Thursday, September 15, 2011

Christian vs Christian

The Discovery Institute is the leading proponent of Intelligent Design Creationism—a form of creationism that concentrates on proving evolution is wrong and therefore the history of life must be explained by the intervention of an intelligent designer (i.e. god).

The BioLogus Foundation was founded by Francis Collins and it brings together a group of theistic evolutionists. Theistic Evolution is a form of creationism that accepts much of evolutionary biology but still postulates the the history of life requires the intervention of a creator.

Recently a Theistic Evolution-type creationist attacked Stephen Meyer, an Intelligent Design Creationist at the Discovery Institute [On Deciphering the Signature]. You can read a brief history of what happened in a guest post on Jerry Coyne's blog website: Guest post: the conflicted relationship between Intelligent Design and BioLogos.


  1. I don't like to call theistic evolutionists "creationists". I think it waters down the term. By that logic, we might as well call all theists "creationists" simply because they believe in a god who created the universe.

    I say, let's reserve the term for those who misrepresent well-established scientific facts out of a religious agenda.

  2. Funny, I always interpreted the term "creationism" to mean just that: The irrational belief that god(s) created the universe.

    The difference between theistic evolution and YEC is a quantitative one: TE is better at doublethink.

  3. I agree with Mike D in this: let's reserve the term 'creationist' for those who misrepresent well-established scientific facts out of a religious agenda. That keeps the discussion more clear.

  4. Mike D says,

    I say, let's reserve the term for those who misrepresent well-established scientific facts out of a religious agenda.

    That doesn't seem to be a very good definition because it places the emphasis on establishing that well-established scientific facts are being misrepresented.

    In other words, the burden of proof is on me and you to establish that a potential creationist is misrepresenting science. It's a contentious issue. You'd have a hard time showing that Ken Miller, Francis Collins—or even Michael Behe—actually misrepresent science but there's no debating that they all believe in a creator.

    Why not just stick with a definition based on what they DO believe rather on what they DO NOT believe? A creationist is anyone who believes in the existence of a creator who played an active role in guiding the history of life on Earth.

  5. BioLogos themselves use the term "evolutionary creationist" to describe their own belief system.

  6. Re Larry Moran

    The problem is that, specifically referring to Ken Miller, he rejected the term theistic evolutionist as applied to himself in a comment on this very blog several years ago. He describes himself as a methodological naturalist and philosophical theist.

    It would seem that Prof. Moran is rejecting the notion, espoused by Prof. Barbara Forrest, that there is a distinction between the methodological and the philosophical.

  7. @SLC

    Perhaps Ken Miller is just being dishonest by trying to make a distinction between the methodological and the philosophical.

    Which comes with the territory for a Catholic scientist who allows church dogma to inform his science.

    You can see similar early child conditioning at work in the interview between Richard Dawkins and Father George Coyne (astronomer and former head of the Vatican Observatory) for his program "The Genius of Charles Darwin." (which didn't make it into the program but is available in the usual places).

    I saw Coyne speak in person at the U of T Newman Centre a few years ago as part of their "Naming the Holy" series. He comes across as a competent scientist and a brilliant teacher but is absolutely convinced that human evolution is teleological (this brain damage apparently caused by exposure to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in the seminary). He showed us a slide with the tree of life on it and claimed that because it looked like an arrow there must be a direction and destination, and guess what folks, that's us. In his defence he was speaking to the usual credulous group of catholic robots that infest this sort of religious circle jerk so he may have dumbed things down a bit.