Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Is William Lane Craig a theistic evolutionist?

To judge by this recent post, Craig evidently subscribes to theistic evolution:



  1. In his podcast this week he critiques evolution.

  2. That's ambiguous. Does he critique naturalistic evolution or theistic evolution?

  3. He critiques the definition of evolution, saying that he accepts descent with modification (and that everyone does), but has issues with common descent. He also critiques natural selection as a sufficient explanation of the diversity we see today. He and his co-host then explain that Christians have more options, but it's the only game in town for naturalists.

  4. But in his response to the questioner, he makes statements like:

    "Their avoidance behavior obviously has a selective advantage in the struggle for survival and so is built into them by natural selection."

    "And this second neural pathway is apparently a very late evolutionary development which only emerges in the higher primates, including man."

    Isn't he thereby affirming macroevolution?

    Now an old-earth creationist or even a young-earth creationist can accept natural selection and adaptation. However, there's no reason to assume aversive behavior must be the result of natural selection unless you take macroevolution for granted.

    And his second statement puts man (i.e. the human brain) at the tail-end of a long evolutionary process.

    Right now I'm not evaluating his position, just classifying his position.

  5. William Lane Craig has this to say:
    'Now neurobiology indicates a similar situation with respect to animal pain awareness. All animals but the great apes and man lack the neural pathways associated with Level 3 pain awareness. Being a very late evolutionary development, this pathway is not present throughout the animal world. What that implies is that throughout almost the entirety of the long history of evolutionary development, no creature was ever aware of being in pain.'

    So only Level 3 awareness mitigates against God's goodness. Level 1 and Level 2 awareness don't.

    Wouldn't even the 'short' time the great apes, and hominids (including homo sapiens) leading up to Adam and Eve in Craig's evolutionary scenario that had a Level 3 awareness of pain indict God's goodness here though? How long does he want to say this 'short' time period was? According to current evolutionary thinking, from the great apes through hominids like australopithecus, homo habilis, homo erectus, Cro-Magnon and Neanderthal man there were several million years. I guess in the big scheme of things a couple million years of Level 3 awareness doesn't count very much against God's goodness. Huh?

  6. I read that Tim Keller and J.I. Packer are Theistic Evolutionists. What of it do you know? (Is that not shocking?)


  7. In the past I commented on the fact that Keller is a theistic evolutionist. So your point is what, exactly?

    According to Geisler (for what that's worth), Packer told him recently that he affirms the special creation of Adam and Eve.

  8. Oh, no, I don't really have a point -- just that I found it shocking that either one of them would embrace it.