How Christian is Christian Darwinism? (Part 2)

In part one I argued that it is logically inconsistent, or oxymoronic, to embrace both orthodox Christianity and Darwinism.  The chief reason being that they represent antithetical views of reality–the former upholds a teleological view of reality and the latter upholds a non-teleological view.  To put it plainly, the truth of one view negates the truth of the other.  During the course of my argument I also distinguished between two groups of people:  those who hold a “warm and fuzzy” view of religion and those who are “authentic” regarding their religious beliefs.  

Those in the first camp reject–whether consciously or unconsciously–the notion that religion has anything objective to say about the nature of reality.  To them, religion is only a subjective experience.  Religious explanations are not to be taken seriously like scientific ones–because religious explanations are only meaningful to those who hold them.  To this end, they are apathetic regarding consistency between religious and scientific beliefs.  Conversely, those in the second group believe religion should be taken seriously.  In deed, they assert that religion makes objective claims about the nature of reality and that these truths can be known by man.  Part 2 builds upon this conversation . . . 

Readers who hold the “warm and fuzzy” view of religion may find my arguments, thus far, repulsive.  I apologize fore this inconvenience; unfortunately, I have little to offer you in the form of consolation.  On the other hand, readers who are “authentic” regarding their religious beliefs probably have mixed feelings about what I have written.  Some of you–namely, Young Earth Creationists–will find my arguments inspiring.  Others–Old Earth Creationists and those who refer to themselves as “Theistic Evolutionists”–are probably feeling a bit cautious.

The following is dedicated to those in the “authentic” camp who find themselves uneasy with what I have said.  Like me, you recognize the logical fallacy in trying to maintain two contradictory worldviews (i.e. Christianity and Darwinism), but are afraid of doing great injustice to biological science (i.e. completely discounting the theory of evolution).  Hence, you feel apprehensive about siding with my rather extreme “black and white” position.

The answer to your dilemma, however, is much easier than you think.  The problem you are having, is that you are equating Darwinism with Evolutionary Biology.  In spite of what Neo-Darwinists assert, Darwinism and Evolution are not synonymous.  Darwinism is a particular interpretation of and application of evolutionary theory which assumes, a priori, the truth of metaphysical naturalism.  While Darwinism necessarily includes a theory of biological evolution, a theory of biological evolution does not necessarily include Darwinism.  One can accept certain empirical facts about the world, such as, genetic mutations, natural selection, change over time, the effects of the environment on an organism, and a certain level of genetic plasticity within organisms (this list is by no means conclusive), without having to accept, a priori, the metaphysical interpretation rendered by Darwinism.

Everyone agrees that evolution takes place–even a staunch Young Earth Creationist will agree that organisms change over time and can adapt to their environments.  The real debate is over how one interprets the empirical data.  For the orthodox Christian, an interpretation of biological evolution, which is consistent with the faith, is necessarily teleological.  This is because the orthodox Christian believes there is a Mind behind the universe and that He is responsible for introducing the necessary information and setting the initial physical constants necessary for the advent of life.  From this perspective, the design we see in nature is real and not an allusion.

Essentially, this means that all orthodox Christians are proponents of Intelligent Design.  For, any theory which postulates that God intended for life to arise or inserted the information necessary for life to arise, or mystically guided the evolution of life, is a theory of Intelligent Design.  Such a theory, argues that their is an objective purpose or “end goal” for life and that everything, including biological life, is aimed at some sort of final cause.  Furthermore, such a theory recognizes that Design is a fundamental part of nature and therefore, empirically detectable.

Of course, there are a myriad of ways in which an orthodox Christian might interpret biological evolution within the framework of teleology.  Admittedly, even within this interpretive framework, it is entirely possible for us to arrive at conclusions which are unquestionably unorthodox.  Nevertheless, to operate within the bounds of a teleological framework, even with its potential difficulties, is far better for the Christian (and for the general pursuit of truth) than attempting to operate within the framework of Darwinism.

Sadly, this is precisely what those known as Theistic Evolutionists are attempting to do.  I have no doubts that many within this movement adhere to orthodox Christian doctrine and even uphold an authentic view of religion; but, due to fear, or some notion of fidelity to science, they also maintain a Darwinian interpretation of evolution.  Sure, they pay lip service to God’s role in the advent of life–but this hardly impacts their interpretation of the empirical evidence.  At the end of the day, Theistic Evolutionists simply accept Darwinism as the best, perhaps even, the only, interpretation of evolution.  While, in their hearts, many of theme are authentic Christians, their position does nothing but perpetuate the “warm and fuzzy” view of religion which plagues our society.

These words may not sit well with you, but you can not  ignore them.  If you are authentic about your religious beliefs I implore you, once again, to drop the Darwinist act and be consistent.  Your position is confusing, incoherent, narrow minded (if I dare use such a trite phrase) and misleading.  As I have clearly demonstrated, you can remain faithful to science without embracing Darwinism.  The myth of the war between faith and science is simply that–a myth.