Thursday, April 7, 2011

Problems of Consistency

One of the most significant problems theistic evolutionists face as they spread their message on the origins of life is the inconsistency of their stance. On one hand they embrace science, saying that evolution is scientific. Of course, that statement is broadly true. Scientists investigate the questions of evolution. We are explicitly and implicitly exhorted to “come to peace with science” by authors and leaders in The BioLogos Forum. But marriage of the terms “theistic” and “evolution” is fraught with glaring inconsistencies.

Evolution is a naturalistic process, supposedly obeying natural laws as do moving or falling objects. It needs no God to direct or even oversee it. Science is a naturalistic venture, currently so defined by the broad consensus of science practitioners and philosophers. Some Christians with a theistic worldview are scientists, but they are obligated to keep their theism under wraps when discussing causal adequacy in any of their scientific discoveries or proposals.

When theistic evolutionists claim, as did Francis S. Collins in The Language of God that “…God chose the elegant mechanism of evolution to create (emphasis mine) microbes, plants, and animals of all sorts,” they are guilty of promoting a serious incongruity. We are exhorted by the promoters of TE to embrace science. But according to the rigidly controlled professional science establishment of our day, science will countenance the action of no supernatural intelligence, no creator, and especially, no God of Judeo-Christian scripture in its proposals of causal adequacy for anything we observe in our physical world.

If evolution cannot stand alone on its own merits without injecting God into the picture, perhaps the theory is undermined as false. Jason Dulle argues these points effectively in “Theistic Evolution: The Illegitimate Marriage of Theism and Evolution.” Dulle suggests, “If naturalistic evolution is not sound on its own terms, we have no reason to accept it as true, and thus no reason to do the exegetical and theological tango with scripture to accommodate it.” Dulle inquires, “Why do some Christians feel the need to maintain a theistic evolutionary view? The only sufficient reason is that theistic evolutionists are convinced that evolution is true.”

Theistic evolution, according to modern science philosophy, is not really evolution at all, since theistic explanations are not permissible in any scientific account of reality, including historical origins science. And science, according to modern science philosophy, is not theistic. The pronouncements of both theistic and secular writers that theistic evolution is an “oxymoron” are more easily understood.

Evolutionary biologist Laurence A. Moran makes arguments almost identical to Jason Dulle. It is fascinating that Moran and Dulle locate themselves on opposite sides of the origins belief spectrum. In “Theistic Evolution: The Fallacy of the Middle Ground” Moran says, “It seems as though there’s no room at all for religious explanations of the natural world as long as we agree that scientists have to stick to naturalism. Do scientists really insist on this restriction? Yes, they do.” This statement is not designed to make theistic evolutionists comfortable. They claim the mantle of science, but the science community is not supportive of theistic evolutionists’ desire to straddle the fence by claiming God “creates” through the process of evolution.

Dulle asks, “Is there reason to believe that the case for evolution is not as sound as scientists would like to make it? Yes, there are.” Many authors have discussed evolutionary theory based on its evidential weakness. Creationists and theistic evolutionists argue about the strengths and weakness of evolutionary evidence. Naturalistic and theistic evolutionists argue about the validity of injecting any theistic views into the origins discussion because of the self-imposed limitations on theistic reality by the ruling scientific authorities. In two important spheres, therefore, we experience impasse. The TRUTH is standing by as an observer.