Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Andrew Perry: closet theistic evolutionist?

Andrew Perry's defence of old earth creationism and opposition to evolutionary creationism are a matter of public record. His book Special Creationism, according to the publisher's blurb:
examines the creation, evolution and intelligent design debate. It presents an Old Earth Creationist view and combats theistic evolution. [1]
One can hardly get more specific than that. In his recent article in The Testimony (critically reviewed here), Perry further emphasises his opposition to evolution with comments such as:
"If theistic evolution and young-earth creationism are polar opposites, old-earth creationism sits in the middle between these two extremes." [2]
"It is well known that complexes coded information and complex functional systems are the result of intelligent agency, including those produced by scientists in biology laboratories. It is reasonable therefore to infer an intelligent cause (God) for at least some specified complexity in nature" [3]
"Once [the philosophy of naturalism] is rejected on philosophical grounds, the theory of evolution cannot exclude either special creation or divine agency. Consequently, a fairly literal view of Genesis can be defended." [4]
However, Perry has contradicted himself by admitting that he endorses 'localised OEC' and believes that 'evolution is OK' before Adam. This begs clarification.
A few days ago, Perry, after repeatedly failing to answer the questions in this post:
>>It argues that Genesis 1 is an account of a recent special creation of a habitable environment for humankind focused on Mesopotamia<< 
Oh. I thought that was the TE position? Outside of the special creation in the area of Mesopotamia, was there other life? If so, did it appear at the same time as the special creation or was it there before? And how did it get there? Previous special creation? Or Evolution? And does this other life include humans? 
>>The account is nevertheless exemplary for all of the planet (and the universe)<<
So… Gen 1 is local or universal?
>>Evolution is a matter for Science and to be considered in the pre-Adamic space<< 
Evolution is OK before Adam? 
>>Genesis presupposes the existence of the planet and Science has shown that there is an ancient history of life on earth<< 
OK, so this fits with OEC… 
>>Philosophically, Science cannot exclude divine action (special creation) from this history<< 
From what I can tell, YEC, OEC and TE would all agree with this… 
>>And Genesis gives us warrant for seeing the creative acts of God throughout the history of life on earth and nature shows this to have been the case<<
God has been creating since life began? Not restricted to 6 days? 
>>…in evidence for its intelligent design<<
Intelligent design of creative acts that have been happening since life began? Or was the intelligent design restricted to a 6 day period? [5]
finally confirmed that he did accept evolution
1. Mesopotamia. Maybe it is the TE position. TEs can reply to this. I haven't read it in TE literature - but my reading is limited.
2. Other life: yes. Before: yes.
3. Special creation or evolution: bit of both.
4. Include humans: not as biblically defined - the image and likeness of God. (see Second Edition). Hominins, yes.
5.Gen 2 is local. Gen 1 is local but generalized in the rest of Scripture.
6. Evolution is OK before Adam - its a matter of judgement for IDers and evolutionists to fight over and amongst themselves. 
7. Yes God has been creating since life began, not restricted to 6 days.
8. Again, prior to the Adamic creation, the judgement call for ID or evolution is for each person to make. [6]
Perry may call himself an OEC, but any form of OEC which allows for an evolutionary origin of life (including hominins) other than Adam is nothing like the OEC with which most Christadelphians would be familiar. This may well appear to explain his bizarre qualification, when in response to a statement pointing out that if he accepted evolution, he ran the risk of isolation and disfellowship, coined the term 'localised OEC' to describe his position:
The irony here is that I think localised OEC is more of minority than TE/EC. [7]
Yet the publisher blurb for his special creationism book asserts that it "argues that Genesis 1 is an account of a recent special creation of a habitable environment for humankind focused on Mesopotamia." How can localised OEC suddenly become recent special creation?

If he is arguing for a special created Adam in Mesopotamia, with an evolutionary origin of pre-Adamic life, then his position (assuming he rejects monogenism) is consistent with the position I, and other ECs maintain. Using the term 'localised OEC' is then intellectually dishonest as he would appear to be trying to hide evolution under a special creationist term.

However, if Perry is arguing for an evolutionary origin of all life other than humans, and is arguing that the entire human race descends exclusively from a single recently created pair. then he is wasting his time as the evidence for human-ape common ancestry, as well as the evidence against the entire human race descending from two people living 6000 years ago are beyond dispute. Perry would then be obliged to explain purely on scientific grounds why he would appear to accept the scientific consensus on evolution, but reject it for humans.

To date his position remains unclear.



2. Perry A "The creation versus evolution debate" The Testimony (2014) 84:69-72 

3. ibid, p 71

4. ibid, p 72