February 13, 2013

#GnuAtheists and theistic evolution — again

Apparently, this the latest broadside in an old issue, namely in the Gnu Atheist versus "accommodationist" world — how closely to work with people of faith who believe in theistic evolution.

Or, as Vic Stenger calls it now, "intelligent design creationism."

He's clearly meaning to be pejorative, with this:
Virtually all Christians who accept that species evolve, contrary to the Bible that they believe is the word of God, think evolution is God-guided. This is not Darwinian evolution. God-guided evolution is intelligent design creationism. How many American Christians believe in evolution, as it is understood by science? The data indicate none.
The emphasis is Stenger's, not mine.

And, I've had issues with his thought processes in the past, including claims that he has disproven the existence of god. (Per standard traditional logic, claiming to prove the non-existence of anything is like dividing by zero.)

Back to the point at hand.

First, on public policy and related issues.

As folks like Eugenie Scott and the other folks at the National Center for Science Education know, we need these folks, imperfect as their understanding, or acceptance, of neo-Darwinian theory may be, to work hand in hand with secularists in battling folks like the State Board of Education here in Texas.

Let's not also forget, to be scientifically correct, that evolution is, properly speaking, evolution from one life form to another. It is not the same as abiogenesis, though Darwin's "warm little pond" comment touched on the latter.

And, per one commenter on the Facebook post where I saw the Stenger link, Darwin postulated the fact of evolution, but his theory of natural selection as a theory of the mechanism. It's been refined plenty since then. Lynn Margulis' symbiosis, and now, ideas from epigenetics, are further refining it, or more than just refining, reworking it.

These are all naturalistic, scientific issues, not metaphysical ones, tis true.

However, a divinity who is "less than all" and naturalistically present could yet be powerful enough to intervene in the process of evolution.

So, unless Gnu Atheists want to eventually produce a book essay collection called "How to Lose Friends and Influence People the Wrong Way," they should rethink their public relations strategy.

That said, with a movement that consistently finds a mix of brand-new ways and revamped old ways to shoot itself in the foot, I'm holding my breath over this change about as much as I am Obama stopping being a neoliberal and actually delivering on any true liberal promises in his State of the Union address. 

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