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Should BioLogos defend creationists?

August 20, 2014

An anti-evolution attitude can harm Christian young people by presenting them with a false choice between pursuing science OR holding to faith.–BioLogos

I understand that BioLogos is a part of the “science is compatible with faith” crowd. I get that they want people to accept evolution as well as the gospel. But as things stand, many Americans don’t believe in evolution. They think–however wrongly–that they cannot be Christians and accept evolution. Evolution does in fact undermine their faith. For many Americans science and faith are not compatible in the way BioLogos wants them to be.

So if BioLogos is worried about harming young Christians, shouldn’t they highlight that the false choices cut both ways? Just as it’s possible to believe in evolution and be a Christian, it’s also possible to reject evolution and be a scientist. Even those Christians can pursue science and we shouldn’t forget that. Shouldn’t BioLogos stress the scientific, empirical fact that belief in evolution cannot predict analytical and reasoning skills?

None of this involves embracing creationism. But especially since prominent scientists routinely issue vicious, harsh insults against creationists, it seems appropriate to demonstrate some Christian unity. Creationists may be wrong, but they do not deserve the vitriol often lobbied their way. Defending creationists could be another way BioLogos conducts its mission of having science-faith conversations with grace and compassion.

Both creationists and mainstream scientists present false choices here. But only one camp gets all the attention. BioLogos can help correct the discrepancy.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. August 20, 2014 10:56 am

    Thanks for your commentary. We’re not perfect, but BioLogos HAS made some strides to engage in gracious dialogue with creationists. Check out the Southern Baptist Voices series (http://biologos.org/blog/sbv). Also, the Colossian Forum is hosting regular dialogues between BioLogos president emeritus Darrel Falk and young-earth creationist / biologist Todd Wood (http://www.colossianforum.org/forums/events/). At BioLogos, we like the ‘evolutionary creation’ label over ‘theistic evolution’ because it puts the emphasis on the right place–the creative work of God, something we certainly share with other kinds of creationists.

    • August 20, 2014 11:36 am

      Thanks for the comment! I appreciate it. I hope I didn’t come off as critical. I greatly admire what you do.

  2. August 20, 2014 11:49 am

    While I agree that rejection of evolution doesn’t preclude one from being a scientist, because, as you say, it doesn’t prevent one from thinking scientifically, it has practical consequences that I think will prevent more of those folks from pursuing science as a career. If you reject evolution, how can you really conduct scientific experiments, especially in biology, which often make use of the evolution of microbes, plants, etc.

    Such folks would probably need to split their rejection of evolution into pieces – ‘I reject that humans evolved from apes but I’m ok with microbes evolving’… etc. Such a formulation devalues the very importance they might place on literal scriptural interpretation. And I can’t even begin to think of how YEC’s would do it.

    • August 22, 2014 7:35 am

      Thanks for the comment. The interesting thing is that YEC’s actually do practice science! As I’ve pointed out before, there are actual, real-life YECs who practice science. If you extend beyond research science and include things like engineering, medicine, etc., then the numbers get even bigger.

      This is where I think the sports analogy becomes very apt. This type of attitude would have no place in sports analysis: “I can’t even begin to imagine how someone would be able to play basketball if they can’t shoot free-throws.”

      If sports abilities are similar to intellectual abilities (and I think they are), then there’s not necessarily reason for worry. Just as there many ways to be a good basketball player, there are many ways to be a good scientist.

  3. Victor permalink
    September 9, 2014 1:40 pm

    I was going to say that BioLogos people do engage with Christians and Christian groups on the faith-theological spectrum so I’m glad Kathryn wrote. Secondly, I’d love for you to put numbers on most Americans thinking that faith and science are incompatible. I’m not sure. If that is true, year-by-year that number is changing and the number of people who think they are compatible is growing as I’ve experienced in my lifetime among the same groups of people in my experience. Third, the issue of unity among Christians (or many religions) goes for beyond and outside of science issues. There are unity issues on so many fronts. And one would have to realise that for a lot of people who see science and faith as compatible, they distance themselves from other Christian groups not just due to ideology but due to bad experiences, exclusion, hypocrisy, and more. So it goes a bit deeper. On the leadership end of BioLogos I’m glad they are connected with groups.

    • September 11, 2014 6:24 am

      I was also glad Kathryn responded. Agree that the issue of unity goes beyond science, and that it’s creationists (loosely defined) that also need to practice unity. Thanks for the comments as always.

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