Re: [asa] BioLogos - Bad Theology?

From: Nucacids <nucacids@wowway.com>
Date: Mon May 18 2009 - 12:54:36 EDT

Hi Schwarzwald,

I hear what you are saying. Yes, the Conway Morris argument argues for teleology, but, like ID, falls far short of Christianity. It is fine if the BioLogos folks want to fulfill some neo-ID role, arguing that scientific data support a teleological viewpoint. But the web page weaves distinctly CHRISTIAN themes into its content. That is, despite the mission that reads "promotes the search for truth in both the natural and spiritual realms, and seeks to harmonize these different perspectives," by "spiritual," the authors clearly mean "Christian." So is the site a Christian apologetics site?

Just think of me as the canary in the coal mine. There's trouble down that tunnel.

-Mike

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Schwarzwald
  To: asa@calvin.edu
  Sent: Monday, May 18, 2009 9:49 AM
  Subject: Re: [asa] BioLogos - Bad Theology?

  Mike,

  Maybe what Biologos is suggesting here is different than what you're taking it to mean. Just off the cuff, let me explain how I'd view it.

  Mind you, I have not read his book - I am going by this quote and some past discussions on here and elsewhere. But Conway Morris seems to be arguing that if you examine the evolution of life on earth, we can discern a direction - various convergences, similar 'solutions' being found over and over again, which implies direction with evolution. And intelligent, rational creatures would be one of those 'solutions' that simply had to appear.

  Right there and with that observation, Dawkins, Gould, Coyne and the rest are suggested to be fundamentally wrong about evolution, or at least how they claim to see it. If evolution has a direction, if it inevitably moves towards certain goals, it's game over for them - teleology is alive and kicking in the one area of science they most want to be an atheist stronghold.

  Still, I see your point. If humans are merely what chanced to come up, and an intelligent and rational (anything) would have sufficed.. then, what. We're not the products of God's love and intention? Did God gamble us up?

  Here's where I'd provisionally differ. It's not at all clear that Biologos or Conway Morris is arguing 'We are, while part of the intention of God to create intelligent and rational creatures, still chance results of that set'. I'd see it as a limitation of the evidence the way they're considering it. Yes, if the past didn't happen the way it did, "we" would not be here - but I think that's something all of us can agree to. But that isn't to say the past *could* have happened any other way, or that God did not choose *us* - we humans - to come into existence particularly. It just means that we don't have evidence for that, at least not scientific. Just as I don't have scientific evidence that God intended for -me specifically- to come into existence. Should I expect to find that? And if I don't find that, should I therefore conclude no such intention was had?

  Again, keep in mind what Biologis and Conway Morris are saying here. It reminds me of one common atheist objection I hear about various arguments for God. "Okay, fine, perhaps there's evidence or a good reason to believe in *A* God. But that still doesn't mean *YOUR* Christian God is that God!" My response is: That may be so. These arguments and this evidence only gets me as far as deism or theism. Maybe the christians are right. Maybe the muslims are, or the jews, or the platonists, or the deists, or the hindus, or many others. But it doesn't matter - because if any of them are right, then atheism is false. And that's more than enough for me in this conversation.

  So I would (again, provisionally - Biologos is new, and I'm still not clear on their direction) say that Conway Morris and Biologos are taking the same tact. Again, if they are right - if there is actual, identifiable direction evident in evolutionary history, such that intelligent and rational agents are an inevitability (indeed, even if this is a live option) - then that alone is enough to clear Dawkins, Coyne, Gould, and the rest right off the board. Why get sidelined with stronger and more deeply theological claims, especially when it seems a principal goal of Biologos is communicating the compatibility (or more) of science with faith?

  On Mon, May 18, 2009 at 9:05 AM, Nucacids <nucacids@wowway.com> wrote:

    Over at the BioLogos page, we read:

    “Simon Conway Morris presents a different perspective, arguing humans, or a human-like species, are actually an inevitable part of evolution. Morris is not proposing a different mechanism for human evolution, merely a different observation of its possible outcomes. Morris would agree that any slight difference in the history of human DNA would result in a different evolutionary path. Unlike Gould, however, Morris argues each of those possible pathways would inevitably lead to something like the human species.”

    http://biologos.org/questions/inevitable-humans/

    I submit this is bad theology. Why? Entailed in this perspective is the notion that humans and human-like species are interchangeable. Your existence, the existence of your wife and children, is not important to God. God is only interested in some being that shares some of your general attributes – your intelligence, sentience, emotions, whatever. A planet full of talking dolphins would have sufficed for God’s purposes. You just happened to stumble into the role that could have been played by a variety of other beings.

    What BioLogos is advocating is a form of Christian nihilism. It’s almost more nihilistic than atheism. Actually, maybe more so.

    -Mike

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