Christians battle each other over evolution
The Discovery Institute – the Seattle-based headquarters of the intelligent design movement – has just launched a new website, Faith and Evolution, which asks, can one be a Christian and accept evolution? The answer, as far as the Discovery Institute is concerned, is a resounding: No.
The new website appears to be a response to the recent launch of the BioLogos Foundation, the brainchild of geneticist Francis Collins, former head of the Human Genome Project and rumoured Obama appointee-to-be for head of the National Institutes of Health. Along with “a team of scientists who believe in God” and some cash from the Templeton Foundation, Collins, an evangelical Christian who is also a staunch proponent of evolution, is on a crusade to convince believers that faith and science need not be at odds. He is promoting “theistic evolution” – the belief that God (the prayer-listening, proactive, personal God of Christianity) chose to create life by way of evolution.
It sounds like a nice idea, but to my mind any time you try to reconcile science and religion by rejecting Stephen Jay Gould’s notion of “non-overlapping magisteria” and instead try shoehorning them into a single worldview, something suffers. My concern is that science will take the hit – and Collins’s speculative arguments about divine intervention via quantum uncertainty seem dangerously poised for the punch. The Discovery Institute’s concern, on the other hand, is that Christianity will take the hit. “For Christians,” they write on their website, “mainstream theistic evolution raises challenges to traditional doctrines about God’s providence, the Fall and the detectability of God’s design in nature.” For them, reconciling evolution and religious faith is simply a hopeless endeavour.
I think it’s interesting that the Discovery Institute – which has long argued that intelligent design qualifies as science – seems to have given up the game and acknowledged that their concerns are religious after all. It’s equally interesting that the catalyst doesn’t seem to be someone like Richard Dawkins pushing atheism, but Francis Collins pushing Christianity. Perhaps the Discovery folks realise that Dawkins’s followers are never going to be swayed by intelligent design; Collins, however, might very well cut into their target audience of scientifically-curious evangelicals.
Skepdude says: I see your true colors, coming through…Discovery Institute you’re a joke. You claim your Intelligent Designer is not the Christian God, that your ID theory is science and yet you go and do this, which proves quite irrecovably to anyone with a couple of firing neurons that you’re a bunch of hypocrites with a religious, anti-scientific agenda!