Harmonizing Evolution and Guidance at BioLogos

Anyway, before the thread gets derailed I want to comment on this issue.

My perception of BioLogos and TE/EC has always been that the only defining feature of their category is to accept God as the creator without allowing for the possibility of ID. I do not think that is possible. That contradictory position is the source of all the consternation expressed about BioLogos on this thread. They cannot square the circle. Either God actually intended certain outcomes and therefore we can determine the likilihood thereof versus a random or unguided model, or He didn’t.

More recently, some TEs have admitted the possibility of ID being legitimate within the confines of a clear definition of TE. That is progress of a kind.

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So then, it seems that you put @dga471 and I in a different bucket, even though we are critical of ID?

Honestly? I don’t know. I am still unsure as to why @dga471 thinks specified complexity is different than the fine tuning argument. But it does seem like he has technical issues and is not philosophically opposed to a design argument as such. But then again he might be and he’s just hiding it rather well.

I don’t recall having any in depth discussion with you about it. My honest impression of you is that you felt betrayed by YEC/ID and have emotional barriers in place against any arguments they might make. I have not seen you deal with any of the issues relevant to this thread. You claim you are not a methodological naturalist, but you also claim the GAE is consistent with MN when it’s clearly not. So I honestly don’t know what you think. Is a design argument possible to make and you just disagree on technical points?

The fact is that everyone knows ID is anathema in professional circles, and becoming an ID advocate carries professional risk. It is not simply, as you often claim with YEC, an issue of allowing someone to get a PhD or become a professor. It’s primarily an issue of access to grant money, and as everyone knows, getting grant funding is a key metric for tenure track professors trying to get tenure. Because of that I suspect that anybody such as yourself and Daniel who does not appear to have any substantive objections to ID is harboring ulterior motives. And as a reminder, you make the same objection about YEC as is clear above.

I claim I am not a metaphysical naturalist, and I don’t know what a “methodological naturalist” is. I do think there is a great deal of confusion about how MN works in practice.

Yes, it is possible to make a design argument. I disagree on the technical points in several specific ID arguments, and I disagree with how scientific errors are (not) managed in the IDM.

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Try publishing something in a scientific journal relating to GAE or better yet, put it in a grant proposal. You will quickly find out exactly what MN is and that it is in fact an enforced belief within the scientific community.

Getting grant funding on the GAE? That’s already happened, and it is likely to happen again soon. :slight_smile:


@BenKissling, in the coming months, you should look out for two things.

  1. Glenn Branch (from the NSCE) is publishing a review of the GAE. It is a positive review.

  2. Ken Miller (chairman of the NSCE board) is responding at AAR to the GAE, and its likely to be positive.


The science about GAE was published in Nature in 2004. Do you know anything about that science? Do you know anything about the GAE argument? Do you think that such knowledge is important before making accusations in a public forum?


Venema wrote a really good article on abiogenesis that might help illuminate this subject.

It seems that he is reluctant to commit himself to a God of the Gaps argument, but he is still very charitable towards other views.

I would disagree with you here. While cessationists dont believe the gifts of God are for today, they do believe God is capable of doing miracles on his own initiative.
Most cessationists also affirm that Jesus and the Apostles and the OT prophets did many miracles (such as multiplying bread, casting out demons, raising the dead, healing the sick etc).
As far as i have seen, the folks at biologos have a deeper aversion to the idea of miracles.

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Let’s be fair here. At BioLogos, they would almost always affirm that “Jesus and the Apostles and the OT prophets did many miracles (such as multiplying bread, casting out demons, raising the dead, healing the sick etc).” They certainly believe God can do miracles, the question is rather whether or not He did in specific eras and specific events.

Same with cessationalists. They agree God can do miracles, the question is rather whether or not He did, albeit their skepticism is in a different era.

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I think you missed some things here. While @dga471 doesn’t commit to an exact description of how God guides, he acknowledges the following -

  1. That the process was ordained- meaning God had a clear picture of what he wanted to happen and he caused it to happen.
    This adds teleology in the Historical aspects of evolution. Everything was according to God’s purpose. Nothing was “random” or beyond God’s control.
  2. The process also invokes a meticulous knowledge of the future and about every mutation that has and will happen and an ability to control everything that happened.
  3. Since, the end result was in God’s mind, it invokes design.

All these are theological commitments. So he is not avoiding the question, he is making specific commitments.

@dga471; Do you reject the possibility of God intervening directly (like Jesus intervened in a natural process by changing water into wine. We don’t know how he did it, perhaps he accelerated natural processes or created wine de novo) ?

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I’d say that the criteria are completely different: understanding vs. belief.

We disagree on the relevance.

The inability to even articulate what to look for, to pick one thing. Past experience despite the great length of that experience, for another.


How would you articulate the difference between understanding and belief?

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Again, just my opinion . . .

They seem to have an aversion to assigning miracles to processes already understood to be the result of natural processes, such as evolution.

Come now; this is an endless regress of definitions. I think we both know what both those words mean, and the meanings are different.


I think that’s possible, although at the moment I can’t point to any specific instance in natural history where that must have happened.

More importantly, at the moment I tend to favor a metaphysical view where several classes of things can only exist because God directly causes them in a supernatural way - for example, every time a new person is formed through the “regular” process of human reproduction, God supernaturally creates a soul for that person, even though normally we don’t think of human reproduction as a “miracle” or mysterious in any way.

Thus, in this view there is less opposition between regularities in nature and supernatural action. There is no need to rely on miracles-of-the-gaps types of explanation. And there is also less reluctance to freely regard certain “regular” processes in nature as “supernatural” in a certain sense. (I don’t know if “miraculous” is the right term.) The natural and supernatural simply work on different planes of explanation, and regularity or lack of it is not the main criteria to shunt an explanation to one plane or another.


I genuinely don’t understand your objection, unless you’re using those words in a different way than I do.

We’re even. I don’t understand your confusion, if that’s what it is.

Slightly more than that if you look at the abiogenesis article. I would say that they would prefer to assume natural processes even if the cause or mechanism is not understood.
I see it as a mix of positivism and a weaker kind of naturalism (one where God creates using the "laws of nature).

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