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Thread: Why is "creationism" and Intelligent Design"

  1. #1 Why is "creationism" and Intelligent Design" 
    Forum Bachelors Degree charles brough's Avatar
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    If scientists knew how to deal with the issue effectively, it would not be a such a growing threat to science! Unfortunately, it is and their resistance to the religious reaction trend is ineffectual.

    The "Born Again" claim that "living beings are too complex to have arisen by chance." But does "chance" have anything to do with evolution? We in science should know that everything is an unending chain of cause and effect. "Chance" is just that which we do not (yet) understand are the causes.

    Unfortunately, too many scientists don't get it, however. In his Burguess Shale book, Gould attributed the evolution of pre-Columbian life forms to "luck" or "chance" and showed a "Creationist"-Intelligent Design way of thinking. Such "science" is a form of mysticism, not science.

    The "Born Again" also claim that "Evolution is just one theory and not the only one." Again, scientists are unable to effectively rebutt this because they themselves call it a "theory." Since they do not know everything about evolution and cannot, therefore, prove it to be "The Truth," it is not, therefore, "fact" and so, on and on. What confusion! EVERYTHING we believe is "theory" in that none of it is absolute truth. All of it is more or less accurate or inaccurate. We can never know everything about anything. All the science we use to improve our environment is all theory and in various stages of being made more accurate. It is not static, and, hence, never "proven." It is all ultimately certain to be made more accurate and, hence, more useful to us. We will never know eveything---as the old religions claim THEY do.

    So, the theory of evolution is not "truth" but it is far more accurate than the "Alternate theory" (the obsolete, Biblical story) of Creation.

    In other words, scientists so poorly understand their own system that they give the enemies of science all the ammunition they need to humiliate science and put it on the defensive.


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    Science is not going to be very well defended by you if you don't understand science yourself, Charles, as seems to be the case.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Brough
    The "Born Again" claim that "living beings are too complex to have arisen by chance." But does "chance" have anything to do with evolution? We in science should know that everything is an unending chain of cause and effect. "Chance" is just that which we do not (yet) understand are the causes.
    Chance is not a synomym for that which is not understood - Chance is a very well understood scientific concept. Just because an outcome is unpredictable a priori does not mean it is not fully understood, both as an outcome and as having arisen from chance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Brough
    Unfortunately, too many scientists don't get it, however. In his Burgess Shale book, Gould attributed the evolution of pre-Columbian life forms to "luck" or "chance" and showed a "Creationist"-Intelligent Design way of thinking. Such "science" is a form of mysticism, not science.
    Unfortunately, you are evidently unaware of Stephen Jay Gould's rock solid credentials both as an evolutionary scientist and as a writer for the popular audience on scientific subjects. He has not misunderstood the nature of Chance, but rather you seem to have misunderstood what he wrote. You also seem to attribute a belief in Chance as being the same as the beliefs of Creationists and ID-ers. This is the opposite of the case, as Creationists and ID-ers don't believe in Chance at all, but in the Direct, Willed Hand of God. A belief in Chance and "Luck" is actually not mystical, since it presupposes the absence of any external guiding will.

    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Brough
    So, the theory of evolution is not "truth" but it is far more accurate than the "Alternate theory" (the obsolete, Biblical story) of Creation.

    In other words, scientists so poorly understand their own system that they give the enemies of science all the ammunition they need to humiliate science and put it on the defensive.
    There are many many posts here written by the scientifically literate which more than adequately put the case that Evolution is as much a fact as the "Theory of Gravity" or the "Theory of Relativity." Meanwhile you berate "scientists" as a whole for referring to the Theory of Evolution as a theory, and yet in the section I highlighted you made an even more egregious Creationist-fuelling phrase!

    Science is not humiliated by the arguments of Creationists and ID'ers, at least not as far as I have seen. Prior to Gould's lamented demise, he and Richard Dawkins (Darwin's Modern Bulldog, if you like) were going to issue a statement to the effect that the reason they don't engage in open debate with Creationists (and the like) is because that only gives Creationists publicity and fans the flames of their dogmatic frenzies. Meanwhile, they, and the vast majority of the rest of the scientific community carry on doing their scientific work, happy in the knowledge that if they assume Evolution to be correct, then they get the right answers. Answers to questions of crucial importance today, such as where the recent outbreak of Avian flu came from and how best to deal with it.

    As to those of us on these forums, we argue evolution back and forth because we enjoy doing it!

    EDITED to moderate the tone after Charles's response.


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  4. #3  
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    Silas wrote: "Science is not going to be very well defended by you if you don't understand science yourself, Charles, as seems to be the case."

    You took my report personally and responded accusitorily and defensively.
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    Charles, respond to my specific points, please, not the (hardly excessively overzealous) tenor of my writing.

    EDIT: I went back over it, took out one or two phrases and removed the bolding of certain words. Is that better?
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  6. #5  
    Forum Bachelors Degree charles brough's Avatar
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    Thanks, Silas.

    My remarks generally always seem to be for or against everything I write about even though I have mostly trained myself not to be for or against anything. My whole interest is only in finding causation, but I am concerned enough to seek the reasons why creationism and intelligent design are making serious headway in the U.S. (My only "prejudice" is being pro-science, but I distinguish between science and the way I believe it is being, in ways, compromised by a subliminal anti-evolution bias---something that has come to, especially, permeate the social sciences). Is science so "useless" that there can be a slow intrusion of old religion into public thinking, politics and even the educational system even though, as you seem to me to imply, scientists are not being ineffectual on the issue? What cause, then, do you attribute the trend?

    SILAS WROTE: "Chance is not a synomym for that which is not understood - Chance is a very well understood scientific concept. Just because an outcome is unpredictable a priori does not mean it is not fully understood, both as an outcome and as having arisen from chance."

    Are you saying that an unpredictable outcome can be fully understood? Can anything be fully understood? I happen to believe that everything that occurs because of multiple cause and effect. If we rather well understand the causation, it seems to me we do not call the result "chance." If we do not understand the multiple causation involved, then it is easy to "explain" it as "the product of chance."

    SILAS WROTE; "Unfortunately, you are evidently unaware of Stephen Jay Gould's rock solid credentials both as an evolutionary scientist and as a writer for the popular audience on scientific subjects."

    I am not interested in Gould's credentials. I have read a great deal of material over many decades written by highly credentialed sources which have been, even so, superficial, redundant, platitudenous, or simply double talk. I have listed in the appendix to my work 21 seperate word-tricks used academically to further careers at the cost of real science.

    SILAS WROTE: "Meanwhile you berate "scientists" as a whole for referring to the Theory of Evolution as a theory, and yet in the section I highlighted you made an even more egregious Creationist-fuelling phrase."

    I don't know what your are referring to. Is it that I think scientists are unwilling to deal with the issue of their being no such thing as "truth"? I think the whole debate on the issue would be humiliating to scientists and a spectacle to people who "know the Truth" (Christians and people of all the other faiths). It is demoralizing to a people who have always been taught to "seek truth". The thought that science is only "the improving of the accurancy of what we believe or understand about ourselves and our universe" seems to be unimpressive compared to the know-everything doctrines of all the world's religions. Bring up the subject of there being no truth to college students and my experience is that they will not face it and deal with it. We can outgrow Santa Claus but not "truth." Yet, since we will or cannot surmount that barrier, scientists are forced to stand up their "theories" against what the faithful regard as "truths." Which is better, "truth or theory"? People tend to prefer "certainty," "truth."

    SILAS WROTE: "the vast majority of the rest of the scientific community carry on doing their scientific work, happy in the knowledge that if they assume Evolution to be correct, then they get the right answers. Answers to questions of crucial importance today, such as where the recent outbreak of Avian flu came from and how best to deal with it. "

    Of course. More biology scientist members of the National Academy of Science or atheists than in any other science. Biology is one thing, the social sciences are yet another. The social sciences cover most of the same subject matter dealt with by the religions. A good example of the conflict is with social evolution. This is a big subect which has suffered and remaines stagnant because of reluctance to offend the faithful. There is no real explanation of the social evolutionary processes which cause societies and their civilizations to rise and fall. Biological evolution does not cause it and it is also not explained by "memes." Does this subject interest you?

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    Quote Originally Posted by charles brough
    Thanks, Silas.

    My remarks generally always seem to be for or against everything I write about even though I have mostly trained myself not to be for or against anything. My whole interest is only in finding causation, but I am concerned enough to seek the reasons why creationism and intelligent design are making serious headway in the U.S. (My only "prejudice" is being pro-science, but I distinguish between science and the way I believe it is being, in ways, compromised by a subliminal anti-evolution bias---something that has come to, especially, permeate the social sciences). Is science so "useless" that there can be a slow intrusion of old religion into public thinking, politics and even the educational system even though, as you seem to me to imply, scientists are not being ineffectual on the issue? What cause, then, do you attribute the trend?
    See further down this post as to a good reference to read on this very issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by charles brough
    SILAS WROTE: "Chance is not a synomym for that which is not understood - Chance is a very well understood scientific concept. Just because an outcome is unpredictable a priori does not mean it is not fully understood, both as an outcome and as having arisen from chance."

    Are you saying that an unpredictable outcome can be fully understood? Can anything be fully understood? I happen to believe that everything that occurs because of multiple cause and effect. If we rather well understand the causation, it seems to me we do not call the result "chance." If we do not understand the multiple causation involved, then it is easy to "explain" it as "the product of chance."
    Again, you are confusing "understanding the cause and process" with "knowing what the outcome will be". We frequently fully understand all the causes and processes that go into an unpredictable outcome - but we can't predict the outcome because we don't know the values for the various variables. We don't know the initial conditions, and it has been proved for many situations that we cannot ever know the full initial state. That does not mean that the process (whether it's the weather a week from today or simply the tossing of a coin) is not completely understood.

    Quote Originally Posted by charles brough
    SILAS WROTE; "Unfortunately, you are evidently unaware of Stephen Jay Gould's rock solid credentials both as an evolutionary scientist and as a writer for the popular audience on scientific subjects."

    I am not interested in Gould's credentials.
    Tut.

    Quote Originally Posted by charles brough
    I have read a great deal of material over many decades written by highly credentialed sources which have been, even so, superficial, redundant, platitudenous, or simply double talk.
    So are you interested in credentials or not?
    Quote Originally Posted by charles brough
    I have listed in the appendix to my work 21 seperate word-tricks used academically to further careers at the cost of real science.
    Here you are basically describing Gould's writing in a way that I find does not conform to the truth whatsoever. But I haven't seen this appendix of yours.

    Stephen Jay Gould's popular writings have encouraged many to take science up as a career, I have no doubt whatsoever. And the last work he completed before his death, the magisterial The Structure of Evolutionary Theory, certainly won't have any "double talk" in it at all, as it is intended to be the premier textbook and reference work on the whole subject.

    So to answer your question above about why there seems to be a trend towards irrational thought, may I recommend S.J. Gould's Why People Believe Weird Things.

    Quote Originally Posted by charles brough
    SILAS WROTE: "Meanwhile you berate "scientists" as a whole for referring to the Theory of Evolution as a theory, and yet in the section I highlighted you made an even more egregious Creationist-fuelling phrase."

    I don't know what your are referring to.
    It was the part of your original quote that I put in bold, to whit: "So, the theory of evolution is not "truth"".
    Quote Originally Posted by charles brough
    Is it that I think scientists are unwilling to deal with the issue of their being no such thing as "truth"?
    No, in fact it's the scientists themselves that bring that up. But it is then jumped on by creationists who feel that they have what in judicial terms would be a "reasonable doubt", and thus a loophole through which they can sneak ID. Science can then explain until it's blue in the face that just because they are not willing to label some area of knowledge "100% certain" does not mean that it is not utterly irrational to completely doubt the entire edifice of the theory in question, but it makes no difference. You have here been talking about the fact that scientists themselves raise doubts about the value of the science they do, doubts which are jumped on by Creationists, and then you yourself said "Evolution is not 'truth'" as if that was an argument in your favour!
    Quote Originally Posted by charles brough
    I think the whole debate on the issue would be humiliating to scientists and a spectacle to people who "know the Truth" (Christians and people of all the other faiths).
    It is humiliating, where the debate between evolution and Creationism is held on just those terms. As an evolutionist (and an atheist) I remember finding the TalkOrigins.org website and looking forward to seeing them stick it to the Creationists. To that end I read several of the transcribed debates. But I did not get very far before I realised that the only thing sadder than the Creationists standing up and debating their views and thus ruthlessly exposing their feet of clay, was the evolutionists who debated them. Whichever way the beliefs of the audience tended, nobody was changing any minds. Actually engaging in "debate", as if the matter was debatable, was only harming the cause of science.

    This was less important then than it is today with the ID lobby getting stronger. But in a way, I'm really not concerned. I'm not American, so it doesn't matter to me one way or another if America chooses to harm its economic wellbeing by stultifying the education of their children and teaching them nonsense instead of something useful.

    Quote Originally Posted by charles brough
    It is demoralizing to a people who have always been taught to "seek truth". The thought that science is only "the improving of the accurancy of what we believe or understand about ourselves and our universe" seems to be unimpressive compared to the know-everything doctrines of all the world's religions. Bring up the subject of there being no truth to college students and my experience is that they will not face it and deal with it. We can outgrow Santa Claus but not "truth." Yet, since we will or cannot surmount that barrier, scientists are forced to stand up their "theories" against what the faithful regard as "truths." Which is better, "truth or theory"? People tend to prefer "certainty," "truth."
    And it is the job of science to point out that there is more certainty in science's uncertainty than there is truth in Religion's Truth.

    Quote Originally Posted by charles brough
    The social sciences cover most of the same subject matter dealt with by the religions. A good example of the conflict is with social evolution. This is a big subect which has suffered and remaines stagnant because of reluctance to offend the faithful.
    I'm not certain that this is true. There are a great deal of political issues which are not being handled properly because of the reluctance to offend the faithful, but (though I'm not an expert) I wouldn't like to say outright that social sciences, as a discipline, are not tackling the issues intellectually.
    Quote Originally Posted by charles brough
    There is no real explanation of the social evolutionary processes which cause societies and their civilizations to rise and fall. Biological evolution does not cause it and it is also not explained by "memes." Does this subject interest you?
    Well, no it doesn't interest me, but neither do I think that there is "no real" explanation. For something of this nature, there may be no direct proof one way or another, but surely there are many different opinions and theories. In a social sciences context, the best thing to do is to read the various opinions and find which one your happiest with. But say there is a definite theory as to the rise and fall of civilisations, exactly how would you apply it to prevent the fall of our civilisation? This is the kind of problem that afflicts regular science as well as social science. The fact is that even if there is a solution, there are always going to be people who do not accept your solution or won't abide by it. Compare, say, population control in China.
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    I hesitate (NOT!) to jump into the middle of this dialogue, but I think you both sort of neglect to comprehend the crux of the issue.

    Science is unsuccessful in heading off the idea of creationism or intelligent design because it fails to address and cannot answer the questions most of us have, to wit: “What am I doing here? Why do I exist?”

    Science in general, and evolution more specifically, has no capacity to address the why’s of life. Science, where it may be somewhat related to these questions, leaves us with the stark conclusion that we are merely the result of numerous random and accidental occurrences.

    (I can agree that some people are the result of “accidents,” but I hardly think that is what is at issue here.)

    Science leaves us with no purposes other than those which involve the self – self gratification, self aggrandizement, self promotion, survival of the self and so on down a long list of self serving practices.

    One wonders of what significance the use of “Born Again” has to what Chas. was attempting to state. The “Born Again” are only a small portion of the populace who find complexity as a significant detractor to some evolutionary models. Nor is complexity the only detractor that the “Born Again” might choose to extol.

    Science is directed at the whats and hows of evolution while religions seem to focus more on the whys.

    I have no idea what percentage of the people who have ever been born were famous enough to make it into the history books. But it is very small, I am sure.

    Science gives us only the hope that we will live and die and, if we are lucky, some genealogist will note our existence by inserting our name into a family book and that will be our contribution to the world. Science emphasizes the insignificance and meaninglessness of life.

    That is why we have creationism and intelligent design. They give us hope that there is a purpose for our being here. They give us hope that we are more than just a collection of insignificant blobs of sentient protoplasm. They suggest that something somewhere holds us in high esteem and places value on our existence.

    Whether evolution is theory or fact or truth or fiction is not significant to the issue you attempt to raise. The religious objections to evolution focus on those who attempt to use it to remove meaning and purpose from life.
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  9. #8 religion 
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    . . . an excellent observation . . .

    Yes, scientists are not adressing the issue of "why do I exist? and "what am I doing here?" I am sure everyone here would say it is a problem because science cannot deal with that. So, that contributes to the return of religion in the U.S.

    But, really, it is wrong to say science cannot and should not deal with the question. We know that "why something exists" is explained by the causation involved. Because the old religions are all based on belief in spirits, the causation involved is intuitively tied in with the belief in them. Thus, it becomes implied in the question as "what purpose do the gods or God see in me?" It is almost as though we intiutively feel that we are just playthings of His which serve His purpse.

    This implies that we have to have a belief in spirits in order to have a goal or purpose. Actually, we do not need to believe in spirits in order to have goals which provide meaning to our existence.

    I say that what makes religions successful is that when they originated, they drew from available science and used it to answer four basic questions we as human beings have instinctively sought to answer ever since we developed langauge:

    what is our common origin?

    What is or are our common goals?

    What are the (moral code) means we are to follow in order to achieve them?

    AND, What stand in our way?

    Note that evolution is a broad and compete answer to the first question.
    That leaves the other questions. What about them? I say that it is the obligation of the social sciences to answer them scientifically also. This is applied social science. All sciences can and should be applied in order to fully serve us all.

    I say we do it by recognizing that "religion" is merely a successful form of ideology capable of bonding vast numbers of people into a common world view and way of thinking which enables them to operate efficiently and contentedly in an effective society---one much larger than the small hunting-gathering size groups we were evolved to be instinctively functional in. So, we need to, in effect, transform modern social sciences into the form of a religion by rationally, scientifically, answering the other three questions as well.

    But how? It is not hard! The mainstream religion built world societies have grown larger and fewer over the many milleniums (there are now only four such mainstream societies: the Hindu, the Muslim, Christian and the Marxist (Asian) societies (our common secular ideology only lightly serves to unite these basic societies into a common world view on which world cooperation now rests). So, aren't we next to expect a social science world view and way of thinking (religion) that encompasses all of the world and replaces the four societies with a single, one-world one?
    Also, such a new world system would have to have such goals as the end of racism and the merging of the races, the unending growth of science, the controlling of world population growth in order to protect our withering world environment, and, for existence, the colonizing of our solar system and our spreading out into the universe.

    That would be a good start. The other two questions are as easily ansered. The world needs a better moral system. The Biblical moral codes were a great advancement at the time they were formulated, but many of them are now obsolete. Some are now even offensive while hundreds of others deal with ancient forms of measurment, ritual and or construction codes. We need ones proscribing the laying of mines, the bearing of excessive numbes of children, race hatred and descrimination, rape, slavery, the erotic display of the body in public, gambling, substance addition, etc.

    The last question is what would be the most significant problems such a world society would have to overcome. It would be superstition and fascist, barbaric and terrorist ideology.

    All this can only introduce such a broad subject, but my website at
    http://humanpurpose.simplenet.com is a more complete, initial effort. In a world loaded with WMD, it is time to deal with all this because conditions could become much worse. When it does, people will be ready for it---but only if it is ready for them by then . . .
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  10. #9 Re: religion 
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    Quote Originally Posted by charles brough
    Yes, scientists are not adressing the issue of "why do I exist? and "what am I doing here?" I am sure everyone here would say it is a problem because science cannot deal with that. .
    Your certainty is ill founded. I certainly do not agree with that. Indeed I disagree with it from the roots of my being. Your position reflects a wholly wrong perception of the character and function of science.

    We do not expect horticulture to provide solutions to problems in athletics.
    We do not expect expect history to provide solutions in haute cuisine.
    We do not expect marriage counselling to provide solutions in determining helium ratios for saturation dives.
    Why then should we expect science to provide answers that are philosophical or religious in character?
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    Chas. may not only have failed to hit the nail on the head, he may have missed it completely with this self posed and answered question.

    what is our common origin?

    Note that evolution is a broad and compete answer to the first question.
    I think you will find disagreement from both the religious community and the science community on this postulate.

    Why the science community would object to this idea is far less obvious than why some of the religious communities would object.

    However, I think it safe to say that there is a segment of the scientific community which strictly interprets evolution as a paradigm which only explains the differences in life forms as brought about through mutation and natural selection. Some do not see evolution as forming any reasonable explanation for the origins of life.



    Many of those who make the quantum leap to somehow using evolution as an explanation for the origins of life are people who embrace scientism. They grasp at straws to fulfill their primary motivation of attempting to explain the world while precluding the possibility of any form of intelligent causation.

    Chas. suggests:

    The world needs a better moral system. The Biblical moral codes were a great advancement at the time they were formulated, but many of them are now obsolete.
    This shows a complete lack of understanding of the Bible’s moral code. The Bible has only two moral laws! First -- Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your might. Second -- Love your neighbor as you love yourself.

    Everything else that people consider laws or morals are cultural and social fleshing out of those two basic laws. The 10 Commandments, for example, show four ways one can fulfill the first moral law, while the final six show ways in which one can show love for his neighbor. These concepts are further fleshed out in relation to the cultural and social environment in they were legislated. Many of these are no longer relevant to our culture and society, but the basic two moral laws remain intact.

    I can think of no moral system which provides a better framework for society than what is presented – respect God and respect other people.

    Everything Chas. (or anyone else for that matter) seeks would be fulfilled if all people operated within those two laws.

    I do not suggest that belief in “My” God is a requisite or the only way to fulfill these commands nor do I contend that all who believe in “My” God successfully fulfill these laws.

    I only suggest that if you want an idealistic moral code, you will not find a simpler statement of moral law nor a more difficult code to follow.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I hesitate (NOT!) to jump into the middle of this dialogue, but I think you both sort of neglect to comprehend the crux of the issue.

    Science is unsuccessful in heading off the idea of creationism or intelligent design because it fails to address and cannot answer the questions most of us have, to wit: “What am I doing here? Why do I exist?”

    Science in general, and evolution more specifically, has no capacity to address the why’s of life. Science, where it may be somewhat related to these questions, leaves us with the stark conclusion that we are merely the result of numerous random and accidental occurrences.
    We are left with that conclusion because that is what the evidence shows us. Science does not pervert the evidence in order to produce an atheistic or anti-religious result. The results are there for all to see and draw conclusions from.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Science leaves us with no purposes other than those which involve the self – self gratification, self aggrandizement, self promotion, survival of the self and so on down a long list of self serving practices.
    That's just a diatribe. Science has pointed the way towards a great deal of good and increase in people's general living standards and opportunities for creativity. We are together employed upon one of those scientific advances right now. You and I are just having an amiable chat from opposite sides of the Atlantic, which is a form of self-gratification, sure. But this particular tool is a weapon for freedom in places of repression. Medical science gives people longer lives to, say, enjoy their grandchildren or even provide the means to have them. Agricultural science helps feed the hungry.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Science is directed at the whats and hows of evolution while religions seem to focus more on the whys.

    I have no idea what percentage of the people who have ever been born were famous enough to make it into the history books. But it is very small, I am sure.

    Science gives us only the hope that we will live and die and, if we are lucky, some genealogist will note our existence by inserting our name into a family book and that will be our contribution to the world. Science emphasizes the insignificance and meaninglessness of life.
    Only as a result of what's actually out there - ie a 13.7 billion year old Universe, stretching (presumably) 27.4 billion light years from end to end. If the evidence was that the Universe revolved around a six thousand year old Earth then, sure, Science would have shown us the supreme importance of Man. You are talking about what Science shows us about the world as if Science has a motive to belittle humanity. On the contrary, every thing that Science shows, increases (for me) the awe in humanity's achievements at having understood so much (however little that is in proportion of the totality of knowledge) of Creation.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    That is why we have creationism and intelligent design. They give us hope that there is a purpose for our being here. They give us hope that we are more than just a collection of insignificant blobs of sentient protoplasm. They suggest that something somewhere holds us in high esteem and places value on our existence.
    No. That is why we have religion - and for those who do not accept a religious turn of mind, there are other philosophies such as Humanism. You are confusing Creationism and Intelligent Design with the actual theology and spirituality that is provided by Religion itself.

    Creationism does not of itself provide an explanation, it is merely the attempt to discredit the evidence - readily available and examinable by all - that Genesis is incorrect in its description of the beginning of the Universe and the age and creation of the Earth, and the source for the (tiny, tiny, tiny proportion of the total) plants and animals created. The only reason for this is because of a misbegotten belief that the Bible is inerrant and that unless you believe the Bible is inerrant then your faith in God is suspect. Other, older, Christian sects and Churches, some of which encouraged the scientific exploration of the Universe, are quite happy in the knowledge that the Bible is flawed in detail of fact, whilst they continue to provide for people that which science cannot - as you said, the "hope that there is a purpose for our being here".

    Intelligent Design is not a religion, it is not a science; it is barely a philosophy. It consists entirely of throwing up ones hands at the complexity of life and saying "this is beyond explanation!" I don't believe that is a valid thing for schoolchildren to hear in any discipline. It is a morally bankrupt way of thinking, it is antiscientific in outlook - despite its lying protestations to the contrary - and it is nothing more than a front for Bibliolatrous Creationism from an Evangelical Christian perspective. None of which provides hope or spiritual benefit whatsoever.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Whether evolution is theory or fact or truth or fiction is not significant to the issue you attempt to raise. The religious objections to evolution focus on those who attempt to use it to remove meaning and purpose from life.
    Nobody's attempting to use Evolution to remove meaning and purpose from life. What Evolution is used for is to explain the development of life over time. This is a manifestly useful thing to know. There are mathematical models of evolution which are shown to be correct when dealing with the generation and spreading of new viruses. If every development in Life was due to an Intelligent Designer, the mathematical models would not be correct. If the Intelligent Designer doesn't bother himself with viruses so that they evolve naturally, where is the value in implementing Him as a root cause? ID has no explanatory value, and without the non-random directedness of what one would expect of designed purpose, there is no reason to postulate an Intelligent Designer.
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    I hate to admit this Silas, but I agree with a lot of what you have to say in that last post.

    So I can only suggest that you somewhat misunderstood what I was saying, or took it the wrong way.

    Silas said:
    We are left with that conclusion because that is what the evidence shows us. Science does not pervert the evidence in order to produce an atheistic or anti-religious result. The results are there for all to see and draw conclusions from.
    I totally agree. Science is. Evidence is something else. The evidence can be perverted by human fallibility or human bias or by misunderstanding or by erroneous input or probably a large number of other reasons. And I agree that science, that is knowledge, is neither atheistic nor theistic. People look at those results and draw different conclusions.

    Silas points out:

    Science has pointed the way towards a great deal of good and increase in people's general living standards and opportunities for creativity.
    It was not my intent to say that science is worthless. I marvel at science and the way it has enhanced certain aspects of our lives. I stand amazed at having seen many virtually “miraculous” advances in technology which did not exist in my youth that I take for granted today. However, it does not give me individual meaning and purpose in life. For many, the ability to prolong our lives is a curse allowing us to live on into a life of little or no quality. Many scientific advances also have their down sides. I was looking only at the downsides wherein they might relate to a spiritual aspect in a person’s life. Science, ie. knowledge, does nothing to stimulate that, rather it often seems to attempt to deny or suppress that.

    Silas notes:

    No. That is why we have religion - and for those who do not accept a religious turn of mind, there are other philosophies such as Humanism. You are confusing Creationism and Intelligent Design with the actual theology and spirituality that is provided by Religion itself.
    I certainly have no disagreement with that statement.

    Your explanation of creationism, however, seems to fault the Bible for not explaining in 31 verses the 13.7 billion years you suggest the universe has existed. If Moses had written 31 billion verses on the subject, would his explanation have been any better? The Genesis account is not a blow by blow detailed account of the entire 13.7 billion years.

    I’ll make the same challenge here that I made on another thread. Take a moment to play God and try to explain to Moses that which you know about the origins of the universe in such a way that he can understand it within his knowledge base and commit it to parchment for the people of his day to understand.

    Maybe then you could turn around play Moses and pretend that God is revealing to you today the totality of the creation of the universe. Do you suppose you would actually be able to understand all the physics, all the math, all the chemistry, all the engineering and all the procedures that would go into such a creation story? What’s more, how would you relay that to me?

    Are we sure we know enough about those 13.7 billion years, to say that the Bible does not provide a reasonably accurate precis?

    About the only thing in your post that I significantly disagree with is your explanation of Intelligent Design, but I am not sure in what way I disagree with it.

    Any more, when we use terms such as evolution, creationism, intelligent design we never know what that term means to other people. Even Billy showed us how difficult it is to know what "is" is.

    What you see in the concept of intelligent design is vastly different from what I see. I can look at something simple such as a chair and I can see that someone designed it and put it together with a specific purpose. I know, innately, that chairs do not grow on trees.

    The success of the chair is dependent upon the how well it is designed and put together and how well it serves its purpose. I don’t think much about the designer, but I know he was there someplace before the chair. Perhaps we both see something similar when we look at a chair. If we choose to sit in that chair, we must place some faith in the idea that the designer knew what he was doing and that he has designed and created a chair that will serve its purpose.

    When I look at the universe I see something far more complex. But whereas I see design and purpose, some others see randomness and purposelessness. Somehow it just seems inconsistent that one can see design in something so simplistic as a chair, but not in something so complex as the universe.

    I am not certain how the idea of intelligent design is disruptive to a mathematical timeline in the scheme of evolution. If there were an intelligent designer who is directing evolution, would he (or she or it) not be using the proper mathematical model?

    The problem we have when we look at these things is that we never quite know if we have observed cause or effect.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Quote Originally Posted by Silas
    We are left with that conclusion because that is what the evidence shows us. Science does not pervert the evidence in order to produce an atheistic or anti-religious result. The results are there for all to see and draw conclusions from.
    I totally agree. Science is.
    I was looking only at the downsides wherein they might relate to a spiritual aspect in a person’s life. Science, ie. knowledge, does nothing to stimulate that, rather it often seems to attempt to deny or suppress that.
    So you agree with me about science, but then criticise it for "seeming" to deny or suppress the spiritual aspect of a person's life. If it "seems" to do so, that is down to the individual's perception, not Science. Scientists themselves frequently find a great deal of spirituality in what they do and what they discover about the Universe, and of Humanity's place in it. You are not a scientist, perhaps, so you know nothing of this. But you are arguing from a point of ignorance.

    Silas notes:

    No. That is why we have religion - and for those who do not accept a religious turn of mind, there are other philosophies such as Humanism. You are confusing Creationism and Intelligent Design with the actual theology and spirituality that is provided by Religion itself.
    I certainly have no disagreement with that statement.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Your explanation of creationism, however, seems to fault the Bible for not explaining in 31 verses the 13.7 billion years you suggest the universe has existed. If Moses had written 31 billion verses on the subject, would his explanation have been any better? The Genesis account is not a blow by blow detailed account of the entire 13.7 billion years.
    How strange, that I should fault the Bible for not being a science text book. No, wait a minute, I don't expect the Bible to be a science text book, it is the Creationists who do. Over on another thread you criticised geezer for treating certain aspects of Genesis literally - such as the talking Snake. But the fact is that the Creationists I have issues with are precisely those who do take the Genesis tale literally.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I’ll make the same challenge here that I made on another thread. Take a moment to play God and try to explain to Moses that which you know about the origins of the universe in such a way that he can understand it within his knowledge base and commit it to parchment for the people of his day to understand.

    Maybe then you could turn around play Moses and pretend that God is revealing to you today the totality of the creation of the universe. Do you suppose you would actually be able to understand all the physics, all the math, all the chemistry, all the engineering and all the procedures that would go into such a creation story? What’s more, how would you relay that to me?
    Let me see. Well, I would have understood concepts such as the Earth being a spherical ball instead of a flat disk, and the Earth travelling around the Sun instead of vice versa. I'm pretty sure I would not have had difficulty understanding the space on the far side of the sky in lacking air as opposed to being surrounded on all sides with water - throughout the entire cosmos. It is not an impossible concept to think of the stars as very distant versions of our Sun (without necessarily removing the overriding importance of the Sun as being Humanity's home) instead of lights attached to the inside of the "solid bowl" that keeps the waters out (the bowl is the "firmament" - the "firm" in firmament is meant to imply that the sky is solid).

    Of course, the problem is that God is in a bind, here. All those things were discovered by humans by their own efforts at investigation. Nothing would have done more to prove God's existence than to have described the Universe more correctly than Mankind could possibly have known at the time and place of the composition of Genesis. I think we agree that pre-empting what Man can discover on his own is bad. On the other hand, since he described the Universe in essentially incorrect terms, that means he lied. Or the third alternative, which is that Genesis was not written down by Moses at God's direct dictation. Or he did dictate Genesis, didn't lie, and the Universe is actually exactly as it looks - the Sun, the Moon and all the planets circle the Earth, attached as they are to crystalline (ie totally transparent) spheres, outside of which is a blue/black sphere to which are attached little lights in patterns which we call stars.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Are we sure we know enough about those 13.7 billion years, to say that the Bible does not provide a reasonably accurate precis?
    The Bible describes the Creation exactly in the terms that the Creation appeared to look to man at the time. It does not describe the creation in the terms of the modern scientific view, which contradicts the classical view on a number of issues. Either God lied (for good reasons, sho' nuff) or he never dictated the work.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    About the only thing in your post that I significantly disagree with is your explanation of Intelligent Design, but I am not sure in what way I disagree with it.

    Any more, when we use terms such as evolution, creationism, intelligent design we never know what that term means to other people. Even Billy showed us how difficult it is to know what "is" is.

    What you see in the concept of intelligent design is vastly different from what I see. I can look at something simple such as a chair and I can see that someone designed it and put it together with a specific purpose. I know, innately, that chairs do not grow on trees.
    Since you are going to quote the "Blind Watchmaker" argument of British 19th Century clergyman William Paley, I can only recommend you read Richard Dawkins The Blind Watchmaker. This is a beautifully written and argued book, with which you probably won't agree. But he does very definitively deal with the Argument from Design.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    The success of the chair is dependent upon the how well it is designed and put together and how well it serves its purpose. I don’t think much about the designer, but I know he was there someplace before the chair. Perhaps we both see something similar when we look at a chair. If we choose to sit in that chair, we must place some faith in the idea that the designer knew what he was doing and that he has designed and created a chair that will serve its purpose.
    On the contrary, you do not believe that we were all individually created, or manufactured in the way that a chair was. A chair was put together out of parts that were fashioned and shaped individually. An Intelligent Designer that is comparable to whoever built the chair, would have built a race of robots. The "chairmaker" or "watchmaker" analogy simply does not apply.

    When I look at the universe I see something far more complex. But whereas I see design and purpose, some others see randomness and purposelessness. Somehow it just seems inconsistent that one can see design in something so simplistic as a chair, but not in something so complex as the universe.
    Because you are confusing "complex" with "designed". It isn't actually inconsistent at all. On the other hand, you are also stating the absence of any overt evidence for design with the Universe being "purposeless". Absence of apparent purpose is not necessarily purposelessness. (Rowan Atkinson: "We must have purpose. We must not be purposeless. We must not exhibit purposelessness. We must be....... purposelessnessless!")

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I am not certain how the idea of intelligent design is disruptive to a mathematical timeline in the scheme of evolution. If there were an intelligent designer who is directing evolution, would he (or she or it) not be using the proper mathematical model?

    The problem we have when we look at these things is that we never quite know if we have observed cause or effect.
    I of course am not denigrating the concept of an Intelligent Designer within the scheme of evolution, although I'm obviously against actually teaching that there might be an entity for which there is no evidence. (Actual, direct, unmistakeable evidence - not merely incredulity at the complexity of the end result of a billion-plus-year process.) But that is not the argument anyway - ID is not being postulated as some kind of directed influence upon existing evolutionary processes, but as an alternative to evolution, and you yourself have cast doubt on fundamental aspects of evolution which are incompatible with any part of the theory holding water. This is contrary to the only reasonable interpretation of all the evidence available.
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    Silas:

    My advice for you is: DO NOT MOVE TO KANSAS!!!!
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    Silas sez:

    So you agree with me about science, but then criticise it for "seeming" to deny or suppress the spiritual aspect of a person's life. If it "seems" to do so, that is down to the individual's perception, not Science. Scientists themselves frequently find a great deal of spirituality in what they do and what they discover about the Universe, and of Humanity's place in it. You are not a scientist, perhaps, so you know nothing of this. But you are arguing from a point of ignorance
    I don’t know if I agree with you about science or not. We all have a tendency to use the word science in different ways sometimes. Sometimes when we say science, we are talking about a general body of technical knowledge that we have accumulated down through the years. Sometimes when we say science, we are talking about specific, proven facts in a narrow field. Sometimes when we say science, we are talking about people in relation to science. The context of what we are saying usually indicates which way we mean science. It is very easy to misrepresent the sense in which another is using the term.

    To clarify, I was not saying that science (as a body of knowledge) denies or suppresses the spiritual, but that science provides some people an excuse or justification for denial and suppression of the spirtual.
    The type of spirituality which you describe is probably not the same thing I think about when I use the word.

    If the fact that I am not a scientist suggests that I am arguing from a point of ignorance, I suppose I could counter that you, apparently being neither Jewish nor Christian, argue from ignorance on spiritual matters as might be represented in the Bible.

    Silas said:
    How strange, that I should fault the Bible for not being a science text book. No, wait a minute, I don't expect the Bible to be a science text book, it is the Creationists who do. Over on another thread you criticised geezer for treating certain aspects of Genesis literally - such as the talking Snake. But the fact is that the Creationists I have issues with are precisely those who do take the Genesis tale literally.
    I don’t think that creationists look at the Bible as a text book on the hows and whens and wherefores of creation, but just a representation of the Who. I sort of take issue with anyone who gets TOO literal with some of these stories which are more allegorical rather than literal accounts.

    And then you go and try to take a literal view of the “separation” of the waters. The problem is that we do not know what stage in the development of the earth is being described. And no one was there to record it. Therefore, it may be a little early in our studies to declare what is said there to be “lies.” You might first start by understanding that firmament is an English word which does not quite capture the meaning of the Hebrew word which means something like a “vast expanse.” The only “firmness” here is in the English word.

    The story is further complicated because “heavens” can mean two different places. In one sense, it can mean the skies and in another sense it can be beyond the skies.

    I think Christians hold that God inspired the Bible, not that He dictated it. I am not certain how to explain what is meant by that. The writers wrote in their own language or dialects and within the framework of their knowledge base and culture.

    Silas wrote:

    The Bible describes the Creation exactly in the terms that the Creation appeared to look to man at the time. It does not describe the creation in the terms of the modern scientific view, which contradicts the classical view on a number of issues. Either God lied (for good reasons, sho' nuff) or he never dictated the work.
    I agree with the first sentence. I don’t agree that Moses’ account does not describe creation in terms of modern scientific view for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I do not know for sure what Moses was trying to relate or if he had words that could effectively communicate to us what his inspiration was. Secondly, I’m not convinced that there is general agreement as to what the “modern scientific view” is. It remains possible, if not likely, that future knowledge in this area will give a better understanding of the Moses story.

    Assuming God was the inspiration behind the story, I must wonder what “good reasons” you think he may have had to lie. He definitely did not dictate this story.

    Silas comments on ID:

    This is contrary to the only reasonable interpretation of all the evidence available.
    I think there are intelligent people of scientific background who disagree that there is only one reasonable interpretation.

    Overall, I would say that here, as well as over on that other thread, there is a tremendous misunderstanding as to the role the Bible plays in the lives of believers.

    There seems to be some underlying belief among non-Christians, that people have faith in God and trust Jesus Christ for salvation because of what is written in the Bible. That is the exact opposite of what is the case. Believers accept the Bible as the Word of God because of their belief and trust.

    I do not suspect that very many non-believers read the Bible and upon finishing it, suddenly exclaim, “Oh, now I believe!” I’m not saying that has never happened, just that it is not the usual way,

    So when a non-believer pulls out some Bible verse and says, “This cannot be literally true, therefore I am justified in not believing in God,” it is a case of the tail wagging the dog! One cannot believe the Bible unless one first believes in God.
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner

    To clarify, I was not saying that science (as a body of knowledge) denies or suppresses the spiritual, but that science provides some people an excuse or justification for denial and suppression of the spirtual.
    The type of spirituality which you describe is probably not the same thing I think about when I use the word.
    If the process of pure reason provides justification for living ones life only with reference to the directly experienceable and not with regard to putative authority figures that may or may not exist, it's a reasonable alternative that needs to be allowed to be part of someone's mindset, and let them have the choice on whether to live "spiritually" or not. There has been a great deal of emphasis on the "spiritual" in all sorts of non-mainstream-religion contexts that has not always been healthy for the people as a whole. The entire New-Age movement with its pseudoscience offshoots of homoeopathy and "crystals" and all such knowledge is precisely caused by a non-sourced belief and promotion above all else of "the spiritual". Mainstream religion, at least, does its best to keep humanity relating to other humans.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    If the fact that I am not a scientist suggests that I am arguing from a point of ignorance, I suppose I could counter that you, apparently being neither Jewish nor Christian, argue from ignorance on spiritual matters as might be represented in the Bible.
    I was referring to your denial of the spritual within the body of science - not your lack of knowledge of science itself, which may be better than my own, I'm not one to judge.

    But if the point is about ID and its relation to science, I'm afraid I don't find any spirituality in the "official" ID line either. All the wonders of the Universe are reduced to "well, someone made it that way." You don't have to disbelieve in God to find that a reduction in the concept of what He is capable of. Which is why many scientists are perfectly content Theists.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Quote Originally Posted by Silas
    How strange, that I should fault the Bible for not being a science text book. No, wait a minute, I don't expect the Bible to be a science text book, it is the Creationists who do. Over on another thread you criticised geezer for treating certain aspects of Genesis literally - such as the talking Snake. But the fact is that the Creationists I have issues with are precisely those who do take the Genesis tale literally.
    I don’t think that creationists look at the Bible as a text book on the hows and whens and wherefores of creation, but just a representation of the Who. I sort of take issue with anyone who gets TOO literal with some of these stories which are more allegorical rather than literal accounts.
    That would put you in conflict with the majority of the Evangelical, Pentecostal and Dispensational movements which does indeed form a substantial proportion of the population of the United States.

    This site is quite extreme in its views, but from what I've seen, it's position on Bible Inerrancy is about the most moderate position it takes.

    1. Were Adam and Eve the first human beings?--Yes!
    2. Did Adam and Eve give birth to the first human babies?--Yes!
    3. Did God inspire every word of the Bible?--Yes!
    4. Is the Bible perfect and without error?--Yes!
    5. Are Adam and Eve only imaginary people or are they representatives of human beings as evolution teaches?
    6. Is what the Bible says about Adam and Eve only myth, folklore, idea, theory, or parable as the liberals teach?
    7. What difference does it make whether they were actual historical persons? Why is any one couple so important?
    8. Why is it so important to believe Adam and Eve were the first human beings and that they gave birth to the first human babies? Why all of this attention being given to Adam and Eve?
    9. Is it possible to believe that Adam and Eve were created as the Bible teaches and also believe they were only representatives of the beginnings of the human race as evolution teaches?
    10. Is it possible to believe in creation and evolution both?--No!
    11. Is it possible to believe both evolution and the Bible?--No!
    12. Is it possible to believe theistic evolution and the Bible?--No!
    13. If we believe there are no errors in the Bible, can we be loyal to the Bible and support ministers, teachers, and writers who deny Adam and Eve were the first human beings?--No!
    The vast majority of Evangelicals go with this position in preference to any pseudo-theistic evolution concepts.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    And then you go and try to take a literal view of the “separation” of the waters. The problem is that we do not know what stage in the development of the earth is being described. And no one was there to record it. Therefore, it may be a little early in our studies to declare what is said there to be “lies.” You might first start by understanding that firmament is an English word which does not quite capture the meaning of the Hebrew word which means something like a “vast expanse.” The only “firmness” here is in the English word.
    I learned from Asimov's Guide to the Bible that the Hebrew word is raqia, which is Hebrew for a clayware bowl. The English translated it as a firmness, but the Hebrew said nothing about a vast expanse, nor of a spherical Earth floating in empty space in a thin, similarly spherical, gas blanket.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I think Christians hold that God inspired the Bible, not that He dictated it. I am not certain how to explain what is meant by that. The writers wrote in their own language or dialects and within the framework of their knowledge base and culture.
    Wasn't it you that brought up the concept of God dictating the Bible to Moses? If you don't believe that, why did you argue in those terms? Why did you hypothesis about a God describing the Creation in terms Moses could understand, if he wasn't "dictating" at least in some way?

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Quote Originally Posted by Silas
    The Bible describes the Creation exactly in the terms that the Creation appeared to look to man at the time. It does not describe the creation in the terms of the modern scientific view, which contradicts the classical view on a number of issues. Either God lied (for good reasons, sho' nuff) or he never dictated the work.
    I agree with the first sentence. I don’t agree that Moses’ account does not describe creation in terms of modern scientific view for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I do not know for sure what Moses was trying to relate or if he had words that could effectively communicate to us what his inspiration was. Secondly, I’m not convinced that there is general agreement as to what the “modern scientific view” is. It remains possible, if not likely, that future knowledge in this area will give a better understanding of the Moses story.
    The modern scientific view understands Moses perfectly. The modern scientific view is not in conflict with an allegorical reading of Genesis. And an allegorical reading of Genesis is not in conflict with modern science. And yet, despite that, you "doubt" Evolution, preferring the primitive, uninformed, non-understanding view of someone you are pleased to call Moses (although the Bible would be utterly self-contradictory if the dogma of Mosaic authorship were actually true) to hard, accumulative, multidisciplinary, evidence. You claim that no Christians really think it's exactly as it is in the Bible, ignoring that the only people who argue about it are the ones who would sharply contradict you on that point.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Assuming God was the inspiration behind the story, I must wonder what “good reasons” you think he may have had to lie. He definitely did not dictate this story.
    The "good reasons" for lying are that we have had to explore the Universe on our own. Any God who truly told it like it was would be doing his sentient creation no favours. But for God to lie is doctrinally forbidden, which leads to a contradictory position.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Silas comments on ID:

    This is contrary to the only reasonable interpretation of all the evidence available.
    I meant that claiming that Evolution is false, and that ID is an "alternative explanation", rather than simply the philosophically acceptable "root cause" is contrary to the only reasonable interpretation of all the evidence available.

    The only intellectually decent argument in favour of a Designer does not rest on modern-day 13.7 billion-years-on-from-Creation complexity. Continuous processes under the influence of the natural laws of physics are not unlikely to have produced some incredible complexity during that inconceivably long time. Unimaginable complexity is possible over a mere 600 million years, one twentieth as long but still an inconceivably long time. The only intellectually decent argument in favour of a Designer lies in the very perfectitude of the laws of physics - the physical constants, the distribution of forces, the very Uncertainty Principle itself - to ultimately produce sentient beings like ourselves. And even that is not proof against mathematics, if we allow for a multitude (an infinitude, perhaps!) of Universes.


    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I think there are intelligent people of scientific background who disagree that there is only one reasonable interpretation.
    That would depend on your "reasonable interpretation" of the phrase "people of scientific background". The rationalist view held by the vast majority outweighs the semi-mystical views of a few people with a manifest agenda.

    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Overall, I would say that here, as well as over on that other thread, there is a tremendous misunderstanding as to the role the Bible plays in the lives of believers.

    There seems to be some underlying belief among non-Christians, that people have faith in God and trust Jesus Christ for salvation because of what is written in the Bible. That is the exact opposite of what is the case. Believers accept the Bible as the Word of God because of their belief and trust.

    I do not suspect that very many non-believers read the Bible and upon finishing it, suddenly exclaim, “Oh, now I believe!” I’m not saying that has never happened, just that it is not the usual way,

    So when a non-believer pulls out some Bible verse and says, “This cannot be literally true, therefore I am justified in not believing in God,” it is a case of the tail wagging the dog! One cannot believe the Bible unless one first believes in God.
    Indeed, but you really do misrepresent the majority of members of the American Christian movement that ultimately sponsors the denigration of Evolution. They believe in God first, and then they believe in the Word of God. And not to do so implies a lack of faith in the God that gave them the Bible, which causes them to destroy that which Humanity has learnt on its own.
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    Silas pontificates:

    If the process of pure reason provides justification for living ones life only with reference to the directly experienceable and not with regard to putative authority figures that may or may not exist, it's a reasonable alternative that needs to be allowed to be part of someone's mindset, and let them have the choice on whether to live "spiritually" or not. There has been a great deal of emphasis on the "spiritual" in all sorts of non-mainstream-religion contexts that has not always been healthy for the people as a whole. The entire New-Age movement with its pseudoscience offshoots of homoeopathy and "crystals" and all such knowledge is precisely caused by a non-sourced belief and promotion above all else of "the spiritual". Mainstream religion, at least, does its best to keep humanity relating to other humans.
    I am not sure exactly what all you said here, but if it is that there are different concepts of what spirituality is, I would definitely agree with you wholeheartedly.

    As I have said before, it scares me that I agree with a number of things you say even when you are apparently disagreeing with me. But then I go back and see that you have either misunderstood or somewhat misconstrued my position in some way.

    One example:

    Wasn't it you that brought up the concept of God dictating the Bible to Moses? If you don't believe that, why did you argue in those terms? Why did you hypothesis about a God describing the Creation in terms Moses could understand, if he wasn't "dictating" at least in some way?
    No, it would not have been me who suggested God “dictated” the Bible nor do I recall who, or if that claim was made. I think I have been fairly clear that I do not quite understand the mechanisms by which God may have “inspired” the writers. I have not ever been so inspired (to write scripture) and it seems likely that different writers may have been reached via different means. Just off the top of my head, some ways seem to have been with visions, in dreams, in trances and audible voices. But I would not limit the mechanisms to those four. However, I am skeptical when people today claim to have had such experiences.

    Another example:

    The modern scientific view understands Moses perfectly. The modern scientific view is not in conflict with an allegorical reading of Genesis. And an allegorical reading of Genesis is not in conflict with modern science. And yet, despite that, you "doubt" Evolution, preferring the primitive, uninformed, non-understanding view of someone you are pleased to call Moses (although the Bible would be utterly self-contradictory if the dogma of Mosaic authorship were actually true) to hard, accumulative, multidisciplinary, evidence. You claim that no Christians really think it's exactly as it is in the Bible, ignoring that the only people who argue about it are the ones who would sharply contradict you on that point.
    Lessee, first of all I don’t recall claiming that “no Christians really think it’s exactly as it is in the Bible.” I am not sure what I said that led you to that. I would say it is becoming more and more difficult for educated Christians to take a completely literal view of the Genesis account and more and more of the Christians I know are from educated professional fields. So I do agree with the first part of your paragraph that science and an allegorical reading of Genesis can be compatible. But I also agree not all Christians would take that position.

    As to “doubting” evolution, we are here again lost in the world of semantics. There are some aspects of “evolution” which do not trouble me and there are aspects of what I would call the “school of evolution” with which I more than doubt, I just plain disagree. But it has nothing to do with contradiction with the Moses account. (I do not understand how Mosaic authorship creates self contradiction.) I would agree that there are both Christians and Jews who believe the Mosaic account as being word for word literally true. I think they are gradually becoming the minority. However, I think most Christians prefer to just not consider the issue.

    When I see or hear the word evolution, I have no idea what the person using the term actually means. Nor have you, Silas, been very definitive on what your concept of evolution actually is.

    My skepticism toward the “school of evolution” is based on some evolution advocates who draw some conclusions that are little more than leaps of faith far greater than any Christian must make. That school suggests that because they have what they consider solid proof of speciation, it naturally follows that there must have been genrification and familiation, orderation, classiation, phylumation and kindomation. And I most certainly would disagree that there is anything in evolutionary evidence which points to any answers to the questions of the origins of the universe or beginnings of life.

    Silas notes:

    I learned from Asimov's Guide to the Bible that the Hebrew word is raqia, which is Hebrew for a clayware bowl. The English translated it as a firmness, but the Hebrew said nothing about a vast expanse, nor of a spherical Earth floating in empty space in a thin, similarly spherical, gas blanket.
    I read in my Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance that the word, written in English is (without the proper accent marks) raqiya. Stong’s says it is from the verb raqa. It is defined as “an expanse, i.e. the firmament or (apparently) visible arch of the sky:--firmament. If we then go to raqa, it is defined “to pound the earth (as a sign of passion); by analogy to expand (by hammering); by implication to overlay (with thin sheets metal): beat, make broad, spread abroad (forth over, out, into plates), stamp, stretch.”

    Webster defines firmament as “The arch of heaven, or the sky and the celestial bodies.”

    I have no idea where Isaac (which means laughter in Hebrew) got his word or his definition, but I somehow feel Strong’s is a more scholarly and more credible resource than a person who is best known for his fiction writing. I see nothing in the Stong’s definition that remotely connotes anything about clayware. And, back to your original contention a post or so ago, I see nothing in the word which describes a “solid bowl.”

    Silas posted a neato chart with some yes or no answers to unanswerable questions. The problem here is that most of us do not like to answer questions with unqualified yesses or noes. Most of them I could not provide a simple yes or no answer to. I note it seems to be of some Baptist origin, but, while I have attended a fundamental conservative Baptist church for the last 20 years, I have never heard of these guys or their ministry, so I hesitate to suggest they represent anything other than their own opinions. And I would “fundamentally’ disagree with a lot of what they seem to stand for.

    (Surely, you have heard that when you have one Baptist in town, you have a Baptist church. If you have two Baptists in town, you have a split Baptist church!)

    But as to Adam and Eve, there was a program on that great spiritual network, PBS, this past summer in which they genetically related the entirety of humanity to one male human who was a bushman in Africa several thousands of years ago. I find it fascinating that both the Bible and science agree that we are all related to one single human being. Not that it proves anything, it is just interesting.

    As to the "dividing of the waters" you discussed earlier, I can only suggest that those passages were an attempt to explain the difference between the waters on the surface of the earth and the water in the clouds. And while it is a woefully inadequate explanation, it is not necessarity contrary to fact.


    Silas points out:


    That would put you in conflict with the majority of the Evangelical, Pentecostal and Dispensational movements which does indeed form a substantial proportion of the population of the United States.
    I believe I have consistently said there are those in my religious community who would perhaps label me a heretic on some issues. It is sort of like the legal fiction of a “reasonable person.” No one ever quite fits the ideaL of the reasonable person. Although we all have an idea as to what the reasonable person would do or think in a given situation, we often discover few people actually react up to our ideal standard of the reasonable (or typical) person. There is no such thing as a typical Christian.

    Silas explains:

    daytonturner wrote:
    Silas comments on ID:

    Quote:
    This is contrary to the only reasonable interpretation of all the evidence available.

    I meant that claiming that Evolution is false, and that ID is an "alternative explanation", rather than simply the philosophically acceptable "root cause" is contrary to the only reasonable interpretation of all the evidence available.
    You’re original statement remains contrary to fact – reasonable people do not always, upon viewing the same information, come to the same conclusion. And when it comes to evolution, even people who embrace evolution do not agree on many aspects of the theory. It is not unreasonable to conclude that the information which supports evolution leads to a number of reasonable possible conclusions.

    It is very easy to conclude than any conclusion with which a person agrees is reasonable. But that does not make it the “only” reasonable conclusion. And it certainly does not insure its accuracy. Many logical and reasonable conclusions sometimes end up being more incorrect than correct.

    There are all sorts of nuances among the beliefs of those who embrace evolution. There are also many different understandings of evolution by those who argue against it. It is such a jumbled mess in its current state that I’m convinced hardly anybody discussing this issue knows what he is talking about and knows even less about what someone else is talking about.
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  19. #18  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    There are also many different understandings of evolution by those who argue against it. It is such a jumbled mess in its current state that I’m convinced hardly anybody discussing this issue knows what he is talking about and knows even less about what someone else is talking about.
    Your remarks doubtless apply to those who argue against evolution. They do not apply within the scientific community of biologists, palaeontologists, geneticists who study evolution. Here the terminology is exact; the understanding clear; the areas of uncertainty well defined. Scientists are not confused by the issues of evolution. The uneducated and the ignorant are. Proper education can remove this ignorance and the associated confusion.
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    Ophiolite suggests:

    Here the terminology is exact; the understanding clear; the areas of uncertainty well defined. Scientists are not confused by the issues of evolution. The uneducated and the ignorant are.
    I think you overestimate the degree of agreement among the scientific community as to the meanings and implications of various pieces of information relating to evolution. There still remain some areas of dissagreement as to what is actually relevant. Even you, yourself, as I recall, have criticised neo-Darwinism, a branch of the evolutionary community.

    In Darwin's first treatise, he complained about the lack of agreement among his peers as to whether certain animals were separate species or variations within a specie. I believe similar disagreements remain on the table today.

    About the only way you can come to the proposition you make here is to take the position that anyone who disagrees with you is unscientific or uneducated or ignorant. The idea that scientists are not confused by the issues does not connote clarity among their conclusions.

    I think you are very well settled in your view and very clear in your own mind as to what evolution is. You have a view which you have explained very cogently and quite understandably. I could even wish that all those who embrace evolution had your understanding of what it means.

    Alas, they don't.
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