Theistic evolution – what is this, exactly?
An interesting discussion occurs within the comments of a blog at uncommondescent
Apparently some former graduates of Bryan College are writing a science curriculum that will cover the full spectrum of views from hard core evolution to hard core creation. As best I can tell, the authors favor “theistic evolution” although they prefer the term “evolutionary creationism” which is the same thing. Here’s a definition from the article: “Theistic evolution, also called ‘evolutionary creation,’ posits God used evolution to create biological life, including humans.”
Let’s translate that into straightforward English. “God used a process which works perfectly without any intelligent agent to create biological life.” Another way of saying it is “God used a completely self-contained process which is not accessible to any agent to create life.”
We start to see the problem with these statements. The problem is God. The statements work so much better if we simply eliminate God, whose role seems limited to creating a contradiction.
“A process which works perfectly without any intelligent agency created life.” There. Now there’s no contradiction and the statement makes sense.
Or, if you prefer, “God, an agent of unlimited intelligence and act, created life.” That statement, too, is shorn of contradiction and makes sense.
But there’s no way to combine these two statements into a coherent and logical proposition.
Like a figure which is both a circle and a square at the same time in the same way, theistic evolution is a flat out contradiction and makes no sense.
Consider the assertions of Michael Dowd, the self-claimed “America’s evolutionary evangelist”, in his blog describing “evidence as divine guidance”
As humanity’s collective intelligence embodied in the new academic discipline of big history shows, the Universe began 13.7 billion years ago and, at least with respect to its upper limit, has engaged in a creative process of increasing complexity ever since: from galaxies of stars that created atoms, to oceans of molecules that brought forth the first living cell, to ecosystems of interactions that created minds, to swirling societies of minds that created culture, technology, and probing subjectivity.
Each step of this claimed history (other than the last) are unproven by science. In fact, they have severe difficulties even being considered possible within the scope of science.
1. universe began in big bang 13.7 billion years ago — See Universe from Nothing?
2. creative process of increasing complexity? — not possible within a closed system, per laws of thermodynamics
3. from galaxies of stars… — there is no naturalistic explanation for the existence of the very first stars, chemistry and physics get in the way.
The universe is described as an apparently infinite volume such that on the very largest scales the galaxies are distributed randomly throughout. After all, this is the basis of the assumption that underpins the big bang conjecture itself. That unproven and unprovable assumption is the cosmological principle. It essentially states that the universe is both homogeneous (no matter where we view it from it always looks the same) and isotropic (it looks identical in whichever direction we look) and that the laws of physics are the same everywhere. Without these assumptions, the Friedmann-Lemaître solutions of the general relativity equations are invalid. It is upon these assumptions that all big bang cosmology hangs.
Richard Feynman succinctly describes the problem of the cosmological principle on page 166 of his book:
‘… I suspect that the assumption of uniformity of the universe reflects a prejudice born of a sequence of overthrows of geocentric ideas. … It would be embarrassing to find, after stating that we live in an ordinary planet about an ordinary star in an ordinary galaxy, that our place in the universe is extraordinary … To avoid embarrassment we cling to the hypothesis of uniformity.’1 [emphasis added]
Stephen Hawking seems to be giving a different impression. He writes in his newer version2 of an old book (pp. 154–155):
‘This [big bang] picture of the universe that started off very hot and cooled as it expanded is in agreement with all the observational evidence we have today. Nevertheless it leaves a number of important questions unanswered … (2) Why is the universe so uniform on a large scale? Why does it look the same at all points of space and in all directions?’
He gives us the idea that the universe is uniform in all directions. Note, he adds on ‘a large scale’ because on every other smaller scale than large (by definition) it is not uniform. Also he uses a ploy of having the reader focus on a question that need not be answered if he knew the real state of observational astronomy.
Hawking continues with another unanswered question (p. 156):
‘(4) Despite the fact that the universe is so uniform and homogeneous on a large scale, it contains local irregularities, such as stars and galaxies. These are thought to have developed from small differences in the density of the early universe from one region to another. What was the origin of these density fluctuations?’
He is saying the origin of stars and galaxies is totally unknown.
4. “oceans of molecules brought forth the first living cell” — not possible, even atheistic Nobel winner, Francis Crick was forced to resort to directed panspermia (ie “aliens did it”) to explain how life exists on the earth.
5. “ecosystems of interactions that created minds” — references, please?
Dowd’s statement is nothing but pure conjecture made to avoid dealing with the possibility of a Personal Creator, and the resulting human responsibility. This conjecture is not original to him, it’s just a restatement of the hopeful belief system of secular society.
Please note that there was *no* evidence presented at all. Dowd appears to tread close to scientism, and have faith in consensus science, which is not an evidence based belief. See Michael Crichton’s comments: There is no such thing as consensus science..