Templeton-Funded BioLogos cleans house, promotes young-earth creationist, begins slide into irrelevance

With the departure of Biblical scholar Pete Enns from BioLogos, who had an official position as “Senior Fellow in Biblical Studies” (as well as a Ph.D. from Harvard in Old Testament studies and a considerable reputation for work on Biblical literalism/nonliteralism), it appears that the organization is cleaning house.  What both Enns and Karl Giberson (also recently departed) had in common was their repudiation of the physical existence of Adam and Eve—something that angered the evangelicals, who desperately want to save that story to ensure that Jesus didn’t die for a mere metaphor.  I would guess that both Enns and Giberson were shown the door because of this issue, and I predicted some time ago that BioLogos would fall apart.

That appears to be happening, at least with respect to the Foundation’s original mission—designed by ex-BioLogos-President and now-NIH director Francis Collins—to get evangelical Christians to accept the truth of evolution.  That mission has gone down the tubes.  BioLogos has bounced anybody who questions Adam and Eve, and now they’re promoting a young-earth creationist.

The creationist is Aaron Daly, and he has a 2:49 video on BioLogos called “A young earth creationist’s perspective.”  They describe it like this:

In this video, young earth creationist Aaron Daly offers his thoughts on theistic evolution, creation, and how Christians should handle disagreements over issues such as the age of the earth and how God created. Most of all, however, Aaron highlights the need for love in our discussions with one another, especially when we disagree.

It’s curious that the organization deep-sixes its anti-Adam-and-Evers but puts up posts about unrepentant evolution-deniers and young-earth creationists.  Doesn’t that contravene its policy of accepting good science and trying to make that science palatable to evangelicals?  Doesn’t that violate the aims of the Templeton Foundation, who funded BioLogos “to seek a theology more accepting of science”? (See below.)

This is what reader Sigmund, who sent me the link, has to say:

The video is interesting for two reasons. First, Mr Daly states that he would be more willing to listen to ideas about evolution if it came from a theistic perspective—and then immediately points out that he still wouldn’t actually believe these ideas because he doesn’t see the evidence there to support evolution.

Second, and probably more importantly, he says something that crystallizes my opinion about the new direction of BioLogos.

He states that he disagrees with the idea that someone will necessarily go to hell if they don’t believe that God created the world in a literal six days and calls for more love and understanding among evangelicals.

How I read this in the context of the history of BioLogos is that the Foundation’s mission is not any longer the conversion of evangelicals to the scientific viewpoints of theistic evolutionists like Falk [Darrel Falk, current BioLogos President] or Collins. It has now changed to merely promoting tolerance of the minority—and, frankly, heretical according to mainstream evangelicism—viewpoints of the theistic evolutionists.

Remember that BioLogos is funded to the tune of two million dollars by the Templeton Foundation (grant description here and below).  Are you embarrassed yet, Templeton? Your money is going to promote the views of young earth creationists and people who try to rationalize the existence of a historical Adam and Eve.  Templeton, you and BioLogos are a huge embarrassement to science.  And Templeton, if you want to keep what little credibility you retain among good scientists, you’d better not give BioLogos dime one after their grant runs out in February. (I predict that BioLogos will meet a quick demise at that time.)

Here’s where the Templeton money is going:

The Language of God: BioLogos Website and Workshop:

Description

These grants support the launch of the BioLogos Foundation with the creation of a website and a series of workshops on the compatibility of theism and evolutionary science. The website will serve as a forum for Francis Collins and other expert consultants to address common questions about the relationship between faith and science. The invitation-only workshops will bring scientists and evangelical leaders together to seek a theology more accepting of science, specifically evolutionary biology. These projects will allow the BioLogos Foundation to build a reputation as a source of sympathetic, authoritative, and accessible thought on matters of science and faith.

Project Leader(s)

Francis Collins, Founder and President
The BioLogos Foundation

Grantee(s)

The BioLogos Foundation (Bethesda, Maryland)

Grant Amount:  $2,028,238
Start Date:  January 2008
End Date:  February 2012
Grant ID: 13489, 14407

106 Comments

  1. Sajanas
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    What a waste of cash… that amount of money could have funded a whole lab full of people, rather than overpaying creationists to put up videos and articles on a website.

    Does Templeton not realize that creationist are doing that now for free?

  2. newenglandbob
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    And Templeton, if you want to keep what little credibility you retain among good scientists, you’d better not give BioLogos dime one after their grant runs out in February.

    Is it, or was it ever, about credibility? I hope they see the light and stop funding Biologos, but I wont hold my breath waiting.

  3. FaithInDialogue
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    I’m afraid I must disagree. Clearly the point of the video is not in support of Young Earth Creationism (that is explicitely contrary to BioLogos’s stated stance: “Evidence from science indicates that the diversity of life is best explained as a result of an evolutionary process. Thus we affirm evolution.”) but is instead highlighting the possibility of respectful, productive dialogue on the issue between YECs and theistic evolutionists.

    As you are quite clearly a firm proponent of evolution education, particularly in regard to the evangelical community, I’m confused why you seem enthusiastic about the predicted demise of an organization like BioLogos. As an organization they affirm and widely disseminate the scientific findings in support of evolution and are undoubtably better suited to reach and educate a community that you believe to be ill-informed.

    If your intent is for more people to accept evolution as truth, attacking a theistic evolution organization with wide-reaching influence among the Christian community seems like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    • Sajanas
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Its because Biologos never actually expended any energy to teach evolution to evangelicals. All it really did was complain about New Atheists and try and find science sounding ways of justifying their religious beliefs. Page after page about Adam and Eve being real people somehow is not evolutionary education.

    • Sastra
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      If your intent is for more people to accept evolution as truth, attacking a theistic evolution organization with wide-reaching influence among the Christian community seems like throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

      Ah, here is your mistake I think. The gnu atheist intent is not for more people to accept evolution as truth. It’s for more people to arrive at their views through critical reasoning, scientific rigor, and philosophical humility.

      Method, method, method. The ends does not always justify the means. If we were faced with an opportunity to persuade huge groups of creationists to accept evolution by presenting them with the views of evolution-friendly astrologers (New Age version of creationism, perhaps, with “astrology is compatible with the discoveries of modern biology”) — should we take it? Or would encouraging people to trust in evolution as much as they trust in the advice of the stars a bad idea?

      • FaithInDialogue
        Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:56 am | Permalink

        Quite true. Critical reasoning, scientific rigor and philoshopical humility are absolutely important and make up the firm foundation of science. In my understanding, BioLogos endorses evolution as a result of employing those very values – highlighting the mountains of data supporting evolution and the importance of scientific accuracy.

        The difference is that they add the meta-level belief that “evolution is the means by which God providentially achieves His purposes.” By definition religious beliefs, such as this, are based on faith. And faith by definition does not rest on empirical data, it resides in an entirely different value system than science. Science and religion represent two different authority structures that theistic evolution attempts to bring into agreement. No one (at BioLogos at least) is claiming that the ‘theistic’ part of theistic evolution is scientifically proven or even supported as an “evolution-friendly astrologer” may claim about their astrology.

        But I presume that New Athiests would claim that religion & faith are indeed subject to the same standards of empirical evidence and scientific proof, in which case there is indeed an impasse. Nevertheless, I myself think acknowledging common interests can’t be a bad thing.

        • Microraptor
          Posted September 29, 2011 at 11:05 am | Permalink

          BioLogos supposedly supports objective science, but they’ve slide more and more towards simply providing completely evidence free rationalizations to how the Bible is true at the expense of actual scientific evidence.

          That’s not a stance with a lot of credibility.

          • FaithInDialogue
            Posted September 29, 2011 at 11:16 am | Permalink

            Interesting, I’d be curious to see some specific examples.

            • Posted September 29, 2011 at 11:27 am | Permalink

              Watch the video linked at the top of the page.

              The home page has a link, “The Truthfulness of Scripture: Inerrancy.”

              The top four topics are, “About BioLogos,” “Perspectives on Origins,” “Biblical Studies,” and “Theology.”

              Indeed, BioLogos is basically entirely devoid of science. It’s nothing but unabashed, pure, unadulterated evangelism. If there’s a difference between it and the Disco Toot, I’m not seeing it.

              Cheers,

              b&

        • Sastra
          Posted September 29, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

          FaithinDialogue wrote:

          Science and religion represent two different authority structures that theistic evolution attempts to bring into agreement. No one (at BioLogos at least) is claiming that the ‘theistic’ part of theistic evolution is scientifically proven or even supported as an “evolution-friendly astrologer” may claim about their astrology.

          BioLogos is however promoting the frame which says that if there WAS a conflict between faith and science, then the science would have to give. They think they can avoid the implications of this if they claim that 1.) there is no actual conflict and 2.) there couldn’t be a conflict anyway.

          There are problems with this, including 1.) where one draws the line between “matters of faith” and “matters of science” is and must be arbitrary and 2.) faith beliefs do indeed rest on — and purport to rest on — empirical evidence. It is the rare believer who does not believe his or her faith is a “reasonable” faith.

          As for the value systems of faith and science, they seem to me to be basically the same at their foundation: honesty, truth-seeking, caution, humility. It’s just that faith assumes certain facts as given up front — and science can’t do that. Science is a system designed for humans, not humans-plus-god.

          I think that adding in God ultimately loses those values through its attempt to give them ultimate authority. By trying to play both “systems” Biologos engages in self-contradiction — and opens itself up to just the sort of nonsense we’re seeing.

          • FaithInDialogue
            Posted September 29, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

            Thanks all for the enlightening conversation. I think I understand the negative feelings about BioLogos much better now. There is indeed a philosophical disconnect between a strictly scientific worldview and that of Christians (even those who do accept evolution).

            • Ken Browning
              Posted September 29, 2011 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

              Christians don’t generally accept evolution. Biologos types generally accept theistic evolution which is really quite different. When the process is thought to be guided, it is no longer TOE.

          • derekw
            Posted September 29, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

            BioLogos is however promoting the frame which says that if there WAS a conflict between faith and science, then the science would have to give. They think they can avoid the implications of this if they claim that 1.) there is no actual conflict and 2.) there couldn’t be a conflict anyway.
            I think this is a good summary of the BioLogos view. Any ‘apparent’ conflict between good science and faith/theology is just that, an apparent one. There is an error in the biblical interpretation/theology (ie young earth) or in some situation with the science.

        • Duke York
          Posted September 29, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

          And faith by definition does not rest on empirical data […]

          I bet to differ. Christians rest their faith on their bible, which is a form of empirical data. It’s a very biased, low-quality form of empirical data, written by men to keep dominion over their women, their slaves and their neighbors, but if one believes that one’s god is real — empirically real — and that the bible contains facts about his/hers/its nature and goals, the the bible _must_ be empirical. Listen to some evangelicals, some time. They treat the bible as a source of empirical facts, even if they don’t know the word to use it.

          It’s just that the evangelicals refuse to looks any any empircal facts, because they’re afraid to find one that will undercut their social hegemony.

        • Juggler_Dave
          Posted September 29, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

          “Science and religion represent two different authority structures…” – I’m not sure what to make of this statement. If a scientist states X, anyone, layman or another scientist, can retort “prove it”. The authority of the scientist and of science as a whole rests on showing your work. When a religious leader states Y, and is questioned, the religious leader may respond “because I say so”, “you are going to hell”, or “light the fires and burn this heretic”. Alternatively, the religious leader may write a deeply profound exposition show that some book he calls holy means what he says, regardless of the fact that there is no justification for calling the book holy. I don’t see the equivalence of calling both science and religion “authority structures”.

          • Posted September 29, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

            But they’re certainly different!

            /@

        • Torbjorn Larsson, OM
          Posted September 29, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

          As an organization they affirm and widely disseminate the scientific findings in support of evolution and are undoubtably [sic] better suited to reach and educate a community that you believe to be ill-informed.

          Even if they did that exclusively instead of attacking skeptics and atheist, they would still promote a fundamentally anti-scientific idea, that of evolutionary creationism (“theistic evolution”).

          The stated idea is that you can’t test for the extraneous agency no matter what, so it isn’t only a worse theory by being non-parsimonious, it isn’t a scientific theory or description at all.

          But I presume that New Athiests would claim that religion & faith are indeed subject to the same standards of empirical evidence and scientific proof, in which case there is indeed an impasse.

          There is no impasse empirically speaking, creationism is a non-starter in the face of natural processes.

          And so are all kinds of similar suggestions of magic. No one, certainly not empiricists, should accept a special pleading for religious magic in this. Calling it an impasse is exactly that, seeing that we don’t accept insertions of fairies, trolls, astrology or souls.

        • truthspeaker
          Posted October 3, 2011 at 11:57 am | Permalink

          “And faith by definition does not rest on empirical data, ”

          Yes. That’s the problem. Any organization that promotes such a thing is working against the cause of science and critical thinking.

    • Kevin
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      The primary problem is that BioLogos almost immediately abandoned its mission of getting evangelicals to understand and reconcile faith to the truth about the biological theory of evolution.

      Instead, it spent inordinate amounts of time attacking atheists and other methodological naturalists who quite rightly were shining a spotlight on the incompatibility of evangelical teachings with the actual world we see around us. We were your natural allies, but you fought us tooth and nails.

      We’re not supposed to criticize the failings of BioLogos? Why?

      BioLogos failed completely, totally and utterly in its mission to bring evangelicals to science. And instead began to attack science as if it were responsible — merely because science told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

      And now, it’s sunk further into superstition and nonsense. By trying to spin fairy stories about fairy stories. That’s not relevance.

      You want to make BioLogos relevant? Then let’s see it start publishing fact-based articles on the truth about the biological theory of evolution — no matter what someone’s interpretation of scriptures say.

      Until then, it’s YOUR fault that BioLogos is a failure. Not ours.

      • qbsmd
        Posted September 29, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

        “BioLogos failed completely, totally and utterly in its mission to bring evangelicals to science”

        They only failed if that’s what you believe their mission was. I don’t believe they ever claimed that. They want to make science and their theology look/be compatible, true, but why?

        If you look at their activities given the hypothesis that they want to make science and Christianity more compatible so they can spread science more easily to Christians, their actions frequently make no sense. If you look at them under the hypothesis that they want to make science and Christianity more compatible so they can spread Christianity more easily to scientists (or make it easier for scientists to remain Christians), their actions are much less confusing.

        Their target audience is someone who’s having doubts about Christianity due to conflicts with science, not a creationist who is comfortable with Christianity.

        • PB
          Posted September 30, 2011 at 6:47 am | Permalink

          I think you hit the nail here. The Templetons are not stupid, they got what they pay for, only that it is not what they say openly. At least the snared Collins, that by itself worth 2mil. Come to think of it, without BioLogos, the world in 2010s will be (slightly) different, in what way ..?

          In the way that stated above. Now christianistic scientists are a tad easier to breathe, don’t they?

          • qbsmd
            Posted September 30, 2011 at 7:12 am | Permalink

            “they got what they pay for, only that it is not what they say openly”

            I’ve never seen Biologos or Templeton say anything that contradicts my hypothesis. They talk about harmonizing or compatibilizing and never talk about teaching science. Sometimes they talk about spreading Christianity.

            I imagine they thought their motives were clear and that they’re laughing at us, saying something like “only atheists could believe that teaching science would be more important to us than saving souls”.

    • Insightful Ape
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      Lol. We’ve got here a pretty funny troll.
      “As you are quite clearly a firm proponent of evolution education, particularly in regard to the evangelical community, I’m confused why you seem enthusiastic about the predicted demise of an organization like BioLogos. As an organization they affirm and widely disseminate the scientific findings in support of evolution and are undoubtably better suited to reach and educate a community that you believe to be ill-informed.”
      Nice sentiment. An organization that “does not have a position on existence of a historical Adam and Eve” affirma and disseminates science? Would you say the same if they refused to take a stand on whether the sun goes around the earth, as implied clearly in Joshua? And is there a need for “love” when we discuss the holocaust with deniers?
      We are in for a lot of amusement, whether Templeton pulls the plug or not. If they do, that is going to be a dark stain on their record, showing that their efforts to paper over the chasm between science and religion are indeed doomed. If they don’t (and this is also possible), they are going to make a laughingstock of themselves: Templeton actively funding an organization that has absolutely no clue about about the most basic facts of the science it allegedly promotes.
      PS Good thing faith is an “authority structure” on par with science. At least we know global warming is caused by a decline in the number of pirates, according to the Pastafarian faith.

    • Sajanas
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Oh yeah, and I seem to recall that a lot of pro-evolution people had their comments culled from the site too.

    • articulett
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

      Should astronomy be tied to astrology? Perhaps astronomers should seek out the purported star “Kolob” to get more Mormons interested in space! Should we get those who believe demons cause disease to understand germ theory by combing the real facts with their indoctrination? Shall zoological classes give credence to the idea that Mohummed flew on a real flying horse? Bigfoot? The Loch Ness Monster? What if it gets people to also accept real science? Say, maybe we can get the Scientologists to pair with psychiatrists to treat mental health!

      I think Biologos is bound to fail because religions is not a real method for finding out anything true about reality. I think Jerry and most people here would encourage people to get their science from scientists and not those who believe that their “salvation” depends on believing the right magical story. Honest people want no part of promoting anyone else’s delusion. The truth doesn’t come from those claiming to know divine secrets. And there’s nothing scientific about showing deference to supernatural beliefs– this includes the Christian mythologies.

      I don’t think a person can really understand evolution when s/he has a vested interest in believe an omnibenevolent being was behind it. The 3-in-1 Jesus-god story about a universe creator who becames his own son and “sort of” died to save the original sinners he created from the hell he also created is incoherent at it’s core.

    • truthspeaker
      Posted October 3, 2011 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      “If your intent is for more people to accept evolution as truth, attacking a theistic evolution organization with wide-reaching influence among the Christian community”

      Evidence?

  4. Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    … begins slide into irrelevance

    I’m not persuaded that it was ever other than irrelevant.

    • Doc Bill
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      Ack, I was too slow!

      Ditto this comment. BioBogus was never more than a pretense to promote myths as facts.

      Perhaps the one good thing that has come out of it is Uncle Karl’s de-programming.

  5. Sastra
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Most of all, however, Aaron highlights the need for love in our discussions with one another, especially when we disagree.

    Hey, here’s the Templeton message front and center. I suspect they’d fund Eric Von Daniken and research for his Ancient Astronaut Theory as long as he made the expected mewling noises about how people of “faith” need to stop caring so much about the science stuff and respect each other on their spiritual journeys.

    Wait for Biologos to eventually drop the evolution sideline.

    • Posted September 29, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      Ironically (or maybe not), von Däniken was one of the authors who help me along the road to atheism…

      /@

      • JNinWB
        Posted September 29, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        “Ironically (or maybe not), von Däniken was one of the authors who help me along the road to atheism…”

        Same here. My discovery of his “Chariot of the Gods” in the “70s started me on a life-long quest.

        That book contained information and photos of places and objects that I had never before even heard about

        • PB
          Posted September 30, 2011 at 6:52 am | Permalink

          Yep. Chariot of the gods was an eye-opener for me, and guess what? Velikowsky! (World in collisions).

          Reading those books now seems very different, such potholes (or craters?) on the plots ..

          There is also a book translated from French – forget what – in similar vein. Plus Teilhard, and Herman Hesse .. only the last still readable.

      • Torbjorn Larsson, OM
        Posted September 29, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

        Ha, me too! If one could spin gods like vD, they were spin doctored before and so on. “Inferior regress”, in other words.

        The same for catholicism, of course, up to and including the idea of their seat as “a state”. Today I would add their rampant systematic child abuse.

        Funny how they always find a way to make themselves out as bad as they come. The dumbosity is overpowering.

      • Sajanas
        Posted September 30, 2011 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        For me, it was accidentally checking out a book that thoroughly debunked all the von Daniken nonsense, thinking it was a book on UFOs and ancient aliens (which the X-files had convinced me was at least possible). The arguments were utterly devastating, and awesome, and I hungered for more. Next I was reading Sagan.

  6. Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    I may as well mention my run-in with Biologos. There was a post there called “A Leap of Truth: Requiring Certainty” which said in part,

    …Really what happens is that people have fear. They are afraid that if they let go of this really tight way of looking at things, then the only alternative is going to be irrationality and lack of control, but that is not true.

    My reponse:

    That sounds like something I would say. However it is breathtakingly disingenuous coming from Biologos, which has members that are bound by their respective institutions to not let go of a really tight way of looking at things, else they will be fired.

    Well, Darrel Falk would have none of that. He deleted my posts and sent me a silly email through an anonymous “moderator” account (he probably didn’t know about X-Originating-IP).

    What actually got me upset was that he deleted totally uncontroversial posts of mine, causing my position to be misrepresented and thus making me look bad.

    At the time I was so annoyed that I created a wordpress account and wrote it up. I am always amazed at how unethical people behave when they are battling the forces of atheism with Jesus by their side.

    • Michael Fugate
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

      I got one of those “moderator” emails from Biologos in January after a comment on Conor Cunningham’s book “Darwin’s Pious Idea.”

      “Dear Michael,

      We need a little help. Your comment on the Cunningham book is interesting, but you don’t explain it. Please feel free to develop a more detailed comment. We’d love to have it actually–but our audience won’t be able to understand what you mean until you elaborate.

      Thanks for your input.
      Moderator”

      Falk never published my original comment. I replied to the email, but never received a reply and I have never commented again. I have no idea what he really wanted.

  7. coconnor1017
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Pathetic. ID and apologists for creationism within the Christian Faith contradicted the notion of “truth” in the Christian religion and drove me away from it towards atheism.

    • raven
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      Same with me.

      My first runins with creationists, who I thought were all but extinct, drove me out of xianity after nearly 5 decades.

      People that evil and ignorant called the whole religion into question.

      The bible helped a lot too. Obvious kludgy work of fiction.

  8. daveau
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    “Science will win because it works.”

    –Stephen Hawking

    • Dominic
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Ah! pussycat gravatar!

      Not so sure though – people are pretty stupid really & prefer to live in cozy ignorance believing bullshit. :(

      It certainly is a lot of dosh – $10,000 a week! I could not get beyond the first paragraph of Horton’s inerrancy item before giving up on seeing “The text is inerrant because Christianity is true, not vice versa” which is laughable in its logic.

      • daveau
        Posted September 29, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        It will take a heck of a long time, I suspect.

        Gravatar is Merlyn, as all mine have been, but I did just change it.

  9. Posted September 29, 2011 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    What a coward. All he cares about is whether he’s going to Heaven or Hell.

    Grow a pair, Aaron. Stop kissing the (imaginary) bully’s ass and start thinking for yourself.

    If you really believe that you and your loved ones face infinite torture for mere thoughtcrime, it’s your moral imperative to fight the tyrant who would rule thusly with all your soul.

    Cheers,

    b&

    • Jacob van Beverningk
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      +1

  10. Dr. I. Needtob Athe
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    So Mr. Daly “still wouldn’t actually believe these ideas (about evolution) because he doesn’t see the evidence there to support evolution.”

    If this a just a matter of poor eyesight, I wonder if there’s a large-print edition of Why Evolution is True that he could read.

    • Dominic
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      Emperor’s nude clothes…!

  11. Ichthyic
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    I’d be very curious at this point to hear what Collins himself thinks about the directions Biologos has taken.

    Does he still think it is achieving any relevant mission he envisioned for it?

    the answer would speak volumes.

  12. Posted September 29, 2011 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    As a pseudonymous commenter wrote elsewhere last year,

    “The Templeton Foundation is great – it allows poor scientists to convert excess credibility into cash.”

    (This was in response to the Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund Report, “God, Science and Philanthropy” by Nathan Schneider)

    http://www.theinvestigativefund.org/investigations/1323/god,_science_and_philanthropy/?page=entire

    • Dominic
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      I wonder what serious scientists like Martin Rees would make of this.

  13. Tulse
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Grant Amount: $2,028,238
    Start Date: January 2008
    End Date: February 2012

    I am very curious to see if their funding gets renewed, given their move towards a more literalist-friendly approach. Templeton may be accommodationist, but my impression is that it isn’t fundamentalist.

    • Posted September 29, 2011 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Perhaps the change in direction is a pivot to try and secure other sources of funding that will allow the religious aspects to trump the science. Seeing the writing on the wall and knowing the Templeton money runs out soon, could they be hoping to tap into evangelical deep pockets for their future funding? Total speculation on my part, but doesn’t sound crazy to me.

      • raven
        Posted September 29, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        Most likely Templeton will go YEC/fundie.

        They’ve spent many millions of dollars to accomplish about nothing. It’s truly astonishing.

        Might as well just join the howling crowds who think the earth is 6,000 years old.

    • MadScientist
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      John Templeton was evangelical and he probably believed in a 6000 year old earth, so I wouldn’t say that the Foundation isn’t fundamentalist. If anything, the Foundation does its best to be sneaky and lie about everything.

  14. Kevin
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    I suspect the next announcement will be Albert Mohler joining as a “senior fellow” or something of that ilk.

    And for those who don’t know, Mohler is head of the Southern Baptists, and he doesn’t cotton to that evilution nonsense. Because the Earth is 6,000 years old, just like it says in the bible.

  15. Anders
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    So.. BioLogos, an organization dedicated to bridging the gap between science and faith by showing that there is no conflict, throws people out because their science is in conflict with religious ideas, and then brings in people who deny science outright! Surely, now we can all see how there is no conflict, and science and faith can live in perfect harmony. Just not at the same time in the same organization. Mission Accomplished!

  16. Newish Gnu
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    “Adam and Evers”

    Looks like BioLogos is putting all their money on Evers. I guess Tinkers and Chance sound too sympathetic to evolution.

  17. Bernard Ortcutt
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    “Templeton, you and BioLogos are a huge embarrassement to science.”

    They are only an “embarrassment to science” to people who wrongly think that Templeton and BioLogos have anything to do with science, rather than preserving religion in the face of science.

  18. derekw
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Interestingly on the Biologos website note the ‘Test of Faith’ tour sponsored by the Faraday Institute of Science and Religion (sounds like another Templeton Foundation?) Tour dates at http://www.testoffaith.com/events/us-tour.aspx
    Jerry they are going to be in your neck of the woods next Monday Oct 3 at Wheaton College.

    • MadScientist
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      Yes, ‘Faraday’ gets Templeton money but it is a different group. Nor do they have anything to do with Michael Faraday whom they take the name from or his strange religious cult.

      • Posted September 30, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, although Faraday seems to have been a sincere believer, he was also very private about it – all this evangelism and such would likely have profoundly embarassed him. (A guess – I am no Faraday scholar, but have read quite a few of his more famous works.)

  19. Torbjorn Larsson, OM
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    BWAHAHAHAA! [/too much training and too little blood sugar]

  20. Greg Esres
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    I suggest that their original position is an unstable worldview in the engineering sense; it’s the marble on top of an upside bowl. Maintaining that position takes a great deal of effort and the overriding tendency is for the marble to roll down one side or the other.

  21. Dawn Oz
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    Just watched the featured video ‘A Leap of Truth’ on the Biologos site. It was incomprehensible! Thanks for letting me know about this site.

  22. raven
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Creationism is a lie.

    All creationists are liars.

    If evangelical xianity can’t figure that out, they are going down with the Flat Earthers and Geocentrists.

    My natal xian sect, which is large, old, and rich didn’t have a problem with evolution. It says so right on their website.

    Making creationism a litmus test is silly and stupid. Evolution isn’t mentioned in the magic book anywhere. Along with anything that wouldn’t be known by the Iron Age sheepherders who made it all up.

    Litmust tests work both ways and lots of people have left fundie xianity because they valued truth over lies.

  23. raven
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    How long before Templeton goes YEC? It might well happen.

    They are looking for a god who isn’t there.

    It won’t end well.

  24. MadScientist
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Toldyaso. BioLogos, Discotute – c’est la meme chose.

  25. FreedToChoose
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    “..repudiation of the physical existence of Adam and Eve—something that angered the evangelicals…”

    It most certainly upset fundamentalists, but none of the evangelicals I know, most of whom accept science as given.

    A fundamentalist takes the Bible literally. An evangelical sees Christianity as their way of living. Within evangelicalism there are literalists and non-literalists, Christian exclusivists and inclusivists. For example, President Jimmy Carter calls himself an evangelical, but wouldn’t try to talk anyone out of their belief, although he would explain his view if asked, just as anyone who respected the rights of others to choose for themselves, Christian, Jew, Buddhist, humanist, atheist, whatever.

    Characterizing evangelical Christians will become more difficult before it becomes easier.

    • Ken Browning
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      “Characterizing evangelical Christians will become more difficult before it becomes easier.”

      It will never become easier but will rather continue to fracture and morph as all religion does over the long haul. This is inevitable as there is absolutely no adequate methodology involved for determining which truth claims made by all the different interpreters are valid.

      • Ichthyic
        Posted September 29, 2011 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

        40 thousand Christian sects alone at last count…

        • FreedToChoose
          Posted September 29, 2011 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

          Probably many more. Within contemporary or progressive Christianity, each person forms their own and has been thus for decades, Methodism being my experience. While there are those within Methodism who want a more narrow, universal format, Wesley’s original construct encourages individual pursuit.

        • Posted September 30, 2011 at 11:11 am | Permalink

          Ichthyic – do you have a reference for this? I seem to be able to find 3 or 4 thousand [as though it matters :-)]

          • Ichthyic
            Posted September 30, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

            there are reported to be approximately 38,000 Christian denominations

            straight from the wiki:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations

            • Posted October 1, 2011 at 6:22 am | Permalink

              Thanks. Followed the links to the article and note that the author counts cultural and regional differences within the same denomination as a different group, e.g. a Southern Baptist group in Alabama would be different from one in Albania. Reasonable, but not sure quite how he figured it out to be precisely 33,830! However, more than one denomination demonstrates the problem.

      • FreedToChoose
        Posted September 29, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

        My basic point is that Evangelical Christians cover a broad spectrum with two things in common:
        1. Christianity–as they see it–is at the center of their way of living.
        2. They are willing to discuss it with others.

        It’s the second point that causes the confusion. One might liken them to categorization from soft to hard, the former willing to discuss what they see as the benefits of Christianity when asked, the latter actively trying to proselytize others including the dedicated religious or not.

        Fundamentalism is essentially seeing the Bible as the literal word of God. While many–maybe most–fundamentalists are evangelical, many evangelicals–most in my experience–are not fundamentalists.

        As to truth claims, soft evangelicals are concerned with personal ‘truth’ and the encouragement of others to find theirs.

        • Ichthyic
          Posted September 29, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

          They are willing to discuss it with others.

          but they’re not willing to be wrong.

          • FreedToChoose
            Posted October 1, 2011 at 6:48 am | Permalink

            It’s not about right and wrong, it’s about behavior: how we treat ourselves, how we treat others, how we treat the planet. The ‘soft’ evangelical sees the core teachings of Jesus as their guide to right behavior, not the only one.

        • Ken Browning
          Posted September 29, 2011 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

          Your definition seems to include 99% of all professing Christians.

    • Ichthyic
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      It most certainly upset fundamentalists, but none of the evangelicals I know, most of whom accept science as given.

      While it’s true that the word “evangelical” is strictly only associated with the four gospels commonly included in most bibles, most people go with the common definition of “evangelical”, being directly related to “evangelicalism”.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evangelicalism

      which is why you will often see “evangelical” and “fundamentalist” used interchangeably.

      you probably should identify less fundamentalist christian trends using the term “liberal” in there somewhere.

      if you’re not fundamentalist, then you’re liberal.

      that seems to be pretty much the current split.

      • FreedToChoose
        Posted September 29, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

        Terms in search of meaning… progressive is another variant. Ironically, the only thing progressive/liberal/modern Christians have in common may be the ‘sanctity’ of science, the mystery.

    • Insightful Ape
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Rather curious. While the hererogeneity of evangelicals is not in question, every time there is a news article related to evolution (or making any mention of the world being more than 10,000 years old) hordes of self identified evangelicals show up and whine about “their faith being disrespected”. Another curious thing is that the overwhelming majority vote for republicans.

    • Posted September 30, 2011 at 2:24 am | Permalink

      In Europe, ‘evangelical’ means something quite different than in the US, where it often overlaps in many respects with fundamentalism. And by ‘fundamentalism’, I mean the real thing: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamentalism#American_Protestants

      How many American ‘evangelicals’ reject any of the 5 fundamentals of the Christian faith? Many of them are just fundamentalists who are ashamed of the label.

  26. Ken Pidcock
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    I do think that the original BioLogos mission was to promote acceptance of scientific facts among evangelical Christians. The founders, and Templeton, saw this as essential to the preservation of the faith. Evangelicals are genuinely concerned about losing the next generation, and Collins et al. are convinced that it would help if they weren’t required to lie about their understanding of nature. Others, however, including Al Mohler, insist that sustaining evangelical Christianity requires doubling down on the lies. The decline of BioLogos reveals that Mohler has more support than Collins.

    And so the problem of the next generation remains in play. And we have a role to play in that.

    • Ichthyic
      Posted September 29, 2011 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      Evangelicals are genuinely concerned about losing the next generation

      ayup.

      was even a few articles about it published in the Chistian Science Monitor a while back:

      http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0310/p09s01-coop.html

      “The Coming Evangelical Collapse”

      • FreedToChoose
        Posted September 29, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the link. Excellent assessment.

  27. Ken Browning
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    “Most of all, however, Aaron highlights the need for love in our discussions with one another, especially when we disagree.”

    Most of all, I’d love to see Jerry apply this the next time he presents at a biology conference. :)

  28. Gayle Stone
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    The music was so loud I couldn’t hear him, maybe that was intentional and we should just go with the music and say halaluya!

  29. Tim
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe no one else gets this. They’re shooting for moral cache. They’re trying to “out-Christian” their fellow Christians. If they can place a moral halo over their heads and contrast that with the distinctly uncharitable attitude for organizations such as Answers in Genesis, they come off sounding more reasonable and more credible…and more Christian.

    • Ichthyic
      Posted September 30, 2011 at 12:42 am | Permalink

      maybe people are just avoiding that part of the issue as too stomach turning.

      besides, it’s really not the whole reason, even if it is a small part of it.

  30. Matt G
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone have a sense of how much of Templeton’s money goes to legitimate research and science education, and how much goes to nonsense? I seem to recall a discussion a while back (perhaps at Panda’s Thumb) about whether Templeton influences the conclusions of those studies it supports.

    For your amusement, I suggest reading the purpose statement of the Templeton Foundation prize. They talk about how they have no particular view of god, and then go on to talk about a particular view of god (and all in the space of a few sentences!).

    • Tim
      Posted September 30, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      As Stephen Colbert put it, “I believe that everyone has the right to their own religion, be you Hindu, Jew or Muslim. I believe there are infinite paths to accepting Jesus Christ as your personal savior.”

  31. Posted September 29, 2011 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    “begins”?
    Methinks BioLogos’ slide into irrelevance began with its founding.

  32. Diane G.
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    (subscribing)

  33. Egbert
    Posted September 30, 2011 at 12:56 am | Permalink

    “What both Enns and Karl Giberson (also recently departed) had in common was their repudiation of the physical existence of Adam and Eve—something that angered the evangelicals, who desperately want to save that story to ensure that Jesus didn’t die for a mere metaphor.”

    That is a good one. I never thought about that while debating with Christians. Dying for a metaphor does seem a bit silly and pointless. I wonder how Catholics resolve this silliness in their minds.

    • raven
      Posted September 30, 2011 at 2:10 am | Permalink

      “Dying for a metaphor does seem a bit silly and pointless.”

      It’s no sillier than anything else xians believe. Not that any of them ever agree on anything whatsoever. Original sin starting with Adam and Eve isn’t even intrinsic to the bible. IIRC, it isn’t a Jewish doctrine even though the OT is their magic book. St Augustine made it up 500 years after the xian religion was founded.

      The whole human godman sacrifice idea is even sillier. God sends himself down to get killed to fix us even though he created us in the first place because millennia ago some couple ate a magic apple in a garden that he put there himself along with a talking snake.

      If you unpack the whole idea of sacrificing a perfect human godman to himself to fix humanity forever, it just falls apart into senselessness. This has been noticed a lot by various philosophers.

      And it didn’t works so well. Less than 30% of the world’s population are xians.

      • Posted September 30, 2011 at 2:18 am | Permalink

        Yeah, the ‘original sin’ bit never played much if any a role in Judaism (AFAIK). OK, maybe mankind’s relationship with God got messed up long ago, but now there’s the Torah to put it right.

        It was necessary to kick the Torah out of its place to promote Jesus as a necessary ‘saviour’.

      • raven
        Posted September 30, 2011 at 2:26 am | Permalink

        Not mentioned is that religions are pretty flexible. All those sacred, core beliefs can and do get tossed out all the time and no one much cares.

        1. When the central feature of ancient Judaism, the Second Temple was destroyed in 70 CE, the religion just recreated itself and kept going. Hey, you know, that was god’s home on earth. He lived there.

        2. The RCC heaved Geocentrism over the side after a brief struggle. It made no difference.

        3. The Mormons heaved polygamy over the side after a major struggle, It made no difference to the main group.

        4. About half of all US xians don’t believe in satan and hell anymore. Some sects think ordaining women is right up there with child sexual abuse and others have ordained women for centuries.

        Religions evolve and change constantly. It’s all make believe and let’s pretend anyway.

  34. Posted September 30, 2011 at 1:58 am | Permalink

    I can’t conclude that Enns and Giberson were “forced out” of Biologos over the non-existence of a physical Adam and Eve. Indeed, I don’t know if they were even “forced” to leave, or merely chose to do so.

    Remember, there are *many* issues over which religious people part ways. A very many indeed.

  35. Posted September 30, 2011 at 2:14 am | Permalink

    I’m skeptical that it was ever anything other than a Christian apologist effort to make Christianity look acceptable to the scientifically inclined. It was never going to convince any unbelievers, but it might keep some Christians from bailing out for a while.

    • Matt G
      Posted September 30, 2011 at 6:12 am | Permalink

      This seems entirely plausible to me. Never underestimate the power of religious ideology to drive irrational and dishonest behavior.

  36. Posted September 30, 2011 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    It is very common for all those faith-supporters to finally reveal publicly their real agenda …. the unmoveable belief in their wished supernatural reality and the (halfremembered emotional ) echo’s from their juvenile years and indoctrinations
    Especially the belief in a big brother in the sky working with a real purpose.
    They all badly need a mighty and everlasting omnipotent father -figure
    They are children( of their gods of course ) ….

    Here is again a suggestion that my here given opinion , may be true

  37. Posted September 30, 2011 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    Of course do I believe that what I say is true

    As a believer I can even belief anything

    And why shouldn’t I be allowed to use the “belief” method ? just because I do not believe the same thing as other believers ?

  38. Sigmund
    Posted September 30, 2011 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    I suspect that it isn’t the change in direction of BioLogos that will influence the Templeton Foundation to fail to renew the grant, it is the fact that Francis Collins is not there as the big name Christian believer to head the organization. I tend to see their support of BioLogos as providing a storefront of scientific Christians to hold up to believers to give the impression that all is cozily compatible between science and religion. With Collins out of the picture they are left with nobody of any scientific significance to head the organization.
    As for the current bunch – well they have given up the idea of changing the environment of evangelical christianity and have switched to calling for a nature reserve, with theistic evolutionists themselves as the protected endangered species.

    • Posted September 30, 2011 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      Sigmund – Tend to agree, but would bet an Upslope Pale Ale that they will get renewed. I think that BL still has some lingering Collins aura. Might depend on the election – if Obama gets defeated, Collins would probably leave the NIH and be more directly involved with BL. Also, as I have mentioned before, let’s remember that Jack Templeton is in charge now.

      • Posted September 30, 2011 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        Wanted to add that I believe we are observing the evolution of BioLogos as various selective pressures have come into play.

  39. Matt G
    Posted September 30, 2011 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    I can’t decide if they are engaged in a misinformation campaign or a disinformation campaign. The former would be unintentional (ignorance), and the latter intentional (deception), but is there something in-between which suggests that they don’t *care* if what they’re saying is correct (since their ultimate goal is to promote religion, not science)? I have in the back of my mind the Harry Frantfurt essay called On Bullshit.


2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] Templeton-Funded BioLogos cleans house, promotes young-earth creationist, begins slide into irreleva…, by Jerry Coyne Share this:TwitterFacebook"Aimer" ceci :"J'aime"Soyez le premier à aimer ce post. Cette entrée a été publiée dans Interesting stuff. Ajouter aux Favoris le permalien. ← Dynamic expression of two thrombospondins during axolotl limb regeneration […]

  2. […] 2011, although curiously he is still listed as a Senior Fellow at the Biologos website), and one blogger has reported his departure as follows: What both Enns and Karl Giberson (also recently departed) had in common was their […]

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