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Thread: Responding to this YEC argument.

  1. #1 Responding to this YEC argument. 
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    Hey guys, I'm new here. I am a Theistic Evolutionist looking for help responding to this claim by a Young Earth friend that I have been debating with.

    He insists that the Bible is 100% literal and fact, I do not. I believe that at least the book of Genesis is simply a parable. I asked him how all the various "kinds" could fit on the ark, he responded by saying that God created only a few thousand "base" organisms, one type of insect, various types of mammals, etc etc. I know this is wrong, and I've looked at the response on RationalWiki's article on "Baraminology" but I don't think those arguments are quite going to cut it.

    When I ask him what a "Kind" is, he says that any two animals that can interbreed are the same "kind." What examples could I give to refute this? Thanks in advance.

    Also, he claims that there are no mutations which add information, when I pointed out the evolution of nylonase in the Japanese flavobacterium, he claims that the mutation only removed the bacteria's inability to eat nylon. This claim makes exactly zero sense, but how would I demonstrate it to be wrong?


    Last edited by CBrosneck; September 28th, 2013 at 11:46 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBrosneck View Post
    Hey guys, I'm new here. I am a Theistic Evolutionist looking for help responding to this claim by a Young Earth friend that I have been debating with.

    He insists that the Bible is 100% literal and fact, I do not. I believe that at least the book of Genesis is simply a parable. I asked him how all the various "kinds" could fit on the ark, he responded by saying that God created only a few thousand "base" organisms, one type of insect, various types of mammals, etc etc. I know this is wrong, and I've looked at the response on RationalWiki's article on "Baraminology" but I don't think those arguments are quite going to cut it.

    Also, When I ask him what a "Kind" is, he says that any two animals that can interbreed are the same "kind." What examples could I give to refute this? Thanks in advance.
    Horse and a donkey? Tiger and lion? Various "ring species". All these show that ability to interbreed is not a black and white issue.

    I wish you luck, but it's a hard struggle. You are up against deeply entrenched ignorance and often mendacity. You might try getting this person onto geology. Age of the Earth, how to explain geological unconformities, magnetic reversals on the sea floor, continental drift and all that. These people, in order to maintain their beliefs, are forced to chuck out not only the history of life, but the history of the planet too.

    They can believe what they like of course, in a free society, but it's worth pointing out to them the price they pay, in terms of choosing to reject vast areas of science, i.e. not just evolution, is an appallingly high one.

    But I'm intrigued about the notion of one type of base insect. 400,000 species of beetle alone have been identified to date. How does he explain this? By evolution? Or by a series of later acts of creation (in which why bother with the Ark in the first place)?


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    Quote Originally Posted by CBrosneck View Post
    Hey guys
    Hello.

    Quote Originally Posted by CBrosneck View Post
    I asked him how all the various "kinds" could fit on the ark, he responded by saying that God created only a few thousand "base" organisms, one type of insect, various types of mammals, etc etc.
    There would be evidence of a major genetic bottleneck if there were so few animals 4500 years ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by CBrosneck View Post
    Also, he claims that there are no mutations which add information, when I pointed out the evolution of nylonase in the Japanese flavobacterium, he claims that the mutation only removed the bacteria's inability to eat nylon.
    What is the purpose of that claim?
    Mutations change the phenotype/genotype of an organism.
    Who cares if it is called 'adding information' or not?
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by CBrosneck View Post
    Hey guys
    Hello.

    Quote Originally Posted by CBrosneck View Post
    I asked him how all the various "kinds" could fit on the ark, he responded by saying that God created only a few thousand "base" organisms, one type of insect, various types of mammals, etc etc.
    There would be evidence of a major genetic bottleneck if there were so few animals 4500 years ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by CBrosneck View Post
    Also, he claims that there are no mutations which add information, when I pointed out the evolution of nylonase in the Japanese flavobacterium, he claims that the mutation only removed the bacteria's inability to eat nylon.
    What is the purpose of that claim?
    Mutations change the phenotype/genotype of an organism.
    Who cares if it is called 'adding information' or not?
    This is an old chestnut with creationists. They love to assert mutations can't add information because they see more advanced organisms need more complex genetic programming than very simple ones. So they like to pretend that all mutations MUST BE destructive of order rather than adding to it. So in their terms it must destroy information. What they all - systematically - leave out is the effect of the filter of natural selection, but that's another story.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBrosneck View Post
    Also, he claims that there are no mutations which add information
    It is often a bad sign when people focus on mutation, which is really only of incidental importance.

    Anyway, there are changes, such as diploidy and gene duplication, that can increase the amount of genetic material that organisms have. Organisms can gain information through other mechanisms such as the direct exchange of genetic material; as well as sex and hybridization, there are various mechanisms for "horizontal" gene transfer. Then there are retro-viruses which can add material to their hosts genome. And I came across an article the other day about bacteria consuming genetic material from the environment, some of which would be included in their genome.
    Observed Instances of Speciation
    Gene Duplication: The Genomic Trade in Spare Parts
    Bacterial Gene Swapping in Nature
    Horizontal gene transfer
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endogenous_retrovirus
    DNA-grabbing bacteria hint at early phase of evolution - life - 26 September 2013 - New Scientist
    and so on and so one...
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    Thanks for the responses guys. I'll likely be debating with him again later today, so this is greatly appreciated.

    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    But I'm intrigued about the notion of one type of base insect. 400,000 species of beetle alone have been identified to date. How does he explain this? By evolution? Or by a series of later acts of creation (in which why bother with the Ark in the first place)?
    He claims...get this...that they "speciated" through "micro" evolution. Of course, if he claims this again today, I'm going to ask him, if species can change so fast in such short time, why we don't see new insects "speciate" into new ones all the time over short periods. It's ironic how they claim that "macro" evolution is ridiculous, then multiply it by thousands of times to support their own arguments.

    I may address these assertions of his, but in all likelihood I am just going to stick to my favorite anti-YEC argument, The Starlight Problem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    They love to assert mutations can't add information because they see more advanced organisms need more complex genetic programming than very simple ones.
    There is no connection between an organism's genome size and an organism's complexity.
    That is just something they have made up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBrosneck View Post
    I may address these assertions of his, but in all likelihood I am just going to stick to my favorite anti-YEC argument, The Starlight Problem.
    That is a sticky one. The common claim made by the Y.E.C. is that God put the light into it's path...
    I guess because God, in his omnipotence, knew that we'd look at the sky and wonder- but apparently forgot his omnipotence what with the supposed great flood and all...

    You should be warned: You are setting yourself up for losing your faith and going atheist. After-all, there is no real difference between his justifications for his beliefs and your own.
    Every debate you can have with him for his absurdities, I can have with you for yours.
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    Using science to debate against faith is not a good idea. Your only weapon is logic and evidence, both of which faith will simply deny.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Using science to debate against faith is not a good idea. Your only weapon is logic and evidence, both of which faith will simply deny.
    Agreed.

    Also the reason I think science and broader secular culture in general is making a mistake by ignoring or rejecting the more emotional and social based tools to bring people from darkness.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Using science to debate against faith is not a good idea. .
    just including the concept debate against puts you 30 degrees south of breaking even

    for those with faith, science is subordinated to faith
    welcome to the lands of the lotophagi
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    when science becomes a tool for the furtherance of faith, it becomes intrinsic to faith

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    Quote Originally Posted by CBrosneck View Post
    Thanks for the responses guys. I'll likely be debating with him again later today, so this is greatly appreciated.

    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    But I'm intrigued about the notion of one type of base insect. 400,000 species of beetle alone have been identified to date. How does he explain this? By evolution? Or by a series of later acts of creation (in which why bother with the Ark in the first place)?
    He claims...get this...that they "speciated" through "micro" evolution. Of course, if he claims this again today, I'm going to ask him, if species can change so fast in such short time, why we don't see new insects "speciate" into new ones all the time over short periods. It's ironic how they claim that "macro" evolution is ridiculous, then multiply it by thousands of times to support their own arguments.

    I may address these assertions of his, but in all likelihood I am just going to stick to my favorite anti-YEC argument, The Starlight Problem.
    Fair enough and good luck.

    I must say I find it mildly encouraging that more creationists these days have been forced to concede that there is at least such a thing as "micro-evolution". I think it shows science has got them on the run. Once they've conceded the principle of the evolutionary mechanism, they are forced to erect flimsy barriers to argue why the process should stop at some arbitrary point, in order to prevent "macro-evolution" from occurring as well. The discussion we've just had about interbreeding means their old argument about hermetically sealed "kinds" does not stand up, i.e. there is a continuum. Ring species can be seen as living examples of new species caught in the act of forming.

    P.S. Our esteemed and knowledgeable friend Neverfly has notoriously intemperate views about religion of any kind. Suffice it to say he does not speak for all contributors to this forum. .
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBrosneck View Post
    He insists that the Bible is 100% literal and fact, I do not. I believe that at least the book of Genesis is simply a parable. I asked him how all the various "kinds" could fit on the ark....
    It's amazing that God created a universe but didn't slap the ark together. Then again, why does God even bother with boat building? He's God, He doesn't need a boat built to save mankind. Totally unnecessary and pointless. He could have done an early rapture-like event and then let the skies loose. Why a friggin' boat? Why not let every living thing drown and then make new flora and fauna, new Noah, the whole freakin' world for that matter. Blow up the goddam universe and start fresh, who's gonna know?
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    I believe that at least the book of Genesis is simply a parable.

    This is also an apologist position, not one based in reason. Your friend in a way has it right, Genesis was up until about 200 years ago, fully intended to depict the absolute truth--that's how it was taught, interpreted, translated, and woven into religious doctrines and arguments at nearly every opportunity. It's not a parable--it's simply mythology.
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    Quote Originally Posted by zinjanthropos View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by CBrosneck View Post
    He insists that the Bible is 100% literal and fact, I do not. I believe that at least the book of Genesis is simply a parable. I asked him how all the various "kinds" could fit on the ark....
    It's amazing that God created a universe but didn't slap the ark together. Then again, why does God even bother with boat building? He's God, He doesn't need a boat built to save mankind. Totally unnecessary and pointless. He could have done an early rapture-like event and then let the skies loose. Why a friggin' boat? Why not let every living thing drown and then make new flora and fauna, new Noah, the whole freakin' world for that matter. Blow up the goddam universe and start fresh, who's gonna know?

    God works in mysterious ways?
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    I believe that at least the book of Genesis is simply a parable.
    This is also an apologist position, not one based in reason. Your friend in a way has it right, Genesis was up until about 200 years ago, fully intended to depict the absolute truth--that's how it was taught, interpreted, translated, and woven into religious doctrines and arguments at nearly every opportunity. It's not a parable--it's simply mythology.
    I'm afraid that's not so. Genesis has been seen as something requiring interpretation since Augustine of Hippo in about 400AD. The problem today is the growth of a form of fundamentalist Protestantism that rejects any authority other than the bible - which means they treat even people such as Augustine as heretical.
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    It must be nice to base your life on something which is completely up to interpretation. Being of a scientific world view does not afford such luxuries.
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    I believe that at least the book of Genesis is simply a parable.
    This is also an apologist position, not one based in reason. Your friend in a way has it right, Genesis was up until about 200 years ago, fully intended to depict the absolute truth--that's how it was taught, interpreted, translated, and woven into religious doctrines and arguments at nearly every opportunity. It's not a parable--it's simply mythology.
    I'm afraid that's not so. Genesis has been seen as something requiring interpretation since Augustine of Hippo in about 400AD. The problem today is the growth of a form of fundamentalist Protestantism that rejects any authority other than the bible - which means they treat even people such as Augustine as heretical.
    While I applause Augustine's intellect, it should be clear that his apparently liberal position suggesting that interpretation that seemed to conflict with facts risked making the church look like fools, that open view was in large part rejected in practice until quite recently such as during the trial of Galileo who reminded the church of Augustine and yet was still sentenced to house arrest and censure of his works (luckily smuggled out), a position not entirely reversed until 1992 when the church finally released an official position that he was correct about the structure of the solar system. And it's not difficult to find statements that still affirm the historical accuracy of the Old Testament until pretty late such as this Pope's statement about the OT pertaining to history in the "true sense." (It's rather whishy-washy position echoed in para 38: Humani Generis) Even as late as the 1960s, 1970s when I was a Catholic there wasn't' a hint that the stories in the Old Testament were allegory, while sometimes in the same lesson/sermon, parables and allegories by Jesus were explicitly stated a parables and than explained in detail. My point is allegorical interpretations of the Old Testament in practice are quite recent and at this point obvious changing memes to survive as credible in a modern world. (St. Augustine's lesson +1400 years). (It's rather interesting watching people walk these fine lines at the Catholic University I attend--where biology teachers all for obvious reasons teach about evolution, but carefully stay away from humans.)
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    I highly recommend watching the "Inside Nature's Giants" series. Simply fascinating stuff!
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by CBrosneck View Post
    Thanks for the responses guys. I'll likely be debating with him again later today, so this is greatly appreciated.

    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    But I'm intrigued about the notion of one type of base insect. 400,000 species of beetle alone have been identified to date. How does he explain this? By evolution? Or by a series of later acts of creation (in which why bother with the Ark in the first place)?
    He claims...get this...that they "speciated" through "micro" evolution. Of course, if he claims this again today, I'm going to ask him, if species can change so fast in such short time, why we don't see new insects "speciate" into new ones all the time over short periods. It's ironic how they claim that "macro" evolution is ridiculous, then multiply it by thousands of times to support their own arguments.

    I may address these assertions of his, but in all likelihood I am just going to stick to my favorite anti-YEC argument, The Starlight Problem.
    Fair enough and good luck.

    I must say I find it mildly encouraging that more creationists these days have been forced to concede that there is at least such a thing as "micro-evolution". I think it shows science has got them on the run. Once they've conceded the principle of the evolutionary mechanism, they are forced to erect flimsy barriers to argue why the process should stop at some arbitrary point, in order to prevent "macro-evolution" from occurring as well. The discussion we've just had about interbreeding means their old argument about hermetically sealed "kinds" does not stand up, i.e. there is a continuum. Ring species can be seen as living examples of new species caught in the act of forming.

    P.S. Our esteemed and knowledgeable friend Neverfly has notoriously intemperate views about religion of any kind. Suffice it to say he does not speak for all contributors to this forum. .
    Thanks for your response

    I find it interesting that many YECs accept "micro" evolution, which is simply evolution on very small timescales, while simultaneously saying that the earth is only 6000-ish years old. What they're really saying is not that evolution does not occur, but that it hasn't had enough TIME to occur. That is what the argument ultimately breaks down to, after all.

    In response to NeverFly, I sort-of figured that. Considering that he knows next to nothing about my beliefs, other than me being a TE.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    I believe that at least the book of Genesis is simply a parable.
    This is also an apologist position, not one based in reason. Your friend in a way has it right, Genesis was up until about 200 years ago, fully intended to depict the absolute truth--that's how it was taught, interpreted, translated, and woven into religious doctrines and arguments at nearly every opportunity. It's not a parable--it's simply mythology.
    Actually, based on research I can confidently say that interpreting Genesis literally was not a feature of the church until around the Protestant Reformation. So you've got it completely backwards.

    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    I highly recommend watching the "Inside Nature's Giants" series. Simply fascinating stuff!
    I'll make a note to do that, thanks.
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    I would say to your friend to be comfortable with the idea that there are things that we just don't know. I am also a theist. However, I do not know which part of the Bible is literal, and which part is metaphor. For all I know, Adam and Eve could be literal.

    Also, I would say to beware of dichotomous or "black and white" thinking. This is a trap that anyone can fall into and can be a part of arguments from believers and non-believers alike.

    If you only see two options, then you start down a road of strange explanations like trying to say the Earth is only a few thousand years old etc.

    Or you could argue something like: "If there was a God, then a,b, or c could not have happened in the Old Testament."

    Both of these types of arguments are examples of black and white thinking and should be avoided.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    I believe that at least the book of Genesis is simply a parable.
    This is also an apologist position, not one based in reason. Your friend in a way has it right, Genesis was up until about 200 years ago, fully intended to depict the absolute truth--that's how it was taught, interpreted, translated, and woven into religious doctrines and arguments at nearly every opportunity. It's not a parable--it's simply mythology.
    I'm afraid that's not so. Genesis has been seen as something requiring interpretation since Augustine of Hippo in about 400AD. The problem today is the growth of a form of fundamentalist Protestantism that rejects any authority other than the bible - which means they treat even people such as Augustine as heretical.
    While I applause Augustine's intellect, it should be clear that his apparently liberal position suggesting that interpretation that seemed to conflict with facts risked making the church look like fools, that open view was in large part rejected in practice until quite recently such as during the trial of Galileo who reminded the church of Augustine and yet was still sentenced to house arrest and censure of his works (luckily smuggled out), a position not entirely reversed until 1992 when the church finally released an official position that he was correct about the structure of the solar system. And it's not difficult to find statements that still affirm the historical accuracy of the Old Testament until pretty late such as this Pope's statement about the OT pertaining to history in the "true sense." (It's rather whishy-washy position echoed in para 38: Humani Generis) Even as late as the 1960s, 1970s when I was a Catholic there wasn't' a hint that the stories in the Old Testament were allegory, while sometimes in the same lesson/sermon, parables and allegories by Jesus were explicitly stated a parables and than explained in detail. My point is allegorical interpretations of the Old Testament in practice are quite recent and at this point obvious changing memes to survive as credible in a modern world. (St. Augustine's lesson +1400 years). (It's rather interesting watching people walk these fine lines at the Catholic University I attend--where biology teachers all for obvious reasons teach about evolution, but carefully stay away from humans.)
    Yes, my point concerned Genesis, as that is the source of all the creationist misunderstanding.

    This link gives some more examples, including Aquinas: How was the Genesis account of creation interpreted before Darwin? | BioLogos
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    It must be nice to base your life on something which is completely up to interpretation. Being of a scientific world view does not afford such luxuries.
    ...apart from the "Copenhagen" and other rival interpretations of Quantum Mechanics, presumably.......

    .......or the interpretation of various fossils as belonging to different families.......

    ....etc.....

    Interpretation is after all simply the process of looking for the meaning of things. I think there is plenty of this in science, as in other disciplines of thought.
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Interpretation is after all simply the process of looking for the meaning of things. I think there is plenty of this in science, as in other disciplines of thought.
    I'm not sure how to interpret that.
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    I expect the Arc debate to kick off to new heights with next year’s release of the movie Noah, staring Russell Crowe. Should be an absolute hoot. How will the director tackle the usual logistics like dinosaurs, freshwater fish, kangaroo and woodworm and will the arc be made of CGI instead of wood, to stop it from sinking?

    As for your friend, I don’t think there’ll be a “Gotcha” moment for you. The playing field isn’t level. Your friend will just keep moving the goal posts until he finds a gap in your knowledge. While you have to back up your position with evidence, he just has to back his up with magic.
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    Bənê hāʼĕlōhîm,

    the sons of godlike beings
    ok
    wherein are the daughters of godlike beings mentioned?
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    It must be nice to base your life on something which is completely up to interpretation. Being of a scientific world view does not afford such luxuries.
    ...apart from the "Copenhagen" and other rival interpretations of Quantum Mechanics, presumably.......

    .......or the interpretation of various fossils as belonging to different families.......

    ....etc.....

    Interpretation is after all simply the process of looking for the meaning of things. I think there is plenty of this in science, as in other disciplines of thought.
    Interpretations which must be verified through a process of scrutiny. Where is that process for theists?

    To clarify, I can interpret certain pieces of data, but I cannot call quantum mechanics an allegory for something when my equations don't work within the known science.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    To clarify, I can interpret certain pieces of data, but I cannot call quantum mechanics an allegory for something when my equations don't work within the known science.
    True, but this statement breaks down to circular reasoning. For this to be valid we must first assume that Genesis (and others) were meant to be literal in the first place.

    Besides, Theism and Science are two completely different subjects with completely different purposes. Neither of them conform to the standards of the other, this does not render either of them any less valid.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    It must be nice to base your life on something which is completely up to interpretation. Being of a scientific world view does not afford such luxuries.
    ...apart from the "Copenhagen" and other rival interpretations of Quantum Mechanics, presumably.......

    .......or the interpretation of various fossils as belonging to different families.......

    ....etc.....

    Interpretation is after all simply the process of looking for the meaning of things. I think there is plenty of this in science, as in other disciplines of thought.
    Interpretations which must be verified through a process of scrutiny. Where is that process for theists?

    To clarify, I can interpret certain pieces of data, but I cannot call quantum mechanics an allegory for something when my equations don't work within the known science.
    Well I wouldn't want to push the analogy too far, certainly. The purpose of religion, after all, is to serve as a guide for living one's life, rather than to provide an account of the physical world. For that purpose, it does not necessarily matter whether or not there is a single "correct" interpretation of Genesis, any more than it is productive to try to decide definitively whether Shylock in The Merchant of Venice is a "goody" or a "baddy". Not that stops some people, notably creationists, from trying.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBrosneck View Post
    True, but this statement breaks down to circular reasoning. For this to be valid we must first assume that Genesis (and others) were meant to be literal in the first place.
    Why would we assume otherwise? Is there a branch of Christianity which believes Jesus was just a metaphor? So why is that the case for the book of Genesis? Where is it written in the Bible that certain parts were intended literally, but not others? That seems like a fairly important omission.

    Quote Originally Posted by CBrosneck View Post
    Besides, Theism and Science are two completely different subjects with completely different purposes. Neither of them conform to the standards of the other, this does not render either of them any less valid.
    I agree that neither conform to the same standards. That's why I typically don't feel as though they have a reason to interact. Then, someone comes up with Intelligent Design and the scientific community feels immediately obligated to define the boundaries of science. The same could be said for religion when science discovers God isn't hovering somewhere above the clouds or that life doesn't need a divine hand to come into being.

    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Well I wouldn't want to push the analogy too far, certainly. The purpose of religion, after all, is to serve as a guide for living one's life, rather than to provide an account of the physical world.
    Again, this is your belief as to what the "purpose" of religion might be. It doesn't explain away things like The Creation Museum or ID. They are perverting science with religion, not using their faith as just a set of guidelines.

    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    For that purpose, it does not necessarily matter whether or not there is a single "correct" interpretation of Genesis
    I guess what bothers me is that this is your interpretation of their interpretation. It DOES matter to me that there is a single correct viewpoint for Genesis or any part of a religious text. Either it is the truth or it is a myth. How can a religion be organized in any cohesive manner when everyone has differing opinions on the purpose of their faith.

    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    any more than it is productive to try to decide definitively whether Shylock in The Merchant of Venice is a "goody" or a "baddy". Not that stops some people, notably creationists, from trying.
    I think it is the influence over a global scale that religion commands which boggles my mind. I cannot comprehend how a faith can exist when everyone involved has different ideas about how it is intended to be taken. This is all keeping in mind that our world leaders base their lives on these gibberish teachings.

    You know, maybe I'm just upset that in a week I have to go stay with some hyper-religious relatives who always try to force this crap on me. Last time I was trying to enjoy a lovely cruise in Bermuda while someone was telling me that gay marriage will lead to humans having sex with toasters.

    Is there a such thing as being pre-agitated?

    EDIT: Let me be clear, exchemist, I'm not trying to come off as a jerk to you. I really respect a lot of your contributions to the board. I'm just kind of cranky. My post felt like it might have read a little hostile, so try not to take it that way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    You know, maybe I'm just upset that in a week I have to go stay with some hyper-religious relatives who always try to force this crap on me. Last time I was trying to enjoy a lovely cruise in Bermuda while someone was telling me that gay marriage will lead to humans having sex with toasters.

    What? I do not even...
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post

    This link gives some more examples, including Aquinas: How was the Genesis account of creation interpreted before Darwin? | BioLogos
    Indeed, that web is a great example of historical revisionism by Evangelical Christians.
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    Interpretation is after all simply the process of looking for the meaning of things. I think there is plenty of this in science, as in other disciplines of thought.
    I think that's a bit sideways about science "interpreting" stuff. Science is always provisional. Every scientist knows that further information or the use of not-yet-available technology may provide new insight or information which will modify or confirm or even overturn current understanding.

    This is very different from readings of religious texts. The arguments there are about contesting interpretations of never-changing texts with no chance of new or additional information to resolve any questions.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cogito Ergo Sum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    You know, maybe I'm just upset that in a week I have to go stay with some hyper-religious relatives who always try to force this crap on me. Last time I was trying to enjoy a lovely cruise in Bermuda while someone was telling me that gay marriage will lead to humans having sex with toasters.

    What? I do not even...
    Well, I did leave out a couple steps. First, people marry children, then corpses, THEN toasters. Of course, they're probably having premarital relations with the toasters anyways. Sinners...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post

    This link gives some more examples, including Aquinas: How was the Genesis account of creation interpreted before Darwin? | BioLogos
    Indeed, that web is a great example of historical revisionism by Evangelical Christians.
    Revisionism. Never heard that before. I like this word in this context.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flick Montana View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by CBrosneck View Post
    True, but this statement breaks down to circular reasoning. For this to be valid we must first assume that Genesis (and others) were meant to be literal in the first place.
    Why would we assume otherwise? Is there a branch of Christianity which believes Jesus was just a metaphor? So why is that the case for the book of Genesis? Where is it written in the Bible that certain parts were intended literally, but not others? That seems like a fairly important omission.

    Quote Originally Posted by CBrosneck View Post
    Besides, Theism and Science are two completely different subjects with completely different purposes. Neither of them conform to the standards of the other, this does not render either of them any less valid.
    I agree that neither conform to the same standards. That's why I typically don't feel as though they have a reason to interact. Then, someone comes up with Intelligent Design and the scientific community feels immediately obligated to define the boundaries of science. The same could be said for religion when science discovers God isn't hovering somewhere above the clouds or that life doesn't need a divine hand to come into being.

    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Well I wouldn't want to push the analogy too far, certainly. The purpose of religion, after all, is to serve as a guide for living one's life, rather than to provide an account of the physical world.
    Again, this is your belief as to what the "purpose" of religion might be. It doesn't explain away things like The Creation Museum or ID. They are perverting science with religion, not using their faith as just a set of guidelines.

    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    For that purpose, it does not necessarily matter whether or not there is a single "correct" interpretation of Genesis
    I guess what bothers me is that this is your interpretation of their interpretation. It DOES matter to me that there is a single correct viewpoint for Genesis or any part of a religious text. Either it is the truth or it is a myth. How can a religion be organized in any cohesive manner when everyone has differing opinions on the purpose of their faith.

    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    any more than it is productive to try to decide definitively whether Shylock in The Merchant of Venice is a "goody" or a "baddy". Not that stops some people, notably creationists, from trying.
    I think it is the influence over a global scale that religion commands which boggles my mind. I cannot comprehend how a faith can exist when everyone involved has different ideas about how it is intended to be taken. This is all keeping in mind that our world leaders base their lives on these gibberish teachings.

    You know, maybe I'm just upset that in a week I have to go stay with some hyper-religious relatives who always try to force this crap on me. Last time I was trying to enjoy a lovely cruise in Bermuda while someone was telling me that gay marriage will lead to humans having sex with toasters.

    Is there a such thing as being pre-agitated?

    EDIT: Let me be clear, exchemist, I'm not trying to come off as a jerk to you. I really respect a lot of your contributions to the board. I'm just kind of cranky. My post felt like it might have read a little hostile, so try not to take it that way.
    Thanks for the footnote - I did think your reply had something of the scatter-gun about it, which is why I didn't respond. I would feel equally annoyed by some fool giving me sanctimonious lectures on the evils of gay marriage. I simply cannot see the religious problem, seeing as these are purely civil ceremonies anyway. I think St Paul has a lot to answer for in the Christian view of sexuality, which has always struck me as unhealthy. But that's another (incendiary) subject.......
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    I think St Paul has a lot to answer for in the Christian view of sexuality, which has always struck me as unhealthy. But that's another (incendiary) subject.......
    I'll gladly add to the bonfire should you chose to ignite the Paul of Tarsus negative influence on Christianity debate.

    To the OP, debating science VS faith is a sure way to generate cognitive dissonance. The approach I would suggest would be to acknowledge disagreement and ask for reciprocal respect of each other's views. Reconciling faith and science is a very slippery metaphysical debate that can easily damage curiosity and good will on both ends. Should you still chose to pursue your intended path, I think your best reconciling argument would be found by questioning the methodology used to establish the chronology of the Hebrew Bible. I hope this helps and will get you closer to your friend.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post

    This link gives some more examples, including Aquinas: How was the Genesis account of creation interpreted before Darwin? | BioLogos
    Indeed, that web is a great example of historical revisionism by Evangelical Christians.
    You think what they say about Aquinas is untrue, then? Do you have evidence?
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    You think what they say about Aquinas is untrue, then? Do you have evidence?
    The specific passages I do not doubt, what I contest is that they had much doctrinal influence over official teachings and actions by the church until very recently.

    Take for example the official doctrine by the Catholic church from the 1909 Pontifical Biblical Commission of Genesis, which resoundingly answered that no suggestion of allegory would be associated with Genesis. That declaration was backed by the Pope Pius X who'd already warned against teaching modernist/rationalist interpretations, ordered the destruction of all such materials or face excommunication.
    http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/P10PRASC.htm]Catholic Dogma on Creation and the 1909 Pontifical Biblical Commission on Genesis[/URL]
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    You think what they say about Aquinas is untrue, then? Do you have evidence?
    The specific passages I do not doubt, what I contest is that they had much doctrinal influence over official teachings and actions by the church until very recently.

    Take for example the official doctrine by the Catholic church from the 1909 Pontifical Biblical Commission of Genesis, which resoundingly answered that no suggestion of allegory would be associated with Genesis. That declaration was backed by the Pope Pius X who'd already warned against teaching modernist/rationalist interpretations, ordered the destruction of all such materials or face excommunication.
    http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/P10PRASC.htm]Catholic Dogma on Creation and the 1909 Pontifical Biblical Commission on Genesis[/URL]
    I'm sure you are right that at Aquinas' time, in the Middle Ages before the invention of even the printing press, let alone the development of science, the thought of scholars may not have penetrated much to the people. And I suppose the need to recognise widely the allegorical interpretation would only have become burning in the c.19th, as science really got its teeth into geology - and, later, evolutionary biology and palaeontology.

    Certainly this pope whose work you quote (Pius X) seems by all accounts to have been a bit of a reactionary, attempting to counterbalance the work of his predecessor Leo XIII, who did what seems to have been rather a good job - for a c.19th pope at least - of opening up the need to interpret the bible (Providentissimus Deus), especially in light of the scientific discoveries that were then surging ahead. It is noteworthy that Leo XIII reiterated a principle he ascribed to Augustine, that reading of scripture had to be done in the light of scientific reason.

    Incidentally I read last year parts of a series of lectures that Cardinal Wiseman (Newman's predecessor) gave in the 1840s, in Rome, pointing out the way that the new discoveries in geology about the age of the Earh could be harmonised with the bible. This was 20 years before Origin of Species.

    With all this in mind I am convinced that you place too much stress on Pius X in 1909. At the very least it is apparent to me that the ways to view Genesis have ebbed and flowed within the church - at least at the level of the theologians, if not the people - through the centuries. Representing them as a rigid adherence to a literalist view seems unjustified to me.
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    With all this in mind I am convinced that you place too much stress on Pius X in 1909. At the very least it is apparent to me that the ways to view Genesis have ebbed and flowed within the church - at least at the level of the theologians, if not the people - through the centuries. Representing them as a rigid adherence to a literalist view seems unjustified to me.
    Perhaps, but it is a fact that the position of the church did not change until 1993 when the Potifical Biblical Commission published "The interpretation of the Bible in the Church." Four more generations of children, such as my generation, taught that the opening chapters of the OT were literal and without any mention of allegory. And hence my original point that in practice literal interpretations of the OT are not unique to fundamentalist or Protestants but were in defacto that standard for Catholics (and probably most other Christians) for the vast majority of its history. The stories for nearly 2000 years, and what ever time before that in Hebrew oral traditions were never meant to allegorical--they were meant to be taken literally, just as other explain creation, establish lineages, movements of peoples, and transmit core values and traditions just as other mythologies of their day.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    With all this in mind I am convinced that you place too much stress on Pius X in 1909. At the very least it is apparent to me that the ways to view Genesis have ebbed and flowed within the church - at least at the level of the theologians, if not the people - through the centuries. Representing them as a rigid adherence to a literalist view seems unjustified to me.
    Perhaps, but it is a fact that the position of the church did not change until 1993 when the Potifical Biblical Commission published "The interpretation of the Bible in the Church." Four more generations of children, such as my generation, taught that the opening chapters of the OT were literal and without any mention of allegory. And hence my original point that in practice literal interpretations of the OT are not unique to fundamentalist or Protestants but were in defacto that standard for Catholics (and probably most other Christians) for the vast majority of its history. The stories for nearly 2000 years, and what ever time before that in Hebrew oral traditions were never meant to allegorical--they were meant to be taken literally, just as other explain creation, establish lineages, movements of peoples, and transmit core values and traditions just as other mythologies of their day.
    Well I have to disagree, certainly as far as my own (Catholic) upbringing in the 1960s is concerned. But admittedly that was in London, where one tends to have challenging and well-educated people. I've no doubt that in rural communities the local priest might not have thought too much about it. And I have heard it said that some priests do not like to preach on the subject for fear of "shaking the faith of simple people". I'd have thought that nowadays, given that all school children are taught science, this approach would not longer make sense.

    Anyway I'm sure it's all a tedious digression to most readers, so I'll let it drop now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by CBrosneck View Post
    Hey guys, I'm new here. I am a Theistic Evolutionist looking for help responding to this claim by a Young Earth friend that I have been debating with.

    He insists that the Bible is 100% literal and fact, I do not. I believe that at least the book of Genesis is simply a parable. I asked him how all the various "kinds" could fit on the ark, he responded by saying that God created only a few thousand "base" organisms, one type of insect, various types of mammals, etc etc. I know this is wrong, and I've looked at the response on RationalWiki's article on "Baraminology" but I don't think those arguments are quite going to cut it.

    When I ask him what a "Kind" is, he says that any two animals that can interbreed are the same "kind." What examples could I give to refute this? Thanks in advance.

    Also, he claims that there are no mutations which add information, when I pointed out the evolution of nylonase in the Japanese flavobacterium, he claims that the mutation only removed the bacteria's inability to eat nylon. This claim makes exactly zero sense, but how would I demonstrate it to be wrong?
    I've been where you've been. ^o^ Let me tell you, its so hard to explain to those people. I admire your resilience. Its hard to change someone's mind when they've got their heart and head set on an idea, especially someone who is convinced the Bible is literal. The thing about religion is that it can't exactly be proven wrong because those who believe it will always find a reason, no matter how far-fetched, to make it make sense for them. The thing about science is that it is constantly changing and evolving, and those who may be adverse to it cannot understand this need for evolution. Its a stalemate really. Your friend's claim about there being no mutations which add information made my mind go blank for a second. If your friend really believed what he believes, I'm scared to debate with him. o.o Can you dig a person that deep out of their hole? (I bet it would be very VERY VERY difficult).
    You could always point out the many discrepancies in the Bible. Ask him to explain that, throw out so many of them that he can't possibly argue back. XD
    I'm not very much help because I've learned that those people are so stubborn that it hurts. *o* But good-luck and if this ever happens again, good-luck!
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyankitty0911 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by CBrosneck View Post
    Hey guys, I'm new here. I am a Theistic Evolutionist looking for help responding to this claim by a Young Earth friend that I have been debating with.

    He insists that the Bible is 100% literal and fact, I do not. I believe that at least the book of Genesis is simply a parable. I asked him how all the various "kinds" could fit on the ark, he responded by saying that God created only a few thousand "base" organisms, one type of insect, various types of mammals, etc etc. I know this is wrong, and I've looked at the response on RationalWiki's article on "Baraminology" but I don't think those arguments are quite going to cut it.

    When I ask him what a "Kind" is, he says that any two animals that can interbreed are the same "kind." What examples could I give to refute this? Thanks in advance.

    Also, he claims that there are no mutations which add information, when I pointed out the evolution of nylonase in the Japanese flavobacterium, he claims that the mutation only removed the bacteria's inability to eat nylon. This claim makes exactly zero sense, but how would I demonstrate it to be wrong?
    I've been where you've been. ^o^ Let me tell you, its so hard to explain to those people. I admire your resilience. Its hard to change someone's mind when they've got their heart and head set on an idea, especially someone who is convinced the Bible is literal. The thing about religion is that it can't exactly be proven wrong because those who believe it will always find a reason, no matter how far-fetched, to make it make sense for them. The thing about science is that it is constantly changing and evolving, and those who may be adverse to it cannot understand this need for evolution. Its a stalemate really. Your friend's claim about there being no mutations which add information made my mind go blank for a second. If your friend really believed what he believes, I'm scared to debate with him. o.o Can you dig a person that deep out of their hole? (I bet it would be very VERY VERY difficult).
    You could always point out the many discrepancies in the Bible. Ask him to explain that, throw out so many of them that he can't possibly argue back. XD
    I'm not very much help because I've learned that those people are so stubborn that it hurts. *o* But good-luck and if this ever happens again, good-luck!
    Yes I largely agree, with the proviso that most educated Christians actually have no trouble with accepting science: it's a shame the nutters in the US Bible Belt are so often taken as representative, when they are simply a minority who make a disproportionate amount of noise.

    The reason they are so hard to shift on this is because of their doctrine of the Fall, and hence of Christ's redemptive mission on Earth. So it's pretty central. For them, it's important that Adam and Eve literally brought death into the world as a result of the act of disobedience related in Genesis. Obviously that can't be, if animals and plants have been dying (differentially, in accordance with natural selection) for billions of years before mankind appeared. For others this story has a more subtle allegorical meaning, but the Bible Belt doesn't really do subtlety.
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    It's kinda like fighting someone wearing one of those inflatable Sumo suits:



    Everything you throw at them is just going to bounce off. Good luck
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver1968 View Post
    It's kinda like fighting someone wearing one of those inflatable Sumo suits:

    Everything you throw at them is just going to bounce off. Good luck
    Darts.
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    Cogito Ergo Sum;
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    So does my hair dresser...


    seriously however....if you talk to fundamentalists they do take the Bible verbatim Good luck in changing their point of view..
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    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    seriously however....if you talk to fundamentalists they do take the Bible verbatim Good luck in changing their point of view..

    I have never encountered nor talked with fundamentalists, religious or otherwise.
    They form a small minority and there are mostly frowned upon in this society and they never receive serious media attention.
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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  51. #50  
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    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Yes I largely agree, with the proviso that most educated Christians actually have no trouble with accepting science: it's a shame the nutters in the US Bible Belt are so often taken as representative, when they are simply a minority who make a disproportionate amount of noise.
    Not true in the US. Poll after poll reveal that most American Christians think humans were created in their present form by god and nearly half don't accept evolution.
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  52. #51  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Yes I largely agree, with the proviso that most educated Christians actually have no trouble with accepting science: it's a shame the nutters in the US Bible Belt are so often taken as representative, when they are simply a minority who make a disproportionate amount of noise.
    Not true in the US. Poll after poll reveal that most American Christians think humans were created in their present form by god and nearly half don't accept evolution.
    That is an extraordinary claim and needs extraordinary proof
    poll after poll?
    whose polls
    where were they taken?

    "Christians" is a very broad spectrum
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  53. #52  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Yes I largely agree, with the proviso that most educated Christians actually have no trouble with accepting science: it's a shame the nutters in the US Bible Belt are so often taken as representative, when they are simply a minority who make a disproportionate amount of noise.
    Not true in the US. Poll after poll reveal that most American Christians think humans were created in their present form by god and nearly half don't accept evolution.
    Hmmmmm. polls conducted by who? The Discovery Institute?

    I hate to do this but:

    Religious Differences on the Question of Evolution (United States)
    Percentage who agree that evolution is the best explanation for the origin of human life on earth
    Buddhist 81%
    Hindu 80%
    Jewish 77%
    Unaffiliated 72%
    Catholic 58%
    Orthodox 54%
    Mainline Protestant 51%
    Muslim 45%
    Hist. Black Protest. 38%
    Evang. Protestant 24%
    Mormon 22%
    Jehovah's Witnesses 8%
    Total U.S. population percentage:48%
    Source: Pew Forum[56]




    Unless you consider Mormons, Jehovah’s Witness, protestant's evangelical churches and historically black churches as the majority of Christendom, this study contradicts your allegation. Just in case someone is interested by the full report: http://religions.pewforum.org/pdf/re...ll.pdf#page=99
    Last edited by Lazy Jester; November 12th, 2013 at 04:06 PM. Reason: Missing from original
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  54. #53  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by exchemist View Post
    Yes I largely agree, with the proviso that most educated Christians actually have no trouble with accepting science: it's a shame the nutters in the US Bible Belt are so often taken as representative, when they are simply a minority who make a disproportionate amount of noise.
    Not true in the US. Poll after poll reveal that most American Christians think humans were created in their present form by god and nearly half don't accept evolution.

    Too bad that science does not care about one's beliefs.
    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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  55. #54  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lazy Jester View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Not true in the US. Poll after poll reveal that most American Christians think humans were created in their present form by god and nearly half don't accept evolution.
    Hmmmmm. polls conducted by who? The Discovery Institute?

    I hate to do this but:

    Percentage who agree that evolution is the best explanation for the origin of human life on earth
    Total U.S. population percentage:48%
    Source: Pew Forum[56]
    That seems to confirm Lynx Fox's claim, not debunk.

    However, if the question asked is the same as that shown here I would have to answer No.

    Is evolution the best explanation for the origin of human life on earth

    My full response - No. Evolution appears to be, currently, the best explanation for the origin of human life on earth. That is not the same as saying it is the best explanation.
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  56. #55  
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lazy Jester View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lynx_Fox View Post
    Not true in the US. Poll after poll reveal that most American Christians think humans were created in their present form by god and nearly half don't accept evolution.
    Hmmmmm. polls conducted by who? The Discovery Institute?

    I hate to do this but:

    Percentage who agree that evolution is the best explanation for the origin of human life on earth
    Total U.S. population percentage:48%
    Source: Pew Forum[56]
    That seems to confirm Lynx Fox's claim, not debunk.

    However, if the question asked is the same as that shown here I would have to answer No.

    Is evolution the best explanation for the origin of human life on earth

    My full response - No. Evolution appears to be, currently, the best explanation for the origin of human life on earth. That is not the same as saying it is the best explanation.
    I edited my post to include what was missing. Hopefully it will make more sense.

    I hate statistical data as the quality of questions, as you demonstrated, is always debatable and is often rendering the results unreliable.
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  57. #56  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cogito Ergo Sum View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by babe View Post
    seriously however....if you talk to fundamentalists they do take the Bible verbatim Good luck in changing their point of view..

    I have never encountered nor talked with fundamentalists, religious or otherwise.
    They form a small minority and there are mostly frowned upon in this society and they never receive serious media attention.
    My parents were ordained Pentecostal Ministers! and look what they got for a daughter!! *chuckle*
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