Stacy Trasancos and Particles of Faith

A few years ago, I was deeply struggling with some serious doubts. A small part of my doubts involved the conflict between science and religion, and I found the book “Particles of Faith” by Stacy Trasancos very helpful. In this book she talks about her own story, as a professional chemist who became a Catholic, and about what science and religion have to say about the Big Bang and origins of the universe, about evolution, and about Adam and Eve.

So first, I’m writing this to recommend the book, “Particles of Faith”, which can be found here. Her webpage is here.

Second, I’m wondering whether there is any overlap between Stacy’s model of Adam and Eve and the model @swamidass presents in “The Genealogical Adam and Eve.”

It seems like there is a lot of overlap in terms of subject matter and philosophical approach. Stacy also doesn’t like the label ‘Theistic Evolutionist.’

For anyone else familiar with her views, what do you think about them?


It would be convenient if you would summarize, quote, or link to her model directly. What, in short, is her model?

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Interesting. This is what she writes.

This is a much needed dialogue restarting. First, I wrote a short essay titled, “Theistic Evolution is Redundant.” John Farrell, a science contributor at Forbes , wrote a piece, “It’s Time To Retire ‘Theistic Evolution,’” citing me and Kenneth Miller, the biologist who drove this discussion over a decade ago when public schools tried to mandate teaching intelligent design. William Lane Craig responded to Farrell’s article in a recent podcast, “Is It Time to Retire Theistic Evolution?” Craig says the phrase, and all such like it, are useful. They should not be the end of discussions, but the starting point for them.

My reason for declaring “theistic evolution” superfluous precedes any discussion of chemical mechanism. This is not so much about the scientific arguments as it is about this fundamental claim: if you pray the Creed and believe God created everything, then you never, ever need to put God-adjectives in front of science terms. It is misleading. Science is the study of the material realm of creation. Some might say it good to stress that you believe God guided evolution, but I say no, it is actually detrimental. Using the term “theistic” in front of any term gives the impression that believers may declare some things in creation as created and some things as not, which smacks of irrationality and heresy.

Imagine eating dinner that way. The husband says, “Honey, pass me the theistic potatoes.”

His wife says, “Okay, would you like some butter in them? It’s natural, you know. My, these God-made Porterhouse cuts that you grilled are awesome. I think I’ll have a sip of Divine Cabernet, the handiwork of men but a gift from God nonetheless.”

“Oh dear, you are so right. I will not have that evil atheistic natural butter. Would my heaven-sent Honey like some holy theistic potatoes too, also given straight to us by God?”

Would not it be far less absurd, and consistent with a sane, confident, and pervasive faith to say a blessing of thanks to God for all of the food before you eat?

People use the term “theistic” in front of “evolution” to differentiate it from “naturalism,” but I do not understand why anyone—especially a Christian—fears natural explanations. Nature is creation. God created nature, and there is nothing in conflict with our faith to say that organisms have evolved naturally. Nor does anyone need to call miracles to the rescue to explain how the ~1.3 million species defined today (not even close to all of them) were created by God.

Craig gets it. He says, “I think she makes a good point. She is saying, You believe in a certain evolutionary account of biological complexity, and it doesn’t add anything to that to say that you are also a theist .” (I would not say “believe in” though.)

Can you put us in contact? You’ve read her book. So it makes sense for you to reach out to her.

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It sure would be. I’m sorry that I can’t help here.

When I became an atheist in my teens, I lost all interest in questions about Adam and Eve. Although later in life my faith was recovered, my interest in Adam and Eve was not. My science-and-faith based struggles had more to do with the soul, personal identity, determinism, how God acts in the world, and had little to do with Genesis and nothing to do with Adam and Eve.

There are two chapters in Stacy’s book that deal with the historical question of Adam and Eve. I skipped right over over both of them. I have no idea what Stacy says about Adam and Eve, even to the point where I apologize for calling her account a model, since I don’t know if her account qualifies as one. Conversation with her and friends who have read her book have lead me to believe that she has an interesting account.