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[2] Supposed challenges from the evolutionary sciences to theology

In 1859 Darwin’s theory of natural selection dealt a devastating blow to the argument from design based upon contrivances in biology. It also painted a picture of biological history vastly different from the Genesis account. For many, the Christian conception of a providentially active God had become so strongly associated with the kind of argument that Paley had devised that its refutation was in effect a refutation of theology as a whole.

In the following section I shall explore several ways in which evolutionary biology is held to challenge theological commitments, focussing on how these challenges are tied to the diminished credibility of special providence.

 Printer-friendly | Feedback | Contributed by: Adrian Wyard

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[2] Supposed challenges from the evolutionary sciences to theology

[1] Does Evolution ‘do the work of a friend’ for the Christian Religion?
Setting the scene - why focus on providence?
Intellectually fulfilled atheists?
A challenge to human uniqueness and status?
A challenge to purpose in creation?
A threat to the veracity of scripture?
Evolution ‘explains away’ theology?
A challenge to Christian morality?
The challenges in wider context - Darwin as a scapegoat?
[3] The current state of the evolutionary sciences
Different ways of conceptualising Darwinian evolution
Evolution as chance and necessity
Evolution as an algorithm
Evolution as movement within a ‘fitness landscape’
Ongoing debates: contingency versus convergence
Ongoing debates: what are the key causal factors in biological history?
Ongoing debates: the environment as the principle cause?
Ongoing debates: convergence as the principle cause?
Ongoing debates: ‘Universal biology’ as the principle cause?
The importance of moving from evolution as abstraction to particular history
Ongoing debates: directionality and progress
Ongoing debates: the origin of life
Different levels and kinds of selection?
[4] Responses from theology
Evolution, probabilities and providence
Responses from contemporary theologians
Holmes Rolston III
Keith Ward
John Haught
Arthur Peacocke
An increased role for general providence?
Theology of Creation in the light of evolution: three scenarios
[5] Concluding remarks
Sources

Source:

Adrian Wyard
Adrian M Wyard MSt

See also:

Evolution
The Relation of Science & Religion
Purpose and Design
Genetics
The Argument From Design
The Anthropic Principle
Opinions
Charles Darwin
DNA Double-Helix