Home » Christian Darwinism, Intelligent Design » What part of naked, normal Darwinism do the BioLogians actually reject and why?

What part of naked, normal Darwinism do the BioLogians actually reject and why?

Here at “The Hump of the Camel,” Jon Garvey (who comments at times at UD and is much appreciated) discusses the ongoing debate between Bill Dembski for the ID theorists and Darrel Falk and others for Biologos:

… Falk leaves very little room for exceptionalism in his description of evolution, which belongs entirely to the natural, law-driven, activity of God. Such a process could not produce other than the reliable and predictable. 98% identity with the chimp genome sits happily with that, but I’m not so sure that language, space travel and Rembrandt do. Darrel’s phrase, “our linguistic and cognitive abilities aside…“, leaves quite a lot unexplained by a strictlty lawlike process. But not, I agree, the spiritual nature of man, which is the truly unique thing. I’m assuming that Darrel would class such a thing within his “supernatural” category, rather than his “natural”.

And that begs the question: when and how did that relationship begin? If Falk and I agree that it cannot be an “emergent property” of evolution, then it had an origin. And not only that, but it had an origin independent of anything natural or directly detectable by science, such as language and cognition are. A relationship can develop, grow or be damaged, but it has an origin in space and time, and it involves individual interaction.

If it is the relationship with God, and not biological attributes, that defines man’s exceptionality, then there was a first man, or first people. And those first people were the first true humans, regardless of whether they were descended from genetically identical parents who spoke, thought – and in fact did everything except experience that exceptional relationship with the true God.

For example, it could well be that a man, or even a couple, …

It sounds like he is holding Falk’s feet to the fire about what he actually does believe.

The BioLogians kvetch about being called Christian Darwinists. But what explicit proposition advanced by Darwinists in the science literature are they prepared to deny, based on evidence?

Incidentally, what evidence against Darwinism would they accept? What evidence for design would they accept?

If they weasel on that one, some of us are uncertain what the point of a discussion between them and ID theorists is.

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20 Responses to What part of naked, normal Darwinism do the BioLogians actually reject and why?

  1. To the point: Could we please have a definition offered from News of “naked, normal Darwinism?” What does that specifically mean?

    Falk has straight-out denied being a ‘Darwinist’. This is no longer in question – Falk does not consider himself to be a ‘Darwinist’. Calling him a ‘Christian Darwinist’ is thus mere culture war-oriented trickery courtesy of Uncommon Descent.

    If it’s simply ‘your News’ Darwinism’ that is represented, then Falk’s so-called Darwinism’ may differ from that, and really be ‘not-Darwinism’ by most peoples’ definitions. Let us wait to see if Falk responds to Jon’s direct questions.

    Otherwise, without News’ definition, we won’t know if Falk falls short or comes up big or just somewhere in-between.

    Falk’s feet may be to the fire by Jon’s work, but so is News’ rhetorical ‘Christian Darwinist’ phrase. Or does News think this is ‘just news’ and not something dealing with truth anymore?

    Thanks,
    Gr.

  2. How about starting with this: Does Darrel Falk believe that religion is either an adaptation or byproduct of an adaptation of human evolution, as opposed to the outcome of a revelation?

    Could other BioLogians be polled on this question?

  3. Falk writes

    —” I concur that Darwin had no scientific basis for concluding that the evolutionary process did not end up exactly the way that God intended in the beginning. If Darwin reached non-teleological conclusions on the basis of his data then he allowed his philosophical and theological commitments to influence his conclusions. Like Dembski, I believe God did call our existence into being; there is a teleological basis for our presence on earth. We are by no means an accident and to the extent that Darwin thought we are, he was wrong.”

    There is much bad logic here. First of all, Falk believes in Darwinian evolution, which, as everyone knows, reduces biological design to an illusion. Yet he also claims to believe in teleology–as if teleology could exist in the absence of design. Accordingly, the Darwinian evolution that he supports is, by definition, capable of producing nothing but accidents. Yet Falk embraces this accident producing process even as he tells us that we, as products of that process, are not accidents.

    Falk continues:

    –”I don’t think that God occludes or masks his activity. Thanks in no small part to science, we now recognize that there are “signposts” (C.S. Lewis’s term) all over the place directing our attention to the existence of our Creator.” The question is whether those “signposts” can be developed into scientific hypotheses that can be scientifically tested in a manner that parallels how one goes about testing the hypothesis that smoking causes cancer or that DNA is the genetic material.”

    This is more bad logic and a shameless strawman as well. Darwinian evolution doesn’t simply posit that biological signposts cannot be developed into a scientific hypotheses. It holds that these “signposts” do not exist at all–that they are illusions.

    Falk concludes: “I am not a Darwininst.”

    OF course Falk is a Darwinist. A Darwinist is someone who believes in Darwin’s general theory of evolution-a non-teleological, design-free, accident-producing process. Like most Christian Darwinists, Falk shamelessly uses the rhetoric of teleology while arguing on behalf of non-teleology.

  4. “Does Darrel Falk believe that religion is either an adaptation or byproduct of an adaptation of human evolution, as opposed to the outcome of a revelation?” – News

    That’s an easy one: “outcome of (a) revelation.” Guaranteed.

    And your definition of “naked, normal Darwinism,” News, will it be forthcoming? What does that specifically mean? How about starting with this?

  5. The naked Darwinist believes that religion is either an adaptation or a byproduct of an adaptation of human evolution from an apelike ancestor. It is not rational, it just happens.

    The Christian believes that it is a revelation from God, granted to rational beings with whom he seeks to relate. It is rational because the source is rational.

    Who at BioLogos is prepared to say that religion is not the outcome of normal evolutionary processes but of revelation?

    Religion was chosen as a topic because it clearly interests the BioLogians. Other topics are available.

  6. As someone who has pounded on Falk and Biologos in the past, I’d urge a little more caution here.

    I mean, if Falk is saying – and I haven’t read his whole piece yet – that he rejects Darwinism and believes that humanity’s arrival was intended and preordained even if by an evolutionary process, saying what amounts to “Well this is absurd, because Falk is a Darwinist and he rejects all teleology” just won’t fly.

    At that point, you need to start pulling quotes of Falk either saying this or strongly implying it.

  7. O.k. fair enough then, so are you (or would you be) willing to back off from your ‘naked(, normal) Darwinist’ claims towards BioLogos on account of anything?

    *All* of BioLogos believes: “It is rational because the source is rational.” This is absolutely and without question beyond dispute. Hello Big ‘L’! Take it to Darrel and BioLogos yourself, if you don’t believe it, please and let’s settle this.

    “Who at BioLogos is prepared to say that religion is not the outcome of normal evolutionary processes but of revelation?”

    Everyone at BioLogos is prepared to say that religion is the outcome of revelation. Everyone Evangelical at BioLogos will admit this! Everyone.

    Got it? Will you put your money where your News is, News?

  8. It is excellent news that they are prepared to say it, Gregory. Can you provide a link to where they say it? Some of us are quite seriously trying to distinguish their clearly stated actual point of view from that of conventional Darwinists of the sort who have – for example – held forth on religion in recent years.

  9. Falk concluded his column with the words:

    “Darwin’s views on teleology, human exceptionalism, and miracles were not compatible with Christianity. Quite simply, this is why I do not consider my views to be Darwinian and why I am not a Darwinist.”

    What Falk is trying to do here — and what all TEs try to do — is to divide Darwinian evolution into a scientific part and a philosophical part, and call the philosophical part “Darwinism.” The standard TE move is then to say that random mutation plus natural selection is “good science” whereas the personal philosophical predilections of Darwin are “bad philosophy.” So neo-Darwinian biology — the biology which Falk and Venema absorbed at their alma mater’s breast — remains entirely valid, while the evil “Darwinism” is repudiated as a non-Christian philosophy.

    This position would be valid if, as most TEs suppose (but entirely in contradiction with the facts), the philosophy of “Darwinism” were an arbitrary personal addition made by Darwin after his constructive scientific research was done. But in fact, what Falk is calling “Darwinism” is not some optional add-on to the “scientific theory, but a set of assumptions which is essential to making even the narrowly “scientific” part of the theory work.

    The denial of teleology is central to the whole theory; it’s tied up with Darwin’s very notion of “science” itself. He makes that clear in his thematic discussions of the nature of “science” in the *Origin*, in his letter to Asa Gray, and elsewhere. The only teleology Darwin can allow is a set of intelligently-planned general laws of the universe, e.g., gravity, set out by God, which facilitate or make possible the existence of life; but the march of life itself, for Darwin, is a series of contingencies — accidents — in which variation and selection improvise their dance, a dance which has no compulsory steps, and no structure, and which never finishes. Nothing in life is “for” any purpose or end; everything occurs as an accidental deviation from the genetic average, or as an opportunistic use of that deviation in the competition for survival (a competition which itself is based on no evolutionary teleology, but just a blind, mechanical rush to feed and reproduce oneself).

    So Darwinian science — just the science part — is not, as Falk erroneously supposes, neutral on teleology. The lack of teleology is the motor of the whole theory. That Falk (along with most TEs) cannot understand this just further confers my long-held opinion that people with Ph.D.s in science, though clever in their fields, are not necessarily good thinkers overall, since they cannot reason out the implications of the theories they work with every day. Scientists need more philosophy in their training.

    On human exceptionalism: the lack of human exceptionalism is not simply a private sentiment tossed out by Darwin after his scientific work on man was done; it is at the heart of the argument of *The Descent of Man*. The premise is that even the “highest” things (ethics, spirituality, art, etc.) can be derived by tiny degrees from the “lowest” things, and all the modern rubbish about evolutionary ethics, evolutionary origins of religion, etc., which fills modern journals and books, is simply the detailed outworking of Darwin’s fundamental premises, as given in *The Origin of Species* and extended in *The Descent of Man*. If you accept that the instincts of the beaver and the bee can be explained mechanistically and non-teleologically, you can accept that man’s highest and noblest characteristics arose in the same way. There is no need to suppose any magic moment at which God added his “image” or a human “soul” to some hominid; the hominid will already be fully human, without any special blessing or gift of God, simply by the action of Darwinian mechanisms.

    As for miracles, though in theory Falk and his gang admit that there may have been supernatural actions in the creation of life and species and man, in practice they pooh-pooh the idea, and search diligently for wholly naturalistic explanations. In other words, in practice, they do exactly what Darwin did, and what Darwin demanded that all natural scientists do. Regarding the Biblical miracles, the case is different; Darwin *did* reject Biblical miracles, whereas Falk does not. But Biblical miracles, as Falk points out, postdate the origin of life, species, and man. So the difference between Darwin and Falk on Biblical miracles has zero cash value in the way that science is done. It’s a difference which makes no difference. Falk may think Jesus walked on water, and Darwin may have denied it; but they both have exactly the same naturalistic account of how man got here.

    Thus, Falk’s denial of “Darwinism” is worthless. Falk accepts neo-Darwinian science, which is basically Darwin’s science with the errors purged and the insights of Mendel and population genetics added. He believes that mutations that have no goal, and are not in any way planned or engineered with a specific outcome in mind, are capable of producing new, well-orchestrated body plans. He believes that man was created in that way. And when asked — repeatedly — by people on BioLogos — including TEs like Jon Garvey — to state whether God exercised any governance over the evolutionary process, he has ducked the question, as has his biological colleague, Dennis Venema.

    If Falk *really* differed from Darwin regarding origins, he would not duck the question. He would say: “Yes, I believe that God exercised his divine governance of nature (not merely his divine sustinence of nature, but his divine governance) in order to keep the evolutionary process on track and make sure that man and all the other desired outcomes were in fact produced.” But you will never hear Falk say that. And the reason you will never hear Falk say that is that he accepts not just the “science” of Darwinism but the philosophy as well. He accepts the anti-teleology which lies as the very heart of the “purely scientific” part of the theory. He does not, of course, fully realize that in accepting the “science” part he is accepting the “philosophy” part. He is not well enough trained in philosophical thinking to see the connection. He has spent his life in the Church and in the lab, not in the library reading Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant, etc. But he has absorbed unconsciously the anti-teleological philosophy which makes Darwinian evolution work. He is thus a “Darwinian” in the philosophical as well as the scientific sense.

    He is not a “Darwinian” regarding his personal opinions about the Bible and Christian faith. But those opinions are irrelevant. All that Darwin needs, in order to persuade biologists to adopt an unwittingly un-Christian position, is to convince them that there is no teleology in nature, that randomness, drift, natural selection and other such undirected processes can produce miracles of organization. Once that belief is adopted, one is a Darwinian, no matter how loudly one swears that Jesus rose from the dead or that God answers prayer. Falk is a Darwinian. He is just unwilling to look seriously at the connection between the “purely scientific” claims of Darwinism and their philosophical underpinnings.

  10. ” All that Darwin needs, in order to persuade biologists to adopt an unwittingly un-Christian position, is to convince them that there is no teleology in nature, that randomness, drift, natural selection and other such undirected processes can produce miracles of organization. Once that belief is adopted, one is a Darwinian, no matter how loudly one swears that Jesus rose from the dead or that God answers prayer. Falk is a Darwinian. He is just unwilling to look seriously at the connection between the “purely scientific” claims of Darwinism and their philosophical underpinnings.” Yes, that’s the trouble.

    One outcome is that there could never be a discussion of religion in a current science journal that even considers the possibility that the best explanation is actual revelation – even when all the other claims seem to rest on paltry evidence.

    It actually doesn’t matter what the evidence says because if teleology is not possible, then there was no actual revelation in principle, and either adaptation or byproduct (or delusion) explain religion, however paltry the evidence.

    That was the express point of the question.

  11. nullasalus:

    Good point. If Falk is willing to say that humanity’s arrival was preordained *and* that God took all necessary steps to make sure that the evolutionary process attained that preordained goal, then it would be wrong to argue that Falk is philosophically Darwinian.

    Yet every time Falk is given an opportunity to clarify his position on whether God *did* anything to make sure that man actually arrived on the scene, he resorts to equivocation, obscurity, waffling, etc. Why does he do this?

    The most natural explanation is that his loyalties are split down the middle. What he learned from Ayala etc. as a biologist teaches him that mutations and selection have no ends in mind, and that the evolutionary process is not directed toward anything. What he believes as a Christian is that man was meant to be here. His problem is that most human beings — those who are not BioLogos-TEs — are unwilling to think and live schizophrenically on questions of such importance. They want to know how something can be true in science (there was no plan in evolution) and false in theology (evolution produced the results God intended). So they ask Falk and his friends for clarification. And in return they get weasel words.

    It’s really hard for me to feel sorry for Falk for the heat he is taking on this. He has invited it. All he has to say, to turn off the heat, is that he believes that God guided/steered evolution, or front-loaded/preprogrammed it, and he’s off the hook. But he won’t say anything like that. And I think it’s his loyalty to his school-days neo-Darwinism that prevents him from saying that. He doesn’t want to break ranks with the secular scientists he is trying to impress. He wants to keep their good-will. And to do that, he has to affirm an uncompromised anti-teleological naturalism in origins.

    That’s my inference. It may be false. I don’t insist on it. But Falk could easily blow my inference away by openly stating what he thinks about the relationship between the evolutionary process and the divine plan. The ball’s really in his court. If he chooses not to swing his racket as the ball bounces past him, he loses the point. Those are the rules of the game.

  12. I’m interested a little bit in clarifying what positions people actually take. Hence my hammering away at Darrel on the BioLogos thread. But I’m most interested in moving undertanding of reality on.

    From that viewpoint, don’t knock Darrel’s statement about exceptionality – it was the best part of his essay. There is a strong theological (by which I mean Biblical rather than philosophically waffly) case for seeing God’s “image” in man as primarily relational – God calls our race into covenant relationship, and that’s the world-changing supernatural event that makes us human, and Darrel Falk subscribes to it, on behalf of BioLogos.

    That doesn’t make our biological origins unimportant, but does take some of the sting out of the cultural hate-fest between Evolutionists and Creationists, if they both started reading Scripture without their Western Enlightenment cultural blinkers.

    The point of my blog was that, from my experience, BioLogos people, coming at things from the science end, tend to shout “allegorical” about Genesis reflexly because of genetics and dating, and fret about where such a relationship could commence in man’s evolutionary history. Perhaps without realising it, Darrel Falk has shown in his essay that one doesn’t have to puzzle about that – evolutionary history has nothing to do with the key event that makes us humans in God’s image. Not significant? Read it again.

    What I pointed out from that is that, if one takes it on board, the Genesis account of man could be taken as essentially historical (whether ones view of mankind’s origin is entirely Evolutionary or completely Creationist), even down to the Ussher’s dating. It’s the beginnings of an account that could potentially show compatibility between the evidence (not necessarily the theory) of science and a historical reading of Genesis.

    I don’t know if BioLogos will bite that – but then I’m equally unsure that UD folk will, or whether the customary battle-lines are more comfortable.

  13. @8 News

    I tell you what, News, take a Sunday (or Saturday or another time of Service) to go together to church with Darrel, Kathryn, Ted, Mark, et al. – read the Christian Creeds beside them, sing a hymn with them, then come back here and tell me that BioLogos is *not* prepared to say that religion is the outcome of revelation. Could you do it?

    Is it a deal? It just befoggles me that you consider this an issue of any contention at all. It isn’t.

    “…held forth on religion in recent years.” – News

    To me, this is one of the primary definitions of ‘intelligent design theory’ – to purposely “hold forth on religion,” because it aims to be ‘science-only,’ Dembski’s “THE Bridge” phraseology aside. I just don’t see ID ‘touch-down’ on the other side of that bridge, yet you are demanding of Falk that he and BioLogos do just that and continue to label him inappropriately, condescendingly, with the intent to mock and provoke, in a way that he has finally now said ‘NO’ to. So, in response, hopefully with respect and dignity, what are you going to do?

  14. Gregory, we are obviously not communicating. Links were requested to instances of Darrel Falk or BioLogians explicitly denying tenets of science-journal Darwinism to do with religion (useful adaptation? by-product?), in favour of an explicit statement that true* religion is a direct revelation.

    By “denying,” is meant denying in such clear terms that those journal authors – should they come across the statement – would be expected to clearly realize that Falk or the BioLogians in general disagree with them about the origin of religion *as a matter of interpretation of the facts and not as a matter of personal feelings.*

    Perhaps you published the links and we missed reading the post. Apologies, if so.

    When subjects as critical as that are not clear, hollering along for Jesus is, at best, a waste of time and at worst seriously misleading.

    Timaeus seems to think that Falk hedges on this point, and News is inclined to agree. but providing links would resolve the matter.

    This is News’ last contribution to the discussion with you, in the absence of them.

    * Of course there can be false religion IF there can be true religion, thus we can ignore the former for now. The science journal Darwinists do not believe religion can be either true or false in an empirical way.

  15. Here’s the essential problem as I see it. Life appears to have a purpose, or function, or telos. The main point of Darwin’s theory was to explain how that appearance of telos could be accounted mechanistically and accidentally, thus rendering teleology an illusion, or at least reducing it to blind mechanistic causes, such that it couldn’t be fundamental and irreducible or the product of a mind. As Timaeus points out above, Darwin was completely general with this, arguing that morality, religious belief, rational faculties, and our own purposes and the contents of our thoughts similarly reduced to the blind, mechanistic, and unintended.

    So for Falk to say that he agrees with Darwin’s theory but not his non-teleological conclusions is just confusing, because the non-teleological conclusion *is* the theory. You might as well say you agree with Einstein’s theory of special relativity, but not the E=MC^2 part. Or that you agree with Marx’s economic theory, but not his anti-capitalistic conclusions.

  16. Jon Garvey,
    I think it is a mistake, though a very common one, to load the *imago Dei* with so much theological meaning. And by that, I mean so much relational, symbolic, ethical and metaphysical meaning. There is no doubt, for example, that man was made to be like God and unlike animals with respect to worship, praise, prayer, creativity, consciousness, etc. But finding the origin of all these properties in Genesis One’s *imago Dei* actually distracts from what the text says. Inasmuch as Christ was man, and Christ was eternal, then being made in the image of God is being made in the image of Christ is being made with two arms, two legs, a head and torso. Images, after all, do not have consciousness, aesthetics, or speech (as the prophets continuously point out.)

    Now that we have 2000 years of biochemistry under out belt, we know that images have blueprints, and so we can say Adam was made with the blueprints of Christ, with the DNA of Christ, with the epigenetics of Christ. And that is profound in an entirely different sense than Darrel Falk and most theologians who take this “image” to be metaphysical. Because it says that man is made physically, and it is the physical that defines him.

    But what about all those metaphysical attributes that Falk wants to say are the distinguishing (if not miraculous) parts of man?

    Well, that’s where Genesis chapter 2 comes in. See http://rbsp.info/WTS/ST761-ii.pdf for an argument that chapter 2 is NOT a repeat of chapter 1. But the significance for Falk, is that we cannot separate God’s miraculous creation into a non-miraculous body and a miraculous soul, rather it is a miraculous physical creation followed by an even more miraculous spiritual creation.

  17. Robert

    The flaw in your argument is that though Christ is eternal, he was not eternally man, but took on manhood and raised it to heaven. I’d be interested if you can fish out any sources down theological history that discuss the preincarnation body of Christ (amongst the Mormons, maybe?).

    Now I’m far from those people who say that God opportunely chose to commune with the first intelligent species that evolution turned up, which happened to be an ape. Which is why I don’t go along with Falk’s (apparent) restriction of human exceptionality to relationship alone. But the issue was not whether we agree with his theology, but whether it’s legitimate theology.

    Images have blueprints (do they really? I haven’t seen a blueprint in half a lifetime)in modern manufacture, but not in ancient temple worship. What counts there is purely that God chooses to represent himself on earth via that locus.

    If your theology insists on genetic and phenotypic identity between Adam and Christ, then I have no doubt at all that nearly every theologian of every stripe will part company with you.

  18. Jon Garvey:

    I can’t tell whether your response in 12 was directed mainly to me, or to someone else.

    I was going to respond to 12 as it stood, but I see that in 17 you have qualified it somewhat, where you say:

    “Now I’m far from those people who say that God opportunely chose to commune with the first intelligent species that evolution turned up, which happened to be an ape. Which is why I don’t go along with Falk’s (apparent) restriction of human exceptionality to relationship alone. But the issue was not whether we agree with his theology, but whether it’s legitimate theology.”

    With this further explanation, my objection to what I took you to be saying largely vanishes.

    Yes, there could be an argument made for interpreting “the image of God” relationally, rather than in terms of some biological or other properties man has that other creatures don’t. I’m not sure how strong that argument could be made, but I think it could be made.

    Still, God did not choose other intelligent species — octopuses, dolphins, elephants, gorillas. He chose man. If the choice was not arbitrary, then presumably man has some features which make him more suitable for a relationship than those other creatures. So the question arises, what those features are, and how they arose.

    If we assume that all of those features could have arisen as “emergent” features of lower-order processes (random mutation, natural selection) which did not and could not intend them, then yes, God could simply “adopt” the emergent new being, man, and make him a “partner” in a covenant relationship.

    This, however, still raises the question whether God *prepared* man (through the evolutionary process) to have those features — in which case we are back to the question that Falk steadfastly refuses to answer, i.e., did God do anything *specific* (beyond create a universe which runs by laws) to guarantee that such a creature as man, with the right properties for covenant-relationship, would be produced? Or did he just roll the dice, and wait to see what natural laws would spit out, given enough time?

    Falk would *appear* to believe that God did nothing special — despite his repeated recent remarks that God may have intervened. Why do I say this? First, his emphasis that God may have intervened is very recent; there was hardly a ghost of that position on BioLogos until about a year ago, when some of the more radically naturalistic columnists were purged and BioLogos started to shift its persuasive efforts from the “left” to the “center” of the evangelical spectrum; (2) Second, even now, his concessions are theoretical only, and don’t show any promise of altering the way BioLogos talks about biological origins, i.e., purely naturalistically; (3) Falk appears, based on previous statements, to have a lifetime professional commitment to a neo-Darwinian, gene-focused, naturalistic account of biological origins, and nothing he has done recently indicates any change in that position (for example, he has run no columns on the views of Shapiro, or Margulis, or the Altenberg group, all of whom have criticized neo-Darwinian approaches, and while he has allowed Dembski to speak on theology, he hasn’t allowed Behe to speak on biology). I infer that Falk continues to believe that God needed to do nothing other than set up the possibility of “random mutation” and “natural selection” and so on, and that all the highest characteristics of man could have emerged from that process alone. This, of course, is the view sketched in *The Descent of Man*.

    Falk can of course immediately clarify the situation. He can take a “Catholic” position and say that, while Darwinian evolution prepared the body of man, and some of his mental features, man’s highest nature was created specially by God. But he avoids such a commitment.

    Possibly, like a good academic, Falk wishes to leave the question theoretically open — whether man’s highest qualities can be explained solely in Darwinian terms or require special divine action. But still, even academics usually indicate a provisional preference, and Falk almost certainly has an inclination which of these scenarios is more likely; yet he will not share that inclination with the public. Nor would Giberson, Enns, Kenton Sparks, etc. BioLogos columnists seem to specialize in holding back what they think on the most important theological issues. Is it any wonder why the more conservative evangelicals suspect BioLogos of being radically liberal? Only a radical liberal has reason to withhold his provisional views from a moderate evangelical audience.

    I realize, Jon, that my answer has now moved away from your original point, so I’ll come back to it: maybe Falk is on to something here. Maybe “image of God” can be understood without settling the question of naturalistic vs. supernatural origins. Maybe the question of human exceptionalism requires a special treatment outside the ID/TE conflict. Nonetheless, it continues to irritate many that Falk will not give even a provisional answer regarding naturalism in origins.

  19. Timaeus

    12 wasn’t, in fact, directed at you but was a comment on the whole thread. So I agree with pretty well all your points.

    In the end I come to conclusion that the essay and the comments that follow leave one little idea of what is actually, in the main, being proposed (the image of God bit being about the morst concrete thing there!).

    The main reason is that every positive staement is qualified by a proviso – it would not be odd for God to create using natural law since he sustains that by his power, but we’re not ruling out the supernatural. He creates by evolution, which is part of the law-driven, predictable natural order, but we can’t predict what it will produce – and anyway, who said God is restricted to what is predictable anyway.

    Do I agree with it, or disagree? I think I can give that a definite maybe.

  20. What BioLogos Believes

    This may or may not be new at BioLogos; I just discovered it today:
    “We reject ideologies such as Darwinism and Evolutionism that claim that evolution is a purposeless process or that evolution replaces God.”

    “We reject ideologies such as Materialism and Scientism that claim science is the sole source of knowledge and truth, that science has debunked God and religion, or that the physical world constitutes the whole of reality.”
    (http://biologos.org/about)

    Many UD people will not accept these statements. But then again, you’re involved in a ‘culture war’ over there in America so who would blame you for that?

    & simply because it was so near to the end of the thread that I re-read it, here is another example of Timaeus’ timidity:
    “Maybe the question of human exceptionalism requires a special treatment outside the ID/TE conflict.”

    Here I agree with Timaeus, though my thoughts and dreams about this possibility move much closer to reality than his do.

    Again, I’d like to return to News’ argument: “Who at BioLogos is prepared to say that religion is not the outcome of normal evolutionary processes but of revelation?”

    *Everyone* at BioLogos is prepared to say this. Will UD ask Ted Davis, apparently the only one from BioLogos who posts here, this question next time the opportunity arises? I guarantee you he will favour the position that says “religion is the outcome of revelation” given those two options.

    Why not offer BioLogos space here for dialogue to show their views, rather than condemning them for their apophatics regarding “God’s guidance/direction/involvement in evolution”? BioLogos recently invited Bill Dembski, after all, for what seemed like a fruitful exchange of views.

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