Evolution and atheism: Has Griffin reconciled science and religion?

Synthese 178 (2):381 - 396 (2011)
The distinguished theologian, David Ray Griffin, has advanced a set of thirteen theses intended to characterize (what he calls) "Neo-Darwinism" and which he contrasts with "Intelligent Design". Griffin maintains that Neo-Darwinism is "atheistic" in forgoing a creator but suggests that, by adopting a more modest scientific naturalism and embracing a more naturalistic theology, it is possible to find "a third way" that reconciles religion and science. The considerations adduced here suggest that Griffin has promised more than he can deliver. On his account, God is in laws of nature; therefore, any influence He exerts is natural rather than supernatural. But if the differences God makes are not empirically detectable, then Griffin's account is just as objectionable as a theory of supernatural intervention. And Griffin has not shown that evolution as distinct from his idiosyncratic sense of Neo-Darwinism is incompatible with theism
Keywords Neo-Darwinism  Intelligent design  Evolution  Natural selection  Scientific naturalism  Naturalistic theology  David Ray Griffin  Science  Religion  Supernaturalism  Charles Darwin  The ethics of belief  Experiential findings  Abductivism  Inference to the best explanation
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David L. Hull (1978). A Matter of Individuality. Philosophy of Science 45 (3):335-360.

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James Fetzer’s recent article, “Evolution and atheism: Has Griffin reconciled science and religion?” (Synthese [2011] 178: 381-396) purports to offer a well-founded critique of David Ray Griffin’s philosophical arguments for “a version of theistic evolutionism that can do justice both to the facts that count in favor of evolution and those that count against the neo-Darwinian theory of it” (Griffin, 2000, p 243). Fetzer claims that Griffin’s detailed characterization of neo-Darwinism is inaccurate, “exemplifying the straw man fallacy, where an exaggerated version of a position is presented in order to knock it down” (p. 382). Fetzer not only makes strong claims for the inadequacy of Griffin’s work on evolutionary theory, but also asserts that Griffin has made fundamental errors of logic and argument and is not “morally justified” in holding the views he propounds. Fetzer’s article, however, fails to back up these claims.

Amazingly, Fetzer does not provide any evidence that he has actua ... (read more)
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