The contributors to Biologos act as if theistic evolution is the thinking man’s alternative to creationism. According to Peter Enns, “Evolution persuasively accounts for the natural world. Scientists recognize its claims as having tremendous explanatory power…Closing off discussion is done in the name of protecting the masses from losing their faith. The irony is that the Church’s failure to encourage open dialogue has led many to relinquish their faith altogether. Such is the case when protecting religious coherence takes priority over preparing the church for the future.”
But even if, for the sake of argument, we accept his favorable characterization of evolutionary theory, one of the problems with his proposed alternative is the illogical move from macroevolution to theistic evolution. What does the explanatory power of evolution have to do with theistic evolution?
Consider the results of a recent poll: “Our study was the first poll to focus solely on eminent evolutionists and their views of religion. As a dissertation project, one of us (Graffin) prepared and sent a detailed questionnaire on evolution and religion to 271 professional evolutionary scientists elected to membership in 28 honorific national academies around the world, and 149 (55 percent) answered the questionnaire. All of them listed evolution (specifically organismic), phylogenetics, population biology/genetics, paleontology/paleoecology/paleobiology, systematics, organismal adaptation or fitness as at least one of their research interests. Graffin also interviewed 12 prestigious evolutionists from the sample group on the relation between modern evolutionary biology and religion…Perhaps the most revealing question in the poll asked the respondent to choose the letter that most closely represented where her views belonged on a ternary diagram. The great majority of the evolutionists polled (78 percent) chose A, billing themselves as pure naturalists. Only two out of 149 described themselves as full theists (F), two as more theist than naturalist (D) and three as theistic naturalists (B). Taken together, the advocacy of any degree of theism is the lowest percentage measured in any poll of biologists' beliefs so far (4.7 percent).”
Of course, this doesn’t disprove theistic evolution. But it surely undercuts any prima facie presumption in favor of theistic evolution, as over against naturalistic evolution. If the church embraces macroevolution, how is that a backstop against apostasy?