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How can evolution account for the complexity of life on earth today?
A complex biological structure with many interacting parts might appear, at first glance, as if it were originally created in its present form with all its interlocking components fully formed and intact. It doesn’t seem possible that they developed step by step via biological evolution. In Darwin’s Black Box, Michael Behe introduces a term that he and other proponents of Intelligent Design use for this concept: irreducible complexity.
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Series: “And God Saw That It Was Good”: Death and Pain in the Created Order
The tension generated by our understanding of God’s character, as revealed in the Bible, and by the reality of the natural world around us has been the focus of much debate within the Christian church since the first century. This series examines critically several of the proposed solutions to this problem, viewing them from the perspective of a geologist, paleontologist, and orthodox evangelical Christian.
Series: Shaping the Human Soul
In Washington DC, Church of the Advent teamed up with The Trinity Forum to offer a series of lectures exploring the synergy between modern science and Christian Faith. This presentation by psychiatrist Curt Thompson and philosopher James K.A. Smith addressed the process of Christian discipleship and spiritual formation through the lens of neuroscience.
Body and Soul, Mind and Brain: Pressing Questions
“Bit by experimental bit,” writes philosopher P. Churchland, “neuroscience is morphing our conception of what we are.” For many, this includes dispensing with the “soul” in favor of biologically anchored processes.
Series: Asa Gray and Charles Darwin Discuss Evolution and Design
Many Christians believe that they face a painful choice-- either life was designed by God or it is an evolutionary product of natural selection. Charles Darwin himself believed in this dichotomy, and people ever since have felt the need to "choose sides". However, looking back at history, we find that one of Darwin's chief scientific colleagues, Asa Gray, did not share this perspective. In this three-part essay, part 1 charts the relationship of Asa Gray and Charles Darwin. Part 2 describes Darwin's struggle with the problem of natural evil and design in nature, and part 3 explores how Asa Gray was able to embrace evolution without rejecting the idea of design.
Our desire to engage in gracious dialogue with fellow believers who reject biological evolution has been receiving increased attention in both the Christian and secular press. More importantly, we are being joined in this reconciling project by our brothers and sisters in Christ who have often been defined primarily as our “opponents”.
Teaching Science in Tennessee
Last week, Tennessee legislators approved a bill on science education (the Teacher Protection Academic Freedom Act) that has stoked controversy around the country.
Possibilities and Second Chances
In today’s video, Dr. Rick Colling states that evolution is not merely the imposition of death and destruction and survival of the fittest. Rather, it is about second chances.
Science is Empowering But Hard to Define
It is easy to be confused about what science is and what scientists do. In part, this is because scientists do so many different things in so many different ways.
Evolution: Is God Just Playing Dice?
With his standard panache, the late Harvard paleontologist Stephen J. Gould argued strenuously that evolution had no inherent directionality. We are mere accidents; a "tiny twig on an improbable branch of a contingent limb on a fortunate tree".
Series: From ID to BioLogos
In this series, Dennis Venema describes his personal journey that took him away from the Intelligent Design arguments toward the evolutionary creation worldview. Through careful and honest research, he discovered ID scientific reasoning to be analogy-based, in sharp contrast to evolutionary science, which was supported by concrete data. After accepting this view, God’s presence ever strengthened him as he explored the compatibility between the Bible and God’s creative mechanism.
The (Lack Of) Conflict Between Science and Religion in College Students
Media-hungry atheist, creationist and religious fundamentalist provocateurs have dominated the science and religion narrative for the past decade. A recently published large-scale survey of college students, however, finds that the call to arms has fallen on deaf ears.
Providing the crutch for non-believers to lean on is a well-intentioned strategic error that has no benefit and likely does much harm. However, I am even more concerned about something else related to our construction of these crutches.
Series: Design in Nature
In this series, Oliver R. Barclay examines the idea of God as Designer. He concludes that God did indeed design creation, and that the “state of the world is evidence not only for the existence and power of God but for his kindness and care for his creation.” Barclay then goes on to investigate the arguments for Intelligent Design which attempt to prove that certain examples of design necessarily imply direct intervention by a Great Designer. He points the flaws of such an argument and discusses its implications.
A Pastor's Perspective on Death and Evolution
If death did not exist before Adam and Eve, how could God have used evolution to create man? And what about predators and natural catastrophes such as the mass extinction of the dinosaurs?
Series: John Polkinghorne on Natural Theology
Polkinghorne discusses the origins and aims of natural theology in this series. It does not offer truth, but rather a “best explanation” for the world, answering primarily meta-questions. Two such questions asked by Polkinghorne are, “Why is science possible at all?” and “What makes the universe so special?” To explore the answers, he looks at the ability of human minds to penetrate mysteries of the natural world as well as the fine-tuning of the universe necessary to produce the fruitfulness of life.
Beware Evolutionary 'Just-so' Stories About Religious Belief
As an evolutionary biologist I am fascinated by the emergence of cognitive abilities that make us so distinctive from other living species. There are, however, risks in making up evolutionary "just-so" stories to explain the origins of complex human beliefs.
Series: The Human Fossil Record
In this series, James Kidder provides an intriguing study on transitional fossils and the evolutionary history of modern humans. He begins by discussing the fossil record, explaining how new forms are classified. He then explains the physically distinguishing trait of humankind—bipedalism. From the discovery of Ardipithecus, the earliest known hominin, to the australopithecines, the most prolific hominin, Kidder focuses on the discovery, the anatomy, and the interpretation of these ancestral remains.
Ard Louis on Intelligent Design
In this short video, physicist Ard Louis expresses some doubts about Intelligent Design, noting that his primary resistance to the movement is based on theological grounds rather than science.
Through a Glass Darkly
BioLogos enthusiastically endorses the idea that the universe is intelligently designed and we certainly believe that the creator of the universe is intelligent. I want to acknowledge the real similarities between fine-tuning arguments and arguments made by ID.