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For example, one of the founders of the neo-Darwinian synthesis, Harvard paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson, explained the "meaning of evolution" in the following widely quoted language: `Although many details remain to be worked out, it is already evident that all the objective phenomena of the history of life can be explained by purely naturalistic or, in a proper sense of the sometimes abused word, materialistic factors.
Theistic naturalism is more often implicit than explicit in religious discourse-as befits a philosophy so dominant in intellectual circles that people hardly ever have to think about it in any detail Princeton Theological Seminary Professor Diogenes Allen's 1989 book provides a particularly thorough and thoughtful explication of theistic naturalism.
Allen explains the division between the realms of science and theology by saying that there are questions a naturalistic science cannot purport to answer.
Some people don't accommodate, but simply reject the authority of that establishment in toto.
Those who regard Scripture as more authoritative than scientific theories, and who are confident that they know the correct way to interpret it, may choose to defend the Genesis account as literally true and employ scientific argument to discredit the alternatives.
By saying that she taught "evolution," the Catholic school teacher had said only that she did not teach the sudden, special creation of each species.
She was not with the 47 percent who (perhaps) reject evolution altogether, but she might still be with the 40 percent who think there is a compromise position that combines creation and evolution.
(The wording of the question did not rule out a long period of animal evolution before the appearance of man, however.) Another 40 percent agreed with the following statement: "Man has developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process, including man's creation." Only 9 percent of the sample said that they accepted the naturalistic view of evolution, which in Gallup's wording was that man has developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, with God having no part in this process.
Against that background of public opinion, we can see why the voice from the audience was asking exactly the right question, and also why we might expect a science teacher at a Christian institution to take a deep breath before answering in a quavering voice.
, which is published by an organization calling itself the San Francisco Bay Area Skeptics.
These self-styled skeptics take a very dim view of anyone who suggests that the Darwinian theory of evolution might be an appropriate subject for skeptical inquiry, and on that account their editorial ire is sometimes aimed in my direction.