BioLogos seeks a new president

BioLogos has announced that Darrel Falk, the current president (he’s served for 2.5 years after the exit of Francis Collins, who started the Foundation to bring Jesus-lovers to Darwin), is stepping down, and the organization is looking for a new president.  This completes the trifecta of resignations, which includes to date co-president “Uncle” Karl Giberson as well as Biblical scholar Pete Enns.

I’m not sure whether this means anything at for the future of this accommodationist organization: in his statement of resignation, “The vision lives on. . . and on,” Falk makes the usual excuse:

At the end of this year, I will be stepping aside as leader of BioLogos. What I love to do most of all is to study, to write, and to teach. This has been my primary calling in life. Occasionally, I have been led down a different path that included some administrative responsibilities for short periods of time, but I know my primary calling and look forward to getting back to it.

Do have a look at Falk’s account of BioLogos‘s “accomplishments,” none of which actually include converting science-averse evangelical Christians to evolution.  They’ve had workshops, meetings, and a big website for three years, as well as tons of funding from the Templeton Foundation and, I suspect, wealthy evangelicals.  But they have no record of actually doing what they set out to do: reconciling science with evangelical Christianity.

The reason is palpably clear of course: those “ways of knowing” are incompatible. But Falk seems cluelessly puzzled by BioLogos‘s failure:

But as thankful as I am for that support, no straddling ought to be required. Science studies God’s creation, which places it on sacred ground, not foreign territory. And if it is sacred ground, then Christians ought to be right there providing tours of the landscape, not out on the fringes looking in. True, there are sections of the science landscape that need to be redeemed from the scientism Richard Dawkins and others use to surface-mine and subtly rearrange the terrain for their own philosophical purposes, but the fact that they have been able to do this may be partly due to our near-absence from the territory. We have been far too hesitant to enter this world, and sometimes it seems we have simply preferred to cast stones from the outside.

Elaine Eklund has shown that Evangelicals are fourteen-fold under-represented among the scientists at the nation’s leading universities. Is this a result of what Mark Noll (almost twenty years ago) described as a scandal—“the scandal of the evangelical mind?” Could it be that the territory seems foreign because we have stayed away and failed to adequately understand how science works and why it is such a dependable way of revealing truth about the physical and biological world that God has created?

Oh for crying out loud! Evangelicals and other hyper-religious people are underrepresented in science because it threatens their faith. It’s not an inadequate understanding of how science works, but a realization that the findings of science, if taken seriously, make the idea of a god superfluous.   And, in the end, this is why all efforts like those of BioLogos will fail.

I can’t resist one dig at Falk’s boast about viewers of their site:

. . . our website has, according to Alexa, grown to become the most viewed web-site in the world for sites that focus on compatibility between mainstream science and the Christian faith. Over 750,000 people have visited the site and viewed an average of seven BioLogos pages.

Well, this site has been up only about six months longer than BioLogos‘s, and as of two minutes ago we had 14,115,529 views (I think that’s equivalent to their stats, though I don’t know how many pages my visitors have viewed.)

Bye bye, Darrel

Nor can I resist reprising BioLogos‘s statement about the new president’s mission and qualifications:

The Position

The President is the public face of BioLogos, embodying the organization’s vision and implementing it by working with the staff, leading evangelicals and scientists and the general public. This person will have deep-seated appreciation of the current gulf between modern science, especially evolution, and conservative evangelical Christianity and be able to successfully convey the need to rectify this situation.

A spirit of graciousness and genuine interest in the views of others who see things differently is important. Since the position requires a component of spiritual leadership, a commitment to a growing and meaningful personal relationship with Jesus Christ is essential. . .

Personal qualifications sought in the next leader of BioLogos

  • Exhibits a strong personal faith relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • Identifies with a local community of Christians.
  • Embraces a high view of Scripture.
  • Shows a love and respect for the church and its people.
  • Demonstrates high integrity and personal character.
  • Seeks and affirms truth.
  • Demonstrates self-knowledge of personal and professional strengths and weaknesses.
  • Synthesizes complex information.
  • Shows strong verbal and written communication skills.
  • Understands the importance of a collegial and professional leadership presence.
  • Has ability to travel by commercial airlines and by automobile.
  • Models being a seasoned and mature leader.
  • Holds the PhD or its equivalent.

I love the “has ability to travel by commercial airlines and by automobile.”  But where, oh where, is the vitally important “love of and respect for the achievements of science”?

33 Comments

  1. gbjames
    Posted July 15, 2012 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    NONE of the job requirements even mention science!

    • Tim
      Posted July 15, 2012 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      I wouldn’t say that. After all, there is this: Seeks and affirms truth.

      The problem is that this comes sixth and is in contradiction with the first four requirements.

      • Gregory Kusnick
        Posted July 15, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        “Self-knowledge of personal weaknesses” would also seem to be at odds with the first four.

      • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
        Posted July 15, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        But that is a signpost for accommodationism in the context, not science. It could as well mean to replace facts with Ecklunds “truth” or evolutionary creationist “truth”.

  2. Posted July 15, 2012 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Embraces a high view of Scripture.

    Is this even possible on a Newtonian level?

  3. B.R.
    Posted July 15, 2012 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    What a load of crap. Rationality cannot mix with stupidity; and when you talk about science and faith, that’s the two concepts you’re really talking about.

  4. Hempenstein
    Posted July 15, 2012 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    And how much has BioLogos gotten from Templeton and others over that time, with a staff of how many, to have nominally 1/20th the impact that WEIT has enjoyed for nothing, and a staff of one with (arbuably) two part-timers and other volunteers? (BTW, there’s an aspect – how many volunteers can BL count?)

  5. alexandra moffat
    Posted July 15, 2012 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    If it were not for science, there would be no planes and autos for them to travel on. Short of flapping their arms and praying. Good luck with that.

  6. mordacious1
    Posted July 15, 2012 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    How much does it pay? I shoveled out horse barns as a kid, so I’m as qualified as anybody.

  7. Jer
    Posted July 15, 2012 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    I’m always kind of surprised at how condescending and arrogant accomodationists are towards their fellow Christians.

    It really is no wonder to me that BioLogos has failed – liberal Christians don’t need a group to tell them that their faith and science are compatible, and conservative Christians ‘know’ that a group telling them that their faith and science are compatible knows that that group is wrong (and possible controlled by Satan, depending on the Christian).

    Honestly their arrogance is really the astounding part. At least scientists like Dawkins respect the beliefs of the people he disagrees with and argue against them honestly.

    • Posted July 15, 2012 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      I don’t think Dawkins “respects” the beliefs of people he disagrees with, certainly not if they are creationists. He may accord them the respect and courtesy that one human owes another, but “respect” their beliefs?

    • Posted July 15, 2012 at 9:30 am | Permalink

      He respects the people enough to take what they say about their beliefs at face value and argue against that.

  8. Posted July 15, 2012 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Science studies God’s creation

    …and quickly determines that God is superfluous to understanding the world.

    That’s the problem, Falk.

  9. Andrew B.
    Posted July 15, 2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    -Is also not averse to traveling by kayak, jetpack, ultralight or pogo-stick.

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted July 15, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      But terrorists on the no-fly list need not apply, I guess.

  10. Posted July 15, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    It’s interesting that their definition of “religion” is strictly mid-age, southern white guys evangelical christianity.

    All a marketing scam.

  11. Anders
    Posted July 15, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    “Holds the PhD or its equivalent”

    Considering the absent point JAC mentioned, this seems just as damning. You need a PhD, so it SOUNDS like you know your stuff, and we can brag about having one on board. Actual passion or knowledge of the subjects are irrelevant. Haha, such utter bullshit.

    • Chris
      Posted July 16, 2012 at 5:52 am | Permalink

      Paging “Dr” Hovind!

  12. Sigmund
    Posted July 15, 2012 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    “Exhibits a strong personal faith relationship with Jesus Christ”
    Are they going to check the reference?
    I’m almost tempted to apply myself – just for a laugh!
    “Dear Mr Christ, your name has been offered as a reference by a Dr Sigmund who claims to have had a strong personal relationship with you.
    Is this true, or is he simply making it all up?

  13. ManOutOfTime
    Posted July 15, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    I think WEI just has one page, strictly speaking, no … ?

  14. docbill1351
    Posted July 15, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    The problem in a nutshell is that for the first time in his bible thumping life Falk has had to think! And he just can’t apologize any more.

    Gloriosky, Zero!

    Here is the film adaptation of Falk’s I vant to be alone!

  15. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted July 15, 2012 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    “Models being a seasoned and mature leader.”

    What does this even mean? That you don’t actually have to be a seasoned and mature leader, so long as you can fake it convincingly?

  16. caf
    Posted July 15, 2012 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Could anyone offer an explanation about the plane and car travel requirement?

    I am really looking for a serious answer….What would have led them to include that? I have never ever seen it stated that way, it’s usually something along line of “ability to travel….”

    • Posted July 15, 2012 at 11:18 am | Permalink

      Maybe they want someone who can drive and fly a plane. *shrugs*

      • Hempenstein
        Posted July 15, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

        = Amish need not apply.

        • Posted December 7, 2012 at 12:14 am | Permalink

          Hemp – made me laugh! The Amish do travel by car, bus, train and plane because someone else is doing the ‘sinning’ of actually driving/conducting/piloting.

          Returned to this post because of curiosity of the impact of BioLogos – have not yet found much positive data. Most evangelicals are hard-core anti-BioLogos as far as I can tell.

    • Posted July 15, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      A polite way of saying “must have high boredom threshold, no dependents, and no chronic illness”.

    • Posted July 17, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Just means that whoever is applying should be aware that traveling by plane or driving is a common part of the job description.

      Probably means they sponsor workshops or speak at Christian University Graduation Ceremonies, etc…

  17. Torbjörn Larsson, OM
    Posted July 15, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Accommodationism is bound to fail, and we have plenty of witnesses to that (Templeton, Clergy Letter Project, BioLogos vs Dawkins’ Converts’ Corner).

    Their problem is that most deist gods seem to be hands on when it comes to choosing physical laws.

    – Theist gods are now known to be neither necessary nor very likely to create universes. Universes appear spontaneously out of known physical laws. (E.g: Hawking, Krauss.)

    In the same manner deist gods are neither necessary nor very likely to create physical laws.

    – Physical laws appear spontaneously out of known physical theories such as anthropic selection on eternal inflation multiverses or post-selection of universes. (E.g: Susskind, Hawking.)

    I suspect that eventually deism, as theist creationism already has, will fall as an intellectually acceptable alternative. With the disappearance for an acceptable gap to push gods into, accommodationism will also be finished as an intellectually acceptable alternative.

    It will continue to fly of course, but as an ex-parrot.

  18. Posted July 15, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    The only religion they seem to be interested in compatibalizating with science is Christianity. Why is that?

  19. mark2791
    Posted July 15, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    The first four requirements I would explicitly NOT want anyone connected with science to have.


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  1. [...] take on Dr. Falk’s resignation and on the purpose of BioLogos. Dr. Coyne writes at the blog, Why Evolution is True, and is a professor of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago. Here’s what Dr. [...]

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