Alister McGrath on Augustine and Darwinism

Scientist and theologian Alister McGrath has a new essay over at Christianity Today, “Augustine’s Origin of Species.” Knowing how Augustine has often been co-opted by Darwinians as a proto-Darwinist, I came to this article rather skeptical. But I was delightfully surprised. McGrath notes that Augustine’s dominant image of the natural world’s relation to God is that of a “dormant seed.” As McGrath explains: God creates seeds, which will grow and develop at the right time. Using more technical language, Augustine asks his readers to think of the created order as containing divinely embedded causalities that emerge or evolve at a later stage. Yet Augustine has no time for any notion of random or arbitrary changes within creation. The development of Read More ›

Fond Dreams of BioLogos

Editor’s Note: This is crossposted at David Klinghoffer’s Beliefnet blog, Kingdom of Priests. Astute readers will have noticed that Beliefnet runs two blogs that deal with evolution on a more or less frequent basis but in very different ways: this blog and Science and the Sacred, where former Human Genome Project head Francis Collins and other contributors from the BioLogos Foundation share their thoughts. An Evangelical Christian, Dr. Collins would like to find a reconciliation between Darwinian evolution including its randomly driven, unplanned, unguided mechanism of natural selection, with Biblical religion, which is premised on God’s creative guidance of life’s history. I wish Dr. Collins all the luck in the world. He’ll need it. An Orthodox Jew, I find his Read More ›

Faith and Science: Is Religion a Science-Stopper?

Regis Nicoll at Break Point has an excellent article for those interested in understanding the relationship between faith and science (like so many seem to be these days *cough* Francis Collins *cough*): In a recent essay in The New Republic, evolutionary scientist Jerry Coyne asked, “Does the empirical nature of science contradict the revelatory nature of faith? Are the gaps between them so great that the two institutions must be considered essentially antagonistic?” Coyne has no doubt that the answer is yes. Religion is so hopelessly inimical to scientific progress that any attempt to reconcile them is futile. As Coyne explains, “Accepting both science and conventional faith leaves you with a double standard.” And to make sure you are clear Read More ›

Dr. Jeffery Shallit on Eugenic Morality: “Why, exactly, would the world be better off with more Down’s syndrome children?”

Dr. Jeffery Shallit has a post on his blog Recursivity that really caught my eye. He comments derisively on an essay by McGill University ethicist Margaret Somerville titled, “Facing up to the dangers of the intolerant university: Bird on an ethics wire.” Somerville argues that universities are increasingly becoming intolerant of viewpoints that fall outside of a narrow leftist-atheist ideology. She notes that healthy democracies depend on respectful sharing of opinions, and university censorship and exclusion of competing opinions — especially opinions on ethical issues that derive from religious traditions — leaves our public discourse dangerously impoverished. Dr. Shallit agrees with some of her criticism of suppression of speech on campus, but he finds her essay “very shoddily argued.” He Read More ›

The Myth of Vestigial Organs and Bad Design: Why Darwinism Is False

Note: This is Part 5 in a series reviewing Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution Is True. Read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, and Part 4 here. Darwin argued in The Origin of Species that the widespread occurrence of vestigial organs — organs that may have once had a function but are now useless — is evidence against creation. “On the view of each organism with all its separate parts having been specially created, how utterly inexplicable is it that organs bearing the plain stamp of inutility … should so frequently occur.” But such organs, he argued, are readily explained by his theory: “On the view of descent with modification, we may conclude that the existence of organs Read More ›