Biologos, Daniel Harrell, and Crazy Town

[ @swamidass, you might enjoy this history trip down memory lane … ]

Perhaps it was 3 or 4 years ago when I bumped into an article by Coyne in which he used the amazing phrase “half way to crazy town!” The point he was making is that trying to formulate some kind of compromise with Creationists wasn’t much of a solution - - if it means it puts you on the road, “half way to crazy town!”

So when I decided to google that phrase and Coyne’s name, I was pretty surprised to see that one of the uses of the term applied to a video/article by the Rev. Daniel Harrell, published at BioLogos in 2010! [The BioLogos page is dated 2013, but the Coyne reference is separately dated to 2010: By pharyngula on June 24, 2010. [aka Paul Z. Meyers]

So, did Coyne get the expression from Meyers? I won’t try to decide at this point. But Meyers says he and Coyne and Dawkins are “confused” by a BioLogos article/video. Here’s the core part of the transcript (with links at the bottom). The Reverend Harrell says:

"Something that has been helpful to me is that I don’t think that a historical Adam and Eve is problematic from a Biblical historical context. I think Adam and Eve as the first humans is what the problem is."

[Option #1]
“You could say, and I think we’ve had some pastors say, that God does this special creation thing of Adam and Eve in the context of the evolutionary epic. God could do that, and that’s fine.”

[Option #2]
“I don’t think you have to say that. I think you could also say that God specially selects Adam and Eve for this covenant relationship, much as he did with Abraham, say, in the Biblical epic, and so Adam and Eve become representative of the kind of relationship that God intends to have with all people.”

“That is a point of possible convergence that allows those who are very worried about a historical Adam and Eve to breathe easier, and those who are very concerned about integrity with DNA findings and evolutionary science to also breathe a bit easier because at least there’s a possibility of hermeneutics.”

With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, we can see why Rev. Harrell’s explanation landed like a dead mackerel on Ham’s kitchen floor! The Reverend did not address Original Sin. He thought that he had done something clever by making Adam a human analog to Abraham. Abraham was chosen… Adam was chosen. Brilliant!

Unfortunately, Romans 5 is based on more than that - - it’s based on the Creationist position popular in the Western world - - that Paul was specifically alluding to Original Sin, and the role that Adam played in it by being the First to break God’s moral commandment.

And yet even with this barely effective olive branch offered to the Creationists (it was really more like “just one olive”… rather than a whole branch), Meyers and the zealous Atheists blow a gasket, throw a rod and they could probably feel the cold fingers of death down the back of their necks!

Here’s much of what they wrote:

The apologetic gang at BioLogos is complaining again — Jerry Coyne, Richard Dawkins and I didn’t understand their recent piece by Daniel Harrell on Adam and Eve, and oh, it is so hard to be the ones in the middle of all those atheist and creationist extremists.

Note to BioLogos: squatting in between those on the side of reason and evidence and those worshipping superstition and myth is not a better place. It just means you’re halfway to crazy town.

“The core of [the] article [an article I could not identify by Falk] consists of complaining that we didn’t understand what they [BioLogos] were talking about, and took their article out of context. Unfortunately, as Falk attempts to restate the original bogus argument, it becomes apparent that the only ones who were clueless and confused were the theistic evolutionists.”

What they were doing in the original article was distinguishing between two alternatives:
#1, Adam and Eve were created literally as the Bible says, and

#2, that Adam and Eve were historical figures who were chosen by God out of existing populations that had evolved as science explains.

**[The irony is quite vivid… they despised solution #1, but now people wonder if this **
isn’t the only way left to go - - but not as the first couple ever! ]

#1 is patently ridiculous, as they admit,

and comically, they argue that
#2 is eminently reasonable and supportable by science, and assume that therefore all our criticisms must have been made under the misapprehension that we thought BioLogos was endorsing #1.

"No! We can read, and we could see exactly what they were saying with their goofy dichotomy, and we’re saying the whole effort to reconcile science with the book of Genesis is a misbegotten waste of time — we were addressing #2, not #1. (Although Harrell also argues that #1 could be true, since his god can do anything).

#1 and #2 are both wrong, and there is also a #3. [That] … there was no Adam and Eve […at all!].

Sometimes, you need to take a little sight-seeing trip down the road to see exactly where we need to go next!

​A Pastor Deals with Adam and Eve with Daniel Harrell - Resources - BioLogos

The link to the crazy town mention!

https://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/06/24/thats-not-a-shoehorn-its-a-sle

Note to BioLogos: squatting in between those on the side of reason and evidence and those worshipping superstition and myth is not a better place. It just means you’re halfway to crazy town.

The core of Falk’s article consists of complaining that we didn’t understand what they were talking about, and took their article out of context. Unfortunately, as Falk attempts to restate the original bogus argument, it becomes apparent that the only ones who were clueless and confused were the theistic evolutionists. What they were doing in the original article was distinguishing between two alternatives: #1, Adam and Eve were created literally as the Bible says, and #2, that Adam and Eve were historical figures who were chosen by God out of existing populations that had evolved as science explains. #1 is patently ridiculous, as they admit, and comically, they argue that #2 is eminently reasonable and supportable by science, and assume that therefore all our criticisms must have been made under the misapprehension that we thought BioLogos was endorsing #1. No! We can read, and we could see exactly what they were saying with their goofy dichotomy, and we’re saying the whole effort to reconcile science with the book of Genesis is a misbegotten waste of time — we were addressing #2, not #1. (Although Harrell also argues that #1 could be true, since his god can do anything).

#1 and #2 are both wrong, and there is also a #3. There was no Adam and Eve. There is no reason to believe there was; the authors of the book of Genesis had no source of information about prehistory, no authority to outline anything but their own recent history, which they were only able to do rather poorly and inaccurately, and the whole story was simply made up. Furthermore, this fable of a few unique individuals founding the whole human race is contradicted by the evidence: we are descended from populations with a pattern of continuous variation, grading over long ages from species to species to species. Not only is it irreconcilable with the Genesis myth, but there is no reason to expect it would be.

What they are attempting to do is shoehorn the evidence into their theological preconceptions. They need to face up to facts: it’s not a shoehorn in this case. When you’re reduced to using a hatchet and a sledgehammer to wedge the divine foot in, the shoe simply doesn’t fit.

https://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2010/06/24/thats-not-a-shoehorn-its-a-sle

Isn’t crazy town just a sly slur? isn’t it a insult to people who seriously are thinking about origins? isn’t it just religious bigotry to say believers in a faith are crazy? one can say any religion is wrong and not be a reflection on the intelligence of those believers! Religious conclusions are always about invisable things. Accepting/rejecting these conclusions is not about the visable natural world.
A general conclusion of God(s) having created the natural world is apparent by looking at the complexity of the universe. Yet not showing religious details.

Christian conclusions were the most prestiges and well held of modern world .
If folks want to call these christian conclusions CRAZY then to prove their credibility they should itemize FIRST all the other faiths as crazy.
They don’t ever call the others crazy as its only Christianity that is not defended. The others are always enmeshed in identity pride and legitimacy.
it should be the other way around.
its just the bad huys have no intellectual arsenal and just the little bit of creationist resistance reveals their poverity.
They are losing in our time.

@Robert_Byers

Yes, absolutely. And that is part of the irony I was presenting.

BioLogos suggested a fairly limp interpretation of Adam & Eve, and they got savaged by the Atheist community.

This time around, I suppose PeacefulScience can still be savaged… but there is a kind of inevitability about the proposals @swamidass is making… It’s a good time to be around in the Evolution vs. Creationism debate!

Speaking of crazy town, that was an overlong and seemingly incoherent rant on the subject of…well, not sure. Apparently, though, you can feel superior to both creationists and atheists, and perhaps that’s the point. And it’s “Myers”.

That mental image alone is well worth the price of my recently acquired condo timeshare, which is situated just outside the city limits of Crazytown. (It’s a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there year round. I spend most of my year in Old Coot Town. It is certainly not an upscale neighborhood–and the occasional tourists and other visitors rarely stay for long–but most of us are relatively comfortable there.)

Meanwhile, I would posit that this is not the only mackerel to be found on Ham’s kitchen floor—a dining option which should not be confused with the stacked cases of Ken’s favorite seafood staple: the red herring.

This is an interesting thread, but I confess that pondering the complications of the Options #1, #2, and #3 makes my head hurt a little. I’m glad I’m not on the Biologos staff, a job where I would be required to dissect such topics while not overly upsetting any donor faction more than absolutely necessary.

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Two bloggers does not a community make. In fact, atheists are as much a community as non-golf players are a community. I don’t think there is any safe way to extrapolate the positions of a handful of outspoken atheists to the rest of the atheist population.

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