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Saturday, November 06, 2010

New book: God and Evolution confronts the fan club of Darwin's unemployed God

Fan club's motto: God loves you, but the world shows no evidence of his existence. And clued-in clergy will tell you it is wrong to ask for evidence.

Hmmm. If I had a husband like that, either he'd be on the sidewalk or I'd be on a fast train. And I'd definitely be attending a different church.

A recent Biola University seminar introduced an overdue new book, God and Evolution: Protestants, Catholics and Jews explore Darwin's challenge to faith (Discovery Institute Press, 2010). Why this? Why now?
"Too few people have carefully teased out the various scientific, philosophical, and theological claims at stake," says Jay Richards, director of research for discovery Institute's Center for Science & Culture, and editor of God and Evolution. "As a result, the whole subject of God and evolution has been an enigma wrapped in a shroud of fuzz and surrounded by a blanket of fog."
Well, putting it this way, in the passive voice, is putting it charitably.

I have not seen the other contributors' chapters yet because the book sold out at the seminar. But if what I heard there is anything to go by, this one is a real eye-opener. Two items stand out:

- David Klinghoffer's careful explanation of why traditional Judaism could not possibly endorse the no-design universe

- the exposition - in serious theistic Darwinists'* own words - of the theology that underlies theistic Darwinism.

In fairness, many Jews have lost contact with their faith, and most people who call themselves theistic evolutionists simply do not, in my experience, know what Darwinism says and implies.

The fog created by neo-Darwinists and theistic Darwinists is so great that, quite honestly, unless you have rubbed your face in the Evolutionary personal advice columnist's traipse with the gorillas, Darwinian brand marketing, or the human zoo, you wouldn't know.

Many people think that Darwinism just means that Earth and all life forms thereon were not created in 144 hours. Also, they foresee conflict and don't want it ("divides the brethren").

But conflict is coming to them. As God and Evolution's press release puts it:
The book is a response to growing efforts by some Darwinists to enlist the support of the faith community by downplaying Darwinism's core principles. Chapters of the book detail the failures of theistic evolution, address the problem of evil, and explain how intelligent design is consonant with orthodox belief.

I gave a talk on my own chapter's subject: The older Catholic popular writers and Darwinism. G. K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, and St. George Mivart, each in his own way, recognized the atheist materialism that underlies Darwinism and emphatically rejected it. Here is a brief excerpt.

Indeed, the Church still does. If you look carefully at what the present Pope has said (dealt with in the book), he is well aware of what is at stake. Too well aware. An entrenched, tax-funded Darwin lobby, supported by compliant and cheerfully ignorant legacy Western media can roar up quite the furore in a situation where few are currently getting murdered. And the Pope has plenty of problems with situations where lots of people are getting murdered.

Here is that brief excerpt from my chapter.

(Note: I use the term "theistic Darwinists" rather than "theistic evolutionists" because, among the serious ones, Darwinism is the only theory of evolution that seems important, despite growing support for other causes of change in life forms.)

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