Pastors need to be more aware of what people in their church with various views on creation could be thinking and feeling. Professor Denis Lamoureux presents the theory of evolutionary creation, which claims that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit created the universe and life through an ordained, sustained The ministry of BioLogos helps them integrate their faith with their work and establishes a base for conversations about science and faith through our church communities. This project gathers a multidisciplinary team of leading scholars to pursue communal, research on evolution, the Fall, and original sin, asking a pressing question: The noted atheist and evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne has referred to BioLogos as a flea that needs to be scratched.
A vast number of congregational leaders know that when they deal with evolution, they are also dealing with job security. Falk's paper asks evangelical Christians to explore whether they are propping up a bubble that they, not God, have created, thereby isolating themselves from the world of academics. Evolution is to the Church today what the structure of the solar system was yesterday, and BioLogos will, I believe, help guide us to peace, stability, and strength. In this video, physicist Louis describes that our value and purpose do not come from whether or not we were created by an evolutionary mechanism.
Michael has a longstanding interest in the intersection of faith and culture and how both thrive best when rooted in worship. Meyer, the book's author, and asked for a reply. We are happy to post Dr. There is a growing group of orthodox, biblically faithful Christian thinkers who are taking up the task of recasting the interaction between science and Scripture. When Christians consider human evolution, the issues which generate the greatest concern usually cluster around the historicity of Adam and Eve and original sin. What means did God us If we understand our task as joining into what has already begun and trust that the Lord intends renewal for us and creation, we can look to the past and forward to the future with re Addressing the controversies surrounding the evolution vs.
Many Christians are concerned that evolutionary accounts of human origins can put key Christians doctrines under heavy strain -- in particular, the Image of God, Original Sin, and the Gary Fugle encourages Christians to be open to what science reveals about the natural world—to seek truth, rather than seek to affirm pre-conceived expectations of how God shoul We in the BioLogos community urge the Church not to surrender the evangelicalism tent to American fundamentalism.
There is far too much at stake. The University of Chicago biologist Jerry Coyne recently objected to the suggestion that humans might actually be a part of God's creative plan. Human evolution and population genetics studies that impinge on the historicity of Adam are questions that have received widespread attention recently in evangelical circles, largely The beauty in the events of Good Friday is that Jesus died to redeem not just the people who choose to follow him, but also the non-human parts of creation. Rossano discusses the limits of naturalism: My childhood in the evangelical church gave me the toolkit that led me to eventually accept the evidence for evolution, and marvel at the God who created it all.
This book features 40 devotions each including a pairing of stunning photos displaying striking similarities of design in God's creation. The intention of the project is to develop a new model for the appearance of human identity based on recent scientific data, and to analyze the scientific and theological implications Similar characteristics due to relatedness are known as homologies. Homologies can be revealed in a number of ways. There is a strange, hyperbolic expression favored by the New Atheists: I believe the new atheists do science a grave disservice.
I will defend to the death their right to say what they do, but I think they do a disservice to scholarship. Science does not overthrow the Bible. Faith does not require rejecting science. My education is in medicine and population biology, and my specific scientific research interests have included theoretical models of fitness, the nature of genomic blueprint hierarch Answers in Genesis, led by Ken Ham, warns that BioLogos and like-minded organizations are "destructive to biblical authority and are leading so many people astray.
McGrath's goal is to help readers see that science is neither anathema to faith, nor does it supersede faith. Both science and faith help with the overriding human desire to make sens God is not immediately apparent in scientific data. Biological evolution has traditionally presented a challenge to Christian faith for two primary reasons: Well-understood biological processes—which we understand to be under God's providential care—give rise to new genetic information all the time.
A common, mistaken argument against evolution as science is that science can study only present-day processes. Numbers and 24 other contributors debunk falsehoods about the relationship between science and religion. Physicist Louis expresses some doubts about Intelligent Design, noting that his primary resistance to the movement is based on theological, rather than scientific, grounds. His academic interests include the work of St. We believe Genesis is a true account that, like other ancient narratives, uses vivid imagery to describe past events.
It is silent on the scientific questions we might wish it to answ Alexander and Ronald L. Numbers bring together fourteen experts to examine the varied ways science has been used and abused for nonscientific purposes from the fifteenth cent Includes discussion materials, activity ideas, and a This project will field a national survey of U.
Scientists tend to be less religious than the general public. Dennis Venema responds to several frequently asked questions about evolution and Christian faith. As a medical student learning about how the body works, I was fascinated to learn about how we fight off disease, how the brain responds to stress, and so forth.
These are miracles in Artigas takes on the ambitious task of building a philosophical "bridge between science and religion" along pragmatic and humanistic lines. Evolution appears to provide the best scientific account for many aspects of human and animal biology.
Ted Davis | Reading the Book of Nature
However, evolutionary accounts of human origins — even those consistent wi A new book that aims to prepare Christians interested in pursuing careers in science. Our little community of faith in California has never been one to shy away from the critical cultural questions that come up daily in the life of the Christ-follower. Do you believe in God? If a cadre of outspoken, strong atheists wrote a litmus test for scientists, that might very well be question 1. Ruse offers a new analysis of the often troubled relationship between science and religion. American composer Whitacre explains how he created this piece: For several years, the Dutch organization ForumC has tried to get the combatants out of the trenches.
Christians feel unsettled because evolution challenges something meaningful and non-negotiable—their scriptural understanding of God, of ultimate reality, of h Belief collects the most important writings on faith and belief, from C. Lewis to Martin Luther King. Five notable scientists Polkinghorne, Wilkinson, Holder, Williams and Swinerd offer their perspective on the strengths and limitations of the fine-tuning argument as a pointer to Johnson focuses his research on neural and computational components of memory, imagination, and decision-making.
He builds human and animal behavior models to understand how the brain Teaching evolution at Christian universities can be difficult. But there are many ways to do it well. The debate is often not about evidence, but about making sure that others do not transgress our interpretive boundaries and insist that we're wrong. Haught suggests that, rather than necessarily contradicting one another, theologians and Darwinian scientists actually share an appreciation of the underlying meaning and awe-inspirin Because Christian psychologists have largely stayed away from evolutionary psychology, the metaphysical and ethical assumptions of its non-theist practitioners have tended to become p Every single Christian belief Richardson and Slack conduct interviews with twelve of the world's top scientists on subjects ranging from the existence and nature of God to the role of religion and spirituality in Developed by Grace Chapel in Massachusetts, this four-part online course is designed for high school students.
He also serves as the chair and program director of th With Jesus, becoming like a buried seed is more about smallness and seeming insignificance than it is about bodily suffering, though the two are inescapably related Haught makes a solid and sometimes elegant case that an evolutionary universe can still manifest divine purpose and promise. Word Pictures examines the rich imagery and startling storytelling that make up the majority of the Bible. Project Description I proposed to write a popular science book titled The Quickening: How Chemistry Shaped Biology that would tell the story of how the familiar columns of the period Discussions on science and Adam often miss a key point: Regarding climate change, how do we express God's love?
Foster uses biblical exegesis to explain why Intelligent Design is not the answer and refuses to accept quick answers to the deep questions about a creator god. Many Christians attempt to deny evolutionary biology, thereby creating an intellectual obstacle for biologically-informed non-Christians who might otherwise consider Christianity favo Fantastic new resource for parents and educators trying to give their kids a better perspective on faith and science.
Karl Giberson discusses whether we can "believe" in evolution and what it means to say God guides evolution. With their complementary strengths, Evangelicals and Catholics could serve future efforts that struggle to promote created human nature and protect nature itself from exploitation. In this tightly reasoned defense of faith, Keller challenges the doubts of atheists and skeptics on their own terms.
I will write a book on the integration of traditional Christian faith with those sciences that directly impinge upon the fundamental character of the physical world or what it means t Sometimes the simplest moments alter the course of a life, and for me, it was picking up a book and reading the words of scientist that would forever change me. How can one make people cross the bridge and finally see the compatibility bet Science may find a solution to our current social and ecological ills, but religion will be needed to actually make that solution happen.
Zoom in; slow down. These are relevant principles for the conversation between Christian faith and evolution, particularly around thorny issues related to human origins and the Fall. The seas teem with countless beautiful and wonderful creatures, from the silvery schools of fish and the mysterious jellyfish. To what can we attribute such beauty? The Creator or e This project seeks to complete a comprehensive analytic survey of fundamental anthropological, ethical, and other philosophical concerns important across Christian traditions and for Resilient learners and a robust faith can handle challenges.
But the faith of this student was different—strong, but brittle; it did not have the resilience that comes through t There were several interesting developments in For starters, the New Atheists set much of the agenda, aligning themselves against both creationism and religion Ian Barbour died on Christmas Eve at the age of He is credited by many to be the father of the contemporary academic discipline of science and religion. The rift between faith and science in Christian circles today often results in the marginalization of Christians engaged in the sciences, impediments to evangelism, and the attrition I was raised to believe that evolution was a conspiracy to undermine faith in God and had no evidence to support it.
Like many young people today, I thought of Darwi In this book, G. Davidson offers a simple three-step approach for examining scripture and science any time the two appear to clash. As a scientist who was led to Catholicism through her work, Stacy Trasancos has confronted some of the basic questions we all face. In Particles of Faith, she teache It has been my experience that many Christians have not given sufficient thought to how the Old Testament was composed——that is, to the "human" side of t The Church must accept a young earth and no macro-evolution, Dr.
There is no wiggle room. If we squirm, the Church will begin the downhill slide to apostasy. A forceful and accessible discussion of Christian belief that has become one of the most popular introductions to Christianity and one of the most popular of Lewis's books. Catholic writer, scientist, editor, and teacher Stacy A.
Trasancos discusses her book The Particles of Faith, in which addresses the cultural conflicts over science and faith. During the medieval era, as we can see in examples from three different fields--science, theology, and literature--people were interested and engaged. Joshua 10 is often invoked to show how the credibility of the Bible fails in the world of science, but these arguments fall short, since they read the text as a modern, rather than an Wilson argues for the adaptive characteristics of religious thought within a Darwinian system.
Ongoing debates within evolutionary biology exist about mechanism, rates, and causes, but not over whether evolution occurred. This question has been largely settled by years wort Primatologist de Waal looks at our two closest primate relatives and how they shed light on human behavior today. My eventual acceptance of evolution came from recognizing that there was no inherent conflict between science and theology.
The American Scientific Affiliation ASA was founded in with the mission of researching and disseminating information on pertinent issues of science and Christian faith. Despite robust discussions about the details of the theory, the big picture of evolution is not disputed by mainstream science. Before we can steward the earth well, we must first learn to behold it. When read in this way, the Genesis stories may be seen as one of the greatest-ever revolutions in human understanding. My research interests include protein folding and stability; mac Readers of Walton and Longman's new book are challenged to radically re-examine their presuppositions around what the Flood is really about.
The editorial, in other words, has shown that in their view mainstream evangelical Christianity and mainstream science can co-exist in harmony. Primatologist de Waal argues for the evolutionary origins of morality and society. In the Christian community in the Netherlands the atmosphere around the issue of creation and evolution has been tense over the last ten, twenty years.
Christians throughout history have believed that God reveals himself both through Scripture and nature. Scientism is a failed philosophical approach to the pursuit of truth. Its failure should be evident especially to scientists who, more than most, understand the limits of their fields In this work the distinguished physical chemist and philosopher, Michael Polanyi, demonstrates that the scientist's personal participation in his knowledge, in both its discovery and Its questionable treatment of science and scientists—with an attack mindset and a goal to make scientists look stupid—causes me to advise extreme caution.
Haught discusses the relationship between metaphysics, evolution, and theology showing evolution as a product of the God of the Bible. What can ministry leaders do to prepare young people as they consider science careers? Evolutionary theory has raised numerous disputed questions among the Catholic faithful and other Christian believers concerning the relationship between faith and reason. As a team of Prior to coming to Michael Ruse presents an excellent explanation of the relationship between the basic Christian beliefs and Darwinian Theory of Evolution.
The conflict between science and religion seems indelible, even eternal. Surely two such divergent views of the universe have always been in fierce opposition? I have described my professional experience as a rather extended analogy to the BioLogos project. BioLogos brings together at least two seemingly incompatible fields.. Fundamentalism, which saw evolutionary theory as an attack upon the authority of scripture and as yet another of the modern forces demolishing society's old values, that a split betwe Many Christians look to their pastors or other church leaders for guidance on how to address, or whether to even consider evolution or an ancient earth.
Pastors serve as gate keepers, Gives readers a concrete look at what religious Americans really understand and think about science. Based on a four year study The Believing Primate aims to describe and discuss the scientific accounts of religion as well as to assess their implications. Faculty members from Oral Roberts University will work to expand the Church's understanding and engagement with evolution and related issues at the interface of science Wright, questions of science and religion are symptoms of a much larger problem embedded in our culture, our politics and our society.
How does Christianity change the way we view the natural world? In this addition to a critically acclaimed series, renowned theologian Norman Wirzba engages philosop Many scientists feel that the ID movement is an attempt to locate gaps in our scientific knowledge and then to fill those gaps by intervention of an external intelligence. A historical recounting of the major encounters between theology and science prepared by an international group of historians.
This multi-faceted project promotes the compatibility of evolution and Christian theology in the Church of the Nazarene. The project engages leaders, scientists, theologians, and lait There is room for dissent in the sciences, even when it threatens to overturn deeply cherished theories. Emerging adults want to believe that science and faith can coexist peacefully. Mere Science and Christian Faith holds out a vision for how that integration is possib Waltke's paper looks at eleven different factors that make it difficult for Evangelicals to accept evolution as a valid means for divine creation.
Miller, a scientist, seeks to reconcile the Judeo-Christian and the evolutionary origin stories. We will build an international network of pastors committed to increasing their scientific literacy. Pastors, as with the general population, often do not have a solid understanding o After a belated exposure to the tensions that exist within American Christianity, Nate plunged feet first into the conversation of evolution and faith, becoming an avid reader and un Have you ever felt like you had to choose between God and the people you love the most? Taking account of recent scholarship in the history of science, Professor Brooke takes a fresh look at these and similar episodes, showing that science and religion have been mutually The primary goal of our project is to assist a mission-driven, science-friendly change process within Vineyard churches and InterVarsity areas and chapters that are open to this shift Christians have no reason to hide from the messiness of the natural world.
Drawing on a fictional account of a youth pastor and the various students he encounters, Root paints a compelling picture of how faith can flourish, even in our scient A research scientist turned theology professor, Ernest Lucas explores the main interpretations of the first few chapters of Genesis. With this award, Faith Alive Christian Resources will produce six high quality video for use by small groups in studying its book, Origins: Christian Perspectives on Creation, Evoluti This stunning discovery provides more evidence of an evolutionary link between birds and dinosaurs.
We should never portray God as an alternative to a scientific theory. A former Young Earth Creationist, Denis Lamoureux presents a perspective that goes beyond the two choices of either 'evolution' or 'creation. This project aims to create curriculum about Christianity and science, specifically focusing on evolution and various interpretations of the Genesis account of creation. A reflection on the life of former U.
When we examine the theological concept of the image of God in dialogue with science and philosophy, we can gain a rich understanding of what it means to be human. Worlds Apart is the only book on the hotly-debated topic of evolution published by the denominational press of the conservative Church of the Nazarene.
Pastor Daniel Harrell presents a call to be willing to ask the deeper questions. This project will enable development of a general college-level textbook on scientific theories of origins. To change minds about evolution, trust is the first step—not information. In science, more and more genomes are being sequenced, and more and more novel genome-wide analyses are being performed to shed light on what all those newly-determined sequences mean Theology needs science, but science needs theology; there can be no two-state solution.
Is a thoroughly Christian and biblically informed doctrine of creation compatible with widely held conclusions of modern science, especially biology? Falk, this is not j Christian graduate students in paleontology and paleoanthropology are often caught in a mire of distrust, fostered by a polarizing cultural climate which perceives these historical sc Are humans really all that different from other species? What is science, and how does it differ from other approaches to obtaining knowledge? Polkinghorne examines the Nicene Creed and presents the evidence for why it is true and relevant today.
Pathways to Truth with Dr. This series will encourage and A look at our most viewed blog posts of Our desire to engage in gracious dialogue with fellow believers who reject biological evolution has been receiving increased attention in both the Christian and secular press.
Our own experience as creative beings can help us understand this aspect of the Lord and our relationship with Him. A search for long-extinct fish demonstrates the strength of evolutionary theory. On January 31st, the Indiana State Senate passed Senate Bill 89, allowing public schools to teach creationism alongside the theory of evolution in science classes.
Many different and complementary scientific measurements have established with near certainty that the universe and the Earth are billions of years old. Alister McGrath examines the significance of current scientific understanding to natural theology. In this video, Jeff Schloss discusses some things we should be mindful of when we discuss evolution. Christian students at secular colleges and universities often feel that their faith is in conflict with the findings of modern science, particularly evolution.
Many then feel compelle When considering the topic of genome editing, particularly done on a human embryo, Christians should balance optimism about new technology with a deep concern for human dignity and th Tokens is a live variety show focusing on thought-provoking themes, employing a variety of genres—musical performances, brief interpretive monologues, and dialog with authors an Check out some of our favorite books we read in !
Evolution and faith discussions quickly polarize on Adam and Eve: So, for Driscoll, the choice is a simple dichotomy: Jeff Hardin discusses what keeps Christians from engaging in dialogue about science and faith issues especially evolution ; he also reflects on the Christian notion of faith. Fossils provide a unique view into the history of life. Spencer argues that, although Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection did undermine his Christian faith, it was the age-old problem of suffering that caused it to break down The new website is designed for exploration.
The Faith Angle Forum of the Ethics and Public Policy Center is the only program in the nation dedicated to improving journalistic coverage of religion and its role in American life. Christians who take Scripture seriously should at least be open to considering the idea of common descent. An activity to help kids understand how consensus science is done, and counter creationist claims. In our everyday experience, there is certainly nothing controversial about attributing the purposeful arrangement of components to an intelligent agent.
Polkinghorne and Beale answer key questions about the interaction of science and faith. McLaren discusses the how the biblical writers were aware of the myths of the power nations that surrounded them, but flipped their stories on their heads to reveal truth about God Image will gather artists and writers of faith whose work explores the dialogue between evolutionary science and faith practice, convening a conversation between them and scientists, At a recent event in Washington D.
I saw people who were real, kind, loving, complicated and sometimes, just sometimes at least in my opinion , they were wrong. Ever since modern science emerged in the 16th and 17th centuries it has been abused for purposes that lie beyond science. Biology has been especially susceptible to ideological manipu To address the issue of suffering, we must press beyond the Old Testament to the God of the New Testament—the Creator who does not rationally explain away suffering but who inst I am growing in my appreciation for a diversity of ears to hear Scripture and a diversity of cultures to interpret God's call on our lives.
The author does an excellent job, affirming his faith in the Scriptures while explaining why many are unable to accept the "recent creation" approach. Christian middle school and high school teachers gather to worship and learn together at a weeklong BioLogos workshop in California. Fear is the enemy. The Hawaiian Islands offer a fascinating natural laboratory to test young earth and old earth models, including the reliability of radiometric dating. Both models have clear expectati We want to cultivate a world where Christian young people feel emboldened in their faith—rather than weakened—when they come to understand the strength of the scientific d Mike McHargue shares his view that like a master craftsman, the God who creates over billions of years is not in a hurry.
Meticulous care goes into every creativ We affirm that the Bible is the inspired and authoritative word of God. We also accept the science of evolution as the best description for how God brought about life on earth. A brief video that captures the character and mission of BioLogos. He is currently pursuing graduate studies in philosophy and theology at the Dominican House of Stu If evolutionary theory is wrong about the origin of species, why does it work so Even being right is not the end goal. Knowledge and being able to fathom mysteries has no meaning apart from love.
Karl Giberson reflects on the work and legacy of Francis Collins. Historian Peter Harrison argues that harmony between faith and science is not as simple as it seems, and some versions of "harmony" can do damage to the Christian faith. Considering evolutionary creation has important benefits for Christians both in our relationship with God and in our relationships with other people, believers and non-believers. This new find reaffirms what we have thought for the last eighty years: John Baptist Ku, O. Intentionally or not, we often extend science past its natural bounds and use the Bible for questions it does not intend to answer.
God is not part of In fact, religion can have a positive impact on science, such as in the development of modern medical ethics. Many early scientific leaders were devout Christians, as are some today. In this short, but pithy, book, historian Ronald L. Numbers documents the reception of Darwinism in America, both within scientific circles and among the general public --Laurie R.
Andrew Lang grew up in Lydd, England, in a quiet little coastal town of about 10, people. The truths we find in Scripture should not conflict with the truths we find in nature. Conflicts happen at the level of human interpretation. Bouteneff explores how first-millennium Christian understandings of creation can inform current though. Hal Reed loves the study of insects. It is first "God, my wife, my children, then bugs," he says. This is evident by the pictures of butterflies, wasps and other insects on the wa Lewis believed that animal predation reflected a demonic "corruption" of nature, but biblical and natural evidence says otherwise.
Summer reading ideas for those interested in thinking deeper about how science and Christian faith relate. For Aquinas, creation is a topic for metaphysics and theology—all that is, in whatever way or ways it is, depends upon God as cause. No explanation of cosmological processes can Clues to the original intended meaning can be found in the style of language, the genre of literature, the original audience, and the historical and cultural context.
Born into a family of educators, it was only natural that Dr. John Korstad follow in his ancestors' footsteps and become a professor. John was raised in Northern California and attend It's hard to talk about the relationship between "science" and "religion" without reinforcing the sense of cultural conflict between the two. This reference book provides a comprehensive overview of the evidence for evolution from the fields of biology, paleontology, and geology. In naming the creatures, Ryan followed the command given in the garden; he completed creation by articulating a relationship.
Originally published under the title Philosophy of Science, this revised volume surveys how views of science have developed and changed over time, especially since the Kuhnian revolut Central Florida is home to several large cities. Richard Seaman was living there, the landscape was much different.
He recalls spending much of his childhood explori This engaging story teaches important mechanisms behind evolutionary change like selection, variation, and speciation—without using the terms themselves It didn't take much to remind me that what I believed stood in fundamental conflict with mainstream scientific thought. In effect, I was at war with science. My hope is not that we all come to the same scientific or theological understanding of evolution but that we can move away from the false dilemmas forced by a rigid mode of biblical i Conspiracy theorists short-cut the scientific process by relying on anecdote, and by cherry-picking the small number of contrarian scientists and dissenting scientific article Science was a common topic at the dinner table at home and it still is whenever we get together.
Hiking to find and photograph waterfalls is one of Lanny Endicott's favorite pastimes. In his spare time, he also enjoys a weekly game of golf and describes his playing as "decent. Genomic science indicates that humans descend not from an individual pair but from a large population. What does this mean for the basic claim of many Christians: Readers glimpse the curiosity, religious life, and work ethic of an early scientist whose groundbreaking work was only given serious consideration after Poised to accept evolution on scientific terms but still uncomfortable with the supposed contradictions with scripture, I returned to the Genesis creation accounts.
Thoroughly examining historical, biblical, geological and philosophical perspectives, the amply illustrated Bible, Rocks and Time takes a comprehensive and authoritative look at the k At a time when the internet is overcrowded with information and misinformation, it is good to have the BioLogos website where you can be sure that the information is handled by expert He is also a columnis For evolutionary creationists in anti-evolution families and faith communities, it is often difficult to discern when, how, and even if to share those beliefs.
Confronted almost daily by my ignorance of the science of evolution, I decided to embark on a study. If Christianity were true, I expected it could withstand even the toughest questio Ken Miller's book addresses some of the key assertions of advocates of Intelligent Design. Helping students see that the notion that we must choose between sound faith and current science is a false dichotomy is key in aiding their development into fully devoted Christians.
When it comes to faith and science, don't trust the rhetoric. If God speaks in gentle whispers, is it any wonder we so often miss it? Our lives are filled with winds and earthquakes and fires. Dwight entered the b Saving Darwin traces the cultural motivations of the anti-Darwin movement and addresses it in both theological and scientific terms.
I see BioLogos as an invaluable resource for parents who want to help their children grow as thoughtful, faithful Christians who make a real difference in today's world. Jesus Christ as the sun and the singer as the moon. She received her B. Contrary to sensational claims on social media, a new scientific study has not overturned evolution. I do not personally know of anyone who has embraced Christianity primarily because they were persuaded to reject evolution. The God of the Bible is much more than a god of the gaps.
God is always at work in the natural world, in the gaps as well as the areas that science can explain. In The Big Questions in Science and Religion, Keith Ward, an Anglican minister who was once an atheist, offers compelling insights into the often contentious relationship between dive Listen to an interview with Keith Ward about his new book, Christ and the Cosmos. Previously he served in pastorates in Indiana, Michigan, Iowa and N The list includes some of the most influential Christians of the last years, such as Billy Graham and C.
Last week, Tennessee legislators approved a bill on science education the Teacher Protection Academic Freedom Act that has stoked controversy around the country. It is important to know what we should not expect from the Bible. But, we should not leave it at this and neglect the role that the Bible plays in the lives of Christians here and now A complex biological structure with interacting parts might appear as if it were created in its present form with all its interlocking parts, not developed step by step via evolution.
Origins lays out the various Chris Heetderks is director of Proservices, the design group that serves the Christian Reformed Church; and art director of the magazine "Reformed Worship. The objection is grounded in a misunderstanding of the second law. In this astute mix of cultural critique and biblical studies, John H.
Walton presents and defends twenty propositions supporting a literary and theological understanding of Genesis When it comes to the history of the universe, many believe that science and faith are mutually exclusive. In this six-session video companion to their book Origins, professors Deborah Through prayer and reflection, I discovered I was putting God in a box: I was trying to make him fit into my ideas of how he should create life, as if I knew the correct way it should How life came from non-life is still largely a scientific mystery.
Natural theology, in the view of many, is in crisis. In his long-awaited book, Alister McGrath sets out a new vision for natural theology, re-establishing its legitimacy and utility. It has long been believed Here we consider three common types of bias that sometimes crop up in secular science textbooks and some ideas for how to help students recognize them and respond from a Christian per The Cambrian Explosion does present a number of important research questions. It does not, however, challenge the fundamental correctness of the central thesis of evolution.
This concise reference illuminates the human side of the long, often colorful controversy between evolution and creationism by giving synopses of every major person, organization, and The Oxford physicist and BioLogos board member talks with the famous actor about God, science, and Christian faith. Arizona State University science education researchers Sara Brownell and Elizabeth Barnes share best practices for biology instructors who are teaching evolution to religious students A recent study by researcher Avital Levy-Lior and her colleagues have discovered found that both Koi fish and silvery spiders evolved the same camouflage via different structures.
Is either side right? Sparks argues that the insights from historical and biblical criticism can indeed be valuable to evangelicals. Still A Theory in Crisis. Telling stories of scientists in science classes can have a broad impact. The students and I developed a deeper understanding of science as a human endeavor. Beyond the Firmament challenges all creationist camps to step outside of traditional paradigms and recognize how our modern scientific worldview actually blinds us from seeing the sim A new discovery in a Chinese cave throws new light on how and when modern humans first spread to Asia.
There is a Mind who was before all things and through whom all things are held together. Hence, I believe in intelligent design. A pastor shares how a social media post about evolution tore his church apart, and how he helped it heal. Our curriculum supplement for high school teachers and homeschool parents explores biology from a Christian worldview. Meyer says with certainty that science has reached a dead end and the only other possibility is that there is a mind behind the code of life. Oracles of Science examines the popular writings of the six scientists who most influenced our perceptions of science.
We want to see Christian colleges encouraging their scholars to engage the scientific evidence that humans evolved and acknowledge this can be done while preserving biblical authority Barnes argues that religious and scientific thought evolved together and are actually complementary. The arguments for the correctness of the BioLogos approach to faith and science on this blog will come primarily in the form of how well they illuminate everything else we look at.
I loved learning about the natural world and was insanely curious—and the more I learned, the more an uneasiness grew inside of me. How often are recent scientific discoveries used to stir us up to worship, and to what extent do they inform our theology and stewardship? Christian doctrine is broadly compatible with scientific accounts of our origins. The story of Galileo and his relationship with his illegitimate daughter set the stage for his trial.
It's not everyday that scientists detect infinitesimally small ripples in the fabric of space-time. Many use the words "dominion" and "subdue" as "unconditional permission to use the world as they please. This comprehensive and readable work by a well-qualified and experienced scientist, theologian, and pastor fills a very important gap in the current literature regarding the new dialo Whatever your view on origins and evolution, I hope you feel welcome here--our house is your house!
Why is Answers in Genesis trying to distort part of the history of their own movement? Pastor Ortberg addresses the concern that modern science has shown faith to be irrational, touching on evolution, the Big Bang, and the BioLogos Foundation. In other words, if everything in the universe has a cause, why does God get a free pass? Lucidly and eloquently written, it is a work of the heart that helps us not only to understand deeply God's Word in its context, but also to consider how it applies to us today.
Celebrate by watching and sharing this great video about evidence for evolution. We impoverish the Kingdom when we fail to encourage young people—whatever their sex, color, or class—to reach their full potential. Numerous theologians have found my arguments sound, yet Poythress does not share that opinion and expressed his questions and reservations in his review of my book in World Magazine. Traditional interpretations of Scripture should not be lightly dismissed, but neither should we ignore the results of scientific inquiry simply because they conflict with these.
Peter Harrison examines the role played by the Bible in the emergence of natural science. He shows how both the contents of the Bible, and more particularly the way it was interpreted Harrell affirms that science is not the only way to pursue truth.
Rather, truth happens in a variety of different ways and each one ultimately leads to an understanding of God. Transcript William Paley… wrote a book, a famous book, called Natural Theology. The controversy over the posting of a video by Bruce largely relates to difference in teaching styles, probably significantly affected by differences in our disciplines.
In recent decades, scientists have discovered more about the beginnings of humanity, and the field of genetics has much to offer to this conversation. One of the difficulties people have with coming to accept the science of evolution is that they have absorbed incorrect or only partially correct information. Pastor Harrell notes that, to him, faith must correspond to how things are, not merely how we wish they could be. Thus, exploring nature can be seen as a way to also explore our fai The first question is a question that is so simple that most of us would not even stop to t The full experience of a new day is a complex mix of wonder and science.
Science explains much of it, and what is left over is not so much in need of explanation as it is in need of c Why would one take this journey? The only reason that I can even begin to think in such audacious terms is because I believe in the audacity of the Incarnation. There is clear and compelling evidence that water exists in liquid form on Mars today. We can't yet draw any conclusions about microbial life there. In church and the outdoors, texts were central to guiding our experience, but transformation always occurred through direct engagement with nature and with God in the present.
The scientific method doesn't give us absolute certainty that any theory is true. But it still gives us reliable information about the natural world. Ninety years is a long time, and so much has changed all over the world. But have the cultural perceptions about science and religion changed since the Scopes Trial in ? At BioLogos we believe that humans evolved and that humanity bears the image of God. How can these beliefs work together? Phipps relies on Darwin's own journals and correspondence to depict his "circuitous journey of faith.
Transcript So what shall we make of it? Well I have a friend, a philosopher, called John Leslie, who thinks about these things. Too many students believe in a particular viewpoint with deep passion and emotion, but are unable to articulate their own view in detail, much less any views that differ from their ow The fossil record shows that many creatures died before humans appeared, which appears to conflict with Bible passages that describe death as a punishment for human sinfulness. Anderson offers a rich, balanced look at how creation has been understood in both Judaism and Christianity.
Most of the time, God works through mundane, ordinary, natural-looking events. Ken Ham, President of Answers in Genesis, has been uninvited to two upcoming homeschooling events due to his harsh criticism and unkind words about The BioLogos Foundation. Some of the strongest evidence for the common ancestry of all life forms comes from genetics. Genetics is the study of how ch A series of lectures given by Polkinghorne exploring the compatibility and interaction of faith and science.
Evolution is a good Video 7 in the BioLogos Basics video series. In the previous video we looked at microevolution—small changes in a population on relatively short timescales. We bear the image of God together, and the image of God is only fully realized when we are members of a community, in relation to other human beings, as opposed to seeking independenc The answer, in contrast to what he suggests, is not better training in YEC.
Falk answers the question of how those who accept BioLogos' views should share their belief those who have differing views, emphasizing the need for "mutual respect. God has shown me His faithfulness, and He will remain faithful to us all. To insist that the description of the sky in Genesis 1 must conform to contemporary science is a theological problem. It is important to remember that God speaks in ways that people c If we want to talk about God, creation, and science, where should we start? The place to start is the place where all good Christian theology must start: The Psalmist affirms that the created world speaks of its creator, and that everywhere we look or listen there are words, speech pouring forth in abundance.
Our video presentation of the history of the universe began with a breathtaking 15 minutes last July. When does sin enter the picture? How do we handle Genesis correctly? Various Christian scholars consider these important questions and more. How people viewed Genesis would never be the same again. Here are ten reasons Christians should care deeply about issues emerging from the science-and-theology interface. How can we as the church do a better job at helping young people navigate the challenges they are facing?
What if we told the story of the Bible from the perspective of what science has learned about God's world? A parent learns that his high-schooler is being taught that evolution is false by his youth pastor, and dialogues with the pastor about evolutionary creationism. Explore various projects being done in partnership with BioLogos that are aimed at helping the church navigate what can be challenging waters.
Why would we take exception with attempts to discover and describe the natural processes by which God creates organisms, but not object to the study of the natural processes whereby h There is no need to keep theology in a watertight box, in isolation from the materiality of the created order. Video 6 in the BioLogos Basics video series. This new publisher offers a fresh approach to science education and a balanced perspective on dealing with evolutionary content. David was intrigued by Collins' book because Collins did not presented evolution as a rival theory to Christian faith, but as something that described God's method of creation.
Matt Zandee shares how he changed his mind about evolution. In this 4 — part video series, Old Testament scholar Dr. John Walton carefully examines what Genesis meant within the ancient cultural context in which it was written. Sample and search through materials before purchasing.
In today's video, Dr. David Finch, a biologist at New York University, discusses his thoughts on both Creationism and the effects of "new atheists" like Richard Dawkins. Our Christ and Creation national conference kicks off Wednesday evening. It's been 85 years since the first legal case was aired in Dayton, Tennessee, convicting substitute teacher John Scopes of the heinous crime of teaching evolution in a public school. Once in a while, we can drop our lives into a lower gear, pull off to the side of the road if only for a few moments, and truly meditate on this world we live in and what real It is well worth reading to get a flavor of the convers Video 5 in the BioLogos Basics video series.
A central feature of young earth creationism is the claim that the earth and universe were created no more than 10, years ago. We had an amazing three days celebrating Christ and his world with top scientists and scholars. Let me briefly suggest three elements in the pine savanna ecology that Christians may take as prompts for meditation on life in Christ. I had to go through the wrong hypothesis before finding that reality was more interesting. The wrong idea led to a right result in the lab, making for a better story in the end. From geology to biology to research into the origin of life itself, the power of water shows the faithfulness and creativity of our Creator.
Whether young or old, a new Christian or a longtime believer, we proclaim to each other that we have seen his love and we have known his goodness. Working at the open-air site of Linjing, China, palaeoanthropologists discovered what would turn out to be one of the most exciting East Asian human fossil finds in recent memory. We are often offended that God should have to accomplish anything in steps, as though this makes him less divine and all-powerful. But a child can offer a fruitful perspective on this Rather than the image of God as engineer or software designer, I prefer the image of God as slow and steady artist, weaving a tapestry of great beauty in all creatures great and small Video 4 in the BioLogos Basics video series.
So how did God bring about the diversity of life we see on earth today? First he needed a place where life could survive. Anthony's theology had to be nailed down tightly. When he found that his theology didn't mesh with the facts, he thought he had no choice but to give it all up. Original sin is a moral defect passed through all human generations that estranges us from God. If common ancestry is true, where did it come from, and when did it begin? Nurtured in an "all Christian environment," I knew little else.
But certain questions tended to nag at me. Being involved in science is a natural outflow of our own human natures and God-given intellect, and Christians in the sciences can be a witness to the world around them. Maybe the capacity to sin developed alongside the capacity to love. Maybe that's the point. The sovereign God provides pointers or signposts to Himself in the natural world. This is a transcript of an interview given by Dr. More and more people are learning about the BioLogos alternatives, but among Evangelicals, several key objections often hold them back from adopting evolutionary creationism.
One really powerful piece of evidence for the old age of the universe consists of the leftovers of dwarf galaxies that were consumed by our Milky Way a long time ago. Boyleston's poem "Coppermouth" does not instruct on how faith and biology ought to intermingle, but calls us to the practice of searching, always guided by the author of both the Worl What does art, and craft, and abstract mathematics have to do with the reality of immaterial forms, or with the appropriateness of mixing science and faith? For my friend one of the biggest barriers to becoming a Christian is the blatant sinfulness of self-professing Christians, which can be alarming and hard to understand for unbelievers We like books, and so do you.
Are you interested in reviewing books for the blog? There are, however, risks in making up evolutionary "just-so" stories to explain the origins of complex human beliefs. Scientists who confront Bible-believing Christians with the physical evidence of theologically-challenging views like old-earth geology or common ancestry are usually incredulous The most ornate and exquisite window is more than something to be looked at, wherein the light coming from behind and through the glass illuminates the story told there on the surface And, in a devastating review Fleeming Jenkin happily accepted the principle of natural selection but challenged its power to modify an ancestral species into descendent species, and thus limited its scope to the production of varieties.
A number of reviewers, even some sympathetic ones, questioned the possibility of extending the theory to account for the evolution of those characteristics that differentiate humans from their nearest relatives. Moreover, because Darwin was very fond of describing natural selection as a process that worked for the good of each species, Darwin's followers seemed to have diametrically opposed views as to whether his theory eliminated final causes from natural science or breathed new life into them.
In either case, there was also serious disagreement on whether this was a good thing or a bad thing. There is a fundamental philosophical problem with the idea that a species can undergo a series of changes that will cause it to become one or more other species. To illustrate it, look carefully at the first question that Charles Lyell wishes to address in the second volume of the Principles of Geology:. Lyell pretty clearly assumes that to allow for evolution is to deny the reality of species.
And Darwin seems to have become so. Permanence for Darwin is a relative thing, and there are no fixed limits to variability within a species. Given enough time the individual differences found in all populations can give rise to stable varieties, these to sub-species, and these to populations that systematists will want to class as distinct species. Moreover, he concludes the Origin with very strong words on this topic, words bound to alarm his philosophical readers:. Lyell, Herschel, Whewell, Sedgwick and many of Darwin's contemporaries certainly would not find this a cheering prospect, since they were unrepentant essentialists about species.
Lyell clearly feels this is an empirically verifiable result—most of chapters 2—4 of Principles Vol. But a naturalistic account of species origination is more difficult, since there will need to be, in sexually reproducing species, a natural production of a new pair of parents with a new type.
On the other hand, to adopt the sort of nominalism advocated above by Darwin seems to have undesirable consequences as well. How are we to formulate objective principles of classification? What sort of a science of animals and plants will be possible if there are no fixed laws relating their natures to their characteristics and behaviors?
A good deal of chapter 2 of Darwin's Origin is devoted to convincing the reader that current best practice among botanists and zoologists accepts a natural world organized as he is insisting rather than as his opponents claim:. From a Darwinian perspective, this is a predictable consequence of the fact that the organisms we today wish to classify are merely the most recent stage of a slow, gradual evolutionary process. Organisms within a genus have common ancestors, perhaps relatively recent common ancestors; some naturalists may see ten species with a few varieties in each; others may rank some of the varieties as species and give the same genus twenty species.
Both classifications may be done with the utmost objectivity and care by skilled observers. The question of nominalism regarding species points toward a final aspect of Darwin's theory with which many of those otherwise sympathetic to him disagreed, his gradualism.
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It is perhaps here that we see the most lasting impact of Darwin's careful study of Charles Lyell's Principles of Geology while on H. With all of the amazing changes that have been wrought by the genetic, biochemical, and molecular revolutions, with the development of mathematical models of population genetics and ecology, of sophisticated techniques for both field and laboratory investigation of evolutionary processes, and of cladistic analysis in systematics, it nevertheless remains true that one can find evolutionary biologists who adhere to Darwin's Darwinism, and are recognized as doing so by both themselves and their critics.
In the next section of this article, I will develop a portrait of contemporary Darwinism around each of these contested features. By the same token, however, Darwinism has evolved. As one example of this truth, think for a moment of contemporary debates about the nature of selection.
The problems people had with natural selection in the 19 th century continue to be problematic, but there are a variety of problems that were either not discussed, or discussed very differently, in the 19 th century. Can, and does, natural selection work at levels other than the level of Darwin's focus, individual organisms; is there a non-vacuous way to formulate the theory abstractly; how are we to understand the relationships between the concepts of fitness, selection and adaptation? How strong are the constraints on the selection process, and what sorts of constraints are there?
Are there other motors of evolutionary change besides selection, and if so, how important are they? So reads the heading of the very first section of the first chapter of Gould's monumental The Structure of Evolutionary Theory. Opening with a subtle reading of an exchange of letters in between paleontologist Hugh Falconer and Charles Darwin, Gould eventually explains what he has in mind by this section heading:.
In the preceding section of this essay, I organized my discussion of the problems that Darwin's allies had with Darwin's Darwinism around five issues: That in itself is remarkable, but it is the more so because the Darwinian position on each of these issues is under as much pressure from non-Darwinian evolutionary biologists today as it was in the wake of the Origin. It is not surprising, given the situation as I have just characterized it, that philosophers of biology have made significant contributions to the discussion, especially in pointing out underlying philosophical issues that are at stake and conceptual confusions and ambiguities that stand in the way of resolving the issues at hand.
That I cannot do here. Rather, in what follows I will simply be presupposing certain answers to these questions of historical origins. The list of references at the end of this essay includes a number of excellent pieces of work on this subject for those who share my convictions about its importance. The evolutionary process, as Darwin understood it, involves the generation of variation and a process producing a differential perpetuation of variation.
One simple way to think about Darwinism in relation to a logical space of alternatives, then, is by means of the following variation grid:. Let us begin with the language Darwin uses when he first sketches his theory at the beginning of the fourth chapter of the Origin:. Unlike Darwin's contemporaries, the founders of the synthesis of Mendelian genetics and Darwinian selection theory, Sewall Wright, Ronald Fisher and J. Haldane, were entirely comfortable with a selection theory formulated in such terms. On this issue contemporary Darwinism agrees whole-heartedly with Charles Darwin.
Note one clear statement of the Principle of Natural Selection from the philosophical literature:. The theory trades pervasively in probabilities. To take a simple case: In any given case of reproduction, we would say, which genotype emerged is a matter of chance. The models of population biology provide a means of assigning probabilities to various outcomes, given information about population size, rates of mutation and migration themselves given as averages and estimates.
It does not guarantee it. With respect to the generation of variation, chapter 5 of On the Origin of Species opens with the following apology:. But it is important to keep historical context in mind here. To quote the Reverend William Paley's Natural Theology , regarding a beautiful instance of adaptation: Darwin to assume, in the philosophy of his hypothesis, that variation has been led along certain beneficial lines. Whatever the cause of the generation of a variation may be, the role of selection is to accumulate those already present variations that happen to be beneficial.
Apart from those urging Darwin to give up chance in favor of design, he had pressure to abandon chance from another direction, the evolutionary philosophy of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. Lamarck's is a materialistic argument against the variation in nature being a matter of chance. On the Lamarckian view, variations arise in an organism as a direct response to environmental stress or demand, giving rise to a stimulus, which in turn elicits a physiological response, which finally can be passed on via reproduction to offspring.
Variations are not chance or random, since they are an appropriate response to an environmental stress. Here are two examples of this notion of chance or randomness as used by contemporary Darwinians. Here, a champion of the neutral theory of molecular evolution characterizes his position:.
Here, it will be noticed, the focus is not on the generation of variations but on the perpetuation of variations. The contrast is between a random sampling of gametes that leads to the fixation of selectively neutral alleles and natural selection favoring advantageous variations. We are contrasting two sampling processes. Drift samples without concern for adaptation; selection samples discriminately on the basis of differences in fitness. However, as Beatty has pointed out, it was quite common until fairly recently to characterize natural selection in such a way as to make it almost indistinguishable from random drift cf.
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Lennox , Lennox and Wilson Numerous accounts of fitness characterized the fitness of a genotype as defined by its relative contribution to the gene pool of future generations—the genotype contributing the larger percentage being the fitter. In order to provide a proper characterization of the role of chance in evolutionary change, then, it is critical to provide a more robust and sophisticated account of fitness. For further information, see the entry on: This, in turn, requires that we discuss the conceptual network that includes the notions of adaptation and natural selection, to which we will turn shortly.
For now, let us assume that there is a way of characterizing fitness such that there is a substantial empirical question of what role indiscriminate sampling of genotypes or phenotypes plays in evolutionary change. This issue was first placed squarely before evolutionary biologists by Sewall Wright in the early s. As Wright pointed out, genes that are neutral with respect to fitness can, due to the stochastic nature of any process of sampling from a population, increase their representation from one generation to the next.
The likelihood of this happening goes up as effective population size goes down. This is the position characterized by Kimura one of its most eloquent defenders in the passage quoted above. Whether or not such a process plays a significant role in evolution is not a philosophical issue, but it is highly relevant to whether evolutionary biology should be seen as predominantly Darwinian.
For if any view is central to Darwinism, it is that the evolutionary process is predominantly guided by the fitness-biasing force of natural selection, acting on variations that arise by chance. It is to natural selection and related concepts that we now turn. The words of Charles Darwin? Darwin refers to this passage in Notebook C of his Species Notebooks. Sebright sees clearly that the natural processes he is describing will have the same effects as the breeder's selection, but he is not about to describe those processes as selection processes.
Darwin took that step, and Darwinism has followed. Darwin himself consistently refers to natural selection as a power of preserving advantageous, and eliminating harmful, variations. As noted in the last section, whether a particular variation is advantageous or harmful is, in once sense of that term, a matter of chance; and whether an advantageous variation is actually preserved by selection is, in another sense of the term, also a matter of chance. For Darwinism, selection is the force or power that biases survival and reproduction in favor of advantageous variations, or to look ahead to the next section, of adaptations.
It is this that distinguishes selection from drift. In a recent monograph entitled Natural Selection: Williams has vigorously defended Darwinian selection theory against a variety of challenges that have emerged over the last few decades. Those challenges can be placed into two broad categories: It will be noted that in neither case is it obvious that the theory itself requires modification in the face of such challenges—in principle these might be nothing more than challenges to the theory's range of application. However, if it turned out that most evolutionary change could be explained without recourse to natural selection, this would be grounds for arguing that evolutionary biology was no longer Darwinian.
And if it turned out that the theory of natural selection could only be integrated with our new understanding of the processes of inheritance and development by a wholesale modification of its foundations, it might be best to see the new theory as a modified descendent of Darwinism, rather than Darwinism itself. Theories may need essences, as Gould claims; but if what is fundamental to the theory has changed, then so has its essence. To borrow a phrase from Paul Griffiths, perhaps it is not that theories need histories and essences—perhaps what they need are historical essences.
Here is a rather standard textbook presentation of the relevant concepts:. The problem lies in the fact that the concept of fitness plays dual roles that are instructively conflated in this quotation. But then the assumed connections among the concepts of fitness, adaptation and natural selection are severed. There is, however, a way of formulating the theory in its modern guise which maintains an essentially Darwinian character. Since there are a number of confirmed ways in which natural populations can evolve in the absence of natural selection, and since balancing selection, i.
That is, it is a way of establishing that a population either is or is not in equilibrium, and it provides sophisticated tools for measuring rates of change in a population across generations. Moreover, like the kinematics of any physical theory, if it establishes cross-generational change, it also tells us that there are causes to be found—the detailed contours of those measures may even provide suggestions as to where to look for those causes.
What it cannot do on its own is provide knowledge of the forces at work. To use language introduced by Elliott Sober, fitness, unlike natural selection, is causally inert. That means that, as valuable as population genetics is, it should not be equated with the theory of natural selection.
Too often in both biological presentations of the theory and philosophical discussions of it, this is forgotten. Natural selection, if it is to resemble the Darwinian concept that bears that name, must be reserved for reference to an interaction between a variable, heritable feature of an organic system and the environment of that system. That interaction may or may not change the proportions of those features across generations, and those proportions may change for reasons other than those interactions. But a plausible natural selection hypothesis must posit some such interaction.
On this issue I will give the last word to Stephen Jay Gould:. If we suppose that for Darwin natural selection was almost exclusively thought of as an interaction between individual organisms and their organic and inorganic environments, then we can see two challenges to Darwinism today with respect to levels of selection. There are those, such as G. Williams and Richard Dawkins, who argue that selection is always and only of genes.
Here is a clear statement:. Throughout that book selection is always said to be of individual alleles, regardless of the role environments at various levels may play in the process. This view has been extensively challenged by philosophers of biology on both methodological and conceptual grounds, though there are, among philosophers, enthusiastic supporters cf. In all the give and take, it is seldom noticed that defenders of this view claim to be carrying the Darwinian flag Gayon and Gould are exceptions. Yet it is certainly not a position that Darwin would recognize--and not merely because he lacked a coherent theory of the units of inheritance.
It is not a Darwinian view because for Darwin it was differences in the abilities of organisms at various stages of development to respond to the challenges of life that had causal primacy in the explanation of evolutionary change. Darwinism also has challenges from the opposite direction. That chapter title combines two conceptually distinct theses: Gould's title exemplifies one approach to group selection—the unit of selection is always the individual, but there are individuals other than individual organisms that are subject to selection.
A very different result emerges if one assumes that groups of organisms such as demes, kin-groups, or species, though not individuals, are nevertheless subject to selection. Others define group selection primarily in terms of group level effects. For further discussion, see Sterelny and Griffiths , —; Hull , 49—90; and see the entry on: One might say this was the central promise of Darwinism—to account for both phylogenic continuity and adaptive differentiation by means of the same principles; or as Darwin puts it, to integrate in one theory the supposed opposition between Unity of Type and Conditions of Existence.
But it is here that even the most sympathetic of Darwin's theistic supporters were forced to qualify their support for the theory of descent with modification by means of natural selection. In Darwin's day the reactions of Asa Gray and John Herschel are perhaps the most interesting in this respect. Moreover, the evidence from the study of variation in domestic and natural populations put the lie to any claim that God directs all or most variation along beneficial lines.
Darwinian selection theory is a two-step process—the production of variation unrelated to the adaptive requirements of the organism, and differential perpetuation of those variations that serve adaptive needs. Again, a theory of evolution that could not be so described would not be a Darwinian theory. Here I want to focus on only one important question—to what extent is the teleological appearance of such explanations simply that, an appearance masking a causal process in which goals play no role?
The appearance of teleology is certainly present in Darwinian explanations, and has been since Darwin spoke of natural selection working solely for the good of each being. The appearance of teleology stems from the ease with which both evolutionary biology and common sense take it for granted that animals and plants have the adaptations they do because of some benefit or advantage to the organism provided by those adaptations.
This is a hotly contested question, and I will here simply sketch a case that selective explanations of adaptations are robustly teleological. The interested reader may want to refer to the literature on this question referred to in the discussion and listed in the list of readings provided at the end of this entry. Etymologically, they come to the same thing; and the philosophical arguments given in favor of the change all rest on an historically doubtful assumption—that philosophical defenses of teleology have always been either theistic or vitalistic.
The serious philosophical issue can be put simply and directly: If the answer is yes, the explanations are teleological. A good place to begin is with a simple, yet realistic, example. In research carried out over many years and combining painstaking field work and laboratory experimentation, John Endler was able to demonstrate that the color patterns of males in the guppy populations he was studying in rivers feeding into the southern Caribbean were a consequence of a balance between mate selection and predator selection.
To take one startling example, he was able to test and confirm a hypothesis that a group of males, with a color pattern that matched that of the pebbles on the bottoms of the streams and ponds they populated except for bright red spots, have that pattern because a common predator in those populations, a prawn, is color blind for red.
Red spots did not put their possessors at a selective disadvantage, and were attractors for mates. Endler , — We may refer to this pattern of coloration as a complex adaptation that serves the functions of predator avoidance and mate attraction. But what role do those functions play in explaining why it is that the males in this population have the coloration they do?
This color pattern is an adaptation, as that term is used in Darwinism, only if it is a production of natural selection Williams ; Brandon ; Burian Which factors are critical, then, in producing differential survival and reproduction of guppies with this particular pattern? The answer would seem to be the value-consequences this pattern has compared to others available in promoting viability and reproduction.
In popular parlance and the parlance favored by Darwin , this color pattern is good for the male guppies that have it, and for their male offspring, and that is why they have it Binswanger ; Brandon ; Lennox The reason for one among a number of color patterns having a higher fitness value has to do with the value of that pattern relative to the survival and reproductive success of its possessors.
Selection explanations are, then, a particular kind of teleological explanation, an explanation in which that for the sake of which a trait is possessed, its valuable consequence , accounts for the trait's differential perpetuation and maintenance in the population.
In listing the topics under which I would discuss neo-Darwinism, I distinguished the question of the ontological status of species from the epistemological status of the species concept. Though they are closely related questions, it is important to keep them distinct.
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As will become clear as we proceed, this distinction is rarely honored. Moreover, it is equally important to distinguish the species concept from the categories of features that belong in a definition of species. Advances in our theoretical understanding may lead us to reconsider the sorts of attributes that are most important for determining whether a group of organisms is a species, and thus whether it deserves to be assigned a name at that taxonomic level.
It should not be assumed that such changes constitute a change in the species concept, though at least some such changes may lead us to restrict or expand the range of taxa that are designated as species. Dobzhansky in gave what he claimed to be a definition of species, but which seems, as Mayr noted Mayr , much more a definition of speciation:.
Simpson and others built even more historicity into the concept. The test for species membership is the capacity to interbreed; the test distinguishing two species is incapacity to interbreed. Dobzhansky makes the importance of this test transparent—the transition from a single interbreeding population to two reproductively isolated ones is the process of speciation.
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