Home » Christian Darwinism, Intelligent Design, theistic evolution » He said it: Steve Fuller on theistic evolution and the Darwinian challenge – Francis Collins edition

He said it: Steve Fuller on theistic evolution and the Darwinian challenge – Francis Collins edition

Warwick U’s Steve Fuller, author of Dissent over Descent (2008):

Our first witness is the poster boy Francis Collins, the born-again Christian who led the US National Institutes of Health’s drive to map the human genome. His recent bestseller, The Language of God, recounts how his bohemian upbringing resulted in a spiritual emptiness that only came to be filled upon reading C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity as a graduate student in biochemistry. This small fact is telling. Lewis, a colleague of J.R.R. Tolkien at Oxford, is often recommended to open-minded people to ease them into the Christian faith.

Lewis’s rhetorical gifts lay in presenting Christianity as demanding little more than what readers are already presumed to believe, but promising much in return if they just take the extra step to accept Jesus as their personal saviour. In a sense, Lewis simply updated the spiritual eclecticism of medieval literature – his scholarly expertise – that had been used to ease the passage of the British Isles’ pagan natives into Christendom. It is a low-cost approach to religion that reappears in Collins’ eagerness to play down any important conflict between God and Darwin. He wants to square things for scientists who don’t want ID on their doorstep but who also don’t want to have to examine their beliefs too closely. (P. 101)

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8 Responses to He said it: Steve Fuller on theistic evolution and the Darwinian challenge – Francis Collins edition

  1. 1

    Absolutely correct. If the majority of atheists fully realized the repercussions of their beliefs, they wouldn’t be atheists. When forced to examine said beliefs, they get EXTREMELY defensive. I would say ignorance is bliss, but I haven’t met too many happy atheists.

  2. If he liked and appreciated CS Lewis so much then why didn’t he just accept what Lewis did, that life is not the result of some mere natural unguided process, but in fact is the end resulted manifestation of obvious design? I think Collins is another product and victim of the political correctness gone mad that pervades academia. If you dare question materialistic orthodoxy you almost always cannot get ahead, and certainly not to the prestigious positions. So in trying to attain those goals one often rejects the reality of their faith, in an attempt to divorce themselves from feeling bad about selling out. That is probably mainly what brought Collins to his current intellectually unsound position. Perhaps he is in a state of denial.

  3. My fellow born again christians always, almost, insist the bible is true.
    mr Collins does not come from a evangelical background and so has accepted a little but not everything.
    in fact Evangelical christians in America probably, at best , are 10% of the pop. However in parts of America every protestant church goer will tend to say they are born again but ain’t.
    Evangelicals are middle class people and only a have their fair share of the upper middle class. its the upper middle class that do most of the achievements in these circles. He’s a johnny come lately and missed most of the meal.

  4. Here are a couple of quotes from C.S. Lewis that have stuck out for me;

    ‘I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to. – Mere Christianity, pages 40-41.

    “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” = C.S. Lewis

    Brooke Fraser- “C S Lewis Song” – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GHpuTGGRCbY

  5. I think it’s more complex. I don’t think one can sum it up in a simple soundbite. I think it’s different with different people, the attempt to reconcile theistic evolution with neo-Darwinism.

    Some of my biggest heroes in science were and are theistic evolutionists. However this was largely back in the day before ID really got going. I think that with the older generation of scientists and scholars (let us say those over 60), they were/are too wedded to the old view and expecting them to do a u-turn in later life, when we become more set in our ways, is not to be expected in the main.

    I also think many even brilliant scientists and scholars, whatever their discoveries and insights, had a blind spot with neo-Darwinism (it’s still there), I don’t think they look at it too closely at all and its clearly atheistic or at best deistic implications and even underpinnings are simply not recognised. Instead they are focused on their particular disciplines, and there is so much to study and read up on – it is without end – that the background noise of neo-Darwinism is never placed under serious scrutiny.

  6. The whole issue is not a matter of “reconciling Jesus with neo-Darwinism (the “modern synthesis”)”. It’s a matter of reconciling *naturalism* with Jesus. Accepting any empirically demonstrated evolution (fossil and geologically record, for example) may make it difficult to be a YEC, but it causes little or no difficultly with regards to accepting Jesus. The problem is naturalism, not “evolution.” Naturalism, by definition, allows no miracles. And you cannot have Jesus without miracles and intervention in the history of the earth.

  7. To continue, the only reason one would have trouble “accepting Jesus and Darwin” is if they were operating in a framework of Naturalism. Neo-Darwinism has gaping explanatory holes with respect to biological life.
    If one assumes Naturalism, then *something* like a neo-Darwinian process *must* account for biological life. And NDE “is the best thing going.” Etc. But drop the Naturalism and the problem disappears since neo-Darwinism has huge gaping explantory holes if we stick to what is empirically verified. Toss out Naturalism and the problem with “reconciling Jesus with Darwin” goes out the window.

  8. actually mike1962, with some naturalists proposing multiple universes to ‘explain away’ the extreme fine-tuning of this universe, as well as some naturalists proposing ‘many-worlds’ to ‘explain away’ the Theistic implications of quantum wave collapse to each ‘observer’ in the universe, it seems apparent that some naturalists actually do believe that ‘anything is possible’, i.e. they actually do believe that miracles are possible! It just seems that they will never allow the possibility of a miracle maker into their worldview, no matter what other absurdity they have to believe in instead to prevent it!

    notes;

    Finely Tuned Big Bang, Elvis In ‘Many-Worlds’, and the Schroedinger Equation – Granville Sewell – audio
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4233012

    Dr. Bruce Gordon – The Absurdity Of The Multiverse & Materialism/Naturalism in General – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5318486/

    further notes;

    It is also interesting to note that when naturalists proposed the multiverse and many-worlds, that they conceded the necessary premise to Plantinga’s ontological argument, thus making it a ‘knock-down’ argument;

    Ontological Argument – Dr. Plantinga (3:50 minute mark)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCXvVcWFrGQ

    God Is Not Dead Yet – William Lane Craig – Page 4
    The ontological argument. Anselm’s famous argument has been reformulated and defended by Alvin Plantinga, Robert Maydole, Brian Leftow, and others. God, Anselm observes, is by definition the greatest being conceivable. If you could conceive of anything greater than God, then that would be God. Thus, God is the greatest conceivable being, a maximally great being. So what would such a being be like? He would be all-powerful, all-knowing, and all-good, and he would exist in every logically possible world. But then we can argue:

    1. It is possible that a maximally great being (God) exists.
    2. If it is possible that a maximally great being exists, then a maximally great being exists in some possible world.
    3. If a maximally great being exists in some possible world, then it exists in every possible world.
    4. If a maximally great being exists in every possible world, then it exists in the actual world.
    5. Therefore, a maximally great being exists in the actual world.
    6. Therefore, a maximally great being exists.
    7. Therefore, God exists.

    Now it might be a surprise to learn that steps 2–7 of this argument are relatively uncontroversial. Most philosophers would agree that if God’s existence is even possible, then he must exist. So the whole question is: Is God’s existence possible? The atheist has to maintain that it’s impossible that God exists. He has to say that the concept of God is incoherent, like the concept of a married bachelor or a round square. But the problem is that the concept of God just doesn’t appear to be incoherent in that way. The idea of a being which is all-powerful, all knowing, and all-good in every possible world seems perfectly coherent. And so long as God’s existence is even possible, it follows that God must exist.
    http://www.christianitytoday.c.....ml?start=4

    further notes;

    THE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS – DAVID P. GOLDMAN – August 2010
    Excerpt: we cannot construct an ontology that makes God dispensable. Secularists can dismiss this as a mere exercise within predefined rules of the game of mathematical logic, but that is sour grapes, for it was the secular side that hoped to substitute logic for God in the first place. Gödel’s critique of the continuum hypothesis has the same implication as his incompleteness theorems: Mathematics never will create the sort of closed system that sorts reality into neat boxes.
    http://www.faqs.org/periodical.....27241.html

    This following site is a easy to use, and understand, interactive website that takes the user through what is termed ‘Presuppositional apologetics’. The website clearly shows that our use of the laws of logic, mathematics, science and morality cannot be accounted for unless we believe in a God who guarantees our perceptions and reasoning are trustworthy in the first place.

    Proof That God Exists – easy to use interactive website
    http://www.proofthatgodexists.org/index.php

    Nuclear Strength Apologetics – Presuppositional Apologetics – video
    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....pologetics

    John Lennox – Science Is Impossible Without God – Quotes – video remix
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6287271/

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