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God and Evolution: The Problem with Theistic Evolution

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  • JamesG
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9WHB_kMasMs Jim in Missouri
    Message 1 of 45 , May 9, 2013
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    • osoclasi
      GL: Sure, but none of those things are things that have to be said about evolution. So, again, the issue is, what is the problem? Response:Sure they do,
      Message 45 of 45 , Jun 1, 2013
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        GL: Sure, but none of those things are things that have to be said about evolution. So, again, the issue is, what is the problem?

        Response:Sure they do, because in order to be considered "scientific", those terms apply directly to evolution. That is how evolution is defined. TE has adapted the same language and therefore as a result have a big contradiction on their hands (i.e. natural selection is both unguided and guided at the same time). Even if we were to allow the whole "it's blind as far as we can tell," line. It amounts to the same thing because the only way they can "tell" is through empirical evidence which ultimately leaves God out.

        GL: Evolution or the language used by some unbelievers about evolution? Christians don't have to be bound by other people's language. All we need to do is accept the reality of creation: a reality that includes evolution.

        Response: Both. Of course Christians aren't bound by other people's language, but TE is, because TE tries to incorporate the same language in it's understanding of evolution but add God in at the last minute.

        GL: I also note that most of the time, the people describing evolution this way are attacking evolution. That makes these concepts strawman accusations in that they don't describe evolution accurately. They are equivocating the terminology, not using it within the limits of science and loading the words with heavy philosophical meanings not intended in a scientific description of events.

        Response: Not at all, even when you try to use the terms within the limits of science, you are limited to materialism. The whole,"as far as we can tell" bit can only be understood in light of materialism. They can only tell if they have physical evidence which of course is a philosophical attempt to leaving God out.

        GL: For that matter, the stacking the deck or front-loading view seems to be part and parcel of ID as well. Isn't that what they mean by information being loaded top-down from a mind rather than emerging from the bottom-up? So why would it be ok for ID but not for evolution in a theistic framework?

        Response:I don't think so, Stephen Meyer in arguing against Howard Van Till said something to the affect of no mechanistic process can ever
        produce information, since a law-like process can only generate rigidly ordered redundancy that is biologically meaningless.

        GL: Yes, in the same sense. Unless you can show me how evolution within the kind uses a different process of evolution.

        Response: Easy, we don't accept that natural selection in unguided. TE folks by adapting the same language such as, "blind, unguide, without purpose." yada yada are saying something entirely different.

        GL: I have never heard a creationist claim that evolution within the kind is guided either.
        In any case, if you believe it is guided within the kind, there is no problem with saying all evolution is guided in the same way.

        Response: Sure it is, you no longer have evolution. You've stepped outside of science and can no longer associate yourself with evolutionary teaching. You're arguing for something different now.

        GL: Now here is a point to consider. When you hear that evolution is "unguided" do you ever ask "unguided by what?" What do you think the scientists are saying about what it is that does not guide evolution?

        Response: Something can't be "unguided by what." If it is unguided then nothing is guiding it.

        GL: I notice that ID literature never specifies; it just says "unguided" and never says what is not guiding. I take it that most readers assume the what is God.

        Response: No it means it is operating on it's own.

        GL: But that is an incorrect assumption when it comes to science. In scientific literature the things that are said not to be a guide for evolution are:

        An internal striving toward perfection
        The need of a species to adapt in order to avoid extinction
        The desire of an organism to change
        The will, desire or need of an organism to become more fit

        God is never included in that sort of list as something that does not guide evolution.

        Response: Have to disagree here, read again Coyne, "For to the best of our knowledge evolution, like all natural processes, is purposeless and unguided."

        He means there is no purpose to it. He goes on to say...

        There seems to be no direction, mutations are random, and we haven’t detected a teleological force or agent that pushes it in one direction. And it’s important to realize this: the great importance of Darwin’s theory of natural selection is that an unguided, purposeless process can nevertheless produce animals and plants that are exquisitely adapted to their environment. That’s why it’s called natural selection, not supernatural selection or simply selection .
        ======================================


        GL: IOW, it is never a contradiction of "unguided" in the scientific literature to hold that nevertheless God does guide evolution according to God's purposes. What we know is that, in guiding evolution, God does not implant a power of will or desire in the organism to cause it to evolve.

        Response: Actually it is, hence the reason why Coyne can rightly say that when you add God to it, that is supernatural selection. Again, you can't have a guide, guide something that is unguided.

        GL: This objection to evolution is rather like saying that if a car doesn't steer itself, it is unguided, even though there is a driver guiding it with a steering wheel. Well, sure, the car, in itself, is unguided; it is not the car which decides its own direction. The same is true of evolution. Yet the car is not unguided, since someone is steering it in the direction they want it to go. We can say the same about evolution.

        So when you hear or read "unguided" do ask, "what does the writer mean by that?" Is the writer even talking about God at all?

        Response: No because natural selection is the actual driver in this illustration, it is the one making the actual selection. It's not the car.

        > ===================
        >

        GL: You are changing the topic. You have been asking the question "What is God doing in evolution"? I want you to answer your own question, because you already know what God is doing in evolution.

        Response: Oh personally, I think God designed (there is the key term) with genetic diversity that could be selected in certain characteristics depending on the circumstances.

        GL: You know because you already accept that evolution occurs within the kind.

        What this or that TE thinks should have no bearing on what you already believe God is doing. And the best answer to your question should come from yourself. I bet you haven't ever really thought about what God did to turn a black bear's fur white so it could live in the Arctic. But that is evolution within the kind, isn't it? That is the level of evolution you agree does happen.

        So, what on earth did God do in that process?

        When you can answer that, you have the answer to your own question. You have a TE answer.

        Response: No because creationist don't accept anything being blind, without purpose, etc. TE follows the same language and therefore they have to answer that question because they have a contradiction on their hands.GL:

        GL: Now since you raised the issue again with your off-topic allusion to TE let me pose a few further questions:

        Do you think it a problem for theists that natural processes are blind so long as God is guiding them?
        Do you think natural processes need foresight, if God has foresight?
        Do natural processes need to be able to think, so long as God is thinking?
        Do natural processes need to be able to plan what God has already planned?

        Response: 1: I don't think God can guide a blind process, either it's blind of it isn't. 2: Natural process can't have foresight and God can't have foresight either if it is blind and unguided. He'd be totally caught off guard. 3: No but if God is doing the thinking then you can no longer use the language of randomness of any kind. 4: God can't plan an unguided system.

        GL: You say it is a normal view that natural processes are blind, mindless, without foresight, thought or capacity to plan. And you ask, "what is God doing?" Isn't it obvious? God is guiding the blind, using mind and foresight to direct the process, thinking and planning what God wants the process to achieve. God is doing what the process in itself cannot do.

        Response: No because in natural selection there is no guiding or thinking or foresight. Since TE accepts the same language as normal evolutionist, you can't say God is guiding the blind etc, because you are no longer in line with normal evolutionary thought.

        GL: I never know what you are referring to when you answer like this. You don't think what is so?

        Response: That I'm being hung up on what atheist are teaching, I just answered your assertion.

        GL: You don't think atheists present evolution atheistically? You don't think that is a wrong way to present evolution? You don't think TE is right to disagree with atheism? You don't agree that atheists should not have a lock on how evolution is presented? Those are four ideas in the paragraph above. Which of them are you referring to when you say "I don't think so…"

        Response: 1: Sure, and I think TE agrees with how it is presented. 2: Not really, because I think evolution fits a materialistic worldview so I think they are pretty consistent. 3: I don't think they do disagree with atheism other than throwing God in at the last minute. 3: I really don't care if they have a lock on it or not because I think it is based upon their worldview.


        GL: I think things are actually designed by God too---by means of natural selection.

        Response: Except you hurt yourself when you say things are random, by change, unguided etc.

        GL: After all, doesn't God use basic laws of physics to design rainbows and snowflakes?

        Response: Yep

        GL: Doesn't God use the hydrological cycle to lift water vapour into the atmosphere and prepare it to return to the earth as rain?

        Response: Yep

        GL: So what would the problem be with God using another natural process (natural selection) to design many diverse species?

        Response: Because NS is suppose to be unguided, random, by change, no purpose etc. Which TE fully supports.

        > GL: By whom? Largely by the ID movement--which is anti-evolution. That is not a fair presentation.
        >

        GL: And that is how he shows that his understanding of Christian theology is defective. In a Christian worldview, "natural means" replaces "supernatural (miraculous) means", but they can never be put in the place of God. Scripture presents many things that happen by natural means as the action of God. So from a Christian view it is impossible to put natural means "instead of" God. One can only put God's natural means instead of God's supernatural means.

        What problem do you have with showing that Mayr doesn't know what he is talking about when it comes to theology?

        Response: He's not talking from a theological standpoint, he is just drawing natural conclusions based off his understanding of evolution. And with regards to that, he's pretty consistent.

        > ==========================================

        GL: What other kind of plan would God guide? If the plan is already guided, God doesn't need to guide it. If it is not guided, then the only guidance must come from God.

        Response: But if it's unguided, then God can't guide it.


        GL: Why? You have probably seen people using guide dogs. So you have seen people who are both blind and guided. No logical contradiction at all.

        Response: No because blind people are actually going somewhere with a purpose. Not the same as evolution which has no purpose.

        GL: I certainly don't see anything illogical in saying God provides guidance to the blind, precisely because it is blind. Science affirms that the evolutionary process is blind and has no in-built teleological property. Christian theology affirms that all things work together to accomplish the purposes of God. I see no reason to exclude evolution from that affirmation. Consciousness, mind, sight, foresight, purpose and goals for evolution all come from God. They are not built into the process. Scientists, however, can only study the process. They have no means by which to study God.

        Response: If you throw God in there then you don't have a blind process anymore and all of a sudden the blind has sight and the non teleological becomes teleological. By trying to give scientist an excuse, what you are basically doing is allowing them to only use material proof as a means for allowing God into the process, which of course they won't so, once again God is left out and is not necessary.

        GL: I say your "logical contradiction" holds no water. It is, in fact, more logical to say God guides what is blind and sets goals for what has no purpose. Evolution doesn't need its own sight or goals or purposes when these are provided for otherwise.

        Response: Well that's fine, except you've made evolution now have a purpose and a goal, so now I guess you're going to have to change it's name.


        GL: But do you think that is how it should be taught?

        Response: I don't think it should be taught. I don't believe in common descent.

        GL: OK. Let's look at a real scientific definition of the process of evolution.

        "Evolution is a process that results in heritable changes in a population spread
        over many generations."

        From the blog of Larry Moran—who is an atheist well-know for his attacks on ID and creationism. He also thinks TE is hogwash.

        However, where in that definiton does it say evolution is unguided?

        Response: Right here.


        Science says that evolution is not divinely guided, based on what we know today.

        http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2010/04/is-evolution-guided-or-unguided.html
        =======================================
        GL: Larry, as an atheist, certainly believes there is no God to guide the process. But quite properly, that is not part of the definition he provides. And opposed to theism as he is, he would still probably agree that if you want to believe it is guided by God, nothing in the description of the process of evolution disallows that.

        Response: GL, he specifically says that it is not divinely guided. The whole "based on what we know today" is just saying that the only way they know is through empirical data which of course God doesn't fit in.

        GL: What science does is describe this process in empirical terms. It does not (or should not) add value-loaded terms that carry philosophical baggage, whether it is theist or atheist.
        So, I can't stress too strongly that the loaded terms "blind, without mind, without plan or purpose," etc. are needless additions to the theory of evolution.

        Response: No there not, they are even used by your own source.

        GL: If those are the concepts that turn you away from evolution, then you are reacting to a strawman view—one devised not by scientists, but by those opposed to science or those opposed to theism.

        Response: How do you figure, you're own source used them.
        http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2010/04/is-evolution-guided-or-unguided.html
        ==========================================

        GL: LOL! Here again, the professed Christian thinks atheism is more logical than theism. Go figure.
        See above re "logical contradiction".

        Response: Well it is, if you accept the language of unguided, non telelogical etc.

        > ======================

        GL: That is not an answer to the question. Do we toss out Genesis 8 because science textbooks do not refer to God when explaining how rainbows are formed? (And note, the question is about what we do, not what "they" do.)

        Response: Nope. You don't have too.

        GL: Who would argue that and why should I care?

        Response: Because according to them, when you throw God in this process you are crossing the line of NOMA. TE is outside the box here.


        GL: By what? By whom?

        Response: Law of non contradiction.

        GL: I would agree, evolution is not guided by

        An internal striving toward perfection
        The need of a species to adapt in order to avoid extinction
        The desire of an organism to change
        The will, desire or need of an organism to become more fit

        It is guided by the will/goals/purposes of God.

        Response: Except that's not what they mean when they say unguided. From your own source.

        Science says that evolution is not divinely guided, based on what we know today.

        Again, God is left out of the e quation.
        =========================================

        GL: Sure. Coyne is an atheist and I am not. Why would we not have opposite ideas on this matter? I agree with him as a scientist who knows a good deal about evolution. I disagree with him about God existing, and planning for evolution. Ther is no big logical contradiction here. Just because Coyne has no use for God doesn't make God a non-actor in evolution. Coyne's beliefs about God are not part of the science of evolution. Neither are mine.

        Response: Because you guys are supposedly talking about the same ideas. And you use the same language with regard to that one idea. Creationist don't have that problem.

        ==========================================
        GL: As a natural process, evolution is no different from any of these other natural processes.

        Response: I think I'm starting to repeat myself, I'll just snip some of this stuff to make it shorter. If you want to add something back you can if you think I didn't answer it.

        GL: LOL. I have seen that so-called equation before and it is stupid. No, TEs are not trying to keep in line with atheism at all. They do tend to keep in line with science. The problem arises when you equate a scientific view with an atheist view. But there is nothing inherently atheistic about science.

        Response: Have to disagree here because philosophical materialism has seep into science I think.

        GL: Yes, you are probably reading them wrong. These are knee-jerk reactions. They deserve study. As for exegesis, I doubt that. Rejection of concordism is not rejection of sound exegesis. It is rejection of an unsound hermeneutical principle. Why anyone would think the bible should concord with modern science I don't know. It leads to very weird interpretations of scripture that deserve to be tossed out.

        Response: Well feel free to correct me, and concordism according to this guy rejects the historical Adam, which of course is a no no. You'll run into all sorts of problems from original sin, image of God, Christ atonement.

        > ========================================

        GL: And my question still stands. Why do you use an atheist's position as a suitable reference for a Christian? Shouldn't you be looking for a Christian view instead?

        Response: Because you challenged me to show you how a scientist was using those terms. You said they didn't use them that way, and I showed you they did. I don't think it matters if I used the a Christian TE person or not, they use those terms in the same way but only add God in at the last minute.

        GL: Because you are not listening to scientists who are Christian?

        Response: Whatever, I've answered your challenge.

        GL: There isn't. The explanation that is held by most scientists does not exclude God.
        God is included or excluded only theologically, not scientifically.

        Response: No he's excluded when someone says unguided, non teleological, random.

        GL: You have to enter into an atheistic/deistic presuppositional frame of reference even to conceive that natural processes do "all of the work" . So that is not part of any scientific theory. From a Christian perspective, it is not that God is added. Rather God is not subtracted.

        Response: Yeah and neither are aliens or smurfs. It amounts to the same thing. You couldn't argue for God any better than I could argue for aliens using your position. Hence the reason it's not the Christian perspective.

        GL: Sure, but that is Coyne's opinion as an atheist. And he is also wrong, because he thinks God can only do "supernatural" things and not natural things as well. He is promoting a false dichotomy.

        Do you agree with Coyne? Do you think God can only do supernatural stuff and not natural stuff?
        Do you buy into the same false dichotomy?

        Response: I agree with Coyne's description about evolution and if it is unguided and selects on it's own. And if that is a natural process, if God somehow started selecting, it would have to be outside of natural selection an it would be super natural.

        =====================================

        GL: Ok, then. Then your view of evolution should be that God controls every detail of the evolutionary process. That is completely consistent with what we know of evolution through science.

        Response: Nope, because my view of evolution isn't common descent, so I'd only see God controlling the changes within a species that were designed.

        GL: Naturally it contradicts an atheistic view. So what? You already disagree with atheism.

        Response; For me it is so what, I'm not trying to harmonize the two.

        GL: Ok, then, on the same basis your view should be that God causes species to evolve.

        Response: No because I don't think there was a primodial pond which evolved into man as we know him today.

        GL: Can you tell me exactly what God does to cause the seed to grow?

        Response: Probably puts the information inside the seed to respond to it's enviroment a certain way.

        GL: No, I don't see that. What do you mean by natural selection doing "all the work"? Natural selection is one of many natural processes—which are ways of God acting in creation. Natural selection is God's work.

        Response: Natural selection acting on it's own without guidance being the root cause of all the species we see on earth today.

        *snip*

        ==============================================

        GL: Yes, God knows. But what about the person tossing the dice? Does he know?

        Response: Nope.

        GL: What "random" means in science is that the scientists don't know.
        It doesn't mean that God doesn't know.

        Response: That's just another excuse to allow the TE folks not to call it what it really is. If God knows and is sovereign, then it's not random. That whole,"as far as science can tell." Is just an ploy to hide their materialistic worldview by which the only way they can tell is if they had some sort of empirical evidence.
        =============================================
        GL: No they don't. Neither of them refer to design.
        Don't confuse "design" with "creation". "design" is a how; "creation" is a that.
        Scripture affirms that God creates. It doesn't make any affirmation as to how.

        Response: No, because by declaring his glory means that one can look at the creation and tell it was designed by God.

        GL: ???? God is the only Creator I know of. Who did you have in mind? Marduk? Krishna?

        Response: Well you don't have any source telling you that God used evolution to do all this, you just threw him in there, why not aliens?

        GL: If you adhere to a concordist interpretation of scripture as if it were science.
        I think that is quite foolish.

        Response: No you just read what it says. Nothing to do with trying to harmonize science with it.

        GL: I think it is a very profound statement of scripture to say that `adam' is made from `adamah'; there is a great theological mystery/teaching here. But it cheapens it to turn it into a statement of science as if God made ha-adam like a child making mud dolls.

        Response: No it's just saying in Genesis, everything is created separately according to it's kind, which is opposite of evolution which has today's species coming all from one ancestors which also evolved from nonliving chemicals.
        >

        GL: Well, that is hardly arguing against evolution (which it would be very foolish to say Gould was doing.) He wasn't even arguing that evolution didn't take a long time. In fact a big part of his thesis is that much of the time a species is not changing at all, so there is plenty of gradualism there.

        Response: Except he specifically said that it was based (not upon evidence) but a metaphysical stance. Which is basically a worldview.

        GL: What he was arguing about was an unexamined idea that evolution not only took a long time, but that it proceeded at a steady pace; that the incremental changes Darwin spoke of came about on a sort of steady beat. What Gould did was distinguish two sorts of gradualism: chronological gradualism, and evolutionary gradualism. He agrees with Darwin that evolution proceeds via small incremental changes (evolutionary gradualism), but he detaches that from a steady pace of introducing changes. (in fact, Darwin himself had not proposed a steady pace, but that sort of thinking had become kind of standard). You might consider it this way. All evolution is a matter of baby steps, but even baby steps are sometimes fast and sometimes slow. Gould wasn't even the first to suggest different rates of change. He was just the first to give it a catchy name.

        Response: And I notice that you didn't touch the part where he said is was based on a metaphysical stance. Well I can't blame you, you're doing the same thing he is, when the facts don't line up, you don't change your worldview.

        *snip*

        GL: Then God also controls the natural process called evolution.

        Why would you make an exception of this one natural process?

        Response: Because that would be a logical contradiction.

        *snip*


        GL: OK then, in your worldview God decrees everything about evolution. So what's the problem?

        Response: There isn't any common descent in my worldview. So evolution would not be in my worldview either.

        GL: Depends on how you define "randomness". If we use the scientific/mathematical sense, all this means is that there are elements of evolution which human scientists cannot predict except in terms of probabilities. A scientist can tell you there is a 10% chance a child will be conceived with a certain mutation in its genome. But the scientist cannot tell you which newly conceived child has the mutation. But from God's view, there is no randomness here, as God knows already even before conception, what the child's genome will include.

        Response: I define it how the evolutionist are defining it. Random mean no direction.

        GL: And TE is the view that the natural process of evolution is part and parcel of God's world and relates to God in the same way as any other natural process. So your views on how God relates to natural process are very pertinent.

        Besides, whatever the topic is, it involves your views on the topic.

        Response: Not really, all I'm doing is showing how inconsistent it is. Nothing to do with my views.

        GL: Well, TE is a very flexible concept. After all ID includes everything from Behe's endorsement of common descent from a single ancestor to young earth creationism and I don't see you calling that inconsistent.

        Response: That's not the topic.





        Kelton Graham
        kgraham0938@...
        Club Wolverine Head Coach


        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "gluadys" <g_turner@...>
        To: OriginsTalk@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2013 12:24:23 PM
        Subject: [OriginsTalk] Re: No Theists Allowed?








        --- In OriginsTalk@yahoogroups.com , KGRAHAM0938@... wrote:
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Response: Sorry for the slow response, had a busy week. Well God gets left out when you say things like, "Unguided, non teleological etc." When random means changes that aren't directed and don't have a particular purpose in mind.
        >
        >

        Sure, but none of those things are things that have to be said about evolution. So, again, the issue is, what is the problem? Evolution or the language used by some unbelievers about evolution? Christians don't have to be bound by other people's language. All we need to do is accept the reality of creation: a reality that includes evolution.

        I also note that most of the time, the people describing evolution this way are attacking evolution. That makes these concepts strawman accusations in that they don't describe evolution accurately. They are equivocating the terminology, not using it within the limits of science and loading the words with heavy philosophical meanings not intended in a scientific description of events.

        >
        >Hence the reason some of those cats have to argue for some sort of stacking the deck view or deism.
        >

        For that matter, the stacking the deck or front-loading view seems to be part and parcel of ID as well. Isn't that what they mean by information being loaded top-down from a mind rather than emerging from the bottom-up? So why would it be ok for ID but not for evolution in a theistic framework?

        > GL: And anti-evolution creationists also have to explain what God is doing as single created kind evolves into many diverse species. I don't see a "different" problem here.
        >
        > Response: Not in the same sense,

        Yes, in the same sense. Unless you can show me how evolution within the kind uses a different process of evolution.

        >
        >because TE proponents often agree that the evolutionary process is unguided.
        >

        I have never heard a creationist claim that evolution within the kind is guided either.
        In any case, if you believe it is guided within the kind, there is no problem with saying all evolution is guided in the same way.

        Now here is a point to consider. When you hear that evolution is "unguided" do you ever ask "unguided by what?" What do you think the scientists are saying about what it is that does not guide evolution?

        I notice that ID literature never specifies; it just says "unguided" and never says what is not guiding. I take it that most readers assume the what is God.

        But that is an incorrect assumption when it comes to science. In scientific literature the things that are said not to be a guide for evolution are:

        An internal striving toward perfection
        The need of a species to adapt in order to avoid extinction
        The desire of an organism to change
        The will, desire or need of an organism to become more fit

        God is never included in that sort of list as something that does not guide evolution.

        IOW, it is never a contradiction of "unguided" in the scientific literature to hold that nevertheless God does guide evolution according to God's purposes. What we know is that, in guiding evolution, God does not implant a power of will or desire in the organism to cause it to evolve.

        This objection to evolution is rather like saying that if a car doesn't steer itself, it is unguided, even though there is a driver guiding it with a steering wheel. Well, sure, the car, in itself, is unguided; it is not the car which decides its own direction. The same is true of evolution. Yet the car is not unguided, since someone is steering it in the direction they want it to go. We can say the same about evolution.

        So when you hear or read "unguided" do ask, "what does the writer mean by that?" Is the writer even talking about God at all?

        > ===================
        >
        > GL: In your view a single created kind of frog has now become 3,000 different species of frogs. Frogs that live in deserts, jungles, ponds, prairies--all different colours and sizes, that do not mate with each other. They are no longer one species.
        >
        > And I have never heard anti-evolution creationists propose anything other than exactly the same "naturalistic" evolutionary process as scientists do for evolution generally.
        >
        > If such "naturalistic" explanations are good enough for evolution within the kind, they are good enough for TE as applying to all evolution.
        >
        > Response: No, because TE seems to want to hold on to the normal view of natural processes being blind, meaning that it is mindless, has no foresight, and can therefore not think and plan to achieve goal. If you want to add God in that process, you'd have to answer, what on earth is he doing in that process.
        >

        You are changing the topic. You have been asking the question "What is God doing in evolution"? I want you to answer your own question, because you already know what God is doing in evolution.

        You know because you already accept that evolution occurs within the kind.

        What this or that TE thinks should have no bearing on what you already believe God is doing. And the best answer to your question should come from yourself. I bet you haven't ever really thought about what God did to turn a black bear's fur white so it could live in the Arctic. But that is evolution within the kind, isn't it? That is the level of evolution you agree does happen.

        So, what on earth did God do in that process?

        When you can answer that, you have the answer to your own question. You have a TE answer.

        Now since you raised the issue again with your off-topic allusion to TE let me pose a few further questions:

        Do you think it a problem for theists that natural processes are blind so long as God is guiding them?
        Do you think natural processes need foresight, if God has foresight?
        Do natural processes need to be able to think, so long as God is thinking?
        Do natural processes need to be able to plan what God has already planned?

        You say it is a normal view that natural processes are blind, mindless, without foresight, thought or capacity to plan. And you ask, "what is God doing?" Isn't it obvious? God is guiding the blind, using mind and foresight to direct the process, thinking and planning what God wants the process to achieve. God is doing what the process in itself cannot do.

        > GL: One of the things you continually get hung up on is "how evolution is presented" by atheists. The whole point of TE is that this is a wrong way to present evolution to Christians. Atheists don't have, or at least shouldn't have, a lock on how evolution is presented.
        >
        > Response: I don't think so,

        I never know what you are referring to when you answer like this. You don't think what is so?
        You don't think atheists present evolution atheistically? You don't think that is a wrong way to present evolution? You don't think TE is right to disagree with atheism? You don't agree that atheists should not have a lock on how evolution is presented? Those are four ideas in the paragraph above. Which of them are you referring to when you say "I don't think so…"

        >
        > Response: You can't, because in evolution things only appear to be designed when I think they actually are designed by God. I think natural selection can account for some of the changes you see, but not design.
        >

        I think things are actually designed by God too---by means of natural selection.

        After all, doesn't God use basic laws of physics to design rainbows and snowflakes?
        Doesn't God use the hydrological cycle to lift water vapour into the atmosphere and prepare it to return to the earth as rain?
        So what would the problem be with God using another natural process (natural selection) to design many diverse species?

        > GL: By whom? Largely by the ID movement--which is anti-evolution. That is not a fair presentation.
        >
        > Response: I put up that article by the Coyne, he seems to be implying the same thing. Or if you read Ernest Mayr
        > “The real core of Darwinism, however, is the theory of natural selection. This theory is so important for the Darwinian because it permits the explanation of adaptation, the ‘design’ of the natural theologian, by natural means, instead of by divine intervention.�
        >
        > Notice he says, "instead of."
        >

        And that is how he shows that his understanding of Christian theology is defective. In a Christian worldview, "natural means" replaces "supernatural (miraculous) means", but they can never be put in the place of God. Scripture presents many things that happen by natural means as the action of God. So from a Christian view it is impossible to put natural means "instead of" God. One can only put God's natural means instead of God's supernatural means.

        What problem do you have with showing that Mayr doesn't know what he is talking about when it comes to theology?

        > ==========================================
        > GL: So, again, is it evolution or the presentation of it that bothers you? TE is an attempt to present evolution without that loaded language--which is mostly not part of the theory of evolution anyway. It's been loaded onto the theory by people trying to discredit it.
        >
        > Response: Well if it is as you say, it seems to be a logical contradiction going on here. God can't guide and unguided plan even in secret.
        >
        >

        What other kind of plan would God guide? If the plan is already guided, God doesn't need to guide it. If it is not guided, then the only guidance must come from God.

        >
        >Hence the reason you have a logical contradiction on your hands here. If God has planned it, then you have to say that it's guided and not blind,
        >
        >

        Why? You have probably seen people using guide dogs. So you have seen people who are both blind and guided. No logical contradiction at all.

        I certainly don't see anything illogical in saying God provides guidance to the blind, precisely because it is blind. Science affirms that the evolutionary process is blind and has no in-built teleological property. Christian theology affirms that all things work together to accomplish the purposes of God. I see no reason to exclude evolution from that affirmation. Consciousness, mind, sight, foresight, purpose and goals for evolution all come from God. They are not built into the process. Scientists, however, can only study the process. They have no means by which to study God.

        I say your "logical contradiction" holds no water. It is, in fact, more logical to say God guides what is blind and sets goals for what has no purpose. Evolution doesn't need its own sight or goals or purposes when these are provided for otherwise.

        > GL: By whom is it explained without God? Is it relevant that some people explain it without God? Does that make it necessary to explain it without God? Are they overlooking something when they explain it without God? Do they have a logical basis for explaining it without God?
        >
        > Response: Evolutionist who write our text book explain it without God and even use the words "instead of." Yes I think it is relevant because that's how it is being taught.
        >
        >

        But do you think that is how it should be taught?

        OK. Let's look at a real scientific definition of the process of evolution.

        "Evolution is a process that results in heritable changes in a population spread
        over many generations."

        From the blog of Larry Moran—who is an atheist well-know for his attacks on ID and creationism. He also thinks TE is hogwash.

        However, where in that definiton does it say evolution is unguided? Larry, as an atheist, certainly believes there is no God to guide the process. But quite properly, that is not part of the definition he provides. And opposed to theism as he is, he would still probably agree that if you want to believe it is guided by God, nothing in the description of the process of evolution disallows that.

        What science does is describe this process in empirical terms. It does not (or should not) add value-loaded terms that carry philosophical baggage, whether it is theist or atheist.
        So, I can't stress too strongly that the loaded terms "blind, without mind, without plan or purpose," etc. are needless additions to the theory of evolution.

        If those are the concepts that turn you away from evolution, then you are reacting to a strawman view—one devised not by scientists, but by those opposed to science or those opposed to theism.

        > GL: I don't think they have a logical basis for explaining it without God. So why would I let myself get distracted by people who do?
        >
        > Response: Well actually there's makes more sense to me because TE seems to be either promoting deism or a logical contradiction.
        >
        >

        LOL! Here again, the professed Christian thinks atheism is more logical than theism. Go figure.
        See above re "logical contradiction".

        > ======================
        >

        > GL: No textbook on physics will tell you God makes rainbows. Do we toss out Genesis 8 on that basis?
        >
        > Response: Same point, it's instead of as oppose to just leaving him out. They've replaced God with natural selection and have given an alternative explanation.
        >

        That is not an answer to the question. Do we toss out Genesis 8 because science textbooks do not refer to God when explaining how rainbows are formed? (And note, the question is about what we do, not what "they" do.)

        > GL: How? All they can do is say they don't believe in God, as if that made any difference to whether God exists and acts. The issue, I repeat, is theological, not scientific.
        >
        > Response: Because they would argue as some do that you've crossed NOMA.
        >

        Who would argue that and why should I care?

        > GL: If you really don't like the non-theological presentation of evolution, why do you continually uphold it as authoritative?
        >
        > Response: You can't have it both ways, either it's unguided or guided.
        >

        By what? By whom?

        I would agree, evolution is not guided by

        An internal striving toward perfection
        The need of a species to adapt in order to avoid extinction
        The desire of an organism to change
        The will, desire or need of an organism to become more fit

        It is guided by the will/goals/purposes of God.

        >
        > with a purpose, which is the opposite of Coyle et al. Therefore you are talking about two entirely different ideas here.
        >
        >

        Sure. Coyne is an atheist and I am not. Why would we not have opposite ideas on this matter? I agree with him as a scientist who knows a good deal about evolution. I disagree with him about God existing, and planning for evolution. Ther is no big logical contradiction here. Just because Coyne has no use for God doesn't make God a non-actor in evolution. Coyne's beliefs about God are not part of the science of evolution. Neither are mine.

        ==========================================
        >
        >
        > Response: I don't see how, I'm still not sure what exactly God is doing in this whole thing.
        >

        Actually, you know very well what God is doing in this whole thing. That is, if you have a well-developed understanding of how God works in any and every natural process. Now if your understanding of how God works in/under/by/with/through natural means is shaky, then it will be shaky in regard to evolution as well. The main thing is that evolution is no more or less mysterious than anything else in nature in terms of how God interacts with it.

        But, if you know what God is doing in the womb as the embryo develops, if you know what God is doing in the clouds as a thunderstorm is brewing, if you know what God is doing in the stars as they form heavy elements, if you know what God is doing as sodium and chloride atoms combine to form salt, if you know what God is doing as a single kind of frog becomes 3,000 kinds of frog, then you also know what God is doing in the whole process of evolution.

        As a natural process, evolution is no different from any of these other natural processes.

        > GL: *snip* Same with natural selection: like Cardinal Newman, it can only see one step. But God sees the distant scene and guides that one step as needed. So how is the process being blind a problem for a Christian understanding of evolution?
        >
        > Response: Because you've added a guide. God guided Newman and Abraham here, in evolution, there is no guide. You've added a guide to an unguided process.
        >

        "in evolution there is no guide" says the atheist. A Christian begs to differ.
        Are you a Christian or an atheist?

        >
        > Response: Well Dawkins is just being consistent. If there is a God then you have design and a guide, and purpose. If that is the case, then you and Dawkins shouldn't even share the word evolution because you two are in direct contradiction of each other with no commonality. Which is why the whole thing is very inconsistent at best.
        >

        But we do have a commonality. We both live in the same universe, and on the same planet. And on this planet there is a biological process called evolution. So why not share that reality and share the word which names it. We part company when it comes to our views on God. Naturally that affects some of our views on evolution, but only the philosophical views, not the actual facts or theory of evolution.

        > Response: Doesn't look like they refute it at all, seems to me like they are trying to keep in line with normal atheism and gently tread that line and then add God in there some sort of way. Here is how I see it....
        >
        > Evolution = matter + chance -mutation- selection and an extremely long time.
        > TE = matter + chance -mutation- selection and an extremely long time and by the way, God.
        >

        LOL. I have seen that so-called equation before and it is stupid. No, TEs are not trying to keep in line with atheism at all. They do tend to keep in line with science. The problem arises when you equate a scientific view with an atheist view. But there is nothing inherently atheistic about science.

        >
        > Response: Sure ok, I just googled some of these guys, Polkinghorne (from what I've come across) is almost leaning on open theism. God is not really that sovereign in his view. Lamoureux denies the historical Genesis which is what I said earlier about you can't harmonize a historical Adam and Eve with evolution. As a matter of fact here is his quote (EC by definition rejects a historical Adam, because this view of origins rejects scientific concordism.) And with Haarsma, I'm not even sure she knows her own confessions to be considered reform. God did not necessarily foreordain all details, but left things to work out randomly. I mean maybe I'm reading them wrong because I just took a glance because you mentioned them, but those ideas will get killed with sound exegesis.

        Yes, you are probably reading them wrong. These are knee-jerk reactions. They deserve study. As for exegesis, I doubt that. Rejection of concordism is not rejection of sound exegesis. It is rejection of an unsound hermeneutical principle. Why anyone would think the bible should concord with modern science I don't know. It leads to very weird interpretations of scripture that deserve to be tossed out.

        > ========================================
        > GL: There you go, making an idol of authority out of a prominent atheist. What else would he say? Why do you choose him to be your guide on understanding evolution as a Christian?
        >
        > Response: Well you challenged me about using the terms unguided and said that's not how they use it. So I used him as a reference.
        >

        And my question still stands. Why do you use an atheist's position as a suitable reference for a Christian? Shouldn't you be looking for a Christian view instead?

        >
        > GL: You are still talking about Coyne? But that's not science at all. That is atheism. It has no scientific value and no place in a classroom presentation of evolution.
        >
        > I say again, Move to real science.
        >
        > Response: Of course I was still talking about Coyne, because you challenged me. He's a real scientist talking about science. He's perfectly consistent with every other scientist I hear talk about evolution.
        >

        Because you are not listening to scientists who are Christian?

        >
        > Again, this is why many Christian TEs prefer the label "evolutionary creation". This is a narrower view that excludes other theisms.
        >
        > Response: Yeah but that goes back to the original question. If there is an explanation that is held by most scientist that doesn't include God.
        >
        >

        There isn't. The explanation that is held by most scientists does not exclude God.
        God is included or excluded only theologically, not scientifically.

        >
        >And it has natural processes doing all of the work, if you add God to it, exactly what does God do?
        >
        >

        You have to enter into an atheistic/deistic presuppositional frame of reference even to conceive that natural processes do "all of the work" . So that is not part of any scientific theory. From a Christian perspective, it is not that God is added. Rather God is not subtracted.

        >
        > Response: No because you forgot that he goes on to argue that if we put God in the mix, that would be called "supernatural selection." So clearly he is advocating that terms such as unguided etc mean just that. Without God.
        >

        Sure, but that is Coyne's opinion as an atheist. And he is also wrong, because he thinks God can only do "supernatural" things and not natural things as well. He is promoting a false dichotomy.

        Do you agree with Coyne? Do you think God can only do supernatural stuff and not natural stuff?
        Do you buy into the same false dichotomy?

        =====================================
        >
        > GL: Which takes us back to the primary question.
        > What is your theology of how God acts in nature, apart from special miracles?
        >
        > Response: Oh I think he controls every detail.
        >

        Ok, then. Then your view of evolution should be that God controls every detail of the evolutionary process. That is completely consistent with what we know of evolution through science.

        Naturally it contradicts an atheistic view. So what? You already disagree with atheism.

        > GL: Jesus speaks of the farmer who plants seeds, which then grow, the farmer knows not how, apparently "on their own". This is a normal, everyday, natural process--not something we number among special divine interventions like providing a path across the Red Sea.
        >
        > But I am sure Jesus thought of God as being very involved in the process of turning a seed into a full-grown plant bearing many more seeds. Do you? Then tell me, what is God actually doing?
        >
        > Response: Causing the seed to grow.
        >

        Ok, then, on the same basis your view should be that God causes species to evolve.

        Can you tell me exactly what God does to cause the seed to grow?

        >
        >And you can see why the "no God" is the best option for evolution because natural selection is seen as doing all the work.
        >
        >

        No, I don't see that. What do you mean by natural selection doing "all the work"? Natural selection is one of many natural processes—which are ways of God acting in creation. Natural selection is God's work.

        Remember the original Christian understanding of "natural" was "where God alone is acting, without any human intervention". Where there was human intervention the term used was "artificial", because it involved human art and skill.

        I don't know how we got turned about to thinking that "natural" means "without God" instead of "without human", but I think it is a gross error and should be corrected in every Christian community. The word "natural" should shout out to us "here is God, and only God, in action". "Here is unspoiled nature untouched by humankind, just as it has come from God's own hand."

        No one but God is choosing in natural selection. That is what makes it "natural" and not artificial breeding supervised by humans.

        ==============================================
        >
        > GL: Granting that nothing is random in your worldview, it would still be the case that the outcome of the toss is humanly unpredictable, right? God knows, we don't.
        >
        > Response: More like God predestines and decrees and therefore he knows.
        >
        >

        Yes, God knows. But what about the person tossing the dice? Does he know?

        What "random" means in science is that the scientists don't know.
        It doesn't mean that God doesn't know.

        >
        > GL: Scripture doesn't tell us that at all. That is an ID interpretation of scripture. It was Paley's interpretation as well. And that of Thomas Aquinas in one of his arguments for the existence of God. But you won't actually find a word of it in scripture.
        >
        > Response: Oh I think Psalm 19 and Romans 1 point to that idea.

        No they don't. Neither of them refer to design.
        Don't confuse "design" with "creation". "design" is a how; "creation" is a that.
        Scripture affirms that God creates. It doesn't make any affirmation as to how.

        > Response: Natural selection seems to be operating on its own.
        >

        To whom? How can it seem to be operating "on its own" if your worldview is Christian?

        >
        > I don't think it intends to design anything.
        >

        Of course it doesn't. Intention is the prerogative of God.

        >
        >By the way, why do you assume that it's God guiding it other than some other source?
        >

        ???? God is the only Creator I know of. Who did you have in mind? Marduk? Krishna?

        >
        > Response: Gen 1:26; 2:7. God made man from dirt, not from some ancestor.
        >

        If you adhere to a concordist interpretation of scripture as if it were science.
        I think that is quite foolish.

        I think it is a very profound statement of scripture to say that `adam' is made from `adamah'; there is a great theological mystery/teaching here. But it cheapens it to turn it into a statement of science as if God made ha-adam like a child making mud dolls.

        >
        > Response: Oh I see, Gould was saying there was no empirical evidence for gradualism. People just believe it because of their worldview.
        >

        Well, that is hardly arguing against evolution (which it would be very foolish to say Gould was doing.) He wasn't even arguing that evolution didn't take a long time. In fact a big part of his thesis is that much of the time a species is not changing at all, so there is plenty of gradualism there.

        What he was arguing about was an unexamined idea that evolution not only took a long time, but that it proceeded at a steady pace; that the incremental changes Darwin spoke of came about on a sort of steady beat. What Gould did was distinguish two sorts of gradualism: chronological gradualism, and evolutionary gradualism. He agrees with Darwin that evolution proceeds via small incremental changes (evolutionary gradualism), but he detaches that from a steady pace of introducing changes. (in fact, Darwin himself had not proposed a steady pace, but that sort of thinking had become kind of standard). You might consider it this way. All evolution is a matter of baby steps, but even baby steps are sometimes fast and sometimes slow. Gould wasn't even the first to suggest different rates of change. He was just the first to give it a catchy name.

        >
        > Response: Actually you just repeated what I said
        >

        No,you spoke of evolution. NOW, you are repeating what I said.

        >
        > GL: Well, show me how your view of natural process differs from that of the atheists then.
        >
        > Response: God controls them.
        >

        Then God also controls the natural process called evolution.

        Why would you make an exception of this one natural process?

        > GL: Another evasion of the issue. Am I right about the biblical perspective or not? Where does scripture ever present nature without God?
        >
        > Response: Well it doesn't,

        Great, we agree.

        So let's just dispense with all ideas of nature acting "on its own". That does not fit into a Christian world view. To a Christian "natural" means how nature acts in accord with the purposes of God. Evolution is part of nature, so that applies to evolution as well, and to every mechanism of evolution such as natural selection.

        > GL: Because where God is Creator, there is no such thing as nature just acting on its own. As I said earlier:
        >
        > "From a biblical perspective there is no "with or without God". There is only a "with God" whether it is natural or supernatural. So there is always a need for God. It is not only the supernatural that needs God. The natural needs God too."
        >
        > So your question really comes down to "How do you know God is an active Creator?"
        >
        > If nature is "just acting on its own" your worldview is either Deist or atheist, not Christian.
        >
        > Response: No because in my worldview he decrees all things.
        >
        >

        OK then, in your worldview God decrees everything about evolution. So what's the problem?

        >
        >There is no randomness
        >

        Depends on how you define "randomness". If we use the scientific/mathematical sense, all this means is that there are elements of evolution which human scientists cannot predict except in terms of probabilities. A scientist can tell you there is a 10% chance a child will be conceived with a certain mutation in its genome. But the scientist cannot tell you which newly conceived child has the mutation. But from God's view, there is no randomness here, as God knows already even before conception, what the child's genome will include.

        >
        > Response: Again, the topic is on TE, not my views.
        >

        And TE is the view that the natural process of evolution is part and parcel of God's world and relates to God in the same way as any other natural process. So your views on how God relates to natural process are very pertinent.

        Besides, whatever the topic is, it involves your views on the topic.

        >
        >
        > GL: So? Different people come up with different ideas. Given that there is a plurality of theisms in the first place--not all consistent with each other---and that there is no way to test different theological propositions as there is in science, why would you expect consistency?
        >
        > Response: Because they all come from so-called TE.
        >

        Well, TE is a very flexible concept. After all ID includes everything from Behe's endorsement of common descent from a single ancestor to young earth creationism and I don't see you calling that inconsistent.

        >




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