Talk:Theistic evolution/Archive1

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The article presently states: "Theistic evolution is the idea that God(s) created life using the method of evolution." I have grave doubts that this is true. The theory of evolution says nothing about the origin of life - that is a different subject (Abiogenesis). Evolution describes how life changes once it has started up. I am not an expert on Theistic Evolution but it seems to me that it is nothing more than another way of saying "God-guided evolution" - in other words "Intelligent Design".--Bob's your uncle 05:44, 17 October 2007 (EDT)

Well yes and no. Some theistic evolutionists do indeed believe that god set the universe in motion and the end result was humans; so included in that belief is an abiogenesis event as part of the evolution of the universe. Theistic evolution is not neessarily ID, for the IDer is not necessarily a god (wink, wink).--Remarcsd 08:49, 17 October 2007 (EDT)
To put it concisely (godspeed!), the major difference is that ID purports to be a scientific theory which includes God as an active element, while TE is a theological approach which accepts scientific evolution, then attempts to reconcile it with a theistic belief. What this means in practice varies between denominations - wp:Theistic evolution gives an acceptable overview. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 11:16, 17 October 2007 (EDT)

OK - I see the article has now been changed to say: "with the additional belief that God used evolution as His method of guiding life on Earth". How does this differ from ID?--Bob's your uncle 12:48, 17 October 2007 (EDT)

One is a theological argument (accepting that God exists, he must have used evolution), the other is an apologetic argument (life is so complex, God must have done it). The main difference is in what each argument is trying to do. One seeks to reconcile God/etc to the facts of evolution; the other tries to deny evolution as a mechanism of change in order to prove God. Researcher 12:50, 17 October 2007 (EDT)
Perhaps this rather subtle difference should be in the article? I must say that both of then seem to have evolution driven by God (as opposed to natural selection) and the the difference is largely semantic.--Bob's your uncle 13:07, 17 October 2007 (EDT)
Well, this is to a large degree a question of definitions, so semantics are hardly irrelevant. I'd actually say they're at the heart of the matter. ;-) --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 13:20, 17 October 2007 (EDT)

Indeed. Because we now say: "the generally accepted idea is that of a diety-assisted abiogenesis followed by an indeterminate amount of time during whcich natural selection-guided evolution took place." Which seems to say that "God" had no part in the actual evolution bit of Theistic Evolution. :-) !!! --Bob's your uncle 13:23, 17 October 2007 (EDT)

I have added the above point to the article. I have also removed the point about 7 days of creation as it would not seem to be relevant.--Bob's your uncle 13:50, 17 October 2007 (EDT)
Looks good. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 14:12, 17 October 2007 (EDT)


I'm looking forward to seeing how it can be argued that this is a case of equivocation. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 06:58, 18 October 2007 (EDT)

Well, I might have been chancing my arm on that one. But here's my logic. Our article on Equivocation states that "Equivocation is a logical fallacy that relies on the different meanings a word can have in different contexts." It goes on to give an example of confusion over the word "theory" used by creationists to fool the public.
Now, our article on Theistic evolution really says nothing whatsoever about theistic evolution - it is about theistic abiogenesis. The evolution part - at least as described in our article - is completely materialistic. Consequently the phrase "Theistic evolution" appears to suggest that there is something theistic about evolution - but in reality relies on confusion in the public's mind about the concepts of evolution and abiogenesis in order to achieve this end.--Bobbing for apples 13:55, 18 October 2007 (EDT)
The thing is, "theistic evolution" does (usually) presuppose that God guided evolution towards the end result of humanity. Not with any scientific evidence, but out of the theological understanding that man is made in God's image. Researcher 14:24, 18 October 2007 (EDT)
In that case it should be in the article - presumably along with the statement there is absolutely no evidence for such guidance.--Bobbing for apples 14:32, 18 October 2007 (EDT)
I think there is a bit of misunderstanding over what this concept is actually about. Unlike ID, it does not claim to be a theory of how evolution happens. Rather, it accepts the scientific theory of evolution at face value, then tries to investigate theologically how this fits with a theistic world view. Some denominations do this by seeing or theologists do this by seeing evolution in teleological terms, i.e. that mankind is the desired result of this long process, while others draw different conclusions. --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 15:26, 18 October 2007 (EDT)

I have tried to express some of this difference in the article page.--Bobbing for apples 06:15, 19 October 2007 (EDT)

Old Earth Creationism[edit]

Doesn't Old Earth Creationism believe that the world was created only about 30-100,000 years ago? Researcher 17:22, 20 October 2007 (EDT)

Not any of the sources I've been reading recently. That's not to say there might not be a subset who believe this. I've found some who believe that evolution caused life to start, but they don't seem to be well up on their own terminology. Have a look at Old Earth Creationism.--Bobbing for apples 17:30, 20 October 2007 (EDT)
I'll be honest, I stopped paying attention to creationists awhile ago (particularly after I finally came to understand and agree with evolution). Most of what I've seen has been YEC and real science. Researcher 22:30, 21 October 2007 (EDT)

How exactly is theistic evolution "associated with Old Earth creationism"? --AKjeldsenGodspeed! 18:41, 7 November 2007 (EST)

Because some OEC's claim it as their own. --Bobbing up 18:50, 7 November 2007 (EST)

I'm skeptical. OEC could be seen as one set of beliefs that is not inconsistent with theistic evolution, but that's about it.--PalMD-If it looks like a donut, eat it 18:56, 7 November 2007 (EST)

But presumably theistic evolutionists believe that the earth (or at least the universe) was created. And that it was created a long time ago. This is what OEC's believe. Some people who call themselves OEC believe that "God" used (or manipulated evolution) evolution to create humanity.--Bobbing up 19:01, 7 November 2007 (EST)

So, basically a Venn diagram of the two would not show a total overlap.--PalMD-If it looks like a donut, eat it 19:02, 7 November 2007 (EST)

OEC beliefs are a bit hard to define as there are many varieties - they're not like YEC beliefs. But some of them would have a very good overlap, though I'm sure you could always tease out differences.--Bobbing up 19:08, 7 November 2007 (EST)
What are the differences? Is it that all theistic evolutionists and OECs think the universe is old, but that some OECs think that humans were created (without evolution) within the last 10,000 years? So if one is a theistic evolutionist implies OEC, but OEC does not necessarily mean theistic evo?
I dunno...based on my personal experience (hint: questionable), although there may be some weird exceptions like the above example, for all practical purposes "OEC" and "theistic evolutionist" are virtually synonymous, among U.S. Christians anyway. Though I'm fully prepared to be corrected on that.--Bayesupdate 19:44, 7 November 2007 (EST)

This is from the Old Earth Creationism website quoted above: "In an informal poll on this website, with over 1,100 respondents who believe in an old earth, 45 percent are Progressive Creationists, 32 percent are Theistic Evolutionists, 10 percent believe in the Gap Theory, and the rest are old earth, but undecided as to which position to believe in." So, according to OEC's themselves, a very significant proportion of them believe in theistic evolution.--Bobbing up 03:35, 8 November 2007 (EST)

I have clarified the introduction to read associated "with some versions of Old Earth Creationism".--Bobbing up 06:03, 8 November 2007 (EST)

Theistic evolution and NS[edit]

I have felt obliged to cut this section from the article:

  • If, in the future, science is capable of demonstrating a path to living organisms via natural selection (nucleic acids certainly have some catalyitic capability as well as the ability to replicate independent of a fully functioning cell so may be an indication of how to bridge between "life" and "non-life") or other naturalistic means

As it doesn't seem very clear.--Rationalist 11:19, 12 February 2009 (EST)

Theistic evolution and natural selection - not clear how?[edit]

Possible inclusion of God include (by no means do they have to be scientific or make total sense):

  • God dictates Nature/surroundings (Natural selection does not dictate how the nature changes, just how nature affects survival of various species)
  • In sexual reproduction, God dictates how often the mutated chromosome shows up (probability of passing mutations down the generations)
  • God dictates the probability of mutation (as mutations occurs more often at some point in time?)
  • God dictates the randomness (direction) of mutation(not really, otherwise extinction would be unnecessary)

I am not sure no consensus would be reached in the near future (without eventually resorting to God of the gaps) Comments? K61824CP≠Child Porn? 01:39, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

I'm not sure I see your point. What you're describing is clearly not "natural selection" as it is being directed by a constant series of mini-miracles by god. So - why stop at mini-miracles? Why not go the whole hog and do it in seven days?--Bobbing up 07:20, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
Because the seven-day creation theory is contradicted by an inconveniently large mountain of evidence and the above is not... Mjollnir.svgListenerXTalkerX 07:30, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
OK. So how would one test for the above? How could it be falsified?--Bobbing up 09:04, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
I mean, Theistic evolution is "God causing it", right? Then the places to include God while accepting evolution (through natural selection) can be those places at least. Natural selection does not in any way tells you how exactly "nature" changes (Natral selection tells you which environment favours the survival of what, not the sequence of environment that is going to happen/has happened), so they can put God in it as an argument and say "God changed the weather/Climate(which is consistent with Global warming conspiracy)/events". Not too good an argument at least, but it's still an argument. And by the way, once we put "God" in the picture rest assured it is not going to be very testable. Religious people would just believe it. Remember we are talking about Old earth here. K61824Monitoring virgin birth experiment 14:00, 26 May 2009 (UTC)
OK, I guess it's about as credible as saying the Flying Spaghetti Monster did it.--Bobbing up 16:12, 26 May 2009 (UTC)

Charles Krauthammer defends passive theistic evolution[edit]

I found this article written some years ago by conservative Charles Krauthammer (who would've guessed?) where he attacks ID and supports a view of very passive theistic evolution, which includes a strong defense of unguided evolution. It's quite interesting (the only thing of his I've enjoyed reading, might I add).The Goonie 1 (talk) 05:54, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

TE is not inherently connected OEC or ID[edit]

As a now-atheist who used to be a theistic evolutionist (indeed, I believe that TE can sometimes be a "gateway" to atheism), I think that this article is a little too zealous in connecting TE and OEC/ID. TE merely states "God created the universe, and then stopped interfering and let the laws of science take over" (this is, at least, the definition that I'm using). It does not state that God created life (as OEC says) nor does it propose a constantly-interfereing god (as ID does). Conflating it with those two seems a little unecessary. I haven't actually changed the article because I don't want to cause an edit war, but I did want to discuss this. (Of course, being that I'm an atheist, I really have no need to argue this, but I only just became one less than 4 months ago and still "relapse" into apologetics sometimes)

Lots of the stuff on the article is unsourced, I won't say it is wrong but it is a bit off the mark. Take this example: "Similar to so-called progressive creationism, this postulates that a series of explicit interventions and genetic modifications were made, all with the aim of producing humanity. The scale of these interventions is not fully explained and varies; some may claim that a god will generate whole new organisms (making humans special and therefore separate from other animals that are wholly natural)" I never seen any of that found in any theistic evolution book, that latter point is creationist and nothing to do with theistic evolution. "TE merely states "God created the universe, and then stopped interfering and let the laws of science take over" that is not theistic evolution but is deistic evolution but I can understand how they get confused. Forests (talk) 20:38, 29 December 2012 (UTC)

Once again, strawmen[edit]

In our endless battle with strawmen, we once again rely on what people AGAINST something say "x" is or guess, based on our anti-religion views, rather than actually look at what a thing is in the real world, by people who believe it. Wheeee!!! thus making us look oh so sophisticated in our attacks. So, instead of quoting Coyne, could we possibly quote someone like Kenneth Miller (famous biologist from Dover v. K) who is a theistic evolutionist? or Polkinghorn who is a world class physicsts and christian priest? Is it possible to actually look at complex "sophisticated theology" (wink wink, nudge nudge) and attack that, rather than simply saying "god those theists are so stupid to have never thought that an all powerful diety would just make humans naturally-wink wink nudge nudge?" Green mowse.pngGodot She was a venus demilo in her sister's jeans 19:57, 29 December 2012 (UTC)