The Discoveroids Oppose Academic Freedom

This is another in a series of posts about the documented hypocrisy of the Discovery Institute. While they pretend to be champions of academic freedom by promoting their phoney Academic Freedom bills, and scream to the heavens when a creationist is disciplined for promoting religion in a state school’s science class, they never object when someone is stopped from teaching evolution at a creationist school — see The Reality of Creationist “Academic Freedom”.

We’ve previously pointed out their shameful silence regarding “expelled” teachers at La Sierra and Bryan College– see “Academic Freedom” for Creationists Only, and then at Nazarene University — see Hey, Discoveroids: Is This Academic Freedom?, where a tenured professor was fired.

In state school science courses they demand the freedom to wedge in their Oogity Boogity nonsense — disguised as the “weaknesses” of the theory of evolution. But when creationist schools throw out those who teach genuine science, they give tacit approval by their silence. They never demand that science should be taught in bible colleges — and they never defend the academic freedom of those who teach science in such places.

We have a new situation today which will further expose the Discoveroids’ hypocrisy. At the website of Christian Today, located in London, which describes itself as “an independent Christian media company,” we read Professor at Christian college resigns after it insists on anti-evolution statement. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

A prominent evangelical philosophy professor has resigned from the Christian Bethel College in Indiana after it espoused creationism in a statement on human origins. Dr Jim Stump, an award-winning teacher who has worked at Bethel since 1998 and specialises in philosophy of science, said he had resigned of his own choice because he did not wish to remain under the new creationist policy and bring “tension” to the college.

For those who don’t know, they inform us:

Bethel College is affiliated to the Missionary Church of Fort Wayne, Indiana which has its own roots in Mennonite, Amish and holiness movements from the Anabaptist tradition.

We need some information about that “new creationist policy.” Here it comes:

The new “philosophy of origins” policy was adopted by the college trustees last month and includes the statement: “We believe that the first man, Adam, was created by an immediate act of God and not by a process of evolution.” This is an article of the Missionary Church which, until the change in policy, faculty staff did not have to sign up to.

The policy says academic staff should investigate and teach all viewpoints on origins but this doctrine is “a corporate commitment on Adam and all humanity” and is essential to distinguish humanity from animals, as made in God’s image.

[…]

The new statement says the special creation of Adam by God “should be advocated as the official, meritorious, and theologically responsible position of the College, without disparagement.”

But that’s not all. Let’s read on:

Academics at Bethel must affirm each year that God is the Creator of all things, that the Bible is infallible and other deeply conservative Christian doctrines such as that the personal return of Christ will bring about “the end of the present age, the judgment and the beginning of the glorious age to come”. The aim is not to suppress views on evolution, but “prevent public contradiction or disparagement of this corporate commitment”, the statement says.

M’god — they have to affirm that each year! What did Dr Stump do when confronted with this? We continue:

In a letter released jointly with Bethel College president Dr Gregg Chenoweth, Dr Stump says he respects the right of Bethel trustees to determine policies for the college and recognises the new policy “reflects the will of the broader community of which Bethel is part.” He said he chose to resign and that many Bethel leaders have been “extraordinarily supportive”. He also says Bethel is an “effective institution” but believes God now directs him to “other ways” of serving the Kingdom.

We can imagine that divine directive: Hey, Stumpy — pack up and get out of that place. Run far; run fast! Here’s more:

Dr Chenoweth in his accompanying statement says countless alumni and current students name Dr Stump as a “star” in the constellation of their Bethel experience. He affirmed the college’s commitment to academic rigour within the Christian context. He says he is confident that dispute “is not the signpost of error”.

Oh, this is interesting:

Stump is a member of the science-and-faith Biologos Forum which attempts to present an “evolutionary understanding of God’s creation”.

Biologos is all about Theistic evolution. Their website has an article about Dr. Stump’s resignation: Response to Jim Stump’s Resignation from Bethel College.

So there you are, dear reader. This is another opportunity for the Discoveroids — as the primary champions of academic freedom, as well as “teaching the controversy” — to speak out boldly on behalf of Dr. Stump. Will they seize the moment? We’ve been shocked — shocked! — when we’ve said before in such cases that a highly principled outfit like the Discoveroids will do the right thing. But they never do. We’re starting to suspect that they’re just a pack of crazed creationist fanatics.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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43 responses to “The Discoveroids Oppose Academic Freedom

  1. It’s been all downhill for Bethel since they left the Mennonite tradition! Goshen College, and likely the other Mennonite colleges would likely fall in to the BioLogos perspective.

  2. michaelfugate

    Loyalty oaths and such are inane – you silence those individuals most committed to educating students – the ideologues have no problem signing and neither have those just wanting to keep their jobs. There is no academic rigour under such conditions; every competent instructor will always be threatened with expulsion or censure.

  3. “The policy says academic staff should investigate and teach all viewpoints on origins but …”
    Translation: we only accept science when it fits our religious prejudices.

    “Academics at Bethel must affirm each year that God is the Creator of all things, that the Bible is infallible …”
    and that bats are birds because of Lev. 11:13-19.

    “We’re starting to suspect that they’re just a pack of crazed creationist fanatics.”
    Starting?!

    I wanted to give kudos to Biologos, but Haarsma is wriggling like an eel in a bucket filled with nasal mucus, as we Dutch say. Nowhere she writes unambiguously that human ancestry goes back to more than two individuals.

  4. mnbo – right on. Ever since the departures of Giberson, Enns and Falk, BioLogos has been shape-shifting in attempt to not antagonize the traditional evangelicals

  5. Isn’t it ironic that so many politicians and other ranking officials take an oath of office, placing their hands on the bible! Tradition? Peer pressure? Or just the basic vote getter? It is particularly galling to see the POTUS stoop to that when the Constitution expressly forbids religious oaths.

  6. DavidK says: “the Constitution expressly forbids religious oaths.”

    Not forbidden. It’s optional. “Oath or affirmation.” But Article VI specifically says that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land.

  7. I wonder how many people at “conservative” institutions agree to such statements because they realize that they are unimployable otherwise. There cannot be a big market for people whose only training has been in a “conservative” tradition, but no longer accept that uncritically. How many students are being taught “Christianity” by teachers who loathe what it has done to them? How many administrators realize that, and don’t care?

  8. TomS, depending on the discipline, there can be work for Christian-trained professors at non-Christian colleges and universities, and often with little impact on the amount of money they make. I have several friends who’ve left Christian learning institutions and most have managed to land in jobs out in academia without much issue. All are Christian, but consciously elect to not let their religious beliefs impact what they teach or how they teach it, which is the reason they’ve left their former colleges.

  9. michaelfugate

    I would imagine that it is mainly non-academics on the boards of trustees who are driving these things – trying to assure parents that their children will be sufficiently indoctrinated instead of educated and exposed to reality. It is a battle for students and being as narrow as possible sells – just look at the GOP candidates falling all over themselves trying to appeal to the unenlightened.

  10. Dr Chenoweth in his accompanying statement says countless alumni and current students name Dr Stump as a “star” in the constellation of their Bethel experience. He affirmed the college’s commitment to academic rigour within the Christian context. He says he is confident that dispute “is not the signpost of error”.

    Oh, heavens to Betsy, no! As long as you swear to God every year to uphold the college’s religious orthodoxy, “dispute” is not a problem.

    In a letter released jointly with Bethel College president Dr Gregg Chenoweth, Dr Stump says he respects the right of Bethel trustees to determine policies for the college and recognises the new policy “reflects the will of the broader community of which Bethel is part.” He said he chose to resign and that many Bethel leaders have been “extraordinarily supportive”. He also says Bethel is an “effective institution” but believes God now directs him to “other ways” of serving the Kingdom.

    And if that wording isn’t a polite way of saying, “I was told to go quietly or else,” I can’t imagine what would be.

  11. Christian academia can thank Ken Ham & Co. for compiling lists of schools “which ones uphold Biblical authority” versus “which ones don’t.” Frightened members of Board of Directors of these school hastily tighten the school’s Statement of Faith and the employment contracts.

    This is a prime example of WHY the Trinity applied (and won) a large grant from the Templeton Foundation. It’s a three year project, if I recall, but the results will include guidelines and explanations for the evangelical world to not succumb to “The Hamite Fright”. [Yes, my extemporaneous term.] Ken Ham has become the Joseph McCarthy of the evangelical world and the casualties are mounting. Bruce Waltke was just one of many to come.

    The rationale given is fascinating. The board member apparently thought that eliminating any hint of evolution would protect a doctrine, Imago Dei, which doesn’t conflict with The Theory of Evolution at all. Far too many boards do such fear-driven reactionary nonsense with even consulting their own faculty, at least some of whom could have explained other solutions that would keep everybody happy.

    The same thing happens with the Historical Adam. One can hold to that idea without insisting that Adam and Eve were the only ancestors of the human race (because even Genesis speaks of other “people” contemporaneous with Imago Dei humans) and while also seeing Genesis 1 and 2 as allegorical “teaching stories”.

    By the way, in answer to someone’s comment/speculation above, YES, some faculty do basically lie on each year’s employment contracts in order to keep their job. I even know seminary presidents who’ve told me they do likewise. That’s the problem with having a founding document for a school that is dated 1857 and theologians at that time used prooftexts which today’s Bible scholars reject because of new discoveries in archaeology, lexicography, or grammar.

    The Trinity/Templeton project will no doubt generate some papers that I strongly dispute, but if the key people get their way, what is published overall should help reduce the stranglehold Ham, Comfort, Missler, and others have imposed on too many people and institutions. It is the beginning of moving things in the right direction. I may get involved.

  12. And if that wording isn’t a polite way of saying, “I was told to go quietly or else,” I can’t imagine what would be.

    There are certainly plenty of institutions where I can read between the lines just as you did. But in the case of Bethel and the individuals involved, I would say that this time it is all genuine, for the most part.

    I often sound cynical because I’m often focused on the most problematic situations. But that doesn’t mean there are not some excellent institutions
    with very good intentioned people who respond to such powderkeg situations with grace and honor.

  13. and that bats are birds because of Lev. 11:13-19.

    No. Bat are “winged/flying creatures”. For purposes of smooth translation, English translations must choose a “compromise word” when the semantic domain of the source language is larger than the semantic domain of the target language.

    Otherwise, you would have English Bibles which instead of saying “…the birds of the air….” would say something awkward like this:
    “…the flying/winged creatures but not the flying insects and beetles and no flying squirrels of the air…”

    Mnbo, ALL translations of texts from other languages and cultures have to make such compromises. In the case of the Hebrew word which commonly gets translated “bird”, I’d say the English word “bird” captures 99.99% of the meaning of the underlying Hebrew word.

    This is one of many reasons why there are many translations. The Amplified Bible basically does what I just did with birds of the air.

    Your error is a common one. But just as creationists cherry-pick what they declare to be “errors” in the work of actual scientists–yet without any scientific background to support them—likewise you’ve probably picked up the silly “bats are birds” rubbish at some anti-Bible website. It is the same kind of argument from ignorance that creationists use. It is also a good example of the anachronism fallacy. The ancients had no reason to consult Linnaeus when forming their language. (And we do the very same sorts of things in our own language, even though they “defy science”, such as “sunrise”.) Lots of anti-Bible websites are just as silly as creationists websites because they tend to be similarly ignorant of the topics they take on.

    I deal with a lot of these types of explanations on my Facebook pages and the Bible.and.Science.Forum blog.

  14. Bible & Science Forum: Professor Tertius,
    When “Academics at Bethel must affirm each year that God is the Creator of all things, that the Bible is infallible and other deeply conservative Christian doctrines….”, unless they state otherwise, I assume (and I think almost everyone else does as well) they are referring to an English translation of the Bible; complete with those idiosyncrasies. I think it is a greater mistake to assume that they are not.

  15. michaelfugate

    Anyone who is shallow enough to require affirmation of such is likely to not know what the differences between birds and bats or whales and fish for that matter. It is ignorance magnified – truth is whatever I want it to be. Any student with half a brain will see through this nonsense and more likely to come out without faith than if he or she attended a secular school.

  16. We believe that the first man, Adam, was created by an immediate act of God and not by a process of evolution.

    I find this wording amusing.

    As if anyone would say that an individual – Adam, Lassie, Bossie, name any individual – is created by a process of evolution.

    Evolution is a change in the inherited traits of a population. It is not the process of reproduction.

    Why not say that Adam did not have any parents?

    Is it that they wanted to distance themselves from the nasty word “evolution”?

  17. AR, your assumption is wrong. When States of Faith refer to scripture, they usually emphasize their reference to the “original autographs in the original tongues” whenever speaking of the Doctrine of Inerrancy, for example.

    They are very aware of the foibles of individual translations. Indeed, that is why most evangelical schools have great emphasis on Greek and Hebrew/Aramaic curricula, although, obviously, those which have morphed into university campus don’t require it of all majors.

  18. ” I think it is a greater mistake to assume that they are not.”

    Think what you will—but I’ve lectured on such campuses and I’ve dealt with many such Statements of Faith. I’ve yet to read EVEN ONE which relied upon English Bible translations when speaking specifically of infallibility and inerrancy.

    There are some KJV-only schools out there (not many, relatively speaking) at which they consider the KJV their final authority. Nobody at Bethel would agree with that and any student of that persuasion wouldn’t choose Bethel.

  19. TomS wrote: I find this wording amusing.

    Me too. The documents the school has posted online speak of their conferring with 200+ individuals in a very long and hard process of arriving at their declared position. The wording makes it sound like they are willing to allow evolution everywhere else but NOT with Adam.

    Obviously, I’d like to sit down with some of the board one-on-one and ask them what they know of ERVs and all sorts of other evidence—and ask them about the huge theological problem they have created for themselves: Why would God toy with us by filling the human genome with evidence for a history which didn’t exist? Does God place deceptive clues all over creation to “test the faith of the God people and confuse the evil atheist scientists?”…as some ministers were preaching back in the 1950’s and 1960’s. [I’ve had people claim that that is an urban legend but heard ’em with my own ears…and a while back ICR (or maybe AIG, I forget) spoke of those days.]

    The people I used to know at Bethel have all retired. But I assume this a result of questions and fears expressed by donors and alumni–and agitated by Ken Ham’s “approved schools”. (I haven’t checked to see if he has mentioned Bethel but no doubt the fear, even if he hasn’t, is that his McCarthyism will grow and name more and more schools.)

    Especially schools of that size depend on alumni donations and people naming the school in their will. There are a lot of issues circulating these days by “agitators” who encourage people to purge various institutions from their will based on various criteria.

    I think we will see more schools trying to carefully parse their words so that evolution is freely discussed and some of the science allowed but protecting various fundamentals like “Adam did not evolve”, even if everything else did.

    When I was looking at Bethel’s document, I noticed there is emphasis on faculty not having contractual relationships with any organization that doesn’t comply with the “Adam didn’t evolve.” It also sounds like any faculty member reading a paper at an academic conference has to make sure their paper doesn’t “upset their constituency” [my translation].

    I’ll be talking to some of the Templeton/Trinity project soon and I want to conform what I assume is their “underneath it all” motivation for the project. I’m quite certain that the plan is to generate papers which will serve as templates for how institutions can navigate Ken Ham’s McCarthyism which is producing these situations exemplified by Bethel.

  20. It is a battle for students and being as narrow as possible sells – just look at the GOP candidates falling all over themselves trying to appeal to the unenlightened.

    Close. I would say that they are trying to be “narrow enough”. The Bethel wording is far from “narrow as possible.” Look at how they carefully parsed the word to keep Adam free of evolutionary processes–while leaving a great many particulars unanswered.

    The proudly-fundy schools already have explicitly narrow statements of faith. It is the fully accredited evangelical universities which have the most dangerous minefields to navigate. I expect the Trinity/Templeton project to provide a lot of carefully worded doctrinal declarations–and supportive explanatory commentary–which at least some institutions can adapt so as to minimize the damage and reassure alumni while also making clear WHY they are evolution-friendly. Obviously, any such position will require educating one’s constituency in both the science and the hermeneutics.

  21. Any student with half a brain will see through this nonsense and more likely to come out without faith than if he or she attended a secular school.

    That has not been my observation and experience with such schools. Can you name some of the schools where you observed that result?

    Bethel is far less narrow than a great many old-school fundamentalist institutions. The students who choose a very “fundy” school face four years of “echo chamber” reinforcement of what they already believe. Michaelfugate said that students at such schools are “more likely to come out without faith than if he or she attended a secular school.” Why would that be?

    I’ve never seen a student make a major reversal in belief when attending an institution that in every way reinforced what the student already believed. I saw it happen often when they attended a major public university and they were among my advisees (or even not among my advisees but they would come to my office hours in order to discuss their indecision about what they’d learned.)

  22. Constitutional presidential oath (Article 2, Section 1, Clause 8):

    Before he enters the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:—”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

    No, not required, and some have not used SHMG as well as swearing on other books. Point was why not swear on the Book of Darwin, because you’d never get elected.

  23. My particular amusement is because of the confusion as to what evolution is. Evolution is not what produces individuals. It doesn’t make sense to speak of the frequency of traits of an individual. Evolution is about populations. The language is the language of people to whom “evolution” is a taboo. They don’t know what it is, but they know that they don’t like it.

    What it looks to me is somebody doesn’t want any talk about Adam being the offspring from chimpanzees. Isn’t that what evolution means?🙂

  24. Excuse me, I used my wrong name.

    [*Voice from above*] All is forgiven.

  25. Ken Phelps

    I notice the chicken[droppings] at Biologos closed comments on this after just one.

  26. Ken – so much for fostering the conversation re science and faith, eh?

  27. Dave Luckett

    I imagine that originally the option to affirm rather than swear was originally enacted to permit Quakers to do so. The Friends generally hold to a strict interpretation of the words reported to be of Jesus at Matthew 5:34 and echoed by his brother James. Swearing on the Bible is in direct contravention of the literal meaning of those texts, but is considered to be a mark of the conventional Christian. Odd, that.

  28. As to swearing on the Bible versus swearing on something else, this goes back to a cultural tradition. In Christian Europe, it was assumed that people would be fearful of lying while touching and swearing an oath upon a Bible. After all, using a Bible forced the person into considering that “the Bible prohibit my lying” and an awareness that “God is watching me and will hear me if I lie”. A similar custom was to ask someone making a promise: “Swear to God?” Answer: “Yes, I swear to God that that is the truth.”

    Of course, it is humorous to note that the Bible itself speaks against such oaths. It says, “Let your yes be yes and your no be no–” and the rest is crucial: “Whatever is more than these is of the evil one.”

    For that reason there are actually many Christians who refuse to “swear on a Bible”.

    I notice the chicken[droppings] at Biologos closed comments on this after just one.

    Me too! Biologos is working hard to be the congenial, non-confrontational voice in the debate. (Power to ’em. After all, in terms of science they are basically the voice of reason.)

  29. I certainly am familiar with someone earning the rank of LanceCorporal on a meritorious basis. However, being created with a magic wand and a poof of smoke, now thats double secret probation quality meritorious.

  30. michaelfugate

    If what I said is not true PT, then why o’ why do people whine about Dawkins and Coyne causing people to retreat into creationism? Why doesn’t it work the other way – where ultra-conversatives drive students away? I have met several people who went to Bible colleges and have given up religion because of it – anecdotal of course…..

  31. @Third Prof: “Mnbo, ALL translations of texts from other languages and cultures have to make such compromises.”
    You’re preaching to the wrong choir, I know. My point is not that the Bible gets a scientific fact wrong. As a hardcore atheist I couldn’t care less. My point is that the claim “The Bible is infallible” just claims too much. The claim should be “The Bible is infallible regarding religious matters” (of course I reject that one too, but that’s not relevant now). Thing is that that doesn’t sound as cool. You wrote nothing to dispute this point and thus are attacking a strawman.
    And you know as well as me that this is just one example – I only chose it because of its clarity.

    “just as creationists cherry-pick”
    False comparison until you show me that science claims to be infallible.

    “you’ve probably picked up the silly “bats are birds” rubbish at some anti-Bible website”
    Yes, but
    1. I read the KJ translation;
    2. I read the Dutch Statenvertaling;

    “En van het gevogelte zult gij deze verfoeien”
    Gevogelte means “birds”

    http://www.online-bijbel.nl/bijbelboek/Leviticus/11/1-47

    3. I read the Willibrord Vertaling
    “De volgende vogels zijn onrein”
    Vogels means “birds”

    These two Dutch translations are made by eminent scholars; the Statenvertaling in the early 17th Century and the Catholic one is very recent. It’s officially approved by the Vatican.
    You’re the silly one – by suggesting that I only rely on antichristian websites, after carefully missing my point nonetheless.

    “The ancients had no reason to consult Linnaeus when forming their language.”
    Irrelevant for my point. It would be nice if you stopped strawmanning me, so here I declare clearly and unambiguously:

    I do NOT use the argument “the Bible contains an error hence christianity is refuted”. I dispute the claims that it’s divinely inspired and that it hence it’s infallible, in this very broad formulation. And you can’t deny that quite a few (and yes I know, not all) christians defend it.

  32. Oh, Third Prof – your accusation that I minequoted is false as well.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fallacy_of_quoting_out_of_context

    I did not remove the passage from its original context. On the contrary, I gave a reference to the original source so that everybody can check that context for him/herself. You might admit that this is typically something fundies never do.
    Neither did I distort its original meaning, which is clear: don’t eat that stuff for some religious reason or another. Whether Lev. 11 says to eat bats or not is totally irrelevant for my point.

    As this is the second time in just a few days I begin to suspect that you haven’t shaken off all bad manners from your old creationist days yet. I’d be seriously disappointed if that were the case indeed.

  33. DavidK: “No, not required, and some have not used SHMG as well as swearing on other books. Point was why not swear on the Book of Darwin, because you’d never get elected.”

    Oh, I don’t know, but I think I will do just that — swear on a copy of Origin of Species — at my second inauguration. I will have already been elected, and it’s not an impeachable offense. However, I need to get elected to a first term first. Anyone want to be a campaign manager?

  34. Wikipedia: ” Bethel is regionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The institution also has specialized accreditation by The National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC), the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE).”

    WTF?

  35. “We believe that the first man, Adam, was created by an immediate act of God and not by a process of evolution.”

    This is not a defense of the college, but in fact a more damning criticism than I expect to see in any of the comments above. Notice what’s missing in that quote? Nowhere does it explicitly state that an adult multicellular organism was assembled on dry land ~6000 years ago. So technically it accommodates the possibility that a “soul” (knowledge of good & evil) was inserted in a body that was the product of ~4 billion years of descent with modification. A process indistinguishable from evolution.

    If these people honestly believed that there was a shred of evidence for any of the mutually-contradictory literal interpretations of Genesis, they would use words like the ones I note as “missing.” Not the familiar feel-good weasel words that really say “you can believe anything you want as long as you whine about evolution.”

  36. @Paul Braterman: WTF, indeed. Any university or college requiring all faculty to sign a statement of belief contrary to science should lose accreditation.

    That should go far to counter Ham’s “accreditation.”

  37. Professor Teritus: The Trinity/Templeton project will no doubt generate some papers that I strongly dispute, but if the key people get their way, what is published overall should help reduce the stranglehold Ham, Comfort, Missler, and others have imposed on too many people and institutions. It is the beginning of moving things in the right direction. I may get involved.”

    I enjoy your informative comments, but as others noted on the Trinity/Templeton thread, you seem preoccupied with “scientific” YEC. Granted, that is one “fit meme” that has the media enamored whether for or against. But what about the DI and it’s “big tent” scam that is mostly under the radar? When I see weasel words like in the Bethel quote, I see the DI’s policy of “don’t ask, don’t tell what happened when,” faithfully obeyed, often unwittingly, by both Biblical literalists (YEC and OEC varieties) and nonliteralist evolution-(pseudo)skeptics alike. Do you see the Trinity/Templeton project, or any other effort, eventually reducing the DI’s subtle stranglehold?

  38. Ken Phelps

    Douglas E – This would be one of those times when they have bumped into the reality of faith in action, and discovered that “non-confrontational congeniality” works best when the subjects being discussed are kept in the realm of the imaginary.

  39. KP – agreed. In the early days of Giberson, et al., BioLogos was very open to discussion on their site. Then they started to moderate the comments, and then some commenters were given the yellow dot and then the red dot. My take is that the Templeton funding folks have had a lot to do with the direction BL has taken.

  40. @FrankJ
    Yes, of course.
    The statement tells me that they really had to get the word “evolution” in there. Whether it fit or not.
    Here is another thing they could have said: Adam had no parents. But that does not explicitly have a slam on evolution.

  41. TomS: “Evolution is not what produces individuals…What it looks to me is somebody doesn’t want any talk about Adam being the offspring from chimpanzees.”

    I have no doubt that whoever wrote:

    We believe that the first man, Adam, was created by an immediate act of God and not by a process of evolution.

    …deliberately confused those 2 meanings of “evolution,” in hopes of serving the “big tent.”

    Note, by “big tent” I mean anything from Flat-Earth YEC, to conceding ~4 billion years of common descent, as long as one insists that “evolution” has “limits.” So “theistic evolution,” in the Miller/Collins sense, is strictly outside the tent.

    I agree that they don’t want anyone to talk about Adam being the offspring from chimpanzees. If they really seriously thought the evidence refuted that they would want to talk about it. But they know that someone might ask, “where’s the evidence for independent abiogenesis of Adam?” and that might make people realize that there is no evidence – just untestable “revelation” from a book. And heaven forbid anyone asks when all this stuff happened!

  42. Big Tent
    Wasn’t that phrase the invention of Phillip Johnson?

    BTW, I don’t think that there is anyone, other than isolated individuals, who is seriously advocating a Flat Earth. Given how common it is for inter-continental travel and communication, etc. I don’t think that Flat-Earthers would be welcomed. I’d suggest geocentrists as the limit under the Big Tent.

  43. TomS says: “I don’t think that there is anyone, other than isolated individuals, who is seriously advocating a Flat Earth.”

    Are you daft? Think about it for a minute. My house has a flat floor. Not curved. It’s flat! That’s also true where you live. It’s true where everyone lives, all over the world!

    It’s simple logic. How could everyone, everywhere, be living in houses with flat floors unless the whole world is flat? Yes, I know that when you fly around you are confused by optical illusions, but for heaven’s sake — use your mind! The Earth is obviously flat.