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Author Topic: Evolution and Religion  (Read 18955 times)

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Offline PeachieTopic starter

Evolution and Religion
« on: December 05, 2010, 06:14:52 PM »
Personally, I have been struggling with this. As a Biology major, we talk about evolution daily in my classes. It has been proven over and over and over. I grew up religious, but lately have been re-thinking my views. Everyone I talk to seems to think that it either has to be you believe in God and therefore do not believe in evolution OR you don't believe in God and you believe in evolution. Why? I believe that God created the Earth, but then things fell into place by his own design... this means that the Bible shouldn't be taken LITERALLY, but perhaps metaphorically...

I don't know...

What do y'all think about this topic?

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #1 on: December 05, 2010, 06:44:53 PM »
I don't have a huge chunk of time tonight, but here is my short version: I don't think that there is the conflict most religious leaders make it out to be. I think that the evolution/religion divide is a false dichotomy predominantly constructed by several religious movements in the early 1900s and related to the push for a fundamentalist, literal interpretation of scripture (you can see such movements in both the East and West throughout the 1900s, I am not sure exactly why).

To look at it from a specifically Christian context: That the untenable notion of "Biblical literalism" has remained alive in the Christian conscious for almost 100 years is baffling, yet it has. Moreover, it often hedges out the more moderate views and becomes the face of the religion, as it were.

While it only studies the situation in the US, Ronald L. Numbers' book Darwinism Comes to America provides a fascinating look at the appearance of opposition to Darwin's theory amongst both religious and secular audiences from the late 1800s on.

Offline Ket

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #2 on: December 05, 2010, 07:50:32 PM »
I asked a friend this question once, wanting to understand his view on evolution vs. creationism. He replied, "What is a day to God? To us, it's 24 hours, but who knows, to God a day could equal a million years or even a billion years. So sure, God could have done it all in seven days if a day to God equals a million years in human created time."

One of the best answers I ever heard. Doesn't quite explain evolution, but puts things in a little bit different perspective. 

Offline PeachieTopic starter

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #3 on: December 05, 2010, 08:04:49 PM »
Funny that you said that Ket... I say that to my friends all the time. :)

Offline Alsheriam

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #4 on: December 05, 2010, 08:37:45 PM »
That explanation unfortunately does not impress nor convince me. It trivializes the question of how and why is it that the study and practice of the science biology that does not involve praying to God could cure a good many diseases. It trivializes the question of how it was science and reason, proving to people that they could use man-made ideas and inventions to improve their lives without having to pray to God that started the Age of Enlightenment in the first place.

A child could come up with that sort of 'a day to God is a million years' tale any time. It's however, up to the individual whether he or she wishes to grow up or not.

Online Doomsday

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2010, 12:51:17 AM »
Okay, so hypothetically speaking, God made the universe, the world, and everything around you. Are you going to believe the physical world around you that god 'created' (the fact of Evolution and the scientific theory of Evolution, which are both bulletproof) or the interpretation of God's will as written by man? Let alone one that has been written in several different languages, has been edited by whatever Despot felt like controlling the commoners by manipulating their religion, etc.

Offline Ket

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2010, 01:13:00 AM »
The differences between evolution vs. creationism have nothing to do with whether it is science or praying to God that cures illnesses or whether it's science or praying to God that creates things that make our lives better. It simply has to do with time. Many creationists believe strictly in what the Bible says, that God created everything in seven days, regardless of what science says.

We know, through proven science, that the earth and all it's inhabitants were not created in just seven days. But yet if you look at it from a different perspective, saying that to God, one day is equal to one million human days/months/years/what have you, then you have more room to fill in the gaps, more flexibility to merge science (the proven) and religion (the theory).




Offline Sure

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2010, 01:14:11 AM »
Alsheriam, I'd prefer you not insult the vast majority of the world population as children. Fun fact, you've just insulted a central tenant of many major branches of Hinduism. They collectively contain... probably more people than live in the United States.

Anyway, Evolution versus Creationism has been created by a combination of religious fundamentalist and extreme atheists. There is an unfortunate tendency among certain brands of atheism who believe religion is something to be combated rather than a choice to be respected, and they insist on denigration of theological arguments and debates on the matter which does not help. (I don't mention the religious fundamentalists because I think we're all familiar with them)

Regardless, there is no contradiction. I don't think anyone here has suggested there is.

Offline Alsheriam

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2010, 02:06:28 AM »
While I will not claim to know much of Hinduism, I unfortunately cannot resist to make the odd enough observation that Jesus ideally wanted his followers to be like children. I used to be that sort of child that Jesus would delight to have, but I have since grown up.

And just as well, while I think most of Freud's ideas are full of claptrap, I cannot help but to agree with his assertion in 'The Future of an Illusion' that religion in general is quite harmful to human civilization, and ought to be neutered as much as possible if humanity ever wants to progress and survive.

One such example is the obstacle that some powerful religious people are putting up to the acceptance of scientific fact that climate change is real and is devastating lives and livelihoods around the world, either because they want to accelerate the devastation of the world so that a purported second coming of Jesus will come sooner, or they want to discredit science for the sake of it.

Offline Brandon

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2010, 02:55:46 AM »
And just as well, while I think most of Freud's ideas are full of claptrap, I cannot help but to agree with his assertion in 'The Future of an Illusion' that religion in general is quite harmful to human civilization, and ought to be neutered as much as possible if humanity ever wants to progress and survive.

Lets try to be more careful with statements like this. They often lead to borderline anti-religious hate speech and Ive been enjoying not reading that for the last few months. Besides that is not even the topic of the thread.

There are some misconstrued facts about Evolution. The first being that it is a scientific fact. Unless I missed the press conference Evolution is still a highly probable theory used to advance other areas of scientific study. Theories are based on observable data but have not been proven to be true. To be fair, that probably doesnt matter so much though. Like most theories and phenomena out there I personally think Evolution is possible but lack of real observable data makes me wonder if there is a flaw in the theory. To elaborate on what Im saying, my main thought is over countless melenia I think there would be stories, legends, or something like that to back up mankinds evolution. There are fossils of ancestral primates like Giantpiphocus (I probably just butched the spelling) but to my knowledge there is no actual observable data to show Evolution of mankind from it. Obviously because our bodies are built like primates there are similarities but its sort of like comparing dogs and wolves, if that makes any sense. As far as we know they are extinct (some say just rare) apes or at least thats the explanation that makes more sense to me. Until I see real observable data that is. That is my personal outlook on evolution, you dont have to like or agree with it

Anyway, from my point of view if Evolution is real I dont see a reason why god couldnt have put it into place as a tool to help his creations live and survive. You have to remember that in context we are talking about an omnipotent being with perspectives and knowledge that we could probably never achieve or fully understand. I think South park actually touched on this subject to, saying that Evolution could be the answer to how but not to why we were created.

I think the main problem is not science and religion themselves but the people who claim to represent them. There is what I percieve to be  a realitive immaturity with religions fundamentalists and anti-theists. Both sides look to pick fights, both sides wont sit down and discuss their differences, both sides unfairly attack others who dont agree with them, and both sides usually just act like the biggest jerk is the one who wins.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2010, 03:31:44 AM »
I asked a friend this question once, wanting to understand his view on evolution vs. creationism. He replied, "What is a day to God? To us, it's 24 hours, but who knows, to God a day could equal a million years or even a billion years. So sure, God could have done it all in seven days if a day to God equals a million years in human created time."

One of the best answers I ever heard. Doesn't quite explain evolution, but puts things in a little bit different perspective.

The fun thing to point out here is that the Sun wasn't created until the fourth day in the myth. So any concept of day and night before then may as well be abstract.

Literalism often comes from the idea that, if evolution existed, then there could be no Adam and Eve. If Adam and Eve did not exist, then there could be no Fall from Eden - no Original Sin. With no original sin, there is no reason for Jesus, and with no reason for Jesus, there is no reason for Christianity. And so, because they must be Christian, there must be a reason for it, and that works on back, requiring that the Bible be literally true.

There are other conceptualizations of original sin, however. In 'Call me Ishmael', original sin is said to be the invention of agriculture, which is a pretty interesting concept. Hunter-gatherers did live rather good lives - better than most of humanity until the end of the 19th century.

Online Doomsday

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #11 on: December 06, 2010, 05:55:20 AM »
The fact of evolution is that evolution is occurring. The theory of evolution is the mechanics behind it.

Btw, to say it's a 'very probable theory' is misleading. It's a scientific theory (like relativity, gravity, germ theory, gravity, etc), which means it's practically as good as gold.

EDIT: Also, it seems this is my 5000th post. Woo!

Offline Vekseid

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #12 on: December 06, 2010, 06:31:48 AM »
No, the mechanics are very much observable, and those observations are part of the factual record. Mutations are fact, gene fusion, replication and division is fact. Speciation has been observed and thus is fact. Natural selection has been observed and is a fact.

The only part of evolution that is not empirically observable is common descent - since we weren't around four billion years ago to see life begin. The geological record is still fact, however.

Online Doomsday

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2010, 06:35:37 AM »
What he said.

Offline Hemingway

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2010, 06:56:07 AM »
With so much of the bible treated as allegory and metaphor already, I don't see any reason accepting the theory of evolution should mean you can't also be a christian. Unless you're a young earth creationist, as evolution on any large scale takes millions of years, not mere thousands. Sort of the cornerstone of their argument against evolution, I guess. I do find it strange that people are willing to accept two seeming contradictory world views. But then, I have never believed in anything, and I suspect giving up your faith, even if it appears to contradict with what we know from science, is easier said than done.

The reason, I think, there's so much debate about this, is many prominent creationists, the likes of Ray Comfort, are really fond of misrepresenting evolution.

Offline mystictiger

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2010, 06:58:50 AM »
On a purely philosophy-of-science ground, I don't believe you can ever prove a theory to be true. Rather, it works as the best possible aproximation of a reality until you find counter-evidence. Thus any theory can be said to be either accurate or inaccurate, not true or false. A theory lasts only so long as it is useful.

A positivist would assert that objective knowledge about something is possible, but I suspect that this is a myth. Scientific realism acknowledges that all knowledge is the product of a human brain in a given culture. We cannot ever eliminate our bias or the meat with which we use to think.

Lastly, the mere fact that literal Judaeo-Christian creationism is at odds with the two accounts in the genesis is of little significance. The genesis accounts are the way a primitive desert people thought about how they came to be. The important bit is not the catalogue of days, but that God 'done it'.  The idea that there are rules and there is a higher power at work are not mutually incompatible.

The facile seduction of the 'creation science' argument should be immediately dismissed as garbage. Their addage of 'teach the controversy' is all well and good... if there were controversy. There isn't. Besides, the God you get after you squeeze it through the evolutionary seive is a very unappealing one, the so-called God of the Gaps.

One final caveat to all of this is the nature of truth itself. The fact that rational and emperical thought for one person is good and wonderful does not make it true for all people. Granted, I think that fundamentalists are stupid people by their nature as fundamentalists, but they would equally think me stupid for willfully denying the truth that they hold sacred. Am I right or are they? By my standards I am, and by their standards they are.

EDIT: A certain Italian sums up my thought on the hard-of-thinking. If one believes that God created us as we are, then he / she / it surely meant us to use our faculties and find out about the world around us: "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use"
« Last Edit: December 06, 2010, 07:00:02 AM by mystictiger »

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2010, 07:24:22 AM »
About to run off to school, but this conversation reminded me of two things I have read recently and I wanted to dig up the links for them and toss them into the mix:

Natural Selection and Macroevolution in your lifetime from Starts With A Bang
Settling Accounts from Slacktivist



One of the things I find disturbing about this claimed contradiction is the prevalence of people who both vocally oppose evolution, yet simultaneously treat its consequences as true: e.g. getting their flu shot every year, worrying about resistant bacteria, using HAART therapy, or hell, even believing in germ theory at all (After all, the Bible doesn't say that oh yeah and on the fifth day God also created a shitton of microbial life that accounts for over half the entire biomass of the planet. And he saw that it was freaking cool.).

To a larger extent acceptance of genetics contains within it evolutionary theory: you understand that there is a hereditable material, you understand that the hereditable material changes, presumably it isn't hard to understand that bad changes in hereditable material = bad and good changes = good. It's really very basic. Yet many people can sit around and be fine accepting DNA evidence in the courtroom, or understanding why their child has a certain color of eyes, and yet simultaneously deny hereditable change over time selected for by environmental factors.

Offline mystictiger

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2010, 07:49:09 AM »
Quote
To a larger extent acceptance of genetics contains within it evolutionary theory: you understand that there is a hereditable material, you understand that the hereditable material changes, presumably it isn't hard to understand that bad changes in hereditable material = bad and good changes = good. It's really very basic. Yet many people can sit around and be fine accepting DNA evidence in the courtroom, or understanding why their child has a certain color of eyes, and yet simultaneously deny hereditable change over time selected for by environmental factors.

Given the short perspective that most 'normal' people have, its actually quite easy to assume that evolution doesn't take place given the examples you've just listed. The variation that people see is all on a theme - for example, changes in hair, skin, and eye colour but not radical changes in shape. In fact, there has been no radical change in shape in human history. Therefore, based on the data that people have, they think that human shape is set - that humans are humans are humans and always have been since the day of their creation and always will be.

As to the Court example. I very much doubt that any of the judges or lawyers really understand what the genetic testing shows them. Rather they just see a box that says "Proof"; they don't care about the mechanics or the implication. This is, after all, why we have lawyers in the first place. The average person doesn't analyse their legal problem in terms of tactical burden of proof, objectives, and rules of procedure, rather they go to a lawyer and say "Fix it". They don't care how the lawyer tries to do it, merely that it happens. Like with cars - you don't need to know how the car works, just merely how to drive it.

It's like informed consent for patients. The only way you can ever have truely informed patients is if everyone's done a medicine degree.

Be less intolerant.

Offline Oniya

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2010, 08:19:32 AM »
As to the Court example. I very much doubt that any of the judges or lawyers really understand what the genetic testing shows them. Rather they just see a box that says "Proof"; they don't care about the mechanics or the implication. This is, after all, why we have lawyers in the first place. The average person doesn't analyse their legal problem in terms of tactical burden of proof, objectives, and rules of procedure, rather they go to a lawyer and say "Fix it". They don't care how the lawyer tries to do it, merely that it happens. Like with cars - you don't need to know how the car works, just merely how to drive it.

Actually, that's why any lawyer dealing with DNA (on either side) will bring in an expert witness - just like they bring in expert witnesses for ballistics, fingerprint analysis, and accident reconstruction.

Offline Brandon

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2010, 08:46:21 AM »
No, the mechanics are very much observable, and those observations are part of the factual record. Mutations are fact, gene fusion, replication and division is fact. Speciation has been observed and thus is fact. Natural selection has been observed and is a fact.

The only part of evolution that is not empirically observable is common descent - since we weren't around four billion years ago to see life begin. The geological record is still fact, however.

That bolded part right there is one of the bigger reasons why I think there is something missing with the theory of Evolution. Whenever we talk about this its always we werent around back then so we have no observable data to back up the theory. However Evolution isnt just about how life adapted from its earliest creations. Evolution is a continuing theory, even now species are supposed to evolve because of their enviromental surroundings but we dont see the evidence of that

Let me give, what I think, is a good example. This example revolves around regular and the Lake sturgeon of Lake Champlain. The story is that at one time Lake champlain was connected to the ocean, Sturgeon would come into the lake for whatever reason. Then something happened (a huge geological event is the most likely theory) and the lake was closed off to the ocean trapping Sturgeon within. Now saltwater fish generally cant survive in freshwater for more then a few hours, yet the common theory is that Lake Sturgeon evolved from the Sturgeon that were trapped when the lake was cut off from the ocean. Now granted after the event happened some of the salt water would have stayed and it probably would have taken decades for the lake to fully transform into a freshwater lake. However Evolution is supposed to happen over millions of generations, these are numbers that just dont add up. Anyway, last time I was there the lake sturgeon were having trouble surviving because of local pollution and to my knowledge had been for several years prior and still are having trouble. We dont seem to be seeing any kind of evolving out of those Lake sturgeon which coincidently are supposed to be known for "quick" evolution

Its little things like this as well as the social frolicking of and around evolution that make me think something about the theory is missing

Or maybe Im just to much of a skeptic *shrugs*

Offline Jude

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #20 on: December 06, 2010, 12:36:24 PM »
That bolded part right there is one of the bigger reasons why I think there is something missing with the theory of Evolution. Whenever we talk about this its always we werent around back then so we have no observable data to back up the theory.
The only way to collect data at all is to observe it, meaning every piece of data that we have on evolution is observable data.  I think you're confusing the term "observable" with something like "first hand account."  Either way, what you said isn't true.  Evolution has been directly observed many times.  A lot of the reason people oppose evolutionary theory is that they haven't seen studies that support evolution strongly, so they assume they do not exist (largely because they want to believe that conclusion).  A little bit of research to the contrary shows a whole lot of evidence in support of evolution (more than any laymen would want to review for certain).  This is why it's important to come to an issue without your personal biases in play, because if you don't stop to wonder "I am I wrong" then look for evidence that could prove that you are wrong, then it's pretty easy to avoid seeing the information that shows you are wrong if it exists.
However Evolution isnt just about how life adapted from its earliest creations. Evolution is a continuing theory, even now species are supposed to evolve because of their enviromental surroundings but we dont see the evidence of that
There is plenty of evidence that human beings have continued to evolve.
Let me give, what I think, is a good example. This example revolves around regular and the Lake sturgeon of Lake Champlain. The story is that at one time Lake champlain was connected to the ocean, Sturgeon would come into the lake for whatever reason. Then something happened (a huge geological event is the most likely theory) and the lake was closed off to the ocean trapping Sturgeon within. Now saltwater fish generally cant survive in freshwater for more then a few hours, yet the common theory is that Lake Sturgeon evolved from the Sturgeon that were trapped when the lake was cut off from the ocean. Now granted after the event happened some of the salt water would have stayed and it probably would have taken decades for the lake to fully transform into a freshwater lake. However Evolution is supposed to happen over millions of generations, these are numbers that just dont add up. Anyway, last time I was there the lake sturgeon were having trouble surviving because of local pollution and to my knowledge had been for several years prior and still are having trouble. We dont seem to be seeing any kind of evolving out of those Lake sturgeon which coincidently are supposed to be known for "quick" evolution
Evolution says creatures can evolve to overcome selective pressures, not that they will.  Even if we assume that it's even easier for sturgeon to overcome the presence of pollution than the presence of salt, it's all a matter of chance.  Without chance, no species would ever go extinct, they would simply change into another species, which isn't what evolution claims at all.
Its little things like this as well as the social frolicking of and around evolution that make me think something about the theory is missing

Or maybe Im just to much of a skeptic *shrugs*
Skepticism isn't a bad thing, but it's important to actually educate yourself on the matter thoroughly before coming to a conclusion.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/lessons/from-wolf-to-dog/lesson-overview/4783/

Simply follow the above lesson and you'll learn about that study that exposes how dog evolution probably occurred, as well as an independently verifiable case of dog evolution.

As far as the conflict between religion and evolution goes, I keep as far away from it as I can until religion influences people to attack science.  I don't care if religious people feel challenged, intimidated, or upset by evolution.  That's an internal debate they can work out however they like until they start throwing stones at what is a solid, ingenious theory backed up by mountains of evidence.  It's not my place to criticize whatever theological justifications they came up with in order to make their religion jive with evolution.  It isn't even my place to attack religions on the basis of a conflict with evolution; I don't think that's going to bring about any positive change, so I don't understand what purpose it would serve.

Creationism, attempts to censor science textbooks, and outright denial of scientific fact by public figures however is not acceptable.  It isn't until religious forces attack science that it's really important for advocates of science to strike back, until then it's needlessly antagonistic to draw out supposed conflicts between religion and science.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2010, 12:45:36 PM by Jude »

Offline mystictiger

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #21 on: December 06, 2010, 02:53:21 PM »
Actually, that's why any lawyer dealing with DNA (on either side) will bring in an expert witness - just like they bring in expert witnesses for ballistics, fingerprint analysis, and accident reconstruction.

Exactly so. And then the other side brings in their own expert witness. The two then have a fight and it's left to the judges to determine which expert they believe. Having had to assist judges in their deliberations about competing expert opinions, it basically comes down to an assessment of credibility of the witnesses rather than what they're saying. You kind of hope that two 'biased' experts will - on average - produce something that aproximates to reality.

Offline Oniya

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #22 on: December 06, 2010, 03:33:43 PM »
The fact that they bring in expert witnesses kind of makes an argument that they care a bit more than a 'box that says "Proof".'  Otherwise, the lawyer could simply enter the test results as evidence and not have to deal with the trouble and expense of dealing with expert witnesses.

Offline Hunter

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #23 on: December 06, 2010, 06:32:46 PM »
The fun thing to point out here is that the Sun wasn't created until the fourth day in the myth. So any concept of day and night before then may as well be abstract.

That's because the day/night cycle was the first thing created.  The "myth" specifically refers to each day of creation as a "day and a night, one day".    Given the probability of evolutionary theory as so far past impossible (try 1 in 10^50), I'll stick with the other side.

But feel free to pick the side you want as we no more know for sure how the universe came into being then we do how the Egyptians built the pyramids.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2010, 07:03:41 PM by Hunter »

Offline Revolverman

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #24 on: December 06, 2010, 07:33:51 PM »
But feel free to pick the side you want as we no more know for sure how the universe came into being then we do how the Egyptians built the pyramids.

What?

Offline Alsheriam

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #25 on: December 06, 2010, 07:48:34 PM »
What?

What he said.

One to two hundred years ago, people used to dream about an enlightened society where the vast majority of people could read and write. We're there at the literacy part, and yet human society is hardly enlightened.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2010, 08:05:50 PM by Alsheriam »

Offline Oniya

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #26 on: December 06, 2010, 08:00:23 PM »
The ramp theory is generally accepted, although there is some difference of opinion on the configuration of the ramps.  As for cutting the blocks the most practical method currently theorized is the use of quartz sand poured between the cutting edge of a drill and the granite, allowing the harder quartz to provide the necessary bite.

As for the people who built it, this site is far more in depth than anything I could fit in a post. 

Offline mystictiger

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #27 on: December 06, 2010, 08:16:17 PM »
The fact that they bring in expert witnesses kind of makes an argument that they care a bit more than a 'box that says "Proof".'  Otherwise, the lawyer could simply enter the test results as evidence and not have to deal with the trouble and expense of dealing with expert witnesses.

The reason that they have an expert is entirely to do with procedural rules, and has nothing to do with the comprehension of either the test or the expert speaking to it. Rather than having a test that the court doesn't comprehend, they now have an individual that they don't understand. The judge determines which expert he finds most credible, not which evidence they find most believable - thus a convincing liar would probably be more useful as an expert than an unconvincing truth-teller.

In the worst cases, the courts reject experts that they can't even pretend to understand - ""To introduce Bayes' Theorem, or any similar method, into a criminal trial plunges the jury into inappropriate and unnecessary realms of theory and complexity, deflecting them from their proper task.".


Offline RubySlippers

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #28 on: December 06, 2010, 08:25:09 PM »
God created the Earth, Life in All Forms and the Universe as we see it in six days ,literal 24 hour days, and rested on the seventh day. Anything that might not fit that is a mystery of God why He decided for example to make such infinite galaxies or make genetics to appear to support ancient lines of humans going back ages. But Ussher's chronology which I support as at least in the ballpark places the age of the Earth at around 6000 years but it could be more or less but not billions of years.

I don't oppose the natural sciences mind you they are orderly under the will of God, and should be taught just when you tell me man is millions of years old I simply disagree. The universe appears old because that was God's will likely to make natural law fit and perhaps for the creation of other intelligent life in other places which is Bible Neutral but would explain why there are so many galaxies but it could just have been it amused God to make a huge Universe bcause its pretty and does Him glory.

Offline mystictiger

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #29 on: December 06, 2010, 08:33:23 PM »
And God created dinosaur skeletons to test the faithful.

Offline Alsheriam

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #30 on: December 06, 2010, 08:48:06 PM »
"God created Arrakis to train the faithful."



I'm sorry... I couldn't help but to think of that Dune reference. XD

Offline Jude

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #31 on: December 06, 2010, 09:37:41 PM »
That's because the day/night cycle was the first thing created.  The "myth" specifically refers to each day of creation as a "day and a night, one day".    Given the probability of evolutionary theory as so far past impossible (try 1 in 10^50), I'll stick with the other side.

But feel free to pick the side you want as we no more know for sure how the universe came into being then we do how the Egyptians built the pyramids.
Which creationist blog did you pull that number from out of curiosity?

In so much as you believe it, I wonder why you think you know more than the combined intellectual might of the scientific community.  You would think that if what you said about the probability thing was actually true, then evolution wouldn't be as widely accepted as it is.  In saying that you've chosen the more logical path on a scientific matter over people who dedicate their lives to a rigorous study of scientific truth, you're epitomizing the arrogance of ignorance -- unless you've conceived some sort of system that is far beyond their understanding.  So, I'm wondering, what's your formal training in science?
God created the Earth, Life in All Forms and the Universe as we see it in six days ,literal 24 hour days, and rested on the seventh day. Anything that might not fit that is a mystery of God why He decided for example to make such infinite galaxies or make genetics to appear to support ancient lines of humans going back ages. But Ussher's chronology which I support as at least in the ballpark places the age of the Earth at around 6000 years but it could be more or less but not billions of years.
I'm sorry, but you're wrong.  There are multiple lines of scientific evidence that place the age of the universe, and earth, far longer than 6,000 years.  There's nothing even remotely factual about the claims of young earth creationists, and since it steps out of the realm of religion and tries to make claims which are objectively false, there's no reason I should tolerate it.
I don't oppose the natural sciences mind you they are orderly under the will of God, and should be taught just when you tell me man is millions of years old I simply disagree. The universe appears old because that was God's will likely to make natural law fit and perhaps for the creation of other intelligent life in other places which is Bible Neutral but would explain why there are so many galaxies but it could just have been it amused God to make a huge Universe bcause its pretty and does Him glory.
You have a right to disagree, but when you disagree with that which is basically provable fact, then it's clear that your ideologies are warping your ability to perceive truth -- that should be something of concern for you.

Offline Noelle

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #32 on: December 06, 2010, 09:43:54 PM »
That's because the day/night cycle was the first thing created.  The "myth" specifically refers to each day of creation as a "day and a night, one day".    Given the probability of evolutionary theory as so far past impossible (try 1 in 10^50), I'll stick with the other side.

But feel free to pick the side you want as we no more know for sure how the universe came into being then we do how the Egyptians built the pyramids.

Sorry, but I also have to third the sentiment -- what?

Have you done any research? About pyramids, about the universe, about any of this? Please do cite your source of where you got your figures about the purported impossibility of evolution and while you're at it, I'd be utterly tickled if you could provide a similar source that mathematically calculates the statistical probability of an invisible being that is all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful, and all-eternal that not only bends, but defies all natural laws -- laws it supposedly created, but enabled man to do things such as load up two of every species on the earth on a boat and have a little trip and leaves no tangible evidence in its wake. Surely if you can hold science to its own scrutiny (as you should), then you should perhaps measure the 'other side' by the same measures. I think you'll find it's just a little more than 'picking sides'. This isn't about the formation of a kickball team.

What I mean to say is that just because a particular issue doesn't have a solidly-confirmed conclusion doesn't mean any old crackpot theory used to explain it is gonna cut it. We don't exactly know what's on the other side of a black hole, but when it comes to deciding which answer makes more sense, I'm probably going to go with the theory that it's a singular converging point of super-compacted matter that has been torn apart by crushing gravity over the thought that it's a portal to a world that's made entirely out of candy and is inhabited by AK-wielding Nordic bikini warriors. We don't exactly know how the pyramids were built, but chances are pretty darn good that they used planes (Oniya's post addresses this a bit) and it wasn't a group of bored extraterrestrials playing Tetris on our land.

The whole 'debate' between science and religion, as others have pointed out, does not have to be the dichotomy some make it out to be -- by all means, I am not here to make anyone give up religion because I don't think it's right or even necessary and plenty of people of faith have reconciled science and religion for themselves, but it's also ridiculous to pretend that something with a substantially larger amount of evidence is equal in theory to the other.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2010, 09:47:14 PM by Noelle »

Offline mystictiger

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #33 on: December 06, 2010, 10:01:18 PM »
Quote
That's because the day/night cycle was the first thing created.  The "myth" specifically refers to each day of creation as a "day and a night, one day".    Given the probability of evolutionary theory as so far past impossible (try 1 in 10^50), I'll stick with the other side.

The very fact that you put a probability on something means that it is possible ;)

Quote
I'm sorry, but you're wrong.  There are multiple lines of scientific evidence that place the age of the universe, and earth, far longer than 6,000 years.  There's nothing even remotely factual about the claims of young earth creationists, and since it steps out of the realm of religion and tries to make claims which are objectively false, there's no reason I should tolerate it.

You cannot assert that someone else is wrong absolutely, merely within your own paradigm / frame of reference. You and RubySlippers just have a very different idea of what 'proof', 'truth' or 'fact' are. She's described her own epistemology and ontology - that what is written in a series of books is more 'true' than that which we can deduce or induce from observable reality.

The problem here isn't one of rightness or wrongness, but rather of utterly incomensurate paradigms of knowledge. Arguing about such things is fruitless - you might as well try and convince them that their favourite colour isn't what they say it is. Their position will be just as inaccessible to logical critique.

Quote
I'd be utterly tickled if you could provide a similar source that mathematically calculates the statistical probability of an invisible being that is all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful, and all-eternal that not only bends, but defies all natural laws -- laws it supposedly created, but enabled man to do things such as load up two of every species on the earth on a boat and have a little trip and leaves no tangible evidence in its wake.

Presumably the probability of that is 10^50 -1 in 10^50. Imagine if you'd put a dollar on those odds...
« Last Edit: December 06, 2010, 10:06:16 PM by mystictiger »

Offline mystictiger

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #34 on: December 06, 2010, 10:47:03 PM »
The whole probability garbage is from articles like this one.

Articles like this one explain why the probability arguments are bogus.

EDIT: And now for something on irreducable complexity (and my bad spelling).
« Last Edit: December 07, 2010, 12:02:07 AM by mystictiger »

Offline Noelle

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #35 on: December 06, 2010, 10:52:52 PM »
Y'know, the thing about it is that I'm an agnostic. Totally open to the fact that there might be a higher being (or not), but too unconvinced of all things presented to me to be able to say I can know for sure that there is or isn't.

You're right that you can't really convince people who aren't using the same lines of logic as your own to come to their conclusions, but the problem comes in that not all lines of thinking are equal in real validation or just reality in general. It's the same issue you run into when you get people who sit and wonder "what if everything we know is a facade and what if science is totally wrong about everything?" Well, what if? Then nobody knows anything and up could be down and so forth, but the fact is, it takes a pretty big stretch of thought and delusion to bridge the gap of inconsistencies that comes with it, what with considering science has done an awful lot for not knowing anything. Maybe it's infinitesimally possible, but it's most definitely not probable. Sure, you can think fossils were buried in the earth as some big treasure hunt from the holy Jefe himself and that carbon-dating is one big illusion because that god sure is a trickster, but really, you can explain just about anything away if you take enough steps...in exchange for a less and less probability and occasionally just plain absurdity.

I mean, really, if you're not going to bring logic to a logical debate...knife to a gun-fight and all.

Edit: Mystic, that creation site reminds me of that YouTube video series on how peanut butter disproves evolution and how bananas are proof of the existence of god :| Kirk Cameron, why?!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZFG5PKw504#
Proof Of God: The Banana - The Atheist's Nightmare?
« Last Edit: December 06, 2010, 10:56:52 PM by Noelle »

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #36 on: December 06, 2010, 10:55:43 PM »
I should have also dropped this off with the other links this morning: PhyloIntelligence
A nice, compact library of evidence for evolution in simple terms.

It is further notable that this very topic is the subject of Dawkin's latest work The Greatest Show on Earth, which discusses these matters in a manner divorced from his usual atheism.



So I think it is pretty clear that this divide exists, but I think we are loosing sight of the ever important why. Vague convictions and unlikely numbers are being lobbed about, but it might be more fruitful to look at what's at stake.

On the one hand, a mountain of evidence, on the other...what?

Is it merely a fundamentalist sentiment and desire for biblical literalism/infallibility? Why?
How exactly is this related to the clearly intimately connected young Earth theory?
And to toss one of Darwin's own observations in there: "We can allow satellites, planets, suns, universe, nay whole systems of universes, to be governed by laws, but the smallest insect, we wish to be created at once by special act." Why?

Numerous other phenomenon of physics, chemistry, and biology are not mentioned in scriptures, why not just as well deny them?

Online Doomsday

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #37 on: December 07, 2010, 02:46:50 AM »
Given the probability of evolutionary theory as so far past impossible (try 1 in 10^50), I'll stick with the other side.

What?

Offline Bayushi

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #38 on: December 07, 2010, 03:49:39 AM »
No, the mechanics are very much observable, and those observations are part of the factual record. Mutations are fact, gene fusion, replication and division is fact. Speciation has been observed and thus is fact. Natural selection has been observed and is a fact.

The only part of evolution that is not empirically observable is common descent - since we weren't around four billion years ago to see life begin. The geological record is still fact, however.

Unfortunately, you just ran into a scientific fallacy.

There is no such thing as no such thi... sorry.

There is no such thing as a scientific "fact".

Unless you are able to be omnipresent, and witness every occurrence of a scientific theory at work (even gravity, good luck on being around for every occurrence of that one), then you cannot prove beyond dispute that the theory is a fact.

Until you have done that, any theory is exactly that: theory.

Gravity is still a theory. The sun rising in the morning is still a theory. There is no way to prove that gravity has always existed, and will always exist.

The same applies to evolution. This coming from someone who believes in Evolution, but not in biblical theory. It just cannot be proven.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #39 on: December 07, 2010, 05:53:54 AM »
That's because the day/night cycle was the first thing created.  The "myth" specifically refers to each day of creation as a "day and a night, one day".

Day is, by definition and empirical observation, when the sun is shining, driven mostly by the rotation of the Earth. If that mechanism is not driving the day-night cycle, there is no reason to assume any sort of 24 hour period.

Quote
Given the probability of evolutionary theory as so far past impossible (try 1 in 10^50), I'll stick with the other side.

Whoever told you this lied to you. That argument was created to attack abiogenesis, not evolution. The theory of evolution is about The Origin of Species, not the origin of life.

It's not even true in the first place, but abiogenesis is a separate topic of discussion. Start a new thread if you want to argue that.

Quote
But feel free to pick the side you want as we no more know for sure how the universe came into being then we do how the Egyptians built the pyramids.

Evolution is completely separate as a theory from the Big Bang. They are not related, although they occasionally borrow terms from each other, which confuses people, but they are not the same.

Again, separate thread (though I owe a post on relativity and that too, oi).

If you are going to argue for creationism, you will find yourself much better received if you work to understand the subject matter - most of it really is not that difficult.

If you have a question, ask.

There is no such thing as a scientific "fact".

A fact is a piece of data. Observations of mutations, speciation, and so on are empirically observable, are not particularly difficult to observe, and have been observed in such immense quantities that yes, they are facts.

The most basic definition of evolution is the change in allele frequency in a population over time. The alleles governing eye and hair color, for example, have a slightly different frequency (1/3rd for brown eyes, 2/3rds for blue eyes) than my parents (1/4th brown, 3/4ths blue). That's an oversimplification, of course - there are multiple genes covering eye melanin. But saying that it did not drift between generations would require that those frequencies somehow be the same - which for my particular situation is actually mathematically impossible.

It's actually impossible for evolution not to take place between my parents and their children, unless they somehow, by social and medical miracle, have another child. You cannot construct an alternate scenario.

Nature never says yes, only 'no' or 'maybe', but you can get enough 'no' answers to lock parts down pretty thoroughly. : )

Quote
Gravity is still a theory.

No, gravity as it is commonly described is a law, which is simply a rule by which observations (facts) seem to follow in every observable instance. There's no explanation for why gravity is what it is.

You may be thinking of Einstein's general theory of relativity, which is a theory, albeit a very well supported one, which proposes that gravity's mechanism is actually a sort of curvature in spacetime.

Quote
The sun rising in the morning is still a theory.

That the sun rose yesterday is a fact. That the sun will rise tomorrow is simply a prediction - a reasonable guess that precludes say, a rogue black hole slamming into Earth or the Sun at a high fraction of c before it rises.

Quote
There is no way to prove that gravity has always existed, and will always exist.

That's why it's called a law, in general, and not a theory. We can't really explain why gravity 'is'. We see it quite often, and make incredibly precise measurements about it, but its exact mechanism is still hidden from us. Actually figuring it out for sure would require a particle accelerator the size of a small globular cluster - not particularly likely any time soon!

Especially with this economy, to paraphrase Hawking.

Einstein's GTR shifts this into saying that concentrations of mass-energy warp spacetime around themselves. It still doesn't explain why that happens.

Quote
The same applies to evolution. This coming from someone who believes in Evolution, but not in biblical theory. It just cannot be proven.

As I mentioned, things that are observed are still a part of the factual record. The only part of evolution that is impossible to observe is common descent. Common descent is, for the most part, what creationists are arguing against, anyway.

Offline mystictiger

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #40 on: December 07, 2010, 08:22:10 AM »
Quote
Gravity is still a theory.

Something being a theory doesn't make it bad. What you might call 'good' scientific knowledge is something that can only be falsified, but never proved correct.

Offline Brandon

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #41 on: December 07, 2010, 08:48:54 AM »
The only way to collect data at all is to observe it, meaning every piece of data that we have on evolution is observable data.  I think you're confusing the term "observable" with something like "first hand account."  Either way, what you said isn't true.  Evolution has been directly observed many times.  A lot of the reason people oppose evolutionary theory is that they haven't seen studies that support evolution strongly, so they assume they do not exist (largely because they want to believe that conclusion).  A little bit of research to the contrary shows a whole lot of evidence in support of evolution (more than any laymen would want to review for certain).  This is why it's important to come to an issue without your personal biases in play, because if you don't stop to wonder "I am I wrong" then look for evidence that could prove that you are wrong, then it's pretty easy to avoid seeing the information that shows you are wrong if it exists.There is plenty of evidence that human beings have continued to evolve.

I think my main thought can be summed up with one sentance: Where is the proof?

I learned the basics about evolution both in my high school and college level biology classes and the theory has never made full sense to me. I still think the theory is possible but something about it makes me doubt that the theory is totally right. Back then I asked the same kinds of questions I have here and I was basicly told that I either had to take it on faith or to shut up. The cynic in me often says that its sciences "God did it!" answer and frankly Im tired of accepting that answer.

Evolution says creatures can evolve to overcome selective pressures, not that they will.  Even if we assume that it's even easier for sturgeon to overcome the presence of pollution than the presence of salt, it's all a matter of chance.  Without chance, no species would ever go extinct, they would simply change into another species, which isn't what evolution claims at all.

Are you joking? No really, are you? I ask because that sounds crazy. We talk about evolution being the key of how life was created and now were delegating it purely to a species being lucky enough for the Evolution to take place instead of something hard wired in our genes to say when Evolution does or doesnt happen?

Skepticism isn't a bad thing, but it's important to actually educate yourself on the matter thoroughly before coming to a conclusion.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/lessons/from-wolf-to-dog/lesson-overview/4783/

Simply follow the above lesson and you'll learn about that study that exposes how dog evolution probably occurred, as well as an independently verifiable case of dog evolution.

I will go over the lesson and watch its videos later tonight when I have more time. However this jumps out at me right now

Students will be able to:

Explain that all dogs evolved from wolves;

We have had many discussions around here about how science and teaching science is objective in its observations about data. This class requires that evolution be accepted for a passing grade. That is not objectivity. However just like I did for my biology classes I can think like evolution is a fact even though my observations tell me its missing something

As far as the conflict between religion and evolution goes, I keep as far away from it as I can until religion influences people to attack science.  I don't care if religious people feel challenged, intimidated, or upset by evolution.  That's an internal debate they can work out however they like until they start throwing stones at what is a solid, ingenious theory backed up by mountains of evidence.  It's not my place to criticize whatever theological justifications they came up with in order to make their religion jive with evolution.  It isn't even my place to attack religions on the basis of a conflict with evolution; I don't think that's going to bring about any positive change, so I don't understand what purpose it would serve.

Creationism, attempts to censor science textbooks, and outright denial of scientific fact by public figures however is not acceptable.  It isn't until religious forces attack science that it's really important for advocates of science to strike back, until then it's needlessly antagonistic to draw out supposed conflicts between religion and science.

As I said before the social attacks go both ways. The problem is not innately religious doctrine or scientific discovery. The problem is the attitudes portrayed and actions taken by the extreme sides of each group.

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Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #42 on: December 07, 2010, 08:56:26 AM »
I think my main thought can be summed up with one sentance: Where is the proof?

Attempting to produce verifiable proof for the deity of your choice might prove even trickier.

Offline Noelle

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #43 on: December 07, 2010, 09:35:36 AM »
If I can just get this out of the way, cutting a well-documented act in nature with a ridiculous amount of evidence supporting it with something so simplified as "but it's just a theory," tells me that there is a basic lack of understanding of what a theory is (amongst other terms, such as 'fact' and 'law') and the process something goes through to be worthy of consideration. As I mentioned in a previous post, "theory" is not the same throw-about term in science as it is in common parlance. There's even been a thread made and stickied in Elliquiy U that discusses this.

That line of argument doesn't work.

Offline Jude

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #44 on: December 07, 2010, 12:33:03 PM »
I think my main thought can be summed up with one sentance: Where is the proof?

I learned the basics about evolution both in my high school and college level biology classes and the theory has never made full sense to me. I still think the theory is possible but something about it makes me doubt that the theory is totally right. Back then I asked the same kinds of questions I have here and I was basicly told that I either had to take it on faith or to shut up. The cynic in me often says that its sciences "God did it!" answer and frankly Im tired of accepting that answer.
If you'd like to list your specific concerns I can address them one by one.
Are you joking? No really, are you? I ask because that sounds crazy. We talk about evolution being the key of how life was created and now were delegating it purely to a species being lucky enough for the Evolution to take place instead of something hard wired in our genes to say when Evolution does or doesnt happen?
I get the feeling you don't really understand evolution, so I will try and explain it to you (granted, though I have studied it fairly thoroughly, I'm sure I won't get it 100% right and someone else will probably correct any mistakes I make).
I will go over the lesson and watch its videos later tonight when I have more time. However this jumps out at me right now

Students will be able to:

Explain that all dogs evolved from wolves;

We have had many discussions around here about how science and teaching science is objective in its observations about data. This class requires that evolution be accepted for a passing grade. That is not objectivity. However just like I did for my biology classes I can think like evolution is a fact even though my observations tell me its missing something
The class is aimed at 5th to 8th graders, so it doesn't really explain evolution to someone who is hostile to the idea as much as it explains to someone who is open minded and ready to receive the idea as the strongly verified scientific theory that it is.  That link is not a link to a thesis on why evolution is right aimed at a hardcore evolution denier.

Anyway, here's my explanation of evolution:

DNA is the genetic blueprint which is used in cellular construction.  Information is encoded in it that determines in what way the cell assembles itself.  DNA contains all of the necessary instructions as to how to put the various cells, tissues, and organs together so that you get a functioning organism.  However, DNA is not an unchanging, constant strand of data.  Because it is a physical object, it is subject to all sorts of manipulations and influences which can change the underlying information that the DNA contains.

Whenever a creature reproduces there is the capability for mutations to occur, but there are other ways in which abnormalities can arise.  Cancer for example, in many instances, occurs when DNA becomes partially corrupted (to think of like data on a computer) so the cells that arise during creation are alien and do not function well with the rest of the organism.  Certain types of radiation can result in DNA mutation (which is simply variation from the organism's original DNA).  Every change in the DNA is basically a mutation that can give rise to different traits.

Oftentimes these mutations do nothing.  Sometimes they result in the manifestation of incredibly negative traits (and the organism that evolves these traits subsequently dies off quickly).  However, rarely, genetic mutations result in the creation of a new trait that gives the organism that is built from it an advantage over its brethren who are operating on the old genetic code.  If the advantage is significant enough it serves as an adaptation, which can result in the organism out-competing other members of its species.  This means that all of its offspring will outperform the offspring of its inter-species competitors, and in time, the prevalence its genetic material will come to be dominant over the old DNA code.  In time, if the adapted trait is useful enough, all surviving members of its species will possess this trait, because of the significant advantage in terms of survivability, and thus mating and transmission of the genetic code brings about species-wide progress:  also known as, Evolution.

This effect is well established in experimental trials even in quite simple organisms, wherein for example certain types of e-coli were able to acclimate themselves to an atypical environment so that they could feed on substances that they did not normally consume.
Here's a very good source that explains in laymen's terms what has been observed in terms of e coli evolution:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._coli_long-term_evolution_experiment
The official site is here:  http://myxo.css.msu.edu/ecoli/

Multiple lines of evidence now support evolution.  From genetics, to fossil evidence that charts the growth and separation of species, to geological bits that help us track how population shifted from locations in order to trace evolution back and forth, the data collected by every scientific discipline agrees that evolution definitely took place.  The so called "missing link" is simply a matter of resolution; we can already trace the path that our ancestors took such that humanity was able to exist, but scientists are constantly trying to find evidence of creatures that help trace it smoother and finer.  Despite popular perception, there is no one missing link, just tiny gaps in the evolutionary record that are constantly being filled by new and emergent research.

Skeptics of evolution call out gaps in the record as evidence of the theory's failure, but when those gaps are filled (as often occurs) they never actually back up and give science credit.  They are motivated ideologically, and fundamentally unscientific in their criticisms.  So instead of admitting fault, they either point to a different gap entirely or simply zoom it in further to find a tinier hole.  Not only is it unrealistic to expect that we will find every separate subspecies that led to the formation of the genetic material that describes human beings, but it's a grand example of the goalpost fallacy.  For all the years it has been attacked, evolution has only gotten stronger as the data pool has continued to grow and grow.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2010, 12:42:26 PM by Jude »

Offline Oniya

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #45 on: December 07, 2010, 12:38:11 PM »
Just as a note, the mere existence of strains such as MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus), and VRE (Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus faecalis) is evidence of evolution in bacteria.  These antibiotics did not exist prior to pharmacology, and by people failing to take antibiotics as directed, the microorganisms that had a randomly higher resistance to them were given the chance to survive and multiply.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #46 on: December 07, 2010, 01:07:17 PM »
Just to tack onto Oniya's point here: the germ theory of infectious disease is "just a theory" but you don't see people running around claiming it is ungodly. Indeed, the Bible (particularly the gospels) tell us that illness is caused by unclean spirits and demons. So why isn't it a tenet of the church that germs can't cause disease and why don't Christians picket medical schools and try to force them to "teach the controversy"?

Further, as I mentioned before, people seem just fine tacitly accepting the theory of evolution when it is presented as part of germ theory (e.g. the need to get new flu shots every year because of the virus evolving, the rise of bacterial resistance which Oniya has just pointed out again, etc.).

Scientific theories are born out by evidence, this is why they are no longer hypotheses. What is it about the theory of evolution that causes it to specifically become such a target? And why is it only when it is singled out (e.g. not part of germ theory, or the domestication of species, etc) that it generates controversy?

I still fail to see the actual conflict that arises between religion and evolution beyond a (to me, seemingly absurd) desire to take creation stories as literal truth. Is there more than that?

Offline mystictiger

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #47 on: December 07, 2010, 01:16:50 PM »
The answer is that yes, it is all about Biblical inerrancy. biblical literalism.

No matter how much or how good the evidence provided is, it still conflicts with the underlying premise - what the bible says is true. What the bible is silent on, however, doesn't really matter.

It's possible to conflate the germ theory with evil spirits - you can synthesise them together into a "the truth of the bible was being expressed to a primitive people" kind of way. You can't synthesise biblical creation with evolution - the two are utterly antithetical.

As far as I can tell yes, it is that absurd.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2010, 01:32:06 PM by mystictiger »

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Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #48 on: December 07, 2010, 01:23:54 PM »
I asked a friend this question once, wanting to understand his view on evolution vs. creationism. He replied, "What is a day to God? To us, it's 24 hours, but who knows, to God a day could equal a million years or even a billion years. So sure, God could have done it all in seven days if a day to God equals a million years in human created time."

One of the best answers I ever heard. Doesn't quite explain evolution, but puts things in a little bit different perspective.
I like this one...
science and religion can go hand in hand I think.
They conflict, but as long as it's healthy debate like I see here. It seems good to me.

Offline Lord Drake

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #49 on: December 07, 2010, 01:44:39 PM »
I usually keep the hell away from the Politics/Religion forums but this one is interesting... and also I cannot avoid thinking about Terry Pratchett's hilarious discworld setting where the Gods actually created the mountains and put into them seashell fossils just because they wanted to prank people.

Anyways.

One thing that I personally have always wondered about is why people thinks that a divinity should give us an actual science book. Ok... it is true that if someone believes in a God, he usually thinks that said God does as He likes.... but still I have this image in mind of the divine being sitting down in front of His people and rather than giving them moral laws, He starts talking about atoms and elements...

I actually agree completely with DarklingAlice, failing to see the conflict between religion and science... I personally think that science has the potential of taking away superstition from religion... but this is just me. I think that the penchant for taking the Bible literally is an heritage of the Middle Ages and of a period in which there were intestine struggles inside the Church (these usually were done upon an interpretation of a part of the scriptures...).

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #50 on: December 07, 2010, 02:41:34 PM »
What interests me about this is that it is not as wholly a Middle Ages phenomenon. Take a look at Ket's post:
I asked a friend this question once, wanting to understand his view on evolution vs. creationism. He replied, "What is a day to God? To us, it's 24 hours, but who knows, to God a day could equal a million years or even a billion years. So sure, God could have done it all in seven days if a day to God equals a million years in human created time."

One of the best answers I ever heard. Doesn't quite explain evolution, but puts things in a little bit different perspective.

This is known as day-age creationism, and it has its roots as far back as St. Augustine (~1600 years ago). For a long while it was a dominant theory in Christianity as it helped explain geological records. When Darwin came along his theory was often folded seamlessly into it (with some notable detractors e.g. William Jennings Bryan). However, in recent years (since ~1900) it has been displaced as the prevailing (or at least most visible) view by biblical literalism which had a prodigious and at times incomprehensible rise through the ranks of Christian thought. (See Numbers' Darwinism Comes to America for sources).

What is perhaps more baffling is the way that biblical literalism remains alive in the church as more of a populist rather than dogmatic movement. Theologians and a number of religious leaders do not necessarily see the conflict between the two, yet their congregations persist. For instance a number of Catholics are dead set against evolution despite writings like this:
Quote
We cannot say: creation or evolution, inasmuch as these two things respond to two different realities. The story of the dust of the earth and the breath of God, which we just heard, does not in fact explain how human persons come to be but rather what they are. It explains their inmost origin and casts light on the project that they are. And, vice versa, the theory of evolution seeks to understand and describe biological developments. But in so doing it cannot explain where the 'project' of human persons comes from, nor their inner origin, nor their particular nature. To that extent we are faced here with two complementary -- rather than mutually exclusive -- realities.
-Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI

Theistic evolution remains alive and well as a theory, but it is often crowded out of the public eye by those who would make conflict (presumably because they make more interesting news). However, the trend towards literalism still rises undaunted against the bulwark of common sense and scientific principle. Yet I cannot identify an apparent source.

There are a lot of stories in the Bible. They are many of them good. There are also accounts in the Bible. The historical validity of accounts can be debated, but stories are stories. Where does the desire come from that they be literally true? Where in the Bible does it tell us that we are supposed to take the creation story as literaly true (and if we are, which of the two should we take?). Where does it say that Job is any more than a morality play? Where does it say that Jonah must have survived in the belly of a 'fish' or else the entire premise of Judaism and Christianity is invalidated? We don't send archaeologists hunting for prodigal sons or looking for houses built on sand and rocks. It seems that it misses the point a little to do so.

But what do I know, I'm just an apostate :P
« Last Edit: December 12, 2010, 08:14:47 PM by DarklingAlice »

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #51 on: December 07, 2010, 08:29:12 PM »
And God created dinosaur skeletons to test the faithful.

I can explain that, previous creation to Genesis 1:1 which states the Earth was without form and void so there was substance there just without form and void. So dinosaurs could be billions of years old and since there are no human fossils its clear humans were not around. God just for some reason started over. This is religious conjecture and not necessary for salvation so one can think about such things.

If there is a problem its simple its there, natural law states an ancient age the Bible account says something else so go with the Bible account I'll ask God about this after I get upstairs to Heaven. Its just not an issue that concerns me.

Offline Serephino

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #52 on: December 07, 2010, 09:37:09 PM »
The peanut butter video has a point...  Unless I've missed something, all current life on Earth came from some sort of reproduction.  No one has been able to randomly create life.  Saying that it just randomly happened, and randomly formed a zillion different kinds of sentiment beings who share similarities and differences is no less ridiculous to me than pure Creationism.  It just happened, and here we are....  Seriously? 

I think God set it all up and let the world do its thing.  It only makes sense that he would make his creations adaptable.  What isn't adaptable doesn't last very long, and what fun would that be?  If he's smart enough to create the world, he's smart enough to think about such things I would imagine.   

I'm not a fan of Biblical literalism either.  It stifles free thinking, and that's never good.  I'm sorry, but it was written by man, and not by God.  These men wrote what they thought.  It's all well and good to listen to what they had to say, but to accept someone else's beliefs as absolute truth?  No thank you...

Offline Jude

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #53 on: December 07, 2010, 10:27:26 PM »
Evolution hooks into theories about abiogenesis when it comes to explaining how life came to be from the best scientific approximation available, but the two are not the same thing.  Evolution simply states that life has evolved to be more and more adept at survival and explains the mechanism of such.  We know human beings came about through evolution because of all of the data we've acquired, but there's not a whole lot of data when you go so far back that you're dealing with single-celled organisms, and it wouldn't even be appropriate to categorize the shift from nonliving to living as evolution.

Abiogenesis is entirely possible however, and it is the only scientific theory as to how life began.  When you make the claim "I don't think that it happened because of god," you're stepping out of the realm of science and fact and into faith.  That's perfectly acceptable as a personal belief discussed in the setting of religious belief, but it has no place in discussion of fact, science, or even likelihood.  It isn't a evidence-based opinion.

EDIT:  Corrected an accidental inaccuracy.
« Last Edit: December 07, 2010, 10:42:12 PM by Jude »

Offline Noelle

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #54 on: December 07, 2010, 10:39:36 PM »
The peanut butter video, frankly, is a highly absurd, non-scientific crackpot joke, which is why I posted it ;P The man featured does not have what appears to be even a basic understanding of evolution and how it works and also makes the mistake of crossing the theory of evolution with the origin of life, two things that are not necessarily related. Primordial soup was not a jar of chemical-laden plant by-product that has been temperature-controlled and generally unexposed to the elements.

In fact, Serephino, it didn't just magically happen one day and suddenly the earth was populated by a rainbow Noah's Ark variety of flora and fauna, the first life-forms were likely single-cell organisms, bacteria and its kin, things that thrive under extreme conditions that then continued to evolve over millions of years. Hell, when you read about NASA's search for extraterrestrial life, they're not exactly expecting fully-developed sentient bipedals to beam down, they typically search for basic cellular life, especially in planets and satellites that contain water in some form.

I can explain that, previous creation to Genesis 1:1 which states the Earth was without form and void so there was substance there just without form and void. So dinosaurs could be billions of years old and since there are no human fossils its clear humans were not around. God just for some reason started over. This is religious conjecture and not necessary for salvation so one can think about such things.

...So doesn't this kind of go back on your own belief that the earth is only 6,000 years old?


(edited to change origin of species to origin of life -- derrrr)
« Last Edit: December 07, 2010, 11:16:58 PM by Noelle »

Online Doomsday

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #55 on: December 08, 2010, 12:24:44 AM »
The peanut butter video has a point...  Unless I've missed something, all current life on Earth came from some sort of reproduction.  No one has been able to randomly create life.  Saying that it just randomly happened, and randomly formed a zillion different kinds of sentiment beings who share similarities and differences is no less ridiculous to me than pure Creationism.  It just happened, and here we are....  Seriously? 

I think God set it all up and let the world do its thing.  It only makes sense that he would make his creations adaptable.  What isn't adaptable doesn't last very long, and what fun would that be?  If he's smart enough to create the world, he's smart enough to think about such things I would imagine.   

I'm not a fan of Biblical literalism either.  It stifles free thinking, and that's never good.  I'm sorry, but it was written by man, and not by God.  These men wrote what they thought.  It's all well and good to listen to what they had to say, but to accept someone else's beliefs as absolute truth?  No thank you...


The peanut butter video is terrible, flawed, biased, etc...

The origin of life doesn't even pertain to evolution. It's Abiogenesis.

The Origin of Life - Abiogenesis - Dr. Jack Szostak
« Last Edit: December 08, 2010, 12:28:39 AM by Doomsday »

Offline Jude

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #56 on: December 08, 2010, 09:00:22 AM »
There are a lot of stories in the Bible. They are many of them good. There are also accounts in the Bible. The historical validity of accounts can be debated, but stories are stories. Where does the desire come from that they be literally true? Where in the Bible does it tell us that we are supposed to take the creation story as literaly true (and if we are, which of the two should we take?). Where does it say that Job is any more than a morality play? Where does it say that Jonah must have survived in the belly of a 'fish' or else the entire premise of Judaism and Christianity is invalidated? We don't send archaeologists hunting for prodigal sons or looking for houses built on sand and rocks. It seems that it misses the point a little to do so.
I suspect that part of it is that Christians don't actually read the bible in large numbers anymore.  As recent surveys attest, they aren't even more knowledgeable on their own dogma than unbelievers are.  Their religious teachings are coming directly from figures of authority, the communities that they trust, and the ideas in their head that they fill in the gaps in their knowledge in with.

Lets face it, the bible is a very confusing book.  Several translations later, it still contains archaic language, strange word usage, grammatical confusion, and references to cultures that are thousands of years old.  Theologians analyze all of this and come to the table with a greater wealth of understanding.  In looking at the text with educated eyes, it becomes obvious that the bible is not a literalist account due to the style of its portrayal.  They see the nuance and, despite the faith they usually possess, do not delude themselves into washing away the layers of complexity in favor of a more simplistic understanding.

There are of course varying degrees of understanding and literalism.  Young Earth Creationists are on the far end of the spectrum as they seem to believe every single word of the bible (even then the ones they haven't read) is the divine, inspired truth according to the Almighty God.  There's no reaching these people:  they believe words committed to writing by anonymous figures thousands of years ago over active investigations into the nature of the earth and the universe which are replicable, reputable, and numerous.  Thankfully, they do not seem to be the norm in the greater whole of society.

Getting your science from your bible is incredibly backward, just as getting your theology from your science is an abuse of the intent and purpose of science.  There will always be margins that science cannot touch for god to dwell in, because the more that we discover through empiricism, the more questions that arise.  Even if we manage to experimentally verify and understand theories on abiogenesis (which has not yet happened), there will still be questions about the origin of the matter that became life and the universe as a whole.  The ad hoc hypothesis of the soul adds an additional degree of complexity that science will probably never be able to touch -- the idea of dividing reality between the physical and metaphysical is as unprovably absurd from an empirical viewpoint as it is completely immune to scrutiny.

What it all comes down to is that the religious feel threatened because science has succeeded in creating models that explain reality without the need for god.  They assume that this constitutes an attack on god:  it's not.  Science endeavors to understand the universe using observable, independently verifiable, concrete evidence.  That is not the realm of god; of course science's theories will never incorporate a deity.

What this says about the existence of god is not a scientific question, but a religious one.  In that way, this is a conflict of atheism vs. theism, dragging science into the fight does no good.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2010, 09:03:27 AM by Jude »

Offline PeachieTopic starter

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #57 on: December 08, 2010, 12:08:59 PM »
Quote
In fact, Serephino, it didn't just magically happen one day and suddenly the earth was populated by a rainbow Noah's Ark variety of flora and fauna, the first life-forms were likely single-cell organisms, bacteria and its kin, things that thrive under extreme conditions that then continued to evolve over millions of years. Hell, when you read about NASA's search for extraterrestrial life, they're not exactly expecting fully-developed sentient bipedals to beam down, they typically search for basic cellular life, especially in planets and satellites that contain water in some form.

Actually, it was even more basic than that. Probably something as simple as an amino acid. They have done an experiment to recreate how life could have formed in a harsh environment similar to Earth's way back in the day. But I would have to research it a bit more to remember all the hard-core facts.

But I like how we have been separating evolution from the creation of life, because, like it was said before me, they are two completely different things.

What I have a hard time doing is explaining to my friends who are vehemently Christians, that evolution is a scientific theory, and that even though I understand that and believe in it, I still believe in God. It is so hard to listen to them lecture me on how 'we didn't come from a monkey' when they have done no research on the topic at all! It's so frustrating, and I don't know how to deal with people like that without getting in a heated argument.

Offline Noelle

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #58 on: December 08, 2010, 02:05:21 PM »
Thanks for the minor add-in about amino acids; admittedly, my own knowledge of evolution isn't detailed. Enough to know generally how it all works, that fully sentient bipedals are not an instantaneous by-product of evolution, and that peanut butter doesn't disprove anything :P
« Last Edit: December 08, 2010, 02:06:46 PM by Noelle »

Offline mystictiger

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #59 on: December 08, 2010, 03:11:47 PM »
Thanks for the minor add-in about amino acids; admittedly, my own knowledge of evolution isn't detailed. Enough to know generally how it all works, that fully sentient bipedals are not an instantaneous by-product of evolution, and that peanut butter doesn't disprove anything :P

Well, peanut butter did disprove that we arose spontaneously from peanut butter.

That would certainly make explaining unexpected pregnancies much easier...

"John - it was terrible! I was just sitting down to make a peanut butter sandwhich during an electrical storm, and that's where little Timmy came from! The fact that he looks like the milkman is entirely coincidental"

Offline Oniya

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #60 on: December 08, 2010, 03:17:05 PM »
Well, peanut butter did disprove that we arose spontaneously from peanut butter.

That would certainly make explaining unexpected pregnancies much easier...

"John - it was terrible! I was just sitting down to make a peanut butter sandwhich during an electrical storm, and that's where little Timmy came from! The fact that he looks like the milkman is entirely coincidental"

Dammit, I was hoping that could explain the cravings.  Any word on the pickle theory?

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #61 on: December 08, 2010, 03:21:10 PM »
When you can imagine a being that can think in the contexts of time or space (or neither actually) and not both then you know what God is and then the idea of the Big Bang Theory, Evolution, and Creationism they all make sense together. :)

Offline Acinonyx

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #62 on: December 08, 2010, 03:47:34 PM »
I love you explanation Jude, but just to be a smart-ass, I'd change/clarify two or three things.

1. Evolution is not (only) about survival, but (a lot) about reproduction. The successful ones are the ones who have successful offspring, not necessarily the ones that live the longest. But of course being good at surviving helps a lot with producing many offspring that'll also have many offspring and so on.

2. And it's about reproductive success in a specific environment, not in general. And since environments are subject to changes, sometimes sudden ones, and are vastly different, depending on where you are, this is an important matter.

3. DNA mutations occur all the time, regardless of radiation and other influences. Even though the DNA copying process is very good and even actually proofreads, mutations are natural occurrences. This helps producing a variety of DNA codes upon which evolution can act. I just thought this was an important emphasis to mention.

And just something I'd like to throw out there: What do you think happens when there is something - anything - among variety of chemicals that begins replicating itself by using the chemicals around it (maybe a chemical compound of some sort itself)? What if there's nothing there to stop it from replicating as it pleases, even if its doing a slightly bad job at making exact copies? What if some of these copies are faster, better or more flexible, when the resources for the replication or the space become limited? What if the copies don't hold forever and end up becoming new fodder for the other copies to copy themselves? What if the cycle of imperfect, non-lasting copies and competition goes on and on?

In other words, if there's just one simple, boring, imperfect and completely unspectacular replicator, how could evolution not just happen? I mean that thing doesn't even have to be good at what it is doing. Stopping evolution seems to be a much more difficult thing to accomplish.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2010, 03:52:25 PM by Acinonyx »

Offline Jude

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #63 on: December 08, 2010, 04:55:43 PM »
Thanks for fixing my points of inaccuracy, all of your corrections seem very sound.

Offline mystictiger

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #64 on: December 08, 2010, 05:23:13 PM »
The 'imperfection' of the genetic material always gives me pause for thought. The beauty and wonder of everything that is alive (and going down further to pseudo-living things like transposons) is due to how crap our hardware is. Think of how boring things would be if there were no errors, and the only mutagens were due to external sources.

Wow.

I am pleased to be imperfect.

Now, I just wish that other people would recognise how great my imperfections are ;)

Offline Inkidu

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Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #65 on: December 08, 2010, 06:07:10 PM »
The 'imperfection' of the genetic material always gives me pause for thought. The beauty and wonder of everything that is alive (and going down further to pseudo-living things like transposons) is due to how crap our hardware is. Think of how boring things would be if there were no errors, and the only mutagens were due to external sources.

Wow.

I am pleased to be imperfect.

Now, I just wish that other people would recognise how great my imperfections are ;)
I like to look at it this way. The human is the world's (because I can't say universe's... yet) most sophisticated biological computer. We're running so many programs that there can't help but be little ghosts in the machine. :)

Offline PeachieTopic starter

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #66 on: December 08, 2010, 07:28:28 PM »
Quote
3. DNA mutations occur all the time, regardless of radiation and other influences. Even though the DNA copying process is very good and even actually proofreads, mutations are natural occurrences. This helps producing a variety of DNA codes upon which evolution can act. I just thought this was an important emphasis to mention.

Well said! And also, our genes everyday encode many splice variants for different proteins, making each and every person unique. It really is so cool to think about how our bodies work and how they have evolved that way!

Offline Scott

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #67 on: December 09, 2010, 02:48:59 AM »
Maybe were just God's playdough, and when he finally got us into the shape he wanted he put the first two in the the garden of Eden. Then Eve screwed up, and now I have to go to work in the morning when I should be frolicking around naked eating fruit and berries?

Thanks a bunch Eve. 

Offline Muninn

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #68 on: December 09, 2010, 06:07:30 AM »
Maybe were just God's playdough, and when he finally got us into the shape he wanted he put the first two in the the garden of Eden. Then Eve screwed up, and now I have to go to work in the morning when I should be frolicking around naked eating fruit and berries?

Thanks a bunch Eve.

This reminded me of a film I love and I'm just gonna take a moment of off-topicness and post this quote in reply:

Quote
What kind of god creates Adam in his image and then pulls Eve out of him to keep him company? 
And then tells them not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge?
 He was so micromanaging.
So was Adam.
But Eve...
Eve just wanted to know shit.
-Hedwig and the Angry Inch


But back on topic!

I am not the greatest source of knowledge when it comes to evolution but I remember in my classes and in readings that we can see evolution at work in simple things like pest control.  Companies have to keep changing the formulas of their poisons because pests they affect are adapting to whatever killed them before (or, rather, their offspring are). I look to my brother as an example, his apartment complex is currently infested with roaches (not his fault) and he has had his place fumigated twice and directly after the fumigation the roaches were still running around and unaffected.  I think it's about time that company changed things up (If someone would prefer some links and sources I'll gladly hunt them down when I have more time).

Offline Zakharra

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #69 on: December 09, 2010, 08:27:10 AM »
Maybe were just God's playdough, and when he finally got us into the shape he wanted he put the first two in the the garden of Eden. Then Eve screwed up, and now I have to go to work in the morning when I should be frolicking around naked eating fruit and berries?

Thanks a bunch Eve.

 The man was still stupid enough to take a bite out of the apple.

 /shrug

Offline Acinonyx

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #70 on: December 09, 2010, 08:27:57 AM »
The peanut butter video is terrible, flawed, biased, etc...

I love the peanut butter video for three reasons.

1. It's not about evolution, it's about abiogenesis.
2. Peanut butter =/= Primordial Soup
3. If you let it stand long enough, stuff actually will grow in there - probably Clostrdium botulinum which wouldn't prove abiogensis, but certainly disprove this experiment.
(I'd like to dare this guy to eat from an old jar of peanut butter, but then, he'll be too dead to realize that he was wrong).



Quote
Saying that it just randomly happened, and randomly formed a zillion different kinds of sentiment beings who share similarities and differences is no less ridiculous to me than pure Creationism.

On a zillon planets in a billion years, the origin of life (merely an inefficient replicon!) has to happen exactly once. Where's the problem?
It doesn't even need to randomly form sentiment beings because then evolution comes into play which is likely, given enough time, to do exactly that.
« Last Edit: December 09, 2010, 08:31:08 AM by Acinonyx »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #71 on: December 10, 2010, 01:52:59 AM »
 I have always had a problem with the use of “random” as an explanation for the origin of anything.  That seems to be side stepping the question of how with something that is illogical and does not fit into the world as seen now.  To say this amount of heat, this amount of carbon, this amount of this or that and randomly something was crafted seems absurd.  From there the designer argument seems a bit more logical to my mind.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #72 on: December 10, 2010, 03:18:27 AM »
The random argument is a Creationist, one, Pumpkin. Of course it's a poor argument - it's a strawman, and is no longer even very accurate as mechanisms for homochirality are now being uncovered. It is simply attacking scientists who are honest enough to say 'I don't know, let's find out!' for their own honesty. Evidence now suggests that some chiralities (depending on the type of molecule) are more prone to decay, and that once an imbalance begins, it reinforces itself.

Acinonyx's point is that it's quite irrelevant given the scope of the Universe is, quite possibly, infinite.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #73 on: December 10, 2010, 03:39:59 AM »
I do not often hear Creationists use the random statement to describe the process.  More often than not I hear people who do not believe in God stating that randomness, chance and luck were involved in what is here today.  Our planet being at its location to support the life here, the conditions being just the way they are a result of chance.  Luck of the draw and repetition leading to an eventual conclusion of “something had to happen.”  Perhaps Creationists are picking at a bad theory or bad wording, but that is the first time I have heard the random argument attributed to them.

Offline Vekseid

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #74 on: December 10, 2010, 04:40:24 AM »
I do not often hear Creationists use the random statement to describe the process.  More often than not I hear people who do not believe in God stating that randomness, chance and luck were involved in what is here today.  Our planet being at its location to support the life here, the conditions being just the way they are a result of chance.  Luck of the draw and repetition leading to an eventual conclusion of “something had to happen.”  Perhaps Creationists are picking at a bad theory or bad wording, but that is the first time I have heard the random argument attributed to them.

I thought you were referring to the chirality argument, which is where the 10^50 or other such ridiculous numbers comes from.

You're making a rather confused statement about the idea of random, there.

You filter the available data for stars that can support a habitable zone for an extended period. Bound them for metallicity and a suitable galactic environment.

Alright, that's still billions of stars in our galaxy alone. And there are trillions of galaxies in the observable Universe, and the observable Universe may be an insignificant fraction of what actually exists. That we are on one such of these trillions upon trillions of suitable stars is 'random', but it's silly to wonder why we didn't evolve around some other star when that is not possible.

We don't know how common circularized planetary systems are, particularly with a friendly jupiter. We have found other such systems, however - even if they're not suited for Earthlike life, they do exist in quantity. Again, it's 'random', but it shouldn't surprise us that we are where we are since otherwise we wouldn't be around to observe it. It's like wondering why your egg wasn't fertilized with a different sperm.

Those questions can really only be answered as more data on extrasolar terrestrial worlds becomes available, however. If it turns out that Earth is rare that it should only show up in one out of a million Milky Way sized galaxies - well, that still means there are trillions of alien worlds out there.

Offline RubySlippers

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #75 on: December 10, 2010, 06:37:54 AM »
As a Creationist even if you found one or more other advanced species in the Universe, I agree there are likely some, it would not disprove a Creator. The Bible is utterly grey on the subject and its possible there other species might be free of sin and therefore far more advanced in their existance. I do believe there were may have been offspring of Adam and Eve in the the Garden of Eden before the Fall that could be infered from the account.

When Eve was cursed she would feel pain in childbirth how would she know what that was or experience the pain part as a different state unless she had not had at least one child if not more than one?

I just view the very act of Creation a Miracle and since that places it outside of Natural Law it cannot be proven and should not be considered any sort of science in the sense Evolution is rather is an act of faith, to make it a science demeans Creationism and the Natural Science. I do feel we as Creationists can try to use Natural Science and reason to infer things about Ceationism but this is conjecture not a science, more a pasttime among those that study the Bible.

Offline Oniya

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #76 on: December 10, 2010, 06:44:15 AM »
When Eve was cursed she would feel pain in childbirth how would she know what that was or experience the pain part as a different state unless she had not had at least one child if not more than one?

She might have witnessed the fact that Lilith had a different experience.

Offline mystictiger

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #77 on: December 10, 2010, 07:42:20 AM »
One of the things that struck me doing anatomy and biochemistry is how gloriously, wonderfully complex life is. You can fill a wall with the cycles and interactions and pathways needed for but a tiny portion of how a single mitochondrion works, far less how a bacterium goes about its business. We take how 'easy' life is for granted. When elbow-deep in a cadaver, what really struck me is how badly designed we are. To use the watchmaker analogy, your pocket-watch doesn't still have bits of sundial in it.

While I can more or less understand where a YEC view comes from, I find it deeply unappealing. It suggests a capricious and arbitrary God, one that either needs to trick and confuse humans ("Hah! The appendix - that'll really confuse them!") or down-right bastardly (Here you go, child, have hydrocephalus[/url). Yes, before the Fall we were all perfect and great and wonderful. But presumably we still had optic nerves that pointed the wrong way, appendicies, and large piles of garbage in our genomes (by this I mean [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transposon]transposons rather than non-coding DNA).

If God does not need to obey natural laws (Natural Law being something else), why did an all-powerful being choose to paint with so limited a pallet?

This, though, is not to say that you are wrong, stupid, or ill-educated. Rather that we have very different views. You derive spiritual sustinance from yours and I from mine.

Although I am white, British, male, and a lawyer (and therefore my role in history is apparently to enforce my ideas on everyone else via patriarchal hegemony and the gatling gun), I do not think that there is ever a right answer for all people in all places in all times. If you think this way because it is what you have been told, then go and explore the world on your own account and come to your own conclusions. But having said that, if you've come to your views because of your own explorations, then good for you. As a good scientific realist, I am firmly of the view of the cultural embeddedness of knowledge and not at all hung up on mere positivst methodology.

Offline Jude

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #78 on: December 10, 2010, 07:50:33 AM »
Making the same point other people already have in different words:

Appealing to the unlikeliness of human beings developing on earth is not a sound argument against evolution.  Is it unlikely from a cosmic, time-spanning standpoint that human beings came to be in any particular quadrant of the universe?  Yes, but this isn't the only quadrant of the galaxy wherein evolution can possibly occur.  Since it's the result of universal physical laws, evolution could happen anywhere.  When you widen the scope to include the entire universe it's inevitable that life would develop somewhere and trend towards greater success, the fact that it happened here and took the form of human beings is anything but coincidental.

Are the reasons why human beings evolved as they did incredibly complicated?  Yes, but they are not a matter of randomness.  Mutations may occur randomly, but their adoption is a matter of success in the environment.  Essentially that means that life on planet earth has evolved to survive on the varying conditions on planet earth.  That is to say, human beings arose because they were suited for the environment here, not out of some sort of cosmic coincidence.  This is also the same reason why life exists at all on planet earth:  because planet earth is suited for life.

Therefore it's not statistically sound to use the likelihood of finding a planet with life on it in the universe as the probabilistic basis of your judgment of the chance of life on this planet in particular.  When you narrow the odds to earth in particular that's a piece of information which changes the calculation.

Creationist logic when refuting evolution tries to calculate the chance of life occurring earth like this:  (Number of planets in the Galaxy that have life)/(Number of planets in the galaxy).  Unfortunately that's not statistically correct even as an approximation because we know that earth is suitable for the development of life by our very existence, where many planets fundamentally are not capable of supporting life due to a variety of factors.  That additional bit of information biases the calculation and renders it incorrect.  The only way to actually know what the chances of life arising on earth were, would be to calculate what the chances of life arising on a planet that is suitable for life would be -- and that's a number we can't even begin to guess at because science simply hasn't progressed to that point.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2010, 07:54:23 AM by Jude »

Offline Oniya

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #79 on: December 10, 2010, 08:01:08 AM »
While I can more or less understand where a YEC view comes from, I find it deeply unappealing. It suggests a capricious and arbitrary God, one that either needs to trick and confuse humans ("Hah! The appendix - that'll really confuse them!") or down-right bastardly

YEC equals 'young earth creation'?

Offline Jude

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #80 on: December 10, 2010, 09:20:08 AM »
I feel like doing the actual math behind my point above.  Lets say event A is the chance of life evolving on a planet.  We want to know the likelihood of event C occurring, the chance life evolving on planet Earth.  However, we know that planet earth is suitable for life because we live on planet Earth, we'll call this event B.  Using conditional probability the following equation is established:

P(C) = P(A|B) = P(A and B)/P(B)

If a planet is not suitable for life, we know that life will not evolve on that planet.  Therefore knowing a planet is suitable life makes it far more likely that life will evolve on that planet, meaning events A and B are not mutually exclusive, in fact B must occur for A to occur.  Therefore P(A and B) is not equal to P(A)*P(B), and P(A|B) cannot be reduced to P(A) [this is exactly where creationists go wrong in their calculations].  We'll say event D is equal to event A and B, meaning event D occurs when a planet is both suitable for life and life evolves on it.  However, because A is contained within B (every planet that evolves life must be suitable for life, but not every planet that is suitable for life evolves life), D = A.  Substituting this back into the equation we get:

P(C) = P(A)/P(B)

Or in English, the probability of life evolving on Earth is equal to the probability of life evolving on a planet divided by the probability of a planet being suitable for life.

If we guestimate that 1% of the planets in the universe are capable of supporting life (which may be an overestimation given our attempts at finding such planets thus far) and 50% of planets in the universe that can support life do evolve life (which may be an underestimation given that nearly every planet we've found that has the capability for life either has traces of it, possibly once had it, or there is a good chance of it occurring in the future), we get the chances of life occurring planet earth to be equal to 50%/1%, or 50%.  Certainly not the ridiculous number Hunter claimed, even if you use far more conservative guestimations.

In fact, the only way we could end up with a number that is less than a percent is if the chance of life occurring on a planet that is suitable for it is much smaller than the chance of finding such a planet.  That is quite unlikely, in fact I'm willing to bet it's not true.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2010, 09:33:21 AM by Jude »

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #81 on: December 10, 2010, 11:21:10 AM »
I feel like we are conflating biopoesis and evolution again. And perhaps that is inevitable as that is what the Christians and others seem to do when making their arguments against evolution. Yet, it is still important to hold these as two separate phenomenon.

-Biopoesis or Abiogenesis is the point at which life arises from not-life.

-Evolution is how we got from there to here.

The exact mechanisms of biopoesis are still a little cloudy and speculative (personally I prefer the RNA World Hypothesis), but evolution is an ironclad theory with a mountain of evidence. It seems likely that this conflation occurs because biopoesis is more conjectural at the moment and seems like an easier target. Thus it is in out best interest to keep the two ideas appropriately separate.

Online Doomsday

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #82 on: December 10, 2010, 09:31:28 PM »
I do not often hear Creationists use the random statement to describe the process.  More often than not I hear people who do not believe in God stating that randomness, chance and luck were involved in what is here today.  Our planet being at its location to support the life here, the conditions being just the way they are a result of chance.  Luck of the draw and repetition leading to an eventual conclusion of “something had to happen.”  Perhaps Creationists are picking at a bad theory or bad wording, but that is the first time I have heard the random argument attributed to them.

The planet is not suitable for us because we are here, we are here because the planet is habitable. Imagine you were an alien in the alpha centauri system. You would probably still be saying "This is all too perfect to be random." But the earth is not perfect, and biologically speaking, we are not perfect.

Offline Acinonyx

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #83 on: December 11, 2010, 12:47:04 AM »
It's very simple: if there's any planet in the universe capable of supporting conscious life, we necessarily have to be on it. If there wasn't such a planet, we'd not be here thinking about it.

It's irrelevant where this planet is and how likely it is to be exactly here. If you throw a bunch of seeds on the floor and then pick out one (lets call it "JIM", you can calculate the likelihood of JIM falling to exactly that spot all you want, but JIM had to fall somewhere. And the reason you're so fascinated with this one seed, JIM, is because you picked it out in the first place. Now we're picking out the earth because we're on it and with our unlimited understanding of space, we attempt to calculate the likelihood of the earth being where it is, thus, supporting life. But that's just silly. The earth might have "fallen" somewhere else in another Big Bang, but as it happened, it fell here. Some planet somewhere had to fall here or to another appropriate place to support life, else we wouldn't be here to discuss it.

If this had happened somewhere else in the universe, a different galaxy and a different planet, we'd probably call the galaxy the Milky Way and the planet earth (and the seed JIM) and the star sun...in whatever language we'd have developed to largely communicate on electronic devices via a global network. The calculation of probabilities is a distraction at best.

However, let's emphasize again that we're conflating other things with evolution. Evolution begins way after that, when life has already arisen. It's tempting to drift into the deliberate mix-ups that creationists stick up with when it comes to evolution, but the first line of response should probably always be the clarification that with talking about abiogenesis and cosmic events, we're leaving the realm of evolution. 

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #84 on: December 11, 2010, 01:31:53 AM »
Well, so far as I am aware the planet did not have to be habitable at all.  To say that a planet, amidst so many uninhabited ones, is habitable through a narrow percentage of chance indicates an interesting occurrence.  The mental exercise of the infinite does not ward off the importance of the singular event that made something different.  That the event or the result do not live up to someone’s notion of perfection is likewise irrelevant. 

The mental exercise is quite simple, but also a bit undeserved.  To state that the question of random versus purposeful creation is trivial due to an infinite number of planets is quite a dismissive rebuttal.  One that does not address the complexity of that question or even brush upon the depths of the answer.  Perhaps this is an example of the point where science and religion cannot reach beyond, the difference between the how and why.  Or maybe the response was meant to be insultingly dismissive of the statement.

As for Creationists plots and confusion, I have none.  I am well aware of evolution and abiogenesis, though I have meet many non-creationists that are not clear on the difference.  The science is unclear so there is confusion and skepticism.  How this translates into Creationists throwing mud into the water I am not sure.  If the specifics of a process are unknown, undefined, untested or unexplained then people insert their own explanations dependent on their beliefs.  This includes professional researchers. 

Offline Acinonyx

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #85 on: December 11, 2010, 12:26:49 PM »
Who said that the infinite number of planets makes that question trivial? At least all was said was that the calculation does not make an argument.

Offline Jude

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #86 on: December 11, 2010, 12:33:29 PM »
Well, so far as I am aware the planet did not have to be habitable at all.
A planet is habitable for life it has certain characteristics.  It has to be in the "goldilocks zone," have an atmosphere, be relatively guarded from certain types of harmful radiation, et cetera.  To say "planets don't have to be habitable" is a really confusing way to put it; based on its characteristics a planet is habitable or not.
To say that a planet, amidst so many uninhabited ones, is habitable through a narrow percentage of chance indicates an interesting occurrence.
It would be interesting but interesting does not imply anything necessarily, plus that's not even true.  Venus was once habitable more than likely before its atmosphere hit the critical greenhouse stage and the planet went into a heat-toxic feedback loop.  It is entirely possible that mars was once habitable.  One of the moons of Jupiter might have bacteria on it.
The mental exercise of the infinite does not ward off the importance of the singular event that made something different.  That the event or the result do not live up to someone’s notion of perfection is likewise irrelevant.
What you're engaging in is called anomaly hunting.  Just because something special occurred doesn't not mean that there's anything mystical behind it.  Are earth-like planets relatively rare?  Yes.  Do we have any reason to believe Earth is unique?  Nope.
The mental exercise is quite simple, but also a bit undeserved.  To state that the question of random versus purposeful creation is trivial due to an infinite number of planets is quite a dismissive rebuttal.
Arguing that because something is rare it was purposely designed that way is baffling logic.  Of course life is predisposed to think that its existence is important, but from a neutral viewpoint, Earth's rarity is counterbalanced by hundreds of thousands of other rare phenomena throughout the universe.  It makes no sense to look at a strange formation of pulsars that we have observed no where else in the galaxy and claim divine creation, so why is life any different?

As far as how the infinite nature of the universe plays into the equation, if the universe is infinite, then we are pretty much guaranteed that life exists elsewhere in the universe, which completely annihilates any entertaining of the idea that Earth is somehow unique.  Given an infinite amount of opportunities, anything will arise multiple times.
One that does not address the complexity of that question or even brush upon the depths of the answer.  Perhaps this is an example of the point where science and religion cannot reach beyond, the difference between the how and why.  Or maybe the response was meant to be insultingly dismissive of the statement.
You're imbuing a why into the question purposely to muddy the waters, is the thing.  Scientific discussion addresses why in terms of "what is the evidence for why this occurred?  As a result of what physical laws could this phenomenon have arisen?"  You ask the question, "isn't this coincidental and seemingly special" with a strong edge of divine implication.  One line of thought is pure speculation based on assuming importance to what is more than likely simple fortune, the other attempts to understand a cause and effect relationship in terms of pre-established ideas.  I'm sure you can ascertain for yourself which line of thought is non-scientific.
As for Creationists plots and confusion, I have none.  I am well aware of evolution and abiogenesis, though I have meet many non-creationists that are not clear on the difference.  The science is unclear so there is confusion and skepticism.  How this translates into Creationists throwing mud into the water I am not sure.  If the specifics of a process are unknown, undefined, untested or unexplained then people insert their own explanations dependent on their beliefs.  This includes professional researchers.
The science of evolution is resolved, whereas abiogenesis is still in a largely speculative, formative phase.  Opponents of evolution who do know the difference between them often continue linking them because they know that conflating an ironclad theory with emerging hypotheticals is a great way to weaken the former.

For theological creationists (which is different than a scientific creationist, a person who tries to assert their religious beliefs into science) should it really matter whether god created the first man or the first single-celled organism, knowing it would eventually evolve into man?  If you can answer "no, it shouldn't matter" to that question, then there's no reason to oppose evolution for religious reasons.  It's as simple as that.

EDIT:  I'd like to add that atheists are just as guilty as theists are in terms of misusing and incorrectly understanding evolution.  I can't tell you how many atheists I've met who believe that evolution directly implies atheism is the only reasonable theistic stance.  This definitely doesn't help the Christian perception of evolution.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2010, 12:42:51 PM by Jude »

Offline mystictiger

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #87 on: December 12, 2010, 11:12:16 AM »
This thread needs more explanatory dance and musical interludes.

Offline dominomask

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #88 on: December 12, 2010, 10:06:21 PM »
You cannot assert that someone else is wrong absolutely, merely within your own paradigm / frame of reference. You and RubySlippers just have a very different idea of what 'proof', 'truth' or 'fact' are. She's described her own epistemology and ontology - that what is written in a series of books is more 'true' than that which we can deduce or induce from observable reality.

The problem here isn't one of rightness or wrongness, but rather of utterly incomensurate paradigms of knowledge. Arguing about such things is fruitless - you might as well try and convince them that their favourite colour isn't what they say it is. Their position will be just as inaccessible to logical critique.

On the one hand, I entirely agree with the spirit of what you are saying.  Generally speaking, some points of view are just irreconcilable, and there's not a lot of point to trying to sit them down with each other.  And with the way that this problem multiplies in forums that are semi-public and mostly-anonymous, well...my ten-foot-pole bursts into flames whenever I try to poke at it.

And still.

Either a person believes in objective reality or not.  Most people who would claim that they do not actually *do*, there are just fewer things that they take as given.  Generally speaking, if you attend to all the basic inconveniences of daily life instead of ascending to your denominational nirvana, you at least pay some lip-service to the notion of an actual, mutual, and predictable reality.  Even knowing that I am wasting my keystrokes, I have to defend that idea.

Whether or not you believe in as-objective a predominant reality as the next guy, and whether or not you believe that that reality is governed by its own impersonal laws or those of a ruling consciousness, it is indisputably possible to find points of mutually undeniable events, and from those to form some consensus on the patterns of behavior of materials that exist outside our own heads. The bible even supports this process.  It describes the defeat of the cultists of Baal wherein the followers of Yahweh actually challenged them to a religious throw-down to see whose deity could actually light a fire if prayed to.  Yahweh answered, Baal did not, and the first "Boo-yah" was heard throughout the land, followed by what I imagine was one bitchin' weenie roast.

That's the thing about reality.  It can be tested, and even the old testament expects it to be believed.  It may take us a while to find the right vantage point or adequate sensitivity of instruments, but it can be seen.

And the thing is, all the branches of science agree on evolution, and not because of some closed-door meeting.  Independently and collaboratively, evolution over millions of years is the strongest, simplest, and most harmonious explanation for hundreds of thousands of observable phenomena. 

A couple things to understand about science...it is not a single discipline.  It is a formal strategy employed across many many areas of inquiry.  If evolution were not astonishingly, even miraculously solid, those independent areas of inquiry would disagree jarringly. 

Take, for a simple example, the shape of the earth.  Every form of observation at our disposal, from actual travel to astronomical observation to views from orbit, agree that the earth is essentially round.  Yes, it's bumpy and slightly ovoid, but there is no form of observation save the emotional certitude of a fringe of devout anti-scientists who would seriously claim that it is flat.  If the earth were not round, the astronauts would disagree with the astronomers or the travelers.  They might view a round disk from just the wrong vantage point, but travelers who had thrown camcorders on bungee cords over the edge would be compelled to disagree and be able to offer evidence, and the astronauts would then be able to go back and try looking from a different angle.  That is how science, as a process, works.  It is fueled by *real* skepticism, the sort that hungers to know and have demonstrable knowledge.  Thomas the doubter was not condemned for wanting proof. 

The fossil record, geology, radiation decay, biology, micro biology, chemistry, genetics, anatomy, embryology, and modern experimentation and observation concretely and unanimously support evolution.  It is simply how our reality behaves.

I do think, as humans, that we are invested with certain emotional qualities that have meaning, but it is a mistake to fervently apply that meaning to the objective world.  You lose your audience even before you lose your argument.  Believe me, I *want* there to be a plan, and a loving creator, and a meaning, and a lesson for every suffering, the same way I want there to be a way for us to agree and for this argument not to hurt people.  But if he's there, he's not in the pyre-lighting business anymore, not interested in solving disputes...or if he is, he's working entirely through science to get the pyres lit. 


Offline Acinonyx

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #89 on: December 13, 2010, 02:22:12 AM »
Quote
EDIT:  I'd like to add that atheists are just as guilty as theists are in terms of misusing and incorrectly understanding evolution.  I can't tell you how many atheists I've met who believe that evolution directly implies atheism is the only reasonable theistic stance.  This definitely doesn't help the Christian perception of evolution.

I spend a lot of time on atheist communities and all I usually hear is that they claim that evolution is more reconcilable with atheism than it is with religion and that for them having understood this mechanism removed the last need for God they had (see author Douglas Adams, for example). Many of them seem to actually find it very important to point out that accepting evolution does not lead right to atheism and clarify that the "God guided evolution" thing might be a possible stance, but they do not agree with it and that it is not a scientific stance. They also tend to disagree with organizations that cater to those religious speakers whose view is definitely not reconcilable with evolution (such as the NCSE), while acknowledging and respecting their work in favor of good science standards. However, the usually make a distinction between that and the claim that evolution leads directly to atheism.

Or in short, there may be some atheists out there on blog-comments, in chat-rooms and on forums who haven't grasped that yet, but most atheists - especially the more famous ones -, if understood correctly, do actually not imply that evolution directly leads to atheism.

Anyway, back on topic:

I think dominomask makes a good point pointing out that it's not just one discipline that confirms evolution (again and again), but a whole multitude of them... which is how it should be because it's a very global theory that could be refuted by any of these disciplines. Maybe it's also important to point out that scientists tend to not have an agenda - it would not matter if evolution crumbled in favor of another, more successful theory that makes a better explanation of the evidence and refutes Darwin's idea. Well, it would matter, as it would be a very big thing, but much like gravity vs. relativity, this would be accepted (maybe with some struggle, because it's hard to move such a mountain of evidence to a new location) and open new areas of investigation. And like relativity didn't kill Newton's reputation, neither will a new mechanism to replace evolution kill Darwin's. There's nothing to lose from a new global theory of where species come from, only new exciting areas of research opening up and a change of direction, new calculations and interpretations - a lot of work to be done, a lot of new enthusiasm to apply. However, at the moment, it does not look like that's going to happen - wherever we look, we only find more evidence for evolution, and nothing to refute it. All I am saying is that one should keep in mind that scientists will remain open about evolution, despite the unlikelihood of it ever being refuted. So any of these displines could make a legal objection to evolutionary theory, if only they had the evidence - and whoever would achieve that would have a lot to win from it (at least a Nobel Prize). It's not really conceivable that all these discipliones and the hundreds of thousands of scientists attached to them agree for any other reason than that they're simply congruent with evolution.

Offline mystictiger

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #90 on: December 13, 2010, 09:09:51 AM »
Quote
The fossil record, geology, radiation decay, biology, micro biology, chemistry, genetics, anatomy, embryology, and modern experimentation and observation concretely and unanimously support evolution.  It is simply how our reality behaves.

I agree with this entirely.

But.

We have a shared epistemology that certain types of creationist do not. The above sciences are secondary to what is written and divinely revealed. Or in the alternative, they do not refute the contention that the world was indeed created 6,000 odd-years ago with the appearance that it is in fact far older.

Offline dominomask

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #91 on: December 13, 2010, 11:23:46 AM »
I agree with this entirely.

But.

We have a shared epistemology that certain types of creationist do not. The above sciences are secondary to what is written and divinely revealed. Or in the alternative, they do not refute the contention that the world was indeed created 6,000 odd-years ago with the appearance that it is in fact far older.

I hear what you're saying...I'm talking more about the process of trying to talk to individuals rather than reconcile an abstract viewpoint.  Those times I've made any progress in getting a creationist to understand where I'm coming from and to concede that there are places that we can agree, these are the basic ideas I've tried to get across...with respect, obviously.:)

But yeah, on a purely theoretical level, there's no reconciling "The Bible is absolute truth" with "Scientific observation is absolute truth".  I'm not arguing that those two things aren't mutually exclusive.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #92 on: December 13, 2010, 01:23:01 PM »
But yeah, on a purely theoretical level, there's no reconciling "The Bible is absolute truth" with "Scientific observation is absolute truth".  I'm not arguing that those two things aren't mutually exclusive.

One quick interjection: the problem is rather reconciling the Bible as literal truth with science. It is still possible to regard the text as absolute truth (in the sense of being complete, perfect, and ultimate) without interpreted the whole of it literally. The trend towards literalism is a recent, dogmatic development, rather than anything inherent in the text.

Offline Salamander

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Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #93 on: December 13, 2010, 03:07:30 PM »
One quick interjection: the problem is rather reconciling the Bible as literal truth with science. It is still possible to regard the text as absolute truth (in the sense of being complete, perfect, and ultimate) without interpreted the whole of it literally. The trend towards literalism is a recent, dogmatic development, rather than anything inherent in the text.

I can't really agree with you on that one, Alice. The problem being this:

The traditional (pre-scientific revolution) way of interpreting the Bible was, as I understand it, Hermeneutics. In hermeneutical interpretation, the aim was to recover the original or intended meaning of the text, which may be literal, or equally may be metaphorical. Factors that might be considered included the terminology of other relevant Bible passages, the social position and temporal location of the writer, the apparent purpose of the text, and so on.

But along comes the scientific revolution, and with it an entirely different form of knowledge. The question becomes: how can this new knowledge be squared with the Bible? One reaction was to simply say that the Bible represented a body of knowledge similar to scientific truth- i.e. unambiguous, factual and literal- this path leads to fundamentalist literalism. The second alternative is to say that where there is apparent conflict, then the Bible must be read metaphorically.

But this is completely different from Hermeneutics. Instead of trying to recover the original meaning, what's happening is that the Bible is being fact-checked against another exterior body of knowledge, which is more-or-less explicitly conceded as being superior. After all, it's the Bible that gets fact-checked against Science, and not the other way around. So in what sense can the truth of the Bible be called absolute? Surely, its become contingent truth.

Offline Jude

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #94 on: December 13, 2010, 03:47:24 PM »
I'm not sure metaphorical or non-literal truth even exist.  A metaphor is by its very definition symbol of something else.  The underlying message that the metaphor symbolizes is what is true or untrue, not the metaphor.  And if a passage is not intended to be taken literally, then it is a metaphor.  The problem is that interpreting metaphors is an inexact process.  Metaphors are completely relative to the person analyzing them, which is the opposite of absolutism.  It's largely a question of what the observer takes from the metaphor, not really what the metaphor says, because it can be made to say anything.

The truth that science attempts to ascertain (e.g. absolute truth -- this is largely a matter of nomenclature and demarcation so arguing if relative truth is an oxymoron or not is hardly useful) is not relative to the observer; truth describes trends and facts that are ever present.  You may give the example of relativity, superposition, and Schrodinger's cat as a counter to that, but the very fact that those probabilistic inexact principles are known means truth has prevailed because the trend is known even if the exact position or state is not.  You cannot take scientific truth and make it say whatever you wish without applying incorrect logical principles.

Hermeneutics was an attempt at boiling down the metaphorical account of the bible to the "truth" that those metaphors were intended to represent by way of context, linguistic, and historical clues.  In that way I don't think it's radically different from the concept of non-literalism that most Christians employ today (if at all), but then it again it's not much different from literalism either.  In both cases you assume that there is some fundamental nugget of truth in all of the bible, just that the bible takes you on a journey to get there as opposed to directly telling you.

Fundamentalists don't like the idea that the bible has to synthesized into something coherent before it can be applied because that synthesis weakens the dogma and the overall force of the religion by decentralizing its tenets into various interpretations of them.  I also think Salamander hit on something in his reply:  since the advent of the scientific method mankind has been successful in accumulating evidence and analyzing trends to the point that we've been able to make absolute statements about reality that pass the test of comparison with reality remarkably well.

I think the religious resent that; they want their faith to have the same property and be held with equal esteem as reason.  Just take a quick look at popular culture and you'll see a variety of examples that make a virtue of faith and a vice of evidence-based, non-magical thinking.  Belief, whether it's well-founded or not, has been elevated in our culture for some reason.  Nearly every science vs. religion post on this forum even has taught me something:  the religious, on the whole, absolutely want science denigrated to the point that its conclusions are treated with just as much esteem as religious ideas.  They constantly attempt to equate the two.

As has been said before, there are many things science cannot do.  Science explains the way the world works, not why it works that way.  I don't think it's constructive to ask whether science or religion offer more to humanity, I don't care what the answer is and I don't see why anyone should, but I think it's absolutely valid to ask which is better for certain applications.  Just as I wouldn't use science to ask why it's wrong to steal (I would defer to philosophical or religious concepts), it makes no sense to trust practical knowledge granted by thousand year old religious texts over scientific theories.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2010, 03:55:44 PM by Jude »

Offline Salamander

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Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #95 on: December 13, 2010, 04:45:43 PM »
As has been said before, there are many things science cannot do.  Science explains the way the world works, not why it works that way.  I don't think it's constructive to ask whether science or religion offer more to humanity, I don't care what the answer is and I don't see why anyone should, but I think it's absolutely valid to ask which is better for certain applications.  Just as I wouldn't use science to ask why it's wrong to steal (I would defer to philosophical or religious concepts), it makes no sense to trust practical knowledge granted by thousand year old religious texts over scientific theories.

Does it make any more sense to use a thousand-year-old religious text for ethical guidance?

I would say not.

The scientific revolution was paralleled by the dissociation of theology from philosophy. The study of ethics now takes place outside of the sphere of religious discourse, and has done so since at least Mill. Religious morality boils down to what's called Divine Command Theory, or some variation of it- "Bad things are bad because God says so." Quite apart from this being a crude and superstitious approach to morality, it offers no hope of giving anyone guidance at all. God does some quite horrific things in the Bible, and if God does them, then aren't they okay?

As for the "why?" question, as in "Why does the Universe Exist?", that's usually a matter of someone ascribing teleology to the exterior natural world. Which is very straightforwardly a category error- teleology is a subjective human property. People have purposes, human institutions have purposes, possibly some other animals have purposes too (it's arguable). But mountains, stars and galaxies do not have teleology, and saying that they do is an exercise in anthropomorphism- the projection of human qualituies upon the inanimate world.

Offline Jude

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #96 on: December 13, 2010, 04:54:12 PM »
Does it make any more sense to use a thousand-year-old religious text for ethical guidance?

I would say not.
As a non-religious person, of course it doesn't make sense.
The scientific revolution was paralleled by the dissociation of theology from philosophy. The study of ethics now takes place outside of the sphere of religious discourse, and has done so since at least Mill. Religious morality boils down to what's called Divine Command Theory, or some variation of it- "Bad things are bad because God says so." Quite apart from this being a crude and superstitious approach to morality, it offers no hope of giving anyone guidance at all. God does some quite horrific things in the Bible, and if God does them, then aren't they okay?
I agree that you can talk about ethics separate from religion.  I even think it would be better for the human race to do so.  However, I don't think "divine command" really sums up how any modern religious thinker conceptualizes morality.  It isn't "god says its bad so it is," that's a very primitive way of viewing religious ethics, it's more like "god knows better than humans, god knows this is bad, therefore I trust the knowledge god has imparted on me."
As for the "why?" question, as in "Why does the Universe Exist?", that's usually a matter of someone ascribing teleology to the exterior natural world. Which is very straightforwardly a category error- teleology is a subjective human property. People have purposes, human institutions have purposes, possibly some other animals have purposes too (it's arguable). But mountains, stars and galaxies do not have teleology, and saying that they do is an exercise in anthropomorphism- the projection of human qualituies upon the inanimate world.
I think there's a very good chance that you're right, but we both know that if I ask "why" enough, we'll eventually end up at a point where you're using subjective or inductive logic to back up your statements, thus they are not really ironclad facts:  they're just your personal philosophy that many would call a religious atheistic theory.  I think your perspective has a better chance of representing objective reality however.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2010, 04:55:28 PM by Jude »

Offline Salamander

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Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #97 on: December 13, 2010, 05:13:54 PM »
I agree that you can talk about ethics separate from religion.  I even think it would be better for the human race to do so.  However, I don't think "divine command" really sums up how any modern religious thinker conceptualizes morality.  It isn't "god says its bad so it is," that's a very primitive way of viewing religious ethics, it's more like "god knows better than humans, god knows this is bad, therefore I trust the knowledge god has imparted on me."

Hmmm...sorry but I can't see that's there's much of a difference between those two statements. Maybe it's just me... ::)

Quote
I think there's a very good chance that you're right, but we both know that if I ask "why" enough, we'll eventually end up at a point where you're using subjective or inductive logic to back up your statements, thus they are not really ironclad facts:  they're just your personal philosophy that many would call a religious atheistic theory.  I think your perspective has a better chance of representing objective reality however.

Yes. Obviously I was putting down my own philosophical position. Basically, I agree with the analysis of Levi-Strauss (see especially The Savage Mind), which is that religious thinking consists of projecting human attributes and institutions onto the natural world as a way of explaining it. Magical thinking is doing the opposite- projecting natural-world categories on to humans. So for example:

Religious: God the Father = Projection of the human institution of the family on to the cosmos.

Magical: We are the Bear clan, they are the Eagle clan = Explaining the differences between human groups in terms of the differences between animals.

Offline Jude

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #98 on: December 13, 2010, 05:56:45 PM »
Interesting dichotomy, but I don't think it's entirely accurate.  There are a lot of religions that incorporate magical elements if you use that definition.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2010, 05:59:02 PM by Jude »

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Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #99 on: December 13, 2010, 06:15:40 PM »
Interesting dichotomy, but I don't think it's entirely accurate.  There are a lot of religions that incorporate magical elements if you use that definition.

Absolutely, and Levi-Strauss would be the first to agree with that. The labels apply to ways of thinking rather than historical-cultural institutions. However, the names on the labels aren't arbitrary or coincidental. Religions mainly use religious thinking, with some magical elements. Magical practices (e.g. totemism) uses mainly magical thinking, with some religious elements. The urge to project human purposes on to the natural world is a clear example of religious thinking, and is found in all of the religions that I know anything about.

Offline Jude

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #100 on: December 13, 2010, 06:19:44 PM »
Don't you think that has more to do with western bias?  I think western religions or those that originated from them (typically the monotheistic big three) are the most guilty of human to nature projection, but when you step away from that you start to see other religious mindsets that are the exact opposite.  For example, I think anything new age is nature to human.

EDIT:  I also have to wonder if there are aspects of religions that cannot be classified in either category.  It seems like you're implying that religion stems from humanity's inability to cope with the fact that we are different from nature, and thus needing to bridge that gap somehow.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2010, 06:35:56 PM by Jude »

Offline mystictiger

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #101 on: December 13, 2010, 06:35:46 PM »
To try and drag this topic back on topic, I don't think Evolution offers much in the way of good ethical guidance either. Roll on the eugenics programme! It's for the good of the species...

Damn. If only I had blonde hair and blue eyes.

Offline Jude

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #102 on: December 13, 2010, 06:37:38 PM »
To try and drag this topic back on topic, I don't think Evolution offers much in the way of good ethical guidance either. Roll on the eugenics programme! It's for the good of the species...

Damn. If only I had blonde hair and blue eyes.
Although I agree evolution doesn't offer ethical insight necessarily, there are scientific problems with practicing eugenics in the way Nazi Germany did.  It simply wouldn't have worked.  A better comparison would be whether or not we should use genetic engineering to evolve our species -- and that's also a harder moral question to answer.

Offline Serephino

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #103 on: December 13, 2010, 10:37:34 PM »
While Creationists and those that take the Bible literally drive me absolutely crazy, why not just let them believe as they will?  I agree that there is much more evidence supporting Evolution, but banging your head against a brick wall hurts...  For all we know, maybe God did put fossils there for us to find for shits and giggles.  Nobody really knows who is right, so why not believe whatever happens to float your boat? 



Offline Noelle

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #104 on: December 13, 2010, 10:59:50 PM »
While Creationists and those that take the Bible literally drive me absolutely crazy, why not just let them believe as they will?

Skepticism within science can be a very, very healthy thing. It can ask the hard questions, demand proof, and hold scientific testing to a more rigorous standard in order to achieve the most accurate results possible. However, ignorance and mistrust of science when it becomes inconvenient is a whole different monster. Take a look at those who still don't believe global warming is a real concern -- they're people in power, people who influence policies and have a chance to shape the future of our country -- and world. Hardcore creationists are dipping their fingers in education, demanding that certain textbooks be labeled with the same pathetic attempt at discrediting science with the "it's just a THEORY" argument that's been discredited time and time again. They're the same people who are demanding that creationism be taught as if it has equal standing in a scientific arena as evolution, or worse, that evolution not be taught at all.

It's one thing if your belief and the way you act on it has no bearing on others -- If you believe the world is a giant ball of poop that the Holy Dung Beetle rolled together and we're the crap bacteria that developed on it and this is an opinion that you don't try to impress on others or impede on the progress of science and/or education with, that's one thing. That's a case where I can agree with you and the sentiment of "live and let live", even if it is kind of weird and gross D:

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I agree that there is much more evidence supporting Evolution, but banging your head against a brick wall hurts...  For all we know, maybe God did put fossils there for us to find for shits and giggles.  Nobody really knows who is right, so why not believe whatever happens to float your boat?

I don't really think you can claim that one has more evidence and then relegate them both to equal "I don't know" status. Sure, maybe there is a god of sorts out there that conceived and set it all in motion one way or another way back when, be it through the big bang or some other phenomenon (this is where we keep talking about crossing wires between abiogenesis (the origin of life) and evolution (the origin of species)), but as far as evolution goes, it has been proven tirelessly that is a real occurrence that has been going on for a very, very long time, the earth is more than 6,000 years old (as proven by the fossil record, etc., blah blah), and none of this has anything to do with the fact that there may or may not be a god. It neither proves nor disproves anything in terms of the base existence of god.

Offline Jude

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #105 on: December 13, 2010, 11:06:32 PM »
It isn't just that there's more evidence supporting evolution.  It's that there's a mountain more.  In fact there's not really any actual evidence out there that explicitly contradicts it.

Offline Serephino

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #106 on: December 13, 2010, 11:36:49 PM »
I definitely agree that no one should force their beliefs on another.  I don't want religion in schools and politics.  But telling someone they are wrong isn't necessary.  You don't know for absolute certain that they are wrong.

Evolution is only a theory.  Sure, there's lots of evidence to support it.  I don't deny that.  All I was saying is that we don't know who is right, so why fight over it?  Personally, I'm going with the theory that one day to God is like a million years to us.  Evolution is a mix of God tinkering with stuff to make things the way he wants it, and his creations being adaptable.  Adaptability makes the most sense.  Things that can't adapt don't tend to last very long, and what fun would it be to create a world that died out as soon as circumstances changed?



Offline Noelle

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #107 on: December 13, 2010, 11:41:57 PM »
Quote
Evolution is only a theory.

Please read back over this thread about this. Please, please, please. I beg you. Marginalization via the "just a theory" statement and why it's not a valid mark against evolution has been covered exhaustively here and elsewhere. :(

Offline Jude

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #108 on: December 14, 2010, 12:00:47 AM »
You're probably right that it's not a good to say "you are wrong" on the basis that it's not entirely true.  But is saying "it is very very likely that you are wrong, essentially it's a statistical certitude," much nicer?

Offline Oniya

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #109 on: December 14, 2010, 12:33:29 AM »
Please read back over this thread about this. Please, please, please. I beg you. Marginalization via the "just a theory" statement and why it's not a valid mark against evolution has been covered exhaustively here and elsewhere. :(

Fact, Theory, Hypothesis, Law

Offline mystictiger

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #110 on: December 14, 2010, 05:21:53 AM »
And really, the amount of evidence for something becomes irrelevent after item 6 or 7. Sure, it helps in defining the rule / theory in the first place, but observations in support of a given rule - unless they modify it - aren't useful. It's the evidence against something that really matters.

Offline PeachieTopic starter

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #111 on: December 14, 2010, 10:10:23 AM »
I really didn't believe this board would turn into proving Evolution. In my mind, it's like gravity. It's there, it's happening, the end.

I was having problems with friends explaining to them my views, without getting extremely heated. But like someone said, I can just let them believe what they want. And like my Genetics teacher told me the other day, feel sorry that they don't understand. : )

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Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #112 on: December 14, 2010, 10:29:00 AM »
I really didn't believe this board would turn into proving Evolution. In my mind, it's like gravity. It's there, it's happening, the end.

Yes- a very good summary.

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I was having problems with friends explaining to them my views, without getting extremely heated. But like someone said, I can just let them believe what they want. And like my Genetics teacher told me the other day, feel sorry that they don't understand. : )

I think that the interesting question, or at least one of the interesting questions, is why some people (like your friends) find Evolution so threatening. I doubt very much that its the case that they can't understand it. Conceptually, evolution by natural selection isn't hard to grasp. Much more likely is that they don't want to understand it. As Noelle (and others) have said, the real problems arise when people who are willfully ignorant of science start to influence public policy, including science education. It then ceases to be a matter of letting them believe what they want and not contesting their views.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #113 on: December 15, 2010, 07:03:26 AM »
Science and religion are not irreconcilable entities.  Philosophers in the past have argued that to study science is to know God’s creation.  Similar to understanding a civilization by looking at what they built, gaining an insight into the thought process.  Science is taught in religious universities and schools across the country without alteration, participated in by people of faith and furthered by the devote.  The only arena where the two might truthfully clash is in places like ethics, but that is not scientific principle clashing with religion. 

If your friends see a conflict between the two then they are searching for that conflict.  There is little you can do to alleviate that desire. 

Offline Xenophile

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #114 on: December 15, 2010, 08:47:59 AM »
Science and religion are not irreconcilable entities.  Philosophers in the past have argued that to study science is to know God’s creation.  Similar to understanding a civilization by looking at what they built, gaining an insight into the thought process.  Science is taught in religious universities and schools across the country without alteration, participated in by people of faith and furthered by the devote.  The only arena where the two might truthfully clash is in places like ethics, but that is not scientific principle clashing with religion. 

If your friends see a conflict between the two then they are searching for that conflict.  There is little you can do to alleviate that desire.

That is how reasonable, or pragmatic, theists have done in the past. The scientists of the entire middle ages, and all the way through to the late 19th century has been in the spirit of understanding God and his design, and it wasn't bothering the scientists themselves even when they where incredibly devout, like Sir Isaaac Newton. However, when we have individuals with a fundamentalist world view, the relation between God and science changes. If science "comes up" with a process that explains Creation in a way that isn't in line with the Biblical description of Creation, then the Biblical version overrules the other version.

Religion in itself isn't hindering scientific progress. It's the fundamentalists who will not accept anything but their own version of the nature of the world, as they see even the dialogue of anything else being the truth as a threat to not only their own ideals, but also their entire perception of their place in the world (and then not let us ignore the historical importance, where secular ideas where a direct threat to the establishment at various items and places).

Offline Lio

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #115 on: December 16, 2010, 10:22:45 AM »
The important thing to take into account when thinking about religion and science is that the religious books were written thousands of years ago in a time when if God had published his book saying we came from monkeys he'd have recieved and even worse response than Darwin. Perhaps it's an attempt at explaining and, like with children, as we grow our interpretation changes and we see how it fits to other things. Perhaps we're meant to take it metaphorically. It's like telling a child gravity is what makes things fall down. Roughly this is true but it's actually just an attraction force 'down' and 'falling' are just....well, gravity creates a down, if there was a larger gravitational force than the earths close enough to cancel out the gravity from earth then we could 'fall' 'up' it's just our interpretation. Admittedly saying the world was created in six days when you know your child knows what a day is and what you mean by 'day' is actually several billion years....that stops being under interpretation and just becomes lies....but, well that's probably god's way of dumming it down or something.

However I think there's a point where we, as a race, grow out of religion. We aren't in the dark anymore, why can't some people just see that? I'm not saying forget it and leave it out of you life...keep it as a reference, a law for morals...'thou shalt not kill' will always be a good one. But I just don't understand those who don't believe things we're proving. Do they not look up the things that contradict them? If you're saying the world is only five thousand years old and find there's some pretty solid evidence against it you should at least look it up and find the loop hole that means your right or just admit you're wrong, not just ignore it.

Basicly they can co-exist unless you're a religious sect that says you're to take your religious book litterally, in which case I'm sorry but the world around you has grown up and it's got a little less space on the nutter wall, looks like you'll have to find your place somewhere else....or just ignore the world outside, that's a good one...god would like that, you ignoring his world outside, not using the sense he gave you, ignoring the research of other humans (people using their god-given abilities of actually thinking).

Offline Acinonyx

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #116 on: December 30, 2010, 06:42:08 AM »
There's also a problem, one might add, that if science is applied to religion, religion fails. Take the bible for example. If you apply scientific dating methods to the documents, you can tell they're way younger than the time they claim to witness. Scientific thinking and comparison reveals that the there might have been a template book that Luke and Matthew (if I remember) were both derived from and that partially illiterate scribes not only miscopied a lot, but also "corrected" the word of God, selected, chose and rewrote sections, etc.

One might claim it isn't "right" to use modern science with religion, but empirically we know that investigating something in a scientific way, including crimes and history, is most likely to give reliable results that come at least very close to reality. There seems to be no logical reason to draw a line in front of holy books and divine revelation.

This of course can quite obviously be applied to fundamentalist views - there are human bones way older than Adam as claimed by creationists. However, as I explained, this can also be applied to the age and "originality of the word" of the bible, miracles, and the perception of supernatural phenomenons, to just name a few things. The Zeitgeist seems to move in a way that points towards realizing that the many years of reconciliation of science and theology - sciences as the study of God's world - isn't actually so very sound. It's not only on posters, in newspaper commentaries and in books on the topic these days, it's even in the fictional literature (see Dan Brown, Douglas Adams - or The Golden Compass, to name a few things) and turning up in movies and shows.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #117 on: January 01, 2011, 09:47:05 PM »
Science has been applied to religion repeatedly without ensuing failure.  People have attempted to derive from science many speculations about the nature of God, the existence of a greater being and many other areas that religion concerns itself with handling.  To date none of this science has proven or disproven any of those larger goals, at all.  Religion still stands and people, from all manner of scientific expertise, still practice their religions. 


As for the use of fiction to explain away the philosophy that science is studying God’s creation, then I must also point out that scientology releases quite a bit of fiction as well.  To date I don’t view that with any more weight for my personal choices than I do Brent Weeks or Tolkein.

Offline Acinonyx

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #118 on: January 02, 2011, 04:24:17 AM »
Quote
People have attempted to derive from science many speculations about the nature of God, the existence of a greater being and many other areas that religion concerns itself with handling.

Yes, they have, but making speculations without evidence at the base is not science. Surely, in ancient times, the borders between science and mysticism were not quite clear, and some scientists today do in fact manage to live a scientific, investigative, evidence-based life during their job and still hold a non-science belief dear (and I have nothing against these people), but as far as doing science is concerned, or deriving the idea of a greater being from it, you can make "room" for this being, but you cannot derive or investigate it through the means of scientific thinking. Making room for this being a scientific approach in the first place, it's the opposite. Where science flies in the face of religious doctrine, I described in examples above.

Quote
As for the use of fiction to explain away the philosophy that science is studying God’s creation, then I must also point out that scientology releases quite a bit of fiction as well.

Yes, of course they release a lot of fiction - they're a cult that has nothing to do with any actual science, except maybe the psychology of economics and human control. I am not sure what your point is here, but I certainly agree that they release a lot of (harmful) fiction that should not influence anyone's life.

Quote
To date I don’t view that with any more weight for my personal choices than I do Brent Weeks or Tolkein.

Me neither. For me, the same goes for the bible and the views of theologians.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2011, 04:25:53 AM by Acinonyx »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #119 on: January 02, 2011, 06:27:24 AM »
The premise that is laid out then becomes that religion and science cannot exist, because science cannot explore the existence of God.  This seems a misuse of science because science does not claim to know what is not observed.  By this I mean that the absence of something does not mitigate that thing’s existence.  A principle science has been used many times to make standard.  Assuming the absence of something is making an assumption.  Germs existed before there were microscopes, the Sun remained the center of our orbit before we had telescopes and the Earth was always round before we used mathematics to prove so.  Perhaps God is out there and we simply lack the tools, insight or ability to prove that existence.

Much of our existence relies on assumptions that something exists or works.  Scientists have only just begun to understand the human body and modern medicine is far more art than science.  Many of the vaulted notions of physics rely on mathematical formulas, not experimentation or observation.  People trust that the math works as they believe the math to work.  They have faith.  Science is a tool, an important one, but should not be used to govern our lives. 

As for your belief in the Bible and theologians, that is your prerogative and entitlement.  Choosing to ignore another based on their faith or job title seems unwise to me, but is none of my business.  As for science disproving miracles of the Bible, it has not.  Disproving supernatural phenomenon, it has not.  Alternative explanations have been presented based on scientific principles and possibility, but once more science is unable to disprove any of it.

Offline Acinonyx

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #120 on: January 02, 2011, 08:27:32 AM »
I think I'll politely step out of this argument and agree to disagree.
I'd have arguments to make (itching on my fingers, really), but leaving after making them is just in poor taste, so I'll refrain from that, also.

I made my points, but I feel they do not arrive as I made them and before we go in circles, I'll just take the bow.
I'll frankly also admit that i have my lady with me right now for a very short time and I prefer spending time with her rather than posting too much on this board and getting nowhere. :)

Offline Noelle

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #121 on: January 02, 2011, 10:13:59 AM »
Quote
As for your belief in the Bible and theologians, that is your prerogative and entitlement.  Choosing to ignore another based on their faith or job title seems unwise to me, but is none of my business.  As for science disproving miracles of the Bible, it has not.  Disproving supernatural phenomenon, it has not.  Alternative explanations have been presented based on scientific principles and possibility, but once more science is unable to disprove any of it.

I suggest going to read the "alien astronaut" thread. It not only discusses that science has, in fact, proven or at very least provided a more believable explanation for seemingly extraordinary phenomena, but that there are those who fundamentally don't care because they'd rather believe in something fantastical anyway because grumpy ol' science is no fun.

In cases where science hasn't "solved" something, it doesn't necessarily mean that they will never be able to, it just means that we may not have all the information needed now or that we simply don't have the technology -- yet. People always want answers NOW and if science can't do it in a snap, they're also quick to accuse it of being a total failure. That's faulty thinking, not a fault in science. People can't stand a simple "I don't know right now". It's like a magic 8-ball, they keep shaking until they get what they want to hear, and in many cases, it's reverting to the supernatural. History has proven this many times over -- we now have the technology to know that we aren't living on a giant turtle, that there is no celestial sphere rotating around Earth, and other such former "mysteries" that were attributed to strange, supernatural, or otherwise extraordinary causes. It takes time.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #122 on: January 02, 2011, 05:34:15 PM »
Understanding the limitations of science is not favoring the mystical over the frumpy.  Science is based around observation and experimentation.  The scientific method provides the base for scientific inquiry and examination.  Claiming that science can definitively debunk an event that no scientists was there to witness or accurately account for is stepping beyond the boundaries of the instrument.  Science can certainly claim to provide an alternative explanation, but none can be proven.  To then say, believe what this scientist says who did not observe the event or you are just a silly fundamentalist is biased at best.  The instrument does not give a full account.

Also, if you read the first paragraph of my previous post, I speak about the limitations of science as it moves forward.  People do expect much out of science, but science also promises much.  Many times broad, sweeping claims are made by eager scientists wanting to get their names known.  In recent memory I can recall the man that created a new life form, the different colored bacteria.  While he remained quite on the subject, many of his colleagues were speaking about usurping God or proving that God did not exist.  Of course people will then respond in backlash to those statements.  Fortunately the program did bring on a religious figure with the two men agreeing that this experiment had nothing to do with such religious questions.  Yet people on both sides of the fence can be extreme.

Offline Jude

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #123 on: January 02, 2011, 06:19:43 PM »
I think people often forget that science is a strategy, not an entity in the same way that religion is.  At its core science is nothing but a system for collecting, interpreting, and understanding evidence with as little bias as possible.  Human beings have many techniques, some informal and intuitive, for accomplishing the same thing.  What makes science different is that it aims to be rigorous and adhere to logical principles in order to keep the amount of errors that arise as low as possible.  Even the methodology of science is not set in stone, as we've learned about various psychological pitfalls that lead to inaccuracies (confirmation bias, memory fallibility, et cetera) science has changed in order to be more precise (by using double-blinded trials for example).

It's true that science can't disprove religious ideas, because science deals with inductive matters it can't really "prove" anything.  It can however talk about statistical likelihoods, and make certain religious concepts extremely unlikely.  For example, Jesus' resurrection.  Science can't ask the question, "Did Jesus come back from the grave" because how would you go about studying that phenomenon?  It can however ask, is it possible for human beings to come back from the grave?  The answer is no based on study of human anatomy, hundreds of years of collected evidence, et cetera.  Nearly every miracle mentioned by religion fails this test, which isn't that surprising given that's practically the definition of miracle to begin with.

Religion isn't exactly disproven by any of this, just made to be extremely unlikely.  Which is why it's so baffling that despite all of the evidence gathered by our most reliable methods pointing in one direction, so many people point in the other.  For example, 78% of the population of America is Christian despite the fact that the bible itself (the source of their religion) is a collection of books that was assembled at the request of a Roman Emperor (Constantine).  And that doesn't even get into the fact that the document is full of historical accuracies, contains no corroborating evidence for any of its extraordinary claims, and has been sloppily translated numerous times.

Using the scientific approach the same way we do to answer any question (collect data, analyze it, then come to a conclusion with as little bias as possible) really doesn't reflect well on Christianity.  Young Earth Creationists believe what they do for a very simple reason.  One of the methods of science in testing a theory is to derive a "testable implication" from it, then to test that implication.  Literal Christianity fails this test and biblical scholars did most of the legwork for us.  They calculated the age of the Earth based on the biblical account, then the age (that testable implication) was shown to be false from geological evidence.

Saying that the bible isn't "literal truth" is just a way of coping with all of the factual inconsistencies and making everything so vague that it's difficult to know what is taken seriously and what isn't, so that more of these testable implications can't be derived, and thus disproven (inductively so anyway, we've already established it's not possible to truly disprove anything using induction).  It's a defense mechanism.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2011, 06:28:26 PM by Jude »

Offline Noelle

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #124 on: January 02, 2011, 07:17:39 PM »
Understanding the limitations of science is not favoring the mystical over the frumpy.

It is if you are willing to jump straight to the supernatural in lieu of an explanation by science. There's a reason we call it supernatural -- it's beyond natural occurrences. Even without touching statistics, the very definition of the word renders it unlikely. I still wonder what exactly you mean when you say there are certain things that science hasn't/can't disprove. Example, maybe?

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Science is based around observation and experimentation.  The scientific method provides the base for scientific inquiry and examination.


Science is based around the application of logic and reason to those things, as well. As Jude has stated, it's a strategy, not a religion.

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Claiming that science can definitively debunk an event that no scientists was there to witness or accurately account for is stepping beyond the boundaries of the instrument.  Science can certainly claim to provide an alternative explanation, but none can be proven.  To then say, believe what this scientist says who did not observe the event or you are just a silly fundamentalist is biased at best.  The instrument does not give a full account.

This is incredibly inaccurate. You're saying that if you weren't there, you can't study it or derive any knowledge from the event. Are you aware that we know a lot of things about dinosaurs? It certainly wasn't Raptor Jesus who delivered us knowledge from that age and I'm awfully certain that no present scientist was there to witness it. Events leave behind a trail of observable data that can be studied and pieced together. That's what science does. That's what forensics does. That's how we solve crimes.

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Also, if you read the first paragraph of my previous post, I speak about the limitations of science as it moves forward.  People do expect much out of science, but science also promises much.  Many times broad, sweeping claims are made by eager scientists wanting to get their names known.  In recent memory I can recall the man that created a new life form, the different colored bacteria.  While he remained quite on the subject, many of his colleagues were speaking about usurping God or proving that God did not exist.  Of course people will then respond in backlash to those statements.  Fortunately the program did bring on a religious figure with the two men agreeing that this experiment had nothing to do with such religious questions.  Yet people on both sides of the fence can be extreme.

I fail to see the relevance of any of this except to say that the religious jumped to a conclusion that turned out to be demonstratively false and that science isn't out to get religion. Okay?

Yes, science has limitations, but those limitations are constantly being pushed and redefined as we learn more. What kind of study are those into the supernatural doing? What kind of advances have they made in their field that have made significant contributions? We have countered supernatural explanations time and time again and yet we have yet to see the supernatural usurp science with any kind of solid proof. If you'd like to scrutinize science, that's great, science is always open to intelligent skepticism, but what system exactly is the supernatural field using to determine what is and what isn't? Where are there methods, or are they just relying on eyewitness accounts or wild leaps of imagination when they're not happy with science?

All in all, I guess I'm not sure how this relates to evolution and religion. Yes, people combine the two all the time, and that's great for them, but really, religion contributes little to nothing to the scientific arena in terms of that particular subject (and...in general, really), soooo.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #125 on: January 03, 2011, 01:56:02 AM »
One of the beautiful things people seem to enjoy doing with science and religion is ridiculing fundamentalists, but then putting more ridicule on those taking science into account of their belief.  A sort of damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario.  Of course when science is shown to be wrong, then science has corrected itself.  Religion adapts itself to new information and ideas, then religion is simply wrong.  Religious figures accept scientific principles, finding that they coexist with their beliefs with no alteration they are executing a defense mechanism.  A scientists has to retract entire lines of publishing for which grant money and time was used to explore, that is simply the pain of science.  Religious thought and philosophy are not allowed to progress, but science is free to blunder away without fanfare.  Can't have both.

Well, I never said science could not prove or disprove anything.  Science is limited by the resources at hand.  If you want though, I will give you an example of something science has yet to explain.  Tell me how Tylenol works. 

Science exists without logic and reason.  Science exists through observation, experimentation and reproducing results.  A philosopher can use logic all day long to think a situation out, but if that logic cannot be shown through the scientific method than there is no science.  Likewise, if a scientist has an experiment that does not follow to a logical conclusion they do not ignore the results.  Science does not need logic to exist.

As for Raptor Jesus, I am hopeful that there is not one speaking with us.  The bones do speak and scientists do conduct research on those bones.  There is definitive data about the creatures leaving behind such bones, the regions the bones were discovered in and what some of those time frames can mean.  Scientists than infer possibilities based on that evidence.  If one pays close attention to the openings of these episodes on Discovery Channel the narrator often says, "this is how scientists believe the world to have existed then."  Translation, this is their best guess.  Also in regard to forensic evidence, keep in mind that often times in a court room an expert witness, scientist, is called to refute those same findings.  There is a lot of interpretation left to forensic evidence.  Science requires observation, experimentation and reproducibility.

Science certainly has limitations and people experience those limitations.  Not all things are explained at this time by science, so an intelligent person keeps their mind open.  Supernatural events can become natural ones with the right insight, tools and techniques.  Dismissing people as disgruntled with science because they believe in supernatural occurrences is close minded.  Many discoveries in our world were made by people that witnessed something peculiar and pursued that information to a conclusion.  If tomorrow ghosts were discovered to be real, then science would claim that as a field.  What then?  Were ghosts never supernatural?  Or were they simply part of our world not yet measured and understood.

"religion contributes little to nothing to the scientific arena in terms of that particular subject (and...in general, really), soooo."  - That is a statement of ignorance that deserves only a response of pointing out the ignorance of it.

Offline Noelle

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #126 on: January 03, 2011, 05:30:31 PM »
One of the beautiful things people seem to enjoy doing with science and religion is ridiculing fundamentalists, but then putting more ridicule on those taking science into account of their belief.  A sort of damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario.  Of course when science is shown to be wrong, then science has corrected itself.  Religion adapts itself to new information and ideas, then religion is simply wrong.  Religious figures accept scientific principles, finding that they coexist with their beliefs with no alteration they are executing a defense mechanism.  A scientists has to retract entire lines of publishing for which grant money and time was used to explore, that is simply the pain of science.  Religious thought and philosophy are not allowed to progress, but science is free to blunder away without fanfare.  Can't have both.

I'm sorry, but I can't really muster up a lot of pity for the religious when they have impeded on great advances in science with their dogma and continue to be the reigning majority that shape and influence our policies and politics where they have no business. I reaaaally can't stretch my sympathy for a group that is trying to "teach the controversy".

Also, science doesn't claim to be the absolute or ultimate truth. Makes a difference when your goal is to find the truth rather than beat your bastardized and imperfect version of it into other peoples' heads while making unofficial annotations for what works best for you.

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Well, I never said science could not prove or disprove anything.  Science is limited by the resources at hand.  If you want though, I will give you an example of something science has yet to explain.  Tell me how Tylenol works. 

That really must be something if science can't explain how Tylenol works, and yet Google is all over that.

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Science exists without logic and reason.  Science exists through observation, experimentation and reproducing results.  A philosopher can use logic all day long to think a situation out, but if that logic cannot be shown through the scientific method than there is no science.  Likewise, if a scientist has an experiment that does not follow to a logical conclusion they do not ignore the results.  Science does not need logic to exist.

Yes, and that's precisely where we start getting Creationism and Young Earth "science". It's only science in the loosest form. But here's a hint: it's not accurate.

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"religion contributes little to nothing to the scientific arena in terms of that particular subject (and...in general, really), soooo."  - That is a statement of ignorance that deserves only a response of pointing out the ignorance of it.

Then might I point out most of your post? I googled "how does tylenol work" and got millions of results in mere seconds. You're being dismissive and frankly, quite rude, and most of your opinions have little to no backing or show a poor understanding of the material at hand. If you'd like to give me an example of how that is so ignorant and continue discussing this civilly, do feel free.

Offline Oniya

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #127 on: January 03, 2011, 05:59:43 PM »
That really must be something if science can't explain how Tylenol works, and yet Google is all over that.

Then might I point out most of your post? I googled "how does tylenol work" and got millions of results in mere seconds. You're being dismissive and frankly, quite rude, and most of your opinions have little to no backing or show a poor understanding of the material at hand. If you'd like to give me an example of how that is so ignorant and continue discussing this civilly, do feel free.

Actually, if you read further, the exact mechanism of how acetaminophen inhibits pain is still the subject of speculation
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Acetaminophen is often categorized as a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drug (NSAID), even though in clinical practice and in animal models it possesses little antiinflammatory activity (1). Like NSAIDs, however, acetaminophen inhibits pain and fever and is one of the world's most popular analgesic/antipyretic drugs. Despite acetaminophen's long use and popularity it lacks a clear mechanism of action. Flower and Vane showed that acetaminophen inhibited cyclooxygenase (COX) activity in dog brain homogenates more than in homogenates from spleen (2). This gave rise to the concept that variants of COX enzymes exist that are differentially sensitive to this drug and that acetaminophen acts centrally. Yet, even though two isozymes of COX are known, neither isozyme is sensitive to acetaminophen at therapeutic concentrations of the drug in whole cells or homogenates. Instead, COX-1 and -2 in homogenates frequently exhibit the paradoxical property of being stimulated by submillimolar concentrations of acetaminophen and inhibited by supermillimolar levels of the drug (1). This finding suggests that neither isozyme is a good candidate for the site of action of acetaminophen.

Offline Jude

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #128 on: January 03, 2011, 06:04:51 PM »
One of the beautiful things people seem to enjoy doing with science and religion is ridiculing fundamentalists, but then putting more ridicule on those taking science into account of their belief.  A sort of damned if you do, damned if you don't scenario.  Of course when science is shown to be wrong, then science has corrected itself.  Religion adapts itself to new information and ideas, then religion is simply wrong.  Religious figures accept scientific principles, finding that they coexist with their beliefs with no alteration they are executing a defense mechanism.  A scientists has to retract entire lines of publishing for which grant money and time was used to explore, that is simply the pain of science.  Religious thought and philosophy are not allowed to progress, but science is free to blunder away without fanfare.  Can't have both.
Science is a method, not a set of ideas, and because the method itself does not claim to produce error-proof dogma, it's not a big deal when the theories that science develops turn out false as that's built right into the system (it admits its fallibility).  Religion however, claims to be truth, and is dogmatic to its core.  If religious figures admitted they were just acting based on what they believe to be truth to their best intentions but that they don't actually know anything for sure, then science and religion would be given the same benefit when errors arise.  However, religious figures and adherents alike claim they speak directly to god and glean information about the inner workings of reality.  The difference is that religion claims to be ultimate truth, science claims to be strong conjecture backed by meticulously gathered evidence.

Granted, there's no reason why religion couldn't be softer and admit that it's an approximation, an attempt at finding the truth and pursuing it, latching onto an idea because it makes intuitive sense, and seeking for better answers at the same time as admitting they simply have a hunch and they're going with it.  That kind of religion I could perhaps get behind (in fact I'd say I'm religious in that way even), it's just sad that religions are not that way generally speaking.  There probably are groups that resemble this out there somewhere more than likely, but they certainly are not the norm.

Well, I never said science could not prove or disprove anything.  Science is limited by the resources at hand.  If you want though, I will give you an example of something science has yet to explain.  Tell me how Tylenol works.
There's lots of things that science hasn't explained.  Everything science does explain tends to open up more questions.  I'm not sure what your point here is though.

Science exists without logic and reason.  Science exists through observation, experimentation and reproducing results.  A philosopher can use logic all day long to think a situation out, but if that logic cannot be shown through the scientific method than there is no science.  Likewise, if a scientist has an experiment that does not follow to a logical conclusion they do not ignore the results.  Science does not need logic to exist.
This is not at all accurate in any way shape or form.  Please read up on the philosophy of science before you make statements like this.  I will give you a quick irrefutable example:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inductive_reasoning  < this is key to science.

As for Raptor Jesus, I am hopeful that there is not one speaking with us.  The bones do speak and scientists do conduct research on those bones.  There is definitive data about the creatures leaving behind such bones, the regions the bones were discovered in and what some of those time frames can mean.  Scientists than infer possibilities based on that evidence.  If one pays close attention to the openings of these episodes on Discovery Channel the narrator often says, "this is how scientists believe the world to have existed then."  Translation, this is their best guess.  Also in regard to forensic evidence, keep in mind that often times in a court room an expert witness, scientist, is called to refute those same findings.  There is a lot of interpretation left to forensic evidence.  Science requires observation, experimentation and reproducibility.
I really don't see how that refutes her point.  If we can find evidence that dinosaurs once existed, why couldn't we find evidence of a supposed great flood?  There is not a single miracle mentioned in the bible which has actually been corroborated by research.  That I'm aware of anyway -- feel free to present counter evidence.

Science certainly has limitations and people experience those limitations.  Not all things are explained at this time by science, so an intelligent person keeps their mind open.  Supernatural events can become natural ones with the right insight, tools and techniques.  Dismissing people as disgruntled with science because they believe in supernatural occurrences is close minded.  Many discoveries in our world were made by people that witnessed something peculiar and pursued that information to a conclusion.  If tomorrow ghosts were discovered to be real, then science would claim that as a field.  What then?  Were ghosts never supernatural?  Or were they simply part of our world not yet measured and understood.
The definition of close minded is to make a determination on an event or a phenomenon without weighing the evidence before coming to that conclusion.  The evidence points to the supernatural being nonexistent.  It is not inherently close minded to reject the existence of the supernatural.  Can one be close minded in rejecting it?  Yes, to discount the idea out of hand without any critical thinking or entertaining other people's ideas is close minded no matter what the subject.

"religion contributes little to nothing to the scientific arena in terms of that particular subject (and...in general, really), soooo."  - That is a statement of ignorance that deserves only a response of pointing out the ignorance of it.
Religion contributes absolutely nothing to science.  Even in previous discussions where we've gone back and forth on this topic, the only thing you've given in response is that there are religious people who have advanced science.  That speaks of the action of individuals, not the action of religion.  Religion is a set of beliefs, please show me where these sets of beliefs encourage people to weigh critically all of the available evidence and come to a determination based on that analysis, not preconceived notions.  The best you'll be able to do in response (and I know this because you've tried to do it before) is pull out a few fables or statements which seem to speak the virtue of doubting accounts by others -- never once does religion encourage people to question religion.

Yet I can provide you with numerous examples where religion encourages questioning or rejection of anything that comes into conflict with it (including science).  Granted, many of these examples either include religious people making these statements or religious authorities (the latter of which has validity in the Pope's case given that he makes religious dogma), but I'm well aware that none of that will shake your point of view in the least.  Why?

Science casts doubt on the supernatural accounts given by Christianity.  History shows that Christianity as we know it is a construct put together by the early Roman empire and that Jesus' story is a common myth echoed throughout the ancient world before and while it was told/supposedly occurred.  There is not a speck of independent verification for any of the fantastical claims contained in the bible.  The evidence overwhelmingly comes down against Christianity.  Does this disprove religion?  Nope -- Christianity is one religion.  Does this disprove Christianity?  No.  Does it make Christianity extremely unlikely to be true?  Yes.

But again, I don't expect you to change your point of view or even recoil in the least from anything I've said.  Why?  Because you're a Christian so you already believe something that is incredibly unlikely.  You can claim time and time again that religion and science are not in conflict, that one does not invalidate the other, but science, empiricism, and historical facts merge to form a great big shadow of doubt, and if there's one thing that Christians are good at, it's ignoring that.  This is key to the thread as well, it's why some reject evolution on the basis of their religion (along with everything else they don't want to believe).

Now, I'm not saying religion is a scourge (it's not -- I don't believe the world would be better off without it).  I'm not even saying Christianity is a force of negativity in the world (again, I don't think it is).  I believe that Christians do more good than harm in the modern world.  Christianity is responsible for a great deal of charity.  However my respect for the good that they do in this world, acknowledgment that they are not a force of negativity, and  belief that they are good people does not mean that the ideas which they hold sacred are beyond reproach.  You can separate the ideas a person holds to be true from the individual and judge it separately, even if the individual can't accept that for reasons of cognitive dissonance.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2011, 06:12:40 PM by Jude »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #129 on: January 03, 2011, 08:14:43 PM »
Well Noelle, Google is certainly an amazing resource to use.  So are nursing drug manuals and Micromedex, which is what hospitals and pharmacies often use for their information.  Both of those sources list the mechanism of action for Tylenol as unknown.  There are actually quite a few medications that drug guides list as unknown for mechanism of action.  Really though, that is no real reflection on science as a discipline merely a reflection on the instruments.  Many over the counter medications such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin have unknown mechanisms because they are from an older era.  Often times their doses are given in an apothecary style if an older physician is writing the prescription.  Those drugs are actually “grandfathered’ into production now legally as many observers have pointed out they would not pass current FDA guidelines. 

As for the point of bringing up Tylenol, she asked.  Those familiar with science would see that the question is ridiculous, but she did ask.  There are things science has not discovered, proved or explained.  I do not see this as a fault of science or as proof that science will not uncover these truths, merely an example that science is not the end all be all of knowledge in this world.  Once more, she asked for something science had not discovered.  I figured something as simple as Tylenol would illustrate the problem of her question nicely.

As for my statement about experimentation and logic being inaccurate, the wiki page you linked describes inductive reasoning as an educated guess.  That is the same definition given to a hypothesis, the start of the scientific method.  While I suppose that would bring inductive reasoning into part of the scientific process that is more the simple portion.  The meat of the scientific method comes from the experimentation and observation portion.  A strength of science, which is used over and over in these arguments, is that science can prove itself.  One cannot claim this has an integral strength while not recognizing the limitation. 

Evidence was left behind, but the information gained from that evidence is an inference.  As for the Great Flood, there is a good deal of evidence to suggest many cultures across the world experienced this flood.  Could they have been describing different regional floods, perhaps.  I will provide a link to an article regarding the Great Flood.  I don’t expect the article to shake the pillars of the sky or suddenly change minds, but I will put forth the article as asked. 
http://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/climate-weather/storms/great-flood1.htm

Once more we could go back and forth regarding the contribution of religion to science.  I could point out the money given by religious institutions to educational structures, such as Loyola University.  Probably be told that the contribution isn’t real or isn’t noteworthy.  Point out missionary work that spreads education to poor countries, provides money to send them to school.  Probably be told that this is religion just trying to indoctrinate, even though they are teaching science and sending children to school to become doctors, who understand evolution.  Point out religious philosophers that promoted research under the guise that science allowed people to understand God’s creation.  Probably be told once more this is the work of an individual, not a religion.  More than likely most any contribution I list to science will be rebutted, because people want to see religion as the enemy. 

My reference to ignorance was more to what was contained in parenthesis in Noelle’s statement.  To take part of someone’s culture and faith, and then describe that portion as pointless is insulting and demeaning to that individual.  That is an example of ethnocentrism and is not scientific in any way, shape or form.  Since people enjoy wiki so much, here is a definition.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnocentrism

My relationship with this portion of the thread to evolution is more sidebar.  Mainly that those who press for science need to be aware that rarely are things so cut and dry.  One can point toward Noelle’s response to finding out Tylenol was not so absolutely certain as an example of how people seem to view science.  Also the reference to Jesus having no historical basis, when that subject is the center of quite a large debate among historical scholars.  Once more, wiki speaks.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus

Both sides need to recognize their limitations and show respect to the other.  I have never argued for anything more.

On a personal note, don’t ever make the mistake of believing that I am ill informed on whatever topic I choose to discuss.  My involvement in the scientific field has stretched back for a long time.  From studying both the hard and soft science, to helping conduct research through literature review and survey creation to practicing the results of science via medical treatment.  If you believe me wrong in my beliefs, that is well and good.  I accept that possibility by merely speaking on these forums.  Do not assume I am lacking knowledge to formulate my opinions or that I am somehow deficient in understanding my words.  I do my best to withhold that judgment for others and certainly try to keep them from my writing on these forums. 

That is called being civil.

Offline Noelle

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #130 on: January 03, 2011, 09:00:54 PM »
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  Probably be told once more this is the work of an individual, not a religion.  More than likely most any contribution I list to science will be rebutted, because people want to see religion as the enemy. 

I had a reply for you, but now that I see this and the rest of your post, I'm not really going to continue arguing this with you. Like Acinonyx, I could go on and continue the discussion, but if this is what you're going to boil every single argument towards religion down to, it's not really worth the time to continue. You have not shown respect and you have been rude and condescending in tone. I don't really wish to contribute to this with you any more.

Have a nice evening.

Offline Jude

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #131 on: January 03, 2011, 09:04:16 PM »
I implied that you were ignorant because you were making statements that are blatantly false.  You said science does not employ logic or reason and exist independently of it, so I gave you an example where it does.  Your response was to dance around the blatantly incorrect information you gave.  Want more examples?

- Performing experiments
Logic, in its most pure form, is used in formulating a test for a hypothesis.  How?  Because a hypothesis is typically a complicated statement that cannot be tested directly.  For example, if you hypothesize that gravity exists, testing such a hypothesis requires that you set up an experiment that either confirms or denies the existence of gravity.  An observable implication is derived from the hypothesis using logic and reason directly (often with the aid of Mathematics which is also based on logic and reasoning).  You need to have a sophisticated understanding of the logic of cause and effect in order to be sure that your experiment is actually measuring what it intends to measure.  Without that, you're merely doing something and inferring relationships informal, which confers no knowledge or understanding of reality whatsoever.

- Formulating theories
Theories are made up of networks of ideas that have been confirmed, called laws.  Without logic it's impossible to understand when these laws come into conflict with each other, because you don't have deductive methods to compare them in order to draw out the contradiction in rigorous terms.  Many other inductive tools are also employed in the formulation of theories, such as Occam's razor.

If you're not expressing ignorance of the methods, process, and concepts of science here, then you're telling blatant falsehoods.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #132 on: January 03, 2011, 09:41:55 PM »
What I said is not blatantly false or really false at all Jude.  People like to think that logic and reason are so integral to science that they cannot be dismissed.  Most of the people who enjoy this sort of fantasy are those that do not involve themselves in the reality of science.  They would like to imagine that sitting in a lawn chair, thinking about the universe leads to scientific discovery so that every man might be a scientist.  There is much more involved in the discipline and in the research.  Scrutiny goes beyond logic and into proof. 

By the way, a scientific hypothesis must be testable.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypothesis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science#Philosophy_of_science

Offline Jude

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #133 on: January 03, 2011, 10:19:59 PM »
Testable via testable implications.  Of course an untestable concept is not scientific, you're talking about the principle of falsification.

And maybe you're right, maybe people DO think that, but I'm not these "people" and nor am I making the claim that science is based purely on abstract logical thinking.  Experimental trials are grueling, psychological principles are involved in the construction of these, and a lot of science is hard, brute-force work done with painstaking attention to detail in an attempt to capture the proper cause/effect relationship divorced of bias.

Even so, science divorced of reason and logic does not work.  There would be no way of judging the validity of experiments to determine what data is useful, fitting things into a theoretical framework for greater understanding, or scrutinizing what is or isn't good science.  Observation and experimentation on their own will lead you into a world of false conclusions unless you have sound logic guiding the process.

Every experiment has what's called "operational definitions."  Operational definitions are directly linked with testable implications in that they are how you are claiming what you observe is linked to what you're trying to demonstrate.  The devil is in these details, because it's easy to create false experiments based on faulty logic, such as failure to remember that correlation is not causation and the like.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2011, 10:22:08 PM by Jude »

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #134 on: January 03, 2011, 11:14:00 PM »
Jude, you stated clearly that a hypothesis is a complicated statement that cannot be tested directly.  That is blatantly against its definition.  Part of the reason a hypothesis is complicated is because the wording must make the hypothesis testable.  One of the first acts done when reviewing the literature of an experiment is to review the hypothesis to see if the research’s hypothesis is testable and is testable by the experimental model presented in the paper.  This is why those sections exist in a research paper. 

Logic and reason certainly do help narrow down frivolous experiments, but are still not at the heart of science.  Logic and reason certainly help in communicating science to others, but once more science stands without that principle.  In no way do I say that logic and reason are not useful instruments, but they are instruments alongside science.  They are not part of that field so that if removed science does not exist.  By that token, saying something makes logical sense does not carry with it the weight of scientific research and experimentation.  Many people make that mistake, especially in reference to forensics and historical study.

Operational definition is important, but not sure how that relates to this discussion.  An operational definition is how you define a variable in an experiment.  I assume you mean that an operational definition must be logical, but then again that’s wrong.  If I for instance set my operational definition to say that measuring taste was based on my personal measurement, there is nothing wrong with the statement.  The problem comes that any result I get from the experiment is not applicable to anything else.  The universal application of the experiment does not exist.

I am not sure how a difference of opinion on science and its relation to logic makes me a liar and ignorant. 

Offline Jude

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #135 on: January 04, 2011, 12:36:49 AM »
Jude, you stated clearly that a hypothesis is a complicated statement that cannot be tested directly.  That is blatantly against its definition.  Part of the reason a hypothesis is complicated is because the wording must make the hypothesis testable.  One of the first acts done when reviewing the literature of an experiment is to review the hypothesis to see if the research’s hypothesis is testable and is testable by the experimental model presented in the paper.  This is why those sections exist in a research paper.
Yep, you're absolutely right, I said that a few posts ago and I was wrong when I did.  A hypothesis is not always a complicated statement that cannot be tested directly.  I was thinking of hypothesis as in the sense of a general rule that eventually becomes a law put into a theoretical framework.

You're right that a hypothesis of an individual experiment must be testable directly.  Generally how it works though is that all of the evidence available is considered, an individual scientist spots a potential trend, then comes up with an instance of that trend in order to test it.  For example, if you were a scientist working pre-Newton and had a hunch about gravity to the effect that you believed the rate at which an object falls accelerates at 32 ft/s, you would be right, but you can't test that statement because it's a law that describes a trend.

You would need to test the object falling from various heights, called cases, which are the testable implication of the idea you're trying to confirm/disconfirm.  Basically you'd try dropping it from a frame of reference stationary to the ground about 20 ft over it then see how fast it's moving after that 20 feet, right before it hits the ground.  Then you'd try again with an initial velocity and subtract the initial from the final and see if the pattern still fits.  Then you'd do both of those things with different variables and numbers put in to see if the pattern holds.  Only then can you say that your idea on the acceleration of gravity being 32 ft/s was confirmed by the experiment.

If you used a false test case, for example not taking the initial velocity into account, you would get a false answer.  There are any number of ways to come up with test cases  that are not an expression of the hypothesis you're trying to figure out.  That's where logic, both mathematical and purely causal, comes into play heavily.

Logic and reason certainly do help narrow down frivolous experiments, but are still not at the heart of science.  Logic and reason certainly help in communicating science to others, but once more science stands without that principle.  In no way do I say that logic and reason are not useful instruments, but they are instruments alongside science.  They are not part of that field so that if removed science does not exist.  By that token, saying something makes logical sense does not carry with it the weight of scientific research and experimentation.  Many people make that mistake, especially in reference to forensics and historical study.
Are you familiar with Theoretical Physics?  It's a branch of science that has little or no verification or experiments performed whatsoever.  It's based on considering all of the models available and analyzing the consequences of combining them mathematically.  A whole lot of quantum mechanics is purely based on mathematical consequences and logical deductions as well.  Are you saying theoretical physics isn't science?

Experiments certainly add validity to an idea, but the concept of performing many experiments from different angles in order to arrive at a solid conclusion is one founded purely in inductive reasoning.  Statistical confirmation is an absolute cornerstone of all experimental trials.

Operational definition is important, but not sure how that relates to this discussion.  An operational definition is how you define a variable in an experiment.  I assume you mean that an operational definition must be logical, but then again that’s wrong.  If I for instance set my operational definition to say that measuring taste was based on my personal measurement, there is nothing wrong with the statement.  The problem comes that any result I get from the experiment is not applicable to anything else.  The universal application of the experiment does not exist.
An operational definition must reflect what it intends to reflect or else you don't get a result which is at all useful or truthful, which is the goal of the scientific method.  That's why operational definitions and any methodology used in an experiment are so important.  Studying logic and human psychology is absolutely necessary if you want trials that actually measure what they intend to measure, so that the information can be generalized into a trend.


I am not sure how a difference of opinion on science and its relation to logic makes me a liar and ignorant.
This is not an opinion.  To say science doesn't utilize logic in nearly everything it does is fundamentally incorrect.  You can't even talk about the concept of "proof" without invoking logic.  Proof is a logical concept.  Science without logic is empirical investigation, but it's not science.

For example, Mary believes in aliens because she believes she was abducted once.  She has evidence based on observation that validates this belief.  That is an empirical opinion.  It is not scientific because it isn't reproducible in any other experiment (which is necessary in order to generate a statistical probability to associate with it ala inductive logic), it fails to account for pre-established competing explanations (fallibility of memory, dreams, et cetera) which fit neatly into solid theoretical frameworks (whereas belief in alien abduction would require serious alterations to current systems of knowledge), her theory has no added explanatory benefit (it does not explain anything that accepted scientific conventions cannot already), and there are numerous testable implications which can be derived from her hypothesis that do not pass even basic scrutiny (if aliens were monitoring planet earth and abducting people there would most likely be some recorded evidence of their presence, some strange piece of physical evidence would be left behind, etc).

You can put together a very simple argument that any belief is empirical, in fact that's a very basic consequence of the philosophical concept of empiricism.  What makes science more reliable than that, is that it is a body of ideas that attempts to account for the failures of observation with its rigor.

The distinction that you're not seeing is the same as the distinction between evidence-based medicine and science-based medicine.  For more on that, check this out:  http://www.skepdic.com/sciencebasedmedicine.html
« Last Edit: January 04, 2011, 01:03:40 AM by Jude »

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Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #136 on: January 04, 2011, 07:02:45 AM »
If you guys want to debate whether or not science is grounded in logic and reason, please take it to the dialogue section. This discussion is only tangentially on topic.

Please also watch the condescension if you choose to continue on the topic, because the level is creeping back up again. Thanks.

Offline Flow

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #137 on: January 05, 2011, 01:29:42 AM »

Evidence was left behind, but the information gained from that evidence is an inference.  As for the Great Flood, there is a good deal of evidence to suggest many cultures across the world experienced this flood.  Could they have been describing different regional floods, perhaps.  I will provide a link to an article regarding the Great Flood.  I don’t expect the article to shake the pillars of the sky or suddenly change minds, but I will put forth the article as asked. 
http://science.howstuffworks.com/nature/climate-weather/storms/great-flood1.htm


I understand where you're coming from with this. When I was in high school my science teacher provided this evidence to support the story of Noah.

However, there's absolutely no way to know if the people who wrote records of a "great flood" were describing a divine act of a supernatural being, or a simple natural catastrophe (such as an asteroid strike to an ocean causing worldwide tsunamis) even if all the records are dated to the exact same day. It's like seeing an Unidentified Flying Object and immediately assuming it's from outer space, has weapons, is manned by alien lifeforms which fly ships like we fly planes, and is here to kill us; rather than taking the proper response: admitting that we don't know what it is and taking the necessary steps to find out.

Even if the flood was real--how does that prove the rest of the story?

Besides, isn't faith about not needing evidence?

As for the OP,

Personally, I have been struggling with this. As a Biology major, we talk about evolution daily in my classes. It has been proven over and over and over. I grew up religious, but lately have been re-thinking my views. Everyone I talk to seems to think that it either has to be you believe in God and therefore do not believe in evolution OR you don't believe in God and you believe in evolution. Why? I believe that God created the Earth, but then things fell into place by his own design... this means that the Bible shouldn't be taken LITERALLY, but perhaps metaphorically...

I don't know...

What do y'all think about this topic?

You don't have to believe in anything. It's perfectly fine to just not know. The Bible is just a book; people put way too much value in its words because they've been taught to.

The Bible and other holy books attempt to do what all people did when they first began to gaze into the night sky; or better yet, themselves: explain what it all means. This is one of the most beautiful aspects of human life, and something every human being ought, and should be given the opportunity to do. It's a pity that people use religion in an attempt to extinguish this burning desire within us, but it's wonderful that it never truly succeeds. Even the most devout have pangs of doubt which ring through their being like curious children being born into existence. The human imagination is incredible.

Religions claim to know happiness; yet they still seek it. They claim to know truth; yet they still lie. They claim that mysteries exist which we cannot ever explain; yet they still ponder them.

Science makes but one claim: that we can know.

Think about it. The Earth is one planet. One planet in orbit of one star, the Sun--almost a thousand times the mass of the Earth--in one galaxy containing billions of stars and solar systems. And the known universe contains billions of galaxies. As Carl Sagan so eloquently puts it:

Carl Sagan - Pale Blue Dot

I felt a wonderful sense of freedom when I realized that absolutely anything, ANYTHING can be real. Even the world around you is a product of your mind. Every dream you've ever had could be just as real as the air you breathe, or think you're breathing. The Bible can be real too, and I'm sure some people would love for the Bible to be reality--and it is, for them. It really is.

But if you can choose your own reality, why choose a book's?

Offline AtlasEros

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #138 on: January 22, 2011, 10:15:35 PM »
Evolution clearly happened, and is still happening.

Offline Kiari03

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #139 on: January 23, 2011, 05:42:12 AM »
I had a Biology teacher in high school that was a former preacher. He didn't leave his profession because he lost faith, I know that, but I don't know why he left to teach to a bunch of high school kids. Anyway, one day we asked him which he believed in, God or evolution. He said both. The way he saw it, the time it took for us to go from swimming like tadpoles in the primordial ooze to where we stand in His likeness now is a blink of an eye in comparison to the eternity God has created for us. And who is to say that this evolution was not God's way of creating us in his likeness? His special way of making sure we made it here for the long term, because this world is very unforgiving to the foreign. Should he have just plopped us down here without any developed immunities we would have been extinct a long time ago. That is how he saw it and I now see it as well. Hope that helps ^ ^.

Offline Falcot

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #140 on: January 28, 2011, 11:12:41 PM »
The controversy is only with biblical literalists. The story of creation (Genesis) is a 'story' of how sin came into the world. The way I and many others view it is as a story with a moral (or something to teach). Now what I believe many people have come to accept is yes evolution makes sense to the modern opinion but if you need to bring God into it, why not say evolution was part of God's plan.


There is not conflict between religion and evolution unless you create it.

You can simply see evolution as a miracle; there is no sacrilegious context or harm

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Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #141 on: January 28, 2011, 11:22:39 PM »
The controversy is only with biblical literalists. The story of creation (Genesis) is a 'story' of how sin came into the world. The way I and many others view it is as a story with a moral (or something to teach). Now what I believe many people have come to accept is yes evolution makes sense to the modern opinion but if you need to bring God into it, why not say evolution was part of God's plan.


There is not conflict between religion and evolution unless you create it.

You can simply see evolution as a miracle; there is no sacrilegious context or harm

Thanks, but I'd rather see evolution as the scientific process for which it is.  We, as rational individuals, have come to understand how it happens fundamentally as well as scientifically and I don't believe there is really a need to see it as some sort of "miracle".  Why mystify something like that?

Offline Caehlim

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #142 on: January 29, 2011, 10:52:31 AM »
If an omnipotent, omniscient being created the universe, then it certainly seems possible that they could have done so by starting off a lengthy process that would yield the desired results.

However it seems implausible to me, that such a being would then author a book discussing their creation and include incorrect information. Particularly if they possessed that sort of foresight and thus should realize that people would eventually discover the correct information themselves and discredit the book.

Offline Noelle

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #143 on: January 29, 2011, 11:13:43 AM »
That's if you consider the Bible a document written by God himself -- but as we know, it's a document that's been woven in and out of its original language by various translators which is already a loss in the quality of language, and then sifted through the filter of countless individuals who imbued their own meaning and tossed out the ones they didn't like. The Bible is like a game of telephone -- by the time it gets to you, the message went from "love each other" to "homeless pancake flipper". Besides, in its historical context up until about Darwin or so, they just didn't have the scope of knowledge to understand evolution at all.

I guess it depends heavily on just how seriously you're taking Biblical information in this case, but that's also why fundamentalists usually can't reconcile science and faith.

Offline Sandman02

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #144 on: January 29, 2011, 08:18:07 PM »
  Whenever I hear this topic being argued, I only bring up one simple point, which is as follows: The argument of religion/Creationism vs Evolution is not simply a matter of who is "right" - a rational, logical mind must always bear in mind the possibility that what they think - even what they think they can prove - can still be wrong. The real issue is calling something it isn't - namely, the attempt to label Creationism as Science. Creationism is not Science because the premises that they are based on come from religious literature and not purely from observations of the natural world (starting a hypothesis and then following through with the Scientific Method). So feel free to discuss and teach Creationism anytime, anywhere so long as it is not behind a door that reads "biology class." Creationism is not Science, and the attempt to include it in science textbooks is a joke move that is not befitting an intelligent, educated society.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #145 on: January 30, 2011, 06:55:08 AM »
That's if you consider the Bible a document written by God himself -- but as we know, it's a document that's been woven in and out of its original language by various translators which is already a loss in the quality of language, and then sifted through the filter of countless individuals who imbued their own meaning and tossed out the ones they didn't like. The Bible is like a game of telephone -- by the time it gets to you, the message went from "love each other" to "homeless pancake flipper".

If this deity can foresee 4 billion years of mutating DNA and arrange it to end with a desired result, then it would be comparatively only child's play to track 2000 years of linguistic shifting.

My point is that it seems very unlikely that any being responsible for any deliberate creation of human life via evolution also wrote the bible.

Offline Pumpkin Seeds

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #146 on: January 30, 2011, 09:19:19 AM »
Well, for one evolution is a natural process not a scientific one.

Also, for the sentiment against mystifying the process there is much reason to see faith and the unknown.  The process is complex but at the same time so simple.  Results so vast and amazing come from such a simple configuration that there is much to marvel over.  Just because science has found the elements of the process and moves to understand them does not detract from the beauty or the awe that can be found in life.  I can easily see why someone would find God there. 

As for the Bible, perhaps a being that understands how we think and learn would know better than to just hand over the blue prints.  Maybe there are things we are supposed to learn first, wisdom to be had before we charge forward recklessly. 

Offline Noelle

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #147 on: January 30, 2011, 12:06:16 PM »
If this deity can foresee 4 billion years of mutating DNA and arrange it to end with a desired result, then it would be comparatively only child's play to track 2000 years of linguistic shifting.

My point is that it seems very unlikely that any being responsible for any deliberate creation of human life via evolution also wrote the bible.

That was kind of my point, as well. Any original meaning is pretty much diluted down by now and doesn't even take into account the other religions in existence that defy the whole 'one religion to rule them all' thing. We can't all be right in that regard.  I think (hypothetically; I'm agnostic, myself) God's got better things to do than to take the time to author his own book and then drop it off in the hands of his creations that he pretty much already know are gonna slaughter the thing on down the road.

However, if I had to believe in the existence of God right this instant with no reservations, I think I could probably reconcile an idea of evolution being kick-started by a higher power and then left to develop of its own accord. I think it's far more agreeable than Creationism in general.

Offline Jude

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #148 on: January 30, 2011, 02:22:00 PM »
I think there's room in evolution for god.  However, there is nothing in the theory of evolution or our observations of reality that implies that the gaps in our understanding necessitates (or even implies by any reasonable measure) that they be filled by an intelligent agent.  And that is the difference between intelligent design and science.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2011, 02:23:15 PM by Jude »

Offline squidsyd7

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #149 on: March 29, 2011, 01:50:16 AM »
First, remember that everything in science is always just a theory.  Nothing is proven.  Gravity is still a theory.  Scientists have come to accept that not everything can be proven, but they can make educated guesses and come to a conclusion of what is the most likely answer.

That, for me, is the main difference between religion and science.  Science accepts the fact that they can't have all the answers for everything, and instead puts their efforts towards continuing to try to find answers.  Religion, in my opinion, substitutes faith for that reasoning in order to come to a less educated conclusion.  I believe that the idea of God and religion was created to fill in the blanks of what we didn't know at the time.  Look back to ancient religions - I'll use ancient Rome as an example (because I'm a huge classics nerd).  They were polytheistic (until Christianity came along), and had many different myths that explained the creation of various items - thunder, the ocean, wind, etc.  This was because they didn't know what caused thunder, they didn't know how the ocean came to be, they didn't know why some days were windy and some weren't.  Their ancient religion was created so that they would feel secure in this "knowledge", however unproven it may be. 

When it comes down to it, mankind just wants to know stuff.  The one driving force that dictates everything we do is the quest for knowledge.  Why do we explore new places, experiment with different objects, test things?  Because we want to know.  When we don't know, we don't feel at ease with our own existence.  We don't know why we're here, so we're trying to learn.

I realize that I've gone off on this huge tangent trying to answer your question, so I'll pull myself back to my original point.  In my opinion, both should be taught in schools as theories (which they both are).  Evolution, though there is a lot more evidence that backs it up and is the answer that most fits what we already know about evolution and animals today, is still a theory.  Creationism has nothing to back it up and is pretty much just a story, but it is still a theory.  If we want to be fair, we will teach both of them as such, and lay out all of the evidence to let people make their own informed decisions.

Online Doomsday

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #150 on: March 29, 2011, 01:54:10 AM »
Well, proofs are best left to mathematics. It's all about evidence, and there is overwhelming evidence for gravity and evolution.

Offline Oniya

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #151 on: March 29, 2011, 02:01:25 AM »
First, remember that everything in science is always just a theory.  Nothing is proven.  Gravity is still a theory. 

Please read this with regards to the definition of scientific theories.

Offline Will

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #152 on: March 29, 2011, 02:06:59 AM »
If you're going to call creationism a theory (which it's not; see Oniya's post), and use that as sufficient reason to have it taught in schools, then I could easily come up with any number of outlandish, off-the-cuff 'theories' with little to no supporting evidence.  And then demand that they be taught in schools.

Offline Noelle

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #153 on: March 29, 2011, 07:17:03 AM »
First, remember that everything in science is always just a theory.  Nothing is proven.  Gravity is still a theory.  Scientists have come to accept that not everything can be proven, but they can make educated guesses and come to a conclusion of what is the most likely answer.

This brand of thinking is dangerous, as I see it as only a half-step away from saying "how do we know anything?!" which is a whole different brand of thinking that I'm not sure I can begin to even touch on and is counterproductive to any kind of discussion anyway.

Quote
I realize that I've gone off on this huge tangent trying to answer your question, so I'll pull myself back to my original point.  In my opinion, both should be taught in schools as theories (which they both are).  Evolution, though there is a lot more evidence that backs it up and is the answer that most fits what we already know about evolution and animals today, is still a theory.  Creationism has nothing to back it up and is pretty much just a story, but it is still a theory.  If we want to be fair, we will teach both of them as such, and lay out all of the evidence to let people make their own informed decisions.

Here is the interesting thing about your post -- you use the word 'myth' to describe what the ancient people used to teach their people. Myth is what we use to describe those narratives that the Greeks and Romans used in terms of their religion, but Christianity's take on the matter is suddenly a theory. Why is it any different? Both are using faith and religious techniques to try and explain the supposedly unexplained, but nobody is pushing for stories about the Yggdrasil or Zeus to be taught in our schools. Why is one religion given more legitimacy when the others are simply entertaining myths? That's blatantly against our separation of church and state, for one, and that doesn't even begin to cover the fact that religion is not on the same level as science, full stop.

Offline Jude

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #154 on: March 29, 2011, 07:19:25 AM »
There's nothing wrong with teaching people in school what Christians think.  The problem is, it has no place in a science class.  Creationism belongs in a world religions course, as does discussions of the specific forms that it takes, not in a biology class where evolution is discussed.  No one's trying to pretend religion doesn't exist or expunge it from reality, we just want it discussed in its proper context.

Offline ShadowRaven4d4

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #155 on: March 29, 2011, 08:16:40 AM »
Figured I would drop in on this discussion...

I can agree to something like Creationism being taught in a religion studies course...but is creationism itself  outlined in the bible? I'm not that familiar with Religious texts so I am not privy to specifics.

I had always believed Evolution had evidence in that, to my knowledge, we have not found ANY remains of modern animals in the Jurassic period, or really any period where our large reptilian friends the dinosaurs lived. If no proof  exists these animals existed at that point in history, where did they come from?

I find the whole "Creationism vs Evolution" idea to be rather ridiculous, my experience in dealing with Creationist beliefs is that its Evolution with the phrase "God does it" slapped on the package.

Offline Oniya

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #156 on: March 29, 2011, 09:44:37 AM »
I can agree to something like Creationism being taught in a religion studies course...but is creationism itself  outlined in the bible? I'm not that familiar with Religious texts so I am not privy to specifics.

Creationism is, very specifically, the origin of life as described in the first chapter of Genesis.  There is a second creation narrative in the second chapter (starting at verse 4), but it seems to be mostly overlooked by most people who wish to teach creationism vs. evolution.

(Interestingly, in the second version, man is created before the plants and animals.  Also, 'Adam and Eve' as separate creative thoughts don't show up in the Chapter 1 narrative - mankind is created 'male and female' in one stroke.)

Offline ShadowRaven4d4

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #157 on: March 29, 2011, 10:03:34 AM »
Creationism is, very specifically, the origin of life as described in the first chapter of Genesis.  There is a second creation narrative in the second chapter (starting at verse 4), but it seems to be mostly overlooked by most people who wish to teach creationism vs. evolution.

(Interestingly, in the second version, man is created before the plants and animals.  Also, 'Adam and Eve' as separate creative thoughts don't show up in the Chapter 1 narrative - mankind is created 'male and female' in one stroke.)

Now that seems a very interesting little error doesn't it? I have always looked at the stories of the bible as just that, stories. Moral lessons not a literal description of humanities origins.

Offline Silk

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #158 on: March 29, 2011, 11:49:40 AM »
But only a small portion of biblicle stories have any value as moral lessons. I don't think anyone would dispute that the guidelines on how to keep slaves, or stoning rebellious children is of no moral value in the modern world.

Offline Oniya

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #159 on: March 29, 2011, 12:48:00 PM »
Remember, though, that most casual exposure to biblical stories is to the ones with some sort of lesson, and not to the endless lists that you find in books like Leviticus (laws), Kings (genealogy), and Numbers (censuses).  Ask a group of thirty people what their favorite Bible story is, and I'm willing to bet that none of those books is mentioned.  Heck, I surprised my catechism teacher by pulling something out of Revelations.  I liked the one with the dragon and the woman clothed in the sun with the moon at her feet.  The teacher couldn't find it.   O:)

Offline ShadowRaven4d4

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #160 on: March 29, 2011, 02:55:21 PM »
Remember, though, that most casual exposure to biblical stories is to the ones with some sort of lesson, and not to the endless lists that you find in books like Leviticus (laws), Kings (genealogy), and Numbers (censuses).  Ask a group of thirty people what their favorite Bible story is, and I'm willing to bet that none of those books is mentioned.  Heck, I surprised my catechism teacher by pulling something out of Revelations.  I liked the one with the dragon and the woman clothed in the sun with the moon at her feet.  The teacher couldn't find it.   O:)

I had to read bits from the bible when I was in a private christian school during my middle school years, I guess the teacher never had us read any impacting stories because I don't remember anything from that time.

Offline Oniya

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #161 on: March 29, 2011, 03:09:16 PM »
I was raised Catholic, and I'm also a compulsive reader.  (The first month I spent living in the same house as Mr. Oniya was very... enlightening.)  So, my exposure was a bit more than the 'average' Catholic.  Even so, I've seen books of 'Favorite Bible Stories' in book stores, and you get things like Jonah and the Whale, Noah's Ark, the Nativity Story, Daniel in the Lions' Den, David and Goliath, Samson and the Philistines - those are the ones I'm just pulling out of the air.  You definitely don't get things like the Song of Solomon - which is actually some fun reading, as a dialogue between two lovers. 

Basically, what I'm saying is that there are certain stories that are definitely moral lessons, and those are the ones that someone who doesn't study it, or go to services (you get some of the less exciting stuff during the readings) is likely to be familiar with.  It's the same way that most people know a handful of Greek myths, but wouldn't recognize many of Aristophanes' or even Ovid's works

Offline ShadowRaven4d4

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #162 on: March 29, 2011, 04:26:34 PM »
I was raised Catholic, and I'm also a compulsive reader.  (The first month I spent living in the same house as Mr. Oniya was very... enlightening.)  So, my exposure was a bit more than the 'average' Catholic.  Even so, I've seen books of 'Favorite Bible Stories' in book stores, and you get things like Jonah and the Whale, Noah's Ark, the Nativity Story, Daniel in the Lions' Den, David and Goliath, Samson and the Philistines - those are the ones I'm just pulling out of the air.  You definitely don't get things like the Song of Solomon - which is actually some fun reading, as a dialogue between two lovers. 

Basically, what I'm saying is that there are certain stories that are definitely moral lessons, and those are the ones that someone who doesn't study it, or go to services (you get some of the less exciting stuff during the readings) is likely to be familiar with.  It's the same way that most people know a handful of Greek myths, but wouldn't recognize many of Aristophanes' or even Ovid's works

Most of what people learn about any particular story is hearsay from family or friends rather than an actual source. A friend of mine thought that The wife of Hades(forget her name) was a mortal, but I told her "no her mother was the goddess of the harvest, thus she was a goddess herself." which she argued against until she looked it up. It doesn't help people get their stories straight when sources don't agree with one another.

I have not heard half of the stories you listed and I thought I had at least a moderate familiarity with biblical stories, but tell me, in short, what is the Song of Solomon? At its core not word for word, the setting and circumstances

Offline Oniya

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #163 on: March 29, 2011, 07:33:40 PM »
It's supposed to be a dialogue between a man and a woman, moving from courtship to consummation.  It's about as erotic as anything in the Bible ever gets, which is why I say it's fun reading.  The priests say it's an allegory about the relationship between God and the Church, or God and Israel - but sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Offline ShadowRaven4d4

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #164 on: March 30, 2011, 08:22:04 AM »
It's supposed to be a dialogue between a man and a woman, moving from courtship to consummation.  It's about as erotic as anything in the Bible ever gets, which is why I say it's fun reading.  The priests say it's an allegory about the relationship between God and the Church, or God and Israel - but sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Ahhh, I do find it amusing when any individual tries to say something akin too "That's not a cigar that's a glass of wine." Clearly it is in fact...a cigar. But then so many things in the bible are open to interpretation the Priests might just be assuming The Song of Solomon is also so, at least at a level deeper than it really is.

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Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #165 on: March 31, 2011, 12:00:47 PM »
oooh colls I just saw a special on the vatacan on the history channel.
they've embraced science a LOT more than I thought, in fact many priests are still part scientist.
The Vatacan actually has a scientific division, which does a lot of cool stuff. and the pope's summer residence has an observitory right next door.

Also around in the early 1900s they completely abandoned the idea of biblical literalisim. and started catching up with the times. Pope John paul the second completely changed the way the place works and thinks towards the media and science.

They seem to have silently remained at the forefront of theoretical research, because the vatacan doesn't have to compete for grant money or prove their research has a "practical financial or industrial pourpose"

interisting quote from one of an astrologer priest "people always ask me, if you find aliens out there, would you baptise them? my response is, yes if they asked, we never know, H2O might be poisonious to them"

it was an interisting special... and I'm not even cathloic.
oh cool thing, the vatacan now has a website, and you can actually chat with the pope nowadays thanks to the internet.

Offline meikle

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #166 on: April 01, 2011, 01:54:52 PM »
Ahhh, I do find it amusing when any individual tries to say something akin too "That's not a cigar that's a glass of wine." Clearly it is in fact...a cigar. But then so many things in the bible are open to interpretation the Priests might just be assuming The Song of Solomon is also so, at least at a level deeper than it really is.

It doesn't help that the man and wife metaphor has precedent earlier in the bible (Hosea is a good example, using his relationship with his wife to suggest that Israel is like a disloyal prostitute but the Lord loves her anyway, more or less.  Yeah, there's a little more to it than that.)  That's more explicitly set out as a metaphor, though.

Offline Oniya

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #167 on: April 01, 2011, 02:11:47 PM »
Right.  The Song has been compared and found similar to other Middle Eastern 'love poems' that have nothing to do with religious themes.

Offline Shjade

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #168 on: April 10, 2011, 01:15:44 PM »
Which begs the question: why is it in the Bible?

Offline Silk

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #169 on: April 10, 2011, 04:23:53 PM »
Which begs the question: why is it in the Bible?

Why is there as much as there is in the bible, most of it rarely gets mentioned. A prime example is the book of ruth.

Offline meikle

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #170 on: April 11, 2011, 03:45:33 PM »
Which begs the question: why is it in the Bible?

Because when someone like King Solomon writes a love poem, you don't just throw it out. :p

Offline Shjade

Re: Evolution and Religion
« Reply #171 on: April 17, 2011, 05:11:38 PM »
Of course you don't throw it out. You publish it in Solomon's Soul Songs Vol. 2: Solomon Got His Groove Back.

King Solomon may have been a cool guy, but that doesn't translate into, "We should put his serenade in this religious text!"