Why does Reasons to Believe oppose Evolution?

Why is OEC and RTB okay with big bang, inflation, 13.8 billion years of cosmic expansion, a 4.5 billion year old earth and sun, 4.1 billion years of life on Earth and then goes bonkers on the evolution of primates?


I can think of three reasons:

  1. Scripture and theology: Genesis 2 -3.
  2. Sociology and politics: Triangulation between YEC and Atheists/BioLogos.
  3. Personality and training: Hugh Ross is a physicist, not a biologist.

Likely all 3 are at play now that they are an established voice with a large following.

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Alert: don’t put Atheist with Biologos. Collins and Coyne will get upset.


Hugh Ross explains and accepts all of physics so well. He is the master of finding verses in the Bible that he says point to quantum fluctuations of the inflaton. Why not do the same for evolutionary biology like Collins did or does?

Didn’t read the list?

He would be right in the center of a triangle with Atheist, YEC and Biologos at each vertex.

13.8 billion is not YEC
Find evidence of evolution in scripture is not Biologos
God guided universe is not Atheism

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Yes. And that is psychologically and politically a very desirable place for many people. Soon it will be Peaceful Science there with them, but also getting the biology right, and being more welcoming to everyone.

To be clear, I affirm “common descent” as the evidentiary artifact of a much more robust “process,” and lean towards Goldschmidt’s old “hopeful monster” scenario, with the caveat that such developments are not always “monstrous,” nor the result of an “accidental gradualism.” I, like @swamidass , have no problem seeing the evidence of possible divine providence and teleological guidance as operating in addition to the “usual” processes of nature --which are also, by the way, a matter of God’s active maintenance, in explicating the natural history of life we see all around us. Hence, I am comfortable with the designation of being a “progressive creationist.” I agree with @AJRoberts that succesful mating resulting in fertile offspring ought not be overlooked as a delimitation of what we call “species.” In that vein, RTB does not “oppose” evolution so much as point out its inadequacies.



So… evolution that is God-guided is inadequate? Or is evolution-without-God inadequate?

Folks who seem to be on both sides of the argument (like Behe) sure are confusing things!

Some people enjoy pretending they’re confused. “Evolution,” when conceived of as “natural law alone,” is as much “God-designed” and “actively God-maintained” as it is “God-guided.” Natural laws, remember, are merely descriptions of the regular functions of nature; they are no more some kind of “independent entity” carrying out “unguided” versus “guided” functions than is french toast. There is no “God of the gaps” alone --it’s God or no ballgame AT ALL!

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That’s an assertion that makes little sense. In what sense could evolution be God-designed? It’s an unavoidable consequence of imperfect replication and doesn’t have to be designed. The same is true for active maintenance. It doesn’t need maintenance; it works all by itself and can’t break. At least “God-guided” allows for direct intervention, making mutations or fixations happen that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.


How long have you been here?

1] God decides what mutations are going to appear.
2] God decides what ecosystem factors will be salient.
3] God employs natural selection to produce the results one would expect given the math.

How is this NOT design-by-God?

Please understand that I’m not trying to sneak I.D. in here. I reject I.D. for one basic reason: I reject, and will probably always reject, the idea that science can detect the operation of God in designing life and creation. It’s impossible to test for the presence or operation of God.

And so let’s set I.D. aside.

But that’s not the same as setting aside God doing the DESIGNING (from a position of faith, not from a scientific position)!


Well of course it is, but it’s something quite different from what you were talking about before — which was the pool shot scenario — and it’s something quite different from evolution (the process) being God-designed. It’s certainly very different from evolution conceived as natural law alone. Are you being consistent here, or are you jumping around from one idea of creation to another?

I also wonder what “God employs natural selection” means. Doesn’t natural selection run itself? Given 1 and 2, 3 is unavoidable and doesn’t require a separate intervention. In fact, depending on what you intend by 2, it may not require intervention either.



I have no idea what you are asking about in your prior question. Behe’s Pool Shot scenario ONLY differs from my own in one way: Behe never talks about or allows miraculous or super-natural events. While I, on the other hand, think it any good scenario has to allow for the miraculous for maximum resiliency.

Natural Evolution could run without God, but who knows how long it would take to accomplish the same things? God picks the mutations he wants at the time he wants. There’s no way of knowing whether he is saving Himself billions of years, millions of years, dozens of centuries, or just 5 minutes.

But Behe has one point correctly engineered: if God is picking and choosing the mutations and the environmental factors, then there is no particular need for ID mechanisms.

Ah, this might be a clear statement of your model. So you’re saying that in your opinion God supplements his pool shot from time to time by nudging some of the balls in various directions. Right?

What? If God is picking and choosing the mutations and the environmental factors, those are ID mechanisms. Further, what do you mean by choosing environmental factors? Do you mean he nudges the climate and so on to create the selective environments he wants at the time?


Yes… and that is exactly how Behe says it in his video interview. So that’s why there’s no difference in how Evolution WITH or WITHOUT God looks. It looks the same… aside from some amazingly clever features that evolved (like flagella) which may or may not have required God’s input - - depending on one’s stance-in-faith (not in science).

The work is in how God configures the start up of Creation… plus some miracles (which Behe doesn’t discuss), which is an optional aspect.

One of the reasons it is part of my model is that once we hit Free Will decisions in the midst of all this natural chain-reaction, God will need some mechanism to steer things back into the right direction if Free Will allows for too much variance from his goals.

However, some people adjust for this by simply making what is “real” to be “what God wants anyway”. It’s philosophically attractive, but I’m not convinced it’s a philosophically consistent fix.

I despair of making any sense of your statements. I can’t get any consistent view of what you think or of what you think Behe thinks. Are you doing this on purpose? For example, at the very start you say “Yes” to something that’s in direct contradiction to what you said just previously.

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Although it is important to distinguish between theism and deism