If you read my blog back in 2013, then you already know why I do not like the adjective “theistic” in front of evolution or any other science word. Last week, I had an article at a new site, OneFaith, titled Theistic Evolution is Redundant. It was a polished up version of the old attempt.
I do not even know how to act like this is not a big deal, so I will go ahead and say that I am blown away with gratitude that John Farrell at Forbes / Science picked up on the idea and wrote about it. Here is his article:
YES! It is not everyday you read something that shows both Richard Dawkins and Kenneth Miller can agree.
I could not articulate it as well back in 2013 because I was still trying to explain why using the word “theistic” to tie God to science was such an offense to me as a chemist and a Catholic. I mean, when I converted, all those big questions I once tried to ignore were finally answered when I prayed the Creed in faith. Where did all the order in the universe came from? The Creator. Having gone through the exercise now of writing a book about “science in the light of faith,” I have had the opportunity to spill out my thoughts and refine them to this point:
Design is an all-or-none proposition.
- The Creed and Genesis 1:1—”I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth…”
- Divine Providence—”We must say, however, that all things are subject to divine providence…” Aquinas, ST.I.22.2
- Fifth Way—”Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God.” ST.I.2.3
- O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, based on Wisdom 8:1: “O come, Thou Wisdom, from on high/And order all things far and nigh…”
- The martyred mother in 2 Maccabees who watched her seven sons martyred—”But the Creator of the world, that formed the nativity of man, and that found out the origin of all…” (2 Mc 7:23)
- My daughter’s first Kindergarten science book that starts, “God Made Everything”
- Scientific Method—Observe, hypothesize, experiment, collect data, draw conclusions, and repeat does not work in a disordered world.
- Periodic Table—As far as we can tell, all the elements in the universe came from a single originating point, followed laws of nature, ordered themselves according to their subatomic particles, particularly the electronic structure, and bond and dissociate as atoms according to more laws of nature.
In my forthcoming (Fall 2016) book for Ave Maria Press, Particles of Faith: A Catholic Guide to Navigating Science, I do not argue against theism or intelligent design, so much as I argue against shrinking away from it at all. We must see science in the light of faith, which is not the same thing as saying that faith and reason are not equal. They are equal in that we need both, like eagles need both wings. But when it comes to science, we start with faith as an order in our worldview. We do not depend on science to prove our faith, but we can appreciate science to inspire our faith.
People may object to this pervasive view because they differentiate between “natural” and “designed” processes, but that distinction makes no sense if you understand a high-school textbook level of atomic theory. I do not know how anyone can escape the conclusion that atoms themselves are designed, not just single atoms but their formation, their subatomic structure, their relation to each other, their rules for bonding. To back down on this point would mean I would have to toss out my physics and chemistry textbooks and let other people tell me where I should and should not see design. Perhaps the solution is to ask people to derive the Bohr radius and Rydberg’s Constant for a hydrogen atom before they call any natural process undesigned.