Friday, December 04, 2009

Dennis Venema Videos on Being an Evolutionary Creationist

In his post on Focus on the Family's "Truth" Project, Steve Martin had a link to some videos done by Dennis Venema on how a Christian can accept evolution. Dennis teaches biology at Trinity Wesleyan University and was faced with a situation where his church began to use the "Truth Project." He felt that he needed to respond, so he gave a series of lectures on evolution. He has graciously posted these to YouTube here.

There are eight of them and I would encourage you to look at all of them. Here is the first one.

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  1. I started watching them last night and have loved what I've seen so far. I look forward to recommending it to my friends who are open to listening to an evangelical understanding of evolutionary biology and to friends who are non-Christian in order to show that some Christians actually understand modern science. I'm very grateful for this video series.

  2. Anonymous6:37 AM

    There are actually 12 of them - . They are all successively linked to in the video response section underneath.

  3. I too, will recommend them to people who are open. The problem is that I know so many who will not even watch something like this because they don't trust the source. I don't know just yet how to reach those people.

  4. Thanks for the correction. That just means that I have more to watch.

  5. Anonymous11:30 AM

    Better late than never................

  6. The 27th Comrade10:10 AM

    How did this spammer above my comment get through? I thought you had deployed the big guns.

    Meanwhile, since I'm commenting, here's a PDF from a rare breed: an atheist who doesn't believe in evolution.

    And I've always known that Noam Chomsky, also an atheist as far as I know, isn't a fan of evolution (to the ire of Steven Pinker, et al). I've seen him jubilating about a book over here.

  7. Not sure either. I think i misread it. You can be absolutely sure I didn't see the links. If I had, it never would have gotten through.

    Dr. Nagel wonders about the question of whether mutations are random. There has always been a deep suspicion that not all mutations are. For example, there are what are known as "recurring mutations," the most obvious example of which is chromosome 21 non-disjunction or Down's Syndrome. It happens often enough that we have a name for it. That is true with a number of other mutations. Certain parts of the genome are susceptible to mutation while others may not be.

    He mentions Michael Behe without mentioning that Behe's analysis was taken to the cleaners by Kenneth Miller because it suffers from the same problems that William Dembski's analyses do—lack of understanding of exaptation and mutation rates.

    It seems that he is also conflating two related but distinct questions: "does ID explain the workings of the universe" and "can science ascertain that ID explains the workings of the universe." Those of us that are Evolutionary creationsts are exactly that: creationists. It is just that we are perfectly aware that the scientific enterprise cannot be used to defend that position, nor do we believe that there is any merit to the young earth model.

  8. What I want to find is a person that accepts the recent earth creation model that is an atheist. That would be a TRULY rare bird.

  9. Just found this: Thought you'd like it. I can't wait to read the whole series!

  10. The 27th Comrade12:09 PM

    You know, I don't like Behe's argument either.
    I don't see a point in dwelling on irreducible complexity, because I know that there is no such thing as irreducible complexity that we can observe for now.

    If you think I can't prove that the Mona Lisa is reducibly-complex - or the MacBook Pro, for that matter - you've not had lunch with me.
    Anything can be reduced in complexity.

    That, however, is not proof that it evolved by natural selection rather than by intellect.

    Behe's failure isn't Miller's success. Who is so foolish as to have begun thinking that if we can show that Behe is wrong, then we have shown that evolution is correct? As though buildings - and all things that can be tampered with and still remain useful for some purpose - are results of Darwinian evolution.
    I find Kenneth Miller's dismissal of Behe to be too smug, impolite, proud, and ignorant of the point that Behe is trying (and, admittedly, failing) to make: namely that complexity of a certain level, be it reducible (as it generally is, in my opinion) is not the result of things other than intellect. (This, by the way, is an empirical and therefore more-scientific result than the whole of Darwinian evolutionary theory put together.)

    In fact, since Miller's example is with things that we know to never have evolved but to always have been designed, he shoots himself in the foot.

    So, Behe was wrong. So is Miller. Incidentally, ID people are so stuck on irreducible complexity, unfortunately, which I find sad, since I consider irreducible complexity to be only in perhaps one kind of physical particle in the physical World. (And would that particle even be complex? At some point we thought the atom was that particle. Now we know it is reducible, and quite complex.)

    Young Earth creationism is mythology. Most people don't believe in most of the mythology humanity has had. I'd also be surprised if I found an atheist who believed in Zeus. That would be a rare bird.
    But atheists who believe is design as part of biology shouldn't be rare, as that is, in fact, the fact of biology. (They are rare, of course, because it is directly antithetical to their axioms, not because it isn't a fact of biology. That's why I noted them above.)