The Language of God and Theistic Evolution

After reading the excellent book, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief by biologist Francis Collins, I had to view it as a solid challenge to Intelligent Design, especially with the author’s emphasis on Theistic Evolution—it may be a more rational and compatible with the evidence. Collins makes a solid case for Theistic Evolution, especially where he deals with the issue of Irreducible Complexity.

I knew when I read these sentences I’d need to pay attention:

“Intelligent Design” (with capital letters) has become a term of art carrying a very specific set of conclusions about nature, especially the concept of “irreducible complexity.” An observer unaware of this history might expect that anyone who believes in a God who cares about human beings (that is, a theist) would be someone who believes in Intelligent Design. But in the sense of current terminology, that would in most instances not be correct.

What Collins points out throughout this book is evolution does not exclude God; many dogmatic scientists have jumped to that conclusion without a scientific basis. Such a person brings atheistic faith into play rather than science or reason. On the other hand, as believers, we have to be intellectually honest as well. We cannot presuppose science is abusive to a belief in God and, therefore, settle for a concept such as Intelligent Design. Concerning Intelligent Design Collins says:

…if the logic truly had merit on scientific grounds, one would expect that the rank and file of working biologists would also show interest in pursuing these ideas, especially since a significant number of biologists are also believers. This has not happened, however, and Intelligent Design remains a fringe activity with little credibility within the mainstream scientific community.

His straightforward conclusion concerning the viability of Intelligent Design:

Intelligent Design fails in a fundamental way to qualify as a scientific theory. All scientific theories represent a framework for making sense of a body of experimental observations. But the primary utility of a theory is not just to look back but to look forward. A viable scientific theory predicts other findings and suggests approaches for further experimental verification. ID falls profoundly short in this regard. Despite its appeal to many believers, therefore, ID’s proposal of the intervention of supernatural forces to account for complex multicomponent biological entities is a scientific dead end. Outside of the development of a time machine, verification of the ID theory seems profoundly unlikely.

I like the book I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist, and I like this book. Where this book, with its emphasis on Theistic Evolution, gets its upper hand is from its compatibility with science. Atheistic Evolution wants to throw out a creator—not because of the results of scientific method but from faith in the non-existence of God—and Intelligent Design which wants to put God’s hand in every event no matter the size. I am not completely hostile toward Intelligent Design; at least the two books agree on the Big Bang Theory.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Post Navigation