2012-08-30

Theistic evolutionists are creationists

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by Neil Godfrey

From Jerry Coyne’s comments on responses to Bill Nye’s attack on creationism (reformatted), posted on his blog, Why Evolution Is True:

Theistic evolutionists are creationists, pure and simple; they differ from straight fundamentalist creationists only in how much of life God was involved in creating, ranging from

  • those who think God set the whole plan in motion, knowing it would culminate in that most awesome of species, US,
  • to those who think that God tinkered with mutations to create the right species (see the philosophical work of Elliott Sober),
  • to those who think that humans are set apart from other species because God inserted a soul in our lineage (that’s the official view of the Vatican). 

That is being anti-evolution as scientists understand it, since we see evolution as a naturalistic process that has nothing to do with deities.

Sadly, far more Americans are theistic evolutionists than naturalistic evolutionists: the proportions among all Americans are 38% to 16% respectively (40% are straight creationists, 6% are unsure). We have a long way to go.

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  • Niels Peter Lemche
    2012-08-30 18:53:48 GMT+0000 - 18:53 | Permalink

    What is wrong with you Americans?

    I do not think that you can find one Nobel Laureate from the last hundred years who would support any form of creationism. Still this religious madness is allowed to persist.

    Here at least, Europe is vastly superior. There might be minority groups around having these crazy ideas but the general attitude is the one I saw in a response to an interview with me in the Swedish Radio: my God! still anybody who believes in this nonsense (e.g., the Bible as a trusty medium for knowledge).

    • 2012-08-31 00:06:16 GMT+0000 - 00:06 | Permalink

      What is wrong with you Americans?

      Econimic inequality. From that point of view, things start to make sense. Every part of the world where economic inequality is at levels comparable to those in the US, religiosity — Creationism in particular — runs rampant.

    • 2012-09-03 15:50:33 GMT+0000 - 15:50 | Permalink

      You are correct – one cannot find one Nobel Laureate from the last century who believes in any form of creationism. Just limiting the search to the physical sciences, one finds several. I did not search in Literature or economics, but the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize winner was a name you may recall, The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.
      In the sciences:
      WERNER HEISENBERG (German), Nobel Laureate in Physics:
      Heisenberg wrote: “The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.” [“Der erste Trunk aus dem Becher der Naturwissenschaft macht atheistisch, aber auf dem Grund des Bechers wartet Gott.”] (Heisenberg, as cited in Hildebrand 1988, 10).

      ROBERT MILLIKAN (American), Nobel Laureate in Physics:
      “It pains me as much as it did Kelvin ‘to hear crudely atheistic views expressed by men who have never known the deeper side of existence.’ Let me, then, henceforth use the word God to describe that which is behind the mystery of existence and that which gives meaning to it. I think you will not misunderstand me, then, when I say that I have never known a thinking man who did not believe in God.” (Millikan 1925).

      GUGLIELMO MARCONI (Italian), Nobel Laureate in Physics:
      “The more I work with the powers of Nature, the more I feel God’s benevolence to man; the closer I am to the great truth that everything is dependent on the Eternal Creator and Sustainer [Creatore e Reggitore Eterno]; the more I feel that the so-called ‘science’ I am occupied with is nothing but an expression of the Supreme Will, which aims at bringing people closer to each other in order to help them better understand and improve themselves.” (Marconi, as cited in Maria Cristina Marconi 1995, 244).

      ILYA PRIGOGINE (Russian), Double Nobel Laureate in Chemistry:
      “The statistical probability that organic structures and the most precisely harmonized reactions that typify living organisms would be generated by accident, is zero.”

      My wife is European, so I have plenty of praise for Europe’s accomplishments, and even among many Europeans I see the manifest virtue of humility, a trait I admire wheresoever it is found.

  • 2012-08-30 20:12:43 GMT+0000 - 20:12 | Permalink

    Theistic evolutionists remind me of someone who says he understands how a television set or a computer works, and can nod in agreement with all he reads about the circuitry and chips and electro-magnetic waves, but even after all of that he still thinks there is a little man inside making it all work just the same.

  • 2012-08-31 04:50:23 GMT+0000 - 04:50 | Permalink

    There actually is a trend among “theistic evolutionists” to re-brand themselves as “evolutionary creationists”-see http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2012/08/23/theistic-evolution-vs-evolutionary-creationists/ and http://biologos.org/uploads/projects/Lamoureux_Scholarly_Essay.pdf

  • RoHa
    2012-08-31 10:26:47 GMT+0000 - 10:26 | Permalink

    The idea of theistic evolution seems to me to be a step in the right direction, in that it recognizes the force of the evidence for evolution. That is an improvement on simply taking the word of the preacher and denying or refusing to look at the eivdence.

  • 2012-08-31 10:26:55 GMT+0000 - 10:26 | Permalink

    J. Quinton: Another explanation that makes sense to me is that the failure of the workers’ and union movements in the nineteenth century, being crushed by the business powers, leaving the churches as the dominant social hubs in the U.S.. Contrast Europe and Australia where workers’ victories, even if not complete, carved out very different political and social landscapes. (Not unlike what has happened in the Middle East where Arab dictatorships were enabled to crush secular-socialist resistance so that a vacuum was created that was filled by religious extremists. Time will tell how the next phase will pan out.)

    Pithom: Good (I think). We can then call them all “creationists” and force those woolly thinking wishy washy liberal theologians to decide to take a real stand. 🙂

  • NateP
    2012-08-31 18:23:20 GMT+0000 - 18:23 | Permalink

    I’m truly thinking of leaving America for good, if significant ground is not covered on this issue, and quick. Or…if a Mormon is elected by the American people to the presidency (really because it only takes 10 minutes for anyone (with the Internet) to confirm how utterly absurd the beliefs of Mormonism are).

  • Niels Peter Lemche
    2012-09-02 04:12:09 GMT+0000 - 04:12 | Permalink

    and don’t forget that health care and all that including kindergartens (just think of the word) were introduced by Bismarck, by no means a liberal. The idea was of course that providing the workers with all these types of security would guarantee that they remained faithful to their employers. Here in Scandinavia and especially in Denmark the ideal was that the strong shoulders carry the most, but also that few has too much, and even fewer too many. That was around 1900.

    But what went wrong? because it started so good with the independence declaration.

    Really time to stop and think it all over again. Not as much in the political sense as in the intellectual.

  • Pingback: Evolution With A God, Evolutionary Creationism, and When The Boundary Between Them Blurs « Against Jebel al-Lawz

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