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Thursday, June 23, 2011

A fully logical explanation of Darwinism and Christianity and a few isms in between

Well, we will be getting down to some brass tacks in coming posts.   It is remarkably important to the discussions to have a absolutely clear concept of the massive differences between classic Christianity and Darwinism or Neo-Darwinism if you prefer.    This article coupled with the pdf at the end will make it quite clear who is on what side.


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The debate among evangelical Christians over Darwin's theory of evolution has returned to front stage this summer with the publication of two separate cover stories on the issue by leading Christian magazines.

Christian news magazine World has announced that it will name two books critiquing "theistic evolution" as its "Books of the Year" in its upcoming July 2 issue. World called the evolution debate in churches and religious colleges "the biggest current battle both among Christians and between Christian and anti-Christian thought." And, in its June cover story, Christianity Today reported on how Christian proponents of Darwin are challenging historic beliefs about Adam and Eve.

One of the two books honored by World is God and Evolution: Protestants, Catholics, and Jews Explore Darwin's Challenge to Faith (Discovery Institute Press, 2010). The other is Should Christians Embrace Evolution? edited by noted British medical geneticist Dr. Norman Nevin (published first in England, republished in the United States in May).

God & Evolution's editor, Dr. Jay Richards, commented, "We wanted to clear away the fog and fuzzy-thinking on this issue. Our book makes clear that to the degree theistic evolution is theistic, it will not be fully Darwinian. And to the degree that it is Darwinian, it will fail fully to preserve traditional theism."

GE_FINAL_Smalljpg.jpgGod and Evolution features essays by Protestant, Catholic and Jewish scholars critical of the growing effort by advocates of theistic evolution such as Francis Collins to persuade leaders of the faith community to change their theology without hearing from scientists who are skeptical of the claims of unguided Darwinian evolution.

Here is the beginning of the book's introduction, penned by Richards:
When someone asks me: "Can you believe in God and evolution?," I always respond: "That depends. What do you mean by 'God' and what do you mean by 'evolution'?" No one seems to be very satisfied with this retort, which seems evasive; but it's the honest answer, since the initial question, as it stands, is hopelessly ambiguous. Without more detail, it's susceptible to almost any answer.

Asking whether one supports so-called "theistic evolution" has the same problem. Unless you define "theistic" and "evolution" very carefully, it might refer to positions that, on closer inspection, are more different than they are alike. One version might be an oxymoron, one a triviality, one an interesting proposition, and another, a complete muddle.

Besides being vague, these questions, and practically every answer to them, are controversial. Perhaps no subject now inspires more heated arguments at family reunions and cocktail parties. Whether in religious or secular, scientific or literary circles, giving the "wrong" answer can put you on the fast track to being labeled a heretic. A scientist in an academic setting who expresses any doubt about Darwinism, for instance, may find himself in a battle for tenure and funding. In his church, the same scientist may be suspected of creeping liberalism because he doesn't think the word "evolution" means atheism. Or he may be thought a "fundamentalist" because he thinks his faith has something to do with his science, and vice versa.

Such countervailing social pressures don't encourage clear thinking or clear speaking. So when they encounter the question, many people, especially academics, choose obfuscation over clarification. If pressed, they may attempt to stake out a moderate both-and position: "I think evolution is God's way of creating." For the conflict-averse, this may be a reassuring response, but what does it mean?

In the century and a half since Charles Darwin first proposed his theory of evolution, Christians, Jews, and other religious believers have not only pondered its truth--or lack thereof--they have grappled with how to make sense of it theologically. So far, they haven't reached a consensus and tend, instead, to argue among themselves. It can be quite confusing. In fact, the whole subject of God and evolution, and especially what is called "theistic evolution," is an enigma wrapped in a shroud of fuzz and surrounded by blanket of fog.

The purpose of this book is to clear away the fog, the fuzz, and the enigma.
You can download the entire introduction as a PDF here.

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I suggest you read the pdf, decide which side you are on and consider why you are on that side.   For we will be keeping this post in mind going forward.   Is Darwinism able to be mixed with Christianity?   Is there a reason to equate Darwinism with science?   Would there be a case for Christianity being more fundamental to the scientific community and the discoveries of mankind?  Will you choose one position and defend it?

9 comments:

radar said...

If the commenters who are interested in discussing evolution working in the context of Christianity do not avail themselves of this information then they are not really interested in what is true but would prefer whatever is being currently accepted, which would be another matter entirely. People like Rob Bell, Brian McLaren and Joel Osteen make big names for themselves in part by watering down or completely ignoring the actual scriptural teachings of the Bible in a vain attempt to reach more people for Christ. But if you are not actually presenting Christ to them but some stand-in religion then you are doing harm not good.

What I do not do (although careless commenters like to say it) is lie to my readers. You may not like what I say and you might disagree but it is never a lie. Period. So argue the issue or not but quit hiding behind unsubstantiated charges. Ad hominem attacks don't accomplish anything unless they are true.

Captain Stubing said...

"You may not like what I say and you might disagree but it is never a lie. Period."

You've posted many, many untruths, but it's true that an accusation of lying generally requires a knowledge of the person's motivation, or at least knowledge that a person has been made aware of the truth and continues to spread an untruth. As far as the former goes, we can't read your mind. As far as the latter goes, plenty of that on your blog. But you can easily claim careless reading on your part.

We'll substitute "untruth" for "lie" then - and of course you'll be doing the same from here on re. "Darwinist lies", right?

AmericanVet said...

Well, Cap'n, the Peppered Moth and the Haeckel embroy chart are definitely lies. Lyell's claims for the erosion of Niagra Falls was an intentional lies. So there are definite lies on the Darwin side that I know of...

Now when someone flatly says there are no hard chemical barriers to the formation of DNA building blocks that can be ignorance or wishful thinking instead of lying. Like you said, I do not read minds either.

But if you think it through, lying does me no good at all. I am trying to defend what I think are logical evidential arguments based on good science and historical evidence and, like Darwinists, I have to include some presuppositions because we don't have a Wayback machine to take us to Day one and watch.

If Darwinists want to make a valid point then go for the gusto and bring evidence. I put evidence in the body of my blog posts so there is always something to shoot at.

Hawkeye® said...

Radar,

Good, short, crisp article. I like 'em that way. I also liked reading the whole PDF file on the intro to the book. Good stuff there. He explained precisely my views as to how to reconcile the 3 theistic premises: God is all powerful, God is all good, and evil exists in the world. See my explanation here...

Temptation & Fall

For many years, I myself struggled with the notion that perhaps creation and evolution were compatible. But now I know better. Darwinism and the Bible are simply incompatible.

However, I would not yet consider myself a young earth creationist...

"But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." --2Peter 3:8

And in Biblical symbolism, the number 1000 denotes a significantly large, incalculable, but "complete" number. Therefore, I am inclined to believe that the six days of creation were more than a mere 24 hours in length.

Don't get me wrong. Since I believe that God is Almighty (ie, All Powerful), I therefore believe that God COULD have created the world in (6) 24-hour days if He so chose to do. And, I am NOT reluctant to accept the (6) 24-hour days in order to allow time for "evolution" to co-opt the Biblical explanation. I simply have a hard time believing that God created the world in (6) 24-hour days and then a few years later the Egyptians began building the pyramids.

There is a big difference between 4.5 billion years and 10,000 years for the age of the earth. I believe it is closer to 10,000 years than 4.5 billion, but I don't know where it is exactly. I think we have to consider things like tree ring data, and ice core samples in the Antarctic for example. These would suggest a few hundred thousand years of history at the very least.

Best regards...

AmericanVet said...

Hawkeye, thanks for the comments and, while we do not see eye to eye on everything it appears we both agree that veracity of the scriptures and a belief in an actual Adam and Eve and Fall are required for the Bible to make any sense and for Christ to be of any use. Christians can be effective if we get the main points straight and the side issues are not required for good doctrine.

I will go tonight or tomorrow and read your link. I llok forward to it! I am away from reading glasses and barely could see enough to write this!

Anonymous whatsit said...

Refreshing to see a creationist who doesn't turn a complete blind eye to easily available evidence.

Anonymous said...

"But if you think it through, lying does me no good at all."

... which is why it's so amusing to see you doing it over and over again. You're shooting yourself in the foot with an Uzi. Keep it coming.

radar said...

Supposedly I lie all the time...Says someone with no examples to give. The best weapon trolls have is empty derision. Maybe it makes you feel good, but it doesn't impress anyone.

I did get to read your link, Hawkeye. Hopefully all the commenters read it, nice summary of the Garden/Fall experience.

Based on the Hebrew language it is certain that Satan in the Garden of Eden did not appear as a snake. Whether he was a particularly dazzling dragon or not, dragons (aka dinosaurs) were the most fearsome and vexing of creatures to mankind. In Job we see behemoth and leviathan described as living creatures familiar to mankind and also find other references to dragons in the Bible. So Satan could be represented as a serpent and serpent has an origin that is far more than snake. He was obviously there to impress and cajole and lure Eve into disobedience and not to scare her. There is no evidence that either Adam nor Eve were frightened by Satan at that time.

Satan aka Lucifer was, in layman's terms, the Praise Leader in Heaven in charge of giving glory to God. We know he decided to try to replace God and induced one-third of the angels extant at that time to rebel along with him.

In any event I don't think Hawkeye and I disagree on the main points. My research on origins has been very evidence-centric and I am quite sure that dinosaurs of various kinds existed with man before the Flood and continued for quite some time afterwards. I tend to believe 6-7,000 years for the Earth and therefore the Universe is correct while Jim is in the 10,000 to maybe a few hundred thousand year area. We are all looking for evidence to confirm our own conjectures but we do both believe scripture is authoritative.

Also, as we see by naming conventions of towns and cities in the New World that echo towns and cities from the Old, it would be logical for people immediately after the Flood to give place-names to rivers and mountains and towns that are identical to destroyed rivers and mountains and towns from prediluvian times. Just because the names given to areas around Babylon were the names associated with the Garden of Eden, that doesn't mean that the Garden was originally there. It is likely that the entire surface of the land mass that existed before the Flood was subducted during the process and is in the process of being absorbed into the mantle.

Anonymous said...

"Supposedly I lie all the time...Says someone with no examples to give."

1. "Darwinists" claim everything "poofed" into existence.

2. Theory of evolution says bacteria must turn into non-bacteria in a science experiment, or else the TOE isn't true.

3. "Darwinists" can't explain information.

4. Kevin supposedly didn't confirm what Scohen said.

That's just off the top of my head. Really wouldn't be hard to come up with tons of examples. All you have to do is weed through the purple text on your blog - there's usually at least one per paragraph. Sometimes more.