Creationism/Evolution Debate

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Re: Creationism/Evolution Debate

Unread postby FoxWithWings » Fri Dec 05, 2014 1:06 am

It might change my mind about the logic, perhaps, but it would never persuade me to abandon my faith. That would be tantamount to abandoning my entire sense of being.
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Re: Creationism/Evolution Debate

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:21 am

Fledgling Dragon wrote:It might change my mind about the logic, perhaps, but it would never persuade me to abandon my faith. That would be tantamount to abandoning my entire sense of being.



That is interesting.
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Re: Creationism/Evolution Debate

Unread postby Shozuhn » Fri Dec 05, 2014 9:10 am

I suppose my main problem was this...

Shikanosuke wrote:You don't understand something, you immediately assume it was designed by magical elves? I'm sorry that shows an incredible lack of curiosity and critical thinking.


Seems as if you purposely over worded for the sole purpose of trying to belittle me.

I'm a big girl and not above an apology however. And I can admit that the words "rude jerk" were too much.

Regardless, I still feel that you started the name calling. An elegantly and intelligently worded insult is still an insult. I mean, there are numerous ways you could have worded this same exact idea without any belittling undertones.
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Re: Creationism/Evolution Debate

Unread postby Shikanosuke » Fri Dec 05, 2014 11:14 am

Shozuhn wrote:Seems as if you purposely over worded for the sole purpose of trying to belittle me.


Please understand I have no interest nor anything to gain by belittling you personally. Perhaps I was aggressively in deconstructing your idea, but that was my target and not you yourself. I stand by my critique of your reasoning.


Regardless, I still feel that you started the name calling. An elegantly and intelligently worded insult is still an insult. I mean, there are numerous ways you could have worded this same exact idea without any belittling undertones.


I apologize if you took offense to my wording, but I think you're focusing too much on 'undertones' when my point wasn't aimed at you personally but your reasoning. Also for the record, name calling requires a name to be thrown I believe. Either way, I hope you can understand I bear you no ill will.
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Re: Creationism/Evolution Debate

Unread postby Aygor » Fri Dec 05, 2014 12:43 pm

Fledgling Dragon wrote:Hoo boy, that was some fire.

I'm going to take agreement with Shozuhn on this one, especially this part: "Since the the world looks designed to me, I assume there was a designer". That is the sort of logic based approach I bring when it comes to my faith.

Debate it with me if you wish to, but you'll never change my mind.

If you are going with the teleological argument from design, it is a known fallacy and there isn't much point to debate it.

Basically, design is not recognized upon complexity but is hypothesized due to previous evidence of similiar things being manufacted and not naturally available, without evidence of a designer for the world (not to mention the overwhelming evidence which tells us a designer isn't necessary for it which is beside the point) there is no reason to assume one.

Fledgling Dragon wrote:It might change my mind about the logic, perhaps, but it would never persuade me to abandon my faith. That would be tantamount to abandoning my entire sense of being.

I do not want to sound condescending or offensive and I am sorry if I do, but it really saddens me when someone flattens him/herself to his/hers beliefs (being them political, religious, whatever). Whomever you are, there is much more to you than your faith.
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Re: Creationism/Evolution Debate

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Dec 05, 2014 4:35 pm

Fledgling Dragon wrote:
Debate it with me if you wish to, but you'll never change my mind.


While that can generally be assumed, for some reason that never comes across well when someone says it. Or just me?

Fledgling Dragon wrote:It might change my mind about the logic, perhaps, but it would never persuade me to abandon my faith. That would be tantamount to abandoning my entire sense of being.


Interesting. What about who you are, your deeds and your life? Your moral code?

====

As for the topic, I'm an evolution supporting Catholic. As years go by, science will likely unlock more and more of how the universe started and so so on. It may well always be beyond most of us to understand but the facts will emerge about the science, about how one thing leads to another. If God was involved at the very very very start of creating existence, that is as far as I would go in terms of his involvement. In regards the creation tale in the Bible, it is simply a tale to me. Well written and so on, it worked well for it's purposes, but simply a tale.
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Re: Creationism/Evolution Debate

Unread postby WeiWenDi » Fri Dec 05, 2014 4:57 pm

James wrote:Here's where you're going to encounter disagreement. If I come across the Easter Island stones I'm going to conclude they're man made. It's very easy to do. They're highly unusual, grouped together in similar design, and they bear the resemblance of their most probable creator. It's a highly logical evidence-based conclusion.

To me, that doesn't carry to the universe. There is a great deal I do not understand about the universe. There is a great deal science does not understand. But science has fantastic explanations for a wide range of stuff we could never have imagined without centuries of collective knowledge, research, and tools. Something as fundamental as that spark of life that causes a human to function is still a fascinating subject. But here's where logic ends. If you don't know what the truth is, the natural conclusion of logic is to say 'I don't know'. Logic allows for someone to form a theory to explain the unexplained, but it should fit with existing evidence, err in the direction of probability, and should exist only to explore a logic-based understanding of the subject.


All of which is well and good, of course, as far as it goes. But I guess I would disagree with you both, and assert a fundamental difference-in-kind between saying that the Easter Island heads are manmade, and saying that there is a first cause for the Universe. One is a matter of applying logic to empirical evidence; the other involves applying logic to broader cosmological and metaphysical questions.

This is the conflict with religion. Religion creates a comprehensive explanation for these complicated subjects—and this includes explaining why the universe exists—and then goes on to carefully define individual elements of that explanation. It's remarkable enough to say, "The universe is fascinating! Surely, there must be some kind of creative force behind it!" After all, why is there anything? Why is there existence? We've already jumped into the rabbit hole by making assumptions here. But we begin to climb deeper into the hole when we start to define this creative force. Once we've decided that creator looks like us—that we've been created in its image—we're taking an extremely arrogant approach to the problem. Not only have we not long looked like us in this world, but our world is one infinitesimally small spec in the universe. We go on to say that this creator is indeed God, that God is white and male, we outline God's particular interest and involvement with us on this planet. There's a point where it is no longer logic based. It is simply a comprehensive explanation we adopt to explain things we do not understand. It is something we take to be true on the basis of faith.


This starts out reasonably, but the latter part strikes me as a bit of a straw-man of religion.

For one thing, it doesn't accurately describe non-Western religious traditions (Chinese folk religion, Buddhism, Hinduism) which either have a cyclical cosmology or else aren't concerned with human or cosmic origins as much as the Abrahamic faiths. And even for the Abrahamic faiths it isn't a fair description.

For one thing, neither Jews nor traditional Christians nor Muslims truly hold that being made in God's image and likeness at all implies that God is physical or anthropomorphic. Usually what they refer to there is reason, free will, creativity or moral sensibility, not physical likeness. After all, in the Old Testament, God makes appearances several times: as three angels to Abraham and Sarah; as a man to Jacob; as a flame in a bush to Moses; as a cloud or a pillar of fire to the Israelites generally. He appears able to take on any physical shape He likes from these accounts.

In the New Testament, of course, God's image and likeness are made more immediate in the person of Christ. But though Christ was a man, he could hardly be considered white (unless you consider Palestinians and Levantine Jews to be white). And the Incarnation could not have happened without the willing cooperation of a woman, the Most Holy Theotokos.

But this is all largely beside the point. I cannot speak on behalf of other religions, but the purpose of Christianity was not to describe to a credulous Roman populace the scientific workings of the natural world; it was meant to proclaim to them salvation from the ontological reality of death and to heal souls of the afflictions of sin. Insofar as the task of saving people requires it, Christian teaching can touch on ethics, social theory, anthropology, even biology. But it does not hinge upon a certain understanding of the workings of the natural world, nor does it conflict or compete with the demands of proper scientific inquiry or methods!

James wrote:This represents a fundamental difference between science and religion. Science seeks to explain everything, but when it cannot explain something it constructs theories—tools used to facilitate future understanding rather than to comprehensively explain the unknown—and recognizes that those are, in fact, theories (setting aside widespread misunderstanding of what 'theory' means in science). If it cannot explain something, it acknowledges that it cannot. When it has explained something, it tries to challenge that explanation. It does not accept as fact any explanation which is not supported by evidence even if that explanation matches the puzzle. Indeed, some of the most well-supported concepts, like evolution and gravity, continue to be framed as theories, in scientific definition of that concept.

What the typical person views as God—the defined creative force—follows a different approach. It explains everything, but cannot be supported by evidence. Rather than discard or question this concept because it cannot be supported by evidence, people instead believe in it on the basis of faith. It does not matter whether it is a probable solution to the unknown. It is someone putting together a puzzle, having trouble finding pieces, and solving the dilemma but cutting those pieces out of a handy fabric to fit into the vacant slots.

There is a very good reason why science doesn't explain everything, and in my personal opinion, it is extremely valuable and even empowering to take ownership of things in life which are genuinely not understood.


What 'the typical person' - when you say this clearly you mean the typical conservative white American evangelical Protestant living after 1925, a very narrow scope of typicality indeed - 'views as God', the 'God of the gaps', may not be in agreement even with the bulk of the theological work done within the tradition he claims to stand.

Most of us Christians see no conflict between the scientific findings about the natural world and our faith, because our faith is meant to give meaning to existence in a way which science cannot do (because it is methodologically tethered to materialism and to physically dependent causation), and should not try to do. Science cannot explain beauty or morality, dependent as these are on metaphysical categories for which it has no language; and the attempts of pop authors trying to shoehorn science into this work come off as woefully unconvincing, as though they are trying desperately to forge a new religion around a materialist metaphysics.

Full disclosure: I'm an Eastern Orthodox Christian holding to a compatibilist position on evolution.
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Re: Creationism/Evolution Debate

Unread postby James » Fri Dec 05, 2014 10:25 pm

WeiWenDi wrote:All of which is well and good, of course, as far as it goes. But I guess I would disagree with you both, and assert a fundamental difference-in-kind between saying that the Easter Island heads are manmade, and saying that there is a first cause for the Universe. One is a matter of applying logic to empirical evidence; the other involves applying logic to broader cosmological and metaphysical questions.

After reading this through twice I'm not quite sure what your argument is. Can you elaborate?

WeiWenDi wrote:This starts out reasonably, but the latter part strikes me as a bit of a straw-man of religion.

For one thing, it doesn't accurately describe non-Western religious traditions (Chinese folk religion, Buddhism, Hinduism) which either have a cyclical cosmology or else aren't concerned with human or cosmic origins as much as the Abrahamic faiths. And even for the Abrahamic faiths it isn't a fair description.

I used a more traditional Christian view as an example here, but it applies to other religions as well. When these religions start to compile explanations for these unknowns and start to define the concept of a creator (whatever form it may take) the same circumstance applies. Or rather, I would make the same argument drawing on different examples from the region in question. That's not to say this argument applies to all aspects of a given religion—I was speaking in the context of faith-based origin-of-universe theories.

WeiWenDi wrote:For one thing, neither Jews nor traditional Christians nor Muslims truly hold that being made in God's image and likeness at all implies that God is physical or anthropomorphic. Usually what they refer to there is reason, free will, creativity or moral sensibility, not physical likeness. After all, in the Old Testament, God makes appearances several times: as three angels to Abraham and Sarah; as a man to Jacob; as a flame in a bush to Moses; as a cloud or a pillar of fire to the Israelites generally. He appears able to take on any physical shape He likes from these accounts.

In the New Testament, of course, God's image and likeness are made more immediate in the person of Christ. But though Christ was a man, he could hardly be considered white (unless you consider Palestinians and Levantine Jews to be white). And the Incarnation could not have happened without the willing cooperation of a woman, the Most Holy Theotokos.

Right, and all good examples. But same deal here—these are exceptional assumptions to make in describing this creative force, and that includes God's son taking the form of human Jesus Christ as surely as it does another (however poorly informed) argument of God making mankind in 'his' image.

WeiWenDi wrote:But this is all largely beside the point. I cannot speak on behalf of other religions, but the purpose of Christianity was not to describe to a credulous Roman populace the scientific workings of the natural world; it was meant to proclaim to them salvation from the ontological reality of death and to heal souls of the afflictions of sin. Insofar as the task of saving people requires it, Christian teaching can touch on ethics, social theory, anthropology, even biology. But it does not hinge upon a certain understanding of the workings of the natural world, nor does it conflict or compete with the demands of proper scientific inquiry or methods!

Sure! I'm not sure how many Christians I've known who would make that same well thought out argument, but sure! Properly applied, Christian teachings can accomplish a great deal of good and I certainly do not intend to detract from that. At the same time, though, there are drawbacks. I personally believe the assumption of an afterlife relieves people from the great benefit to be found in living life for what it is, acknowledging no true knowledge of what will come next.

WeiWenDi wrote:What 'the typical person' - when you say this clearly you mean the typical conservative white American evangelical Protestant living after 1925, a very narrow scope of typicality indeed - 'views as God', the 'God of the gaps', may not be in agreement even with the bulk of the theological work done within the tradition he claims to stand.

Most of us Christians see no conflict between the scientific findings about the natural world and our faith, because our faith is meant to give meaning to existence in a way which science cannot do (because it is methodologically tethered to materialism and to physically dependent causation), and should not try to do. Science cannot explain beauty or morality, dependent as these are on metaphysical categories for which it has no language; and the attempts of pop authors trying to shoehorn science into this work come off as woefully unconvincing, as though they are trying desperately to forge a new religion around a materialist metaphysics.

My example is certainly colored by my personal experiences and tailored based on areas of the United States, but again it is an example which can be shifted and adapted to individual circumstances. I also do not believe it anywhere near so constrained as you suggest, but that's somewhat beside the point.

At the heart of my argument I really made no effort to address to extent to which religion and science can or cannot address certain issues (I don't think religion has to have a thing to do with morality, by the way, nor do I think science cannot offer insights into concepts such as morality and love—even if they tend to be rather sterile and even a touch disheartening), but rather to address the fundamental difference in fact vs. faith where these subjects are concerned. I agree that Christian beliefs (of most any flavor I know a thing about) can easily be adapted to known scientific principles, and there are plenty of scientists who wholeheartedly agree. But there's a fundamental leap of faith in saying 'evolution because God'. It's the same as saying 'everything because God', and that argument is, of course, applied to everything. And it is one based solely on faith.
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Re: Creationism/Evolution Debate

Unread postby James » Fri Dec 05, 2014 10:30 pm

Fledgling Dragon wrote:It might change my mind about the logic, perhaps, but it would never persuade me to abandon my faith. That would be tantamount to abandoning my entire sense of being.

Personally, I could never be comfortable with a belief I could not defend with fact. I suppose in terms of religion it's really a difference between whether an individual believes in what they've been taught by others in the given religion and the extent to which they believe the religion's teachings or written works are governed by the creator's hand.

But wow, every belief should be subject to continued scrutiny. When we enter into a discussion with the fundamental rule that certain personal beliefs cannot be challenged we're not really entering a discussion nor are we allowing room for our own beliefs to mature in an informed direction.
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Re: Creationism/Evolution Debate

Unread postby FoxWithWings » Fri Dec 05, 2014 10:58 pm

I really don't want to go into this. No offense, but I'd rather keep my personal details to myself. At least for now. It's not something dark or traumatic, just terribly long-winded.

It is very debatable, practically everything is. If one cannot deal with criticism, then that person will have a hellish life.
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