Recent BioLogos Content

oh, Canada and Mexico don’t count. :sunglasses:

They just hosted a discussion on Adam and Eve that conflicted with their position. So yeah, I don’t see them banning discussions if they don’t like the conclusion

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As soon as they were shown wrong, they banned me from the forum. I am still not allowed back. I’m fairly certain nothing like the Venema-Buggs exchange will happen there ever again.

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What happened over there anyway?

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Why you and not the others that showed they were mistaken?

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A debate played out in the comments (summarized here: Heliocentric Certainty Against a Bottleneck of Two? and story 1 here: http://peacefulscience.org/three-stories-on-adam/).

Very good question. I can’t be sure exactly why it played out the way it did. Maybe you can help me figure it out.

Those that showed Denis Venema (and BioLogos) was mistaken was Richard Buggs, Ann Gauger, and myself. This is not to diminish @glipsnort role. He was and always has been an honest voice in these conversations.

Buggs and Gauger disagreed with Venema from the get go. I started out agreeing with Venema, but then I changed my position. I acknowledged where I had mistakes. For me, retracting errors is a fundamental requirement of honest science. It appears that view was not shared. I expected the same from Venema and BioLogos, but did not see that happen. There was no reason to ban Gauger and Buggs, as both have always been outside “BioLogos”. I suppose I make them more uncomfortable.

This was also coming on the heals of the Genealogical Adam work, which they rejected for theological reasons (against the evidence, they insisted it was polygenesis/racist). On Oct 1, 2017, I published a blog post asking them to be honest with Tim Keller, and acknowledge there was no evidence against his position (http://peacefulscience.org/defense-tim-keller/). They refused to be honest about it. That is when I made public I had left BioLogos (http://peacefulscience.org/confessing-scientist/). To be clear, they had already kicked me off the speakers bureau because of the Genealogical Adam (which they argued at the time was racist theology). The Keller exchange, however, took place immediately before the exchange with Venema-Buggs took place.

So there ended up being two things in a row where BioLogos was (and remains) unwilling to publicly acknowledge where they made large scientific errors. They did (once as an aside, and once directly) post that I was correct on the science (kudos to Schloss, Falk, Hardin, and @Kathryn_Applegate ), but they never acknowledged that they misrepresented the science to Keller or that Venema’s book was in error. I won’t get into the details, because this was all hashed out in conversations directly with them. It appears that they knew they were wrong, but wanted to save face by not admitting they were wrong, at least not publicly.

It should not have been a big deal. A simple clarification that they made a mistake and want to set it right was all that was needed. That, however, seems beyond their ability. We just passed the 1 year mark of their exchange with Keller. They overstated what science ruled out, creating an immense amount of unnecessary conflict, and they remain unwilling to retract. Give it a few months, and we will cross the anniversary of the Venema-Buggs exchange too. No retractions in sight. I think they just want to pick up and move on like nothing important happened. At this point, I understand why others will not trust them going forward. It might be too late to fix their reputation.

Any how, I suppose they banned me because I ended up accidentally at the center of two major errors they made, not just one. I was honest about these errors, and this honesty was inconvenient for them.

Do you have a better theory?

I still seek reconciliation with them. The official word, it seems, is that I am not worth their time, and they do not want me on their forum. It does not appear they want to reconcile.

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Also, for the record, they frequently ban discussions where they do not like the conclusions. I can show you several examples. The Buggs-Venema exchange was just too high profile for them to shut down.

It is also interesting how Adam and the Genome was handled. It was published early 2017 to much fanfare, and a keystone part of the 2017 conference. Not one critique of it has been published on the BioLogos website. Not one. That communicates what their official position is.

To be clear, I have no specific problem with the theological view that Adam and Eve was a fable. There are people that hold this view here, and we are not constantly trying to change their mind. However, the scientific argument against Adam and Eve in Adam and the Genome is fallacious. That scientific error is the real issue for me. At the moment, BioLogos does not acknowledge those errors publicly in any way. No critiques of Adam and the Genome have been allowed on their blog.

At this point, it seems the strategy is to just try and change the topic. That strategy is not going to work so well.


@T.j_Runyon, I understand that Denis was a part of your journey to faith. I’m really thankful for that. I have no personal animosity to Venema or those at BioLogos. It think they do good work, and I honestly wish them well. This is merely a professional disagreement that I think is of very high importance.

I’m going to reach out to them about all of this. I like Biologos. They played a big part in bringing me back to faith. I like their overall mission, but if they are doing these types of things that surely needs to change quick.

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Just please do not say I put you up to it. I did not. I think it is good you are reaching out, but that is your own initiative, not mine.

I like BioLogos too. They have done and continue to do a lot of very good things.

You are doing much better without Biologos. Move on. You are doing good work here and at work. PS is a much better place to discuss science and theology that Biologos every was and could ever be. You won.

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4 posts were split to a new topic: Patrick to Prove to Runyon That God Exists

The most important win is to win people over. I have not yet won in this most important of ways.

I have no desire for unnecessary enemies. I hope that we reconcile someday soon. It may not happen, but it is my honest and genuine desire. Hopefully they will have a change of heart. At this point, it is out of my hands. I’m focusing on other things.

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No, the most important thing is you won yourself back. You were very critical on yourself. You thought you lost something important to you. Be now after the years, you must realize that you gained (won) much more than your perceived to have lost. You are way better all around by the experience. That what I meant when I said you won.

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Now this is very true.

Thank you for reminding me of this. It was a very hard couple years because of this. You are right though. I did find my voice through it. I did win myself back.

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You are missing something very fundamental here. Biologos doesn’t do science. According to them there is no conflict between science and Christian faith. So when Christian men of science were debating science on their forum, they wanted no part of it. Biologos was like the catholic Church, cover up and get rid of any hint of scandal, disagreement, of the fundamental mission - no incompatibility between science and faith for Chrisitans.

I think this is a very important point and distinction. One one hand, I totally get it. Collins, Falk, Giberson, Lamoureux, et. al have spent considerable effort, and with much risk, getting the Christian community to accept the results of evolutionary science and especially hacking away at the pervasive “conflict” model of interaction between science and the Christian faith. Developing new science just isn’t their purpose. I don’t think it’s because they want to ignore science, it’s because there was (and is) so much work to do within the church to allow people freedom to explore options regarding origins without it being a “salvation issue”.

On the other hand, their success has been by promoting a, perhaps too simplistic, view that because there can be no conflict between science and faith (and presumably science works out in the secular arena) that the real work is to figure out how theology should respond to the results of science.

What Peaceful Science is showing, I think, is that it’s not nearly that clean cut. That science and theology can engage and push each other, interweaving a pretty complex view of reality. Genealogical Adam has elements of methodologically naturalistic science mixed with theological exploration and traditional/creedal sensitivities. That’s quite messy and hard to do.

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@patrick raised this point before, and I think he was right: Discomfort With Messiness of Science at BioLogos.

Isn’t this merely the difference between parallel monologues and true dialogue?

Perhaps it is difficult. Dialogue seems to require real interdisciplinary exchanges, and real mastery of the underlying science, not just recitals of the settled findings and narrative. We have to take questions seriously, instead of appealing to authority.

As for me, I have not aimed to convince anyone of anything. For me, honesty about the evidence trumps everything. There is no theological agenda that should prevent us from answering real questions with honesty. Of course, this will change peoples minds. For me, however, honesty is an end itself in this domain.

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This seems to match how Dennis Venema, Jim Stump, and others (e.g. @pevaquark) talk about it. Yes, it is simplistic. However, it might also be creating immense amounts of unnecessary conflict too.

Besides, isn’t real dialogue more fun any ways? I’d loose interest pretty quickly if I actually knew all the answers from the get go. This, it seems, would be very strong evidence we were neither engaging with science, nor theology, nor the grand questions themselves.

Give us a few decades, and we will have increased our knowledge. I predict we will have more questions too.

Yes, I think it’s easy to say “science and Christian faith in dialogue” but it’s very hard to do in practice.

This is definitely admirable. I do think we have to be careful though when we are talking about other people’s motivations, etc. My experience is that most people can only do so much.

I know some retired science faculty that spent most of their career just simply working with people on the idea that one can believe the Universe is billions of years old and be a legitimate Christian.

Many people who are active in the area of science and faith have also “sacrificed” time doing science to help others understand science and how it impacts faith. They have stepped away from active research to help the church understand how science works and to help break down some of the barriers that have been put up between scientists and people of faith. Yes, sometimes that will mean they will sound like “recitals of the settled findings and narrative” but I think it is good to be charitable regarding their reasons. It may not be about pushing an agenda so much as just trying to keep up with everything going on. They may feel like they need to fully understand what’s going on, and the ramifications, before abandoning one view for another.

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