Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Moving to WordPress

witwaw* is in the process of being reborn on WordPress. I've no firm relaunch date (though I'm aiming for July 1.

I've moved.

Launch Date: July 1, 2009 at ~ 8 pm PDT.

(NOTE: URL will go live on the launch date)

The rebirthed blog will focus more specifically on the subjects suggested by the title and subtitle:
  • The church is in the world.
  • The identity of the church is critical.
  • Ecclesiology is about much more than polity.
  • Communal spiritual formation should be our common practice.
  • The practices of communal spiritual formation must be doable in the real world.
More information as things become clearer and closer.

* Who in the World Are We?

Twitter - Facebook - Theologica


Monday, May 18, 2009

Origin of Variation: Concluding Thoughts

  • There is ample evidence for genetic

    • First, I offer some examples: The bananas we see in the grocery store are one example of genetic variation, for wild bananas are neither as large nor as tidy. Another example is the variety of household dogs and cats . We are surrounded by genetic variation. There is no point in arguing against it, for such arguments are not only futile, they are foolish.
    • The extent to which this variation occurs is less clear. So-called microevolution is apparent, as stated above. So-called macroevolution is another matter. We have yet to observe the process of macroevolution and all conclusions regarding it are inference.

  • Questions of origin are not primarily scientific.

    • Observational science is not possible, given the unique nature of the events. Speculative science is possible, but it must be submitted to the scientific method for verification. On the other hand, theology-philosophy can speak directly to the issue; therefore, theology-philosophy has a prominent, and I would say primary, seat at the table when discussing issues of origin.

    • These assumptions make the difference in how the data are interpreted. Naturalistic science assumes the universe is a closed system of natural processes and substances, whereas theistic science1 assumes the universe is an open system in which the natural processes and substances have been created and are acted upon by an immaterial, divine, uncreated being.

  • Non-young earthers rightly question why it looks as if adaptation took millions of years.

    • Honestly, I do not believe there is a young earth answer that will satisfy naturalistic science. Theistic science and naturalistic science disagree on basic assumptions--specifically, the participation or non-participation of a divine intelligence. Further, convincing naturalistic science of a theistic interpretation of the data should not be focus of theologians. Rather, we ought to focus on developing an interpretation that is reasonable and coherent given theistic assumptions.

    • One reasonable and coherent claim is that God made both the materials of creation and its processes. He created kinds within type and equipped them with the genetic information and capacity for adaptation to various environmental pressures. As time went along, these kinds within types, through the inherent genetic information and capacities, adapted to various environments, resulting in the great variety we see today. 2

  • Questions of origin, by their very nature, are ultimate questions, best answered by theology-philosophy.

    • Let me clarify what I am disagreeing with here with regard to humanity. I am not saying that the process of adaptation by genetic variation has not changed humanity; I am saying that at the beginning of those changes stood two human persons, created by God. They may well have looked quite a bit differently than we do today, but I do not believe the Bible allows any other claim: God created human persons.

    • I clearly and fully admit that this is a theological claim, not a scientific one; I also believe that when we are talking about questions of origin, we are going past the capacity of observational science and into a realm where theology-philosophy has more to say and where what it says carries more weight. We are not talking about the observed data, but inferences made from that data on the basis of assumptions.

    • Inferences concerning the origin of variation tell us who we are and how we relate to the world and to God. If we are the product of naturalistic processes, then we are mere animals and ethics, morals, and spirituality are adaptations for survival that have no transcendent quality. But, if we are the product of theistic action and are (as the Bible declares in Genesis 1) created in God's image, then humans have transcendent qualities and transcendent worth, for we are related to something greater than anything in the created universe.

  • Conclusions

    • Looking at the question of the origin of variation from a theological perspective--that God exists, that he acts, and that he has the power to create by fiat--produces inferences that are coherent and adequately explain the data.
    • I realize that those who do not hold to theistic science and who look upon the question of origin as naturalistic will disagree with theistic inferences, and probably vehemently. I understand. Do know that we are not disagreeing about the data, but rather about the interpretation of data and the assumptions behind those interpretations. If one holds naturalistic assumptions, then I would agree that an evolutionary explanation of the origin of variation makes sense. But if one holds theistic assumptions--that there is a divine intelligence who has the power and authority to create by fiat--then divine creation logically stands as the origin of variation.
    • I claim that these theistic assumptions are not merely my opinion; I claim they are true.
  • Current Position: Adaptation by genetic variation originated with divine creation of kinds-within-type that are imbued by God with the genetic information and capacities for this ongoing process.

NEXT: A Short History of witwaw*

*witwaw = "Who In The World are We?"

  1. By "theistic science" I do not intend to say that those who hold to naturalistic science cannot or do not believe in a god or that those who hold theistic science believe in a specific god. I am speaking here of the type of science, not the type of scientist.
  2. "kind" in the Hebrew Old Testament: Gen 1:11, 12, 21, 24, 25; 6:20; 7:14; Lev 11:14, 15, 16, 19, 22, 29; Deut 14:13, 14, 15, 18; Ezek 47:10

    Conclusion: "kind" (Heb meen), seems to refer to categories of plants and animals that are able to produce fertile offspring. My best guess is that "kind" in the OT is equivalent to "species." This does not mean new species could not develop through adaptation; on this point I am unsure.