Divine Evolution

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The logic of this strategy is impeccable: either Darwinism or intelligent design; not Darwinism, therefore intelligent design. Armed with that conclusion, they hope to pry scientifically-minded people away from a purely secular worldview. At the moment, there is no serious scientific rival to Darwinism. Indeed, if the explanations for life must be sought in physical mechanisms, then an evolutionary theory of some sort would seem to be inevitable.

But why, the neo-creos ask, should intelligent causes be ruled out? The Darwinians have a retort to the charge of metaphysical naturalism: nothing succeeds like success. Besides, the evidence for Darwinism looks awfully strong. There are internal disagreements over the mechanisms and tempo of evolution. But the core thesis that all living things have a common ancestry, long supported by the pattern of structural similarities among them and by the fossil record, has received stunning new confirmation from molecular genetics.

Johnson does his lawyerly best to cast doubt on the evidence for common ancestry. However, the more tough-minded of the neo-creos will accept the claim that organisms evolved from one another. They even acknowledge a role for the standard Darwinian mechanism natural selection operating on random variation.

To make good on the second part of their strategy, the not Darwinism part, they instead try to show that for deeper reasons Darwinism is bound to fall short of telling the whole story. They have three main arguments, all of which seem clever at first blush.

Michael Behe attacks Darwinism at the molecular level. If you peer inside a cell, Behe says, you see intricate little machines, made out of proteins, that carry on the functions necessary for life. How could such machinery have evolved in piecemeal fashion through a series of adaptations, as Darwinism holds?

Alvin Plantinga makes a philosophical assault on Darwinism, claiming that it is self-undermining. Suppose the Darwinian theory of evolution were true-our mental machinery, having developed from that of lower animals, would be highly unreliable when it came to generating true theories. But theism escapes this difficulty: if we are made in the image of God, he can be counted on to have supplied us with reliable cognitive faculties.

How did it get there? Chance and necessity cannot create information. Watching the Darwinians rebut these arguments makes for high entertainment. That is met by a subtle exploration of issues in the theory of knowledge; in particular, the evolutionary relationship between true belief and successful action.

Despite the ingenuity of the neo-creos, the not Darwinism part of their strategy is pretty clearly a failure. Then what of all the imperfections we see in the biological world? On the other hand the insights of creationism spurs no advances in know-how. Therefore this quaint view will simply disappear. But in the meantime, the denial of the reality of evolution by evangelical churches is hugely detrimental to themselves and to the rest of American society. It harms the rest of society because the strong evangelical influence on textbooks and public education in some states means the true strength and role of evolution in the world at large is not made clear, and even hidden.

But more importantly, the denial of evolution harms the greater church as well. The denial of evolution is the prime reason why there are so few leading scientists professing orthodox Christian Protestantism. Evangelical schools and churches steer their best students away from a full embrace of the biggest unifying idea in science — cosmic evolution — and toward technical, social, and business professionalism. Thus the evangelical church is cut off from the leading edge of our society.

Their refusal to adopt the full scientific framework means that only non-evangelicals can lead in inventing our progress. For those who are anti-religious, who find religion of any sort to be a recurring source of evil in the world, or who are simply anti-Christian, then having the church cut off from the leading edge of culture is no loss. In fact, they would say good riddance!

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American evangelism cannot be a leader of the modern world while it denies evolution. The first step to unbind contemporary evangelicals from the prison of creationism is simply to embrace the obvious framework of an evolution driven by God: God-made evolution. Or God started evolution.

Atheist evolutionists go completely bonkers if anyone mentions God and evolution. Not only does this not compute for them, they think its a dangerous idea. But there is nothing inherent in the facts of evolution that precludes it being initiated by a creator.

Divine Evolution: Lifting the final curtain on the face of G-d

Except maybe the straight stuff. Michael Dowd is an itinerant preacher. Together with his wife, evolutionary naturalist Connie Barlow, they travel the backroads of the US, preaching the great story of divine evolution at any church that will have them. While it is aimed at thinking Christians, the whole epic view integrating the cosmos, bios and noos may be helpful to secular thinkers as well.

But just as radical anti-religion atheists go bonkers about mixing God and evolution, so do radical anti-evolution Christians. While their church members quietly accept the science, their leaders continue to beat this dead horse. But to repeat, there is nothing inherent in evolution to preclude being initiated by a creator.

In a weird way the radical atheists and fundamentalists are agreeing with each other, and feeding each other this unnecessary mistake: that evolution must be godless. There are many different ways that an evolution launched by a god might play out see my Taxonomy of Gods. One possibility for a theistic God-based evolution is a story that would look pretty much like what we see in the 4. But the image of the creator behind this process looks a little different than the traditional Sunday school image of God, which is God the dollmaker, who molds each species in their final form.

Instead the unrolling creation of evolution requires a much larger God, a creator outside of time who unfolds the cosmos and life and mind an on-going process. Personally and collectively we are defined by our understanding of where we come from. If we believe in a fearful angry-father God, our society will angry and fearful. If we believe in directionless randomness as God, then our society will be directionless.

I therefore seek the largest God of possibilities and growth. Actually, I should add that the same thing applies to many other quaint notions too — not just evolution. Sorry Kevin, but I think you are making a huge jump of logic here. Where is the evidence that this is the case? Is there a conflict at all between a view that the universe is purposeless and random, and that we as humans on this planet should be open to possibility and growth?

I was not aware that there was one. What does God have to do with this at all, or is this just some sort of word play? Also, I wonder how well the survey responses of the audience at Q reflects the thoughts of the Evangelical community at large? Evolution poses far more problems for Evangelism than just purposefulness.

I would agree on one thing: the deeper the Evangelical community digs a hole with regard to evolution, the less relevant they will become over time.

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A religion founded in the denial of reality is not much assistance to anyone. I think there is a correlation between a purposeless belief and purposeless life. Almost anyone I know who has a very strong purpose in their life does not believe that the universe is purposeless. And vice versa. Interesting conversation.

Rather, God is the Mind, Heart, and Creativity that forms the milieu out of which a universe emerges over time. God is always, already present as a non-coercive allurement i. But, why should purpose have to be external to humanity? We exist, and we have purposes: continued existence; growth; increasing happiness; decreasing suffering; increasing intelligence, knowledge, understanding, and insight.

Suppose, for a moment, that there really is a true religion. A god or gods take an interest in humanity and have a plan for us. So after tremendous study, you finally discover that the Aztecs or a similar creed were right. The gods are cruel and brutal, demanding war, sacrifice, murder, and so on. Now who has the better purpose and the more moral life: the one who serves the gods, or the one who stands up and defies them, because the gods are wrong? I do not believe that the universe has an inherent purpose. Rather, I believe that even if the universe was created for some purpose, why should that purpose matter to me?

The idea behind it is that there are some components in organic creatures that are soooooooooooo complex that they cannot possibly have evolved; therefore, God. Enough direction for me. Divine evolution admits that evolution itself is a fairly benevolent guiding process. On to the criticism. The Catholic church did not believe that the Earth was flat, only that it was the center of the solar system. And they got their beliefs about cosmology from the very best Greek philosophy. Quibble: Dawkins has specifically stated on repeated occasions that natural selection is an explicitly non-random process.

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Faux Paws 2 - Divine Evolution

Correct: That is why I did not mention Dawkins. In fact I quote him to your point in my book about trends in evolution. Dawkins exists off the periphery of a lot of critics. One of the side effects of this is that the critics can form a bit of an echo chamber and wind up with a very skewed understanding of what his position actually is.

Fair enough. Though I enjoy the thrust of this article I must pick you up on historical accuracy. Aside from the laity and some ignorant churchmen the church years ago following Aristotlean and Ptolemic traditions in teaching that the Earth was a globe which was inferred from observations and reason from the pre-classic period. People were persecuted as heretics for proposing a hello-centric model of the universe rather than the accepted geo-centric model very different from believing in a flat Earth. A top-down imposed goal in nature is my understanding of teleology. A teleological school of thought is one that holds all things to be designed for or directed toward a final result, that there is an inherent purpose or final cause for all that exists.

In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art, emergence is the way complex system and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions. Emergence is central to the theories of integrative level and of complex system. No final result,no final cause…A complex system intelligence arising out of a multiplicity of simple interactions choice. Allow me to point you in the direction of biologos.

It was founded by Francis Collins, who was head of the team that first sequenced the human genome and is now head of the NIH in the US. He is a believer, but only came to faith as an adult. He set up the Biologos Foundation specifically to investigate many of the questions you raise here. It specifically rejects the idea of ID but sees God as the creator of all, including evolution.

They also have resources designed to help people in evangelicalism deal with many of the issues you raise here. The notion that science will find only natural causes for every event in the history of the universe has not yet been proven, and so is only a matter of faith. Regarding what science is about, I fear that universal applicability may be a myth.

My understanding is that there is broad consensus that scientific knowledge is context dependent. Where the context is the set of guiding assumptions paradigm. And so scientific knowledge is a duality of the content and the context where it is valid. What I read in Mr. My claim is simply that evolution is compatible with God. I am not claiming that evolution needs God. Correct: My claim is simply that evolution is compatible with God. However, God is not compatible with the scientific investigation of evolution on grounds of His unfalsifiability. You are correct. God is not currently a falsifiable scientific statement.

I was not claiming so. But that does not mean either are useless statements. Unproven things can still be true. Useful, just not scientific. Why would I ever think that I could fully fathom God and his ways. What I do want is to know him better and be more like him. But I believe something drives the little miracles that happen everyday, and the paranormal. I guess I am a spiritual person, not religious.

Indeed it is just my opinion — which is in direct contradiction to your opinion. What happens is not completely random, although randomness is employed to get there. How would you know? Only if you rewound it, and ran it again and it kept touch the same points again. Assuming that 3rd option, yes, God would be an unnecessary part of the theory.

However evolution as a whole suffers the same weakness. All biological phenomena seem perfectly explainable in terms of quantum physics; all the necessary information is encoded in pure physical phenomena, and everything necessary for biology to work is encoded in the physical laws.

Any theory of evolution is therefore rather unnecessary to create a working theory of biology. The world quite simply does seem to contain forces moving it toward the good. Physics drive biology. These quantum physics you speak of are the laws of atoms used loosely here —atoms create chemistry and chemistry creates life.

It is the probabilistic nature of physics that allows evolution to work. The two are very much entwined. Interesting read. I like to answer that with my zeroth cause argument, as in what created the first cause. If you say that god just exists, then why do you have a problem that the universe can just as easily exist, without a creator.


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And I agree with you that christianity is gonna be here for a while, but its also gonna keep getting diluted. It will do more harm than it will do good. Futurists and science fiction authors have been saying for nearly a century that religion would disappear. But here we are with religion being a big driver of the news today.

That it will disappear is not certain. Yeah, kind of like how scientific theories evolve. Scientific theories evolve on the basis on new evidence, religion evolves to hide cracks in it created by science. A Case for Young-Earth Creationism. Paul Nelson. No Sacred Cows. David G. Intelligent Design Uncensored. William A. Answers to Life's 3 Big Questions. Steven Knapp. William B. You're Alive. Did Adam and Eve Have Navels? UFOs, Chemtrails, and Aliens. Donald R. Robert M. JD Brucker. The Evolution of Beauty. Richard O.

Concerning The Existence Of God. Frederick Meekins. The Mind of the Market. The Gap. Thomas Suddendorf. Tribal Science. Mike Mcrae. Meet The Skeptic. Bill Foster. Delusions in Science and Spirituality. Susan B.

The Divine Evolution of Our Love by Vincent Dikejiora | Blurb Books

A Cooperative Species. Samuel Bowles. The Strange Case of the Rickety Cossack. Ian Tattersall. Arguing Science. Rupert Sheldrake. Food: A Very Short Introduction. John Krebs.

Darwin, Dharma, and the Divine: Evolutionary Theory and Religion in Modern Japan

The Most Dangerous Animal. David Livingstone Smith. Daniel Nettle. Spiritual Snake Oil. Genesis Revisited - the Creation. Donald Arlo Jennings PhD. Ancestors in Our Genome. Eugene E. War of the World Views. Ken Ham. Maria B. The Extinction of Evolution.


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