A Tale of Two Worldviews: Being a Biology Teacher in a Christian School

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February 4, 2013 Tags: Education

Today's entry was written by Eric Kretschmer. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of The BioLogos Foundation. You can read more about what we believe here.

A Tale of Two Worldviews: Being a Biology Teacher in a Christian School
Photo courtesy of Kevin Schoenmakers

An Introduction To the Problem

I am a Christian who has always been drawn to the biological sciences. So much so that I majored in genetics in college and spent 18 years in the field of paternity/forensics and conservation genetics. In 2003, I was given the opportunity to teach Advanced Placement (AP) Biology at a local Christian high school, and in 2009, I left the field of genetics behind to pursue youth ministry at my church full time. From 2009-2012 I attended Bethel Theological Seminary, earning an M.A. in theology, while concurrently teaching AP Biology.

One of the reasons I agreed to teach at this particular Christian school was because they allowed the teaching of mainstream evolution in an open way in their biology courses. Because my course was an AP course, the school also needed to comply with the textbook requirements, meaning I would be teaching from a secular biology book. This teaching environment presented some of the most powerfully engaging teaching moments I have experienced with teenagers, and it was from these initial teaching experiences that I began to feel God’s call for me to enter into full-time youth ministry.

Within a few weeks of my first year of teaching AP Biology in a Christian school, one thing became clear: The students were entering my class with a presupposition towards Young Earth Creationism (YEC) as taught by our Bible department. I had been informed that among the teaching staff, the Bible Department believed in a Young Earth cosmology while the Science Department in an Old Earth cosmology. This caused me some concern, being new to Christian education. I quickly came to the realization that there were actually different ways of looking at the world (i.e. worldviews) within the Christian worldview. I had only attended secular schools growing up, and so this dichotomy within one teaching institution disturbed me on a few levels.

First, I had the sense that it was not healthy to have conflicting views that appear to place the Bible and science in conflict with each other. Second, and more detrimental in my opinion, I wondered if these opposing views could cause students to eventually abandon their faith in God and the truths of the Bible if they were continually flipping between biblical and scientific truths, as though these truths opposed each other? According to an article published by the BarnaGroup, “One of the reasons young adults feel disconnected from church or from faith is the tension they feel between Christianity [i.e. Theology] and science…the research shows that many science-minded young Christians are struggling to find ways of staying faithful to their beliefs and to their professional calling in science-related industries.” (Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church, September 28, 2011). My new teaching position suddenly felt more like a ministry than when I had first agreed to this job.

Redeeming Conversations: Seeking The Truth

The first challenge for me at the beginning of each school year is to clarify the students’ understanding of evolution as it has been taught in their Bible and pre-requisite science courses. Invariably, they come back with the same answer: “Evolution is a lie,” to which I respond with, “Which aspects of evolution are you talking about?” After some debate and discussion, the students typically agree with microevolution, while rejecting the notion of macroevolution. These initial discussions typically end with the students’ astonishment that I treat evolution in a serious, non-mocking way, and yet am an adult with a strong Christian faith.

Ultimately, these conversations expose the fact that they had been taught to distrust science and trust the Word of God. I whole-heartedly agree that we must trust the Bible, but I also believe it is important for my students to understand that they can have faith in the Bible as God’s inspired Word, but must be careful with how they interpret the Bible and which interpretations they adhere to. One of my past students is currently working on his PhD in neuroscience at Ohio State and recently shared his experience from my class:

I wanted to let you know that in AP Biology you really challenged my view of creation and evolution. Being raised in a Christian family, school and church my entire life, I had always been taught the literal six-day account of Genesis (especially at [our school] where they didn't allow any discussion or thinking on the topic). I still remember in AP Bio when you said that you believed in evolution AND you were a Christian. It was completely unexpected! I ended up writing my college essay about the topic and it has since been a topic that I am greatly interested in. Specifically why culture (secular and Christian) has created the mindset of ‘Creation vs. Evolution’ rather than God could have created the world through evolution.

I share this quote to show the benefit of dealing openly and honestly with science and theology in the classroom. I believe this quote also reveals the underlying tension that is so real in the lives of so many Christians today, as pointed out in the Barna Group quote above. Having been taught a specific interpretation of the Genesis creation account (i.e. Literal Six-Day Creation), coupled with emphasizing the idea that biblical truth trumps scientific truth, a burden has been placed on teachers in Christian schools that goes beyond teaching the curriculum to pass a Bible or biology course alone.

I am firmly convinced that we must educate our young Christians, whether they attend Christian or public schools, to do theology, philosophy, and science well. As Christian parents, God calls us first and foremost to begin this education in our homes, but this should also be encouraged in the local church, through discipleship relationships, and/or in formal educational settings (e.g. Christian schools and Christian colleges). My hope is that as we continue to seek truth in theology and the sciences, we can learn to dialogue in redemptive, God-honoring ways. Maybe it is too much to hope for in the current cultural climate in America, but for my part, I will continue to attempt to encourage my students away from the creation/evolution debate, and towards a more accurate biblical hermeneutic, and less defensive stance towards the sciences.


Eric Kretschmer is Youth Director at Chapel By The Sea in Anchorage, Alaska, which encompasses teaching, planning and running retreats, and coordinating trips with groups of adults and teens into bush Alaska to minister in Alaska’s villages. He also teaches AP Biology at a local Christian high school in the mornings during the school year. He earned a bachelor's degree in the field of Genetics from the University of California, Davis in 1992 and a Master’s Degree in the field of Theology from Bethel Theological Seminary in 2012.


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Chip - #76322

February 4th 2013

… God could have created the world through evolution.

 

Hi Eric,

The challenges with many of these discussions don’t start to manifest themselves until people begin to specifically define their terms.    In principle, I have no qualms with such a statement if “evolution” means something generic like “change over time.” 

But probably that’s not accurate.  If “evolution” means what it typically does—namely, that unguided natural selection drives change by filtering the random mutations that arbitrarily drop into its lap—then it’s not hard to see why evolution would be problematic from a Christian perspective.  Did God just wind up natural selection and turn it loose?  If so, how could he guarantee any particular outcome?  On the other hand, if evolution was controlled or guided (either along the way, or through some variety of frontloading), how and when did this guidance take place, and how do we recognize it? 

Looking forward to your reply. 


Eric Kretschmer - #76325

February 4th 2013

Great questions. As “Bilbo’s” question asks below, I believe we need to define terms more clearly and introduce students to what we mean by terms such as evolution, YEC, OEC, ID, etc. I do this in my class and in my youth group settings. It would be helpful if the instructors in our Bible department would dialgue with the science department to openly discuss the pro’s and con’s of the different biblical interpretatons, as well as gain a clearer understanding of the various scientific definitions - like evolution for instance. 

In the setting of my AP Biology class the term “evolution” means gradual changes over time as well as natural selection guided by environmental pressures, mutation rates, etc. This must be understood in terms of random chance, although the presupposition in the Chrisitian school is that God had an immanent hand throughout the process of creation (whether speaking of fiat creation or some permutation of evolutionary theory). I attempt to introduce how Chrisitians in the scientific field have attempted to reconcile evolutionary theories with a Creator God. Many theologians have written some strong arguments for God’s use of random chance and chaos as a part of His creating processes too, which we also discuss in class. My main goal is to try and open the dialogue between theology and science without compromising our reason or biblcal truth - a lifelong challenge!


Amy Degenford - #76330

February 4th 2013

Absolutely!!  great job!  That’s exactly what I try to do as well.  It can present some challenges indeed!  Some of the younger students in our introductory biology classes have an almost instinctual fear response that evolution is “just stupid”.  Then our job is to clarify some pretty awful misconceptions and arguments against evolution.  It’s worrisome when we cultivate a worldview that partly is based on fear of investigating ideas.  My AP bio students, at the junior and senior level, have a better sense and a more mature approach.  But it does present some unique challenges. 


Eddie - #76332

February 4th 2013

Dear Mr. Kretschmer:

I’m sympathetic with your attempt to show students that science need not be in conflict with Christian theology.  I agree that they must be made aware of multiple ways of reading the Bible.  I also agree that “evolution” per se need not be a threat to Christian faith.  The devil is in the details—how evolution is conceived, and how divine action is conceived in relation to evolution.

You say that you define terms for your students carefully before using them.  I hope that when you define terms, you take the definitions from the various camps’ own writings, and do not attempt to construct definitions of your own.  For example, I hope you take your definition of ID from official statements of the Discovery Institute, or from the writings of the leading ID theorists, and don’t employ the usual inaccurate statement (a version of which used to be posted on the Leading Figures page of BioLogos) that ID teaches that God had to supplement natural causes with supernatural interventions.  I hope your students are made aware that there are versions of ID in which there are no supernatural interventions and which accept macroevolution, and that the crucial conceptual difference between ID and TE is not over evolution but over the handling of “chance” as a causal explanation, with ID folks being much more skeptical about the constructive powers of chance, and TEs much more sanguine.  I also hope you make it clear that ID theorists never argue—in their theoretical writings—from the Bible, but from biochemical and other data, mathematical and engineering concepts, etc.

One of the difficulties of sorting out the TE position is that it is very vaguely defined.  At its broadest, TE says that God created through a process of evolution. At that broad level, TE is compatible with ID, and Michael Behe would be a TE.  But very few TEs leave it at that; most of them throw in some curve or other, usually implying the acceptance of post-Enlightenment developments in Christian theology, which makes TE difficult to accept for orthodox Christians of any stripe.  I have yet to read a TE writing in which it is stated with unambiguous firmness that God planned and determined every last result of the evolutionary process, so that exactly the species we now see, including man, had no choice but to emerge.  God’s absolute sovereignty, taught in the Bible and in all mainstream forms of Christianity until the Enlightenment, appears to make some TEs very uncomfortable.  There is an awful lot of fuzziness in the utterances of some TEs, especially regarding “randomness,” and God’s love of “freedom” for his creatures, and God not being a “tyrant” who determines everything, and a “Wesleyan” understanding being preferable to a “Calvinist” understanding and so on.  I hope that when you sketch out the TE position for your students that you indicate the considerable amount of nebulousness about the relationship between God and the evolutionary process—obscurity about what God actually does in evolution— that is characteristic of TE writings, and I hope that you present something clearer.


Eric Kretschmer - #76338

February 4th 2013

Good concerns. I have been working out reconciling my faith with my “science” for a few decades to say the least which actually drove me to purues an MA in Theology. My teaching method is to go straight to the source for any information. I am not a fan of “paraphrasing” theologians or scientists, but rather quoting them within thier contexts. I am also not a fan of “sound bites” over over-generalizations. I think it is critical that our students encounter and struggle with what are sometimes vague concepts in order to strengthen their position as the grow in their faith.

There are several permutations within the TE movement (e.g. Progressive Creationism and Threshold Evolution to name a few), so we do spend time adreesing the strengths and weaknesses of each of these as we attempt to reconcile solid exegetical/theological teaching which remains consistent through the biblical meta-narrative.

I try to be as clear as I can. This post was from a birds-eye view of my experiences over the past nine years of teaching AP Biology in a Christian school as well ans spending the past five years in youth ministry. 


Perry - #77071

March 3rd 2013

I realize I’m late to the party; my apologies. Query for Eddie: You mention that in your experience, you “have yet to read a TE writing in which it is stated with unambiguous firmness that God planned and determined every last result of the evolutionary process. . . .” Do you look for similar statements regarding other scientific theories and processes? I.e., do you hope to read in physics writing that God “planned and determined every last result of gravity”? Should one expect that every last result of gas kinetics is/was planned and determined? If not, why not? Alternatively, if not, why should evolutionary processes be considered differently? Finally, should such a deterministic world view not have grave problems with quantum mechanical theory?


Eddie - #77143

March 5th 2013

Perry:

Welcome.

Your question is easy to answer.  

You wrote:

“Do you look for similar statements regarding other scientific theories and processes?”

Your word “other” is the problem.  TEs do not consider their theory a scientific theory; they consider it a theological perspective on a scientific theory, i.e., a theological interpretation of evolution.  And they are right to do so.  TE is not a scientific theory, by any definition of the word “scientific.”

So I’m measuring TE not by the standards of science, but by the standards of theology, in particular Christian theology (since, though in theory, TE should include Islamic and Jewish “evolutionism,” in practice it is a Christian activity, and primarily a Protestant evangelical one).  

The Bible says:  “Let us make man ...”  Man was the intended result of God’s creative process.  If God created through evolution, then man was the intended result of the evolutionary process.  That would be true for Catholic,  Reformed, Lutheran, Wesleyan—for any kind of Christian at all.

Yet many TE writers—including Ken Miller—have suggested that maybe God didn’t intend man specifically, or even a hominid specifically, but counted on the fact that it was probable that random mutations filtered by natural selection would sooner or later throw up some kind of being of an intellectual and creative level worthy of fellowship with him—perhaps some sort of super-dolphin or super-octopus—and that God’s “image” could then be bestowed upon that creature.  This is of course not the Christian teaching about man, either in the Bible or in the writings of the Fathers, the Reformers, etc.

My suggestion that God intended every last result of evolution is a wider argument, resting not just on one Biblical passage but on a more general understanding of God’s sovereignty, as described in the Bible, the Fathers, the Scholastics, and the Reformers.  God is understood to be concerned with the Fall of a sparrow.  Even the free choices of men—the betrayal of Judas, the denial of Peter—all fall under his Providence.  Whatever “randomness” there may be in nature, it is not a “randomness” that puts any event outside of God’s ultimate control.  Therefore, while we might speak of “random mutations” in evolution, we are not free to assert that a duckbill platypus might well not have evolved at all, that it was a very near thing.  It is not as if God’s providence, omnipotence, governance, etc. extend only to broad generalities (“Well, he guaranteed vertebrates, but not mammals specifically”); it extends to everything.  It even—in a special way (which has to be carefully qualified, to avoid the wrong kind of determinism)—extends to human actions.  A God who guarantees that vertebrates will arise, but not mammals, or mammals, but not horses, or primates, but not man, is not the sovereign God of the Bible or the omnipotent God of the Scholastics or Reformers.

It is one thing to say that “God creates through evolution”—which many Christian ID proponents are willing to grant—and another thing to conceive of the evolutionary process in such a way that only its general outline, not its results, are under God’s control.  The latter view would be unorthodox theologically, for either Catholic or Protestant.  

Indeed, the “beef” that Jon Garvey and I and many others here have against TE is not that it endorses evolution as God’s mode of creation, but that it conceives of evolution inadequately in relation to the nature and intentions of God as described in Scripture and Tradition.  This inadequacy is caused by many things, including the language of “randomness” (transferred improperly from a scientific context to a theological one), and by the general attraction that many TEs have for very liberal, American, free-church forms of Christian theology, and the antipathy they have for older, conservative forms of Christian theology, such as the original Calvinist interpretation, or the original Thomism, or the original Lutheran or Anglican or Eastern Orthodox understandings.  What Jon and I and others have been trying to do here is to make certain TEs more conscious of the theological sides they are choosing when they harmonize evolution and Christianity in certain ways.

Quantum indeterminacy is a tricky question which can’t be dealt with briefly. But “macro” events don’t generally need to deal with it.  I don’t need to consult quantum indeterminacy to determine whehter or not a flying baseball will smash my window.  And even if God does not directly determine every “blip” in the quantum world, he still has the power to make sure that the sum total of “blips” will produce horses, and monkeys, and man, and not something else.  But that is another question.  I’m speaking of “randomness” on the everyday level, not on the quantum level.  The Bible and tradition are clear that “randomness” does not create a sphere that is outside the providence and governance of God.  Jon Garvey is good on this.


Perry - #77229

March 7th 2013

Eddie—

Thanks both for the welcome and the thoughtful response. I have only today read through it, and have not yet fully digested it. I may have further queries after some careful consideration. In any case, though, thanks for a considered, reasonable response.


Bilbo - #76323

February 4th 2013

Hi Eric,

Should Christian school Bible courses teach that there are different interpretations of Genesis, young Earth and Old Earth, and let the students decide which to pick?  Or should they insist that only interpretations that allow for an Old Earth be allowed?

Likewise, should Christian school Biology courses only teach mainstream views of evolution, i.e., neo-Darwinian.  Or should they allow views such as YEC, OEC, or ID to be allowed, also?


Eric Kretschmer - #76328

February 4th 2013

Hi Bilbo,

I may have addressed some of your questions in my response to Chip above, but I am an advocate of having the students ( as with my own children) decide which interpretation to choose related to OEC or YEC or ID, but I do try to expose them to the pro’s and con’s of all views too, treating each with respect. 

As far as whether or not to teach mainstream views of evolution at a Christian school, as an AP Biology instructor I have no choice but to teach the views. The AP courses are all taught in order to prep the students College Board exam - a nationally standardized exam - which will test the students’ knowledge on Biological principles which include the most recent evolutionary theories.

The problem, as stated in my post, is that in the science deparatment we are teaching standardized curriculum which the students must study and treat seriously in order to pass the AP Exams in the Spring, while being taught (at least in my school) only one interpretation of the creation account in Genesis. I do not want to over-genralize and say this is normative of all Christian Ed., but only my experience to date. I suppose to get around this, the better question may be “should Christian schools be allowed to teach AP Biology courses if they teach contra the Bible department?” My answer would be “yes”, but we should open up the dialogue between the Bible Dept. and Science dept., working toward a better understanding of the two perspectives (science and theology).


Curtis Kregness - #76326

February 4th 2013

Hi Eric,

Your story shows that you are one of the bridge-builders of whom Phil Yancey speaks on the BioLogos homepage. Working to dismantle the science vs. theology myth is a worthy goal. I have recently come to believe that one of the elements that these two areas of human knowledge have in common is what I call a healthy uncertainty:

Those who believe that they believe in God, but without any passion in their heart, without anguish of mind, without uncertainty, without doubt, without an element of despair even in their consolation, believe only in the God-Idea, not in God Himself. [Miguel de Unamuno, Tragic Sense of Life (New York: Dover Publications, 1954), p. 120 Kindle edition.]

Keep up the good work…


Amy Degenford - #76327

February 4th 2013

This is so similar to my experience teaching in a Christian school and teaching AP Biology.  It can be frustrating to encounter fear behind some of the statements.  Students are afraid to investigate.  Thanks!! 


Amy Degenford - #76329

February 4th 2013

I also can share some of the concerns of students coming from some of their Bible classes are hearing one model of creation and then coming into our classes in the science department (where we show them the different creation models and discuss the scripture reasons behind them, as well as the evolutionary model).  It can seem, sometimes, that we are giving apparently contradictory ideas, unless we are careful in how we present the information.  

 

I absolutely love teaching AP biology and have been doing so for years, but it can be interesting in a Christian school


Chip - #76333

February 4th 2013

Hi Eric; Thanks for the answer.

This must be understood in terms of random chance, although… God had an immanent hand…

Forgive me if I say that this sounds a little like a politician attempting to hedge his bets through the deft use of the diplomatic answer. Given standard definitions, if change “must be understood in terms of random chance,” then references to “God’s immanent hand” become just a fluffy narrative gloss that doesn’t mean much. God either intended a certain outcome and acted to bring it about (through whatever mechanism), or as Richard Dawkins has famously said, “It’s an astonishing stroke of luck that we are here.”  But it can’t be both.   

I attempt to introduce how Christians in the scientific field have attempted to reconcile evolutionary theories with a Creator God.

And these would be…?


Eric Kretschmer - #76336

February 4th 2013

The sovereignty of God as understood through the kenotical model is one that I resonate with most. But you could also look into Progressive Creationism, Threshold Evolution, etc. The Kenotical Model has been worked out by such theologians as John Polkinghorne and Jurgen Moltmann to name a few.

Kenosis as related to God’s sovereignty states that God created ex nihilo but then ‘emptied’ himself, in the same way Christ ‘emptied’ Himself to become the Incarnation as stated in Philippians 2:5-11.[1] By God emptying (or limiting) Himself  “…the kenotic view of creation…allows creatures their part in bringing about the future…acts of the creaturely other…[and so] are allowed to happen, although they are not in accord with God’s benevolent will.”[2]  I would argue that creation has freedom within limits set by God, what Thomas Aquinas described as the esse of all creatures.

I like the way Paul Ewart descibes God’s use of chaos:  “Chance operates to maintain unpredictability [from the human perspective] and to prevent us from controlling God”. [1] In other words, chance and chaos are at work giving God’s creation the true freedom needed to develop on its own, whether through genetic mutations, plate tectonics, or weather systems. God is still immanent; the presence of chance and chaos are not mutually exclusive from an immanent and relational God.

I realize this is just touching the tip of the ice berg, but I hope it begins to address your question a bit. I may sound like a politician but that is not my intent. My intention is to dialogue honestly with these issues. I’m not actually interested in “hedging my bets”, just gracious, open discussions as we all seek to reconcile our faith with our reason.

I appreciate your questions!

[1] Boyd, The Causality Distinction, Kenosis, and a Middle Way: Aquinas and Polkinghorne on Divine Action, 396.

[2] Polkinghorne, John C. Faith, Science, and Understanding (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000), 126.

[3]  Ewart, Paul. The Necessity of Chance: Randomness, Purpose and the Sovereignty of God. Science & Christian Belief, Vol. 21, No. 2, 116-117.

 


Chip - #76345

February 5th 2013

Hi Eric.  A couple responses

Kenosis as it relates to Jesus’ emptying of himself, has a particular justification (ie, his identification with sinful people and his submission to the Father among others), and is clearly explained in the text of Phil 2. But this text doesn’t speak to the issue of creation at all. If you’re going to make this argument, what’s the biblical support for it? 

If creation “developed on its own,” is it your view that humankind also developed on its own?  If not, what did God actually do?  Seems to me that the more common name for the view in which God exists (even if he’s “immanent”) but creation develops on its own is deism, but perhaps I misunderstand you.

Finally, the Ewart quotation.  If chance only seems to be chance to those of us subject to a “human perspective,” how is it that Ewart’s not subject to this weakness that afflicts the rest of us? Furthermore, if chaos is used by God, if it only looks like chance, then we didn’t really develop “on our own” after all.  God was engaged and acting; he was just covering his tracks as he went.  Of course, it all makes sense when we come to understand that such was invoked to “prevent us from controlling God.”   You’ll have to forgive the depth of my cynicism here, but I have little patience for nonsense couched in the rhetoric of the academy and passed off as wisdom.


Eric Kretschmer - #76347

February 5th 2013

Hi Chip, 

First, I want to make sure we are both pursuing the same thing - truth without comprimising scripture or treating lightly what we observe in the natural world which may on the surface seem to be ” nonsense couched in the rhetoric of the academy”. I believe these discussions are crucial in attempting to better understand the universe we live in. I will also be te first admit that I do not see myself as a “high scholar” but someone honestly trying to gain a more accurate picture of how God may (or may not) act in our lives and universe, taken form the Bible and the world around us.

Like I mentioned above I was only hitting the very tip of the iceberg through this forum. The definition of Kenosis goes beyond Chrsit’s emptying Himself as stated in the Phillipians passage. It is understood as an emptying and a filling - for Christ it was the emptying of the Divine and filling of the humanity. I know it can seem like a form of deism, which is why I mentioned the limits (or esse) in my repsonse to you, in which creation develops on it’s own within limits. Related to God’s creative acts, it is seen as God’s act of self-limiting His divine control over every variable in nature (emptying) to allow for irrevocaible freedom, whether discussing genetic mutations or human action. And again - all within parameters (esse) set initially by God. That is not to say God cannot revoke our freedom (e.g. Pharoh) or intervene whenever He chooses, but I am speaking about what is normative.

There is freedom within created boundaries, which appear as “chaos” or “random chance” from our perspective, but God has created bounds in which these processes operate. A good example can be observed in the field of Genetics when discussing Standing Allelic Variation. Random chance mutations occur as well as environmental forces which can trigger alleles that were ‘dormant’ to suddenly begin expressing themselves. We also see God limiting Himself from judging evil on a global level after the Flood in Genesis, tying His own hands behind His back, so to speak, in order to allow his creatures to freely act, though much more evil would ensue.

I would encourage you to read the resources at cited at the bottom of my reply to you yesterday (Ewart et al). As far as biblical backing for the idea of God’s sovereignty  and kenosis, it is tied closely to how we define love and free will. One of God’s roles we see throughout scripture is His act of bringing order from chaos - Form Genesis 1, to the book of Job, the Psalms, even Jesus calming the storm in Galilee. A book I would recommend which is great compilation of works by theologians dealing specifically with biblical support for kenosis is called “The Work of Love: Creation as Kenosis” which has such authors as John Polikinghorne, Ian Barbour, Arthur Peacocke, Jurgen Moltmann, and Kieth Ward to name a few. I do not agree with all of them but they may help explain how kenosis is tied to how God acts at some level.

All that I am sharing is where God has led me to so far on my journey of attempting to reconcile my faith with the natural world as I’ve experienced it to date as both a professional scientist, a pastor, and a theologian. It sounds like we will have to agree to disagree on much of this. Sorry I could not explain it better and i do hope you can read some of these resources if you get a chance.

 

Blessings,

Eric


Chip - #76352

February 5th 2013

Thanks for the reply Eric.  I’m really not trying to badger you, but to nail down what I see to be vague responses. 

Frist, my reference to nonsense was in no way related to “what we observe in the natural world” but only to the Ewart quotation, which was a steaming pile of balderdash. Chaos invoked to “prevent us from controlling God.”  C’mon…  Even though grad school was a while ago for me, it still smells the same regardless of the field that produces it. 

But certainly we can agree on truth without compromising scripture.  Thus, my question: what are some biblical citations that support the idea of Kenosis vis a vis the created order?  I’d like to read them. 

Even if we accept the darwinian assumption that inanimate matter (or very simple unicellular forms) can become ptarmigans and wolverines freely and on their own, is it your view that man came to exist in the same (undirected) way?  Or put an other way, did God intend to create mankind and act to accomplish this (through whatever means), or are we the unintended bi-product of a “free” fully natural process? 


Eric Kretschmer - #76360

February 5th 2013

Hi Chip,

I provided examples of sections of scripture that theologians in favor of the kenotical model typically refer to in my previous response. I do not think anyone has specific citations, verse-by-verse (just as there is no specific citation to the doctrine of Trinity), but rather a theological model formed by observing how God relates to His creation, and people to each other, throughout scripture, coupled with what we observe in the natural world. And yes, I do believe God intended humanity to exist, not as an unitended byroduct, but rather as His “image bearers” to glorify Him. 

Cheers,

Eric 


Jon Garvey - #76381

February 6th 2013

Eric

I’ve wanted to respond to you for several days, but for some strange reason I get locked out of posting here for days at a time. Today I have a voice!

I agree with Chip, I’m afraid, about “steaming piles of balderdash” in much of what forms the substrate of a lot of TE theology, though my own preferred word is “Tosh.”

When you talk about the kenotic model of creation, like the Trinity, being based not on proof texts but on observation of God’s relationship to creation etc in Scripture, I become distinctly uneasy, because half a century of studying Scripture tells me quite plainly that God relates to non-human creation as a sovereign Lord - there is simply no strand of Scriptural teaching, still less specific texts, about the “freedom of creation” (leaving aside humanity), or God’s abdication of sovereignty over his world. A few TEs, like David Wilcox, recognise that, but more seem to imbibe the “freedom” idea from people like Howard Van Till (who bases it on Process Theology) with scant reference to Scripture.

I’ve been raising the question here for well over a year of exactly what it means for inanimate, unconscious creation to be “free”, and why that would be any more of a good thing than my “freeing” my money by scattering it in the fields. But I’ve not had any coherent reply - no reply at all, actually. As for Scriptural support for it - well, that would be interesting to see. It’s very easy to private such support for the Trinity in a paragraph or two.

The idea of kenosis, too, has me wondering how a misinterpretation of a word used once in Philippians has become the basis for an entire doctrine of God and creation, and my conclusion is that it’s by theological sleight of hand, whether conscious or unconscious. It seems to me to show an ignorance of, or disdain for, the lonstanding theology of the universal Church in the Chalcedonian understanding of incarnation - as the penultimate paragraph shows, the divine glory of Christ was in no sense set aside by his incarnation - and one would have thought that would be obvious to anyone who reads the account of the transfiguration with open eyes.

None of which is intended to attack your position personally, but to suggest that in my experience on BioLogos, there seems to be an attempt to wed incompatible theological elements into an evangelical scheme that ultimately raises more contradictions than it provides solutions.

As a result, key questions are seldom given even attempts at a resolution: so your undoubtedly evangelical final statement about God’s intentions re mankind, amongst many TEs if not yourself, have somehow to square with God’s non-intervention in a world free to create itself (meaning what, exactly?), his refusal to impose his sovereignty on the evolutionary process, his non-coercive nature etc.

What did God do, whether generally or specifically, to ensure that man as man became what he is? At that point, “mystery” is usually invoked as a pure fudge to cover the disparity between what Scripture says and what the theologty claims (the science actually being an innocent bit player in the discussion).


Mike Beidler - #76398

February 6th 2013

Jon,

You wrote:

Scripture tells me quite plainly that God relates to non-human creation as a sovereign Lord ...

How do you actually see God’s sovereignty working out in the natural world?  What should we expect to see if this was the case? 

Of course, the concept of sovereignty is theologically complex.  Does sovereignty require God’s second-to-second engineering of everything that happens, or can it simply involve God’s active sustanance of the cosmos’ natural processes within the bounds (i.e., natural laws) He instituted?


beaglelady - #76405

February 6th 2013

Good question, Mike. I’m wondering about God and the polio virus. Did God actually design it? If so, what does God think about the efforts of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and its effort to erradicate  the virus?


Eddie - #76409

February 6th 2013

As the Bible tells directly (Isaiah 45) that God sometimes creates evil, I don’t see anything incompatible with Biblical thought in the assertion that God designed the polio virus.  Nor do I see any contradiction with Biblical thought in the idea that God designed the polio virus with the intention that someday human beings would conquer it.

Of course, the creation of evil by God is certainly a problem for modern Christian thought.  But the idea of God in modern Christian thought has been adulterated with Enlightenment philosophy and other non-Biblical conceptions.

In any case, the argument for design is not affected in the slightest by whether the result of the design is nasty or nice.  Paley covered that objection decisively over 200 years ago.  The argument “God would never have designed such a nasty thing, so therefore it can’t have been designed, but must have arisen through blind evolutionary processes” is simply fallacious.


beaglelady - #76416

February 7th 2013

Isn’t it ironic though!  Christians are supposed to believe that God created the polio virus, while Bill Gates, who is not religious, is trying to save humanity from it. And surely God must have known that poor people would be disproportionally affected by his gifts of polio, guinea worm, malaria, etc.


Eddie - #76430

February 7th 2013

Christians are also supposed to believe that God created the lion who tears apart the lamb, the snake which devours the frog, and the parasite which destroys the plant or the animal.  I don’t see why the polio virus is to be singled out as special in this regard.  For that matter, God created earthquakes and volcanoes and lightning and many other things which harm living creatures.  What is your point?  That if something is harmful to life, God must not have designed it?  That’s hardly a Biblical point of view, is it?


beaglelady - #76433

February 7th 2013

Perhaps we humans really are “feeder mice” for hookworms, but even ID advocates don’t believe that God designs all these things.


Chip - #76436

February 7th 2013

“Feeder mice for hookworms” implies a level of teleological purpose not supported by evolutionary assumptions.  Shouldn’t sarcastic barbs at least be consistent with one’s own presuppositions?


Eddie - #76438

February 7th 2013

Please name names.  Which ID advocates are you speaking of, who do not believe that God designed all the creatures?  Some sources for your statement would be appropriate.


beaglelady - #76444

February 7th 2013

You can hear Dr. Dembski say so himself (regarding a part of the human anatomy!):

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-september-14-2005/evolution—schmevolution—-panel—edward-j—larson—william-a—dembski—ellie-crystal

And not all ID advocates believe that God designs all natural disasters.


Eddie - #76449

February 7th 2013

beaglelady:

Over and over again I find myself reminding people that we must separate what ID as a theory demands, and what individual ID proponents say when they are speaking as persons with particular religious beliefs.

Dembski is quite right to say, with his ID hat on, that ID per se does not require that everything in nature be designed.  Just as I might plant a pretty garden in my front yard, but leave my back yard a tangle of weeds, so it might be that a designer involved himself in some parts of nature and let others run free.  ID claims that design in nature can sometimes be detected, not that it knows in advance that design is everywhere in nature.

However, if Dembski were speaking as a conservative, Bible-oriented Protestant, I doubt very much whether he would allow for many undesigned things in nature as it was originally created.  However, he might well argue that many of the original designs were marred by the Fall.

Your original comment was about design by God (not by some unknown designer of uncertain powers or motives), and in the follow-up you mentioned “Christian”; you have also indicated that you go to a Christian church.  So I assumed that you were talking about how *Christians* should think about the design or non-design of nasty natural things, not how ID theorists—who need not be Christian—might think about it.  

I responded that the Bible indicates that God creates some things that are harmful. This is something that, in my experience, TEs find very hard to accept, and try to find a way around.  Ayala and Miller try to exonerate God from directly creating nasty things by saying that evolution did it.  And more generally, TEs agonize far more over “the problem of evil” than ID folks do.  I think that is directly connected with the respective attitudes of the two groups toward the Bible.  For many TEs, certain things ought not to be in the Bible, because they don’t comport with the TE idea of what Christianity is; ID Christians tend to think our idea of what Christianity is, is what needs changing, not the Bible.

Thus you will find ID folks less disturbed by the idea that God might have deliberately created malaria.  And that lions eat lambs. So you don’t find most ID folks trying to prove there was no carnivory before the Fall, etc.  Dembski is actually more exercised about the problem of evil than most ID folks I’ve talked with.  TEs and YECs, on the other hand, are preoccupied with the problem of evil and suffering.  It is an interesting question in the psychology of religious belief why such a strange theological bedfellowship between TE and YEC should occur.


beaglelady - #76497

February 10th 2013

You asked for names and I provided one, along with the evidence.  No need to dance around it.


Eddie - #76503

February 10th 2013

You provided one (count ‘em!) name.  And I explained to you why Dembski’s statement doesn’t mean what you think it meant.

There was no dancing around, simply proper clarification of a situation you were oversimplifying.  We academics do that.  That’s why we aren’t generally liked by the combatants in the ID/TE/YEC/OEC/atheist wars.  Most of the combatants prefer to argue from sound bites and out-of-context statements.  They are so much more convenient than nuanced discussions for promoting a partisan agenda.


beaglelady - #76542

February 12th 2013

Okay, there is also Dr. Michael Behe. At the Dover trial he was asked if there could be multiple designers. He answered yes, and that he wrote about it in Darwin’s Black Box. He was asked if there could even be competing designers. He answered yes.

 

So there you go. And Behe and Dembski are arguably the most prominent leaders in the ID movement.


Eddie - #76546

February 12th 2013

Behe said “could be”; he did not say “were.”  He was trying to explain what possibilities ID theory permits.  He was not giving a statement of his own beliefs as a churchgoing Catholic.  Do you really think that Behe affirms competing Gods?  Or that he believes that God didn’t create everything mentioned in Genesis, but only some of the things?    

You continually mix up these two things, what ID as a theory affirms, and what individual ID proponents as Christians (or Jews, etc.) affirm.  I suggest that you still haven’t got straight the difference between ID and creationism.  And given that the distinction has been explained to you a hundred times, and that you are at least moderately intelligent, your failure to get it straight cannot be intellectual, but proceeds from the will, i.e., is motivated by some personal or political axe that you wish to grind.


Jon Garvey - #76555

February 13th 2013

Eddie

Before this column shrinks to just one letter wide… there are two ways to conduct a discussion. The first is to understand your opponent’s position so you can counter his arguments. The second is to seek to catch him out, so you can ridicule him.

The first is harder, which is maybe why I seem to find the second so much more common in the US culture wars. It’s a bad sign for a society.


beaglelady - #76689

February 16th 2013

You’d think that under oath Behe would speak the truth about his thoughts and beliefs.  If he says there could be multiple designers then that should be what he means.   That there really could be multiple designers.  He even agreed that the original designer could be no longer around!   

 

 


Eddie - #76724

February 17th 2013

beaglelady:

Apparently the comment from 76546 did not register.  You are still not grasping the difference in meaning between a subjunctive and an indicative.  Or perhaps you do grasp it, and your determination to misrepresent the intention of Behe’s words proceeds from partisan commitments.


Jon Garvey - #76412

February 7th 2013

Mike

The subject is big (like, bigger than the cosmos), but to approach it biblically, the core is that God works out all things according to his own purposes, ie teleology reigns. Or rather, the Triune God reigns to bring about his purposes. That’s the whole thrust of Scripture, but particularly of course the Genesis creation account, which is built round God’s wise ordering of mankind’s daily necessities (time and seasons, weather, fecundity).

In the material world, one then has to ask what is needed in the way of efficient causes to execute that will. “Natural laws” is a bit of a chimaera, because it’s just one human way of describing the regularities we see: any “bounds” we put on them, eg that they are inviolable, is not a restriction God has put on himself (any more than the older, Thomist, view that replaces “laws"with “the natures of objects” prevents God from altering those natures).

Nevertheless, we observe “Natural laws” underpinning much that we see, and can view that as God’s sustaining power - but that’s too limited a view, because it implies God “sticking by the rules” rather than God governing with active wisdom, which is the Christological way of seeing it.

Natural processes, however, involve also the chaotic - arguably not sufficiently determined by “laws”; “random” events at the quantum level, which are almost certainly undetermined by laws; and choices made by free rational agents: certainly men and angels, and to an uncertain extent, perhaps, some higher animals. Below that level, “freedom” only exists in more or less esoteric metaphysical systems like process philosophy, rather than being observed scientifically.

Scripture (and classical theology) quite clearly places all three of those within the teleological framework of God’s will in Christ. I could easily back that up scripturally in a few hundred pages.

Eddie is right (below) to point out the clear biblical affirmation that God “creates evil”, though the context shows that to mean creating (bara)“harmul stuff” rather than “what is against God’s will”, which would be self-contradictory. That concept too is found throughout the Bible, including on the lips of Jesus himself. Again, examples would be easy.

What both the biblical writers and theologians from Patristic times down have been careful to distinguish is God’s creating stuff that becomes used for (moral) evil, and his willing evil itself. In the natural world, until about 1520, there was really no idea of “natural evil” in that modern sense of stuff-God-doesn’t-like-in-nature.

So beaglelady’s virus example, though of course unknown then, is no different from say venomous snakes, that were. Someone like Augustine, or Athanasius, or Gregory Nyzanzius, or Aquinas, or ... would say the virus was created for a good purpose, perhaps unknown to us (though we might discover viruses to be a major source of genetic innovation, for example).

Their harm to animals would be seen as part of God’s wise economy to replenish the earth. Their harm to man would be seen as a result of sin either (a) bringing about our vulnerability by the damage to our immortal rational nature and/or (b) as part of God’s wise judgement on sin, or sometimes (c) the direct result of man’s sinful mismanagement (eg poverty making measles a major killer rather than a rite of passage).

Finally (here, if the post doesn’t disappear first!) “second-to-second” engineering is a slanted way of viewing things, implying “control-freakery” - Aquinas has some interesting rebuttals to that accusation I could turn up if necessary. But the biblical picture of God’s sustaining power is very far from the recent idea that sees it almost as the mains supply into which the cosmos plugs itself:God’s sustaining is not The Force being with autonomous “laws”.

Rather “in Christ all things hold together” is an invitation to meditate on how Christ’s active love, reason, power and sacrifice is the glue of “all things in heaven and earth, visible or invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities - all the things created through him and for him”.

That’s some chapter-headings, anyway.


Chip - #76417

February 7th 2013

Superficial sarcasm met with reasoned depth.  Bravo. 


Jon Garvey - #76424

February 7th 2013

Ah Chip - depth is so passé. If the media have a choice between a reasoned argument and a sound-bite, which will they prefer?

Better to move with the religious times and swap buzzwords, but some of us are too old to pick up the habit.


Jon Garvey - #76556

February 13th 2013

I’ve been raising the question here for well over a year of exactly what it means for inanimate, unconscious creation to be “free”, and why that would be any more of a good thing than my “freeing” my money by scattering it in the fields. But I’ve not had any coherent reply - no reply at all, actually.

Just to note that nobody’s attempted a reply to this after a week - that makes no reply in 18 months after I’ve raised it a number of times. I think I’m entitled now to claim that the idea of “freedom in nature” so often promoted on BioLogos cannot be defended on Evangelical principles.

Time to drop it and move on, perhaps?


Eddie - #76707

February 17th 2013

Jon:

Merv has attempted to address the question under the Wright/Enlightenment column.


Chip - #76392

February 6th 2013

Jon,

Thanks for the eloquent response, which articulated the issues with more depth and clarity than I am capable of, although I am gratified by the reference to the balderdash comment.  “Tosh” isn’t in my day-to-day lexicon, but I’ll see about working it in.  BioDeism will do doubt provide me with plenty of opportunities to do so. 

Hi Eric,

I am sorry that you are bearing the brunt of this, but you’re the (unfortunate) umpteenth BL commentator who, when pressed on the sorts of questions that Jon and I have raised, responds with utter malarky from folks like Ewart . Or you make claims like: 

I provided examples of sections of scripture that theologians in favor of the kenotical model typically refer to…

You did no such thing.  You uttered vague unverifiable references to well over half the canon:  “Genesis 1, to the book of Job, the Psalms, even Jesus calming the storm in Galilee…” 

But since you mention it (and since it’s the only citation that’s specific enough to be discussed), Jesus’ calming of the storm serves as an antithesis to your position.  In this text, Jesus intervenes, he acts, he overrules nature’s “freedom” by saying, “be still.”  And nature submits to this.  If it has any relevance to creation issues at all, this account shows that nature is not “free” and does not—at least not always—“manage itself.” 

And yes, I do believe God intended humanity to exist, not as an unitended byroduct, but rather as His “image bearers” to glorify Him.

So, did they “freely create themselves” along with the rest of creation, or is a different model in play with regard to people? 


Eric Kretschmer - #76393

February 6th 2013

Chip and Jon,

I was only presenting the kenotical model as on possible theolgical model and sharing how I have (in my limited way) understood it, trying to clarify and address your questions (Chip) along the way. This is not not never has been “a hill I’m ewilling to die on”, but always only meant - the context of the original post - as an example as one option among many to discuss with students. I am personally fond of the model, but feel it has weaknesses that merit further discussion, one of which is that it can ead one toward Open Theism (which I am not), and many of which you bring up. I pesonally am also fond of Progressive Creationism and Threshold Evolution, where the Holy Spirit re-directs the evolutionary process in all along the way.

My strong ocnviction is that we must find a way to reconcile what science shows us with our biblical wordlview which may never happen this side of Christ’s return, but we owe it to our children to discuss these ideas in gracious, encouraging and open ways in the classroom. 


Chip - #76394

February 6th 2013

OK.  But certainly you can understand that your earlier claim of “truth without comprimising scripture…” doesn’t mean much if you’re not able to provide even a single citation supporting your assertions. 

Best to you and your students.  

-Chip


Eric Kretschmer - #76396

February 6th 2013

Absolutely. 


Jon Garvey - #76401

February 6th 2013

Hi Eric

I’d have thought there was a pretty wide theological gulf between the kenoticism of those like Barbour and progressive creationism! the difference is between a God who delights to leave creation to manage itself and shrug off the risks and disasters; and one who governs his creation with unfathomable wisdom towards his purposes. I know which seems to me closer to the testimony of Scripture and the teaching of Christ!

Alhough I’m quite struck by your boldness is leaning towards progressive creationism whilst wearing an evolutionary hat, it seems to me thoroughly consistent with the doctrine of Creation in its most general form, and well able to integrate with pretty well any evidence that science might throw up. It’s Scriptural in the sense that nothing in the Bible suggests the eternal God to have restricted creation to some far off time and then stopped.

At the philosophical level, one can accept any sufficient efficient causation as working concurrently with God’s final causation, “efficient causation” including both chaotic and “chance” events clearly identified as within God’s will, not set loose from it.

If you want to think more mechanistically, how would R J Russell’s (or Polkinghorne’s?) concept of God’s governance of the quantum events which determine mutations etc be described except as creation? That can even be seen in information theory terms (it is after all the Logos of God who is God’s agent of creation).

Or if one takes Alvin Plantinga’s view that nothing properly within science restricts God from affecting the closed system of natural law from without, then anything from influencing chaotic systems to fashioning new taxa by hand from old ones is equally permissible, and probably indistinguishable by science from “natural” causes (because nature is caused by God).

Alternatively, should such things as evolutionary front-loading (Mike Gene) or the various flavours of emergence theory prove to have any traction, then God’s creation is seen as a truly evolutionary (ie an unfolding) process. It would be fine-tuning with a biological aspect, though any theory of that sort that can “unfold” mankind in his divinely chosen form, or a specific man such as John the Baptist or either of us, would need to be almost Laplacian in its determinism - I suspect special providence must occur within time, not at its onset only.

All these models, though, can be seen as progressive creation - the single key being that the entire cosmos is understood as the wise and purposeful plan of God the Father, through his Son, by the Holy Spirit, to serve his good purpose - to which Scripture, in my view, gives unequivocal assent.

As soon as one introduces buzzwords like “freedom of nature” (I note you too seem unable to say what it is - always a bad sign for theology), “co-creation”, “self-creation” or the idea of true randomness (the very antithesis of true liberty), then God sounds very democratic, non-coercive, non micro-managing and all the other Van Tillisms that seem to go down so easily amonst TEs, but one actually has an entirely different kind of God.

If all those things can be discussed openly in the classroom then America is maybe more enlightrened than it sometimes seen from across the Atlantic, and I wish you every success!


sy - #76411

February 7th 2013

This has been a fascinating discussion, from which I have learned a great deal. But I think that when we try to understand the theology of God’s creative intervention in the world, and the role of certain scientific concepts like randomness and evolutionary theory, we need to be very careful that we have the science right, as well as the theology. And getting the science right, to my mind, is not equivalent with echoing the latest pronouncements from the material naturalist interpretation of scientific findings in order to fit an atheistic world view. I would like to illustrate this with two examples, one quite general, the other more specific.

It is an axiom of evolutionary theory that teleology is not required or necessary for transformation of species. We have hundreds of examples of specific mutations that divide closely related species, and there is nothing in any genetic or other biological data set to indicate anything other than a random process of replication errors, faulty DNA repair, or recombination to account for such mutations.

But, and this point is of no consequence to biologists, but critical for theology, there is absolutely no scientific evidence that rules out teleology for any particular mutational event. I say this is irrelevant for biology, because the hypothesis that any mutation was designed, or followed some purpose, cannot be addressed experimentally or by any scientific means we know. But the fact remains that teleology is NOT contraindicated by science. The result of this is almost complete freedom, both for God to act in any way He so chooses, and for the world to continue to change, function and give us wonder on its own.

A more specific example of my point relates to some recent findings about photosynthesis, which developed very early in the history of life on Earth. It turns out that in order for photosynthesis to work at the level of efficiency that makes the conversion of solar energy to chemical energy  the driving force for all life, the molecular systems in the biological pigments of green plants, must employ quantum entanglement between two or more photons. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100510151356.htm

This is astonishing, and unexpected. We do not understand quantum entanglement, the oft repeated experimental finding that photons with no connections are somehow causally linked in their behavior.  Einstein originally called this spooky action at a distance, but it is real and demonstrable. However it is so strange, and so outside all of our logic and scientific understanding that it has been called “The God Effect” And indeed the very concept of some sort of metaphysical simultaneous linkage between two particles independent of distance does seem to be supernatural.

Aside from the catchy title of a book, what does this finding mean for progressive creation, or TE? I think it certainly raises many questions, which don’t have quick or facile answers from science. One stunning implication is that in order to fully understand biology, we now know that we need to understand one of the most intractable issues in physics, the nature and mechanism of quantum entanglement. It also raises questions about the mechanisms of mutation, which are pretty clear on a chemical level, but have not been investigated at the electronic, or subatomic levels.

We won’t find “proof of God” in this way. Not my point at all. But I do think that the notion that God acts in the world through His own (still mysterious) laws of nature, which include quantum entanglement, and other very arcane aspects of reality, is absolutely not contradicted by any part of scientific knowledge.


Jon Garvey - #76413

February 7th 2013

Great post, Sy - thanks for the link, too.


Darwin Guy Dan - #76514

February 11th 2013

Sy:  Double dittos on Jon’s comment.  ‘Let there be light,’ ever more light, and also reception thereof.  Also,

(1.) Consider quantum entanglement in lieu of any Evolution theoretical explanation there may be in regards the biological phenomenal of mimicry.  In my view the “E” of TE has to go.  Evolution is false.  Naturalistic Parallelism is the more parsimonious theory.

(2.) For some time now cellular biology has been of particular interest and especially in connection with origins of lives issues.  Thus consider the often asked question: Which came first, cells or DNA / RNA and the various organelles? (Consider also the molecule phycocyanobilin—- Moran’s molecule #158.)  If we assume that the cell walls came first, which I tend to, then consider the implications of quantum entanglements in terms of the internal biochemistry (including DNA / RNA) not just currently but also during early cell life.  Specifically, consider cyanobacteria.

(3.) Elsewhere Jon gave us a standard cliche, “spreads like a virus.”  But consider a couple of my candidates for cliche-hood:  “buckminsterfullerine” and “Emiliania huxleyi.”  Consider these naturalistic, materialistic, real, (ideal?), entities as exuding homologous (Darwin’s def.) morphologies of similar classification (Perhaps classification as Stuart Pivar #1).

Note to all above and at other blogs:

(1.) Consider the distinction between “teleology” and the apparently well accepted naturalistic phenomena denoted by classic biologists as “teleonomy.”  It is surprising that with all my readings over the years, I have only recently encountered the latter term.  The classical bio-chemist, AddyPross in his WHAT IS LIFE? HOW CHEMISTRY BECOMES BIOLOGY (2012) has a good discussion of the distinction between the two words and the history of the latter.  See “teleonomy” also at Wikipedia.

(2.) Consider why it is that British Parliamentarians often seem to act like madmen lunatics. My somewhat facetious hypothesis:  The reason for such lunacy is due to the absurdity of the Queen’s English.  That is, in my view, our currently adopted language has far too many definitions and far too few words with unique meanings thereby making the language enormously inefficient.  Obviously, the lack of invariance over time has, in my view, also long been problematical.

Note to beaglelady:

My birthday is tomorrow.  So, what do you all have for me?  If we are to get the bacteria flagella factory up and running then lots of very real, naturalistic, materialistic entities (organic beings and other) will be needed, including managerial facilitation and support thereof.

a.k.a. LocalTransportationGuy % LocalCTT at gmail.

 

 

Clark Russell - #76719

February 17th 2013

Hi Eric,

I grew up in Anchorage and went to Anchorage Christian Schools. Heavy YEC worldview. I wasn’t a YEC believer, but I was a ‘gap theory’ believer. After graduating from high school, I went to UC Davis (Go Aggies!) and got my chemical engineering degree. It was in college that I told myself that evolution deserved a fair evaluation. If it was wrong, I would be able to tell. I went through Zachary Moore’s ‘Evolution 101’ podcast which takes a genetic/biochemical approach to evolution. It was eye-opening and worldview-shattering, to say the least.

Presently, though, I still am a ‘closeted’ evolutionist. I keep it to myself out of fear of stumbling weaker brothers or sisters. Reading your article, though, has made me reconsider my silence. If I don’t at least let other believers in my church know that I’m an evolutionist and a lover of Jesus, they may be stumbled later on.

What was your experience when you first took the “evolutionist Christian” news public?


Baron Barnaby - #77589

March 18th 2013

If you’re a student attending classes, you have probably experienced many moments when it was hard to make yourself settle down and study, even when an important exam was coming up. resume examples


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