Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Another New Blog

There is a new blog on the block that may prove interesting, Letters from Babylon. It’s a group blog and it will likely offer a relatively conservative Christian view of things. One of the contributors is Joshua Davey, who was the litigant in the Locke v Davey Supreme Court decision from the current term. This was the case that upheld a Washington law that gave academic scholarships to qualified students, but forbid them from using them to study theology. Joshua was originally going to study theology, but ended up changing his mind and he is now attending Harvard Law School. Though I am probably on the other end of the spectrum from him theologically and politically, I think the case was wrongly decided, as I’ve said previously. The scholarship was awarded for merit and he should have been allowed to use it to pursue whatever field of study he wished to pursuit. It is obviously not an establishment clause violation for the state to give a general benefit that an individual uses for a religious end.

Another of the contributors, John Zimmer, is pursuing his PhD in chemistry at MIT and he has already written some interesting things about evolution. I particularly agree with this:

First, I think Roberts is incorrect when he says that “evolution is a theory that it is possible God did not create.” There is certainly an evolutionary worldview that does also state there is no God. And it can certainly be argued that evolutionary theory provides an explanation of origins that is more easily coupled to atheism than other theories of origins. But the theory of evolution itself says nothing at all about the existence of God, positively or negatively. Indeed, I believe it is one of the great fallacies of our age that scientists and non-scientists alike largely buy the argument that science and the scientific method are so powerful that if science cannot show an object’s existence, then the object does not exist. This false idea is at play here. The theory of evolution is an empirical theory. Empirical theories cannot address in explicit terms that which exists outside of the physically observable. Or, another way to think about it is the following. Evolution is a mechanism, not an ultimate cause. God, if God exists and also created the world, is a cause, not a mechanism. God as the ultimate cause of the world could create using a variety of mechanisms. He could speak the word and bring the world into instant existence. Or He could ordain natural laws to act upon certain initial conditions in such a way that the world as we know it would eventually emerge. Which one mechanism God used, if indeed God exists and created, we cannot say a priori. Scripture, if we believe in the truth of some set of Scripture, might help us choose a mechanism as likely. Studying the natural world might also help us choose a mechanism. But nothing about the empirical statements of the scientific theory of evolution implies that God may not exist. The empirical statements ON THEIR OWN say nothing about God’s existence one way or the other.

This blog warrants watching. I’m sure there will be agreements and disagreements, but this is a bright group of young men whose ideas should be taken seriously.