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Author Topic: Evolution and Religion  (Read 16566 times)

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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 »
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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?

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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 Godís 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 Godís 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 Godís creation, then I must also point out that scientology releases quite a bit of fiction as well.  To date I donít 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 »
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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.

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As for the use of fiction to explain away the philosophy that science is studying Godís 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.

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To date I donít 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 thingís 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 »
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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.