According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for
this world to recreate, reclaim, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of
explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. - anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. - anon
... Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument.
There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is
irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a
power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table
to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace,
reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants
us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. - anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Differences Between "Intelligent Design" and "Evolutionary Creationism" - Part 1




Reviewing “Darwin’s Doubt”: Ralph Stearley
http://biologos.org/blog/reviewing-darwins-doubt-ralph-stearley

August 26, 2014

For the second installment in our series interacting with Stephen Meyer’s significant book Darwin’s Doubt, we draw your attention to the work of Ralph Stearley. Stearley is a professor of geology and paleontology at Calvin College, having received a PhD in those disciplines from the University of Michigan in 1990. His research includes studies of rock-boring marine invertebrates in the intertidal zone of the Gulf of California, and studies of Neogene fossil fishes from western North America.

Last year Stearley published a review essay of three recent books that deal with the Cambrian explosion. Besides Darwin’s Doubt, his treatment includes The Rise of Animals: Evolution and Diversification of the Kingdom Animalia (Johns Hopkins UP, 2007) by Mikail Fedonkin, James Gehling, Kathleen Grey, Guy Narbonne, and Patricia Vickers-Rich; and The Cambrian Explosion: The Construction of Animal Biodiversity (Roberts and Company, 2013) by Douglas Erwin and James Valentine. In addition to reviewing these books, Stearley provides an intriguing history of the field in recent decades as views on the Cambrian explosion have developed in response to other fossil discoveries. In the process, the reader is equipped with a treasure trove of data about the Cambrian and Ediacaran periods, the time scales involved, and the species that were precursors to the explosion. This discussion provides the context for Stearley’s engagement with Darwin’s Doubt.

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Stearley recognizes that Meyer has made a legitimate challenge to some interpretations of the Cambrian data, but ultimately he is not persuaded. In one section of the book, Meyer highlights the work of researchers who have discovered more and more complexity in the regulation of the developmental process. This creates problems for the standard neo-Darwinian explanations, but in Stearley’s estimation, Meyer makes more of this than it warrants:

“But, while it is true that Goodwin and others believe that their discoveries pose a major challenge to neo-Darwinian orthodoxy, this does not cause them to abandon their belief that the history of life can be explained as the outcome of biological processes! Indeed, many evolutionary biologists and paleontologists are looking to build the notions provided by morphogenetic fields and developmental constraints into a larger synthesis. Meanwhile, I suspect that the average (non-biologist) reader will come away from Chapter 14 with a mistaken impression that this previously innocuous or neglected topic has just-now been revealed to completely overturn our understanding of the history of life.” (p. 255)

We encourage you to read Stearley’s full review in Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, Volume 65, Number 4, December 2013. The issue is available online here, and a pdf of Stearley’s review can be accessed here.

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Ralph Stearley is a paleontologist with broad interests in the history of life and in biogeography. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in geological sciences, with an emphasis on vertebrate paleontology. He is professor of geology at Calvin College, where he has taught since 1992. His published research has included work on marine invertebrate ecology and paleoecology in the northern Gulf of California; fluvial taphonomy; the systematics and evolution of salmonid fishes; Pleistocene mammalian biogeography; and zooarchaeology of fish remains from sites in Michigan and New Mexico. He was privileged to be able to co-author, with former Calvin College colleague Davis Young, The Bible, Rocks and Time, published by InterVarsity Press in 2008.



for additional reference please read the following - 



for additional articles on evolution go to the
science section of the sidebars along the
right hand side of this blog site.


*Strictly speaking, as a Christian evolutionist, we use here as our template for scientific discussion the scientific theory of evolution without modification - but with modification as respecting the theological precepts as developed here on this blog site these past several years.

For instance, we deem God's act of creation willful and willfully spoken into a creation knit together by random disorder and chaotic quantum structure, underneath which permeates the song of the Creator (think string theory here). A divine music that guides without commanding specifics of an evolutionary creation that may form its own future but with an efficiency to always re-assemble itself so that life may adapt and survive regardless of life-extinction events. That through this complex process God rules but with an open handedness towards redemption which is profoundly distinct from scientific determinism (Stephen Hawking) or the (strong) Calvinistic models stating God's exacting "control" of creation and life altogether.... A theological distinction which Robert Stearley may be oriented towards (though I do not know) because of affiliations within his present Calvinistic setting (Calvin College, GRR) but which we would here advise away from any doctrine of "meticulous sovereignty". Even that which is oriented toward scientific evolution or evolutionary creationism. That divine "control" is a fiction best re-described theologically as a "divine weakness" or a "process-based partnership with nature" rather than one of iron-handed rule over nature, time, and very life forces itself. Statedly, even within its chaotic quantum structures. Meaning that, "Freedom isn't free unless it is truly free." Any movement away from this sovereign position of divine fiat subtends freedom towards determinism and is thus wrongly expressed by church doctrine teaching otherwise. More has been said of this subject but it behooves the reader to search through the many articles offered here rather than to attempt a combine of summary statements all at once.

Hence, we approach evolution from a theistic viewpoint but allow for evolution itself to inform our theologyWhat this means is multifaceted and cannot be condensed here in a few words (as attempted by the example immediately above). Simply, we do try to err here to the side of evolution in all respects but within those respects to pay attention to theology in its details and what this means to the church's present (but dated) modernistic orthodox doctrines as we posit a postmodern, post-evangelic church orthodoxy that is contemporary, relevant, and scientifically informed.

R.E. Slater
August 27, 2014


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