Tag Archives: Evolutionary Creationism

What About the Cavemen?

Some of this Veracity blogger's distance relatives, or just a really bad TV show from the 1960s? (It's About Time).

Some of this Veracity blogger’s distance relatives, or just a really bad TV show from the 1960s? (It’s About Time).

One of the most persistent challenges in trying to reconcile Biblical truth with the findings of modern science is this: What do you do with the cavemen?

The mainstream scientistic consensus today is that there have been human-like creatures discovered in the ancient fossil record that predate humans like you and me. Names such as Cro-Magnon man, homo erectus, and the neanderthal fill our imaginations with images of semi-ape, semi-human creatures hobbling or running around with crude tools, making grunting noises, many of them living in… well… caves. My wife thinks I must be related at times to these creatures, particularly when I get out of bed in the morning, bumping into things when I am barely awake!!

But seriously, could it be that these brute creatures are related to us, we homo-sapiens, or is such a concept alien to the teaching of the Bible? Does the existence of these creatures insult or even undermine the Christian concept of the special status of humanity’s uniqueness?

News within recent years suggests that there is some evidence of actual interbreeding between modern humans and neanderthals thousands of years ago, as in this story from the British Natural History museum:

So what does the Bible have to say regarding creatures like the neanderthal?
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Bill Nye & Ken Ham Debate: One Year Later

A year ago today, popular children educator Bill Nye and the president of Answers in Genesis, Ken Ham, debated one another at the Creation Museum in Kentucky. Has anything changed within a year?

Bill Nye was recently interviewed by the folks at BioLogos. Two things stand out to me in the interview:

  • For Bill Nye, “creationism” means believing in a Young Earth that is only 6,000 to 10,000 years old. Other forms of “creationism,” including Old-Earth Creationism as articulated at Reasons to Believe and Evolutionary Creationism as articulated at BioLogos simply do not count as “creationism.”
  • For Bill Nye, the science of evolution does not allow a reasonable person to see any divine “plan” in nature… at least for him.

If you accept the black-and-white categories laid out by both Bill Nye and Ken Ham, it leaves very little room for talking about harmonizing the God of the Bible’s Creative activity with contemporary science without compromising either the Biblical authority on the one hand or modern Science on the other. I was not very thrilled with the debate as it just seemed as though the participants kept talking past one another, something that comes out in the Answers In Genesis video linked below.

Has there been more fruitful dialogue to come out of the Nye/Ham debate over the past year? I will let you be the judge, but from where I sit, it does not help the situation when even Christians find themselves unable to see past their own prejudices, confusing making a stand on the Truthfulness of God’s Word with merely being uncharitable towards others with whom they disagree.

*SIGH*

But allow me to make a positive illustration: At the National Conference on Christian Apologetics that I attended in October, 2014, with a few Veracity friends, I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Michael Behe, one of the leading lights of the Intelligent Design movement, discussed here earlier on Veracity. I also met Hugh Ross, the president of Reasons to Believe, a favorite here at Veracity. I told both gentlemen that I was a bit bothered that while there were Young Earth, Old Earth, and Intelligent Design people represented at that conference, the Evolutionary Creationist camp represented by BioLogos was conspicuously absent (this is ironic since WORLD magazine soon thereafter made the counter-claim that BioLogos excluded prominent critics from a BioLogos conference … I guess WORLD magazine never covered the National Conference on Christian Apologetics… more *SIGHING*).

What Michael Behe and Hugh Ross said was refreshingly encouraging. While both  disagreed with the view of Darwinism held by the folks at BioLogos, and both nevertheless continue to try to persuade others to their point of view, both men still count a number of their critics at BioLogos as being friends.

Wow. What a novel concept: Embracing fellow believers in Christ as friends, even when you strongly disagree with them on a particular non-salvation issue.

Perhaps if others in the creation/age-of-the-earth/evolution debate within the Body of Christ had that type of attitude with one another, then when you have debates with folks like Bill Nye, it would not seem like you were always talking past the other person.

Thanks, Dr. Behe and Dr. Ross!


The Tinkering Engineer and Design

In Why Evolution is True, biologist and atheist Jerry Coyne seeks to drive a wedge between intelligent design and NeoDarwinian evolution, favoring the latter. But what if the Bible and "real world" engineering both make a case that there is less of a contrast than what Coyne would have us believe? Would a little imagination from an engineer help?

In Why Evolution is True, biologist and atheist Jerry Coyne seeks to drive a wedge between intelligent design and NeoDarwinian evolution, favoring the latter. But what if the Bible and “real world” engineering both make a case that there is less of a contrast than what Coyne would have us believe? Would a little imagination from an engineer help?

When God created the world did He do so as a Master Engineer or as a Tinkerer?

I recently finished listening to an audiobook by Jerry Coyne, a University of Chicago biologist, and vocal critic of Christian interpretations of science. In Why Evolution is True, Jerry Coyne is making the argument that the biological theory of evolution rules out the possibility of Intelligent Design. Evolution does not reflect the divine activity of a Creator. According to Coyne, the biological world does not resemble the work of someone creating things from scratch. Instead, the evolutionary process demonstrates the work of tinkering; that is, working with a limitation of available parts, experimenting at putting together different solutions. Tinkering is not very efficient, nor does it always produce the most beneficial results, hardly becoming the activity of a Divine Creator. But for Coyne, this tinkering is exactly what NeoDarwinian evolution is all about… and it is true.

Jerry Coyne did his undergraduate work at the College of William and Mary, finishing in the 1970’s. I currently work at William and Mary as a network engineer. Coyne is a superbly skilled scientist, but I need to respond to him as an engineer. Continue reading


Which Science Do You Trust?

Who would you trust the most? An astronomer guy who peers into his telescope in the wee hours of the morning? A physicist who draws up mind-blowing math formulas and rambles on about some Higgs Boson thingie? A chemist who mixes up crazy concoctions in her lab? Or a biologist who plays with frogs and fruit flys?

I was listening to the latest podcast from MoodyRadio’s Up For Debate program this week. The topic was “Should Christians Embrace Theistic Evolution? featuring a discussion between Dr. Ard Louis, a scientist at the University of Oxford, and Dr. Paul Nelson, a Fellow of the Discovery Institute. At one point during the program, the host of the show, Julie Roys, played the following clip from Phillip E. Johnson, perhaps the father of the modern Intelligent Design movement. Here Johnson argues that “evolution” as generally understood by the educational and academic community is inherently atheistic in orientation. In other words, theistic evolution is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms.

I get the impression that according to Phillip Johnson, he would pick and trust the astronomer, the physicist or the chemist over the biologist any day. Sorry frog and fruit fly lover!!

This raises an interesting set of issues and I will tell you why.
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Oxymoronic: On How (Not) to be a Moron

Snow falling on the sundial, in front of Swem Library on the campus of William and Mary, early evening, January 28, 2014.

Light snow falling on the sundial, in front of Swem Library on the campus of the College of William and Mary, early evening, January 28, 2014.

It is snowing in Williamsburg, Virginia this evening. We do not get that much snow here, so when it does snow it can be memorable. But some memories can trigger some other embarrassing memories.

It was another rare snowy night last year when I went with some friends to hear Terry Mortenson of Answers In Genesis speak at the College of William and Mary defending his position for Young Earth Creationism. The title of the talk was “Was Darwin Right?” (Check here and here for the YouTube videos recorded elsewhere from an earlier presentation). As the snow was melting down my neck in the auditorium, I was captivated by a back and forth dialogue between Mortensen and a skeptical college student who obviously knew more about genetics than I did. I had read enough of Francis Collins’ The Language of God to follow along in the discussion at a modest level, but it became apparent that after about 15 minutes…. this was the longest engagement during the entire hour-plus Q&A period… that Mortensen was completely out of his league here. Mortensen is a historian of science and theology, but he is not a genetic biologist. Mortensen was gracious and kind… but not very persuasive.

John Paine this morning left a thoughtfully engaging yet brief response to my last, and not-so-brief, Veracity post on “An Evolutionary Creation: Oxymoron? I could not simply respond with a brief comment (John gives me a lot to think about… there goes my lunch break), so with the snow as a tickler to my thoughts, here goes the rest of my rejoinder…..
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