The Need for Clear Thinking about Evolution: Three Questions for Stephen Barr

One of the most unfortunate aspects of the debate over Darwinian evolution and intelligent design is that so much of it is based on misunderstandings, caricatures, and an unwillingness to engage in genuine dialogue. Sadly, even those who claim to be for open dialogue often aren’t. Thus, Stephen Barr’s willingness to engage in a serious exchange of views on evolution, theism, and intelligent design is commendable — and refreshing. Even if we do not persuade each other about our respective positions, we may help illuminate the real points at issue, and that is certainly a positive result. After Barr’s latest salvo, I can say that we agree on at least one thing: The need for “clear thought” when it comes Read More ›

How Evolution’s Co-Discoverer Discovered Intelligent Design, Part I

To judge from previews, the new Darwin biographical movie Creation will emphasize the challenge Darwinian theory posed from the beginning to religious belief. Yet the life of evolution’s co-discoverer, Alfred Russel Wallace, suggests that properly understood, and that’s a major proviso, evolution needn’t upset faith at all. On the contrary, Wallace reasoned from what he knew about life’s history to a belief that an “Overruling Intelligence” guided life’s development, much as intelligent design (ID) does today. Science historian Michael A. Flannery calls Wallace’s evolutionary thinking a “preamble” to ID. An opportunity to evaluate this provocative claim is now before us in the form of Flannery’s new edition of Wallace’s great work, A World of Life (1910), which slims the dense Read More ›

Stephen Meyer Launches Signature in the Cell With a Speech at the Heritage Foundation

CSC director Stephen C. Meyer launched his important new book, Signature in the Cell: DNA and Evidence for Intelligent Design, with a speech today at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. In Signature, Dr. Meyer exposes the increasingly evident hopelessness of materialist explanations of life’s origins and makes a fresh, powerful, and seemingly conclusive new scientific argument for intelligent design. Dr. Meyer began by noting that in this Charles Darwin dual anniversary year, we should keep in mind that Darwin’s presumed “primary legacy is that he refuted the design argument.” That argument, in turn, had long been regarded as the most compelling that exists for religious belief. The phenomenal success of the New Atheist movement, represented by Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens Read More ›

Atheism, for Good Reason, Fears Questions

Blogger David T. at Life’s Private Book has a good post on our modern priesthood. David quotes Baron d’Holbach from the18th century: “Man has been forced to vegetate in his primitive stupidity; nothing has been offered to his mind, but stories of invisible powers, upon whom his happiness was supposed to depend. Occupied solely by his fears, and unintelligible reveries, he has always been at the mercy of his priests, who have reserved to themselves the right of thinking for him, and directing his actions.” David notes that we still have priests, but they are secular priests–Experts–and they provide us with a semblance of meaning and healing: …the referents have changed. The “invisible powers” offered to man today are not Read More ›

God and Evolution: A Response to Stephen Barr (part 3)

This is the final installment of three posts responding to Stephen Barr. The first post can be found here, and the second post can be found here. The Collins/Barr Approach: A God Who Misleads? Stephen Barr identifies himself with the position of Francis Collins who argues that although evolution looks like “a random and undirected process,” it nevertheless could have been guided by God. “Evolution could appear to us to be driven by chance, but from God’s perspective the outcome would be entirely specified.” [Collins, The Language of God, p. 205.] Barr takes me to task for highlighting Collins’ use of the word “could” because I implied that “Collins is not sure whether God did in fact know beforehand. Anyone Read More ›