I had been looking forward to the response to Stephen Meyer’s new book, Return of the God Hypothesis, from BioLogos — a group that seeks to buttress Darwinian thinking for an Evangelical Christian audience. Biologist Darrel Falk has reviewed the book, here. He explains that as a podcast he chooses to “restrict my comments…to biology alone,” which would seem to miss what’s most novel and significant about the book, its treatment of physics and cosmology. We’ll come back to that in a separate post.
What I just listened to now was fascinating: a podcast dialogue about the new book between Meyer and BioLogos Vice President Jim Stump. If you ever wanted to know what an ID proponent would say to a proponent of theistic evolution, or “evolutionary creation,” if you put the two of them in a room for an hour or more, now you can find out. (They were not literally in the same room, but you know what I mean.)
I have a few observations. First, as Steve Meyer says at the end, Stump’s questions are excellent and thoughtful. The conversation is not a debate, though Stump follows up with a written “Guide to the Stephen Meyer Podcast Episode” where he seeks to answer some of Steve’s points directly. The theistic evolutionary or naturalistic perspective is clear from his questions, sometimes built into his words themselves, as Meyer points out with great precision at about 28 minutes in.
Friendly, Even Cordial
Yet, despite the critical edge, the discussion is not just “civil,” as Stump says, but friendly, even cordial, which is great. The tension makes the podcast particularly interesting. Their disagreements take some familiar forms, if you’ve followed the debate up till now. Stump advances the “God of the gaps” critique, which Meyer blunts. For his part, Steve notes “a default assumption of naturalism” in the BioLogos position and, as I said, in their very words.
For the armchair sociologist, the words take on an additional significance. While I’m not a Christian, I have the sense that BioLogos speaks to a very specific slice of the American Evangelical Christian community. That’s as compared with ID’s big tent, which is broad both as to other commitments (philosophical, theological) and as to geography. ID is a diverse, international phenomenon. I even detect a certain BioLogos manner of writing and speaking, which I think I would recognize anywhere.
Am I wrong about that? You tell me. In any event, kudos to Jim Stump for a fine job with this podcast episode. I highly recommend it.