Recently, my review of the Crossway book on TE was published in Themelios: Three Reviews of the Crossway Theistic Evolution Book. I concluded that article asking:
Shortly after that, we discussed BioLogos’s response to the book: BioLogos and the Crossway TE Book. @Eddie also published a very thoughtful response to my review: Eddie’s Response to Review of Crossway TE, and became a regular contributor here at Peaceful Science too.
I am pleased to report now that @Agauger, one of the authors of the TE book has responded to my review too. This is is the first of a three part response.
I want to say a few comments about this part, and will plan on a full response after all three parts are completed.
Swamidass brings his own particular point of view to his review. He defines himself as a Christian who affirms evolution, while also rejecting the name theistic evolutionist. Yet in many respects, though not all, his review parallels the concerns of theistic evolutionists.
Lastly, a little history will show why we were invited to participate. It wasn’t for religious reasons. The book was designed by the original editors, J.P. Moreland, Wayne Grudem, and Chris Shaw, to be a response to the three main aspects of theistic evolution: scientific claims, philosophical claims, and theological claims. It was not a Discovery Institute initiative, nor an ID initiative. The editors of the TE book asked Stephen Meyer (and me) to be editors: Meyer to frame the book’s scientific response, and me to assemble the needed chapters for the scientific response. We did not make a case for ID, or a theological argument for ID . (The one exception is Douglas Axe, who contributed a summary of arguments from his book , Undeniable. )
I know that Swamidass is a Christian who affirms evolutionary science. I will not use his religious belief to challenge the sincerity of his science, his motivations, or his beliefs, in any respect. Let him give us the same respect and acknowledge that what we do is science, even if he disagrees with our conclusions.
I want to agree with @Agauger here. ID is not putting forward a religious argument, but a scientific argument with which I disagree on scientific grounds. Moreover, any religious motivations they have would never be valid grounds alone by which to dismiss them. I understand @Agauger’s concerns here, but was not discussing this as a reason to dismiss them.
Personally, I have religious motivation to study and understand evolutionary science. I want to know the true structure of the living world, so I can be an honest servant of the Church. Frankly, it is because of these religious motivations that I came to understand evolutionary science well enough to turn away from ID arguments that at first seemed so convincing to me. Those religious motivations do not make my work less trustworthy.
In agreement with Ann Gauger, religious motivations alone, if they are found in the ID movement, should not be reason enough alone to dismiss ID. As @AGauger points out too, many people associated with ID also were convinced by ID before they became Christians. This also is an example of the “genetic fallacy”. Those of us that care about logic, evidence, and science should not dismiss argument merely because they are relevant to religious concerns. I agree with Gauger here.
With that, I’ll look forward to the next parts, and respond more completely then.