Daniel Deen: Thank God for Evolution


(Ashwin S) #21

Except that there is no reason to think that was his purpose. As to his purpose with mankind, the Bible teaches it was to bear the image of God. And his method is obviously through Jesus Christ. Free will choice is definitely a part of this method, however it involves a direct interaction with creation through the incarnation and an intimate crafting of his image in those who trust in him.
Don’t you think there is a stark contrast in the method shown by the bible vis a vis that proposed by you?

I am sure most scientists believe so. However since the scientific method does not test for or consider Gods action in the universe, my first statement is more correct. Evolution is an explanation that is valid under the assumption that God did not act in the universe. The alternate inference/explanation
is never considered, and hence even if scientists make claims that evolution is valid even if God acts in the universe, it’s an untested opinion.

No I don’t agree with metaphysical naturalists. If you read what I wrote earlier, you would understand I am saying the opposite.

I don’t remember claiming science can prove the resurrection.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #22

Science is silent on the ressurection.

(Ashwin S) #23

Precisely my point.

(Jordan Mantha) #24


I think you misunderstand, I said “most scientists” not “science”. I am saying that both theist and atheist scientists have looked at the evidence (both scientific and otherwise) and the vast majority say that “evolution is the inference to the best explanation regardless of if there is or is not a God acting in the universe.” Again, you seem to be saying that science is the only discipline or way of knowing that can address origins.

I’m talking about this:

I’m trying to say that I think your premises are not accurate. Many people who are firmly in the “evolution” camp absolutely believe the resurrection is a possibility.

(Jordan Mantha) #25

And that’s okay because there are other ways of knowing.

(Ashwin S) #26

No I am saying that the latter half of your statement is the opinion of scientists… and it is not even an expert opinion because scientists don’t study the action of God.
Is that so difficult to get?

I am referring to the error of approaching resurrection the same way scientists approach evolution. How this leads to a mistaken understanding of God’s supernatural work in the ressurrection. And the bias such thinking brings into how we reason. I am saying it’s something that needs to be avoided when doing theology including when addressing questions connected to the origins.

(Jordan Mantha) #27

Well, to be honest, your statement doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. The later half of my statement is basically saying that science doesn’t have an opinion regarding God’s action. Scientists certainly can, and do, have opinions and reasoned beliefs about these things but those opinions and beliefs are not coming from the results of science. They must come from other ways of knowing. It’s not that science excludes God a priori philosophically, it’s that the very nature of the questions science is meant to answer and the methods used to do so mean it can’t answer the question “did God do it?”.

(Ashwin S) #28

How many scientists will admit their atheism comes from “other ways of knowing”. And how many people pick up on the difference between what scientists claim based on science vis a vis what they claim based on their world view?
Hence before using evolution as a positive tool for Apologetics, its important to show the limitations if the idea/scientific method with respect to metaphysics. It’s also important to show the methodological bias under which evolution is concluded.
The discussion is not about science/scientists. It’s about whether evolution is a good tool for apologetics.

(Daniel Deen) #29

Okay, but my article was not talking about the question of absolute origins. I imagine that @Patrick or the other atheists/agnostics on this blog, who deny your premise, “since God exists,” understands what I am communicating. He/they will still think I’m crazy for believing in fairy tales, but the IBE inference pattern, I am assuming, he/they will recognize as similar to historical research whether biological or archeological. If this is true, than my article has done important work for Christians. I also know that Patrick, can’t speak for the others, will not sugar coat this issue, so his comments, for or against me, will actually help me develop future thoughts.

Then why are we arguing…? You must seem to think that there are better versus worst ways to engage with non-believers. Otherwise, what’s the point in trying to correct my understanding?

I was not defending anything remotely close to this in my article.

No, diminishing God will diminish Christ. I’m only saying that I am not quite sure how I would know God is being diminished outside of diminishing Christ. How do you read verses such as John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’”?

I suppose we are bumping into that distinction between metaphysics and epistemology again. I tend toward epistemic concerns, allowing my epistemology to guide my metaphysics. Others tend toward metaphysics, allowing metaphysical commitments to dictate how epistemology ought to behave. The problem with the former is that one never gets a secure/absolute metaphysical system. The problem with the latter is that one can never prove their metaphysics is the correct system.

I need to think more carefully about this metaphysics/epistemological distinction. I have yet to find the correct way to express it.

This is true in the lab, but, once outside of the lab and having a public conversation, would not the inference to the best explanation be that Jesus was dead at time x and alive at time y? And if that is the case, could one not have a conversation with a materialist about what caused that? The resurrection, as God’s action in the universe, is tested and continually tested. People try to show all the time that Jesus did NOT rise from the dead. If Jesus did NOT rise from the dead than ALL divine action in the world becomes epistemologically suspect. However, if the Gospel documents survive testing as reliable witness to the IBE that Jesus was dead and then alive again, a scientific materialist will need to take that inference seriously. There is common ground here between evolution and biblical archeology that can be put to apologetic purpose.

Silent on the cause of the resurrection. However, one can agree that archaeology, medical science, and other sciences can tell us all sorts of things about the circumstances surrounding the resurrection(s).

Or, perhaps to put this point in another way, other contexts of life… Meaning that @Jordan and @swamidass do not only live in the context of a laboratory. Truth, Understanding, Wisdom, is larger than any particular discipline.

I think we need to get clear on “other ways of knowing.” Darwin was NOT driven to agnosticism through his scientific musing. It was the problem of evil and his experience of death that did that… I haven’t dug deeply into scientific biography, but the problem of evil seems to be a rather common denominator in the rejection of Christianity among scientifically minded people.

This is a problem. In the popular literature, one is usually not careful in distinguishing the science from the larger picture.

However, I’m a little at a loss to see how pointing out limitations actually improves conversation. As I said much earlier in this thread, are you willing to concede limitations in your own thought?

I really do not think you are about a methodological bias, you seem to keep circling back to a metaphysical bias.

Yes, but only in terms of the epistemology of history. Metaphysical biases may persist, but these would persist in any apologetic you give. Perhaps you are simply against apologetics?

(Ashwin S) #30

It makes it clear where we are coming from. If we explain these limitations in the beginning itself , then a priori assumptions of natural causes for events such as the resurrection can be rejected on the basis of this prior mutual understanding.
As to limitations in my though, why wouldn’t I be willing to concede it?

My observation is that in the study of origins, the methodical bias often translates into a philosophical/metaphysical bias when communicated to the public.
Hence the reliability of science(in this case evolution) becomes associated with the reliability of a materialistic approach. Any supernatural explanation becomes equated with unscientific or even anti-scientific superstition.

I am not against apologetics at all. I am absolutely for it.
I only question whether this metaphysical bias associated with evolution is a good thing. I believe it will ultimately be a hindrance.


@Philosurfer Daniel, I am not against you at all. Your beliefs are your beliefs. And I don’t see you attacking science which is neutral on whether God exists or not. I don’t see you harming others in any way, so in my mind we are friends and fellow Americans who are working to make our lives, our families lives and our communities better for our grandchildren.


This still surprises me. There are hundreds of thousands of biologists across the globe and evolution is nearly universally accepted among biologists. It only stands to reason that there has to be quite a few christian scientists who accept evolution. Perhaps this isn’t something that some christians think about, and it comes as a surprise when they come face to face with a fellow christian who accepts evolution. If anything, this once again justifies the existence of Peaceful Science and its stated goal of connecting christian scientists with their fellow christians.

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(S. Joshua Swamidass) #38

Maybe, but an invited speaker to a Christian event, to share his point of view? That is not what one expects. I’m not even sure I expect it yet, even though i am that speaker! Both @Philosurfer and @JSmith are, at least somewhat, outliers in that the see value in exposing kids to scientists like me.

I hope so. in time, I hope there are many more out there engaging with students than just me, or the handful of celebrities at BioLogos and Veritas. Give us time…

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(Jordan Mantha) #41

@Philosurfer the timing of the bump is kinda ironic given the last few days :wink:

(Daniel Deen) #42

Indeed! It was great to get to meet you this weekend. Looking forward to the next…