Harmonizing Evolution and Guidance at BioLogos

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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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4 posts were split to a new topic: Who Affirms De Novo Creation of Adam and Eve?

In this view, which is similar to @jongarvey’s, science doesn’t study the “natural,” it studies the “regular.” Anything irregular is outside science, and supernatural processes would be incorrectly categorized as natural processes.

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Yes. Though, to expand it, you simply have to explore what “natural” means, if it doesn’t mean “regular,” without making a metaphysical commitment about theism.

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@swamidass

Very concise!

I implicitly refer to such “regularity” when I say “natural” means “lawful nature”, with “super-natural” meaning unlawful events (aka: “not regular”).

In the common view among Thomists, the natural (which can be studied by science) does not cleanly overlap with the regular and supernatural with the irregular, even if there is some correlation. For example, there are rare but perfectly scientific phenomena such as the Big Bang. More importantly, there are common phenomena which contains components which cannot be fully explained by the scientific method, such as consciousness, the creation of a human soul, or spiritual regeneration. (Of course, a materialist-naturalist would insist that all of these phenomena are indeed explained by natural material causes, which is why we call them physical reductionists. But that is not the majority Christian belief.)

To home in on a common example: new humans are created all the time through the processes of biological reproduction which science can study pretty well. However, this does not mean that there is nothing supernatural occurring every time a new human is formed. Since it is believed that God uniquely and directly creates every soul, then there is a “regular supernatural component” to human biological reproduction. Moreover, this is believed not because of a scientific argument (as ID proponents like to argue), but because of a metaphysical one. Thus, the existence of “continuing miracles” is not something that a Thomist would necessarily be embarrassed to admit.

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Those definitions don’t sound right to me. If we ran into an irregular process that could be empirically measured then science could at least try to study it. How many well supported theories started out by studying irregular phenomenon? Also, are us humans irregular in our actions, and can science study humans?

In my own estimation, the supernatural tag is more of an axiom. We are saying from the very beginning that we can not understand the process and science isn’t able to study it. Many people will claim that science excludes the supernatural from the start, but I think it is actually the opposite where people are actively excluding their beliefs from methodological and empirical scrutiny.

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Not particularly successfully.
I dont think sciences centred on human actions such as economics are ever going to be “exact” science.