Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Re: according to ID theory is the Designer involved only in the formation of these microscopic structures, or the entire biological world? #2

AN

----- Original Message -----
From: AN
To: Stephen E. Jones
Sent: Sunday, January 07, 2007 9:32 PM
Subject: request

[Left: Benjamin B. Warfield]

Continued from part #1

>Such a question I guess must have been asked before, and I apologize for my ignorance.
>
>I would very much appreciate your commet .
>
>Thanks very much for your considerarion
>
>Yours
>
>AN
>
>Prof. of biology and philosophy

I hope this has helped.

It is important to realise that one could remain a "Darwinian Evoulutionist" and accept ID, if by "Darwinian Evoulutionist" is not meant the denial of design (as in Darwinism). As I pointed out in a recent post, "Re: Did Darwin believe in Intelligent Design?," in Darwin's day the foremost proponent of Darwin's theory in the USA was Darwin's friend and confidant, Harvard botanist Asa Gray, an evangelical Christian!

As I quoted in that post, there were at least two ways to reconcile the science (not the philosophy i.e. Darwinism) of Darwinian evolution with design.

The first was to step back one level to the "fitness of the environment" (see below), i.e. initial conditions, constants and laws of the Universe that Darwinian evolution itself depends on, could be designed, as pointed out by conservative Christian theologians like R.L. Dabney and B.B. Warfield, who wrote the definitive conservative evangelical Christian work on the Inspiration and Authority of Bible and who described himself as a "Darwinian of the purest water":

"If Hodge's and Patton's endorsement of evolution was ultimately tentative, B.B. Warfield was decidedly more partisan. By his own admission a `Darwinian of the purest water' [Warfield, B.B., "Personal Reflections of Princeton Undergraduate Life," The Princeton Alumni Weekly, 6 April 1916, pp. 650-53] .... It goes without saying that Warfield's endorsement of Darwin was not unqualified, however. He held that any scientific theory that in principle subverted providence or occasional supernatural interference must ultimately prove unacceptable. But within those limits, Warfield, in pointed contrast to both of the Hodges, said he would `raise no question as to the compatibility of the Darwinian form of the hypothesis of evolution with Christianity.' [Warfield, B.B., `Charles Darwin's Religious Life: A Sketch in Spiritual Biography,' in Studies in Theology, Oxford University Press: New York, 1932, p.548] The context of this particular ratification of Darwin's theory is itself important, for it shows Warfield's capacity to distinguish central issues from peripheral issues. He made the statement in an article entitled `Charles Darwin's Religious Life,' in which he reviewed the three-volume Life and Letters of Charles Darwin. As the subtitle `A Sketch in Spiritual Biography' suggests, Warfield focused on what has come to be known as Darwin's `affective decline'-that is, his increasing distaste for art, music, literature, and religion. Warfield certainly lamented the spiritually disruptive effects of the theory of evolution on its chief advocate, and he expressed his annoyance at Darwin's absolutist claims for his natural selection mechanism. But this must not be allowed to conceal the fact that Warfield remained enthusiastic about the theory as a natural law operating under the control of Providence an interpretation supported in various ways, he noted, by such scientists as Carpenter, Dallinger, and Gray. Warfield held that Darwin's aesthetic atrophy and spiritual disaffection could be traced on the one hand to an inability to conceive of God as immanent in the universe (which resulted in a misapprehension of the doctrine of Providence) and on the other hand to an unsophisticated understanding of teleology. It was Warfield's concern, therefore, to articulate a theological defense of divine design and providential government of the world in evolutionary terms." (Livingstone, D.N., "Darwin's Forgotten Defenders: The Encounter between Evangelical Theology and Evolutionary Thought," Eerdmans: Grand Rapids MI, 1987, pp.115-117)

The second way to reconcile Darwinian evolution with design, was to propose that the variations (i.e. mutations) could be directed (either naturally and/or supernaturally), as Asa Gray did. These two ways are not mutually exclusive.

As I also quoted in that previous post, Darwin rejected the second way of reconciliation of his theory with design, but on personal philosophical (not on scientific) grounds. However, on the first way, Darwin himself claimed that, "Everything in nature is the result of fixed laws," which therefore included the content of his own theory! Indeed, Darwin did not reject that second way to reconcile his theory with design, and even admitted in his autobiography that when "reflecting" on "this immense and wonderful universe" he felt "compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man" and at those times he "deserve[d] to be called a Theist"!:

"Another source of conviction in the existence of God, connected with the reason and not with the feelings, impresses me as having much more weight. This follows from the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far back wards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man ; and I deserve to be called a Theist." (Darwin, C.R., in Barlow, N., ed., "The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, 1809-1882: With Original Omissions Restored," [1958], W.W. Norton & Co: New York NY, 1969, reprint, pp.92-93).

As even Richard Dawkins himself admitted, the `blind watchmaker' depends on "the blind forces of physics ... deployed in a very special way:

"All appearances to the contrary, the only watchmaker in nature is the blind forces of physics, albeit deployed in a very special way." (Dawkins R., "The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design," W.W Norton & Co: New York NY, 1986, p.5. My emphasis).

I have recently been reading Yale biophysics professor Harold J. Morowitz' "Cosmic Joy and Local Pain" (1987), where he quotes two other leading scientists (Harvard's Lawrence J. Henderson and Princeton's Freeman Dyson) who, like him, accepted Darwinian evolution but also accepted design, and then concludes, "Like Dyson and Henderson ... I find it hard not to see design in a universe that works so well. Each new scientific discovery seems to reinforce that vision of design. As I like to say to my friends, the universe works much better than we have any right to expect" (my emphasis):

"In the early 1900s, Lawrence J. Henderson revived the argument from design within his perceptive work The Fitness of the Environment. He did not actually talk about design; rather, he noted:
There is, however, one scientific conclusion which I wish to put forward as a positive and, I trust, fruitful outcome of the present investigation. The properties of matter and the course of cosmic evolution are now seen to be intimately related to the structure of the living being and to its activities; they become, therefore, far more important in biology than has been previously suspected. For the whole evolutionary process, both cosmic and organic, is one, and the biologist may now rightly regard the universe in its very essence as biocentric. [Henderson, L.J., "The Fitness of the Environment: An Inquiry into the Biological Significance of the Properties of Matter," [1913], Beacon Press: Boston MA, Reprinted, 1958, p.312]
... design was back in the arena and periodically appeared in the writings of aging scientists, who, freed from the idylls of the marketplace, could state their philosophical views without fear of peer pressure.In 1979 Freeman Dyson attacked head-on a reexamination of design in light of the science of our time. His brief essay on theology occurs within a book appropriately titled Disturbing the Universe. Dyson is a prominent physicist and astrophysicist, and I think it came as a surprise to the scientific community when his book contained a chapter entitled `The Argument from Design.' He [wrote] ...
It is true that we emerged in the universe by chance, but the idea of chance is itself only a cover for our ignorance. I do not feel like an alien in this universe. The more I examine the universe and study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known that we were coming. [Dyson, F.J., "Disturbing the Universe," Harper & Row: New York NY, 1979, p.240]
Dyson points to the role of mind in the domain of physics. He notes that there is just the right balance between the attractiveness of nuclear forces and the repulsion of the like charges of nucleons. If the repulsive forces were larger, nuclei could not exist. If the attractive forces were greater, all the protons of the universe would have been tied up in diprotons and all the hydrogen reactions that fuel the nuclear chemistry of the universe could not have taken place. The actual fusion reactions of hydrogen in the sun depend on what physicists call the weak interaction. It controls the rate of fusion: much stronger and the stars would burn up too fast, much slower and they would be too cold. Dyson goes on to point out that organic chemistry (and by extension biochemistry) depends on a delicate balance between electrical and quantum mechanical forces that come about because of the exclusion principle. The thrust of Dyson's approach is very much in the mode of Henderson's, except that he adds mind, the immanent mind quality of the universe, as a further feature of design. In the preceding chapters we, too, have looked at the workings of the biological and geological universes and have been impressed with how well the microscopic and macroscopic aspects come together. Like Dyson and Henderson ... I find it hard not to see design in a universe that works so well. Each new scientific discovery seems to reinforce that vision of design. As I like to say to my friends, the universe works much better than we have any right to expect." (Morowitz, H.J., "Cosmic Joy and Local Pain: Musings of a Mystic Scientist," Charles Scribner's Sons: New York NY, 1987, pp.295-298)

I personally, like Prof. Behe, accept Universal Common Ancestry, and as I mentioned in another previous post, "Since 2003, with minor variations, I have stated on my testimony page ... I would have no problem even if Darwinian evolution was proved to be 100% true":

"I would have no problem even if Darwinian evolution was proved to be 100% true, because the God of the Bible is fully in control of all events, even those that seem random to man (Prov. 16:33; 1Kings 22:34). Jesus said that not even one sparrow will die unless God wills it (Mat. 10:29-30), which means that God is fully in control of natural selection. But if the Biblical God really exists there is no good reason to assume in advance that Darwinian (or any form of) naturalistic evolution is true!".

Therefore, as with Christian geneticist David L. Wilcox, for me "neither an adequate nor an inadequate `neo-Darwinism' (as mechanism) holds any terrors. But that is not what the data looks like", i.e. what the data looks like to me and Prof. Wilcox is that an Intelligent Designer (who I assume is the Judeo-Christian God), has supernaturally intervened in life's history, including its origin, and like Wilcox "I feel no metaphysical necessity to exclude the evident finger of God"!:

"I have no metaphysical necessity driving me to propose the miraculous action of the evident finger of God as a scientific hypothesis. In my world view, all natural forces and events are fully contingent on the free choice of the sovereign God. Thus, neither an adequate nor an inadequate `neo-Darwinism' (as mechanism) holds any terrors. But that is not what the data looks like. And I feel no metaphysical necessity to exclude the evident finger of God." (Wilcox, D.L., "Tamed Tornadoes," in Buell, J. & Hearn, V., eds., "Darwinism: Science or Philosophy?," Foundation for Thought and Ethics: Richardson TX, 1994, p.215. Emphasis original).

Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol).


Genesis 42:6-8; 43:32-33. 6Now Joseph was the governor of the land, the one who sold grain to all its people. So when Joseph's brothers arrived, they bowed down to him with their faces to the ground. 7As soon as Joseph saw his brothers, he recognized them, but he pretended to be a stranger and spoke harshly to them. "Where do you come from?" he asked. "From the land of Canaan," they replied, "to buy food." 8Although Joseph recognized his brothers, they did not recognize him. 32They served him by himself, the brothers by themselves, and the Egyptians who ate with him by themselves, because Egyptians could not eat with Hebrews, for that is detestable to Egyptians. 33The men had been seated before him in the order of their ages, from the firstborn to the youngest; and they looked at each other in astonishment.

"In the book of Genesis (43:33) we read of a lord of Egypt who entertained eleven men who were brothers. The men, so the story goes, `marvelled one with another' when they found themselves seated at table in the exact order of their ages. Let us seek to face the question: why was it that they marvelled? For answer we can only say that such an event seemed to contradict one of the basic ideas entailed in `common sense.' The men had never heard of the laws of probability, of entropy, or of the second law of thermodynamics, but they rightly suspected that the long arm of coincidence would hardly have arranged them in just that way. Somehow, they guessed that intelligence was at work, though to all appearances this could hardly have been the case. In the end, so it would seem, they decided to trust to appearances instead of intuition. Nevertheless, they soon learned that their intuition had not deceived them. The idea, in short, is simply this. Order does not arise of its own accord; it does not come out of nothing, and we must not explain it away by chance. On the other hand order is easily lost spontaneously." (Clark, R.E.D., "Darwin: Before & After: An Examination and Assessment," [1948], Paternoster: London, Reprint, 1966, pp.148-149)

7 comments:

Openmind said...

Mr Jones

Forgive me if I've misunderstood but to me it seems you are suggesting that there are some undirected natural processes but that these are a broader different form of design than that described by the theory of Intelligent Design.

I'm a little confused as to the difference. What would be acceptable evidence that something had not been designed in this broader sense? How could you tell the difference?

Similarly with Asa Gray saying a variation could be directed or undirected, what would be acceptable evidence to show that God had not intervened in a mutation? Couldn't God intervene and we would never know?

Stephen E. Jones said...

Openmind

>Forgive me if I've misunderstood but to me it seems you are suggesting that there are some undirected natural processes but that these are a broader different form of design than that described by the theory of Intelligent Design.

Correct. That's what my quote of the Dembski painting on canvas analogy made clear. ID is not the *entire* argument from design.

>I'm a little confused as to the difference.

See above.

>What would be acceptable evidence that something had not been designed in this broader sense?

See my post on "acceptable evidence" and how for every Darwinist I have ever encountered, *not one* has ever stated up-front what evidence that they would accept for design.

It is significant that you (like most if not all Darwinists) dwell on whether it is "acceptable" to admit design, not whether it is *true*.

When I was debating on my now- defunct Yahoo list, I used to liken this to the proverbial ostrich with its head in the sand, who thought that if it could not see what it didn't want to see, then it wasn't there!

>How could you tell the difference?

If you cannot tell the difference between the design of a canvas a painting is on, and the design of the painting itself, then I cannot help you!

>Similarly with Asa Gray saying a variation could be directed or undirected, what would be acceptable evidence to show that God had not intervened in a mutation? Couldn't God intervene and we would never know?

See above on "acceptable evidence".

Most people have no problem intuitively recognising that, say, the bacterial flagellar rotary motor is designed, but this is *un*-"acceptable evidence" to most (if not all) Darwinists on *philosophical* or indeed *religious* (i.e. anti-God) grounds.

As I briefly mentioned on my blog [http://tinyurl.com/y4mrff] and more fully on my Yahoo list [http://tinyurl.com/y2jhkp] in a molecular biology class the lecturer, who had previously announced she was an atheist, put up an overhead of the ATP synthase rotary motor. She stared at it intently for some seconds and then turned to the class and exclaimed, "The bloody thing ROTATES!"

Clearly she intuitively recognised it as designed (as would have every student in the class), but her atheist philosophy prevented her from admitting it.

As I have previously stated [http://tinyurl.com/yblbsg], my policy is not keep debating in these comments an individual beyond one response, and allow them (you) to have the last word.

Stephen E. Jones

Geocreationist said...

You began by saying (correctly in my opinion), "It is important to realise that one could remain a "Darwinian Evolutionist" and accept ID, if by "Darwinian Evolutionist" is not meant the denial of design (as in Darwinism)."

I have noticed recently that a lot of Christians have a problem with someone arguing that God used evolution, because to them evolution is action without God. I doubt they would find your qualification above very satisfying, and that is unfortunate, for it prevents any further intelligent interchange. Too bad.

My own insight on this seeming redefinition of Evolution (hardly original I'm sure) is that God's perspective is from outside the universe. To Him, a design decision at the beginning of the universe materializes before His very eyes, even while it appears to be 15 billion years later from our perspective. So, what looks like a "fire and forget" theory to us is a genuinely active process to God, where His uniquely extra-universal perspective makes Him quite involved in even the most lengthy of processes. To not acknowledge that, in my opinion, reduces God from the role of "Creator of the universe" to a mere inhabitant.

Stephen E. Jones said...

Geocreationist

>You began by saying (correctly in my opinion), "It is important to realise that one could remain a "Darwinian Evolutionist" and accept ID, if by "Darwinian Evolutionist" is not meant the denial of design (as in Darwinism)."

Thanks.

>I have noticed recently that a lot of Christians have a problem with someone arguing that God used evolution, because to them evolution is action without God.

I agree with them that in "the standard scientific" sense of "evolution" it *is* "action without God", i.e. "God had *no part* in this process" (my emphasis):

"Facing such a reality, perhaps we should not be surprised at the results of a 2001 Gallup poll confirming that 45 percent of Americans believe `God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so'; 37 percent prefer a blended belief that `human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process'; and a paltry 12 percent accept the standard scientific theory [of evolution] that `human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process.'" (Shermer, M.B., "The Gradual Illumination of the Mind," _Scientific American_, February 2002. http://tinyurl.com/y2rdxd)

But in this post I was not talking about "God" but about *ID*. They are *not* the same thing. One could accept ID and not accept there is a God (as agnostic ID leaders Michael Denton and David Berlinski do). Or one could accept there is a God and not accept ID (as some creationists like Ken Ham and Hugh Ross do). Or one could accept a non-Christian deist God on the basis of the evidence for design in molecular machines (as former atheist Antony Flew now does).

>I doubt they would find your qualification above very satisfying, and that is unfortunate, for it prevents any further intelligent interchange. Too bad.

Agreed that most "Darwinian Evolutionists" would not find accepting design "very satisfying".

And as for "further intelligent interchange" in this debate, in my experience of over a decade (1994-2005) of debating all-comers, there is very little of that in this debate.

Nevertheless, what I said was *true*. It is a historical *fact* that Darwinian evolution originally had its anti- and pro-design wings (the latter represented by leading scientists Asa Gray, Alfred Wallace and Charles Lyell) but the anti-design wing (represented by Darwin, T.H. Huxley and J.D. Hooker) won and subsequent history has been written by the victors.

>My own insight on this seeming redefinition of Evolution (hardly original I'm sure) is that God's perspective is from outside the universe. To Him, a design decision at the beginning of the universe materializes before His very eyes, even while it appears to be 15 billion years later from our perspective.

That seems to be a variant of St. Augustine's position:

"The act of creation may thus be viewed from two directions, as it were: from the side of the cosmos, and _sub specie aeternitatis_, as the Scholastics would say. According to the first point of view, things are created in temporal sequence: first one thing, then another, and so forth. Let us observe, moreover, that this corresponds to the perspective of the first chapter of _Genesis_, the perspective of the _hexaemeron_ or the `six days.' But let us not fail to observe, too, that in the second chapter one encounters an entirely different outlook: `These are the generations of the heaven and the earth, when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the heaven and the earth, and every plant of the field before it sprung up in the earth, and every herb of the ground before it grew.' (_Gen_. 2:4-5).35 Now this corresponds to the second point of view. From `the standpoint of eternity' there are no longer six days, but only *one*. On its own ground, so to speak, the work of creation is accomplished in one absolutely simple and indivisible act. As we read in _Ecclesiasticus_ (_Ecclus_. 18:1): _Qui vivit in aeternum creavit omnia simul_ ('He that liveth in eternity created all things at once'). ... For as St. Augustine has observed, the metaphysical recognition that `the world was not made in time, but with time' entails the scriptural _omnia simul_ as a logical consequence: `God, therefore, in His unchangeable eternity created simultaneously all things whence times flow...' They were not made in temporal succession, because they were not made in time. Yet, to be sure, created beings come to birth in time: they enter the world, as it were, at some particular moment. Each creature, in its cosmic manifestation, is thus associated with its own spatio-temporal locus: it fits somewhere into the universal network of secondary causes. But yet it is not created by these causes, nor is its being confined to that spatio-temporal locus: for its roots extend beyond the cosmos into the timeless instant of the creative act. That is the veritable `beginning' to which Genesis alludes when it declares: _In principio creavit Deus caelum et terram_. It is `the day that the Lord God made the heaven and the earth, and every plant of the field before it sprung up in the earth, and every herb in the ground before it grew.' Let there be no doubt about it: the creature is moreincomparably more!-than its visible manifestation. It does *not* coincide with the phenomenon. Even the tiniest plant that looms for a fortnight and then is seen no more is vaster in its metaphysical roots than the entire cosmos in its visible form: for these roots extend into eternity. And how much more does this apply to man! `Before I formed thee in the womb, I knew thee.'" (_Jer_. 1:5). (Smith, W., "Teilhardism and the New Religion: A Thorough Analysis of the Teachings of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin," Tan: Rockford IL., 1988, pp.17-18. Emphasis original)

>So, what looks like a "fire and forget" theory to us is a genuinely active process to God, where His uniquely extra-universal perspective makes Him quite involved in even the most lengthy of processes.

The point is that if it "looks like a "fire and forget" theory to us" then that is effectively Naturalistic = Atheistic Evolution,

Then problem with that is twofold. First, in my experience of debating all-comers for over a decade (1994-2005), in defending this Deistic/Theistic Evolution theory you would actually have to agree with the atheists against creationist/IDist and defend not Deistic/Theistic Evolution but Naturalistic/*Atheistic* Evolution.

Second, your "`fire and forget' theory" would have all the problems that Naturalistic Evolution has. And these are such that even former atheist Antony Flew has now abandoned fully Naturalistic Evolution in favour of God supernaturally intervening to create the first living organism [see part #1 http://tinyurl.com/ycx8t2].

>To not acknowledge that, in my opinion, reduces God from the role of "Creator of the universe" to a mere inhabitant.

There is no doubt that God *could* have created *solely* through natural processes, if that is what He wanted to do.

But the problem with that is also twofold. First why *would* He, when an atheist like Dawkins could then justly claim that it *looked* like Atheistic Evolution in which God played *no* part? As Phillip E. Johnson pointed out, "If God stayed in that realm beyond the reach of scientific investigation, and allowed an apparently blind materialistic evolutionary process to do all the work of creation, then it would have to be said that God furnished us with *a world of excuses for unbelief and idolatry*" (my emphasis):

"From a biblical standpoint, however, it is not only the events of salvation history that create difficulties for any compromise with naturalism. One is faced not simply with the details of the Genesis account but with New Testament passages that reflect the fundamental logic of Christianity. For example, the first chapter of Romans tells us that `the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men, who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles.' [Romans 1:18-23] That passage does not speak of a nature that merely raises questions that a naturalistic science cannot answer, but of a nature that points directly and unmistakably toward the necessity of a creator. And if nature does no more than raise questions, how can men be blamed for coming to the wrong conclusions about what to worship? If God stayed in that realm beyond the reach of scientific investigation, and allowed an apparently blind materialistic evolutionary process to do all the work of creation, then it would have to be said that God furnished us with a world of excuses for unbelief and idolatry." (Johnson, P.E., "Creator or Blind Watchmaker?" _First Things_, January 1993, p12. http://tinyurl.com/y7qyhx)

Second, there always has been problems with the evidence of fully Naturalistic Evolution. The fossil record has always *looked* like God had progressively intervened at strategic points over time, which is in fact the pattern in Genesis 1. Or as the atheist Darwinist Daniel Dennett observed, The first chapter of Genesis describes ... successive waves of Creation":

"The first chapter of Genesis describes the successive waves of Creation and ends each with the refrain `and God saw that it was good.'" (Dennett, D.C., "Darwin's Dangerous Idea: Evolution and The Meanings of Life," [1995], Penguin: London, Reprinted, 1996, p.67).

That is why Darwin admitted that most of the paleontologists of his day were against his theory and why he had to propose that the fossil record had to be *extremely* imperfect, *far more* imperfect than any paleontologist would grant" (then and now):

"That the geological record is imperfect all will admit; but that it is imperfect to the degree required by our theory, few will be inclined to admit." (Darwin, C.R., "The Origin of Species By Means of Natural Selection," Sixth Edition, 1872, Senate: London, Facsimile Edition, 1994, p.409).

And things have only got *worse* for Naturalistic Evolution, not better. Apart from the problems of explaining naturalistically the origin of life, as biologist Mark Pagels admitted, the fossil record's pattern of "rapid bursts of change, new species appearing seemingly out of nowhere and then remaining unchanged for millions of years" is "hauntingly reminiscent of *creation*" (my emphasis):

"Palaeobiologists flocked to these scientific visions of a world in a constant state of flux and admixture. But instead of finding the slow, smooth and progressive changes Lyell and Darwin had expected, they saw in the fossil records rapid bursts of change, new species appearing seemingly out of nowhere and then remaining unchanged for millions of years-patterns hauntingly reminiscent of creation." (Pagel, M., "Happy accidents?" Review of "The Pattern of Evolution," by Niles Eldredge, W.H. Freeman, 1999. _Nature_, Vol. 25 February 1999, pp.664-665, p.665).

But in my eperience most Deistic/Theistic Evolutionists have *theological* (not scientific) reasons for preferring a God who never supernaturally intervened in life's history. But then is more like a form of Gnosticism (where God is radically distinct from the world), than Biblical Christianity.

Stephen E. Jones

Geocreationist said...

> I agree with them that in "the standard scientific" sense of "evolution" it *is* "action without God", i.e. "God had *no part* in this process" (my emphasis)

I will accept this definition, for the sake of clarity. Therefore, I will have to restate my position as being indistinguishable from evolution in the strictly scientific sense. However, my position is not that of St. Augustine either.

I believe that Jesus was physically and temporally present at creation (Proverbs 8:27), and so was the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:2). Furthermore, Jesus was using the Holy Spirit for transport (Psalm 104:3), and so the perspective of hovering was Jesus', too. Therefore, Jesus was present at the very events that left no recording of Him, beyond His obedience to God's creative pronouncements.

I believe the conditions of Genesis 1:2 were under dark clouds, in the rain, 3.9 Ga, after the last recorded large meteor strike in the early earth's history. These large strikes were preventing an atmosphere from forming, and hence preventing a well-lit sky. Add to that thick clouds (from vaporizing the ocean), rain (after the temperature lowered enough for the oceans to start reforming), and a dim sun, and the conditions were quite dark (Job 38:9). God then said "Let there be light", and Jesus did: there were no more meteor strikes. The atmosphere began to form, and the sky began to brighten. Jesus had been hovering over an earth rotating beneath Him, and so we have only a rough idea of how long this "day" was from His perspective. But, eventually, Jesus and the Holy Spirit followed the earth into dusk, and the first day was over.

I won't go through the entire chronology, but Day 2 was similar. It was still raining, but God said to let the firmament divide the waters below from those above. Eventually, the rain stopped, and Jesus allowed the evening to overtake Him again.

What these two days have in common (and the others if we followed them through) is that the events of the days appear to be events that were going to happen anyway... there weren't an endless supply of meteors, so they were going to end anyway. The rain wasn't going to last forever either, and it in fact ended. Yet God made pronouncements relative to physical time, everything created was done through Jesus (John 1:3; Proverbs 8:30), and Jesus was actually there (Proverbs 8:27,28).

We seem then to have a paradox, where 1)A temporal creation process is accurately recorded in scripture(to the extent that it is recorded), 2)The physical process is scientifically derivable independent of that scripture, 3)God's presence is not verifiable scientifically, 4)God's presence is insisted upon theologically.

One could actually argue that the scientific verification of what God had recorded in scripture is in fact a type of scientific verification of God's presence, given that the scriptures came before the science. But then, God is pretty fond of paradoxes (the Trinity for example), and His attitude is that we simply accept them in faith.

Therefore, I differ from St. Augustine, because even while I argue that God set up the universe's physical processes at its creation, so that the universe could mature "naturally", I also argue that the creation Genesis 1 records was 6 literal days (as Genesis defines a day -- sundown followed up sunrise), that those 6 days were witnessed by God's creative agent Jesus, and that the physical events set up 15 billion years ago (approximately) were fulfilled in Jesus' obedience to God starting 3.9 billion years ago.

It's like when my boss tells me to write a computer program that does such-and-such (I'm a software engineer by trade). I can write the program, and it's done. However, my obedience is not actually noted on the record until I demo the program for him, and he sees the sequence of steps I put into the program. From the perspective of the program (if it were conscious), there's no evidence of me at all, except for the program itself. Perhaps I cannot call it evolution, but that is why a gave the entire theory a name: Geocreationism.

Geocreationist said...

I just re-read your response response to me, and then my response to you, and fear I unwittingly made one of your points for you.

You closed with:
>But in my eperience most Deistic/Theistic Evolutionists have *theological* (not scientific) reasons for preferring a God who never supernaturally intervened in life's history. But then is more like a form of Gnosticism (where God is radically distinct from the world), than Biblical Christianity.

I just want to clarify that I do not have a core believe that God never supernaturally intervened in life's history. I believe He intervened to get the Jews out of Egypt, and that He made a special garden for Adam and Even, for example. I believe the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus was the ultimate divine intervention. Therefore, I have no stake in proving God did or did not actively create things during the Genesis 1 account, though you can probably tell what direction I'm currently leaning.

My approach is to simply look at the evidence, and see what story it tells. I looked the science of the earth's beginnings, looked at bible's recording of the earth's beginning, and saw that they line up. Well, what then?

It just so happens that the events recorded in the earth are events that do not appear to have required divine intervention, since God divinely created the universe so those events would happen "on their own" eventually.

On the other hand, perhaps God ended the meteors earlier than otherwise, and perhaps the rain, too. And perhaps the breaks in the fossil record are there because of explicit creative acts on God's part. I really have no problem with finding out either way, because my point wouldn't change. But if He didn't intervene at those points in time (yet Jesus physically observed His work), then I don't think it makes the result any less intentional on His part.

Of course, I suppose I do have one stake in this: if I concluded that God was intervening at those points, I'd have to go rewrite a bunch of blogs! But I will do it if necessary. I'm out to discover the truth... not simply get my own way.

BTW, I'm glad I found your blog... a bit verbose sometimes (so am I), but challenging.

Stephen E. Jones said...

Geocreationist

See my "Policies" on my blog's front page:

"... Of those comments which do appear, I may not have the time to respond to all (or even most) of them."

To which I have now recently added:

"I no longer have the time or inclination for extended debate, so any response by me will usually be only once to each individual, and then I will let him/her have the last word."

You have now had *two* last words, so comments on this particular post are now closed to you.

You are however, welcome to comment on other posts on my blog.

But then, as I have pointed out previously [e.g. http://tinyurl.com/yn9ynr], they should be comments on *my* posts, not be used mainly as an opportunity for those commenting to disseminate their own views.

Stephen E. Jones