Debate and Discussion

Do you believe in evolution?
kyupol at 3:15PM, Jan. 16, 2008
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I always wondered…

WHY DID HUMANITY ‘EVOLVE’ INTO DIFFERENT SKIN COLORS?

Is it because of the temperature? Since black people have more melanin that protects them from the heat of the sun in Africa.

Africa isnt the only country in the equator. What about India, Southeast Asia, Central America? Why are the people in those regions have brown skin?

And if equatorial regions make your skin dark because of the sun's heat… why are native indians who live in the north pole the same color as the people in India, southeast Asia, and Central America? The North pole is the coldest place on earth. Why dont these native indians look caucasian? If caucasians supposedly developed white skin to stand the cold temperature?

If temperature affects skin color, then all people in the warm regions of the planet should be black? It doesnt make sense.

Why the different genetic makeups?

There has to be somebody out there who is responsible for the different genetic makeups of the people on Earth. And somebody out there who allowed that to happen.




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last edited on July 14, 2011 1:25PM
mlai at 4:49PM, Jan. 16, 2008
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Amount of melanin in skin is due to evolution against the amount of UV rays hitting that region of the Earth. Not “heat.”

Native Americans are dark because they migrated to these Northern regions relatively recently, in geological time. Before this, they lived in warm sunny places.

It took millions of years for humans to evolve different amounts of melanin. Anthropology shows that Native Americans migrated to American only tens of thousands of years ago (or something, but it was definitely “recently”).

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RabbitMaster at 6:49PM, Jan. 16, 2008
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Just to present the other side of the coin…http://www.icr.org/article/1062/ and also http://www.icr.org/article/1831/


“Perhaps you would care to try your villany on a less defenseless opponent?”–Kung Fu Rabbit
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StaceyMontgomery at 6:57PM, Jan. 16, 2008
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See, those articles you linked to are exactly what annoys me so much about creationism. They blame racism on Darwin!

And yet, long before Darwin, Christians were using the Bible to spin tales about “the children of Cain” that justified terrible racism.

An honorable Christian would admit that history, acknowledge the error, and point out that we have all come a long way.

That is not the approach of the author of those two ICR articles. I'm sorry to speak so plainly, but really, he is a scoundrel who should be ashamed of himself. Racial prejudice existed long before Darwin, and to claim otherwise is an affront to reason.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:55PM
bobhhh at 7:09PM, Jan. 16, 2008
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RabbitMaster
Just to present the other side of the coin…http://www.icr.org/article/1062/ and also http://www.icr.org/article/1831/



You seem like a nice guy so I will say this as respectfully as I can, but I have to point out that the Bible is a poor science text. It is filled with superstition and nonscientific conjecture, and as such has no place in a science class, period.

Science has achieved a great many things, but we would never have landed a man on the moon if we hadn't questioned and deviated from the Bible's view of the universe. As a moral and spiritual guide i believe it functions well, and truly that should be it's purpose, according to Jesus, “Render unto God what is God's…”

If you truly believe God is concerned with a man's eternal soul than I find it hard to square that sacred task with a lot of quibbling about the scientific nature of the universe, and to relegate him to the role of a theoretical scientist seems, quite frankly, to be an insult to his deity.

Then, of course, you could look at it this way, how welcome would I be if I legally coerced your local parish to give me equal time to discuss evolution at your church, to present a fair and balanced opposing viewpoint to your spiritual beliefs?

I think you could agree that a science lecture would be inappropriate in a worship setting, just as innapropriate as the converse.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:29AM
Kohdok at 10:03PM, Jan. 16, 2008
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kyupol
I always wondered…

WHY DID HUMANITY ‘EVOLVE’ INTO DIFFERENT SKIN COLORS?

Is it because of the temperature? Since black people have more melanin that protects them from the heat of the sun in Africa.

Africa isnt the only country in the equator. What about India, Southeast Asia, Central America? Why are the people in those regions have brown skin?

It's not just latitude, but altitude as well that determines the climate of a place. The different altitudes and climates as well as interactions with water can all change the climate and require different adaptations including skin color. Easy.

And if equatorial regions make your skin dark because of the sun's heat… why are native indians who live in the north pole the same color as the people in India, southeast Asia, and Central America? The North pole is the coldest place on earth. Why dont these native indians look caucasian? If caucasians supposedly developed white skin to stand the cold temperature?

That's also an easy one. During the summer, there is little to no night-time in the artic. Imagine having the sun on you all day and (almost) all night for several months. Naturally, the same adaptation to prolonged exposure to UV rays probably appeared. Areas of Europe and Norway where white people live don't have constant daylight for several months like the artic does.

There has to be somebody out there who is responsible for the different genetic makeups of the people on Earth. And somebody out there who allowed that to happen.

I'd make the wise choice and blame two people: Mother Earth and Father Time. The Earth is a huge place with many different climates and places where life can grow. Also, 4.5 billion years is a LONG time. Even the time humans have been around is pretty long. I could tell the story of the galapagos finches, but I'll save that for later.
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StaceyMontgomery at 3:51AM, Jan. 17, 2008
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The whole idea that someone has to be responsible for everything that happens - and that someone must have allowed everything to happen, is a very human response. We evolved to compete with each other, we have a natural streak of healthy paranoia. But that being said, it does not follow logically.

If it rains today and ruins the picnic i was looking forward to, it does not follow that “someone is responsible.” Not everything is about us.

I mean, It's OK to start with an idea like “Hey, someone must have caused this!” cause maybe it is so. But then you have to go the next step, investigating and testing your ideas. If you just dream up the idea and stop there, you are in the realm of conspiracy thinking and magic.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:55PM
RabbitMaster at 4:20AM, Jan. 17, 2008
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bobhhh
You seem like a nice guy so I will say this as respectfully as I can
I appreciate your kind words, however much we may disagree. I will try to respond to your points in kind.
bobhhh
Science has achieved a great many things, but we would never have landed a man on the moon if we hadn't questioned and deviated from the Bible's view of the universe
Landing a man on the moon was the accomplishment of physicists and structural engineers, not the accomplishment of biologists. What view of the universe specifically are you referring to?
bobhhh
If you truly believe God is concerned with a man's eternal soul than I find it hard to square that sacred task with a lot of quibbling about the scientific nature of the universe, and to relegate him to the role of a theoretical scientist seems, quite frankly, to be an insult to his deity.
as I saisd before, why would I be willing to believe what the Bible says about Calvary without believing what it says about the origin of life? For me to assume that God spoke to his creation through the Bible and told the truth about Calvary and heaven but flubbed the story about Genesis is an even greater insult to his diety. The Bible is very clear on this, God reveals himself on his own terms, and someone who begins a conversation with God by calling him a liar can't reasonably expect the conversation to go much further.

bobhhh
Then, of course, you could look at it this way, how welcome would I be if I legally coerced your local parish to give me equal time to discuss evolution at your church, to present a fair and balanced opposing viewpoint to your spiritual beliefs?
I don't have a parish, but I can understand how you could be confused on that. This point really has very little to do with whether or not or even why I no longer believe in evolution but I will address it. A church is a voluntary organization of private individuals gathered together for voluntary community worship. That is quite a far cry from a taxpayer funded government education monopoly where a certain worldview is enforced with all opossing viewpoints shut out.
Now as a street preacher, I deal with people all the time that disagree with me. That's my ministry. I assure you that in the last 13 years I have talked to atheists and agnostics and Buddhists and snake handklers and shamans and witches by the score. So if I want an opposing viewpoint, all I have to do is walk outside.

I would not presume to walk into a scientific forum and start whipping folks up into a chorus of ‘Amazing Grace’, but I would expect open-minded and intellectually honest men and women of science to look at all the evidence, not just the one that seems to prop up the dominant view. There is a difference between finding evidence that supports your theory and finding evidence that you can interpret in light of your theory. The latter is a very human trait, scientist or not.


StaceyMontgomery
See, those articles you linked to are exactly what annoys me so much about creationism. They blame racism on Darwin!

And yet, long before Darwin, Christians were using the Bible to spin tales about “the children of Cain” that justified terrible racism.

An honorable Christian would admit that history, acknowledge the error, and point out that we have all come a long way.

That is not the approach of the author of those two ICR articles. I'm sorry to speak so plainly, but really, he is a scoundrel who should be ashamed of himself. Racial prejudice existed long before Darwin, and to claim otherwise is an affront to reason.
Ms. Montgomery, the fact is that people have used the Bible to reinforce some of their pet notions. The way they usually do that is by taking a verse out of context. That is why in my my dealing with people, I try to establish what the Book actually says as opposed to what I want it to say. Sometimes that's harder, but people really interested in the truth will do the work. I won't even bother defending stupidity and intellectual laziness amongst my fellow ‘bretheren’, assuming that's what they are. You are right to point out those abuses and I would stand with you in being opposed to it.
However that does not erase the fact that many of the founding thinkers in darwinian evolution did use their new theories to bolster their own pet notions about racial superiority. It is a fact of history that almost every mass murderer (Stalin, Pol Pot, Hitler, et al) of the last 200 years has been an evolutionist that stated they were weeding out those inferior to them. Does that invalidate evolution as a theory? Of course not. There's plenty of bloody hands to go around on both sides of the argument.
But I posted those articles in particular not because I think all evolutionists are racists and all creationists aren't. That would be silly to even try to make the case for.I posted that article to highlight one of the fundamental differences between the two worldviews. Darwinin evolution has information such as skin color being added to the gentic code through mutation (and other factors). Creationism has all the necessary information for any possibly needed future adaptations already present in the genetic code at creation and just expressing itself as the need arises.
At some point this becomes a somewhat hollow intellectual exercise. As I said before, God reveals himself under his own terms and I definitely think there is a spiritual element to one's belief in evolutionary dogma. Unless God opens someone's eyes, all the persuasion in the world will mean nothing to them. But it doesn't mean we don't have the conversation.

“Perhaps you would care to try your villany on a less defenseless opponent?”–Kung Fu Rabbit
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bobhhh at 5:17AM, Jan. 17, 2008
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RabbitMaster
A church is a voluntary organization of private individuals gathered together for voluntary community worship. That is quite a far cry from a taxpayer funded government education monopoly where a certain worldview is enforced with all opossing viewpoints shut out.

Ahhh, but Churches are taxpayer funded because they don't pay taxes and yet they own land and are serviced by taxpayer funded agencies.

But that point aside my point is that the bible is for church, Science is for science class.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:29AM
StaceyMontgomery at 6:07AM, Jan. 17, 2008
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Rabbitmaster -

Your claim that Stalin was a Darwinist is just nonsense. Stalin was a Lamarkist - which is the belief that organisms adapt to their environment on their own, not over the course of generations. It is a pseudo-science that was invented for political purposes, it has nothing to do with Darwinism. And he killed millions of innocent people for political gain, not because of his philosophy.

Actually, Lamarkism is almost identical to the version of creationism you just described: “…all the necessary information for any possibly needed future adaptations already present in the genetic code at creation and just expressing itself as the need arises.” An odd coincidence, surely.

I am unable to find any evidence to support your claim that Hitler acted on evolutionary ideas. I do know this quote though:

“For it was by the Will of God that men were made of a certain bodily shape, were given their natures and their faculties” (Mein Kampf, vol. ii, ch. x)

-the last sounds rather more like an appeal to Creationism than Darwinism. Of course, I would never use this quote to try to tar all Creationists in the manner you were trying to use against all Scientists. If I had, you would rightly be as unhappy with me as I am with you.

Your sweeping claims about “every mass murderer” and “the founding thinkers in Darwinian evolution” are simply untrue as matters of historical fact. For instance, in Darwin's writings I see a lot of evidence that he was (sadly) typically racist for an englishman of the period, but I'm not aware of anything that would support your claims he used his theories of evolution to “bolster pet notions about racial superiority.” You would have to support that claim with evidence.

Of course, there was plenty or racism and atrocity throughout history, for instance, so I suppose we can both find plenty of Racist criminals who accepted science and criminal Racist Christians, to no real point. You say “plenty of bloody hands to go around on both sides of the argument” but you introduced the IRC articles and their noxious claims that Racism is a product of Darwinism, a claim you have still not rejected. Then you added your own obviously untrue claim about “every mass murderer.” It seems that the “both sides of the argument” thing you invoked is to quiet my side of the argument, but not yours. That is hardly an honest approach to debate.

I do understand that your faith in Creationism is based on a religious belief, and not really amendable to debate. I have no intention of trying to “convince” any Creationist that they are wrong. It is apparently a revealed truth, and lacking any revelation, I can say little of value about it. Creationism is an explicit rejection of Scientific thinking, and I am in no position to argue beyond that point. I might make a claim to know a very little about science, but I can claim to know nothing at all about the greater mysteries of our vast universe. I leave that sort of thing to those much braver than myself.

However, in a public debate, it is important to stand up to those who spread misinformation. When you make scientific or historical claims of fact, you must expect people to read them and judge their accuracy. You have made many claims that are simply wrong and seem to be in bad faith. The proper thing to do is to correct and renounce these errors specifically.

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RabbitMaster at 7:34AM, Jan. 17, 2008
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StaceyMontgomery
I feel I may owe you an apology. There are some areas where I may have been less than clear and please allow me to clarify. I believe the phrase I used was ‘almost every mass murderer’. I then threw out a handful of what I would consider the typical mass murderer. I did this to differentiate between someone like Hitler versus someone like Ted Bundy. There may be certainly differences of philososphy among those listed, and you could probably make the case that many of them were not Darwinists in the traditional sense. But I would put forth to you that none of those listed believed in creation as explained in Genesis. Does belief in evolution make you into a Hitler or a Pol Pot? Of course not, and if I implied such I was in error. If I implied that every mass murderer is an evolutionist I was also in error. I apologize.
I'm actually unfamiliar with Lamarkism as such. I'll have to look into that.
I do not believe that racism is caused by Darwinism. I hope that is clear enough. Furthermore, I am reasonably persuaded that the good folks at ICR don't believe that either. I don't even think that was the point of the articles.
My belief in creation is based on my belief in a Book. I came at this opinion through honest soul-searching inquiry and as much critical thinking as I could apply to the evidence before me. If you want to call that ‘religious’ and not amendable to debate, then you are certainly free to do so, but it took an extraordinary amount of debate within myself. I do not consider creation an explicit rejection of scientific thinking and those who have made the case that it's a discussion of ‘science versus religion’ have done a simply splendid job of framing the debate in terms favorable to themselves.
But them's the breaks.

“Perhaps you would care to try your villany on a less defenseless opponent?”–Kung Fu Rabbit
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RabbitMaster at 7:39AM, Jan. 17, 2008
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bobhhh
Ahhh, but Churches are taxpayer funded because they don't pay taxes and yet they own land and are serviced by taxpayer funded agencies.
I'm sure there are ‘churches’ that function that way, and are nothing but huge tax shelters, but my church doesn't, and that's the only one I can really speak to. But all that is beside the point.

“Perhaps you would care to try your villany on a less defenseless opponent?”–Kung Fu Rabbit
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:57PM
StaceyMontgomery at 7:57AM, Jan. 17, 2008
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Rabbitmaster

thank you.

It is terribly bad form to continue on a point after an apology, but let me risk this much on the “Good people at IRC.”

From the first article you linked us to:

“While prejudice, persecution, and racial hatred follow directly from the application of evolutionary teaching…”

I really do not think that this author represents the same viewpoint as the one you have just explained so clearly.


As to my saying that your views are not amendable to debate, my apologies, that was poorly thought and poorly said, and obviously untrue. I will try to reframe the seed of that thought again soon, if i can form it into something more useful and express it rather better.
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Loud_G at 11:21AM, Jan. 17, 2008
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StaceyMontgomery
Creationism is an explicit rejection of Scientific thinking, and I am in no position to argue beyond that point.

No. That is incorrect.

Creationism states that God created all things. This in no way rejects or embraces evolution. It states that God started life, not HOW God started life, or HOW He created it.

There are creationists who believe in evolution, and those who don't. However, each one must choose which side of the fense to be on, individually, because there is no place where God described the process of creation.

For all we know He grew the various organisms in a petri dish, or He waved His hand and they appeared, or he used a form of guided evolution. to get them to what we see today.

There is nothing that says that Creationism is anti scientific thought. A good Christian accepts scientific process as a search for truth and Christ taught us to embrace truth.

I personally do not know HOW God Created life, ie. what process he used., but I know that He did. If evolution was His process, then evolution was His process but to say one trumps the other is not to have a true understanding of the thing.

Yes, many creationists forget that they do not know the How and they fight against atheists in the scientific realm because they mistakenly think the two are exclusive. And atheists egg them on because the Christian's assumption helps their own cause. So then the Christian's become anti-science, not because their belief demands it, but it reaction/retalliation to the attacks on their faith using the false logic of “If Creation exists, evolution fails, and if evolution exists, creation fails”.

The point is, they are separate arguments that have little if anything to do with the other. Creation and evolution CAN in fact coexist. I wish my fellow Christians would not flinch at it, and I wish athiests would not abuse their misunderstandings of science and God.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 1:46PM
StaceyMontgomery at 12:17PM, Jan. 17, 2008
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Loud_G

It is always dangerous to argue over the meaning of words. After all, there is no final authority we can appeal to, even dictionaries simply say “lots of people use these words in this way.”

However, I have to say that your use of the word “Creationism” is not at all standard. A quick look at “Creationism” in Wikipedia or your favorite Dictionary will back this up.

Therefore, you can expect some confusion when you use the word “Creationism” in another way from the more commonly accepted use that we have been using it here (I do not mean the editorial “we” here, but myself and the other people who have posted on this thread).

I must say I tend to agree with you that Science and Religion can easily co-exist. In my own experience, most of the Christians I know see no conflict between their faith and the discoveries of biologists, geologists, and so on.

Of course, the Bible appears to contain many metaphors, and deciding which things are metaphors and which are not can lead to disagreements over how to interpret, say, whether Genesis is a metaphorical or literal description, or whether Jesus was a Pacifist (“I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword” ) and so on.

However, I take exception with your claim that Atheists have “egged on” Creationists to their current position. This seems to me to be very insulting to both sides of the debate. Come to think of it, it seems to me that you insult Creationists much more than atheists with such a stance. I have met a variety of Creationists, and while I may have disagreed with them, they were all people of serious conviction, they did not need to be “egged on” by atheists to arrive at their positions!




edited to remove unwanted Smileys from my post
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Loud_G at 2:26PM, Jan. 17, 2008
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StaceyMontgomery
Loud_G

It is always dangerous to argue over the meaning of words. After all, there is no final authority we can appeal to, even dictionaries simply say “lots of people use these words in this way.”

However, I have to say that your use of the word “Creationism” is not at all standard. A quick look at “Creationism” in Wikipedia or your favorite Dictionary will back this up.

Alas, it is true that arguing definitions is difficult. Though Tradition and true meaning often are not the same. I frankly believe those other definitions of Creationism to be wrong. Non-standard is me all over :)

StaceyMontgomery
However, I take exception with your claim that Atheists have “egged on” Creationists to their current position. This seems to me to be very insulting to both sides of the debate. Come to think of it, it seems to me that you insult Creationists much more than atheists with such a stance. I have met a variety of Creationists, and while I may have disagreed with them, they were all people of serious conviction, they did not need to be “egged on” by atheists to arrive at their positions!

Its true, I am more annoyed at other Christians than at atheists. There are many as you say “people of serious conviction”, but they are rarely the ones who cause all the fuss. The ones that annoy me the most are the most outspoken fundamentalists who give the rest of Christianity a bad name. I did not truly mean to offend before, I was just trying to explain the absurdity of the evolution/creation battle. I did not mean to say that the current Creationist position was the fault of atheist ‘egging on’ (though that is a truly mild word to take exception over, I am sorry that offense was taken) but merely that it did play a role in helping some people to get their backs up so to speak.

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last edited on July 14, 2011 1:46PM
mlai at 9:04PM, Jan. 17, 2008
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Ho wait.

Evolutionists have absolutely no beef with Christianity. Because scientists know evolution says nothing about religions. The point of true science is not to say anything about religions.

We dun egg nobody on bout nothing. Not even mildly. The ones that do, do not truly understand science. It's the creationists who brought the gauntlet.

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Ronson at 10:51PM, Jan. 17, 2008
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mlai
Ho wait.

Evolutionists have absolutely no beef with Christianity. Because scientists know evolution says nothing about religions. The point of true science is not to say anything about religions.

We dun egg nobody on bout nothing. Not even mildly. The ones that do, do not truly understand science. It's the creationists who brought the gauntlet.

I have to disagree on that point. It is the scientists and other thinkers that are always poking at religion. The World is round, the world isn't the center of the universe, the world is older than 6000 years. Jump to evolution, quantum theory and you've proved that so many of this world's religions just got things plain wrong.

Now, if you're like me, scientific discoveries are just revelations of truth. But to many organized religions - and therefore to many individuals who don't like to have their religious beliefs put into question - science is basically the most annoying thing there is.

Fundamentalist religion and hard science cannot coexist in the same brain without leading to split personalities. There is a palentologist who believes that the world is many billions of years old AND that it's only 6000, and he justifies it as the difference between faith and science. I have to think that that guy has to be in denial somewhere in there.
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RabbitMaster at 4:33AM, Jan. 18, 2008
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LoudG
Yes, many creationists forget that they do not know the How and they fight against atheists in the scientific realm because they mistakenly think the two are exclusive
Actually I think the how and the time frame involved are quite apparent from Genesis, and I've been pretty clear that my belief is in the Book.

Ronson
Fundamentalist religion and hard science cannot coexist in the same brain without leading to split personalities.
I can name several astrophysicists and geoplogists and rocket scientists and mathmeticians that are creationists who might disagree with you. Although the evolutionary worldview has bled over into many other scientific disciplines, it's primary realm of influence is in the biological sciences. In other words, math is still math regardless of how we got here.
Ronson
There is a palentologist who believes that the world is many billions of years old AND that it's only 6000, and he justifies it as the difference between faith and science. I have to think that that guy has to be in denial somewhere in there.
I will concede to you this point. It would be akin to someone who believes the sky is both blue and red at the same time.
LoudG
The ones that annoy me the most are the most outspoken fundamentalists who give the rest of Christianity a bad name.
I'm going to assume that I am in that camp, but wouldn't backing down on my most basic beliefs about the origin of life just because of opposition give Christianity a bad name also?


But the name of the thread is “Do you believe in evolution?” I really think that the Darwinin model of evolution is fundamentally flawed and falls apart on it's own even without mentioning creationism. There are other origin theories out there outside of the Darwinian model , and I wanted to make it clear that my disbelief in evolution is independent of (and predates) my belief in Biblical creation.

“Perhaps you would care to try your villany on a less defenseless opponent?”–Kung Fu Rabbit
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Ronson at 5:00AM, Jan. 18, 2008
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Someone
But the name of the thread is “Do you believe in evolution?” I really think that the Darwinin model of evolution is fundamentally flawed and falls apart on it's own even without mentioning creationism. There are other origin theories out there outside of the Darwinian model , and I wanted to make it clear that my disbelief in evolution is independent of (and predates) my belief in Biblical creation.

Well sure. Darwin's theories are very different from our understandings of evolution today. Darwin published the idea of evolution first, but the following century and a half has honed and refined evolutionary theory to the point where - if you understand the science - it all makes sense.

Galileo and Copernicus made mistakes with their theories as well, but no one uses their wrongness to disbelieve astronomy or physics.

The only real arguements are on the actual causes and mechanisms of evolution. But even a lot of that is fairly self evident.

For a layman's look at evolution in a manner that actually addresses fairly current science, I recommend two books: The Science of Discworld by Terry Pratchett and some scientists (because it's funny as well as informative) and The Ancestor's Tale by Richard Dawkins (because it explains all of what we know as well as addressing a lot of the misinformation about evolution being “fundamentally flawed.”

Almost all of these alleged flaws are a result of misunderstanding the science behind evolution or carefully built strawmen pushed by creationists. No species has ever been discovered that contradicts evolution.

Add to that that creationism doesn't answer anything, but only leads to more questions. Creationism theories doesn't explain why more species are extinct today than exist (did God mess up?), it doesn't explain mutations within species (he messed up again, didn't he?), and it doesn't explain who created God.

I know, I know, the answer is you have to have faith. Which means that we are to evaluate evolution as “fundamentally flawed” while at the same time not evaluate creationism because that would be doubting faith. If one can't hold both theories to the same scrutiny one claims to have done for evolution, then one isn't being rational.

I will accept those who think that God started life on Earth, and maybe even directed evolution. I don't believe it, but at least none of that contradicts well established science. But to claim creationism has any rational foundation, let alone one that can stand up against the overwhelming mountain of evidence in support of evolution, is just wishful thinking.
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Loud_G at 6:38AM, Jan. 18, 2008
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RabbitMaster
I'm going to assume that I am in that camp, but wouldn't backing down on my most basic beliefs about the origin of life just because of opposition give Christianity a bad name also?

You are obviously not in the camp due to your statement below. My beef is with my fellow Christians who reject science out of hand without analyzing it.

RabbitMaster
But the name of the thread is “Do you believe in evolution?” I really think that the Darwinin model of evolution is fundamentally flawed and falls apart on it's own even without mentioning creationism. There are other origin theories out there outside of the Darwinian model , and I wanted to make it clear that my disbelief in evolution is independent of (and predates) my belief in Biblical creation.

I feel the same. I have a strong scientific and engineering background, and I still think evolution is flawed. Though I have never read one bit of anti-evolution propoganda. I have come to that conclusion on my own as a thinking person.

RabbitMaster
Actually I think the how and the time frame involved are quite apparent from Genesis, and I've been pretty clear that my belief is in the Book.

I don't believe the time frame to be all that apparent in the Genesis account. I believe the account in Genesis. But I do not believe that a “Day” in Genesis is the same thing that we call a day. Just as I don't necessarily believe that it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. (The number 40 being the ancient jewish reconning for “alot”)
But as you say, that is neither here nor there.

Evolution whether it is true or not depends on scientific reasoning. If it is true, it does not conflict with God's existence. If it is false, it still does not conflict. That is the point. And as a scientifically minded person who has studied the issue, I cannot credit it completely as of yet.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 1:46PM
RabbitMaster at 7:04AM, Jan. 18, 2008
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Ronson
Add to that that creationism doesn't answer anything, but only leads to more questions. Creationism theories doesn't explain why more species are extinct today than exist (did God mess up?), it doesn't explain mutations within species (he messed up again, didn't he?), and it doesn't explain who created God.

I know, I know, the answer is you have to have faith.
Actually I think the creation account answers all of those questions without hiding behind a canard of ‘faith’. I've tred to steer way from it because it is possible to get dragged too far off of topic. But as I said before, although biblical creationism and evolution are mutually exclusive, they aren't the only games in town. For example, I have an associate who believes that life on Earth was both started and is being actively managed by a superior alien intelligence (where do I find these people ,I ask myself). He is neither a biblical creationist like myself nor a believer in evolution. His model is more like selective breeding with an end goal in mind. So if you were to ask him if he believes in evolution, he would say ‘no’, as would I. But our alternatives to evolution are radically different.
I started out my comments here by first answering the question posed by the thread and then adding that as an alternative I believed in the biblical account of creation. But a non-evolutionist isn't necessarily a creationist.

I haven't read the Terry Pratchett book (although I have read quite a few Discworld books) , but I have read several of Mr. Dawkins books as well as books by Stehen Jay Gould and a handful of others on the topic. I think I may have even read a book by Leaky a couple of years back. None of this has changed my initial impressions that the fundamental problems with the evolutionary model have yet to be addressed and that within the evolutionists camp evidence is being interpreted in light of their theory rather than in support of it.
Anyway, I 've done enough talking.

“Perhaps you would care to try your villany on a less defenseless opponent?”–Kung Fu Rabbit
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:57PM
StaceyMontgomery at 7:29AM, Jan. 18, 2008
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I'm not at all sure what we mean by “flawed” these days.

Evolution is, to put it simply: the non-random survival of randomly varying replicating organisms. It is entirely proven. Evolution is falsifiable (making it an actual science, unlike Creationism, which is not falsifiable) and it has a long record of making useful predictions.

Like Gravity, evolution is a fact. Like Gravitational Theory, Evolutionary Theory is a Science pursued by fallible humans, and it is, and always will be, unfinished and imperfect. We will never have a perfect theory of gravity, or of evolution. In 1000 years, we will likely know much more about evolution and gravity then we do know. Our grandchildren will find our current mistakes to be very quaint and kind of silly.

However, that does not make gravity or evolution less of a fact. You can see them every day. Drop a hammer, and it falls to the ground. Use hand sanitizer, and you breed germs that are more resistant to hand sanitizer.

Also, the Story of Evolution on Earth is a History. History is always imperfect because we cannot go back in time. Perhaps we have the Death of Augustus wrong in some detail, that August day in the year 14. But he really died, one way or the other, and we have a pretty good picture of what happened, all in all. Augustus, and his death, are facts.



In the same way, it is a fact that the Universe is billions of years old. Not 6000 years old.

I have yet to see an alternative to Evolution that is consistent with the evidence, falsifiable, and predictive.

Of course - I might tomorrow. Being falsifiable, Evolution could be disproved tomorrow. But it would have to be disproven by something the encompasses everything that Evolution explains.

To give an example, Einstein can be said to have “disproved” Newton. But the framework Newton gave us for understanding motion and gravity still makes sense in day to day life. What Newton found is still true, really, but what Einstein said is even more true. Anything that Replaces Evolution will have to include Evolution in much the same way.

As for the word of the bible - I am in no position to have an opinion, I have not studied religion in any serious way. But when Jesus says, in the Bible, that “I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword” I know that Christians disagree on whether he speaks literally or figuratively. And when Genesis says that “God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” some see that as a literal description, and others as a metaphorical one.

I am in no position to guide Christians in what to take literally and what to read as metaphor. I only know what is written in our DNA in our flesh and in the rocks beneath our feat.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:55PM
bobhhh at 9:35AM, Jan. 18, 2008
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StaceyMontgomery
I'm not at all sure what we mean by “flawed” these days.

Evolution is, to put it simply: the non-random survival of randomly varying replicating organisms. It is entirely proven. Evolution is falsifiable (making it an actual science, unlike Creationism, which is not falsifiable) and it has a long record of making useful predictions.

Like Gravity, evolution is a fact. Like Gravitational Theory, Evolutionary Theory is a Science pursued by fallible humans, and it is, and always will be, unfinished and imperfect. We will never have a perfect theory of gravity, or of evolution. In 1000 years, we will likely know much more about evolution and gravity then we do know. Our grandchildren will find our current mistakes to be very quaint and kind of silly.

However, that does not make gravity or evolution less of a fact. You can see them every day. Drop a hammer, and it falls to the ground. Use hand sanitizer, and you breed germs that are more resistant to hand sanitizer.

Also, the Story of Evolution on Earth is a History. History is always imperfect because we cannot go back in time. Perhaps we have the Death of Augustus wrong in some detail, that August day in the year 14. But he really died, one way or the other, and we have a pretty good picture of what happened, all in all. Augustus, and his death, are facts.



In the same way, it is a fact that the Universe is billions of years old. Not 6000 years old.

I have yet to see an alternative to Evolution that is consistent with the evidence, falsifiable, and predictive.

Of course - I might tomorrow. Being falsifiable, Evolution could be disproved tomorrow. But it would have to be disproven by something the encompasses everything that Evolution explains.

To give an example, Einstein can be said to have “disproved” Newton. But the framework Newton gave us for understanding motion and gravity still makes sense in day to day life. What Newton found is still true, really, but what Einstein said is even more true. Anything that Replaces Evolution will have to include Evolution in much the same way.

As for the word of the bible - I am in no position to have an opinion, I have not studied religion in any serious way. But when Jesus says, in the Bible, that “I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword” I know that Christians disagree on whether he speaks literally or figuratively. And when Genesis says that “God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life” some see that as a literal description, and others as a metaphorical one.

I am in no position to guide Christians in what to take literally and what to read as metaphor. I only know what is written in our DNA in our flesh and in the rocks beneath our feat.

Well put, and yet i fear it will fall on dead ears, because religion is not predicated on logic and science. Faith by definition is diminished by insistence on proof. Faith in its most pure form rejects the need for proof, because if you can prove something then you don't really need faith do you, proof in this situation becomes superfluous.

Faith is thereore how you exhibit your devotion to a deity and the accompanying dogma. It is something you can boast about, “I don't need to prove it, so strong is my faith that I just accept it as truth.”

So while you speak to the logic of this situation, I suspect you will not change any minds, because you have to be searching for truth to find it.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 11:29AM
Ronson at 7:25AM, Jan. 19, 2008
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I think that's exactly right, bobhhh.

These arguments essentially boil down to a mountain of evidence on one side and a complete unwillingness to accept, understand or even concede dogma to facts on the other.

We should not be surprised. Belief in the face of contradictory evidence is something that is regarded as a virtue by many on the religious side. The fact that they don't understand - or, I assert, want to understand - certain aspects of science (though quite willing to exploit other aspects) is going to be something that the rational community is going to have to deal with forever.

If someone chooses to disbelieve the evidence in front of them in deference to some magical theory of creation (gods, aliens, whatever), they are totally within their rights as a living, breathing human being on this planet. I will defend their rights to believe whatever they want to.

My only gripe is when non-scientists try to insist that science classes should teach “both sides” of evolution or when they insist that we should govern our society by “God's Laws” as translated by their particular version of God.

The simple fact is that evolution is the ONLY theory that fits the observable world. There are no others at all. Right now, we have fable on one side and evolution on the other. What you choose is completely up to you, and if you come up with something that makes more rational sense than evolution I'm willing to listen.

(*NOTE: This has been edited to be less mean-spirited. Sorry if any took offense to the previous post.)
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ozoneocean at 8:39AM, Jan. 19, 2008
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Aw… Loud G and RabbitMaster's positions on creationism here are charming more than anything else :)

It's evolution baby (to quote Pearl Jam) for me all the way. but I don't mind those who go the creationist route… As long as science class sticks with evolution, let people have their beliefs.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:29PM
RabbitMaster at 7:25PM, Jan. 19, 2008
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“Charming”, eh? So let me make sure I get this straight..I'm irrational, unscientific, superstitious,possibly uneducated and incapable of understanding the science behind evolution. I believe in fables and magical theories, unwilling to consider any alternative despite an overwhelming mountain of evidence. Well, at least I'm “charming.” At least I've got that going for me, which is nice.

“Perhaps you would care to try your villany on a less defenseless opponent?”–Kung Fu Rabbit
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:57PM
ozoneocean at 10:56PM, Jan. 19, 2008
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Yep. It's charming. :)
I don't mean to be insulting by saying that, it's just an honest opinion. I honestly appreciate that there are people who stick with the older ideas about things and keep older traditions going. I see biblical creationism as part of that.

Much like I don't hate monks and nuns for sticking with their old ways of doing things, whether Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant or Buddhist, or Amish for keeping their traditions, or all the native peoples of the world who fight to keep their ways alive from Australian Aborigines to the Welsh or the Icelanders who cosset their languages carefully… It's sad when those things just pass into memory.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:29PM
StaceyMontgomery at 6:53AM, Jan. 20, 2008
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Well, i don't want to position myself here as an enemy of faith.

I use faith all day. I have faith in all sorts of things. I use faith where I don't have enough information to use other processes, and I especially use faith in those realms where you can never know enough information - in dealing with issues of morality, and the mysteries of what's going on in the heads of the people around us.

Just the other day, I had to get up on a ladder to get snow off of the roof of the house, because of a leak. I am the taller one so it fell to me to climb up the ladder with a snow shovel in my hand.

I had not scientifically tested the ladder. I had not checked the angle of the ladder, nor done any math that might help us figure out if the ladder would slip in the snow. To be honest. we had neither the instruments nor the skills to do that. Certainly we had no skills to draw upon.

Instead, we did what anyone would do. We pushed the ladder into place, eyeballed it for a moment, whispered a prayer to a deity (in my case, I believe it was Wesley from “Angel,” The patron saint of nerds who need courage) and up I went.

It went just fine, BTW, and the nasty leak in the living room vanished.

Without faith (and its sibling, trust) I could never get anything done.
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:55PM
mlai at 6:57AM, Jan. 20, 2008
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Wesley's got the immortal queen of a demon dimension pining after him. A nerd's biggest wet dream lol.

FIGHT current chapter: Filling In The Gaps
FIGHT_2 current chapter: Light Years of Gold
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:06PM

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