BioLogos restores comments, disses Professor Ceiling Cat, and claims success in converting Christians to evolution. Karl Giberson denies that claim.

November 1, 2013 • 6:03 am

About a week ago, the useless Templeton-funded organization BioLogos decided to prevent all further commenting by readers, replacing it instead with letters to the editor. The avowed purpose was to give a larger segment of the readership a chance to contribute, since most comments seemed to be coming from a very small fraction of readers. (That’s true of this site, too, of course—and of nearly all websites. However, at least one of our readers, biologist Lou Jost, seems to be a regular BioLogos commenter.)

But, as I reported (link above),  BIoLogos readers didn’t like the new policy one bit.  In response, the website has gone back to its previous policy, as outlined in a new post by content manager Jim Stump: “Comments are back.” They’ll still institute the “letters to the editor” thing, and require an additional click before commenting, but it’s pretty much back to business as usual: coddling the fundamentalists in the futile hope that they’ll accept Darwin.

In his policy reversal, Stump managed to get in two licks against Professor Ceiling Cat, to which I’ll respond briefly:

One of the comments on our blog charged that BioLogos has completely ignored the problem of divine action, claiming there has “not been even one BioLogos column in the past 6 years that directly tackles the question of God’s involvement in the evolutionary process.”Prominent atheist blogger Jerry Coyne highlighted this on his own blog, and seems to have read our post through this lens. Now his readers have been informed that the reason we instituted the change in comments policy was that we have no answers for the problem of divine action and we needed to insulate ourselves from our critics. Really? Clicking on the “divine action and purpose” tag in our resource finder brings up 40 entries (many of which have multiple posts). Consider Alvin Plantinga’s series Divine Action in the World, the series The God Who Acts: Robert John Russell on Divine Intervention and Divine Action, David Opderbeck’s series God and Creation, and Kathryn Applegate on Understanding Randomness. These are all on our blog within the last year. Perhaps these are discounted because they’re not perceived to “directly tackle” the problem to the satisfaction of everyone of how God could be involved in a process which may appear from the perspective of science to need no such involvement. But they are certainly directly relevant to any such explanation and ought to be recognized as part of the ongoing conversation we’ll have on this important topic.

No, that was not my point, which was this: in an attempt to make the Evangelical Christian tent as big as possible, BioLogos offers a multiplicity of solutions (which I’ve written about) for reconciling Jesus and Darwin.  And, of course,  there is no way to decide which is the right one.  There is no self-correcting process in religion. So what position is BioLogos taking with respect to the biological facts?

The most amusing example is their stand on Adam and Eve who, of course, did not exist. Population genetics tells us that the non-African human population over the last several million years could not have been smaller than about 2000 individuals.

Rather than admit that this part of the Bible is a complete myth, BioLogos has proferred a gazillion “solutions,” including the “federal headship” model in which God designates two of the many humans around as the “federal heads” of humanity—the metaphorical ancestors. I suppose they passed Original Sin on to everyone after them, but how did that happen? Was it transmitted horizontally? That doesn’t comport with the Bible, I think. Other solutions have been offered (all of them, by the way, rejected by BioLogos‘s former in-house Biblical scholar Peter Enns in his book The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins.  Enns left BioLogos under a bit of a cloud, I suspect because his solution admitted that Adam and Eve were complete fictions, but weren’t necessary anyway to divine the Bible’s message.  Enns’s hard-nosed insistence on science, and rejection of Biblical statements that conflict with reason and science, wouldn’t have sat well with the BioLogos administration.)

At any rate, BioLogos‘s “solution” to this issue is to punt: they say that they take no position on the historicity of Adam and Eve. Pardon my French, but I think that’s a chickenshit solution, but one that’s necessary if they’re going to keep creationist Evangelicals in their tent long enough to hear their sermons.

And this is how it goes over there.  BioLogos proffers a multitude of solutions to the Darwin vs. Jesus dilemma, and doesn’t take a stand on any of them. Some of the problems, like the Adam and Eve issue, have a clear scientific answer, but BioLogos is too cowardly to endorse it.  And really—publishing Alvin Plantinga’s “solution,” for crying out loud?

The problem is not that BioLogos doesn’t offer religious solutions to the reconciliation issue; the problem is that they offer too many, and won’t choose one.  In other words, they’re trying to let Evangelicals believe whatever nonsense they want—so long as they accept Darwin.  This is a strategy that baffles me.  Creationism is the least of the problems raised by evangelical Christianity: think about discrimination against gays, women, abortion rights, denial of global warming, and so on.  I’m not sure why BioLogos wants those people in its tent.

Finally, BioLogos says that, contra Coyne, their accommodationist strategy is working!  As I’ve always said, there are many people who say that reading about evolution has dispelled their faith (I met two Orthodox Jews at TAM who told me this story), and their “conversions” are documented in many entries at Richard Dawkins’s “Converts Corner.” In contrast, I’ve yet to hear of one person who, previously a creationist, has come over to evolution because BioLogos has convinced them that evolution is compatible with their faith. There are no letters like, “You know, I couldn’t accept evolution because it was pushed by strident atheists like Richard Dawkins. But when you guys at BioLogos showed me that I could have my Jesus and Darwin, too, well, I am now a firm believer in evolution.” I’m sure some people have experienced this, but they hardly appear in droves. In fact, I can’t name one. But BioLogos claims this:

Finally, one more note about Coyne’s characterization of BioLogos. He is certain that there can be no rapprochement between evolution and Christian faith, so it is a foregone conclusion in his mind that we are dying. Our announcement on Friday signaled to him that the end has come (though to invoke Mark Twain, I think that the news of our demise is greatly exaggerated). In his view our cause of death is that we have tried so hard not to offend Evangelicals that we have nothing relevant to say about origins. Are we pandering to Evangelicals? That seems to us like accusing New Englanders of pandering to Americans. We ARE Evangelicals, and though there are other Evangelicals who hold some different positions, it is at the core of our mission to help the evangelical church come to terms with what science has shown us about the world. We’re happy to engage with atheists and others outside of evangelicalism when the opportunity arises, but primarily we’re committed to working out as best we can the implications of evolution for Christian faith. And contrary to the assertion that our work hasn’t helped one person, we regularly feature testimonials from those who have found our message valuable.

My response: “people who find your message valuable aren’t necessarily converts to evolutionary biology.”  Also, “If you want to help evangelicals come to terms with what science has shown, why the deuce don’t you just admit that Adam and Eve were made up?”

But don’t take my word for it—take Karl Giberson’s, a guy who used to be Vice-President of BioLogos but left (probably for the same reasons as Enns) to teach.  The other day Giberson gave a talk at the University of Miami on “Are science and Christianity at war?”.  His answer was “no,” of course, but we had a spy in the audience: one of our readers, Bertha, who emailed me that she was going to the talk.  She asked if there was anything I would like to ask Giberson, and I said, yes, I’d like to know if he thinks BioLogos was successful in turning evangelical Christians toward evolution.  Since Giberson’s talk and answers were public, I’ll report them here, as conveyed by Bertha (who did ask that question) and published with her permission:

At this point, KG [Giberson] took questions.  I asked him what you suggested, “Has BioLogos been successful in convincing fundamentalist Christians to accept both Jesus and Darwin? If it has not, why not?”

The host asked him to explain what BioLogos was for the audience before answering.  KG went into a rather long description of BioLogos and Francis Collins (a fair description, in my opinion).  He said Collins called it “BioLogos” because he knew that even the term “evolution” by itself would turn off his fellow evangelicals. When he finally got around to my question, his response was as follows: “Biologos has struggled a lot. Evangelicals are not ready to accept what Francis Collins is proposing, despite his winsome personality.  There is a lot of work to be done there.”

Another good question asked: Will there be a tipping point when fundamentalists will begin to accept evolution as the truth? Will they ever relinquish their literalist reading of the Bible? Will the evidence eventually overwhelm them?

KG said that he wished he could say that the truth would eventually win out but he fears that the industry within the fundie movement that promotes their belief is very strong. He referred to Ken Ham and company. He fears that recent polls show that American opinion is actually going in the wrong direction.  And that homeschooling and private schools is keeping the fundie community walled-off. “The trajectory is not encouraging.” However, young Evangelicals are leaving the church “by the millions” as they get to high school and college and realize that they have been lied to.

Bertha wrote a longer report on the talk, which I’ll be glad to send to any interested reader. But for the nonce just compare what Karl said with what BioLogos official Stump claimed.  One of them is wrong. My money is on Giberson’s answer, as he has no vested interest in pretending that BioLogos is a roaring success.

BioLogos isn’t accomplishing much except sucking up Templeton dollars. And that’s completely understandable, for accepting evolution is a severe concession to many evangelical Christians.  So, though Stump argues that many BioLogos readers find the organization’s message “valuable,” I guess it’s not valuable enough to change their minds about science.

74 thoughts on “BioLogos restores comments, disses Professor Ceiling Cat, and claims success in converting Christians to evolution. Karl Giberson denies that claim.

  1. …And, of course, there is no way to decide which is the right one.

    And, as we all know, that is the crucial point and why religion and science can’t ever br compatible.

  2. Most creationists are undoubtedly unreachable, and proudly, stubbornly so. There are likely many who have the decency to feel embarrassed for not accepting settled science. They are looking for reassurance that there is a way to have their cake and eat it too, and so they turn to BioLogos for cover. ID fills the same need: I can be religious and not feel stupid. BioLogos satisfies an emotional need, not an intellectual one.

    1. One could easily venture that this is more of an emotional deficit, artificially induced through indoctrination, rather then an “emotional need”.
      They very much act as drug addicts (and dealers), so the analogy is appopriate.

  3. Giberson said with respect to the efficacy of BioLogos in turning evangelical Christians toward evolution: Evangelicals are not ready to accept what Francis Collins is proposing, despite his winsome personality

    Presumably Giberson would have presented what he thought the most compelling argument that BioLogos used to convince xtains of the compatibility of evolution and religion and this was it ? The argument from authority ?

    1. I’m probably reading too much into this, but I think it’s funny and a bit interesting that Giberson would emphasize Collin’s “winsome personality” rather than his “compelling arguments.”

      Sure, Collins is a lovely individual. But both religious people and accomodationists tend to focus a little too much I think on the messenger: are they nice, charismatic, charming, sensitive? If so, then their message will be listened to.

      It’s the approach you use if you’re not coming from a scientific mindset. Which icludes their audience, to whom they feel they must pander.

      1. Perhaps Karl will answer this for himself here, but I don’t think that he was implying an argument from authority. I have met some creationists who admitted that they have to seriously consider Collins’ perspective because he is an accomplished scientist and he is winsome. However, as Jerry points out, once they understand that the science requires them to give up some long held dogma, most will not.

  4. Are we pandering to Evangelicals? That seems to us like accusing New Englanders of pandering to Americans. We ARE Evangelicals,

    What an amusing dodge. New Englanders can, indeed, pander to Americans. Think Kerry in his presidential run. And of course Evangelicals can pander to other Evangelicals. ‘Pander to’ means (among other things) to indulge that person or group. Biologos indulges (other) Evangelicals by, as JAC says, remaining silent or neutral on evolutionary questions that have a very clear, well-supported, mainstream scientific answer.

    At any rate, BioLogos‘s “solution” to this issue is to punt: they say that they take no position on the historicity of Adam and Eve.

    Biologos folks, THAT is an example of your pandering. Not pandering would be if you said something like this: “we take no position on the biblical interpretation of Adam and Eve, but the best available scientific evidence at this time supports the conclusion that the population of humans (ancestral or modern) has never been less than about 2,000 individuals.”

    1. There was a study of recent human history using whole genomes of several individuals who were considered unlikely to be closely related. The researchers calculated a population bottleneck about 60,000 years ago, and a minimum reproductive population of around 1200. That’s how close we came to extinction!

      1. I was using Jerry’s number for my comment. I’m perfectly happy to accept scientific expert opinion of what that number actually is.

        The point is – so should biologos.

      2. This is not quite how population geneticists interpret that number of 1200 during the population bottleneck.

        If that population of an estimated 1200 would have gone extinct, other human populations that competed with these 1200 may have survived (technically: alleles carried by other human populations may have survived and may not have been displaced the the alleles carried by the 1200).

        Second (and this is even more technical), the 1200 refers to the “effective” population size, which typically is much smaller than the “actual” number of individuals in a population. So the bottleneck, if correctly estimated, likely involved many more than 1200 people.

        I am sorry if I wasted the time of readers not that interested in technical details. Couldn’t resist.

        1. I used the term reproductive population size because I couldn’t remember the actual term from the paper. I was aware that the actual number was greater. That paper is already several years old, and many more complete human genomes are available – I hope they redo their analysis.

      3. A redo of the calculations by another group puts the number closer to 2,000. And, as a commenter says below, that’s the effective population size, which is always an underestimate (sometimes a severe one) of the census size.

  5. Evangelicals, Hasidim, Islamic fundamentalists, Jihadism, neo-Nazis, Klansmen, white nationalists, neo-Confederates, Tea Party members, racist skinheads, black separatists – these are all tribalistic, closed off communities that forsake reason and common sense for dogma. They will never be converted, but need to be decimated and eliminated.

      1. Eliminating these groups. Certain individuals should also be eliminated- the terrorists that were imprisoned then escaped to kill again are a good example.

      2. I am categorically opposed to eliminating humans. (Or eliminating ideas by force.)

        An amusing thought experiment that I sometimes consider is, if we can view ideas as viruses, and religion tends to be a fairly contagious one, what if someone came up with a very dangerous idea that was far more contagious than religion? Sort of the Ebola of ideas? Might violence be the only way for the rational to survive?

        1. Given the diversity of the world and the methods of inter-communal dialogue which are already in place, the best I can come up with for an “Ebola of ideas” which justifies violence by the rational is something along the lines of “Must … eat … brains.”

          1. “justifies violence by the rational is something along the lines of “Must … eat … brains.”

            Ha, that was along the lines of what I was thinking.

            But what if our already dangerous ideas became even more lethal? Back when cold fusion first came up, one of my first thoughts was that if this worked, could people start assembling mini fusion bombs in their basement? And if they could, might the only protection that we could have is to preempt those people that have dangerous thoughts?

            1. What, kill or imprison the people who know how to assemble mini-fusion bombs? I think you’re really talking about suppressing knowledge rather than ideas and there are other means. Consider patents and companies which don’t want their secret formula for face cream passed along.

              Frankly, if it’s THAT dangerous then the very first people to figure it out are either going to realize the implications and make some sort of serious pact regarding nondisclosure or be a bunch of dummies and do something like post it on the web. Cat’s out of the bag now: not enough prisons. Or guns.

              I can visualize the plan to deal with the Ebola of Ideas causing more deaths than the mini-fusion bomb itself.

              1. “What, kill or imprison the people who know how to assemble mini-fusion bombs?”

                No, imprison the ones who are motivated to kill lots of people.

            2. I am not sure what dangerous ideas may be lurking in our future, but suspect you’re right in a general sense. Technology has done lots of good things, but along the way it has made it easier for a single person to kill lots of other people. Right now you can get a gun and kill tens or hundreds of people, and we have no “hard” way of preventing it. Stopping the person after they’ve started their spree, yes, but no way of preventing it. Now imagine the same is true for a 2100AD over the counter tech that can kill 100-1,000 before we stop the person. Or 1,000-10,000. Or 10,000-100,000. The current social plan of ‘you get freedom to act, mediated by response to bad action’ may not work very well. Frankly, its a problem I’m glad I don’t have to grapple with.

    1. I’m not only opposed to eliminating humans, I’m also opposed to ‘eliminating’ groups — if the tactics include force (which it sounds here like it does, which I hope is unintentional.)

      Unless you’re talking about an actual cult with a compound, even “tribal, closed-off communities” contain members who are embedded in a larger culture and thus include individuals who vary from each other often quite a bit. They can be reasoned with. They can change their mind. They can move — even if just a little — in a way which could later prove significant.

      The belief in immutable tribes is anti-humanist. And it isn’t borne out by experience, either. “They” are not unreachable because “they” are not a monolithic clot of cartoon characters.

      Never give up. Never, never, never give up. 😉

      1. “May not these be the result of the connection between cause and effect which strikes us as a necessary one, but probably depends merely on inherited experience? Nor must we overlook the probability of the constant inculcation in a belief in God on the minds of children producing so strong and perhaps an inherited effect on their brains not fully developed, that it would be as difficult for them to throw off their belief in God, as for the monkey to throw off its instinctive fear and hatred of a snake.” Charles Darwin

        1. Difficult isn’t impossible. Raising your children to be fundamentalists is no guarantee that they WILL be fundamentalists — and for life.

          The perfect is the enemy of the good. A lot of “intractable” people shift their views and then insist they never moved, not really. But it moved. Besides — NewEngland Bob was throwing politics into the mix of Immutable Tribes.

          Dogmatic people stay dogmatic — except for the ones who don’t.

          1. Well, but you have to make pragmatic operational choices. You’ve got someone today that appears dogmatically homicidal. Yeah sure, they might flip in the future. Or maybe not. You can never be sure, but you still have to act: how much of society’s collective resources are you going to spend trying to flip them? How much time? What is your criteria for cutting bait?

            NEBob seems to have fairly conservative answers to these questions that I don’t necessarily agree with. OTOH, I very much dislike more liberal responses that don’t address these questions at all. Infinite resources, infinite time, and we never cut bait are not good answers either. (And ‘cutting bait’ is not just about the death penalty; its also about war. So yes, unless you’re a complete pacifist, of course we should have criteria for cutting bait.)

            1. True, but NewEnglandBob was making a different point than Bob Esre, who was doing an interesting thought experiment. Bobe was talking about immutable tribes — and casting a very wide net. ‘Don’t bother arguing with any of them because none of them will ever change in any way’ seemed to be implied. I think that’s problematic, for reasons I gave.

              Sam Harris asked the question of what we do in situations where an entire group seems bent on actual homicide (as opposed to vague and dark threats about the world ending if the Others get their way.) I agree: this one is tough. My answer: I don’t know.

              1. Is it? Sorry.

                …these are all tribalistic, closed off communities that forsake reason and common sense for dogma. They will never be converted, but need to be decimated and eliminated.

                When you say “they will never be converted” don’t you mean the individuals in the group? And by “converted” don’t you mean “persuaded to change their minds?”

                Maybe you could rephrase.

    2. Even Hitchen’s did not want religion to go away, to the surprise of Dawkin’s, Dennet, and Harris.

      Really bad art or wine or philosophy has taught me some perspective that is difficult to come by any other way. Ideologies can provoke emotion above reason and this can have the affect of sharpening one’s ideas against prejudice and ignorance more than just ascetic experiences.

      1. Where did I say religion should go away? My words were quite clear. This discussion has deteriorated. Time for me to unsubscribe.

    3. Sorry, but this reminds me of the following exchange from The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin:

      [Jimmy is explaining to Reggie what kinds of people his secret army will be against]
      Jimmy Anderson: Wreckers of law and order. Communists, Maoists, Trotskyists, neo-Trotskyists, crypto-Trotskyists, union leaders, Communist union leaders, atheists, agnostics, long-haired weirdos, short-haired weirdos, vandals, hooligans, football supporters, namby-pamby probation officers, rapists, papists, papist rapists, foreign surgeons – headshrinkers, who ought to be locked up, Wedgwood Benn, keg bitter, punk rock, glue-sniffers, “Play For Today”, Clive Jenkins, Roy Jenkins, Up Jenkins, up everybody’s, Chinese restaurants – why do you think Windsor Castle is ringed with Chinese restaurants?
      Reginald Perrin: You realise the sort of people you’re going to attract, don’t you, Jimmy? Thugs, bully-boys, psychopaths, sacked policemen, security guards, sacked security guards, racialists, Paki-bashers, queer-bashers, Chink-bashers, anybody-bashers, rear Admirals, queer admirals, Vice Admirals, fascists, neo-fascists, crypto-fascists, loyalists, neo-loyalists, crypto-loyalists.
      Jimmy Anderson: Do you think so? I thought recruitment might be difficult.

      /@

  6. Accommodationist BioLogos, still fumbling its way to squander money. They are about as good with that as the YEC ‘Discovery Institute’.

    But, as I reported (link above), BIoLogos readers didn’t like the new policy one bit. In response, the website has gone back to its previous policy, as outlined in a new post by content manager Jim Stump: “Comments are back.”

    I read it: they did a poodle. (With caveats, but still.)

  7. At any rate, BioLogos‘s “solution” to this issue is to punt: they say that they take no position on the historicity of Adam and Eve.

    This is what happens when you combine what ought to be science into a religious mindset. Instead of a framework of debate and a search for consensus, the best you’re going to get is a polite Mutual Admiration Society which sounds a lot more like an Arts Foundation or a Interfaith Alliance than like a group which is trying to get down to the bottom of things and discover something real.

    For an amusing look at a similar group, read this report of a legitimate doctor’s visit to a “Healing Arts Alliance.” There’s quackery and pseudoscience galore — and the “treatments” and their “theories” often contradict each other. But read the statement in their booklet:

    [w]e do not endorse any specific method or system. Our member/practitioners are committed to a nonjudgmental collaboration and cooperative relationship . . .

    Hm, what does this remind me of?

    BioLogos is the Alternative Medicine of Evolution.

      1. These are examples of people giving up creationism without giving up their faith. Jerry said he was unaware of any cases. Whilst only 7 in number this was 100% of those spotted by this study.

  8. “Conversion” (“to evolution”) is also the wrong word here. Came to understand and appreciate the evidence is what is needed, not another adoption by blind faith.

  9. “BioLogos isn’t accomplishing much except sucking up Templeton dollars.”

    I think the long term problem is where the money comes from. I fear a future without proper financial backing for “secular” ideas or research. Templeton foundation and big bucks jesus could win a war of attrition. They have no real footing on the facts, but the moment a coin plinks in the coffers, another soul might spring to apologetics and bad science.

    1. Winning technologies are those that work. I am not certain Templeton or their ilk will wither. But what thrives must be compared to what thrives more.

      Automobiles, cell phones, computers, medical technologies, bridges and road, public water and electricity, etc.. Science wins because it continues to work and improve our lives.

      Templeton’s full capacity for making predictive claims about the universe is equal to a single fairy tale I utter to my kids before bedtime.

  10. I want organizations that will reconcile my faith in Dionysus, Demeter, and Diana. Their lessons impart the spirit of evolution and how to survive in this world.

    Ahhhhh. Biologos…damn you…purposefully disremembering the great ones to worship.

  11. i wonder if biologos is aware of selfish genetic elements, stretches of DNA that spread in spite of being injurious to the individual.
    That is some God-breathed evolution!

  12. Back when I was going to church, it was always the interminable prayers that I couldn’t stand (next to the passing of the plate, of course!). Sometimes if the pastor was good I could get into the sermon to some extent, and a good organist and choir helped. But the prayers — yerrchh!!!! Sanctimoniously delivered with great drama, all to no effect whatsoever. I was ashamed to shake hands at the exit door!

  13. “…An amusing thought experiment that I sometimes consider is, if we can view ideas as viruses, and religion tends to be a fairly contagious one,…” Greg Esres

    “…Nor must we overlook the probability of the constant inculcation in a belief in God on the minds of children producing so strong and perhaps an inherited effect on their brains not fully developed……” Matt G

    It seems to me that it is an important mistake to conclude that religion is spread like a meme, or like a virus; or even that it is a form of indoctrination. My ‘Human Sub-Set Theory’ (for which I have taken a ribbing on this site) proposes that religion comes from a common variation of human consciousness, whereby the adolescent has accepted certain broad assumptions concerning the nature of reality, and almost everyone with that particular Brain Operating System comes, by logic, to believe that they may best self-actualise by identifying the ‘boss’ in a notional hierarchy of authority, and then by finding a place within that hierarchy, which involves constantly sucking-up to the boss-guy. In Europe it is called being a courtier syndrome. . And it involves about a third of all humans. That’s why religious people are generally so intractable.

    Another difficult problem concerns cults. They seem to come into being wherever people of a similar type of consciousness gather together. The operating mechanism in the formation of a cult is called SSS, or Social Self Selection, which is a mechanism usually found in religions. This site shows a few signs of becoming a meeting-ground for a cult, in its scepticism about fresh ideas. The hounding of dissenters to popular social views is a sure sign of a growing cult. I think that it’s best to keep quiet when exposed to new ideas until you have a chance to look at the evidence.

    It’s good to read something from Plantinga. It is rare in life to read about someone who is untouched by experience; a child’s mind in an adult body. Is Notre Dame another bible school? Is being a philosopher at Notre Dame a bit like being a witch-doctor in the animist religion (which I have studied first hand)? Pretending to have knowledge that you don’t have?

    1. georgerumens #17 wrote:

      This site shows a few signs of becoming a meeting-ground for a cult, in its scepticism about fresh ideas.

      What, this site? WEIT? Or do you mean BioLogos?

      Wouldn’t agree with you on either.

  14. Jerry mentioned that I am a regular commenter on BioLogos. I think it is very interesting and important to present an atheist view on a Christian-majority platform. Hope some of you will join me there.

      1. Exactly. And why not give them more traffic? It would be nice if it would come above AnswersInGenesis in search engines.

        Also, I have learned a lot by participating there!

        1. I can’t see me ever going back. I stopped by today to look and it is the same misguided people commenting. If they understood anything Dennis V. wrote, they wouldn’t be so clueless. I think it is a pretty hopeless bunch.

  15. Jerry,

    I’m not a Christian, and I don’t consider myself to be an accommodationist, but I think that you’re not being fair in describing BioLogos’ stance on human evolution. In all of their scientific articles, they have acknowledged through and through that humans did not originate from a single breeding pair. Not only that, they also embrace the genetic evidence that suggests that the effective population size of our ancestors never dropped below 1,000 individuals. So, why all the fuss? They never denied the scientific evidence, and their scientific views are in sync with the majority position amongst human geneticists and paleoanthroplogists.

    What they are not taking a direct position on is not the science, but the theology. They acknowledge that there are many possible interpretations of the Adam and Eve story, and all of the interpretations that they are considering are compatible with the scientific evidence. The organization is not a religious authority to decide which of those interpretations is the most theologically sound. Would I object to some of those interpretations as vacuous and contradicting the central message of Christianity? Yes, maybe. But that’s not what interests me here. What interests me, at least at a basic level, is that they acknowledge the scientific evidence and proclaim that openly and truthfully. And as far as I can see, that’s what they have been doing.

    1. There is only one interpretation of Adam and Eve in light of the evidence: they are mythological. The same is true of every other creation myth any culture has ever come up with. Tell me again why Genesis should be privileged.

      1. Where did I even suggest that Genesis or any other religious text or story should be privileged? All I’m saying is that BioLogos’ stand is in line with the scientific evidence. Whatever they choose to do with their theology, that’s their own business.

        1. No it’s not. If they argue, as they have, that God could have created mutations, or directs or enables evolution, they are pushing a profoundly antiscientific line. It’s everyone’s business if people say that God is behind the scenes in science. Theistic evolution, as touted by many commenters (including Francis Collins) suggests that the “goal” of evolution is humans, and that is PROFOUNDLY unscientific.

          It’s called “natural” selection for a reason.

          Invoking a supernatural hand in the process is not in line with the scientific evidence. And that is my business.

          1. Yes, you have a point here. And I agree that some versions of theistic evolution (but not all) do propose inteventionist mechanisms, which makes them more in line with the ID movement than with modern science. But that’s not the issue we are discussing. We are discussing whether BioLogos acknowledges the scientific evidence regarding our own ancestry. And as the article that I have cited shows, they in fact do. They don’t believe in a literal Adam and Eve, who are the progenitors of all modern humans. To the contrary, they say that the effective population size of our ancestors never dropped below 1,000 individuals, which is what you have just explained in your article above.

            1. Not necessarily, some of them do believe in a literal Adam and Eve, but that they were not the first humans. Simply the first humans God chose to interact with.

  16. At any rate, BioLogos‘s “solution” to this issue is to punt: they say that they take no position on the historicity of Adam and Eve.

    Why does this remind me of the Dishonesty Institute’s ludicrous claim that they are only showing how, scientifically, to detect design, but not taking any particular stance as to the designer’s identity?

    1. > Why does this remind me of the Dishonesty Institute’s
      > ludicrous claim that they are only showing how,
      > scientifically, to detect design, but not taking any
      > particular stance as to the designer’s identity?

      If… a designer there really be
      Zurvan… would be its identity.

      imo

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