Scotists who accept univocity with regards to God’s intelligence and man’s (which seems to open the door to inferring God’s intelligence directly).

    So no, I don’t think your distinctions hold, or at least they don’t obviously, automatically hold.

    Is it possible that the IDM could have been born without ‘inherently theistic’ principles about the ‘logic’ or ‘rationality’ of the Universe?

    Did Francis Crick turn theist when he surmised an intelligent cause being involved with the origin of life on earth?

    Yes, that’s what I’m suggesting. BioLogos believes G-d ordered and guides biological evolution.

    Pardon my bluntness but: bull. Bull, bull, bull, bull, bull.

    Take my wager. Contact Falk. Ask him. See what his response is. I can practically guarantee you Biologos does NOT believe what you’re saying. Do you think it was accidental that Ruse’s “God had zero idea what evolution would turn up” speculation ended up on Biologos? Do you think it’s a mere oversight that Biologos keeps their collective traps shut when it comes to Ayala? Do you think the lack of a clear statement of the like I’m asking for here was an ‘oops’ moment, going on a year or more?

    Biologos does NOT, manifestly does NOT, take the position that God guided and knew the results of evolution. The closest they get is vague talk of God ‘sustaining creation yet also granting it freedom’, with ‘freedom’ meaning ‘God doesn’t determine, or even know the results of, evolution’.

    I made you a fair wager. You refuse to take it. Why not? Wouldn’t it be great to have a post on here praising Biologos for a position like that? I’m a TE – I’d be delighted at the news. I defended Barr to the hilt on this site within the past month. Yet my view of Biologos is low.

    Take my wager, Gregory. You say you’ve contacted Falk? Contact him again. Let’s settle this. I stand by my words.

    Natural science by definition *cannot* demonstrate extra-natural ‘guidance’ or ‘tinkering’ when it studies things ‘in nature.’ One needs theology and/or philosophy to make such a ‘design-like’ suggestion.

    What’s “extra-natural” again? John Gribbin believes in a multiverse where advanced civilizations are responsible for the vast majority of universes in the spread. Is that a extra-natural belief? Brian Greene recently wrote a book outlining various types of multiverses including one that supposes we live in a simulation. Did Brian Greene highlight an extra-natural theory? Francis Crick believed live on this planned was seeded by an alien civilization. Was he dabbling in extra-natural understanding?

    Again: I am no an ID proponent. I do not think ID is science. But the extra/super-natural talk is a load, and always has been. It’s a bluff.

    And finally, Biologos does not fail to affirm God’s guidance or knowledge of evolution’s outcomes due to any worries about the division between science and theology – they demonstrably have zero problem talking all day about theology. They fail to affirm it because it’s not a core belief of Biologos. They leave the door open to an utterly, Ayala-style/Ruse-style utterly unguided creation which is not merely ‘unorthodox’, but sounds flat-out ridiculous once put into words.

    One more time: prove me wrong. Write Falk. Ask him yourself. See if he gives you a direct answer, or if he dodges the question as if you threw a hot potato at him. And if you won’t ask him – hell, if you know he’s going to do exactly what I say he’ll do – I say that’s yet more reason for me to say exactly what I’m saying here about Biologos.

  33. Gregory:

    I thank you for the information on the Wheaton conference. I doubt I will be there, but it looks like a good one.

    Your answers to my major questions are disappointing because they are either nonexistent or evasive.

    I asked you to explain your apparently self-contradictory position on Adam and Eve (angrily attacking Biologos for its religious unorthodoxy on the Biologos site, while appearing to completely accept the evolutionary biology on which the Biologos position is based). You have said nothing. I’ll ask one more time: Gregory, were Adam and Eve (or some other primordial fully human couple, whatever names you give them) the exclusive ancestors of all human beings now living, or not? If yes, then what is your objection to creationism on this point? And if no, how can you condemn Biologos for unorthodoxy on this point, without condemning yourself?

    I won’t ask the question a third time. If you don’t give a clear answer with straightforward exposition explaining your answer, I will infer that you wish to duck the question.

    Here’s another place where you fail to answer my question. Please look at this exchange:

    “Do you believe that God either guided or preprogrammed the evolutionary process so that it would produce man? Or do you take the Biologos view that he did neither, but relied on “randomness” to get the job done?” – Timaeus

    [Gregory's answer] As to “what I believe about creation, evolution, and design,” I’ve published several papers in academic journals and conference proceedings on this. They include papers on science, philosophy and theology that raise the topic, albeit sometimes tangentially, of intelligent design/Intelligent Design. Do you wish me to blow my cover, covered Timaeus? As I wrote to you in another thread (http://www.uncommondescent.com…..ent-418277), I attended the DI’s Summer Program for students and met many leaders of the IDM, so I’ve learned what they mean by creation/Creation, evolution and design/Design firsthand. And I also learned about the secrecy precautions that (young) IDists are encouraged to take.”

    If you’ve written so many papers on the subject, it should be easy for you to summarize your view in one or two paragraphs here. You’ve deliberately avoided doing that. And no, you don’t need to “blow your cover” in order to do it. I don’t care in the slightest what your non-superhero identity is. Just tell me what “Gregory” thinks. Does Gregory think that God guided and/or planned biological evolution so that it would produce certain definite results? If so, what were the means God employed to guarantee the results? If not, then is Gregory an “open theist”? And does Gregory pretend that “open theism” is orthodox? Inquiring minds want to know.

    You wrote: “Please name them if you see instances of dictation [by Biologos] from natural science.”

    I’ve already indicated one obvious instance. Traditional, orthodox Christianity has always held that there was a primordial fully human couple and that from them, and only them, all human beings who have ever lived are descended, and that from them all human beings have inherited original sin. Biologos has said that “science” rules out that belief. Therefore, Biologos gives “science” veto power over the contents of Christian theology. That example alone suffices to establish my point. And you cannot find a single example of a Biologos-TE giving theology veto power over a scientific conclusion. At Biologos, “science” is in the driver’s seat, and theology is the passenger.

    By way of contrast, what orthodox, traditional Christian doctrine does ID veto? No matter what school of Christian thought you adhere to, ID is compatible with all of them; and with Jewish and Muslim thought, too. The science of ID can be taken on board, as passenger, by a driver of almost any theological persuasion. It doesn’t dictate any theological conclusions. If you disagree, name me a single Christian theological doctrine which would have to change if ID is accepted.

    You wrote:

    “Is this ‘idea of a creator/Creator’ comparable to what you now conclude as an ‘idea of a designer/Designer’ or do you have no ideas about designer/Designer? It leads me to wonder how you distinguish ‘creation/Creation’ and ‘design/Design,’ and whether it could be orthodox or not. It is a chicken and egg question, isn’t it; does ‘design/Design’ come before ‘creation/Creation’ or ‘designer/Designer’ before ‘creator/Creator’ or vice versa? Or can a creator/Creator/designer/Designer (possibly) both create and design simultaneously?”

    This is a very confusing cluster of questions. It also seems to make difficult what every simple, uneducated Christian knows without complicated reasoning: the Creator of the world is also the designer of the world. No one can read the story in Genesis 1 without seeing that. There is nothing tricky or difficult about it.

    As for whether the creation and the design could be simultaneous, since we are dealing with God who is not subject to our time-bound constraints of causality, surely they could be. But that is neither here nor there. The question is not whether God first designed, then created, or did both together. The question is whether God designed at all, or left nature to its “freedom” to produce whatever it would. ID Christians say the former, many TEs, especially at Biologos, say the latter. I’m pleased to note that nullasalus agrees with ID on this.

    You asked me about YEC and Creation Science. Yes, I still believe that Creation Science is (mostly) bad science. Yes, I still oppose YEC and the Biblical hermeneutics that animate it. But I refuse to join hands with any of the organizations that I know of which attack YEC. They are all tainted by bad motivations. The NCSE is a front for secular humanism which employs a few Christians as useful fools. Its web site is loaded with anti-YEC arguments, some of which I agree with, but I don’t wish to dignify the NCSE by being seen in its company. Biologos attacks YEC, but it does so partly for Freudian reasons (as some Biologos folks are YEC apostates themselves), and partly to promote liberal theology, and I don’t condone either motivation. The atheist sites like Panda’s Thumb etc. attack YEC, but I won’t join hands with them, as I don’t want to seem to endorse their atheism, their childish rage, and their foul language.

    If some YECs try to take over my school board and push Genesis in the science classes, I will stand up an oppose YEC as vigorously as anyone else. But I have no interest in carrying on a crusade against YECs. I regard them as sincere, good Christians who contribute much to the moral and social fabric of the country, but just happen to have some erroneous ideas about science and theology. Well, we all have some erroneous ideas, and unless such ideas infringe upon the freedom of others, I don’t think anyone should worry about it.

    You wrote:

    “Goodness, you’re not suggesting Plato as a precursor to ‘intelligent design theory,’ are you?!”

    Obviously you have not read the Platonic dialogue which bears my name.

    You wrote:

    “Should I understand, Timaeus, you’d accept that inferences of big D-ID, if not small d-ID do in fact “need to be motivated by faith”? That is, without faith, big D/Design could not be posited.”

    No, you should not understand that, especially since I said exactly the opposite. No design inference, whether it comes from inside or outside of the Discovery Institute (which I gather is what you mean by big D-ID), requires prior religious faith. Ever heard of Antony Flew?

    You wrote:

    “is it not astonishing to you how many US citizens proclaim to believe in a ‘young’ earth”?

    Yes and no. In the abstract, it is astonishing that anyone should take a text like Genesis and use it to derive scientific conclusions. But in historical context, understanding the Protestant sectarian origins of America, it is not surprising at all. America was colonized and later extensively populated by people who for the most part did not partake in high intellectual culture; the popular religion of America, then, will reflect that origin. From farmers and hunters and merchants who have not studied Shakespeare or Plato or literary criticism or ancient history, from circuit riders who often have only a hairsbreadth (if even that) more theological education than their congregations, you’re going to get a fairly crude literalism. And once those interpretive grooves have been dug, even later generations of Americans, with much more formal education, will tend to stick to such interpretations, because they will have been taught from the cradle to identify that particular interpretive tradition with the substance of faith itself.

    You seem to find this a big problem. I don’t. So what if someone thinks that the earth was created only 6,000 years ago? As long as that person can splice a gene, build a bridge, program a computer, analyze a chemical solution, interpret atmospheric data, etc., what difference does it make what that person believes about the past? Some of the great scientists of the 20th century, e.g., Damadian, have been creationists. I might think they are wrong about the origin of the earth, but that doesn’t take away from their scientific achievement. And throughout the whole time of America’s scientific and technological dominance in the world (i.e., about the past 75-100 years) there have *always* been more literalists and creationists in America than in any other advanced country. YEC began its modern explosion at precisely the time NASA was putting America into space. So obviously the existence of literalism and creationism in the population are not incompatible with scientific and technological achievement. You see a problem where none exists.

    To nullasalus you said:

    “Yes, that’s what I’m suggesting. BioLogos believes G-d ordered and guides biological evolution.”

    Biologos has never said this. When the question was put recently to Falk and Venema, in direct and unambiguous terms, neither one of them said what you have said above. They stalled, dodged, feinted, evaded, qualified, footnoted — did everything to avoid making the plain affirmation you have just given. If they believed what you say, they would not be so slippery. They would just say it, straight out. But they can’t, because their commitment to neo-Darwinism means that they must see the evolutionary process as unguided and unplanned. So they fumble around, muttering phrases about “a high view of providence” (the meaning of which they don’t understand), as if that somehow squares randomness with planning. This ploy has been seen through and exposed by Crude, nullasalus, Jon Garvey, and many others.

    But you don’t need to imitate Biologos, Gregory. You can be straight up. You can say if you think the evolution was either guided or planned. You can say if you think that God subtly steered evolution by planting certain mutations, or if you think that God front-loaded evolution so that man was an inevitable result. So I ask you again, is it your personal view that God intervened, subtly or bluntly, in the normal course of nature, to guide evolution in certain directions, or that he set up evolution by the way he designed the first life, so that the emergence of man was inevitable? Or is your view the Biologos view, that he left nature to its “freedom” (which implies that he could not have guaranteed the emergence of man)?

    Ball’s in your court, Gregory. Answer or duck the question, as you please. But if you duck, you know the interpretation I will put on it.

  34. Gregory:

    Are you really saying that ‘imago Dei’ is *entirely irrelevant* for ID according to ID leaders? I’d suggest it has to do with much, much more than nothing.

    Please explain why you think that ID methodology is relevant to ‘imago Dei?’

  35. StephenB, nullasalus:

    Looks as if Gregory has decided to opt out of further discussion. This is rather frustrating. He asks us probing questions, and we give him very careful answers, and we ask him questions in return, and the most important of the questions, he doesn’t answer. It makes me wonder if the time spent crafting a careful reply is justifiable. Anyhow, I don’t see how we can get further with Gregory until he gives some very clear statements about (1) Whether he endorses the Darwinian understanding of evolution (i.e., that random mutations plus natural selection are sufficient to produce all the biological forms we see, including man); (2) Whether he thinks God guided, steered or planned evolution so that man was inevitable; (3) Whether he believes that all human beings today trace back to a single primordial couple (as Christian tradition teaches), or whether he goes with Biologos in ruling out the existence of that couple.

  36. I’d like to note something first, which makes me feel as if it doesn’t matter what I say, Timaeus will always have an answer for it and seek to ‘debate’ me. Timaeus asked for a ‘positive doctrine’ about ‘creation, evolution and design’ from me. I responded saying I’ve written a book about this involving ‘intelligent design,’ which will soon be appearing. Then I asked: would Timaeus be interested to read it? He didn’t answer. Why not? To me, this shows a lot about Timaeus’ motives and views of courtesy.

    Since nullasalus and I have not had much correspondence let us try to clarify a few things:
    “ID, right or wrong, infers ‘intelligence’, period. Not ‘human intelligence’. Nor do I personally infer just ‘human intelligence’ when I infer it – however, I don’t believe inferring intelligence or its lack is at all scientific.” – nullasalus

    As a so-called ‘historical science’ (Meyer) that ‘infers causes known to produce certain effects,’ yes, human intelligence *is* inferred by IDists, in examples such as Easter Island, Mount Rushmore and the mousetrap. This is why I raised the ‘imago Dei.’ It might be helpful in case nullasalus is philosophically-oriented to involve hermeneutics and the anthropic principle here because in my view, the interpreters of ‘design/Design’ are important and their/our ‘presuppositions’ (spoken positively, not negatively) inescapably must be involved in any potential ‘science of design.’ We are the ‘intelligence’ that is ‘inferring design’ &/or ‘inferring intelligence,’ whether human or non-human.

    “I am no an ID proponent. I do not think ID is science.” – nullasalus

    This sounds like Mike Gene’s view, though last I heard he considers himself an ID proponent, at least in his own non-IDM way. Are you a general teleologic proponent nullasalus, given that you are not here to advocate for ID? I agree with nullasalus in that I do not think ID qualifies as (natural) science, but would suggest instead that a ‘science of design’ (small d) is possible (and that it already exists, outside of the IDM!). I’m not convinced one can give a ‘scientific’ explanation for ‘guidance’ or ‘plan’ or ‘purpose’ when one limits their study to looking ‘in nature.’ That is asking too much of natural scientific methodology, as it is understood by the majority of (practising) natural scientists. But there are other realms where direction, guidance, plan and purpose can be and are already studied scientifically. There is probably no need to discuss ‘extra-natural’ here however, if what ID/UD seeks is design ‘in nature.’

    Again, if one hides or withholds their theology behind the scenes and allows it no place in the creation/evolution discussion, there can be little progress. So, that is why it is frustrating to see IDists play two faces when it suits them; theology is personally important to a vast majority of them, but they want to speak mainly about the so-called ‘science of ID’ as if there is no ‘bridge’ or overlap between science and theology. I’m operating under the assumption that both nullasalus and Timaeus are monotheists, as am I. Please correct me if I am wrong. What I don’t know is if they divorce science from theology completely, advocating a kind of NOMA approach.

    Let me remind both Timaeus and nullasalus that BioLogos Foundation has a capital ‘L’ in its name. Given the focus on ‘small id’ and ‘big ID’ introduced in this thread by Timaeus (#23), I’d say it’s an issue of respect and clarity to speak properly. ‘Small logos’ does not imply semantically what ‘big Logos’ implies right guys?

    nullasalus asked: “What’s the difference between ‘small id’ and ‘big ID’?”

    Timaeus wrote: “I was already a believer in “intelligent design” (small id) before I ever heard of Behe or Intelligent Design (big ID), and before I resumed contact with the Church.”

    As far as I make sense of it, the distinction between small id and big ID is that small id doesn’t claim it can be proven ‘by (natural) science;’ *all* religious persons in the Abrahamic religions accept small id as given – it is equivalent with ‘belief in Creation.’ Otoh, big ID (iow capitalised), which Timaeus links with Behe, and thus by implication with the IDM, means that ‘Intelligent Design in nature’ comes from a Divine source, which Behe and Dembski both admit is their (non-scientific) view. Saying big ID can be detected by ‘natural scientific methods’ means using faith in one’s natural science (or equating aliens with the Divine). That’s how I see it. Perhaps Timaeus would like to distinguish them differently, since he was first to raise the distinction? I agree that the distinction is meaningful.

    Wrt BioLogos, the main topic of this thread: Is BioLogos evasive? Of course it is! We are fully agreed on this & I didn’t suggest otherwise. BioLogos has refused to answer direct questions about divine ‘guidance’ & ‘direction’ or rather they’ve refused to follow the preferred ID-language in the discourse. They speak differently and highlight different themes than the IDM, the latter certainly being the wider tent in that it doesn’t care (on the surface) what you believe about G-d, aliens, morality, ethics, etc. Just as long as you say you can ‘detect design in nature,’ you’re ‘in.’ Welcome to the design revolution!

    To suggest BioLogos folk don’t believe G-d ‘orders’ and ‘guides’ the world just because they don’t openly say it is a bit like expecting one’s political opponent to use terms from one’s own platform in order to score points with voters for their own independent, and in this case, more religiously-oriented platform. BioLogos caters to USAmerican evangelical Protestant Christians and is more concerned with (at long last!) cleansing the nation of young earth creationism that opposes *all* &/or *any* types of evolutionary theories, than of anything else. BioLogos’ opposition to ID has imo been a good PR move, given that it has attracted people to ask what BioLogos is all about. It is unfortunate for BioLogos Foundation that they lost Francis Collins so early, because his book “The Language of God” has reached people (not just evangelicals) around the world (checked by experience), showing that ‘science and religion’ need not be viewed as conflicting in a person’s mind (and heart).

    Tarring BioLogos with the pejorative name of ‘Christian Darwinists,’ when Darwin himself wasn’t a Christian seems counter-productive to discursive progress. But hey, no doubt BioLogos has put ID backs up against the wall or at least provoked IDists to take some sort of action against them. Tit-for-tat, as game theory tells us! I’m as curious as you people to hear some clear statements about ‘Darwinism’ (as ideology) given at BioLogos, which they appear reluctant to do, for whatever reasons. But my interest is beyond biology, in fields where Darwinism is simply a different creature. It’s up to you folks to find someone at BioLogos who actually accepts the label of ‘Darwinist’ or imo you’re just setting yourself up tribally in judgment of ‘outsiders.’

    “Biologos adopts the classic form of mid-20th century Darwinian theory, i.e., neo-Darwinism.” – Timaeus

    One would like to hope that BioLogos adopts the best biology yet available, which is sometimes neo-Darwinian, sometimes post-Darwinian, and sometimes non-Darwinian. A new ‘Name’ would seem to be required though to enact Dembski’s call for ‘Revolution!’ in natural sciences under the banner of ‘design/Design’.

    My answer to Timaeus’ hounding questions: 1) There do seem to be errors in Darwin’s biology (e.g. D. Allchin 2009), such that a ‘post-Darwinian’ or ‘non-Darwinian’ approach in natural-physical sciences seems necessary today. Whose ‘Name’ should be on it? I don’t know. Do you? 2) Guided, steered, directed, planned – are these not examples of Providence? I don’t know what ‘so that man was inevitable’ means. It sounds like it could impinge upon Divine freedom, which I wouldn’t accept. Here we humans are today; are we called to reverse engineer ourselves by studying nature as ‘divine technology’? 3) I believe in a ‘real, historical’ Adam and Eve, in line with Orthodox and Catholic teachings, and what appear to be the beliefs of most mainstream Protestants, along with Jews and Muslims. I’ve decided to give ‘BioLogos as a whole’ the benefit of the doubt on this, given that they appear to have back-peddled from their earlier focus on disproving the ‘real, historical’ A&E (e.g. Venema and Lamoureux). Denis Alexander’s white paper speaks of homo divinus (which he attributes to John Stott 1968), BioLogos has allowed David Opderbeck to argue for the historicity of A&E and Falk told me personally that at least one major contributor there accepts historical A&E, while he is personally agnostic on the topic. So, it now seems to me that BioLogos has not actually, in Timaeus words, ‘ruled out the existence of that couple,’ even if several BioLogos/TE/ECs lean in that direction.

    I don’t read the works of Ayala or Ruse at BioLogos as representative of BioLogos’ primary mission and would advise them not to include these persons in the future.

    Human beings exist in history and I believe G-d produced/created/made/breathed life into man (Adam). I’m not a biologist or physiologist and don’t have or know of a bio-physiological explanation or ‘proof’ for it. My advice: take that explanation for what it is. There are no credible anthropologists in the IDM, so I’m not sure why you think turning the topic toward anthropology (the science/study of Man) is your strong suit. At least BioLogos has James Kidder! ;)

    Btw, on this thread (http://www.uncommondescent.com.....nt-design/), Timaeus wrote: “Michael Denton, who used to be a Discovery Fellow, but now operates on his own, can be called a small-id proponent; he certainly thinks design is evident in nature.”

    Is Denton not still a DI Fellow, even today? His name is still listed as Senior Fellow on DI’s website. I ‘know someone’ who was a listed on the DI website, who contacted a person in charge, and whose name was removed from the site within a couple of days. Why has Denton’s name remained so long if he is now independent from the DI? Could someone at UD find out Denton’s status wrt DI?

    Perhaps the Wheaton conference in a couple of weeks will shed some light on the relationship between DI people and BioLogos people, since both will be in attendance, faced-off, so to speak in respective presentation sections. Will they debate lacking civility or find common ground in science, philosophy &/or religious terms? You are welcome for the information, Timaeus.

    Cheers,
    Gr.

    “The feeling remains that God is on the journey, too.” – Teresa of Avila

    “In many areas of understanding, none so much as in our understanding of God, we bump up against a simplicity so profound that we must assign complexities to it to comprehend it at all. It is mindful of how we paste decals to a sliding glass door to keep from bumping our nose against it.” – Robert Brault

    “Chance is perhaps the pseudonym of God when he did not want to sign.” – Anatole France

    “I simply haven’t the nerve to imagine a being, a force, a cause which keeps the planets revolving in their orbits, and then suddenly stops in order to give me a bicycle [bacterial flagellum] with three speeds.” – Quentin Crisp

  37. Gregory,

    As a so-called ‘historical science’ (Meyer) that ‘infers causes known to produce certain effects,’ yes, human intelligence *is* inferred by IDists, in examples such as Easter Island, Mount Rushmore and the mousetrap.

    And still, ID proposes to infer intelligence. Not just human intelligence. Right or wrong, their inferences are supposed to be broader than that.

    Are you a general teleologic proponent nullasalus, given that you are not here to advocate for ID?

    I suppose I am. I think the world is rife with teleology and design, I just don’t think science as science can determine its presence or lack.

    So, that is why it is frustrating to see IDists play two faces when it suits them; theology is personally important to a vast majority of them, but they want to speak mainly about the so-called ‘science of ID’ as if there is no ‘bridge’ or overlap between science and theology.

    I don’t see it as two-faced at all. It’s a recognition of the limitations on the part of science as ID proponents view the term and methodology.

    To suggest BioLogos folk don’t believe G-d ‘orders’ and ‘guides’ the world just because they don’t openly say it is a bit like expecting one’s political opponent to use terms from one’s own platform in order to score points with voters for their own independent, and in this case, more religiously-oriented platform.

    So, your suggestion is that it’s all a big political game, and that they really – to a man – believe that God guided evolution and knew of its outcomes, but they just can’t say that? If so, sorry – it’s terribly unpersuasive. Sometimes a politician never clearly takes side X when he speaks, not because it’s all a carefully crafted game and he has to choose his words properly, but because he rejects X.

    It’s not merely that Biologos’ members, even leadership, don’t say this when asked. They actively talk about God’s “freedom”, I’ve cited multiple examples of their praising or hosting thoughts by people who explicitly take the position that God had no idea of what the results of evolution would be and that nature, particularly evolution, is entirely unguided. In those cases, one is an atheist, and the other is probably an atheist. These are an example of the “friends of Biologos” whose thoughts they see fit to be a platform for in guest posts.

    And you think it’s unfair to suggest that, in the face of all this and more, maybe Biologos isn’t actually committed to design and guidance in the sense we’re speaking? C’mon.

    BioLogos caters to USAmerican evangelical Protestant Christians and is more concerned with (at long last!) cleansing the nation of young earth creationism that opposes *all* &/or *any* types of evolutionary theories, than of anything else.

    Funny. Behe, Denton, and other ID proponents are not opposed to *any* and *all* types of evolutionary theories – yet ID gets pounded on Biologos as much as or more than YEC. Ah, but you say pounding on ID was a good PR move.

    Gregory, do you really believe what you’re saying?

    It’s up to you folks to find someone at BioLogos who actually accepts the label of ‘Darwinist’ or imo you’re just setting yourself up tribally in judgment of ‘outsiders.’

    Actually, it’s up to you to find someone at Biologos who actually takes the position you insist they do, and admits to it openly and blatantly. So far the absolute best you’ve been able to say is, ‘Of COURSE they do. I mean, they’re Christians right? All Christians believe this. It’s just a game. They’re pretending they don’t, that’s all! A very consistent, 24/7, game. It’s rather like how Obama is pro-life. His voting record? His words to the contrary? His support of pro-choice legislation? It’s all a cover, man. You don’t want him to blow his cover, do you? How tribalist.’

    Not exactly compelling.

    I don’t read the works of Ayala or Ruse at BioLogos as representative of BioLogos’ primary mission and would advise them not to include these persons in the future.

    Pity they don’t listen to you, eh? Maybe that’s the problem here. You don’t seem to be defending Biologos when I point out the problems with their organization. You’re defending some kind of odd, imaginary Biologos that you hope existed. Gregory’s Biologos is orthodox, explicitly committed to the view that God guided evolution and certain oversaw and intended the results of it, including man. Gregory’s Biologos doesn’t suggest that evolution is completely unguided, such that even God had no idea of any of its outcomes in advance (much less made sure those outcomes came to pass), God included.

    But Gregory’s Biologos stands at odds with the real Biologos. The one that only recently backed off on its suggestion that Adam and Eve never existed (and even as much as it backed off, it still has prominent members who deny or are quiet on the question), the one that praises and hosts evolutionary views as given by Ayala and Ruse, the one that repeatedly talks of God ‘granting freedom’ to nature (meaning God had no idea of or control over nature such that even man’s own appearance was a big surprise), etc.

    Why has Denton’s name remained so long if he is now independent from the DI?

    As far as I am aware, Denton’s name appearing on the ID list is a recent change. He was absent for a long time. Even his wikipedia page mentions this, since it hasn’t recently been updated.

    There are no credible anthropologists in the IDM

    Also, the vast majority of fish are without bicycles.

  38. Gregory (36):

    You wrote:

    “As far as I make sense of it, the distinction between small id and big ID is that small id doesn’t claim it can be proven ‘by (natural) science;’ *all* religious persons in the Abrahamic religions accept small id as given – it is equivalent with ‘belief in Creation.’ Otoh, big ID (iow capitalised), which Timaeus links with Behe, and thus by implication with the IDM, means that ‘Intelligent Design in nature’ comes from a Divine source, which Behe and Dembski both admit is their (non-scientific) view. Saying big ID can be detected by ‘natural scientific methods’ means using faith in one’s natural science (or equating aliens with the Divine). That’s how I see it. Perhaps Timaeus would like to distinguish them differently, since he was first to raise the distinction? I agree that the distinction is meaningful.”

    Since you invite me to explain what I meant, I will. And it was not what you guessed.

    By “small id” I meant any argument that infers design (not necessarily God, just design, though of course God could be the designer) from the facts of nature, whether it was written 2500 years ago or today. By “big ID” I meant the formal organization of people sympathetic with such arguments into bodies such as the Discovery Institute and Uncommon Descent and more generally with prominent people such as Behe, Dembski, Wells, Meyer, Nelson. All “big ID” people accept “small id” arguments, but not all “small id” sympathizers want anything to do with “big ID” institutional activities.

    Thus, Plato and a whole host of philosophers would be “small id”; so would Paley’s argument about the watch and the watchmaker; so would Lecomte du Nouy’s argument back in the 1950s. But of course none of these people would be formally part of “ID” as a modern social institution, which cannot be dated earlier than the Pajaro Dunes conference in the early 1990s.

    Note also that neither “small id” nor “big ID” requires commitment to Christianity. Denton, a small-id person, is not a Christian, and David Klinghoffer, a Discovery fellow and hence a big-ID person, is an orthodox Jew. In fact, neither “id” nor “ID” requires a commitment even to theism. Dave Scot, who used to run this place, was an agnostic.

    I hope this clarifies my meaning.

    As for my reason for making the distinction, often people denigrate intelligent design, because they don’t like this or that aspect of The Discovery Institute, or of Uncommon Descent. But “intelligent design” is older, bigger, and more important than any modern institution that tries to champion it. Long after Discovery has ceased to exist, long after Discovery’s foes have ceased to exist, philosophers and scientists and lay people will still be arguing about whether or not there is intelligent design in nature. Thus has it ever been, thus shall it ever be, world without end.

    I was an “id” supporter long before I had even heard of “ID”. I thought, and still think, that the arguments for design in nature are persuasive. But of course the public has been taught by decades of propaganda by scientists and popular science writers that “science” has shown that there is no design in nature, that design is only apparent, that really it can all be explained by chance and natural selection and so on. The advantage of having id institutionalized as ID is that dissenting scientists can be mobilized, and given a platform from which to challenge the massive and well-funded consensus which controls most of the universities and major newspapers and magazines and public television in the country. That’s why I support big-ID, even though I have misgivings about some of the ways in which its personnel conduct themselves. In the modern world, you need to use the media to make sure people hear your minority voice, or your view will be crushed underfoot. ID as an institutional movement is not perfect, but the world is better off because ID exists. People have a greater chance of hearing the truth about nature today than they did before the Pajaro Dunes meeting. Any sins of omission or commission by ID people pale in comparison with that.

  39. Gregory (36):

    You wrote:

    “My answer to Timaeus’ hounding questions: 1) There do seem to be errors in Darwin’s biology (e.g. D. Allchin 2009), such that a ‘post-Darwinian’ or ‘non-Darwinian’ approach in natural-physical sciences seems necessary today. Whose ‘Name’ should be on it? I don’t know. Do you?”

    Gregory, by “Darwinian biology” I meant more than Darwin’s view. Darwin’s view was superseded by neo-Darwinism, which became the active representative of “Darwinian” thought from about 1935 onward. And that’s the view that Darrel Falk was steeped in when he went to school. I specified the contents of this view — random mutations filtered by natural selection. Do you believe that mutations, *unguided by any intelligence*, filtered by nothing but “natural selection,” could make a man out of a bacterium? Could produce an eye, a cardiovascular system, a human brain? Either you believe that or you don’t. Or have you not made up your mind whether or not you believe it?

    You then wrote:

    “2) Guided, steered, directed, planned – are these not examples of Providence? I don’t know what ‘so that man was inevitable’ means. It sounds like it could impinge upon Divine freedom, which I wouldn’t accept. Here we humans are today; are we called to reverse engineer ourselves by studying nature as ‘divine technology’?”

    Gregory, in your first sentence you answer a question with question. (And to make matters worse, in your question you include an undefined term, “Providence,” which means very different things to different people.) Instead of a question, give me an answer: in your opinion, was evolution either guided/steered (God directed the process through personal intervention, to keep it on course) or programmed/planned (God set up an automated process that, without any intervention, *had* to go one way and not any other)?

    When I said “man was inevitable” I was not impinging upon divine freedom. What I mean by it is: did God decide that man was to appear, and use means, either direct creation, or guided evolution (where God actually steers the mutations), or programmed (“frontloaded” evolution) that *ensured* that man would appear? Or did he instead set up a divine-hands-off stochastic process (Darwinian evolution) which *might* have produced man, but *might not* have? In the latter scenario, man was not inevitable. Biologos is extremely evasive on whether or not God ever formed an irrevocable intention to produce man, such that man’s appearance, given the omnipotent God’s intention, was inevitable. I’m asking you not to be so evasive, but to state your view. God either intended *man* (and not a hyper-intelligent octopus or dolphin, for example) or he did not; and if he did intend man, he either left the production of man to chance, or he did not. What is your view?

    Then you wrote:

    “3) I believe in a ‘real, historical’ Adam and Eve, in line with Orthodox and Catholic teachings, and what appear to be the beliefs of most mainstream Protestants, along with Jews and Muslims. I’ve decided to give ‘BioLogos as a whole’ the benefit of the doubt on this, given that they appear to have back-peddled from their earlier focus on disproving the ‘real, historical’ A&E (e.g. Venema and Lamoureux). Denis Alexander’s white paper speaks of homo divinus (which he attributes to John Stott 1968), BioLogos has allowed David Opderbeck to argue for the historicity of A&E and Falk told me personally that at least one major contributor there accepts historical A&E, while he is personally agnostic on the topic. So, it now seems to me that BioLogos has not actually, in Timaeus words, ‘ruled out the existence of that couple,’ even if several BioLogos/TE/ECs lean in that direction.”

    Gregory, you have partly misconstrued the debate at Biologos. The debate at Biologos was between those (Lamoureux) who said that the Adam and Eve story was purely mythical, and between those (Alexander, later echoed by Opderbeck) who said that Adam and Eve were a real couple, the first to be in the image of God, but not the actual ancestors of all human beings, since there were human beings (hominids) all over the place at the time Adam and Eve lived (whether you place that at 6000 BC or 100000 BC).

    When you say that Falk is neutral, you have to understand that he is neutral between *those* two positions. He is *not* neutral regarding the view held by conservative evangelicals, i.e, that Adam and Eve were not only historical people but were also the ancestors of all humans. He and every single writer at Biologos agree that there was never a “first couple” of that sort. And they take this position because they think that genetics proves that there could not have been a first human couple, but only a first human population of about 10,000 individuals.

    So if you accept the science of Biologos — as you appear to — you *must* reject the idea that Adam and Eve were parents of the race. You can accept that they were the first couple endowed with the image of God, but not that they were parents of the race. And if they were not the parents of the entire race, then the Christian tradition has been laboring under an error for 2,000 years. So either Biologos is wrong, or the Christian tradition has been wrong. Which is it?

  40. “ID proposes to infer intelligence. Not just human intelligence.” – nullasalus

    What ‘other’ intelligence(s) than ‘human intelligence’ did you have in mind, nullasalus?

    “I think the world is rife with teleology and design, I just don’t think science as science can determine its presence or lack.” – nullasalus

    With you, I agree that “the world is rife with teleology and design.” But we differ in that I think science as science uncovers its presence or lack every single day. Code-breaking is just one simple example.

    Pattern recognition is not limited to biology or botany, but is applied in other fields too. Ascertaining ‘design’ and ‘teleology’ is done on a regular and common basis in a variety of scholarly fields. Though it may not be the ‘kind’ of ‘design/Design’ the IDM has in mind, it nevertheless surely counts as ‘design’ and ‘teleology.’

    “So, your suggestion is that it’s all a big political game…?” – nullasalus

    No, the contention is not that “it’s all a big political game,” but rather that BioLogos is actually being communicatively smart (wouldn’t have ever thought I could say that!) in refusing to use the same language as the IDM. Timaeus’ ‘is it guided or directed and if so, how?’ hounding biological questions to me completely avoid/ignore the communicative issue: why accept the language of one’s opponent if in doing so one would concede their argument already?

    “They actively talk about God’s ‘freedom’” – nullasalus

    Are you suggesting that G-d lacks freedom?! Surely you’re not so Closed as to condemn ‘Open Theism’ entirely? That would seem more hyper-Calvinistic than Catholic. In my view it would be helpful both for ID and TE/EC to have a serious discussion about Open Theism and Process Theology, given BioLogos/TE/ECs proclivity to processism and IDs focus on originism. This sci-phi-theo question might go far to enable fruitful discussion between IDs and TE/ECs.

    “maybe Biologos isn’t actually committed to design and guidance in the sense we’re speaking?” – nullasalus

    Yes, that is probably obvious to most people. Language choice! They are committed to ‘good science’ and at the same time fail by capitulating to weak philosophy of science.

    “ID gets pounded on Biologos as much as or more than YEC.” – nullasalus

    Yes, it seems this is the case. One might have thought that BioLogos would have more in common with ID than YEC (e.g. RTB), especially since both attract mainly ‘evangelicals’ (cf. Dembski 2003). That they have found a way to compete with each other, however, is not surprising given the (USA) socio-cultural environment in which they both function and the history of creationism vs. evolutionism there.

    All one need read is “Perspectives of an Evolving Creation” (2003) to recognize that BioLogos accepts that God directs/guides/oversees/influences/etc. the (natural) ‘evolutionary process.’ My words only indicate what TE/ECs have written in publications, not just on BioLogos. ‘Proof’ of this has been available for almost a decade, while ID otoh seeks to ‘prove’ the existence of ‘design/Design’ in unusual fields.

    Are you suggesting that Ayala and Ruse are ‘representative’ of the BioLogos leadership and BioLogos’ mission, nullasalus? Or is it possible that they are simply using Ayala and Ruse for certain purposes, which further their mission? Again, it seems to me that rejecting YEC among evangelicals (which likewise seems not to include you) is BioLogos’ main task; since both Ayala and Ruse also reject YEC, as biologist and philosopher of biology, they seem appropriate contributors. That neither of them is evangelically religious need not impede their participation in anti-YEC writings, a theme on which unfortunately ID is not intent to participate.

    “even man’s own appearance was a big surprise” – nullasalus

    This doesn’t seem consistent with a Catholic view of history. Likewise, if you don’t think having a credible (catholic?) anthropologist in the IDM is important, you’re obviously missing the forest for the trees. Values, beliefs, purpose, plan, and ethics is where the most meaningful dimension of ‘the controversy’ over ‘evolution(ism)’ lies. Wouldn’t you agree, nullasalus?

    “The history of the anti-evolution debates in the United States is less about biology and more about morality.” – William Grassie

    BioLogos’ ethics are (until proven otherwise, evangelical) Christian ethics; their history, philosophy and sociology of science (HPSS) reaches only a kindergarten level.

    p.s. still wondering why no respect from nullasalus for the capitalisation of ‘L’ in BioLogos…

  41. With you, I agree that “the world is rife with teleology and design.” But we differ in that I think science as science uncovers its presence or lack every single day. Code-breaking is just one simple example.

    And I think once you decipher (ha ha) what code-breaking is and involves, it becomes harder to justify the relevant aspects of it as science. I admit this gets touchy due to “soft science” considerations.

    Ascertaining ‘design’ and ‘teleology’ is done on a regular and common basis in a variety of scholarly fields.

    No doubt it is. Not all “scholarly fields” are part of “science”. And not all claims that are considered science are done rightly so in my view.

    No, the contention is not that “it’s all a big political game,” but rather that BioLogos is actually being communicatively smart (wouldn’t have ever thought I could say that!) in refusing to use the same language as the IDM. Timaeus’ ‘is it guided or directed and if so, how?’ hounding biological questions to me completely avoid/ignore the communicative issue: why accept the language of one’s opponent if in doing so one would concede their argument already?

    Yeah, they’re so “communicatively smart” that they give off the impression of not believing in any kind of guidance or design in evolution whatsoever, and indeed in believing the process is bereft of both. They deal with the communicative issue by not communicating with clarity at all. And they put you in the unenviable position of having to defend them in the face of some pretty basic questions on the grounds of “no, no, I know their strategy, there’s a reason they dodge all this left and right!”

    Are you suggesting that G-d lacks freedom?! Surely you’re not so Closed as to condemn ‘Open Theism’ entirely?

    Gregory, even “open theists” typically won’t go so far as to insist that evolution, much less nature, is granted freedom to the point that God had absolutely no idea what would result from the process, much less that He engaged in absolutely no intervention during it. And if that were fundamental to open theism, then yes, I’d condemn it outright. I condemn Ayala’s view of God. I condemn Ruse’s inane offering of a God compatible with “Darwinism”.

    All one need read is “Perspectives of an Evolving Creation” (2003) to recognize that BioLogos accepts that God directs/guides/oversees/influences/etc. the (natural) ‘evolutionary process.’

    No, one doesn’t, because one would realize that PEC was written well before Biologos’ establishment. And if you say “Well, the book was referenced positively in some individual posts or has been recommended”, then I’m going to go right back to Ruse’s and Ayala’s treatment on Biologos.

    I’ve asked you to go to Biologos’ president and ask him to confirm that Biologos’ position is that God – in whatever way – knew of, orchestrated, guided, designed and/or preordained the results of evolution. You won’t take my bet, because you’ll lose. You know you’ll lose. And saying “well I’d lose because Falk is just a samurai master at playing the language game” doesn’t help your contention here.

    Are you suggesting that Ayala and Ruse are ‘representative’ of the BioLogos leadership and BioLogos’ mission, nullasalus? Or is it possible that they are simply using Ayala and Ruse for certain purposes, which further their mission?

    I’m suggesting that Ayala and Ruse’s views on God have been presented at Biologos, apparently without criticism by the organization’s leadership. I’m suggesting that Ayala’s and Ruse’s views of God are, frankly, insipid – particularly for what motivates them in Ruse’s case. And I think anyone who would seriously suggest to me that Ayala and Ruse are being “used by Biologos” in some tactically brilliant way is a poor tactician, and someone who doesn’t realize that Ayala and Ruse may well be the ones who used Biologos.

    When Ayala and Ruse are treated by Biologos as people whose theological views are in sync with Biologos’ mission, to the point where Biologos believes they can give them a platform to propose their ideas, yes – I think it’s not only reasonable, but important, to press Biologos on what they really mean and believe. And I’ll note again, you can’t defend them on this aside from vague suggestions of their apparent tactical brilliance.

    Again, it seems to me that rejecting YEC among evangelicals (which likewise seems not to include you) is BioLogos’ main task; since both Ayala and Ruse also reject YEC, as biologist and philosopher of biology, they seem appropriate contributors.

    Buddy, the problem isn’t that Ayala and Ruse aren’t Christians, or even theists. If they simply cited articles by both arguing why some form of evolutionary theory is true and therefore why YEC is false, I wouldn’t have brought them up. In both cases, they take the position – and in Ruse’s case, he was allowed to do a guest post to do this at length – that God had absolutely no idea what the results of evolution would be. Indeed, Ruse says explicitly that God’s knowing, certainly choosing, what the results of evolution would be – *even* in an open theism sense, where God chose some things but not all things – conflicts with science as he presents it.

    One of the main criticisms YECs and many ID-friendly Christians alike have of standard evolutionary theory is their belief that said theory commits one to the very views that Ayala and Ruse insist on. Yet this is precisely the area where Biologos’ members keep their mouths shut, and speak only in the vaguest terms. One more time – if you consider this tactical brilliance, I question your tactical thinking.

    This doesn’t seem consistent with a Catholic view of history.

    It doesn’t seem consistent with a Protestant view of history either.

    Likewise, if you don’t think having a credible (catholic?) anthropologist in the IDM is important, you’re obviously missing the forest for the trees.

    Why? It’s not like anthropology has much to do with science.

    More than that, I imagine IDM proponents would be fine with quite a lot of people, in quite a lot of fields, joining up and considering the design question from their perspective.

    Values, beliefs, purpose, plan, and ethics is where the most meaningful dimension of ‘the controversy’ over ‘evolution(ism)’ lies. Wouldn’t you agree, nullasalus?

    Probably not, since you apparently mean different things than I do by some of the relevant terms there.

  42. Thanks for that, nullasalus. Especially appreciated the link to Kambiz Kamrani and the story about AAA, science, etc. Will follow-up in response sometime soon. Timaeus awaits also.

    Can I ask again shortly, however, re: what you wrote, since it was bolded & you seem to have missed it:
    “ID proposes to infer intelligence. Not just human intelligence.” – nullasalus

    What ‘other’ intelligence(s) than ‘human intelligence’ did you have in mind?

    Believe it or not, this question actually makes a difference in how one views ‘anthropology’ in relation to the IDM. The notion of which ‘intelligence(s)’ is/are implied by ID still seems rather fuzzy, dressed in probabilistic appearances.

    Like I said above, when I hear ‘intelligence’ I think ‘human intelligence’ (or ‘artificial intelligence,’ which is human-made) But perhaps you imagine it is me who is ‘dehumanizing’ the notion of intelligence rather than yourself?

  43. What ‘other’ intelligence(s) than ‘human intelligence’ did you have in mind?

    The same spread Dembski and others refer to. Advanced civilizations. Aliens. Demiurges. Gods. Matrix-style simulations. Etc. Intentional, planning beings.

    But perhaps you imagine it is me who is ‘dehumanizing’ the notion of intelligence rather than yourself?

    Who accused anyone of ‘dehumanizing’? I’m just stating ID as I interpret its most notable proponents to conceive it. This goes back to the question of “Just what is SETI doing?” and how can Stephen Hawking talk about what aliens are likely to do should they encounter earth and such. And, of course, concepts of God as well.

  44. Back from an academic conference in Eastern Europe. During my presentation I mentioned ‘intelligent design/Intelligent Design,’ but no one was interested to discuss this. Perhaps it seemed too obvious to them.

    Finally catching up with old threads, here’s a review and reply to Timaeus:
    “the distinction between small id and big ID is that small id doesn’t claim it can be proven ‘by (natural) science;’ *all* religious persons in the Abrahamic religions accept small id as given – it is equivalent with ‘belief in Creation’.” – Gregory

    “By ‘small id’ I meant any argument that infers design (not necessarily God, just design, though of course God could be the designer) from the facts of nature, whether it was written 2500 years ago or today. By ‘big ID’ I meant the formal organization of people sympathetic with such arguments into bodies such as the Discovery Institute and Uncommon Descent and more generally with prominent people such as Behe, Dembski, Wells, Meyer, Nelson. All ‘big ID’ people accept ‘small id’ arguments, but not all ‘small id’ sympathizers want anything to do with ‘big ID’ institutional activities.” – Timaeus

    If we translate Timaeus’ ancient Greek into my contemporary language (there’s a generational thing here), all ‘Big ID’ people believe in the Abrahamic religions. Timaeus, of course, would beg to differ. Please then show us Buddhist ID proponents and Agnostic ID proponents, like Denton, who hold an incoherent view of science, philosophy and theology. Is Denton really a science-philosophy-religion role model for Timaeus?! Does Jewish-Agnostic Berlinski just attack Darwinian/Darwinistic views (one side of the Wedge) or does he actually actively promote the (Divine) Intelligence behind the ‘design’? Can Timaeus help rescue Berlinski from his apostate views or doesn’t that even matter?

    It seems to me that Timaeus is simply making things up as he goes along. ‘Big ID’ to Timaeus as an individual means ‘institutional’ (“having id institutionalized as ID”), whereas for most mainstream Christians it means ‘claiming to have proven God’s existence (by implication or directly) using natural science.’ Timaeus seems not to be a mainstream Christian and his rejection of Adam and Eve reveals his heterodoxy. Most religious believers have accepted ‘arguments from design/Design’ for hundreds if not thousands of years. They are ‘small id’ advocates already, regardless of the arrival and natural scientific mission of IDM-ID. The uniqueness of IDM-ID is that it professes that “ID IS (NATURAL) SCIENCE.” Period (plus implications). Iow, ‘(natural) science proves design/Design.’

    Plato, however, didn’t think that ‘science’ could prove directly or by implication the existence of God-the-Designer. Plato believed in God as more than just Designer. Plato would not have supported Big ID on this basis. So Timaeus at UD is mimicking a shadow, rather than the real thing.

    By definition, an Agnostic thinker cannot conclude ‘small id,’ which is a religious position. If one accepts Mind, they are religious already. The universe is Designed; now go and find, seek, inquire which Big ID did it (science, philosophy &/or theology). “I don’t know” (Agnosticism) adds nothing fruitful to the conversation; it is a boring position, simply passing the time in ignorance, not knowing. Berlinski is playing one side of the Wedge with his ‘agnostic’ pro-Big ID position and the IDM welcomes it because it is still wedge-sensitive.

    “Long after Discovery has ceased to exist…” – Timaeus

    Here is a clear example of Timaeus speaking not for the IDM, but for Timaeus-id/ID. This is not surprising since many folks tend to jump on a bandwagon that others have organised. Timaeus seems to seek some kind of credibility in IDM-circles (like UD) for honking the IDM’s horn (while at the same time rejecting the ‘ID is Science’ claims). Yet it is strange that he fails to see how his arguments actually undermine the ‘institution’ he speaks so highly about. IDM people have not considered yet “after Discovery (Institute) has ceased to exist.”

    “whether or not there is intelligent design in nature.” – Timaeus

    Such is the current naturalistic perspective of ‘intelligent design’ theory. It is only relevant ‘in nature’ but not ‘in society’ or ‘in culture’ or ‘in politics’ or ‘in technology.’ Timaeus, like most IDists thus privileges ‘nature’ as the rightful source of ‘designism,’ while the proper realms of ‘design’ he leaves predominantly untouched.

    “I was an ‘id’ supporter long before I had even heard of ‘ID’.” – Timaeus

    Yes, join the crowd. He doesn’t think one can prove ‘intelligent design’ using ‘natural sciences’ either and has said as much in previous messages. He believes in (small) ‘intelligent design’ *because* he believes in God. That his belief in God need not lead him to believe in ‘Big [Institutional] ID’ – that ‘science’ can prove ‘design in nature’ – is understandable and explains why BioLogos (an opponent Science vs. Religion institution) rejects the IDM. That they reject ‘scientific proofs’ of God remains the strongest (and most reasonable) argument from BioLogos (which both Timaeus and nullasalus have REFUSED to dignify with proper capitalisation), TE and EC against the IDM (even though the IDM equivocates with what ‘implication’ design/Design actually means in the theological realm). Such is the culture war status in contemporary USAmerican ‘civilisation.’

    Thus, when Timaeus says “I thought, and still think, that the arguments for design in nature are persuasive,” what he really means is that he accepts ‘natural theology.’ Theology for Timaeus is not just ‘revealed theology,’ which is why he can so easily jettison the idea of a ‘real, historical Adam and Eve,’ i.e. the orthodox (revealed) Christian view of Scripture. That Timaeus rejects real, historical A&E is why he lauds Peter Enns and Dennis Lamoureux at BioLogos, while criticising only the apparent (though perhaps not ‘real’) ‘(neo-)Darwinism’ displayed at that website. As a non-evangelical Christian Timaeus does not appropriately represent the theological arena in which BioLogos operates.

    Timaeus seems to love the liberal (anti-orthodox) theology that speaks against real, historical Adam and Eve, while at the same time he enjoys protesting (as an unqualified non-biologist) against BioLogos’ (‘liberal’) acceptance of the current standard views of biology (which according to orthodox Abrahamic religion cannot disprove God’s existence).

    “did God decide that man was to appear” – Timaues

    Yes, of course God did decide this! Here we are. But that has absolutely nothing to do with ‘intelligent design theory,’ right (wink, wink, nudge, nudge)!?

    Jewish, Christian and Muslim scriptures claim ‘real, historical Adam and Eve,’ while Timaeus the Greek-post-modern American protests against them/us using biological science and (heterodox) liberal theology. If he were a conservative, Timaeus would quite obviously accept real, historical A&E, but he doesn’t and isn’t.

    The ‘inevitability’ question is one Timaeus should ask to ‘Neo-’ but not to me. Timaeus is demanding I speak for ‘God’s intentions’ and ‘God’s directions.’ I am not prepared or willing to do that and neither is BioLogos, whereas Timaeus seems to want to do so for himself.

    “So if you accept the science of Biologos — as you appear to — you *must* reject the idea that Adam and Eve were parents of the race.” – Timaeus

    No, such a *must* position as Timaeus demands has been rejected by many people, among them the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches (i.e. the world majority of Christians), which both accept ‘the (same) science’ as BioLogos (a population of humans does not deny a Covenant Pair). Timaeus loads the conversation with ‘parents’ and ‘race,’ the latter which he surely cannot ‘scientifically’ prove. Unfortunately, it seems that Timaeus has swallowed some kind of anti-Adam bias somewhere in his personal philosophy or theology. Perhaps this explains his attraction to Big ID (because it supposedly takes no opinion on A&E, expressing no reflexivity and ignoring the idea that humans are ‘created imago Dei’), which is ‘uncommitted to Genesis’?

    Michael Behe’s meaning (as a Roman Catholic religious believer who happens to be a natural scientist) is that (capitalised) ‘Intelligent Design in nature’ comes inevitably from a Divine source. There’s no chicken and egg discussion needed here; Behe defends small id and Big ID because he already believes (in) it/them. Whether one wants to refer to this as ‘natural theology’ or as a ‘revealed theology’ of nature is not that important. The ‘mind’ that Behe ‘infers’ is appropriately capitalised as ‘Mind’ in the Christian tradition. (Berlinski to the IDM is as irrelevant as Ruse to BioLogos) Behe joined the IDM because he believed it was a theologically supportive network, i.e. because believing human beings are ensouled bodies and not just living matter is important. Jonathan Wells among others knows what I mean in saying this.

    Timaeus would accept Behe’s ‘natural theology,’ while personally rejecting BioLogos’ perception of ‘revealed theology.’ This is probably because Timaeus is not a Roman Catholic or Orthodox Christian and can thus interpret Scripture however he so chooses, even if it means denying revealed theology ‘in nature’ or ‘real, historical A&E.’ So, who should anyone take Timaeus’ personal ‘revealed theology’ seriously without the authentic claim of Ecclesial sanction? What ‘church’ does Timaeus the Greek, pre-Christian (or non-Christian) stand for on the periphery (dustbin) of historical ideas?

    As a final note, for someone who claims to be a philosopher and humanist and not a natural scientist by training, it is ironic that Timaeus is trumpeting himself as a proponent of “the truth about nature,” when the ‘truth about human society’ seems so dreadfully far from his interest. Why does he not care about or seek to promote the many ‘design theorists’ who can actually speak about ‘designer’ and ‘designing’? Where are Laszlo, Banathy, nay even Dobzhansky or Teilhard de Chardin in his ‘anti-(neo-)Darwinian’ hyper-activism?

    As a person who studies societies and peoples around the world, for me to hear Timaeus speak of Big ID as an ‘institution’ concentrated solely on ‘design in nature,’ whereas there is so much designing/creating/building/making/constructing/composing/developing going on all around us by the one ‘intelligence’ that we know best, i.e. human intelligence, strikes me as astonishingly myopic. ‘Real design,’ not only as a divine ‘origin/creation,’ but also as a (co-created) process that Timaeus and the IDM seek, is widely available. Just open your ears and eyes and ‘proof’ will find you! They simply need to knock on the door and it will be answered, to seek and they shall find ‘designing’ by ‘intelligent agents’ happening on a daily basis.

  45. Timaeus: “Did God decide that man was to appear, and use means, either direct creation, or guided evolution (where God actually steers the mutations), or programmed (“frontloaded” evolution) that *ensured* that man would appear? Or did he instead set up a divine-hands-off stochastic process (Darwinian evolution) which *might* have produced man, but *might not* have? In the latter scenario, man was not inevitable. Biologos is extremely evasive on whether or not God ever formed an irrevocable intention to produce man, such that man’s appearance, given the omnipotent God’s intention, was inevitable. I’m asking you not to be so evasive, but to state your view. God either intended *man* (and not a hyper-intelligent octopus or dolphin, for example) or he did not; and if he did intend man, he either left the production of man to chance, or he did not. What is your view?”

    Gregory:

    The ‘inevitability’ question is one Timaeus should ask to ‘Neo-’ but not to me. Timaeus is demanding I speak for ‘God’s intentions’ and ‘God’s directions.’ I am not prepared or willing to do that and neither is BioLogos, whereas Timaeus seems to want to do so for himself.

    Timaeus has asked you the central question about God and evolution. If you have no opinion on the matter, or if you are afraid to disclose it, then you are not even in the game.

    No, such a *must* position as Timaeus demands has been rejected by many people, among them the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches (i.e. the world majority of Christians), which both accept ‘the (same) science’ as BioLogos (a population of humans does not deny a Covenant Pair). Timaeus loads the conversation with ‘parents’ and ‘race,’ the latter which he surely cannot ‘scientifically’ prove.

    To deny that Adam and Eve were the “first parents” of the human race is to deny a non-negotiable tenet of Christianity. In keeping with that point, the official position of the Catholic Church is, as anyone who cares knows, incompatible with the Biologos position. From Pope Pius XII [Humani Generis]
    “When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.”

    The question persists: On the question about Adam and Eve as the first parents of the human race, do you, as a Catholic, agree with the science of Biologos or the teaching of the Catholic Church?

    Behe joined the IDM because he believed it was a theologically supportive network, i.e. because believing human beings are ensouled bodies and not just living matter is important.

    What do your perceptions about Behe’s motives, which may have been prompted by his faith, have to do with ID methodology, which begins with observation and has nothing to do with faith. You really do have a moral obligation to read our FAQ section so that you can familiarize yourself with basic ID theory, especially since you are hell bent on commenting on the subject at length and spreading your confusion wherever you go. At the very least, you should learn the difference between [a] methods and motives and [b] presuppositions and inferences.

    “As a final note, for someone who claims to be a philosopher and humanist and not a natural scientist by training, it is ironic that Timaeus is trumpeting himself as a proponent of “the truth about nature,” when the ‘truth about human society’ seems so dreadfully far from his interest.”

    Perhaps it is less about his lack of interest about human society and more about his determination to stay within the context of the subject matter being discussed, a trait that you might well try to cultivate.

  46. “To deny that Adam and Eve were the ‘first parents’ of the human race is to deny a non-negotiable tenet of Christianity.” – StephenB

    Beautiful. Let’s now put Timaeus the Greek on the spot. Does Timaeus accept the orthodox Christian-Muslim-Jewish view of a real, historical Adam and Eve? No, it would seem that he doesn’t.

    Please keep your focus on Timaeus, StephenB, because he has either dodged or rejected this question in the past with me.

    Yes, I agree with the teaching of the Catholic Church (and other Abrahamic faiths) on Adam and Eve. Does Timaeus agree with them/us, defender of ID as he is at UD?

    This challenge to Timaeus should be repeated.

    Stop and ask yourself StephenB, if Timaeus is really the ‘purist’ defender of orthodoxy you consider him to be. That he rejects the very “non-negotiable tenet of Christianity” you identify might sway your view. Does his promotion of ‘intelligent design’ trump that ‘non-negotiable tenet’?

    Of course, it is obvioius that Behe ‘believes’ in/first believed in ID because he already has faith. The other side of the wedge matters less; Darwin is 150 years old and many post-Darwinian theorists, Christians including Dobzhansky exist. This does not count against the fact that without his religious faith (Roman Catholicism), that is, if he were an atheist, Behe would not have believed in ‘intelligent design.’

  47. ——Gregory: “Beautiful. Let’s now put Timaeus the Greek on the spot. Does Timaeus accept the orthodox Christian-Muslim-Jewish view of a real, historical Adam and Eve? No, it would seem that he doesn’t.”

    I have no reason to believe that Timaeus rejects the orthodox view. From which of his comments did you draw your inference?

    ——Stop and ask yourself StephenB, if Timaeus is really the ‘purist’ defender of orthodoxy you consider him to be. That he rejects the very “non-negotiable tenet of Christianity” you identify might sway your view. Does his promotion of ‘intelligent design’ trump that ‘non-negotiable tenet’?

    Timaeus is not defending Christian orthodoxy. He is putting the spotlight of reason on those who falsely claim that Christian orthodoxy can be reconciled with Darwinian evolution. This is why he continues to press you for your view about God and evolution. God either designed evolution to produce a specific result (man exactly as he appeared) or else he left the result to chance. Which is it?

    ——“Of course, it is obvioius that Behe ‘believes’ in/first believed in ID because he already has faith. The other side of the wedge matters less; Darwin is 150 years old and many post-Darwinian theorists, Christians including Dobzhansky exist. This does not count against the fact that without his religious faith (Roman Catholicism), that is, if he were an atheist, Behe would not have believed in ‘intelligent design.’”

    Obviously, that is not the case. If, as you say, one could not believe in ID science without first having embraced religious faith, then Anthony Flew, the former atheist, would never have responded to the empirical evidence and become a design thinker.

    You fail to make three critical distinctions:
    [a] While ID is “consistent with” religious faith, it does not “depend on” religious faith. Yes, the scientific evidence for design can CONFIRM one’s pre-existing belief in design, but it can also PERSUADE one who doesn’t believe in design to change his position.

    [b] The psychological motive for becoming an ID scientist has nothing at all to do with the validity of the scientific methods used to draw inferences from data. It is not possible, for example, to extract religious faith from the methodology of “irreducible complexity.”

    [c] A Presupposition is not the same as an inference. Creation Science, which begins with an assumption about Biblical truth and seeks to justify that assumption with scientific evidence is different from Intelligent Design, which begins with an observation of data and draws inferences.

  48. “I have no reason to believe that Timaeus rejects the orthodox view.”

    Don’t trust me, but he does reject it. Ask him directly yourself, StephenB. That will give you the reason you seek.

    “Timaeus is not defending Christian orthodoxy.”

    Exactly, on the topic of Adam and Eve, he is defending heterodox Christianity. (But hey, welcome to ID’s Big Tent!)

    “Biologos is unorthodox for toying with non-historical notions of Adam and Eve” – Timaeus

    ‘Toying with,’ however, is not the same as accepting. Kathryn Applegate is a biologist who accepts ‘real, historical A&E.’ Denis Alexander’s white paper speaks of (real, historical) ‘homo divinus,’ via John Stott. Does this make Kathryn and Denis A. (and John Stott) more ‘orthodox’ on the topic of A&E than Timaeus? It would seem so.

    “God either designed evolution to produce a specific result (man exactly as he appeared) or else he left the result to chance. Which is it?”

    Though it may seem like the only choice to IDists, I don’t accept the ‘design vs. chance’ dichotomy. And I’m not privy to ‘knowing’ how God is (directly or indirectly) involved with biological evolution and/or natural history. As an Abrahamist, I believe G-D intended human beings (to appear) on Earth. Afaiu, this is the orthodox Abrahamic position.

    Just as with the agnostic Berlinski, I challenge you to find a quotation from Anthony Flew that is kataphatic wrt ‘design,’ i.e. that is not only negatively suggestive, but also positive. Suggesting (as a non-biologist) the ‘impossibility of a naturalistic account’ does not count as a positive contribution. Where does Flew say ‘science (positively) proves (biological) design?’ ID for Flew is a(n – classical) argument for G-D’s existence; it is not a concept duo meant for 21st century biology.

    Flew was *not* suggesting that ‘science’ can discover evidence of ‘design in nature.’ Flew’s ‘response’ was philosophical and not empirical. Even so, his ‘conversion’ to deism is based on apologetics, not science.

    Now will you tell us please, StephenB, if your prior faith in G-D has *anything* to do with your acceptance of ‘intelligent design’? Shall we assume, like Gil Dodgen and Timaeus, that you were born into or became religious, a person of faith, *before* you had heard about ID? Iow, as a historical-personal fact, you were religious first and came to believe in/accept ‘intelligent design’ later, right?

    As with Timaeus, I would bet the same about StephenB: “He believes in (small) ‘intelligent design’ *because* he believes in God.” Biology here is a red herring.

  49. Gregory,

    Flew himself said it was the evidence that made him change his mind- specifically DNA-> empirical evidence, not apologetics, but science made him change. And the evidence means it is a positive argument.

    You just don’t give a hoot about facts, and it shows.

  50. Yeah right, you’re expecting people to believe a philosopher in his 80s adequately studied ‘the scientific evidence’ rather than being spoon-fed?

    Let me appeal to Jon Garvey’s statement in #2 of this thread: “Alvin Plantinga makes a good case for belief in God being justified without scientific evidence…”

    Can you live with a belief in God w/out scientific evidence, Joe?

    Same question to you, Joe: did your prior faith in G-D has *anything* to do with your acceptance of ‘intelligent design’? … Iow, as a historical-personal fact, you were religious first and came to believe in/accept ‘intelligent design’ later, right?

  51. LoL! Gregory, you are clueless. Flew studied the evidence his entire adult life. Only a dolt would think he didn’t start looking at the evidence until his 80s.

    Again I will go with what Flew says over what you say- I have already proven that you misrepresent what others say.

    Same question to you, Joe: did your prior faith in G-D has *anything* to do with your acceptance of ‘intelligent design’?

    No. I am an IDist because of the evidence. And if anyone steps up and demonstrates matter, energy, necessity and chance can account for it I will accept that (after I have gone through everything they did to make sure).

    Ya see Gregory if the Bible were refuted today my position wouldn’t be fazed.

    Nice try, but keep fishing….

  52. Gregory:

    Can you live with a belief in God w/out scientific evidence, Joe?

    I can live without a belief in God and accept the evidence for Designer. But I doubt I could live with any “belief” that didn’t require evidence/ supporting data.

    I sure as heck can’t live with the belief in materialism because there isn’t any supporting evidence.

  53. Let this ‘dolt’ repeat his simple question to Joe:

    “Iow, as a historical-personal fact, you were religious first and came to believe in/accept ‘intelligent design’ later, right?”

  54. As a historical-personal fact- I was brought up catholic, said goodbye to it by the time I was 18, set out to destroy what I was taught by “proving” materialism, saw there wasn’t any evidence for materialism, and I now accept that the evidence points to design but I am more than willing and able to entertain other options.

    OTOH my kids will not be brought up catholic, nor any other religious affiliation, unless they choose.

    I choose ID because it is a non-religious approach to the question of our existence.

  55. ——Gregory: “Don’t trust me, but he does reject it. Ask him directly yourself, StephenB. That will give you the reason you seek.” [The claim that Timaeus denies Adam and Eve as first parents of the human race].

    I will ask both of you.

    Timaeus is it true?

    Gregory, will you provide the evidence in support of your claim?

    Meanwhile, given your reluctance to respond to my challenge, I will assume that you have misread Timaeus.

    —–Gregory: “Exactly, on the topic of Adam and Eve, he is defending heterodox Christianity. (But hey, welcome to ID’s Big Tent!)”

    I said Timaeus was not specifically defending Christian orthodoxy because his focus was on something else, namely putting a searchlight on the false claim that teleological Christianity can be reconciled with non-teleological evolution. That is not even close to saying that Timaeus is defending heterodoxy. Do you always read your preferences into what people say and ignore the clear meaning of their words? Did you do that with Timaeus on the subject of Adam and Eve?

    ——“‘Toying with,’ however, is not the same as accepting. Kathryn Applegate is a biologist who accepts ‘real, historical A&E.’ Denis Alexander’s white paper speaks of (real, historical) ‘homo divinus,’ via John Stott. Does this make Kathryn and Denis A. (and John Stott) more ‘orthodox’ on the topic of A&E than Timaeus? It would seem so.”

    I recall Timaeus explaining the difference between merely conceding that Adam and Eve as historical characters and accepting the more definitive [and non-negotiable] teaching that they were the first parents of the human race. It is the latter challenge that Biologos refuses to acknowledge. To that extent, they are, indeed, toying with heterodoxy, just as Timaeus pointed out. It troubles me that you do not grasp the difference.

    Indeed, I even cited the official teaching of the Catholic Church on the non-negotiable nature of the teaching in question and explained how it is opposed to the Biologos position—after you had mistakenly claimed that the Biologos position was the same as the Catholic position.

    —–Gregory: “Though it may seem like the only choice to IDists, I don’t accept the ‘design vs. chance’ dichotomy. And I’m not privy to ‘knowing’ how God is (directly or indirectly) involved with biological evolution and/or natural history. As an Abrahamist, I believe G-D intended human beings (to appear) on Earth. Afaiu, this is the orthodox Abrahamic position.”

    Well, if God intended human beings to appear, and if God created the evolutionary process to realize that intention, then it should be obvious that He intended the process to produce the outcome. It makes no sense to say, as does Biologos, that God chose the evolutionary process to produce man, and then try to walk it back by pleading ignorance about whether or not the outcome of the process was the one God intended. Either God [a] intended and caused the desired outcome through a teleological process or [b] He left the outcome to chance by risking a non-teleological process that could have produced an outcome that He didn’t want. There is no third option, unless, of course, you want to posit direct creation sans evolution. So, which pathway do you choose?

    —–“Just as with the agnostic Berlinski, I challenge you to find a quotation from Anthony Flew that is kataphatic wrt ‘design,’ i.e. that is not only negatively suggestive, but also positive. ID for Flew is a(n – classical) argument for G-D’s existence; it is not a concept duo meant for 21st century biology.”

    That isn’t much of a challenge, but I will be happy to respond.

    From Flew:
    “I now believe that the universe was brought into existence by an infinite Intelligence. I believe that this universe’s intricate laws manifest what scientists have called the Mind of God. I believe that life and reproduction originate in a divine Source. Why do I believe this, given that I expounded and defended atheism for more than a half century? The short answer is this: this is the world picture, as I see it that has emerged from modern science.”

    ——“Flew was *not* suggesting that ‘science’ can discover evidence of ‘design in nature.’ Flew’s ‘response’ was philosophical and not empirical. Even so, his ‘conversion’ to deism is based on apologetics, not science.”

    It seems that you are hell bent on mischaracterizing Flew’s view even in the teeth of countervailing evidence. For Flew, “modern science,” not Aristotle, was the deal breaker for atheism.

    —–“Now will you tell us please, StephenB, if your prior faith in G-D has *anything* to do with your acceptance of ‘intelligent design’? Shall we assume, like Gil Dodgen and Timaeus, that you were born into or became religious, a person of faith, *before* you had heard about ID? Iow, as a historical-personal fact, you were religious first and came to believe in/accept ‘intelligent design’ later, right?”

    No. My Catholic faith, which is also grounded in the philosophical reasoning of St. Thomas Aquinas–and the Bible–and Sacred Tradition, causes me to be attracted to Intelligent Design arguments, but it does not persuade me of their validity. I know a good reasoned argument when I read one, and the ID argument is a good one. Here is it in summarized form: In every case where human agency is involved as a cause, recognizable and empirically verifiable design patterns are present in the effects. Some features in nature exhibit those same recognizable and empirically verifiable patterns. Therefore, it is a good bet that those patterns were designed as well. That is a reasonable argument and it has absolutely nothing to do with my faith.

    —–“As with Timaeus, I would bet the same about StephenB: “He believes in (small) ‘intelligent design’ *because* he believes in God.” Biology here is a red herring.”

    I accept ID arguments because they are reasonable. I also accept fine-tuning arguments and Big Bang cosmology for the same reason, NOT simply because they are consistent with my faith commitment. An argument does not “depend on” religious faith just because it is “consistent with” religious faith—or even if it is preceded by religious faith. Valid inferences from evidence do not depend on assumptions that presume those inferences in advance. Otherwise, they would not be inferences. As it is, you still do not understand ID as an inference from data to the best explanation. It is not a circular argument in which the conclusion is assumed in the hypothesis. I asked you to read our FAQ section to familiarize yourself with ID methodology. Did you?

  56. I am going to revise my summary of the design argument, because I left out an important component:

    In every case where an intelligent human agenct is known to be the cause of design, recognizable and empirically verifiable patterns are present in the effects. Some features in nature exhibit those same recognizable and empirically verifiable patterns. Therefore, it is a good bet that those patterns were also caused by an intelligent agent.

  57. StephenB:

    Thanks for your comments. You’ve understood the point of my earlier posts, and you are ably defending my position.

    I appreciate your attempt to elicit an answer from Gregory on the important question about God and evolution. You’ve captured my question perfectly: How could God have used a Darwinian process, which by nature lacks intentionality, to achieve particular intended ends? This is a question that Biologos — er, sorry, BioLLLLLLogos — refuses to answer. Instead they utter, with wooden, programmatic piety: “We know by faith that God’s providence is in charge of all things” — and then affirm a biological mechanism which is incompatible with the very notion of providence. That’s theology according to Biologos — only piety required, no logic necessary.

    You’ve also understood that my goal was not to try to establish whose understanding of Adam and Eve was *correct*, but only to establish that the two views being discussed, i.e., that of Biologos (Adam and Eve were merely two out of a large population of anatomically modern human beings, but two who were called into a special relationship with God), and that of the Christian tradition at least up to the time of Pius XII (that Adam and Eve were the first human beings period, and the biological ancestors of every human being since) — are incompatible with each other. Because of this limited purpose, it was not necessary for me to discuss my own views.

    However, since you have now asked me to clarify my view, I will make a few points. First, I don’t “reject” the orthodox view of Adam and Eve as parents of the human race. Whoever said that about me has confused me with Biologos, where they believe that the orthodox view has literally been disproved by population genetics calculations. Second, I *do* reject a 4004 B.C. date for Adam and Eve. Such a date would be out by at least one order of magnitude, maybe two, if Adam and Eve are to be taken as the only two ultimate ancestors of all human beings. And I say that not for any of the genetics reasons set forth by Biologos, but simply from what we know of human migrations and human settlements, from both historical and prehistorical sources of information. So an Adam of Eve of 100,000 B.C., or 200,000 B.C., would be possibilities. And as far as I know, the major churches — Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, etc. aren’t wedded to 4004 B.C., so I don’t know that my view here is unorthodox by current standards, though it would be non-traditional, since most people before the Enlightenment did take the Biblical genealogies literally. But for Biologos, even such a very early “old earth” date for Adam and Eve is impossible, because they believe that they have calculated that the earliest primeval couple would have lived about 6-9 million years ago and hence would have been not only non-human, but even non-hominid, pre-human primates. In other words, for Biologos, that first genetic couple who were the ancestor of us all would have been animals on the level of chimpanzees, or lower; “Adam and Eve” thus vanish in a puff of smoke. I don’t have confidence in the sort of genetic calculations that are employed to come to such conclusions.

    Third, while I don’t “reject” the traditional understanding that there was an actual couple who were parents of the race, I don’t insist upon it. It is certainly possible, from a literary point of view, to interpret the genre of Genesis 2-3 as “myth” (in the technical sense, not the pejorative sense). This interpretation poses certain problems for Western, Augustinian Christianity, and hence for both Catholic and Protestant doctrine, because of the way that Western Christianity has read a couple of statements of St. Paul. But it isn’t necessarily incompatible with Christianity as such, provided that the Incarnation is understood to have a function other than as a legal device to wipe away the guilt of “original sin”. And indeed, in Eastern Christianity the main purpose of the Incarnation is not as a sin remover, but as an indicator of the possibility of theosis — the realization of the divine potential in man. So it isn’t necessarily unfaithfulness on the part of a Christian to read the Adam and Eve story in an unhistorical way.

    The problem with Biologos is not that it entertains unconventional readings of Genesis. Theologians do that all the time. The problem with Biologos is that its motivation for its unconventional readings is purely external. It wants to harmonize Genesis with science. It has no deep commitment to the study of Christian theology as something of value in itself. Thus, it will toss out a model like “federal headship” without showing the slightest interest in how the Fathers, the Scholastics or the Reformers would have reacted to the notion. It’s enough for Biologos that the federal headship problem solves the biology conflict; then it moves on. The ripple effects of denying various traditional teachings are of no concern to it. And this is facilitated by the fact that the main players at Biologos are from a very liberal Arminian-Wesleyan tradition which really has little use for systematic, rational theology, and is concerned only with personal faith in Jesus as Savior. Those from traditions where orderly theological thought is required — Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, Reformed, Lutheran — cannot simply pick and choose particular readings of the Bible based on whether they conform to current biology or physics or geology. Every time a reading of the Bible is changed, much of theology — which is an interlocking network of doctrines — has to be adjusted, and that is no trivial matter. But this is not evident to those who hold to the shallow, compartmentalized view of reality — facts belong over here, and feelings belong over there, therefore I can love science and I can love Jesus — that animates the scientists over at Biologos.

    The main failure of Biologos, as I see it, is not its outdated neo-Darwinian biology (though of course that outdated biology is why Falk, Venema and Applegate are completely ignored by every serious evolutionary biologist on the face of the planet); the main failure of Biologos is that it doesn’t have the slightest clue what the project of Christian theology entails. There hasn’t been a regular contributor at Biologos since its inception who is capable of carrying on even an advanced undergraduate discussion of Christian theology, let alone the complex post-graduate level theological discussions necessary to handle the relationship between science and Christian doctrine.

    I hope this clarifies my own position, Stephen. In any case, it’s all I have time for on this thread. If, despite this clarification, others wish to attack me for all kinds of alleged hidden motives, there is nothing I can do about it. I’ve written honestly and without attempt to deceive. I don’t claim to represent perfect orthodox Catholicism or Protestantism. I do claim to know enough about Christian theology to recognize a mass of contradiction, confusion, equivocation, historical ignorance, manipulative proof-texting, studied ambiguity, and outright deception. And that’s what I see at Biologos, and that’s why I have the right to denounce it in scathing terms for the humbug it is, without setting myself up as a theological model for anyone else to emulate.

  58. “So an Adam of Eve of 100,000 B.C., or 200,000 B.C., would be possibilities.” – Timaeus

    Possibilities, schmosibilities! Timaeus the Greek, the question is very simple: Yes or no – do you believe a ‘real, historical Adam and Eve’ lived?

    Noticing that Timaeus has conveniently dodged his own ‘Big ID’ vs. ‘small id’ distinction above, many other questions are still left open by his recurrent equivocations.

    BioLogos (thanks for Timaeus’ reluctant respectfullness in CAPITALISATION) *IS* openly a Christian organisation. Check the message & don’t unwisely oppose them on this topic. Would StephenB directly suggest that BioLogos is *not* a Christian organisation?! Yes or no?

    “did God decide that man was to appear” – Timaues

    I answered: “Yes, of course God did decide this!”

    Mark it: StephenB hasn’t responded to this direct answer.

    “The question persists: On the question about Adam and Eve as the first parents of the human race, do you, as a Catholic, agree with the science of Biologos or the teaching of the Catholic Church?” – StephenB

    Though I am not a Catholic Christian, I agree with the teaching of the Catholic Church on this question. Adam and Even were ‘real & historical.’ In this, I also agree with Jews and Muslims. BioLogos has not ‘disproven’ the historicity of A&E.

    Does Timaeus agree with the historicity of A&E? No, he seemingly does not. He is welcome to speak plainly otherwise, but has not yet done so convincingly. In previous conversations (documented), Timaeus has rejected the Catholic Church’s view of ‘real, historical Adam and Eve.’

    Perhaps it will help to clarify, on my limited fallible understanding, that the ‘orthodox’ view is that Adam and Even were ‘real, historical’ persons. This could have been several thousand up to several million years. The main point is the ‘historical reality’ of Adam and Eve, source of the Fall. Can this be confirmed by Timaeus or StephenB or not? Yes or no.

    “I don’t ‘reject’ the orthodox view of Adam and Eve as parents of the human race” … “I don’t ‘reject’ the traditional understanding that there was an actual couple who were parents of the race” – Timaeus

    Timaeus wiping that he is right and that he understands himself correctly; that he is on ‘our side’ means little if he fundamentally reject the anti-real, historical A&E position. What does Timaeus believe?

    If Timaeus accepts a real, historical A&E, let him come forth and declare it openly and directly. I do and will declare so and am ready to repeat this claim publically.

    Timaeus’ duplicitious “I don’t insist on it” is a tell-tall sign that he either has no opion or rejects in his heart the orthodox view of A&E.

    “it isn’t necessarily unfaithfulness on the part of a Christian to read the Adam and Eve story in an unhistorical way.” – Timaeus

    AhA! Truth be told. Does Timaeus “read the Adam and Even story in an unhistorical way?” Yes, my belief is that he does. Will Timaeus directly reject this perception or not?

    I doubt if anything other than equivocation is what Timaeus the Greek is possible of producing, from under his protected sock puppet.

    “the main failure of Biologos is that it doesn’t have the slightest clue what the project of Christian theology entails” – Timaeus

    Sadly, I doubt that Timaeus speaks for any particular ‘Christian theology’ from the inside. Iow, what indication does Timaeus give that he is personally ‘in tune’ with ‘Christian theology’ today and what it means to people in society? I doubt Timaeus is affiliated with or regular in attendance with any Christian church.

    He speaks against the “liberal Arminian-Wesleyan tradition.” But what ‘tradition’ does Timaeus the Greek speak for in a positive sense? I hear a lot of criticism and defense of ‘designism’ from Timaeus. But (in light of Plato’s dialogue) what social-political sense of ‘design’ does Timaeus claim to represent?

  59. Gregory

    BioLogos (thanks for Timaeus’ reluctant respectfullness in CAPITALISATION) *IS* openly a Christian organisation. Check the message & don’t unwisely oppose them on this topic. Would StephenB directly suggest that BioLogos is *not* a Christian organisation?! Yes or no?”

    In my judgment, Biologos fails to measure up as a Christian organization in at least three ways:

    First, they reject the clear teaching of Romans 1:20, the central theme of which declares that God’s handiwork is evident in all of nature. For them, God revealed himself in cosmology and went back into hiding in biology. By taking that position, they undermine the rational foundation for Christian belief.

    Second, they argue for an anti-Christian, non-teleological evolutionary model even as they disingenuously use the rhetoric of teleology. Because they talk out of both sides of their mouth, they refuse to answer a simple question: Did God intend and cause the outcome of evolution through a teleological process or did he leave the result to chance through a non-teleological process?

    Third, and most important, they claim, falsely and disingenuously, that they have reconciled orthodox Christianity with modern science. On the contrary, they have simply subordinated orthodox Christianity to the pseudo science of neo-Darwinism, for which there is no supporting evidence.

    “I answered: “Yes, of course God did decide this!”
    Mark it: StephenB hasn’t responded to this direct answer.

    That isn’t true. I answered very clearly by acknowledging your affirmation and explaining why it was an incomplete and evasive answer. My question persists: Did God intend and cause the outcome of evolution through a teleological process, or did he leave the result to chance through a non-teleological process?

    “I agree with the teaching of the Catholic Church on this question. Adam and Even were ‘real & historical.’ In this, I also agree with Jews and Muslims. BioLogos has not ‘disproven’ the historicity of A&E.”

    In fact, you have not been very clear on the matter. The Catholic Church teaches that Adam and Eve were the first parents of the human race, not simply that they existed as historical figures. You have not said that you agree with both elements of the teaching. Do you?

    “Does Timaeus agree with the historicity of A&E? No, he seemingly does not. He is welcome to speak plainly otherwise, but has not yet done so convincingly. In previous conversations (documented), Timaeus has rejected the Catholic Church’s view of ‘real, historical Adam and Eve.’”

    Even it that is true, and I doubt it, you continue to miss the point. Timaeus, unlike Biologos, does not claim to represent orthodox Christianity or, more importantly, to have reconciled it with neo-Darwinian ideology. Under the circumstances, he is not responsible for defending his own orthodoxy.

    “Timaeus’ duplicitious “I don’t insist on it” is a tell-tall sign that he either has no opinion or rejects in his heart the orthodox view of A&E.”

    We have already been there. Since Timaeus doesn’t claim allegiance to the flag, he is under no obligation to salute it. You cannot afford to display such an insulting tone, especially in the aftermath of so many careless misattributions on your part, including but not limited to, a reckless misrepresentation of Plato on design, a factually irresponsible account of Anthony Flew’s conversion to Deism, a false comparison between Biologos and the Catholic Church on Adam and Eve, and a completely disordered notion of the rationale behind design thinking. In each case, I refuted your egregious errors without piling on or making comments about your proclivity to pass off the products of your imagination as knowledge. I have been very gentle with you.

  60. I think I understand what Timaeus is saying. You know, there was a guy once called “doubting Thomas.”

    It’s funny. I can think of any number of literalist Christians in my acquaintance who are sure that the Bible is inerrant but don’t seem to have a very good grasp of what it is all about. The story of “A&E” is the foundational story of an entire worldview and psychology. Everything that is needed to understand reality and the human condition is right there.

    And yet the story is treated by some as a litmus test. I think it’s possible—in fact I’m quite sure it is—for a Doubting Thomas to struggle with the literal aspects of the story and yet have a strong emotional and intellectual attachment to it as wisdom literature.

    Now Thomas was obviously attached to Jesus. He was the one who said “Let us go, that we may die with him” when it seemed Jesus was headed for his certain death, and “greater love has no man than to lay down his life for his friend.” Also Jesus let the poor fellow touch his wounds. He did not reject him, although he admonished him for his lack of faith.

    Meanwhile it is quite possible to be a litmus test Christian and not have this self-sacrificing attachment. It is quite possible to cling to the historical literalness of “A&E” and not understand that the story is about the value of life; that it is about choosing self-love over sincere love; that it is about the spirit of emulation that plagues the human race and is the source of all unhappiness,

    It reminds us of a concert we went to many decades ago at a church in Manhattan, Tallis Scholars, if memory serves. Afterwards, the priest, a rather dour-looking fat little man, pushed his way rudely and relentlessly through the crowd, which surely must have included a few seekers.
    His doctrine was probably perfect, he looked very impressive in black, but he didn’t really get the point, did he?

  61. “All of us at BioLogos believe in intelligent design.” – Darrel Falk (BioLogos President)

    http://biologos.org/blog/scien.....approaches

  62. Gregory,

    And then we have Falk’s comments in this thread. This question was asked:

    In your view, is evolution an entirely unguided process? Or was it guided by God, even if not in a way science is capable of detecting?

    See the replies from Venema and Falk.

  63. nullasalus:

    Re your comment at 62: Indeed! They will talk about “intelligent design” when they speak as (amateur) theologians; they refuse to use the language of design when they speak as biologists. This intellectual compartmentalism runs through the whole project of Biologos.

    It was because the questioner on Biologos was inviting them to bridge this compartmentalization, and speak of the relationship between biology and teleology, that they made difficulty. Their entire position depends, for its defense, on keeping the relationship between those two things as intellectually murky as possible.

    ID threatens them, because it attempts to offer the world some clarity on the biology-teleology relationship, and clarity is the last thing Biologos wants. Ironically, ID comes closer to the purpose implied in the name “Biologos” than Biologos itself does, since ID says that logos can be detected in the realm of bios. The Biologos people, given a thousand chances to affirm this, and live up to their name, answer obliquely every time. They speak of providence without defining it, they speak of mystery, they speak of being Wesleyan rather than Calvinist — they do anything rather than articulate an understanding which theoretically unifies evolutionary biology with divine intentionality. How very sad.

  64. Yes, nullasalus, I was following the thread you cite at BioLogos as well. It may be worth re-visiting here at UD, since Jon Garvey who participated there is also active sometimes here.

    Can I inquire if the person who put the questions to Darrel Falk and Dennis Venema named ‘Crude’ is also a participant here at UD? (Would he or she please raise their voice if so…)

    Ted Davis’ presence as a new BioLogos Senior Fellow changes the shape of the discourse imo significantly. Perhaps he would be also willing to chime in if a new thread were opened specifically dedicated to what Darrel and Dennis wrote in reply to Crude and Jon Garvey on that thread and how UD-ID people find it unsatisfactory. I notice several problems with Darrel’s and Dennis’ comments also, but which are more understandable given the sociology of religion in which ‘evangelicals’ operate.

    Notice from Ted’s article he just linked on BioLogos from “First Things” 2007, as it relates to comments started by Timaeus about small id and Big ID in this thread and wrt what Darrel just wrote about BioLogos believing in (small id) ‘intelligent design’: “I believe in intelligent design, lower case i and lower case d,” writes Gingrich (a TE). “But I have a problem with Intelligent Design, capital I and capital D. It is being sold increasingly as a political movement, as if somehow it is an alternative to Darwinian evolution.”

    It does appear that Ted is moving toward reconciliatory language. It might be helpful for UD to host its own conversation about why that thread in particular, as well as perhaps a few others, where Darrel and others have dodged ‘undetectable guidance’ questions, can be taken as a symptom of what is wrong with BioLogos’ approach, as an openly evangelical or even ‘Darwinistic’ organisation.

  65. A comment about Ted’s thread here.

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