BioLogos gets in bed with the fundies

Over at the BioLogos home page you’ll see an ad at the top (patience: it’s one of the ads that changes as you watch) for a series of symposia called—I can hardly bear to type this— “The Vibrant Dance of Faith and Science.” The topic of first the meeting, to be held in Austin, Texas in October, is “How Science Supports Christianity and How Christianity Explains Science.”  You’d think that, given the title and the fact that BioLogos (itself sponsored by the Templeton Foundation) is one of the groups paying for the meeting, the conference would be accommodationist, showing the faithful how they could harmonize their faith with the facts of science.

No chance.  Two of the other sponsors of this symposium are the Discovery Institute and Hugh Ross’s Reasons to Believe.  The Discovery Institute, of course, is the nerve center for Intelligent Design in America, and Hugh Ross is an young old-earth creationist.  The speakers in the symposium include, besides BioLogos president Darrel Falk, Hugh Ross, Stephen Meyer of the Discovery Institute, Dinesh D’Souza, and several other people who look suspiciously like creationists.

Now as far as I know BioLogos professes to be anti-creationist and anti-ID.  They claim to fully accept the findings of science, which, last time I looked, supported evolution. Why the bloody hell are they sponsoring a meeting that includes creationist speakers yet tries show the mutually supportive interactions between science and faith?

85 Comments

  1. Posted July 22, 2010 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    If your title was “BioLogos gets in be with the creationists” it would be synonymous to “onanism”, don’t you think?

  2. Andy
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Why am I not surprised?

  3. Andrew
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    To be clear, Hugh Ross is an old-earth creationist.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted July 22, 2010 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      Indeed; I “misremembered”, as G.W. Bush says. I should have known since I debated the guy in Alaska! Anyway, I’ve corrected this.

  4. Stephen P
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    “Hugh Ross is a young-earth creationist”

    Not something I’ve followed in detail, but I’ve always understood Ross to be an old earth creationist (and Wikipedia thinks so as well). So the mismatch isn’t as big as you say.

    • J.J.E.
      Posted July 22, 2010 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      > Wait, that crazy man says San Francisco and New York are 170 feet apart not 17 feet apart! The mismatch isn’t as big as you say!

      is basically analgous to:

      > I’ve always understood Ross to be an old earth creationist (and Wikipedia thinks so as well). So the mismatch isn’t as big as you say.

      Yeah, technically true, but doesn’t doesn’t add a whit of credibility to Templeton. In fact, I would say that the credibility hit (for those that still cede any credibility to Templeton) is nearly equivalant, regardless of whether the creationist is of the old or new variety. The main problem here is “creationist”.

  5. Stephen P
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Congratulations to Andrew for pipping me at the photo-finish.

  6. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    yet tries show the mutually supportive interactions between science and faith?

    I’m sure they don’t mean the materialistic, corrosive science you practice, but “a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions.”*

    * From the Wedge Document

    • articulett
      Posted July 22, 2010 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

      It would help if Christians could agree on what they are supposed to believe.

  7. Posted July 22, 2010 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    “Why the bloody hell are they sponsoring a meeting that includes creationist speakers yet tries show the mutually supportive interactions between science and faith?”

    You know full well that this entire cast of characters has, over and over again, provided us with ample evidence to reasonably conclude that they suffer from a virulent mental/intellectual disease.

    Is your “why” question just rhetorical?
    ~Rev. El

  8. frank sellout
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    One of the BioLogos speakers is Darrell Falk who’s speaking about an: An Evolutionary Creationist’s Perspective on the Universe.

    What is that? (I.D. maybe?)

    There is also someone speaking about “the Dangers of Science”.

    They should change this Symposium and call it: “How we can make science subseviant to our ideology.”

  9. Sajanas
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    That Biologos site just seems like a gigantic Trojan Horse. They give you just enough science to look reasonable, and then drag you to the Discovery Institute. It just goes to show that your policy of giving no mercy to accomodationists is warrented.

    Incidentally, isn’t Stephen Meyer the guy who went to the Dover trial and brought up Flagella as irreduceably (can’t they just say impossibly, that doesn’t bother my spell checker) complex after it was already thoroughly shown not to be.

    • KP
      Posted July 22, 2010 at 11:48 am | Permalink

      Yes, that’s him. Zsa Zsa Gabor’s Xth husband…

  10. Posted July 22, 2010 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Dinesh… “I shook the hand that fondled Ann Coulter!”

  11. KP
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    “Now as far as I know BioLogos professes to be anti-creationist and anti-ID. They claim to fully accept the findings of science, which, last time I looked, supported evolution. Why the bloody hell are they sponsoring a meeting that includes creationist speakers yet tries show the mutually supportive interactions between science and faith?”

    I was not aware of BioLogos until I started reading this blog. They just made my camel have to go to the vet for spinal reconstruction… That, plus personal experience, has shown me that getting in bed with the faithful will not improve acceptance of evolution.

  12. Darrel Falk
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    BioLogos is not providing any financial support for this meeting. However, we definitely do support helping pastors in evangelical churches see that Hugh Ross is wrong about evolution and that the Discovery Institute anti-Darwinian stance is based on false pre-suppositions. Both groups know we feel this way about their work, and we have been invited to present the pro-science side of the story.

    Please explain why we shouldn’t attend this meeting to explain why science is not fundamentally flawed.

    Darrel Falk,
    President, The BioLogos Foundation

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted July 22, 2010 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Please explain why you are sponsoring a meeting that gives so many creationists a platform for presenting their views, and also advertising this meeting on your website.

      On second thought, never mind—you can do the explaining over at BioLogos while you’re sweating over the question of whether Adam and Eve existed.

      Jerry Coyne
      Professor
      The University of Chicago

      • Darrel Falk
        Posted July 22, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        Jerry,

        We think that the strength of the science speaks for itself. Surely, you don’t disagree with this!!

        We think that when the scientific arguments are clearly laid out side-by-side with the other views, the science will win. You may not be optimistic about this, but I am. I am also patient.

        And furthermore, Jerry, science says nothing whatsoever about whether there may have been a person called Abraham who founded Israel, King David,its greatest king, Jesus, Paul, or (to address your point) Adam. Science does clearly say, however, that there was no single founder for the human race. We want to help people understand that too…and we will be patient.

        Darrel

        • Ian
          Posted July 22, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

          Israel Finkelstein, Professor of Archeology at Tel Aviv and Director at Megido would probably disagree with you.

          But what do archaeologists know?

        • MoonShark
          Posted July 22, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

          Darrel Falk said: “We think that when the scientific arguments are clearly laid out side-by-side with the other views, the science will win.”

          That, frankly, is damn ignorant. If you’ve ever watched a single debate with creationists, you know they claim victory no matter the outcome.

          Seriously. That’s why PZ stopped after Jerry Bergman, and I’m pretty sure why Dawkins no longer wastes his time “debating” obvious goalpost-movers.

          Hell, even Dawkins vs. (mathematician-theologian) John Lennox turned into a pathetic case of fighting circular logic. And Lennox isn’t remotely a fundamentalist! http://fixed-point.org/index.php/video/35-full-length/164-the-dawkins-lennox-debate

          Your “debate” idea is CRAP, Darrel. Some of the most famous and vociferous supporters of science have tried it, against everyone from Ray Comfort to well-published theologians, and it does nothing but give more exposure to bad ideas. What makes you think your organization of clumsy fence-sitters is going to do better?

          And at least the “militant” atheists are opposed on all fronts. BioLogos has no ground from which to make a persuasive, rational argument against Creationism when it embraces “The Resurrection” and other central Christian myths.

          Of course I’m still assuming you actually care about science, which is doubtful, when your website still lauds thoroughly unsubstantiated claptrap like “An omniscient creator could also have created the Universe’s natural laws so as to inevitably result in human beings”. You know that also applies to literal space monkeys with typewriters, right?

          http://biologos.org/questions/category/science/

          May as well have a Pastafarian vs. Creationist debate; it would be equally productive, and an order of magnitude more entertaining.

        • Paul
          Posted July 22, 2010 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

          And furthermore, Jerry, science says nothing whatsoever about whether there may have been a person called Abraham who founded Israel, King David,its greatest king, Jesus, Paul, or (to address your point) Adam. Science does clearly say, however, that there was no single founder for the human race.

          Pardon me. But if you hold the former, you surely cannot hold the latter. You hold that science cannot demonstrate that Adam, biblically said to be created directly by God, the wellspring whence all humans came, did not exist, but it can demonstrate that there did not exist such wellspring in the first place?

          …yeah, somehow not buying it. And I would have noted the blatant contradiction even in by bible-believing days as well. Although I suppose that’s the only way you could hold that science cannot say anything about whether the patriarchs existed, since in much the same manner archaeology reveals that there is absolutely no evidence that any Hebrews were in certain areas they were claimed to be at certain historical times, let alone said patriarchs. The fact that science can show that they were not where the Bible says they were apparently says nothing as to whether they existed or not.

          Do you ever get tired of tying yourself into a pretzel trying to ignore obvious logical implications, and to keep others from noting them?

          • Posted July 22, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

            No, Darrel is a patient trainer, and after his god-soaked listeners lap up with gusto his watered-down science presentations, he gives each and every one a doggie biscuit for being so good.

        • Alex SL
          Posted July 22, 2010 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

          >science says nothing whatsoever about
          >whether there may have been a person
          >called Abraham who founded Israel, King
          >David,its greatest king, Jesus, Paul,
          >or (to address your point) Adam.

          This is the silliest thing I have read in quite a while.

        • articulett
          Posted July 22, 2010 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

          How can science change the minds of people who imagine themselves SAVED for their faith (and punished if that faith falters)? What can science offers that compares to that? And why would you want to interfere with people’s imagined salvation?

          How do you convince these faith-filled folks that your version of supernatural events are the correct one when your holy book (supposedly inspired by a super being) says otherwise? You have no way of proving that your magical god didn’t make an young earth that looks old– that he didn’t poof things into existence making them look evolved (he can do anything, right?) And it’s faith that’s said to be the key to “happily ever after”; why would the faith-filled care what you– a person of lesser faith– has to say? From their perspective, you are just trying to water down their faith with facts.

          Do you think that agreeing with some tenants of Scientology or calling yourself a Scientologist would be useful in getting Scientologists to understand science better? If not, why do you imagine it would work on Christians who consider themselves more Christian than you?

          Science doesn’t favor Christianity’s supernatural explanations over any other supernatural explanations, you know… If you really want people to understand science, you need to rid them of the false idea that faith is a way to know anything true. And you have to find out if they really want the truth. Some people are very comfortable believing lies.

        • Posted July 23, 2010 at 5:16 am | Permalink

          We think that the strength of the science speaks for itself. Surely, you don’t disagree with this!!

          I’m not sure how you can justify that given the overwhelming scientific consensus being met with a majority rejection of that consensus. If the science speaks for itself, then why is there such a strong push to dismantle it?

          Also, how is the layperson going to be able to distinguish between science and something sciency without a background by which to discern it? This is the problem of the Dunning-Kruger effect, showing people is not enough because they don’t have the skills by which to determine what is good information and what is bad.

          Sorry to be so cynical, but all this sounds like an exercise in self-justification. How can you possibly think your position is tenable in the face of all psychological and sociological evidence that suggests otherwise?

    • Scote
      Posted July 22, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      “Please explain why we shouldn’t attend this meeting to explain why science is not fundamentally flawed.

      Darrel Falk,
      President, The BioLogos Foundation”/

      I’m curious as to why you posit this as a negative, to “explain why science is not fundamentally flawed” rather than explaining a positive “Why science is sound”. Sounds your negative position sounds very defensive, meek and apologetic.

      You also seem to be deliberately avoiding the implicit converse of your statement, which is that you will have to explain why the religious position of most of the participants, who, likely, will be overwhelmingly creationists and IDers, *is* fundamentally flawed.

      How, exactly, does BioLogos expect to “reconcile” science and faith when it *must* support the fact that science and sound and tested evidence trump bald religious assertion when the two conflict?

      • Pete Enns
        Posted July 22, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

        If I may venture one small comment for clarification, I am certain Darrel meant to say “why THEIR [Ross and ID] science is not fundamentally flawed,” not science in general.

    • Matti K.
      Posted July 23, 2010 at 1:50 am | Permalink

      “Please explain why we shouldn’t attend this meeting to explain why science is not fundamentally flawed.”

      Sounds like a straw-man to me. Not even the craziest creationist thinks that science is fundamentally flawed.

      The meeting is a workshop where different artists use science like Play-Doh to construct models that satisfy their religious intuitions. Needless to say, there is no coherence what so ever between these different models.

      Could anybody (Nick?) present any reasonable scenario how these kind of meetings benefit science and science outreach?

  13. Scote
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    I don’t see how BioLogos can avoid associating with fundies. BioLogos is unwilling to draw a bright line saying that science trumps bald assertions, aka religion. They dance around that idea, but by their posts on “guided” evolution and various ways to claim that Adam and Eve were real, tangible people we can see they do not actually take a principled stance vis-a-vis science.

    We know that young earth creationists, and many IDers, give their religion veto power over science, over sound and tested evidence. The scientific position, the only one that is based in science, is that science and sound and tested evidence trumps bald assertions. So long as BioLogos refuses to draw that line they cannot meaningfully distinguish religious “fundamentalists” from “moderates.”

  14. Atheist.pig
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Aren’t we always asking the moderate religious people who accept science to take responsibility for the fundamentalists on their side? 40% of the US population aren’t going to change their minds about evolution if you ignore them.

    • articulett
      Posted July 23, 2010 at 12:16 am | Permalink

      How do you change the minds of people who think FAITH is the key to salvation?

      Moderates and fundies both believe this, but they each imagine it’s their own brand of faith that the invisible guy in the sky wants. And they have no method for determining who is more likely to be correct. Does anyone ever get swayed this way?

      There are an infinity of faiths, but there is only one truth. So far, science is the only method with a proven track record for getting at that truth. But you wouldn’t know that from the number of people who think that faith is a greater virtue than truth (faith is what the great overlord wants most of all, you know…)

      How can you anyone educate such people? And why should we try? Wouldn’t it be better to work on future generations so they aren’t afflicted with the “faith in faith” meme? Religious moderates can’t really help us here.

      The moderates seem to be saying “practice your faith like I do” and the fundie’s response is “No, your brand of faith is weak… I want to ensure my salvation… I’ll stick with the stronger brand.” They both rely on the false premise that faith is something good– an avenue towards towards truth and a necessity in salvation. The fundamentalists are just more serious about it. (This goes for fundamentalist Muslims as well as Christians.) And they’d be right to be this way if their holy texts really were inspired by a deity. I mean, if the whole point of life on earth is to win a ticket to paradise, then you don’t want to be lackadaisical regarding any faith requirements.

      Frankly, I’d like people of moderate faith to encourage all of the faithful to be private… as private as they want those of wacky faiths to be. Scientists should not need to be concerned with the supernatural notions people hold dear.

      Accommodating faith gives people this weird idea that faith is something worth accommodating.

      • J. Hale
        Posted July 23, 2010 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

        Your statement is correct, there is only “one truth” but there is no truth behind your belief in the statement if, you believe that what has come into being, came from nothing. It is very elementary to throw non-understanding into a big bang principal that holds no truth or proof of its’ own. The truth in the Word of God “The Bible” has held it’s ground much longer than science. It’s accurate History and Revelation has far surpassed that of anything man made or man’s knowledge alone.
        Faith is what not only a Christian has but what an Atheist has as well. The difference is I have faith in a sovereign never changing God; you have faith in an ever changing science.

        • articulett
          Posted July 23, 2010 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

          Wrong, Mr. Creationist. What I believe about where things came from is irrelevant to the truth. This notion that atheists “believe something came from nothing” is a tired old creationist canard. You sound as stupid and dishonest as the creotard you got that argument from. It’s been addressed a million times… so has your retarded claim that science is another faith.

          And true believers cannot even agree on what the hell their magic book written by a super being means! Their omniscient deity, apparently, agrees with them warring among themselves and killing each other rather than clarifying his text and fixing the contradictions that slipped in. Moreover, he really needs to explain how god-ordered-killing, torture, rape, incest, slavery, floods that kill babies and kittens, misogyny, etc. can be part of a “good book” written by a “loving” (but invisible)god whose writing sound like it came from multiple schizophrenics and scam artists over time. Each bible believer has their own damn interpretation of what their god meant and what was true and what was a parable. Big FAIL on you and your invisible friend’s part.

          You’ve been brainwashed beyond repair by your indoctrinators if you think the bible has anything scientifically prescient in it– or any real revelation that was clear and specific and not retrofitted to some event after the fact. And repeating a lie over and over cannot make it true.

          Science refines and hones it’s knowledge… it gets better… which is why medicine gets better, and the technology you use to post your blather. It works in a way religion never could. It’s based on evidence– the type of evidence that is available to everybody– not faith which is based on somebody or other’s supposed “revelation”. Science works whether you believe in it or not. You don’t need to have faith in airplanes for them to fly. Gravity existed long before people knew a thing about it. Even when humans assumed the world was flat, static, and the center of the universe– it wasn’t and all the belief in the world could never make it such. It was the careful following of evidence that lead us to figure these things out… no holy book or omniscient guy thought to mention it. The same goes for germ theory– no deity was kind enough to mention it to his supposed favorite creations. Moreover, science has an error correcting mechanism. Religion does not. You just have to believe it or you will suffer forever (or so the preachers threaten).

          There’s just an infinity of faiths with no method of determining which magical story is true and which ones are false. Every believer imagines they have the sole truth and all those who believe conflicting stories are fooled. Anyone with access to the world of beliefs (via the internet) should be ashamed to still be holding such primitive and arrogant views. You are as silly as the Scientologists you mock and the Greek myth believers whose beliefs you find unbelievable. I hope one day you are lucky enough to break free from the prison your indoctrinators put your mind in.

  15. JenBPhillips
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Hmmm, I sat through 5 rounds of the changing ads on the Biologos page and the symposia add didn’t come up–did Falk et al rethink the message it was sending?

    Of course the ‘Vibrant Dance’ people will continue to enjoy the use of the Biologos sponsorship on their site. And so it goes…

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted July 22, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      Naah, it’s still there. They just don’t like you. :-)

  16. Nick (Matzke)
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Hi all,

    I don’t know why Jerry & crew aren’t supporting BioLogos on this, or at least neutral. The only people who can even talk to the creationists (and more importantly their audiences) and have much chance of convincing them of mainstream science are people who (a) fully accept modern evolutionary theory but (b) are evangelical Christians. Having anyone else usually turns it into a debate about theism vs. atheism, and the audience is forced to choose between accepting science and abandoning their whole worldview, community structure, moral system, etc.

    Theistic evolutionists, aka evolutionary creationists (who are not creationists in the common sense of the word, i.e. denying evolution), bug the ID people and the old-earth creationists probably even more than the atheists do. So if the goal is to fight the creationists, this is what you want.

    BioLogos has devoted itself to changing the opinions of the evangelical world on this issue, and to do that they will have to participate in things like this.

    So, anyway, what they are doing is the exact opposite of promoting fundamentalism, being a Trojan Horse for ID, yadda yadda.

    On the other hand, being unfairly attacked by atheists will give BioLogos lots of cred at meetings of evangelicals, so, actually, you may be helping them out. If I were a BioLogos speaker I’d put some quotes from this thread at the beginning of my talk!

    PS: Hugh Ross is definitely an old-earth creationist, his whole ministry etc. is devoted to convincing the young-earth creationists they can be rational on the age of the earth but still be resolutely against evolution.

    And the guy who did the flagellum stuff at the Kitzmiller trial was Scott Minnich, not Stephen Meyer. Minnich & Meyer are both DI fellows, and they coauthored a conference proceedings article on the flagellum in 2004. Minnich is an actual microbiologist at Univ. of Idaho, Meyer is the director of the CSC at the DI. Notably, Meyer was signed up as an expert witness in the Kitzmiller case, but chickened out just before his sworn deposition.

    Cheers!
    Nick

    • Scote
      Posted July 22, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      “Nick (Matzke)
      Posted July 22, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      Hi all,

      I don’t know why Jerry & crew aren’t supporting BioLogos on this, or at least neutral. The only people who can even talk to the creationists (and more importantly their audiences) and have much chance of convincing them of mainstream science are people who (a) fully accept modern evolutionary theory but (b) are evangelical Christians.”

      You really can’t have a meaningful debate about the epistemological primacy of science with people who give their religion veto power over facts, whether you are Richard Dawkins or BioLogos. What you are really saying is that you think BioLogos can successfully argue to Biblical literalists that their *theology* is wrong from a Christian standpoint. I really don’t see BioLogos being able to do that. And as to BioLogos being Nixon going to China by dint of being Evangelical Christians, I think you’ll find that biblical literalists say that such evangelicals are not true Scottsmen, that is, if they don’t believe in a literal reading of genesis then they aren’t real evangelicals.

      The real issue is that BioLogos doesn’t have a bright line stance on science versus religion, saying that science and sound and tested evidence trump religion where the two conflict. Such a position is the only consistent scientific position to take, but it puts both biblical literalists and “moderates” in the same basket, since it opposes impossible virgin births and impossible re-revivification of corpses as much as it opposes a 6,000 year-old earth. Thus BioLogos has no actual principle to stand on when they oppose a literal reading of Genesis but support a literal reading of a story of a virgin birth.

    • Michael Kingsford Gray
      Posted July 22, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      No amount of engagement with profoundly dishonest liars will ever change their stance.

      • Posted July 22, 2010 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

        Agreed. Ridicule, constraining their idiocy through maintaining separation of state and church, and dragging their arses to court every time they try to pull their theocratic crap is the way to go.

        I am focused on minimizing their damage and reducing the number of religious believers. Biologos is not as they think there is no connection between religious beliefs and the astounding stupidity of Americans. The think they can raise the intelligence of Americans while not reducing the number of religious believers.

  17. ennui
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    It sounds like the ultimate cafeteria for the credulous, with all 31 flavours of FAIL. Even little Billy Dembski will be leading a breakout session. Perhaps it is an attempt to unite against a common threat.

    I’m sure that the take-home message will be, “Anything but godless materialistic reductionist scientism!” Just more of the same: believers lying for Jebus, and faitheists bullshitting for science.

    • Ken Pidcock
      Posted July 22, 2010 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t see any faitheists on the program. Faitheists want scientists to submit to religion because, otherwise, the fundamentalists win. BioLogos wants the religious to submit to science because, otherwise, the materialists win. Similar disposition, different agenda.

  18. Eric MacDonald
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    If you establish an organisation to promote dialogue between religon and science, religion will always be the senior partner. The reason is simple. Religion already knows. It’s a bit like Holocaust denial, which is why Dawkins’ use of it in TGSOE was so telling. As Deborah Lipstadt points out, there’s no point in dialogue with a Holocaust denier, because no matter what, he’s always right, and pretending to have a dialogue just gives him a platform for his views.

    Biologos is no different. Darrel Falk calls himself an evolutionary creationist, which already sells half the store. If he doesn’t recognise this, trust me, his creationist dialogue partners do. They get to spout off their dogmas at a ‘scientific’ conference, with real scientists in attendance. More than half of their constituents won’t know anything about the dialogue. They’ll just hear of the victories of truth over the demon science.

    There is never dialogue with revelation, never. You may think so, but, in the end, the revelation is left standing, and science still has questions to ask and answer. It’s a different form of thought. One is seeking the truth; the other knows it, just like that. Just watch CS Lewis ducking and diving with reason. He knows the answer, but Jesus always wins, because he has to. It’s in the book. In A Grief Observed he abandons Joy to the Great Vivisector. He knows her pain was pointless, and that, given the life we know, if there is another life, there is only reason to think of it as a continuation of the one we know here, with more suffering to come. We have no reason to think anything else. Lewis knows that, just as well as anyone might. But, nevertheless, he still wants to believe, so he abandons Joy so that he can get his little fillip of belief, something that will get him back in the game. Joy might be in an eternity of pain for all he knows, but he wants his comfort. Pathetic. It happens on page 61 of the HarperSanFranciso edition, and it is one of the most terrible acts of abandonment in Christian literature. As I say, Jesus always wins.

    If Falk thinks he’s going to dialogue, he’s wrong. He’s giving a platform to those who do not deserve it. But we already know that, don’t we, because Biologos itself has hosted a silly piece on whether there was a real, historical Adam and Eve? What mendacious nonsense! The same thing goes for Bethany Sollereder’s piece on theodicy. It’s okay, because that’s the way evolution works. Hey, even death is a good thing! Well, maybe it is, but has Bethany watched the indiscriminate way that suffering visits the dying? Hey, it’s evolution, but God is in control! Get a life Bethany! And Biologos may as well: stop pretending now. The jig is up! It’s a front for religious dogma. What else could it be a front for? Religion hasn’t anything else.

    • Tulse
      Posted July 22, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      There is never dialogue with revelation

      Very nicely put.

      • Posted July 22, 2010 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        Biologos is comprised mostly of god-soaked nuts. They have more in common with the evolution deniers than they have with science and that is faith. Instead of putting these evolution deniers in their place, they coddle them, because they are coddling themselves, they don’t want to let go of faith either.

        They themselves believe in nonsense no matter how moderate that nonsense is or how well compartmentalized it is.

        Biologos is not promoting science but faith and nobody here is fooled by their supposed patience. It is not patience, it is collaboration, to protect faith, which is what they all share and want to keep at all costs.

        I, myself, don’t expect moderates to crack down on the extremes ones, because when you scratch the surface of a moderate, you find a faith-head.

  19. Jolo
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Why the bloody hell are they sponsoring a meeting that includes creationist speakers yet tries show the mutually supportive interactions between science and faith?

    This is typical behaviour for the New Accomodationists.

    • Scote
      Posted July 22, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      Ah, that’s perfect. Mooney has decided that he no longer should be called an accomodatinist, even though he called himself just that of his own free will. So, we can just call him a **New** Accomodationist. Problem solved. QED.
      :-)

      • Jolo
        Posted July 22, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

        He did? I must admit he was the one I was thinking of when I wrote that but I never knew he decided he didn’t like the accomodationist label.

        • Chayanov
          Posted July 22, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

          Last year he was okay with it. Now, not so much. I think New Accommodationist is perfect for him.

  20. Bennett
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    This is the same tactic of forcing a conclusion by assumed consent used when religionists declare “secularism/atheism/agnosticism is just another religion, too!”

    You close with your adversary, you hug him close to you…why, therefore you are almost identical! What, you protest such intimacy? Why the hostility toward religion? We’re almost the same. It’s really as if you were almost self-loathing, you know, Science, hostile towards yourself. Let’s hug again, you’ll see the error of your ways.

    Really, Science, it’s almost as if you were just another religion, albeit as you admit yourself, a less certain way of knowing. That’s okay, some religions are just better than others, mine, for example. There’s nothing wrong with believing in an inferior religion, an inferior way of knowing, yours, for instance, but you can always change, you know. Come on, let’s hug again. You’ll see.

    • articulett
      Posted July 23, 2010 at 12:34 am | Permalink

      Exactly. :)

      So long as science is a “faith”, the faithful can dismiss it along with all those other silly faiths they don’t believe in.

  21. Posted July 22, 2010 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    I have just spent the last hour over at Biologos reading the comments to “Why the universe looks so old”…These people are scary. What ever happened to Religion as portrayed in the Viccar of Dibley?

    • Marella
      Posted July 22, 2010 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

      It never existed. Religion is about power, power is not pretty.

  22. Hempenstein
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Darrel “I am also patient” Falk: I expect your patience is as tall as the stack of Templeton dollars.

  23. Nick (Matzke)
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Hmm. Basically all you guys are saying is that you’ll only be happy once everyone gives up religion and becomes an atheist. Well, fine, that’s your right.

    But before the New Atheist equivalent of the Rapture happens, is it really true that the only engagement anyone should have with theistic evolutionists is basically to shout “F- you, if you’re not an atheist you’re as bad as all the creationists!”, and to demand that the theistic evolutionists basically sell not just science, but atheism, to the creationists?

    This stuff may play well with other atheists, but to me it seems like tribal behavior rather than rational behavior when we are talking about interacting with society at large.

    • Zarquon
      Posted July 22, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

      demand that the theistic evolutionists basically sell not just science, but atheism, to the creationists?

      What Coyne, Myers, Dawkins et. al are demanding is that theistic evolutionists sell honesty not atheism per se. That science destroys the claims of faith is the honest position, not the disingenuity of accommodationism.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted July 22, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      Sorry but you’re absolutely dead wrong about our engagement. I wrote a book about the evidence for evolution, trying to engage EVERYONE, and it hardly mentioned religion at all, much less cursing at the faithful according to your scenario. I might add that the book has been pretty well received and, according to my email, had a salutary effect on peoples’ understanding and acceptance of evolution.

      And, if I’m not mistaken, Richard has written several books about evolution, trying to engage everyone as well.

      In other places we criticize the claims of faith, but that’s a different battle, and perhaps the more important one.

      Nick, you’re talking here, with the “f– you” and “Rapture” stuff, like “Tom Johnson” and his infamous “conservation meeting” scenario.

    • Chayanov
      Posted July 22, 2010 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

      Sheesh, do you have a barn where you keep all that straw? I came so close to Bingo, but you left out militant and fundamentalist as descriptors of atheists.

    • articulett
      Posted July 22, 2010 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      Way to miss the message, Nick. No-one said what you imagined them to be saying, therefore you are arguing a “straw man.” You seem to imagine that people are saying things they did not say while avoiding what they are actually saying. Are you a creationist by chance?

      No one said anything about “not being happy until everyone is an atheist”. I don’t think scientists or anyone should have to CARE what magical beings people believe in or what supernatural things make them feel special. These are things that should be private.

      Science doesn’t need religion; but religion uses science to try ad lend validity to unsupportable claims. The problem is, that those who believe in conflicting unsupportable claims can use the same semantic fluff to say their magical beliefs are true.

      The creationists can’t even agree on the age of the earth, much less what god did and how and when in regards to creating life. And their holy book doesn’t give a scientifically accurate account… which means that their holy book is useless when it comes to science– just like Dianetics and the The Quoran and any other scripture. There is no way to know if something is true or false when it comes to supernatural claims and so theists really need to work that out amongst themselves instead of trying to drag science into the equation. Believers need to be as private with their magical beliefs as they want the Scientologists and Muslims to be? Do you want their beliefs muddling your science?

      Once you allow “faith” and “magic” as part of an explanation, then science has no role. Science is about the truth that is the same for everyone no matter what they believe. Faith is about feeling proud of having beliefs that can’t be supported with evidence. That’s not really an asset in science. In fact, it tends to bias ones view in an ignorance-promoting way.

      You can try to mix them by pointing out all the things that science can’t disprove, but Science can’t disprove the notion that you are possessed by demons or body thetans or the reincarnated soul of Mussolini. Faith is not a way of knowing anything useful or true. Science is the only verifiable method we have for finding out the truth that is the same for everyone no matter what they believe.

      What is their symposium going to be about– all the gaps they can still insert their god into along with pontification about how strident atheists are? One hopes all the participants are not as clueless as Nick.

      • Posted July 23, 2010 at 2:58 am | Permalink

        The Bible gives a specific, fairly detailed account (well, at least two actually) of the creation of the world. Those details happen to be completely wrong, which causes religious but educated folks considerable discomfort. Groups like Biologos try to sooth the discomfort instead of encouraging religious people to grow up and face the facts.

        That’s basically all these groups are good for, and even that’s not good since they just add to the confusion.

  24. efrique
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    No longer content to just drink the kool-aid, they’re now mixing it and handing out the cups…

  25. MikeN
    Posted July 22, 2010 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    Will D’Souza be expounding on his beliefs that liberals were responsible for 9/11 bexause they oppose traditional patriarchal societies that believe in things like genital mutilation and honour killings?

    “The left is responsible for 9/11 in the following ways. First, the cultural left has fostered a decadent American culture that angers and repulses traditional societies, especially those in the Islamic world, that are being overwhelmed with this culture. In addition, the left is waging an aggressive global campaign to undermine the traditional patriarchal family and to promote secular values in non-Western cultures”

    http://www.dineshdsouza.com/books/enemy-intro.html

    • articulett
      Posted July 23, 2010 at 12:41 am | Permalink

      ha!

      And here I thought that faith was to blame.

  26. Posted July 22, 2010 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    I don’t see how they got from accommondation with religion, to accommodation with Christianity. Isn’t that going to harm their accommodation with Islam? Judaism? Buddhism? Confuscianism? Taoism? Etc, etc.

    (Ah, but of course, they started at the other end. Is there a BioQu’ran Foundation in Saudi Arabia and if so, how do the two of them get on?)

    • articulett
      Posted July 23, 2010 at 12:43 am | Permalink

      They pretend to accommodate “other ways of knowing”, but they’re really selling Jesus Lite.

    • Ken Pidcock
      Posted July 23, 2010 at 6:21 am | Permalink

      To be fair, BioLogos has always been specifically and openly about Christianity.

      • articulett
        Posted July 23, 2010 at 9:34 am | Permalink

        Yes, but all creationism in America is about setting up the same false dichotomy while pretending (in court)that the “intelligent designer” could be anyone… (it just so happens to be the god who was also Jesus and the holy spirit. *wink*)

        The same “argument could be used to support any of the myriad of creation stories humans have invented, since the “argument” mostly entails special pleading, ignorance, obfuscation, and gaps where any magical explanation can be shoved (“science can’t explain it, therefore my woo is true!”)

        There’s LOTS of myths about the history of the earth and the life upon it, but there is only one truth. Creationists would like people to believe there are only TWO choices –and that the scientific one involves randomness akin to a whirlwind assembling a 747 in a junkyard, while the other involves a loving (but hidden) god who will ensure eternal happiness so long as one believes in him. (And if anyone plans on telling them otherwise, they are surely spawns of Satan.)

  27. articulett
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 12:27 am | Permalink

    I guess Biologos imagines that they’ll be able to spread scientific thinking to creationists, but I think a much more likely outcome is that religious nutters will think that scientists take their nuttery seriously… at least more seriously than the religions that weren’t involved in the debate.

    I doubt a single person will be more scientifically literate after the symposium, but I bet the ID crew will get a lot of mileage out of having been taken seriously by a real scientific organization.

    Science doesn’t need religion, and it’s sullied every time it stoops to accommodate it. Will religionists ever be satisfied keeping their magical beliefs to themselves instead of playing semantic games to convince themselves and others that science SUPPORTS their woo?

    If faith is a good way of knowing, then why do believers need science to confirm their beliefs?

  28. Nick (Matzke)
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 2:30 am | Permalink

    Well, if, as Jerry says, you guys really are able and willing to separate fights about the correctness of religion from fights about the correctness of evolution…then why get all up in BioLogos’s business over this? The BioLogos people are Christian — OK, you disagree with them on that, that’s fine, everyone knows that already. But they agree with you on all evolutionary matters. Many of them are biologists with standard training who fully accept and promote the mainstream scientific viewpoints on fossils, adaptive complexity, genetic “information”, the fallaciousness of inserting God as an explanation to fill in gaps in scientific understanding of nature, and the rest. And they quite vigorously oppose the silliness and misstatements of the IDists and other creationists on these points, and presumably will do so at this meeting.

    Given all that, I just don’t see how it is at all fair to accuse BioLogos of “getting in bed with the fundies”, being a deliberate “Trojan Horse” for ID/creationism, etc. That take is just totally backwards from what the BioLogos people are actually doing, scientifically.

    Now, one might be able to make an argument that the BioLogos people are intending to be pro-science and anti-creationism, but that their choice of strategy in this particular case was a poor one. Perhaps they got suckered into a creationist-organized meeting and they will get treated as “useful idiots” to convince the audience that creationism is correct. To judge this I would need more details, but this issue isn’t much different than that facing atheist evolutionists who occasionally have to decide whether or not to debate some creationist. At any rate, (a) this argument has not been made here yet, and (b) making the argument would require a more charitable interpretation of BioLogos’s motives than people here have been willing to offer so far.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted July 23, 2010 at 4:37 am | Permalink

      Sorry, but they don’t agree with us on “all evolutionary matters.” Even the most scientific of them, like Ken Miller and Francis Collins, make humans, at least, an exception to the pure naturalism of evolution. Our species, they say, required the direct intervention of God, either tweaking electrons to bring us into being or rigging the whole evolution game from the outset to produce humans.

      I consider this special pleading as profoundly unscientific, for it’s really just a (not-too) disguised form of creationism. Even Darrel Falk, president of BioLogos, calls himself an “evolutionary creationist.” Are you down with that? And, as I recall, it was the folks at the NCSE who agreed with the faithful in removing the word “unguided” from school standards on evolution. But, as all biologists know, evolution really is unguided. That’s one of its most important aspects! You might as well admit that removing that word was, pure and simple, a sop to the faithful who want to see evolution, if it happened, as guided by God.

      And, of course, those religious scientists run around telling everyone that the existence of the universe reflects God’s “fine tuning” of physical laws.

      Yes, most of these folks are pretty ok with science, but they are more ok with the unscientific and untenable assertions of their faith. And as long as they continue to pollute science with traces of their woo—as when they deal with humans and physics—I’ll oppose them.

      • Nick (Matzke)
        Posted July 23, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the reply, a few points…

        1. The term “evolutionary creationist” is a well-known term of art, and it is well-known that evolutionary “creationists” are pro-mainstream evolution, opposed to creationism in the traditional meaning of the world (i.e. postulating divine intervention in scientific explanation), etc. If the young-earth creationists and old-earth creationists were to convert to being evolutionary “creationists”, the world would be a better place in terms of science education, public understanding, etc. True, I’m sure you think it would be even better if they all just gave up religion entirely, but I see no point even from your perspective of “making the perfect the enemy of the good” here.

        2. Re: “unguided”. As Eugenie Scott likes to say, and as I’ve heard other educators say, “what you say is less important than what they hear.”

        The words “evolution is unguided” can mean several things:

        (a) they could just mean that evolution is a natural process, like the weather and plate tectonics and solar fusion. These all operate according to regular natural laws, as far as we can tell.

        (b) they could be a rejection of some old ideas in evolutionary biology, like orthogenesis, which suggested an overall direction to evolution, and which were basically killed by the Modern Synthesis. Reading some Gould has convinced me that at least sometimes orthogenetic theories were totally intended as relying on purely natural processes (and thus “unguided” in the sense of (a)). However, it is an important fact about evolutionary biology, worth teaching, that these sorts of theories were rejected as the science of evolution advanced.

        (c) Or, these words could mean, basically, “God doesn’t exist, atheism is true.” Probably both fundamentalists and the stronger sorts of atheists tend to interpret the words in this fashion.

        The problem with the NABT statement (I suspect; this all happened back when I was a teenager I think) was that, whatever was intended, many people were hearing (c) rather than (a) or (b). And I don’t think (c) is an appropriate thing for NABT to recommend teaching in public school biology classes.

        There would be various ways to avoid the (c) interpretation, including describing a-c and saying “we just mean a & b, everyone can make up their own minds about c privately”. But whether or not this could/should have been done back in the 1990s would depend on details like intended length of the statement, etc.

        People may or may not have seen this, but Massimo Pigliucci, at least, has come around to Genie’s view on this issue, despite himself being the lead author criticizing the removal of “unguided” etc. back during the NABT controversy!:

        Rationally Speaking
        N. 63, July 2005

        OK, I changed my mind (three times!)

        As regular readers of this column know, I occasionally try to debunk the myth that skeptics are just a bunch of curmudgeons and naysayers, people who have a strong psychological need to feel superior and always right. As a small contribution to this demystification, let me tell you about not one, not two, but three (!!) instances in which I changed my mind about issues of concern to freethinkers and skeptics, and in the process try to learn when it is in fact reasonable to change opinion.

        The first example is the most important from the point of view of my personal philosophy, and in fact it does concern an apparently subtle — yet crucial — philosophical point. A few years ago, the National Association of Biology Teachers changed their definition of “evolution” in a way that avoided any reference to the absence of undirected causes guiding natural selection. The change was prompted by complaints by prominent theologians, such as Alvin Plantinga, but was also endorsed by secular scientists such as National Center for Science Education’s Eugenie Scott. I was outraged, and wrote a scathing letter to the NABT (and to Scott, I didn’t bother writing to Plantinga), to the effect that this was setting a worrisome precedent of an educational organization caving in to religious pressure. My friend Genie Scott tried to explain to me that the change in wording was based on the distinction between philosophical and methodological naturalism.

        Naturalism is the position that the world can be understood in natural (as opposed to supernatural) terms, and has become a focus for the wrath of creationists, which accuse scientists of attempting to sneak atheism into public education. But this accusation confuses the two forms of naturalism: a philosophical naturalist is, indeed, an atheist (or other non-religious individual), because that person has concluded (often based on reasoning informed by science) that there is, in fact, no such thing as the supernatural. Science does not need to make that bold philosophical claim, because it has the option of adopting methodological naturalism, i.e. a provisional and pragmatic position that all we need in order to understand reality is natural laws and phenomena. The supernatural may exist, but it does not necessary for explanatory purposes. The beauty of this distinction is that it shields science from the creationist accusation of being just another religion. Ironically, one can easily show that most human beings, most of the times, behave as methodological naturalists, including creationists! Say, for example, that your car doesn’t want to start this morning. What do you do? You will likely not pray or ask your preacher, you will go to a mechanic. That is, you are assuming that there must be a natural explanation for the break down. Moreover, even if the mechanic will not be able to identify the problem and solve it, you will go and buy a new car with the conviction that there must have been a logical explanation for the break down, but that insufficient data were available to both you and your mechanic to pinpoint the problem. That is exactly the way science works, and it’s a beauty.

        At the time of the NABT controversy I thought that invoking the distinction between philosophical and methodological naturalism was a cop out, and I rebelled against it. Some of my colleagues, most notably Richard Dawkins, still think that way (he often refers to situations like these as instances of “intellectual bankruptcy”), but I have changed my mind. While I still think the NABT should have considered the matter independently of the interference of theologians (at least part of the motivation for the change was pragmatic, not philosophical), I owe an apology to my friend Genie: she was right, I was wrong. Of course, I am both a methodological and a philosophical naturalist, and I do see a logical connection between the two. But such connection is neither necessary nor a result of scientific evidence (pace Dawkins).

        • Michael Fugate
          Posted July 23, 2010 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

          First, evolution is not all there is to scientific literacy and it is more important that someone understand evolution than just “I accept” or “I reject.”
          Second,the abrahamic religions “other” humans – making our species out to be different from all other species. Although true in one sense, it is also true for each and every species. One of the biggest roadblocks to scientific literacy is the idea that humans are outside nature – we are not and never can be. We are part of functioning ecosystems connected to other species and sources and sinks of atoms and molecules (both biotic and abiotic) and dependent on an outside source for energy. We are subject to limits on energy and matter.
          I know the NCSE knows this, but why don’t they see it as a problem. Sure some christians talk about stewardship of the earth, but that still puts us squarely in the “other” category – as if we know enough to be in charge. We need to know how ecosystems work before we try to “fix” them.

          • Nick (Matzke)
            Posted July 23, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

            This sounds like another generic argument about Why Christianity Is Bad. I’m not sure this particular argument works very well (claims of human uniqueness are plenty common in secular, ancient, and tribal sources, it’s almost as if it’s the default human intuition on the issue), and there is a fair bit in Christianity about humility and the like), but I’m not interested in debating that at the moment.

            So we’ve got another argument about Why Christianity Is Bad. That’s great, everyone who feels that way should make those arguments. I just don’t see the point in converting virtually every discussion of a pro-mainstream-science Christian’s remarks on evolution into a Why Christianity Is Bad discussion, followed by some gratuitous insult of said personality based on their religious beliefs, regardless of whether or not they are an accomplished scientist, basically rational on the evolution issue, etc.

            • articulett
              Posted July 23, 2010 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

              Again, you confabulate. Nobody said Christianity is bad. It’s just that science doesn’t support any brand of magical thinking. To the extent that Christians believe supernatural claims, they are engaging in nonscientific “reasoning”… the kind of thinking that science has allowed humans to surpass. This is the kind of thinking that allowed the persecution of Galileo and kept humans in the dark ages for so long. It’s time to stop enabling this silliness so humanity can grow up. Christians can certainly not be the leaders in this maturing for the same reason Scientologists cannot.

              You seem to have a brain blockage that keeps you from hearing this. Honest scientists don’t want to be propping up Christian delusions any more than they want to be propping up rain-dancing belief or the notion that humans can be witches or possessed by demons. And for the same reasons! But there is no way to distinguish a good or real magical notion from a false or bad one. Until there is, honest scientists should treat all such beliefs the same. They are pseudoscientific at best.

              It’s not that Christianity is bad so much as that magical thinking is unscientific. I’m sorry this notion causes your brain to short circuit and imagine people are saying things they never said. But your straw men are getting old and I’m beginning to think you might be “Tom Johnson” related as well.

              You are dishonest and impenetrable in the same way his purported spokesmen are. I don’t think you are winning any points here except in your head game.

            • Michael Fugate
              Posted July 23, 2010 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

              You don’t think that isolating humans from nature is a problem for scientific literacy? Or is it just not a problem if religious people do it? You are trying so hard to excuse Christianity as if it were completely neutral – it is not. Did I say Christianity was bad? No I just said it has some baggage that needs to be addressed for before it can promote scientific literacy. You and Josh Rosenau are so wedded to this idea that if evolution is accepted, then the world will be all sunny and bright – as if this is our only problem. You need to get out more.

            • articulett
              Posted July 23, 2010 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

              Why should people accept the findings of science when there are “other ways of knowing”? What if these “other ways of knowing” conflict with science (and promise salvation for believing in them)? Then what do you choose?

              What if all “other ways of knowing” are misperceptions and delusions like the way Greeks “knew” how gods affected weather?

              If a scientist believes there is no evidence for “other ways of knowing”, aren’t they being dishonest if they claim that the emperor might really be wearing magical robes that are undetectable to science but may well be detectable to a chosen few? To me, that is what the accommodationists are viewing. The believers are akin to those who believe they’ve caught sight of the emperor’s magical robes.

              That’s about as simple as I can make it Nick. If you still aren’t able to get it and you imagine we’re saying something different, then you may wish to examine you have a “faith in faith” biases. Are you an accommodationist or one who imagines they’ve caught sight of the emperor’s magical robes? Why can no one agree on what these magical robes look like?

          • articulett
            Posted July 23, 2010 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

            Another problem is this idea that faith and feelings are ways to know factual things. This really isn’t so; it’s a recipe for feeling like you know something without knowing anything true at all. The NCSE should not be in the business of endorsing this notion. In fact, many scientists think it’s dishonest and self-aggrandizing when others do so since there is no evidence to support this ennoblement of faith.

            Science should help people overcome their wrong ideas and the indoctrination which imprisons their minds– not enabling it. You can’t fight superstition on one hand and then endorse Christian superstition on the other. You just end up with the giant incoherent mess you see at Biologos.

    • articulett
      Posted July 23, 2010 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Where have people interpreted Biologos motives and how do you perceive Biologos” motives in comparison?

      Whatever their motives, do you think they’ll be successful in accomplishing their goal?

      How is contributing to this post “all up in BioLogos’s business over this?” and why do you care? What is YOUR motive for posting here?

      And why can’t you understand that it’s not the fact that they are Christian that we “disagree with”; it’s the fact that they use science to try and support their magical beliefs! (Damn, you are thick when it comes to understanding this.) There is nowhere to draw the line once you let “magic” and “faith” into science. It sullies science when it’s used to support magical beliefs.

      If someone believed in demon possession and exorcising people who are mentally ill because they are “possessed”– would you condone that? Well, science can’t support such a belief any more than they can support Christianity… and sadly, the two beliefs often go hand in hand. I think you’d understand why science cannot be used this way if it was Wiccans or Muslims using the same types of arguments and symposiums to lend an air of rationality to their irrational beliefs. You just have blinders on when it comes to Jesus-Lite. More honest people see through this. If you are lucky, one day you may be one of them.

  29. GeorgeG
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 3:56 am | Permalink

    “Now as far as I know BioLogos professes to be anti-creationist and anti-ID. They claim to fully accept the findings of science, which, last time I looked, supported evolution. ”

    Note: The following comment has nothing to do with evolution or the folks at Biologos.

    Can you do better than the expression “fully accept the findings of science”? The only people who fully accept the findings of science are the ones who are not in science. Good scientists challenge the prevailing theories. Imagine if all the scientists, back in the day “fully accepted the findings of ____” (fill in the blank with any of a few dozen defunct theories.)

    • articulett
      Posted July 23, 2010 at 4:41 am | Permalink

      You can fully accept the current science while understanding that our information will be refined and honed over the years.

      You can fully accept gravity while understanding that we will be uncovering more about gravity in the future, for example. The same with atomic theory, germ theory, evolution.

      Fully accepting the current findings is not an end point in science the way it is with religion. It’s just an acknowledgment that we are on the right path and looking forward to more discoveries up ahead.

      Biologos accepts findings of science and adds god to the equation… making their god more nebulous as science discovers more… but it’s hard to make the Christian god too nebulous and still be Christian since that is a god who had an embodied son (who was really god) that supposedly interacted inside nature and was crucified to “atone for” the “sin” of real people (or maybe a parable).

      Creationists willingly remain ignorant of science because they understand the mental twisting they will be forced to do if they start walking down that path. They may start thinking about things that cause their faith to falter. And, in their minds, their ETERNITY is at stake.

      I think the Biologos sponsored meeting is bound to cause infighting and unlikely to further science. But this is still good from my perspective. I think it’s becoming increasingly obvious that faith and fact make strange bedfellows, and I enjoy the spectacle and infighting of people trying to make their conflicting cherished delusions comport with the facts.

      One of my goals is to encourage believers to “pray in the closet” like their “good book” advises and quit trying to subvert science to prop up the notions they’ve come to believe. I think Biologos is furthering that goal whether they know it or not.

  30. Dominic
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 4:41 am | Permalink

    Debating with the religious is depressing & difficult. I spent two hours in the pub last night trying to explain (in my poor way) to a nice enough young fellow how evolution is clearly demonstrable & that ‘gaps’ in the fossil record are inevitable but we have seen more & more filled. After him trying the ‘what about the Cambrian explosion’ tack & the ‘irreducibly complex flagellum’ line (ego sum Atilla, flagellum dei!) it turned out that he was somehow into the numerology nonsense of predictions from the book of Revelation – at which point I thought ‘Oh dear – Armageddon outta here’… I have not lost all hope but I fear he might not become an enlightened one!

    • Hempenstein
      Posted July 23, 2010 at 6:35 am | Permalink

      With no shortage of copies of WEIT on eBay for under $10 (with S/H), it would be cost-effective to just hand a copy to someone like that vs. spending 2hrs of your time with them. And if you’re worried they might not read it, challenge them to return to discuss all the errors they find.

    • articulett
      Posted July 23, 2010 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      It’s not your job to undo the damage his indoctrinators did to him. Besides, I’m sure he “feels” plenty “enlightened” already. Heck, he thinks that HE’s in on divine secretes that YOU aren’t privy to.

      Sometimes I ask people, “If there was no god, would you want to know?” and/or “Is there any evidence that would change your mind?” The answers (or lack thereof) give me information as to whether the topic is even worth pursuing. I don’t want to be in a position akin to telling a kid Santa isn’t real. Sometimes, I might say, “I just wish there was evidence for souls…” or something vague like that– hoping to plant a seed. I consider YECs too delusional to talk too. (I have picked up some clever rejoinders from online that I can’t help but spit out when some folks inflict their opinions/beliefs upon me,however.)

  31. Dan L.
    Posted July 23, 2010 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    And furthermore, Jerry, science says nothing whatsoever about whether there may have been a person called Abraham who founded Israel, King David,its greatest king, Jesus, Paul, or (to address your point) Adam. Science does clearly say, however, that there was no single founder for the human race. We want to help people understand that too…and we will be patient.

    This is a big part of the problem. A big consequence of any naturalist/materialist philosophy is that there has only ever been one set of things that happened; if there’s a book (with no independent corroboration) that says one thing and a bunch of archaeological evidence that says another, you need to go with the archaeological evidence. You don’t get to pick and choose, there is only one correct version of history.

    Think about Shakespeare for a moment. There have been lots of theories that the person we think of as “Shakespeare” never actually existed. Analysis of the works of Shakespeare, though, suggest that they must have been written, at least mainly, by a single person. But if this person was a member of the house of lords (as one theory goes), then he’s still clearly not Shakespeare — “Shakespeare” is this guy’s pseudonym. If more historical evidence mounted that this was the case, then we’d have to concede that “Shakespeare” didn’t exist, even though there is a person who wrote all the works attributed to Shakespeare.

    Similarly for this list of Biblical personages. There were early semitic bronze age patriarchs, probably many with similar stories to Abraham, originating near Babylon and migrating east. Any one of them could be the inspiration for Abraham, but given the mythological character of the Pentateuch, it seems much more reasonable to say that Abraham is a mythological character based on these patriarchs. We have many reasons to believe that the writers of the Torah exaggerated about a great many things, and there’s no reason to suppose the story of Abraham (one of the oldest stories) wasn’t similarly mythologized.

    Same story but worse for Adam. If we agree that the scientific claim that there is no one biological ancestor for all of humanity, then the story about Adam and Eve is pure mythology. Even if it has some basis in fact somehow about a real couple eating a real fruit (which seems unlikely), it still wouldn’t be “Adam” because “Adam” would have to be the progenitor of the entire race of human beings, and we know there is no such person.

    Archaeological evidence suggests that there was a real King David, but that he and his dynasty were somewhat less significant than implied by the Torah. Surprise, surprise. Again, there may be some basis in fact, but we have good reason to believe that the most significant elements of the story are the mythology.

    Science does say there was a Paul. You might say, “history says there was a Paul,” but I don’t see the distinction; where are the lines between history, archaeology, and anthropology? History can be scientific, and in this case, there is a clear argument that Paul was a real person. However, the argument for Jesus isn’t nearly as good. Again, we have a case where there’s clearly some basis in fact — there were a lot of “messiahs” running around during the reign of Julius Caesar — but no specific corroboration for the significant particulars, which seem heavily mythologized to one not predisposed to believe them prima facie.

    To suggest otherwise is to say that we can have positive knowledge of the history of human events without applying the same skeptical/critical approach used by the historical sciences, such as astronomy and evolutionary biology. This is unacceptable within a naturalistic philosophy, because the histories studied by biology and astronomy are the same as the history studied by historians. Perhaps a better way of saying this is that an honest study of human history should aspire the same standards of evidence that historical sciences. Suggesting that we can fudge our standards for historical evidence for the sake of admitting dubious religious claims weakens our claim to a single shared world history.

    • Dan L.
      Posted July 23, 2010 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Which in turn weakens epistemically normative claims from historical sciences, which in turn weakens epistemically normative claims from experimental science, which in turn weakens epistemically normative claims from theoretical science. This is because any particular field of science leans on other fields as sources of independent confirmation of results (think carbon dating — nuclear physics corroborating archaeological evidence).

      Bad history is bad science.


One Trackback/Pingback

  1. [...] conference with the fundies, hoping to achieve some sort of rapprochement about science. I warned him about this, but Falk argued back that science would surely win when put side by side with Biblical [...]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 28,630 other followers

%d bloggers like this: