Howard Van Till

Anyone getting deeply involved in debates over creationism and intelligent design eventually runs across the name of Howard Van Till, a physicist with a Calvinist Christian background who taught at Calvin College. Having him on board as a defender of science has been invaluable, especially as an example of someone who seemed theologically conservative but also had few qualms about accepting most of modern natural science. Mind you, I found some of his writing intellectually irritating, given the contortions he had to resort to to keep his faith compatible with science, but he didn’t do anything unusual among scientists who are religious.

It now appears that Van Till has moved away from his Calvinism, and taken a much more ambiguous position on religion. (Thanks to Richard Carrier for pointing this out.) On the one hand, I like this development—it means less doubletalk on science and theology and one more fellow physicist who takes a more sensible position like the majority of his colleagues. On the other hand, one less prominent person we can point to as being a solid Christian and an evolutionist might leave us in a politically slightly weakened position.

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About Taner Edis

Professor of physics at Truman State University

  • John W. Loftus

    Van Till’s book The Fourth Day, along with a box full of books and essays my cousin sent me, was the catalyst for me to eventually reject the Bible as God’s word. It’s good he’s now beginning to see the implications that I saw from reading what he wrote. I have maintained that it was Christian scholarship that led me away from the Christian faith. Van Till helped push me in the right direction, as did others.

  • djimie

    Many thanks for this post. And btw, the link to Howard van Till's article is here.

  • bob wierdsma

    It's unfortunate Loftus has chosen to abandon God which basically leaves him without hope for the life to come.