Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Here is How BioLogos Promotes the Warfare Thesis

Just Like Huxley and White

The “Warfare Thesis” is an overly simplistic and downright mythological view of the relationship between religion and science. It models the relationship as one of conflict, with religion dogmatically resisting science’s inconvenient findings, such as evolution, while science objectively pursues the truth. But the Warfare Thesis is not opposed to religion. Early exponents such as Thomas H. Huxley and Andrew Dickson White were often friends with religion. Huxley was sympathetic to the Church of England and White spoke well of Christianity. Far from wishing to injure Christianity, White wrote that he hoped to promote it; at least, his favored version of Christianity. White's target were those “mediaeval conceptions of Christianity.” Once this “dogmatic theology” is excised all would be well:

My belief is that in the field left to them—their proper field—the clergy will more and more, as they cease to struggle against scientific methods and conclusions, do work even nobler and more beautiful than anything they have heretofore done. And this is saying much. My conviction is that Science, though it has evidently conquered Dogmatic Theology based on biblical texts and ancient modes of thought, will go hand in hand with Religion; and that, although theological control will continue to diminish, Religion, as seen in the recognition of “a Power in the universe, not ourselves, which makes for righteousness,” and in the love of God and of our neighbor, will steadily grow stronger and stronger, not only in the American institutions of learning but in the world at large.

In other words, rightly understood science and religion should divide along the fact-faith split. Science gives us facts while religion gives us faith and feelings. This was the implicit message of the closing scene of Inherit The Wind which had Clarence Darrow (Spencer Tracy) clutching a Bible after demolishing William Jennings Bryan’s (Fredric March) belief that the Bible gives us facts, as well as faith. The message was not to reject religion, but to keep it in its place. Of course Darrow was not a Christian, and he never defeated Bryan. But the Warfare Thesis never was about truth.

So while the Warfare Thesis speaks of conflict between science and religion, it also seeks harmony between science and religion. The difference is in the religion. Religion needs to accommodate science’s new truths and restrict itself to faith and feelings. That will lead to harmony but otherwise there is conflict.

Nowhere is this more evident today than at BioLogos where, for example in a recent post, President Deborah Haarsma expressed concern that Bethel College has decided that its faculty ought not to be advocating the view that God used evolution to create the first humans. The concern at BioLogos is that such a decision “effectively sets faith commitments in opposition to clear scientific evidence [for the evolution of humans] in God’s creation.”

This is the Warfare Thesis. Religion is in conflict with “science” and that is a problem.

But of course elsewhere BioLogos calls for harmony as they invite “the church and the world to see the harmony between science and biblical faith as we present an evolutionary understanding of God’s creation,” and provide “5 Reasons the Church Should Embrace Science.”

This too is the Warfare Thesis. Religion is in conflict with “science” and the solution is to acquiesce and retreat to the realm of faith and feelings.

The Warfare Thesis is based on the erroneous equating of evolution as empirical science. Evolution was never about the science, but rather is motivated and justified by, yes, religious beliefs. That is abundantly documented, from Leibniz to Darwin to Coyne. The claim that science has arrived at Epicureanism is simply absurd. The fact is, Epicureanism has arrived at Epicureanism. Evolutionary thought is thoroughly ensconced in metaphysics. There are no scientific proofs for the spontaneous origin of the species, they are theological and philosophical.

25 comments:

  1. BioLogos must have done some serious editing to their Bibles. Or most probably never read them or examined the lack of science in the evolutionary theory.

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  2. As if science has not always been sitting on a mountain of metaphysical assumptions. There is no religion without science and no science without religion. They are one and the same thing. Whether or not you believe in emergent life or consciousness from matter, and whether or not you believe in God, you are religious.

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    1. Sure, science always has some metaphysical assumptions. But you're mistaken if you therefore equate all of science. The assumptions of uniformity and parsimony are fundamental to science. Evolutionary thought dwarfs this. There is no comparison between uniformity and parsimony and the theological premises of evolution.

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    2. Evolution is a Creation narrative that has preceded any kind of empirical scientific inquiry.

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    3. "Evolution is a Creation narrative that has preceded any kind of empirical scientific inquiry."

      I guess that little book, Origin of Species, a book completed full of empirical scientific inquiry, the book that preceded the modern evolutionary theory, sort of contradicts your claim.

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  3. The christian leadership failed to defend the truth.
    then and now they should of insisted evolution etc was a attack on the truth of the bible, protestantism especially, and thus any such attacks were wrong.
    The evolutionists etc were not held to the fact they were attacking a faiths doctrines.
    Fine if they do but don't deny it by saying aw shucks we are just doing our science job!!
    The ministers could of demanded that real evidence be made before it was respectful to attack the bible.
    Its been a error to allow a attack on a faith.
    It should of been a special case and then i think evolutions errors would of come out quicker.
    Evolutionism is an attack upon christian doctrines for many.
    so they are breaking social contract between the people to not attack each others faith in using the institutions.
    if they do then equal time and also they must go a long way and not get away with I know better its my job stuff.

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    1. Robert, I thank god that you are defending Cornelius's position.

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  4. "William SpearshakeAugust 5, 2015 at 8:28 PM
    Robert, I thank god that you are defending Cornelius's position."


    Your presuppositions are no better than many others. We know what you mean. But the reality is that Hunter's position needs no defense. His statements are based on the obvious. But someone like yourself, apparently, is not privy to the obvious.

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  5. It seems to me that one of the tools that must be forbidden when studying evolution is common sense.

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    1. Ouch. If I had any feelings, they would be hurt.

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  6. Phillymike,

    "It seems to me that one of the tools that must be forbidden when studying evolution is common sense."

    It's funny you should bring up the idea of common sense when it comes to science. I just came across the following quote from physicist Julio Gonzalez in a review of his book Cosmological Implications of Heisenberg's Principle.

    "Will modern science and technology be able to survive for very long after its metaphysical, epistemological, common sense foundations enter moral decomposition?"

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    1. Seems common sense is derided by the evolutionary community as a weakness. "We're scientists who know what you couldn't possibly understand. You just need to trust us."

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  7. "There are no scientific proofs for the spontaneous origin of the species, they are theological and philosophical."

    You are certainly correct about the first half of your unsupported assertion. There is no scientific proof about anything. Science does not deal with proofs (math does). Science only deals with the best explanations for the observed facts. In this respect, unguided evolution is the best explanation for the fossil record and extant life. ID is another explanation but since it refuses to address the mechanisms behind it and the nature of the designer, it is, at best, only half of an explanation.

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    1. I did say "at best". I was in a generous mood.

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  9. moral decomposition

    What is that?

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    1. Pedant,

      "moral decomposition. What is that?"

      Maybe it could have to do with the decomposition of morals. Or do you not understand what he words 'decomposition' and 'morals' mean?

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    2. All I'm asking for is a bit of explanation and detail.

      If that's too much to ask, forget it. Just talk to each other.

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    3. Pedant,

      "All I'm asking for is a bit of explanation and detail."

      Scientific investigation has a moral duty to function with integrity and honesty. Gonzalez feels that is eroding and as such fears for the future of science.

      I hope that helps?

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    4. Pedant,

      "All I'm asking for is a bit of explanation and detail."

      Scientific investigation has a moral duty to function with integrity and honesty. Gonzalez feels that is eroding and as such fears for the future of science.

      I hope that helps?

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    5. Pedant,

      "Ok, thanks."

      You're quite welcome.

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