We’ve previously reported about disputes among theologians concerning the acceptance of evolution, and we have long believed that The Controversy over evolution belongs entirely within the field of theology. Some sects accept science (see the National Center for Science Education’s list of Statements from Religious Organizations supporting evolution) and others reject it; but their doctrinal disputes are their problem — they aren’t science issues. That’s primarily why we have always advised against debates with creationists.
Some of our earlier posts about theological quarrels are Battling Baptists: Young or Old Earth? (about William Dembski’s old-earth creationism), and then Creationism: A House Divided Against Itself (Ken Ham against everyone who isn’t a young-earther) and then Creationism Controversy Enters a New Phase? (Albert Mohler against BioLogos — a theistic, pro-evolution group of scientists), and then More Denominational Discord Over Evolution (ICR takes Mohler’s side against BioLogos), and then Discovery Institute Battles BioLogos (their gripe is about evolution, not theism), and then Ken Ham Denounces the Pope (a rant about science and scripture).
Our point is that the various sects should be left to contend among themselves about how much science they can accept. The more of such theological disputation there is, the more apparent it becomes that such issues are not scientific issues at all. What’s actually at stake is how much reality-denial a sect will demand, and whether it can flourish in that manner.
We see such things as points on a continuum. So do others; see, e.g., two such continua discussed in Discovery Institute and BioLogos, but our continuum is much simpler. It’s a straight line, at one end of which we place the hard-core, young-earth creationists who accept nothing — regardless of evidence — that contradicts their reading of scripture. At that end are clustered creationists such as Jack Chick, Ken Ham, and the creation “scientists” at the Institute for Creation Research. At the other end are theistic scientists such as those at BioLogos. It appears that they accept all of reality, plus some spiritual elements for which there is no evidence one way or another. The old-earth creationists who accept some science can be found in the middle of our spectrum.
We see no reason for scientific debates with anyone at any point along this continuum. The “Genesis uber alles” types are incapable of scientific debate because they reject all of reality that doesn’t fit into the Garden of Eden, the Flood, etc. Their creation “science” is shameless nonsense, and rational debate with them is impossible. The old-earth creationists are still creationists, and there’s no way to engage with them either. Theistic scientists are genuine scientists with whom we have no scientific disputes, so there’s nothing to debate with them.
Where on our continuum do we place the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists)?
The Discoveroids don’t deserve a place on our continuum. Their “science” is incomprehensible except in the context of creationism, yet they claim that their beliefs aren’t religious and they’ll never admit otherwise. We could lump them somewhere in the middle with the old-earth creationists, but the Discoveroids would reject that placement. It’s fine with us to give them no place at all. Why would anyone debate with people who refuse to acknowledge the true nature of their doctrines?
Although we think scientists should refrain from debates with anyone on our continuum, we do like to see debates conducted within the religious community. It’s our hope that in time, like so many denominations, all of them will accept — or at least tolerate — the hard-won knowledge provided by science.
With that long introduction out of the way, we present some excerpts from Mohler takes on ‘theistic evolution’, which appears at the website of the Associated Baptist Press, where the “About Us” page says that it’s “the first and only independent news service created by and for Baptists,”
Mohler is the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and we’ve posted about his views before. For example, see Are Evolution and Christianity Incompatible? (he says they are), and also Albert Mohler and the Age of the Universe (he says it’s only 6,000 years old, having been created in six literal days).
Let’s get into Mohler’s latest. Bear in mind that what he says is entirely theological in nature, and does not in any way constitute his side of a scientific debate. To his credit, he doesn’t claim otherwise. (He may be an advocate of creation science, but we haven’t seen that side of him.) We shall merely observe what Mohler says and not intrude on what is purely a family quarrel. Here we go, with bold font added by us:
Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote an article in the Winter 2011 issue of the seminary magazine labeling attempts by Christians to accommodate Darwinism “a biblical and theological disaster.”
A disaster! Let’s read on:
Mohler said acceptance of evolutionary theory requires reading the first two chapters of Genesis as a literary rendering and not historical fact, but it doesn’t end there. It also requires rethinking the claim that sin and death entered the human race through the Fall of Adam. That in turn, Mohler contended, raises questions about New Testament passages like First Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.”
Mohler’s uncompromising position is understandable, but it’s inconsistent. We assume that he and his denomination accept the solar system and the spherical shape of the earth, yet those scientific facts are contrary to scripture. We’ve discussed biblical passages about the flat earth here: Insincere Reality Denial?, and about the earth-centered universe that caused so much trouble for Galileo here: Creationists and Cosmology, Part 5. And there’s also The Scriptural Value Of Pi. We continue:
Mohler said that after trying to reconcile their reading of Genesis with science, proponents of theistic evolution are now publicly rejecting biblical inerrancy, the doctrine that the Bible is totally free from error.
“We now face the undeniable truth that the most basic and fundamental questions of biblical authority and Gospel integrity are at stake,” Mohler concluded. “Are you ready for this debate?”
We’re definitely ready for creationists to have that debate, but your Curmudgeon will stay out of it. Reality won’t change and science won’t quit. The creationists will have to find their own way. Bless ‘em all.
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