Three Reviews of the Crossway Theistic Evolution Book

The mind can be so senseless as to rip the heart out of reason.
“God of the gaps” becomes the rallying cry of a permanent spiritual malaise due to a naked nimbyism towards having to exercise faith.
At that point, the clownish emperor of a self-vaunted soul definitely has no clothes on.

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I’d like to add this review as well. By JW Wartick. Smart guy from BIOLA. Check out his entire blog. Good stuff.

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@T.j_Runyon,

Wow! You are right!

Wartick gets right to the heart of the matter! … thusly!:

" For whatever reason, this agreed-upon definition of theistic evolution doesn’t actually appear in the introduction that is supposed to define theistic evolution, but that’s just a minor problem of strange oversight. Grudem then cites Francis Collins and Karl Giberson in support of this definition. I don’t have access to the work cited, but the quote is not a definition from the two authors but rather a statement that just says their model doesn’t require “intrusions from the outside” [i.e. as in so-called “intervention” by God] for the creative process…"

"The definition the editors agreed upon for this work, then, has two primary parts: an affirmation and a denial. The affirmation is simple: God created matter.”

“…The second part of the definition is the denial, and it has several components. It essentially boils down to saying that God did not specially intervene in any aspect of the development of life on earth…”

“…Due to the broad diversity among theistic evolutionists, there will be plenty of disagreement with this definition. It is clear the editors needed a working definition, but it is not clear why they chose to use this rather than draw more explicitly from major TE definitions used by primary thinkers.”

“Indeed, Biologos, the largest theistic evolutionist organization, provides its own, in depth look at the beliefs that are typical of their position. Among these are:”

“We believe that God created the universe, the earth, and all life over billions of years. God continues to sustain the existence and functioning of the natural world, and the cosmos continues to declare the glory of God. Therefore, we reject ideologies such as Deism that claim the universe is self-sustaining, that God is no longer active in the natural world, or that God is not active in human history.”

[And] “We believe that the diversity and interrelation of all life on earth are best explained by the God-ordained process of evolution with common descent. Thus, evolution is not in opposition to God, but a means by which God providentially achieves his purposes. Therefore, we reject ideologies that claim that evolution is a purposeless process or that evolution replaces God” [ 2]

The implied conclusion?:

That this massive book attempts to refute Theistic Evolution by attacking the one definition of Theistic Evolution specifically REJECTED by the largest Theistic Evolutionist group in the world!

Whether this is best described as the Red Herring approach, or the Straw Man approach, it is no wonder the ID crowd doesn’t earn any high marks with this book!

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And thus, another potential hurdle on the road to mutual understanding… although possibly meant to be an attempt at promoting it. Sounds like the thesis and organization of the book is a bit confused from the start.

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5 posts were split to a new topic: Eddie’s Response to Review of Crossway TE

You cannot possibly be referring to me here. At what point do you start to put forward that BioLogos is not the only important Mecca for TE anymore? There also is Peaceful Science.

Of course I am guilty of both “sins”. Let my confession be widely known. I admit I deny the EC faith. I am a Chistian who affirms evolutionary science, not a TE. I want a better way.

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I happen to have a blindfold with me - just stand against the wall…:grinning:

“Part of the characteristic of this form…”

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BTW, it is not publicized much, but there are many, many other flavors of ID proponents. For example, in the afterdiscussions of two separate ID events now, I have been approached by those who feel free to speak about and pass out copies of The Urantia Book, e.g., and particularly that group’s version of the NT and its teachings on Jesus. I was handed a free copy. It’s rather bizarre, to say the least.
There are alien intelligence and alien civilization colonization advocates – just about anything besides God that can be imagined as a “designing intelligence” has found in this tent a comfortable home, with strange bedfellows.
This keeps the ID speakers presenting their tenets in the broadest of terms, believe me. I made the comment once that followers of Hoyle’s “directed panspermia” should find a friendly home among ID advocates, and was met with delight by some rather odd-looking fellows (I blended right in).
All that to say, that the popular notion that the ID movement only consists of sneaky creationist theists trying to keep a back door open in the scientific research is an wholly inadequate notion, at the membership level. It is a much bigger tent, in practice, than the book identifies in theory.
Thought you all might find that interesting. I, in fact, do support them in looking for, and elucidating the science of, the “something extra” needed beyond mere materialism to account for OOL, the origin of humankind, the development of human consciousness and language, sociability and the, apparently, “hardwired” impulse towards spiritual or religious values.

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It sounds like you accept the Christian faith and an evolutionary process; however, TE and EC are being rejected. Is it because that BioLogos leans toward a liberal TE or perhaps Deistic Evolution. I find your Peaceful Science quite conservative and I feel comfortable with that. Biologos is rather unfriendly to me since I accept a conservative faith in the church. Is that your feeling too?

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A great quote from the reviewer!:

“My point then, is that this book, while giving good coverage of part of the ID movement, does not represent all of ID, and does not represent the official position of the Discovery Institute, which is non-committal on the question of evolution, i.e., descent with modification of all living forms from earlier forms. I don’t think that Joshua will object to my qualification, and so this isn’t a point of dispute between us (I hope!), but is offered merely as something that readers of Joshua’s review (and of the Crossway book) need to know.”

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It has always troubled me when ID (or YEC, OEC) use the TE wiithout always clarifying what their real target is to those who don’t know the details or don’t investigate too deeply.

I am sympathetic to your critique here. Still it would’ve been far better if the editors sent BioLogos their summary definition of TE to see if it is accurate. But BioLogos, as you know, thinks it’s a straw man. It would’ve been an easy thing to do. Now BL has an easy “out.” it’s a shame, because I too want BioLogos to answer some of the concerns you raise.

Yep, that’s my assessment too. I did like some of the philosophical discussions about the nature of science and methodological naturalism. But the biblical and theological stuff was disappointing overall.

The lack of care on definition I noted above is why I fear this excellent question is not getting enough attention more widely. I think the posture of the Crossway book prevents this discussion, rather than encouraging it.

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I know that one of the authors (I’ll leave unnamed) said he wouldn’t have participated if he knew what the final result was going to be.

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Guy, thank you for this insight. I equated ID = DI which is not the case. ID can extend far beyond the realm of the three Abrahamic religions. I didn’t realize that until you mentioned it. As an atheist working on keeping religion out of science education, I now have to work on keeping the “ancient alien” crowd out also.

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May I suggest you work even harder at keeping the Urantia Book crowd at bay? There are faiths that teach peace as a virtue, and others that do not. It is not benign to surrender yourself over to possession by a spirit being, channeling information that is the equivalent to making oneself out to be a god. Too many of those in one room, and someone might not make it out alive. Just as odd was my encounter with two modern druids, who tried to frighten me, but I told them they had no power over me, so I said not to bother trying. The druids, however, were not at an ID event. Usually, those draw nice polite crowds with unpredictably fascinating reasons for being there.

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3 posts were split to a new topic: Scientology? Really?

7 posts were split to a new topic: How Should Scientists, Theologians and Philosophers Interact?

A post was merged into an existing topic: Eddie’s Defense of Natural Theology

@dga471 our friend @eddie makes his response over here: Eddie's Defense of Natural Theology.

Do not be too hard on them. This is basically the pattern for this genre. As I write in the review…

Like most books on origins, Theistic Evolution is more a description of the views of those who write it than it is of those whom they critique. Read this book to understand how the ID movement imagines theistic evolution, but not to understand theistic evolution itself.

We see the same problem with Venema and McKnights Adam and the Genome.

Wayne Grudem aptly explains how poorly historical Adam theology was represented in a recent book by theistic evolutionists (p. 793). It is a strawman, for example, to link historical Adam theology with transmission of original sin by DNA itself. Grudem is correct; theistic evolutionists have not been sensitive to the theological concerns presented here.

I’d say that the TE book’s explication of TE is equally accurate as Adam and the Genome’s explication of historical Adam theology. Which is to say, both wildly miss the mark.

Read the TE Crossway book to understand how DI imagines TE, and explains the ID arguments the have always promoted.

Read Adam and the Genome to understand how no-Adam Christians imagine historical Adam theology, and explain their own no-Adam position.

The failure to understand here is very symmetric.

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See Ann Gauger's Response to My Themelios Review here.