Robert C. Newman has a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Cornell and is currently Professor of New Testament and Director of the Interdisciplinary Biblical Research Institute at the Biblical Theological Seminary of Hatfield. He is a longtime contributor to the Intelligent Design literature (e.g. to the Dembski-edited anthology Mere Creation: Science, Faith & Intelligent Design), and is a signatory to the Discovery Institute’s intellectually bankrupt petition A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism.
According to Newman, there are organisms that possess incredible complexity, but which also seem to be clearly malevolent. These, Newman thinks, are the work of “malevolent spirit beings,” or perhaps the work of “non-spiritual intelligences (extra-terrestrials).” Insofar as they are the work of malevolent spirit beings, this is evidence for the controversial hypothesis that “the fall of Satan is much earlier than that of Adam, and creation is already not so good by the time Adam comes along.” Accordingly, “[t]hese are things that theologians, scientists and philosophers need to think about,” but I think he means theologians – philosophers and scientists usually have better things to do.
Unfortunately the program does not yield easily testable predictions, so it may not in the end count as a genuine research program – though it is probably the best we’ll get from the Intelligent Design crowd. Newman’s findings are described in his paper ” “Rumors of Angels: Using ID to Detect Malevolent Spiritual Agents.”
He is probably not the same guy as Robert Newman of the California Christian Coalition, who has said – in response to efforts to combat bullying based on sexual orientation – that bullying is “part of the maturational process,” and that he does not “think that bullying is a real issue in schools.”
Diagnosis: No, Newman. That’s not how things work. But at least he is unlikely to win many new converts for his pseudoscience.
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