One of our unofficial resident scholars, @Philosurfer, just published an article of high relevance to us.
The atheist philosopher Mike Ruse was one of Daniel’s PhD mentors, and the same intellectual empathy shines through both their work as we see in @Randal_Rauser. We have been privileged to have him here as a regular contributor, even though the LCMS denomination has a “complicated” relationship with evolution. Recently we hosted an Office Hours with him where he explains why they expose high schools students in their denomination evolution and the reality of racial injustice.
This puts into practice the encouragement of Sean McDowell:
In this article, @Philosurfer writes to an audience that largely rejects evolution, explaining the common ground between orthodox theology, evolutionary science, and questions of justice: a robust engagement with history.
Evolutionary theory is committed to a robust sense of history. What I mean by this statement is that evolutionary theory is devoted to a real and knowable history. History is not some sort of construct or ideologically infused entity (e.g., Hegel, Marx, Kant, Kierkegaard etc.). The evolutionary biologist is committed to sifting solid historical evidence in order to make claims about common descent. The Christian may be troubled with a concept such as common descent, but this unease should not overshadow the powerful ally we might have in the methodological presuppositions of the evolutionary biologist in committing to a knowable and true history.
Think about a paleontologist as he attempts to ascertain the cause of the great dinosaur extinction. The scientist must reconstruct as accurate a picture of history as possible, weighing the evidence of certain scenarios against each other. How different is this when one investigates the nature of the resurrection. Did Jesus really rise from the dead? Did somebody steal the body? Did Jesus really die on the cross? These questions are addressed in the same fashion as the paleontologist.
The same is true in engaging injustice. To understand it, we have to understand history. Perhaps more importantly, is the key failure of science. Science helps us understand how we got here, but to contains within itself no imperative to be good.
Bournes juxtaposing two intellectual tensions throughout the poem. First is the vivid illustration of the failures of evolutionary science to overcome human depravity. Nothing in the science requires a higher moral standard.
Here, Bournes is just echoing Martin Luther King Jr, who was assinated exactly 50 years ago:
But America, as I look at you from afar, I wonder whether your moral and spiritual progress has been commensurate with your scientific progress. It seems to me that your moral progress lags behind your scientific progress.
While technology and science are bringing us progress at an increasing rate, we need to pause and listing to MLK again. History, including historical science, can tell us something of who we are. Science, however, cannot make us good. How will we make that sort of progress too?
This is the strange place that we find ourselves (me and @Philosurfer both) wondering together about theology, science, and injustice, about Adam, Evolution and Race.