i admit I do not have much experience with Christian evolutionists but I start getting an idea about it after browsing your posts.
Once someone somewhere asked me why I am an atheist. There are probably many reasons I have not introspected yet, but there is one I can single out, I think.
i am an atheist because I fully embrace the theory of evolution by natural selection. I refer here to disbelief in the God of my culture, namely the Judean God.
Some will say that there are many theists who embrace evolution, too. That is true. Most of European Christians are old earthers evolutionists. However, I do not believe they made their homework.
The picture of evolution by natural selection we get from science is an inefficient, amoral, ateleological, purposeless, wasteful way to create complex life that also depends on physical contingecies like continental drifts, earthquakes, huge meteorites and similar catastrophes. A process that led to our existence (the pinnacle of creation) after a painstaking path that led to many species getting extinct in the way.
My impression is that evolutionary theists are neither theists nor evolutionists. They deny the necessarily impersonal character of evolution and, at the same time, turn God into a being who creates by trial and error.
Therefore, I really do not see how this view (the scientific orthodox one) matches with the idea of a perfect creator who knows how toreach His goals. For a coherent evolutionist, even things like love are traits naturally selected by impersonal processes.
So, I think it is impossible to find a point of contact between the Judean God and evolution by natural selection.
i would be curious to read your thoughts about this.
I arrived at disbelief by a completely different route. I was raised in the church so I just fell into christianity as a product of how I grew up. During those years I fully accepted evolution and didn’t see any reason why they should conflict with one another. However, the “problem of evil” (which you seem to be hinting at) was one of the questions I struggled with and it was a part of my journey out of the faith.
One of the interesting landmarks in my journey as a young man was discussions I had with my undergrad biology professors. Three of them were Methodists, and they saw no conflict between evolution and their faith. This confirmed what I had always felt before, that there is no reason why christianity and science need to be in conflict.
Ok, I am not a biologist. So, you might have a point. But consider this:
Science tells us that the dinos ruled the world for several hundred thousand years. In the meantime some rat looking like creatures evolved. Mammals. They were just hiding in their holes in order not to be eaten by the next velociraptor. Fair enough, it is not nice to be digested by velociraptors.
But suddenly, sort of, a crisis happened. Volcanoes, climate change, asteroids conjured up to rid the dinos. So, that that rat looking like critter managed to get out its stinking hole to eventually become a primate, an ape, us.
That is what happened, according to scientific evidence. Do you really think God drove things in such a way, including climate change, volcanoes, asteroids, etc, so that a rat looking like critter could get out of its stinking hole to eventually become the very reason God created the whole Universe for and incarnate into one of them?
In my opinion your idea is flawed as your hypothesis counts on natural selection as a mechanism explaining the diversity of life. I think if you dig into the detail here you will find this a difficult claim to defend.
I’ll answer briefly then I’ll try to dedicate more space. Why would God create through evolution? First I would say it allows for a deeper interconnection between us and non-human animals (Collins 2008). Secondly it allows creation to take part in creating. I find that to be a very loving thing to do. Just like Fathers who allow their sons to help with a project. Thirdly, it creates a necessary epistemic distance between us and God. God isn’t going to make his existence obvious. That robs us of freedom in accepting him. He’s going to give us just enough. That’s what evolution does. I mean you’re an atheist because of it. I was too. Then I looked closer. Epistemic distances makes possible many great goods. Such as seeking God or helping others seek god (See Swinburne).
As far as your AE goes those are problems for Theism really and not EC,TC or CASE in general. You’re putting too much emphasis on selection. Most change is neutral and invisible to selection. So it’s not all these survival of the fittest, evolutionary arm races. You’re also ignoring the role of cooperation in evolutionary change. And things like converge. It’s not all this random, contingent mess. Also, God experiences time differently than we do. What we experience as random isn’t random to God. Though isn’t it odd through all these contingent events the evolutionary process created the exact type of being we would expect on Theism? Kinda like someone planned the outcome…
That’s possible. But possible doesnt mean probable. I take an inductive approach much like Paul Draper, a metaphysical naturalist, and Richard Swinburne, a Christian. Which hypothesis best explains the world we see? At this time I’d say Theism. But I’m a card carrying Bayesian and im always ready to update my beliefs.
Theism has no particular predictions, and therefore zero explanatory power. You have to combine it with ad hoc hypotheses to get to a sort of God that would create our particular world, and thus the prior probability of the God you are invoking to explain the world has become as improbable as the world you are invoking your God to explain.
I think the situation is even worse for Christian theism. You now have to combine the Christian conceptions of God with loads of ad-hoc hypotheses for why the Christian God would create things with evolution despite the complete lack of scriptural (or sensible rational) support.
Of course there’s perfectly good psychological and sociological explanations for why anyone would even do this, because they have some sort of psychological/emotional connection to their religion and are allowing themselves almost limitless leeway to reinterpret and redefine their religious beliefs to square them with scientific findings no sane person could ever have predicted or claimed that they would expect that any God would have created the world like.
“God would totally have done it that way” predicted no-one ever.
You don’t think Theism best explains the existence of consciousness? I mean it’s Theism’s Starting point. Surely we have more reason to expect it on Theism than naturalism. The existence of the universe as a whole? The order and complexity of it. Religious experiences? Beauty? I’d argue all these things are best explained on the assumption that Theism is true. No good reason to expect any of these on naturalism
Whats Judean God mean? are you a Jew?
you make some good points. Yes its impossible dinos ruled the earth for so long and then dead and then a rat like thing diversified into well everything .
The bible instead teachs only 6000 years. then a flood that killed fossilized the creatures. Including dinos, which are not a real thing i say, and then the earth was repopulated from the ark .So a new ratio of clean to unclean and new divisions in biology.
Completely explained by Gods word.