Dr Behe: Scenario of "God's Pool Shot"

Oh, I have found lots of your answers already posted. You are not ungenerous about giving answers. The problem is that your answers don’t theoretically cohere – as Dan Eastwood pointed out.

@eddie (@swamidass),

Behe’s Pool Shot Scenario is, by definition, a THEOLOGICAL scenario.

It doesnt matter what non-religious biologists think. It only matters what Christians (including Christians who are scientists) think.

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I’m just quoting the reasons he has given me. Not everything is a personal attack. It is a neutral statement.

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Your point, even if made with a twinkle in the eye, was that the position George imputed to Behe (the pool shot) didn’t sound like God “guiding” evolution. I was agreeing with that. I wrote at more length than you desired to read, because this discussion about “guided” evolution has been a major theme in ID/TE discussion for over a decade now, and it’s a theoretical question which most of the participants prefer to skirt. So if you didn’t find my exposition of any interest, that’s OK with me, but perhaps some others here might get something from it. Peace.

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So Russell’s answers dont cohere either. You cannot prevail with foolishness. Dan doesnt understand the distinctions yet. In contrast, you have no excuse.

I’m very curious if Behe would accept a natural explanation of IC as long as it’s not Darwinian.


Most Catholic bishops, as far as I can tell, and most Catholic seminaries, don’t require a literal Adam and Eve. See Celia Deane Drummond’s work and Dennis Edwards, etc. I think former pope’s statements on this are more an issue among Catholics that post on the internet a lot, which tend to be much more conservative than any of the last couple popes including Benedict.

Places like Catholic Answers and guys like Ed Feser (GREAT PHILOSOPHER btw!) aren’t really mainstream Catholic, they seem to be right of center. Maybe I’m wrong!

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But as I’ve said, he hasn’t focused on the pool shot. That idea is not commonly stressed in his writings or oral presentations. He has taken up the idea of front-loading relatively rarely, and when he has considered it, has always treated it only as a possibility. If he were trying to convince the scientific world that he was a front-loader, he would expound the idea much more vigorously, and much more frequently, than he does.

His third book will be out in the New Year. Let’s take up this discussion again then. If his strategy is as you say, we should expect to see the front-loaded idea much more prominent in that book than it was in the first two books.

I think he would. His position is against random mutation and natural selection.

Not true. He is devotedly arguing against an already falsified theory as if it was current theory. Remember Darwinism was falsified a long time ago.

Most Catholic bishops, and most Catholic seminaries, don’t represent the teaching of the Catholic Church, any more than most mainstream Protestant ministers, or Protestant seminaries, represent authentic Reformation doctrine. If you want the teaching of the Catholic Church, read the Catechism of the Catholic Church (on the Vatican website), and various other official statements. (By the way, the Catechism was partly shaped by Benedict, whom you mention – and Benedict was more conservative than either his predecessor or his successor, and in my view, the best Pope I have seen in my lifetime.)

For a guide through the official statements, the best book I know of on the history of Catholic thought on evolution is Catholicism and Evolution by Michael Chaberek, O.P. It goes into excruciating detail on Catholic thought, official and unofficial, from the time of Darwin on.

It is true that Catholic thought does not require mechanical literalism regarding the Garden story. The Catechism allows for figurative elements in the story. But there are explicit Catholic statements regarding the exclusion of polygeny and the affirmation of monogeny (one original couple as the sole ancestors of all true human beings) which the Church has yet to retract or alter.

Which is why the genealogical Adam is important.

Yes, I agree that it poses a potential solution to the tension the Catholic Church finds itself in over evolution. Whether Catholic thinkers will embrace it remains to be seen.

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The tension the Catholic Church finds itself in over evolution is the least of its problem once the Federal investigation gets going.

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They kind of already have embraced it. Have you looked at Kemp’s work?

George, I was responding to this statement of Joshua:

Joshua’s statement was not limited to Christian biologists – it was about biologists generically. He meant that Behe could not hope to convince biologists of intervention, but might be able to convince them of front-loading. And my answer is that Behe is savvy enough to know that biologists (taken as a group, with individual exceptions) are not going to accept either intervention or front-loading.

And that’s true of Christian biologists as well as secular ones. The vast majority of TE/EC folks at BioLogos and in the ASA reject front-loading or are uninterested in the idea. Only Denis Lamoureux shows sympathy with it (and maybe, over in Britain, Conway Morris). It isn’t a popular notion among American Christian biologists at all, and Behe will never sell ID to them by promoting front-loading rather than intervention – even if he did try to promote front-loading.

Joshua, I understand that you did not mean it as an attack on Behe. My point was that Behe would be very clued-out about biological opinion if he thought that front-loaded evolution would be a big-selling idea. It might be less repulsive to biologists than miraculous intervention, but it still implies a designer of the evolutionary process who pre-plans evolutionary outcomes, and such pre-planning most biologists will reject, and Behe knows that they will reject it. So it’s not much of a “strategy” for him to switch from pitching something that repels 99% of biologists to something that repels only 90% of them. So if he did tell you privately that this was his motive in floating ideas of front-loading, I don’t think he was thinking very realistically when he said that.

No, I haven’t, but one thinker doesn’t constitute a massive movement within Catholic thought. You’ll have to be more patient. :smile:

Well i would agree he is not thinking very realistically. As I’ve said before…

He understands well that in normal parlance, the idea of a God who “guides” evolution is theistic, whereas the idea of a God who sets up and makes a perfect pool shot, and then can leave the table before all the balls are even sunk, because physics will do all the rest without his supervision, is deistic. So either you don’t mean what 99% of typical Christians mean by God “guiding” evolution, or your position is incompatible with the pool-shot scenario.

All you have to do, George, is specify whether by God “guiding” evolution you mean that God personally intervenes in the process from time to time. If you think that is what happens, then fine; I won’t object. But if that’s how you conceive of evolution, then you don’t mean the pool-shot scenario.

I’m not trying to shoot down your view, but merely trying to get straight what you are affirming about evolution. And you don’t help matters by dragging in a questionable interpretation of ambiguous remarks by Behe on a video. Forget about Behe and just tell us how you think God is involved in generating the outcomes of evolution. Then we can avoid all side-debates about what Behe means and simply concentrate on hearing your own personal ideas. The time to determine whether or not your ideas match Behe’s is after we know what your ideas are, not before.

@gbrooks9 @Eddie, there is a difference between my not understanding and my not offering an opinion. Please do not speculate about what I may or may not understand, when you could simply ask me.

My observation is that when people two intelligent people disagree, then they often are not asking the right questions.


You’ve forgotten about his cosmic rays already?

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