Re: [asa] BioLogos - Bad Theology?

From: Schwarzwald <schwarzwald@gmail.com>
Date: Tue May 19 2009 - 00:18:45 EDT

Mike,

A quick followup: Somehow, I did not see this reply of yours until right
after I sent my (just post) response to you.

If all you're doing is warning about the problems and misconceptions that
can pop up by over-emphasizing certain ideas when it comes to God and
Christianity, then that's something I can certainly agree with. And as
someone who views 90% of the TE v ID fight as miscommunication rather than
actual disagreement (And further as someone who views 90% of the God v
evolution fight as resulting from same), I don't think there can ever be
enough careful clarifying of ideas and words.

I stand by what I just fired off, but reading this response puts it in a
different light for me.

On Mon, May 18, 2009 at 12:54 PM, Nucacids <nucacids@wowway.com> wrote:

>
> 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 <schwarzwald@gmail.com>
> *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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Received on Tue May 19 00:19:19 2009

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