I Agree With Behe


(John Harshman) #42

Sounds to me as if you like them socially and it has nothing to do with their scientific or quasi-scientific beliefs. I mean,

That’s a huge thing to me at least. Serious deal-breaker.

(John Harshman) #43

What’s the RTB position on the taxonomic level of “kinds”?


I think you have your feet solidly grounded in science, reasoning, and the ideals of secular humanism.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #45

Probably. They are nice people. If everyone was like @AJRoberts and Hugh, the world would be a better place.

I think that is up for grabs. I don’t think they have consensus on this and this is why you can’t get a straight answer. I don’t think they figured out how to come to consensus either.

The more puzzling thing is that many people “in their camp” (@Guy_Coe etc) have no problem with a God guided evolution. This is true of some of thr scholars on their Network too. Will be an interesting knot to untangle. My sense is that there are two things at play.

  1. They are triangulating off of evolution to be trusted in their argument for an old earth.

  2. They need to see a robust affirmation of Gods action, such as we have with a de Novo Adam in the GAE.

I could be wrong of course. They also have a large range of views in their camp, so it is possible and perhaps likely I’m only partly correct.

(Guy Coe) #46

I can unpack that “God-guided evolution” thing a bit. First of all, I don’t like that phrasing. Evolution is not a conscious entity that can be “guided,” nor is the evidence for His design particularly subtle, overall. To say that God “accomplished” all of life’s variety by means of evolution comes closer to what I can stomach, but even then, I do not drop the phrasing that “God created all of life.”
Let’s start by comparing and contrasting two similar statements in English.

  1. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
  2. In the Renaissance, Michelangelo created the Pieta and the Sistine chapel ceiling.
    Both answer three related questions: when, who and what.
    One minor difference in the way the two sentences function is that the Pieta and the Sistine chapel are two different things, while the Hebrew phrase translated “the heavens and the earth” functions grammatically as a merism, to mean “all there is.”
    Now, let’s note something else important.
    Neither sentence specifies how things were done, nor how long they took. The English verb “create” is not specific about either issue. Nor is the Hebrew verb.
    This the most egregious conceptual error people make when they hear this Bible verse –it seems to many of them to claim that God spoke, and that immediately in time, the thing was accomplished, as a sort of magical 'poof.'
    It’s not that it can’t mean that; it just that it doesn’t require that, just like in the English.
    Remember –neither the duration nor the exact means are specified. The Hebrew verb bara’ cannot be construed to require instantaneity nor a complete lack of material means.
    A “de novo” description does properly emphasize the newness of the thing “created,” but “ex nihilo” is never implied by the Hebrew verb itself --and really only might be implied when Genesis 1:1 is combined with other related verses.
    So, that’s why I’m completely comfortable with the evolutionary framework (–no time duration specifies otherwise in Scripture), while remaining skeptical that regular natural processes alone are the whole origins explanation, since God is not confined by regularism, and in light of the Scriptural verses which put all the eggs in Jesus’ basket; "All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it" (John 1:3-5 ) and "He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth [derivative monogenism], having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” - Acts 17:26-31 NASB
    This is the huge missing piece in an evolutionary exposition of origins alone.
    Hope that helps!

(John Harshman) #47

Not in that sentence, no. But what about the rest of Genesis 1, in which everything is done by means of speaking and in 6 days? Further, what does “in the beginning” mean? Because “all that is” wasn’t created in the beginning. It took 9 billion or so years after the beginning before there’s even a planet Earth.

But RTB isn’t, right? How do you reconcile this conflict between your views and theirs?

(Guy Coe) #48

In none of those instances is immediacy of result a required interpretation.
The one possible exception might be in the differentiation between light and darkness, which, ontologically, would seem to have to be immediate.
But, not so fast --if it’s colloquially describing anything like the emergence of distinct photons from the initial highly dense gluon plasma in the early universe, as poetry, it’s surprisingly apt.
Laugh that off if you like, but again, as a poetic description, it works, and is not required to be immediate.
It’s the language of human endeavor, applied by analogy to divine action.
Being an OEC, like RTB is, we have applied the insights of non-immediacy and of language which uses human experience to describe divine action (phenomenologically) consistently throughout those Genesis 1 creation days.
“Let the earth bring forth” is hardly hostile to a developmental, and even broadly natural, understanding of the developmental unfolding, for example.
It’s the notions of “immediacy” that people artificially impose upon the text that results in “unscientific” proposals.
In that regard, RTB is comfortable with a progressive framework, generally, while not fond of ascribing it all to “evolution.”
Those Genesis chapter 1 six successive creative “ages” or “epochs” (Hebrew ‘yom’) function, at least partially, to provide a pattern for worshipful imagination and even imitation, ontologically, rather than only being natural history with God at the helm. Created in the image of God, we are to exercise responsible dominion over raw nature.
What if, for example, imitatively, it encourages me to set up a farm? Or encourages others to study biology?
Personally, I suspect Genesis 1:1 through 2:3 was taught orally to Adam in Eve in the garden by the “Angel of the LORD” Himself, as “eyewitness testimony” of the first order, though this theory is hardly ever mentioned by anyone.
I agree with @jack.collins that Genesis 1:1 functions as a kind of introductory statement which serves to set the tone for what is presented afterwards, and that the style is liturgical and grandly poetic, while managing not to commit errors of a scientific nature in the progression of events.
It serves as the basis for worldview formation. It clearly presents God as bringing order to the natural world, as a matter of creating it to be “very good.”
@jongarvey, your comments?

(Jon Garvey) #49

Old discussion deserves old article. This was written in 2011, since when I have learned more about the myths surrounding Copernicanism, but have also a clearer idea in my own mind of the agenda with which Genesis 1 was written (ie a phenomenological account buolt around temple imagery).

The overall point remains valid, though.

(Guy Coe) #50

In fact, most notably absent in early Genesis, as contrasted with all other ANE literature, is any account of theogony, or theomachy.
Yes, it functions “mythically” (in the sense that it is very true, and paradigmatic for worldview formation) while also being broadly historical and poetic.
E.g., the temple of the earth was not built to serve as HQ for the waging of a cosmic war on opposing beings, but as marrying the purpose of the heavens with that of earth (or, even moreso, the “land”) as the local “branch office” of the universe itself as God’s domain and temple.
Did I stray from your thoughts, @jongarvey?

(Blogging Graduate Student) #51

Sometimes I wish ID proponents would spent more time making their disagreements with YECism clear. Especially when it comes to things like the history of the Earth and life on it, and in many cases common descent, ID proponents would vehemently disagree with YECs and agree with “mainstream” scientists, but this isn’t emphasised enough. I feel like at the moment IDers are happy to blur the line in order to enjoy support from YECs.

If IDers really want to be taken seriously by the “mainstream”, then a good first step would be distancing themselves from YECs. They keep complaining that they’re unfairly lumped together with YECs, so why do they seem so unwilling to make an effort to stand against YECs? This is rhetorical, of course - see above.

(Herculean Skeptic) #52

What do you mean by this? I’m confused.

(Blogging Graduate Student) #53

A couple of sentences earlier, I said:

I feel like at the moment IDers are happy to blur the line in order to enjoy support from YECs.

(Curtis Henderson) #54

The large “ID tent” is not just lip-service. There are several ID proponents that are also YEC, including our very own @pnelson (if memory serves me correctly). Additionally, not all ID proponents are Christian, they are simply bound together by the view that evolution, by any mechanism, is insufficient to explain life as we now see it on earth.

(Blogging Graduate Student) #55

So by definition, all YECs are also “ID proponents”? This seems like an unhelpful definition, and should be concerning for non-YEC ID proponents that want to be taken seriously by mainstream science and distance themselves from YECs.

(Jon Garvey) #56

Not far off, Guy.

(John Harshman) #57

If? Do you seriously believe that’s a credible interpretation? Did you forget that the light is called “day” and the darkness is called “night”? Trying to paste a modern scientific understanding into an ancient creation story gets you into trouble immediately, and it certainly invites ridicule. I suggest you don’t.

Agreed, except for the fact that it happens in a single day, in a clear sequence with other days. Still, if you get rid of the separate days, that could easily apply to natural evolution and common descent. So why doesn’t RTB do that?

No, they’re clearly days. The evening and the morning, you know.

With good reason. Again, it invites ridicule.

Of course it commits errors. Dozens of them. If you accept any sort of ordering of events, the ordering is wrong. And many of the events can’t be shoehorned into anything corresponding to any real event.

(Guy Coe) #58

I am quite happy to invite ridicule from people who are way too confident in their own worldviews, yes. I appreciate your candor.
“Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me." – Matthew 5:11, NASB
What one person finds credible, another finds incredulous. Sound familiar?
As for “reading science backwards into the text,” I merely noted there was a congruent interpretation which is actually illustrative of what I spoke of earlier --as the divine source of this information, the Angel of the Lord could communicate in a manner that spoke colloquially without committing scientific error.
“Day” is only one of many available translations of the Hebrew “yom” --as there are for the terms for “evening” and “morning,” but the overall effect is to create an anology between the original divine “work week” and a human’s imitative one, rather than with specifying any specific duration of time. It’s not even clear from the Hebrew whether the “ages” mentioned are partially overlapping, or completely distinct from one another, or even periodically rather than contiguously connected.
Your beef is with the English translation’s sense, not the original Hebrew.
Perhaps you’ll note the humor in the earnest phrase uttered by an acquaintance, when attmpting to rebut my views. “If King James English was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me!” : )

(Curtis Henderson) #59

I tend to agree, but since I’m not an ID proponent (at least not in the same way), my opinion would matter very little :stuck_out_tongue:


Was this person Mike Behe?

Was he aware of the content of the review prior to its publication?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #61

He was aware that we objected to his selectivity in engaging critics, so as to avoid some of the strongest rebuttals of his work. He was asked to engage the long and still standing issues raised by @art (and others) and he refused.

Why? The reasons given: (1) he had engaged others on different questions and (2) there was an ambiguous suggestion he would address this in his upcoming book. Answering other refutations is a nonsequitor, he did not address these refutations in the new book. The work by @art and Boudry continue to stand as strong and unanswered refutations of his work. Even in Behe’s last review, he studiously avoids then primary reference, reference 2 to Boudry. Why? It appears he does not have an answer for it.

As for who we have talked to at DI, and the precise details, that will remain confidential to keep communication lines open.