Misunderstanding of the theory of evolution by creationists.

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AngelRho
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27 Aug 2012, 2:37 pm

6655321 wrote:
The theory of evolution does not address the first origins of life on this planet. It isn't about strengthening any cases--it just doesn't do that.

Evolution wouldn't pose so much of a problem for creationists if that was the end of it. I mean, I DO KNOW what evolution is and isn't. I'm not completely opposed to evolution. But there are certain people who will actively work at using the theory of evolution to discredit the whole of a religious text such as the Bible. The idea is if the Bible can be shown to be bad information or only intended as symbolism, then perhaps it is untrue. Effectively, you're pushing believers into a corner with that approach. The logical conclusion (for the believer) is either the Bible is true in its entirety OR there is no reason to take the Bible seriously. It is my opinion that a smart Christian will recognize that his opponent is making a theological argument and not a scientific argument when he crosses that line. Once a believer understands that he is being fought on his own turf, the pseudo-scientific argument-turned-religion falls completely apart. Similarly, if a believer tries to attack science using theology, he will fail.

TBG is perhaps the most thorough evolution apologist on this forum and I genuinely enjoy reading and responding to his posts. But he makes the same mistake almost every time by suggesting Christians MUST necessarily change their views on God because of supposed empirical evidence. He gets so stuck on empiricism that his mind simply won't allow him to accept anything beyond the natural world. The root of the issue is that theology presupposes (axiomatically) that there is a God/god(s) and proceeds from there. When confronted with theology, TBG's arguments break down into ad hoc excuses that make evolution pretty much absurd DESPITE the physical evidence that favors it.

If you want to make arguments AGAINST theological truths relating to Genesis, you're going to have to deal with origins whether you like it or not. The abiogenesis hypothesis is an extremely weak one without accepting, say, an Intelligent Designer or some off-world origin to account the appearance of life coinciding with the geological age of the earth.

If you seriously mean that evolution cannot make a case for/against Genesis, then GREAT--you're much closer to intellectual honesty than some. Start fighting theology with science, though, and you're asking for trouble.

And I don't mean to say that EVERYONE who believes in evolution is trying to strike down Genesis 1. There are a few who are a lot less subtle than TBG with it. It's like saying every single Christian out there is a YC nutcase who goes to WBC. This is untrue even among evangelicals.



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27 Aug 2012, 2:39 pm

Kraichgauer wrote:
Creationists are stuck with a pre-scientific age mindset, which includes the belief that unless you take the Biblical creation account 100% literally, you can't be a real Christian. -Bill, otherwise known as Kraichgauer

There was a time when religion ruled western civilization; that time is now referred to as the Dark Ages.


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Hopper
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27 Aug 2012, 3:40 pm

AngelRho - but why privilege the Christian story? Or presume (Christian) Theology over, say, Philosophy? There is no reason to start from those points over the other available.

You do have to start off from somewhere - there is no 'view from nowhere'. But discussing this stuff in good faith means we should be aware of where we're starting from, and (as much as we can) not privelige it. I am an atheist. I was raised in a vaguely Christian country, though with no serious Christian teaching or involvement. Christianity is simply the theology I'm most aware of - I know there is no reason, if there is a deity, that I should privelige the belief that it's the God of The Bible over any other God(s) of any other teaching, lest that deity appear to us all and tell us clearly who's been getting it right. Any inclination to do so is down to my upbringing.

As it is, where I am interested as to how life came to be (in both its variety and origin), I'll read the people who had ideas and did their best to test them in ways that make sense and are repeatable. It doesn't always seem like much - and I have my own issues with scientists and the institution of science - but it seems about the only decent way to go about it. And where we don't know, or can't even theorise, so be it - we might work it out, we might not, but there is no need in calling in a deity.



ruveyn
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27 Aug 2012, 3:41 pm

Fnord wrote:
There was a time when religion ruled western civilization; that time is now referred to as the Dark Ages.


Isaac Newton born in 1642, died in 1726, was a believer. Religion was legally imposed in England during Newton's lifetime and he kept has heretical denial of the Trinity very private while he lived. Religion did not really lose its grip until the 19th century which was well after the "dark ages".

Virtually every scientist who worked prior to the middle of the 19th century was a believer. Even Charles Darwin started out in training for the ministry.

ruveyn



6655321
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27 Aug 2012, 4:01 pm

AngelRho wrote:
6655321 wrote:
The theory of evolution does not address the first origins of life on this planet. It isn't about strengthening any cases--it just doesn't do that.

Evolution wouldn't pose so much of a problem for creationists if that was the end of it. I mean, I DO KNOW what evolution is and isn't. I'm not completely opposed to evolution. But there are certain people who will actively work at using the theory of evolution to discredit the whole of a religious text such as the Bible. The idea is if the Bible can be shown to be bad information or only intended as symbolism, then perhaps it is untrue. Effectively, you're pushing believers into a corner with that approach. The logical conclusion (for the believer) is either the Bible is true in its entirety OR there is no reason to take the Bible seriously. It is my opinion that a smart Christian will recognize that his opponent is making a theological argument and not a scientific argument when he crosses that line. Once a believer understands that he is being fought on his own turf, the pseudo-scientific argument-turned-religion falls completely apart. Similarly, if a believer tries to attack science using theology, he will fail.

TBG is perhaps the most thorough evolution apologist on this forum and I genuinely enjoy reading and responding to his posts. But he makes the same mistake almost every time by suggesting Christians MUST necessarily change their views on God because of supposed empirical evidence. He gets so stuck on empiricism that his mind simply won't allow him to accept anything beyond the natural world. The root of the issue is that theology presupposes (axiomatically) that there is a God/god(s) and proceeds from there. When confronted with theology, TBG's arguments break down into ad hoc excuses that make evolution pretty much absurd DESPITE the physical evidence that favors it.

If you want to make arguments AGAINST theological truths relating to Genesis, you're going to have to deal with origins whether you like it or not. The abiogenesis hypothesis is an extremely weak one without accepting, say, an Intelligent Designer or some off-world origin to account the appearance of life coinciding with the geological age of the earth.

If you seriously mean that evolution cannot make a case for/against Genesis, then GREAT--you're much closer to intellectual honesty than some. Start fighting theology with science, though, and you're asking for trouble.

And I don't mean to say that EVERYONE who believes in evolution is trying to strike down Genesis 1. There are a few who are a lot less subtle than TBG with it. It's like saying every single Christian out there is a YC nutcase who goes to WBC. This is untrue even among evangelicals.


I am totally unprepared to discuss all that. I am only prepared (and really only want to) to defend what I actually wrote in that post, and nothing more. Maybe at some point I'd like to talk about Genesis or other parts of the Bible or whatever, but that time is not now. I am willing to defend the points I actually made in that post. :)



TheBicyclingGuitarist
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27 Aug 2012, 4:28 pm

AngelRho wrote:
TBG is perhaps the most thorough evolution apologist on this forum and I genuinely enjoy reading and responding to his posts. But he makes the same mistake almost every time by suggesting Christians MUST necessarily change their views on God because of supposed empirical evidence. He gets so stuck on empiricism that his mind simply won't allow him to accept anything beyond the natural world. The root of the issue is that theology presupposes (axiomatically) that there is a God/god(s) and proceeds from there. When confronted with theology, TBG's arguments break down into ad hoc excuses that make evolution pretty much absurd DESPITE the physical evidence that favors it.


In the last thread we had a discussion in, you seemed to think that my describing how breeding populations evolve (not individual organisms) was an ad hoc excuse. It is apparent that shifts in the relative frequencies of the alleles in the genes of breeding populations of organisms is how new species form. This is not an excuse and it does not make evolution absurd; it just demonstrates how little you understand it. In our last discussion I recall that more than once you completely missed the point of my explanations and quoted my words as if they supported the opposite of what was actually said.

Also, I do NOT insist that Christians change their views on God. Anyone can believe whatever they want, until their beliefs threaten others. I ask how I can accept the fundie Christian interpretation of Scripture as a guide to spiritual truths when it is demonstrably out of touch with reality regarding the age of the earth and the fact of evolution. Whether you call me a liar or not, I would like to believe the story of sweet Jesus saving us at such great pain to himself is true. The problem I have is with the fundie interpretation is that it is flat out contradicted by every scientific observation and measurement ever made. Another problem I have is they are spreading lies that are harming our children, our country, our species, and our planet.

So if after the fundies become aware of the evidence (not the denials and distortions they are fed by the creationist web sites), if after that they still want to believe in a literal reading of Genesis, I don't care. But I will defend public education of children, the USA, humanity, our planet, and most of all: TRUTH!

BIGGEST POINT: I would not be making such a big deal about this if the nut jobs would stop trying to destroy science and push THEIR particular religion into science classrooms where it does not belong, does not fit, and does not help anyone do anything.


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27 Aug 2012, 5:57 pm

The simple fact is, creationism is a pseudo-science, not a legitimate science. The only reason why anyone would want creationism taught in schools is to push a particular religious outlook. Science has nothing to do with it. If this was not so, why do not the purveyors of creationism want to teach the Muslim or Hindu, or Hopi creation accounts in school?

-Bill, otherwise known as Kraichgauer



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27 Aug 2012, 7:28 pm

Well, there you have it, Kraich ... one of my fundie friends insisted that religion should be taught in schools. I asked him which religion, and he said, "Christian, of course!" I then asked him what about the Hindu kids? He said that if they don't want to be Christians, they should not be allowed to go to public schools.

He had a lot of other screwed-up ideas.


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The_Walrus
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27 Aug 2012, 7:32 pm

Kraichgauer wrote:
The simple fact is, creationism is a pseudo-science,

This is an insult to pseudo-science!



ruveyn
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27 Aug 2012, 7:45 pm

Kraichgauer wrote:
The simple fact is, creationism is a pseudo-science, not a legitimate science. The only reason why anyone would want creationism taught in schools is to push a particular religious outlook. Science has nothing to do with it. If this was not so, why do not the purveyors of creationism want to teach the Muslim or Hindu, or Hopi creation accounts in school?

-Bill, otherwise known as Kraichgauer


Creationism is not even wrong. It is just nonsense.

ruveyn



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27 Aug 2012, 7:47 pm

Fnord wrote:
Well, there you have it, Kraich ... one of my fundie friends insisted that religion should be taught in schools. I asked him which religion, and he said, "Christian, of course!" I then asked him what about the Hindu kids? He said that if they don't want to be Christians, they should not be allowed to go to public schools.

He had a lot of other screwed-up ideas.


Him, and millions of other fundies. I wonder how he'd feel if it were reversed, and someone said Christian children shouldn't be allowed to go to school?

-Bill, otherwise known as Kraichgauer



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27 Aug 2012, 7:49 pm

The_Walrus wrote:
Kraichgauer wrote:
The simple fact is, creationism is a pseudo-science,

This is an insult to pseudo-science!


I can't disagree with that statement.

-Bill, otherwise known as Kraichgauer



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27 Aug 2012, 7:52 pm

ruveyn wrote:
Kraichgauer wrote:
The simple fact is, creationism is a pseudo-science, not a legitimate science. The only reason why anyone would want creationism taught in schools is to push a particular religious outlook. Science has nothing to do with it. If this was not so, why do not the purveyors of creationism want to teach the Muslim or Hindu, or Hopi creation accounts in school?

-Bill, otherwise known as Kraichgauer


Creationism is not even wrong. It is just nonsense.

ruveyn


Unfortunately, nonsense has a way of spreading like wildfire, while the truth is at best often viewed with suspicion.

-Bill, otherwise known as Kraichgauer



Fnord
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27 Aug 2012, 7:54 pm

There are Creationists who don't even understand the full scope of Thermodynamics. They say that the 1st law prohibits the "Big Bang" (something from nothing), and that the 2nd law prohibits an increase in genetic information (entropy). Even if this were true, I remember a little-known quantum principle that goes something like "For extremely small scales, matter is created and destroyed at random; and order arises from disorder, and then back again", thus allowing a 'window' for the "Big Bang" to occur, and for DNA to increase in complexity over long periods of time. I'd have to do some digging on this one, but I think Feynman had a lot to say on the topic.


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27 Aug 2012, 7:56 pm

Kraichgauer wrote:
... nonsense has a way of spreading like wildfire, while the truth is at best often viewed with suspicion. -Bill, otherwise known as Kraichgauer

"A lie can travel halfway 'round the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes." -- Samuel L. Clemens


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