Saturday, July 19, 2008

Key to ending the creation/evolution controversy

The creation-evolution controversy has raged for over a century and a half now. And there seems no end in site, it only appears to be getting more ferocious as the years pass, Why is this?

Well one thing might be confusion about why creationists oppose evolution. It is not because of science or any reason related to that. the leading creationists are not morons who can't think straight either, their thinking is crystal clear, and they do have a very important reason to oppose evolution. Well actually two reasons, which both go together, they can be stated simply; doctrine and morality.

It has been stated all over the AiG website what the debate is really about. It is about a theological dispute within the Christian faith. Essentially how do we approach evolution? There are a great many Christians; both scientists, theologians, and laypeople who believe in both God and evolution. Many do not see evolution and religion in conflict. However the problem is that both sides of the extreme (bible-thumping fundamentalists and bible-burning atheists respectively) do see it as in conflict. The main problem for many is death and suffering. Young Earth Creationists at least hold to the belief that there was no death before Adam's sin, and being that the fossil record shows death and suffering long before sin they see this as an obvious problem for Christianity. Atheists such as Albert Einstein and probably Richard Dawkins who agree with the creationists' interpretation of the bible concur with this point.
This problem is a nagging problem for creationists and theistic evolutionists trying to convince creationists to accept modern science.
Is this true, is evolution truly the death knell of Christianity? Well luckily it is not Creationists have not given any proof that there was no animal death before the fall. In fact Psalm 104 seems to indicate there was death in animals before the fall.

Another biblical problem they have with evolution is the existence of Adam. Evolution teaches that humans share common ancestry with great apes so ultimately humans go back to apes not Adam. Creationists believe this is the death knell of Christianity, atheists agree (this particular quote comes from John Stear host of the site No Answers In Genesis):
“If evolution is fundamentally correct, then there was no Adam; no Adam, no fall; no fall, no atonement; no atonement, no reason for Christ to have died on the cross. If Christ died for no reason then he was not divine and Christianity has no basis in fact. Is there really any need for scientific proof in order to debunk Christianity?”
If Adam doesn't exist then yes we do have a problem, I do believe in a literal Adam who is the genetic common ancestor of all people alive today (although some theistic evolutionists don't think he was the genetic common ancestor). Its possible he may have been Mitochondrial Eve's husband. Genetics has traced every human alive to day to a human common ancestor like the bible says. So their fear seems somewhat unfounded. There are many other scientific, theological, and biblical issues which must addressed though.

The second real reason for their rejection of evolution is morality, on their website in the Q&A Morality and Ethics section they quote G.K. Chesterson a 19th century Christian apologist on morality and evolution:

Darwinism can be used to back up two mad moralities, but it cannot be used to back up a single sane one. The kinship and competition of all living creatures can be used as a reason for being insanely cruel or insanely sentimental; but not for a healthy love of animals … That you and a tiger are one may be a reason for being tender to a tiger. Or it may be a reason for being cruel as the tiger. It is one way to train the tiger to imitate you, it is a shorter way to imitate the tiger. But in neither case does evolution tell you how to treat a tiger reasonably, that is, to admire his stripes while avoiding his claws.

If you want to treat a tiger reasonably, you must go back to the garden of Eden. For the obstinate reminder continues to recur: only the supernaturalist has taken a sane view of Nature.’

Basically what they are trying to get at is evolution leaves no basis for morality. Once you remove Creation you can do what ever you want. As shown in this illustration they see evolution as the excuse to throw the bible away and commit all sorts of sins which are at the center of social concerns today:

As you can see here Answers In Genesis state that evolution allows for humans to decide moral truth which is a cardinal belief in humanism and therefore gives way to behaviors which they see as immoral.

Is this true, well their problem is that Creationist are confusing evolution with moral relativism, evolution being a natural process doesn't say anything in regards to morality or ethics or God or atheism for that matter any more then the theory of gravity or the laws of thermodynamics. Scientific theories are amoral. What creationists don't understand is that evolution is what you make of it; if you say evolution is God's method of creation and that we should obey the God of the bible that's what evolution is, a creation process. If you decide that evolution is a godless mindless process that has no plan or purpose then that's what is, if you add evolution to biblical Christianity you will get Christian morality, if you combine it with atheism you will get relativistic morality and make whatever you want of evolution. Carl Sagan thought evolution was a benevolent process and he had an adequate moral standard. And there have been atheists who have used evolution the opposite way to do evil as seen from the Christian worldview. Creationists cant seem to tell the difference between Atheism, Humanism, and evolution. which is much cause of their moral view towards evolution.

As stated before, Creationists are not stupid ad they are thinking very clearly. However science is not gong to convince them, there is plenty of science to address their complaint but what needs to be done is that Christians who accept evolution need to stand up to creationists and atheists and address the theological issues between Christianity and evolution. If we can show that Creationist theology is flawed then the creation/evolution controversy will end soon afterwords. Once the religious element of creationism is gone the pseudoscience will die soon afterwords.

9 comments:

bobxxxx said...

"However the problem is that both sides of the extreme (bible-thumping fundamentalists and bible-burning atheists respectively) do see it as in conflict."

Hello. We agree about the facts of evolution, but I'm one of the bible-burning atheists you were talking about. I don't burn Bibles, but I think the world would be a better place if every Bible was thrown in the garbage.

As you pointed out, atheists like myself agree with "the leading creationists morons" about the religious implications of evolution.

Here's some facts to consider.

1. Jesus shared an ancestor with chimps.

2. Jesus was a distant cousin of chimps.

3. Christians worship a cousin of chimps.

That should be enough right there to make any pro-science Christian want to throw out his religion.

Here's another extremely important fact.

Evolution does not require and never did require supernatural intervention. Evolution also didn't require a supernatural inventor. Evolution is how the world works, and mythical supernatural sky fairies had nothing to do with it.

More facts:

There was nothing inevitable about the development of the modern human ape species. Any number of things, if they didn't happen, could have prevented the evolution of ancient apes into human apes, or could have prevented the development of ancient mammals into primates. My favorite example is the huge asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs, allowing mammals to take over the world. If that asteroid hit the much larger Jupiter instead of earth, our planet would still be ruled by dinosaurs.

My point is, humans are nothing more than animals, and it's just plain nuts to think some supernatural magic man is going to give our tiny planet and our species special treatment. Considering how vast the universe is, it's really crazy to believe Mr. God would send His son down here to get executed.

What the solution for all these religious implications? That's easy. Throw out all religious beliefs.

Created Rationalist said...

"Hello. We agree about the facts of evolution, but I'm one of the bible-burning atheists you were talking about. I don't burn Bibles, but I think the world would be a better place if every Bible was thrown in the garbage."

Exactly you are on the other end of the extreme so naturally you see religion and science as in conflict. And by bible-burning atheist I am not implying that you burn bibles I was simply stating that you have a diamterically opposed view of the bible from fundamentalists, whats wrong with that?

"As you pointed out, atheists like myself agree with "the leading creationists morons" about the religious implications of evolution."

You apparently misunderstood, I was not saying creationists were morons I was saying the exactly opposite that they are quite intelligent and aware of the situation.

"Here's some facts to consider.

1. Jesus shared an ancestor with chimps."

I accept that, your point?

"2. Jesus was a distant cousin of chimps."

Agreed once again, you still have not said anything which I disagree with except for saying the bible would be better in the garbage.

"3. Christians worship a cousin of chimps."

I've never heard it put that way but sure. However Jesus was also fully God so we are still worshiping the creator of the universe, it is merely his body which shares similarities with chimps.

"That should be enough right there to make any pro-science Christian want to throw out his religion."

Why? We aren't worshiping Jesus the man but Jesus the God.

"More facts:
There was nothing inevitable about the development of the modern human ape species. Any number of things, if they didn't happen, could have prevented the evolution of ancient apes into human apes, or could have prevented the development of ancient mammals into primates. My favorite example is the huge asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs, allowing mammals to take over the world. If that asteroid hit the much larger Jupiter instead of earth, our planet would still be ruled by dinosaurs."

So? The fact that the appearance of humans on this planet is unlikely doesn't shake my faith at all it seems to show that God could very well have had part in it, On the other hand you will probably simply argue again that it was inevitable as long as there were primates then its back to it shows an inevitable direction towards homo sapiens. Either way it does not contradict Christianity.

"My point is, humans are nothing more than animals, and it's just plain nuts to think some supernatural magic man is going to give our tiny planet and our species special treatment. Considering how vast the universe is, it's really crazy to believe Mr. God would send His son down here to get executed."

bob I'd suggest you to differentiate between fact and opinion, true from a biological standpoint humans are part of the animal kingdom but beyond science humans are whatever you make of us. Mere animals or children of God, you still determine what it means to be human by your own philosophy.

"What the solution for all these religious implications? That's easy. Throw out all religious beliefs"

So far all you have given are gee-whiz statements and opinions, yes these do have religious implications but they only lead to atheistic convictions if you want them to be.

Regards
Created Rationalist

bobxxxx said...

Hello again. After I wrote and published my last comments I looked at your profile. I noticed you're a high school student. I thought maybe this person is young enough to recover from the Christian disease, but after reading your last comments I don't think you're ever going to recover from it. Christianity is definitely a disease. You don't have the worst symptoms, like creationism, but you do have other serious problems. For example your "... Jesus was also fully God so we are still worshiping the creator of the universe ...". That's a scientific claim. Creator of the universe? You got any evidence for that?

You said "Exactly you are on the other end of the extreme so naturally you see religion and science as in conflict."

Actually it's not extreme to be an atheist and it's not extreme to notice Christianity conflicts with science, also known as reality. Atheists are the only normal people on earth. Everyone else is nuts. Some of these people are batshirt crazy. You're not that bad, but you're not normal. Even the most moderate Christian is not normal.

Creationists are not morons? People, who believe a sky fairy said abracadabra (or whatever) and poofed creatures into existence, are not morons? I think they're the most stupid people in human history, and a disgrace to the human race. This is 2008, not the Dark Ages. There is absolutely no excuse to still be a creationist in the 21st century. The only possible explanation is stupidity.

"... it seems to show that God could very well have had part in it ..."

There's absolutely no evidence Mr. God had a part in anything. You're a big fan of science. You should know you can't accept anything that has no evidence. There is not a shred of evidence for any supernatural intervention.

"On the other hand you will probably simply argue again that it was inevitable as long as there were primates then its back to it shows an inevitable direction towards homo sapiens."

No, I wouldn't say that at all. There's no reason to say our existence was inevitable. The line that led to us could have died out or for any number of reasons our line could have remained not much different from our ancient ape ancestors.

"Mere animals or children of God, you still determine what it means to be human by your own philosophy."

My philosophy? I'm only interested in reality. Philosophy is a worthless subject, almost as worthless as theology.

Evidence. Evidence. Evidence. You got to have evidence for everything. If there's no evidence for an idea, the idea must be thrown out.

Fantastic claims require even more evidence than usual before they can be accepted. The idea there's a god is an extremely fantastic claim. Billions of people believe in it, but that means nothing. Extremely powerful evidence is required, and there's never been a shred of evidence for any god. It's nothing but wild guessing and wishful thinking.

Some time you should try to comprehend how vast the universe is. Here's a little fact to help you understand. If one grain of sand disappeared from the Sahara Desert, that would be equivalent to our solar system disappearing from the universe. That's not an exaggeration. That's how vast our universe is, and that's how insignificant our planet is. Now why would a magic man, the ruler of the universe, want to make a big deal out of one grain of sand, which is all the earth is when compared to the rest of the universe. The idea a god would give a crap about earth is almost as ridiculous as the idea there's a god.

God is just another word for magic. Magic is for little children. When people grow up they throw out childish ideas. The theists never grow up.

Just for your information, I'm 59. I was a brainwashed Catholic until age 18. Then I stopped believing the insanity of jesus, god, and the other religious garbage. As I learn more about science, and as I notice scientific discoveries being made every day, my atheism has grown stronger every year. Today I look at the out-of-control religious beliefs in this world and it disgusts me. Thanks to religions we have daily suicide bombings from Muslims and we have Christians harassing and threatening biology teachers. You don't do these things, but you're part of the problem because you believe there's a god, also known as a magical fairy who hides in the clouds. It's a nutty belief, it's a dangerous belief, and the world needs to get rid of it.

bobxxxx said...

Sorry. One more thing. At your age you need to start looking at other viewpoints, and you especially need to understand how people who are much different from you think. I highly recommend PZ's biology blog. Just google "PZ" to find it. It's the first result from a google search for "PZ". It's the most popular science blog in the world, and many of the people who comment there are real scientists who do real research. They have a better understanding of reality than anyone, so of course virtually all of them are atheists.

Created Rationalist said...

"Hello again. After I wrote and published my last comments I looked at your profile. I noticed you're a high school student. I thought maybe this person is young enough to recover from the Christian disease, but after reading your last comments I don't think you're ever going to recover from it. Christianity is definitely a disease."

I'll have to update the profile, I'm a sophomore not freshman, either way it does not change the fact that I am in high school. Anyway how can Christianity be a disease? If it i it should have negative affects every time and Christians should all have psychiatric symptoms. Yet they don't, most Christians are perfectly sane. This is nothing but unwarranted bigotry on your part and I'd suggest you not use that argument.

"You don't have the worst symptoms, like creationism, but you do have other serious problems. "
For example your "... Jesus was also fully God so we are still worshiping the creator of the universe ..."."

I was simply correcting a theological error you made and there is nothing wrong with the idea of a creator existing.

"That's a scientific claim. Creator of the universe? You got any evidence for that?"

Yes,as you may know science has proven the universe has a beginning. And as you may also know certain cosmological constants are fine-tuned for the emergence of life. For a summary of these constants go here http://www.reasons.org/resources/
apologetics/design_
evidences/200608_fine_tuning_
for_life_in_the_
universe.shtml

and for a response to the multiverse concept go here:
http://www.reasons.org/resources/
apologetics/multiverse_
answered.shtml

Also I am aware of the counter-arguments and you can bring them up if you'd like. The point is that this is an example of evidence that points towards a creator.

"Creationists are not morons? People, who believe a sky fairy said abracadabra (or whatever) and poofed creatures into existence, are not morons? I think they're the most stupid people in human history, and a disgrace to the human race. This is 2008, not the Dark Ages. There is absolutely no excuse to still be a creationist in the 21st century. The only possible explanation is stupidity."

Granted many creationist are morons, my point was the leading creationists' reasons for opposing evolution were not stupid but dead serious and must be addressed.

"No, I wouldn't say that at all. There's no reason to say our existence was inevitable. The line that led to us could have died out or for any number of reasons our line could have remained not much different from our ancient ape ancestors."

Alright I'll take that back but you must understand that is a weak argument for atheism, you should not use it. If thats the best you've got, I am not impressed.

"My philosophy? I'm only interested in reality. Philosophy is a worthless subject, almost as worthless as theology."

Philosophy is a very integral part of reality, it determines how we view the world. And with blatantly biased an unfounded statements like this one;
"The idea a god would give a crap about earth is almost as ridiculous as the idea there's a god"

You have to admit your philosophy affects your thinking at least somewhat. You seem rigidly opposed to the idea of a God for reasons beyond science, you appear unable to consider the idea of a God because you can't imagine it.

"ome time you should try to comprehend how vast the universe is. Here's a little fact to help you understand. If one grain of sand disappeared from the Sahara Desert, that would be equivalent to our solar system disappearing from the universe. That's not an exaggeration. That's how vast our universe is,"

I do comprehend the size of the universe and often (Astronomy and cosmology are my favorite subjects), and the universe is vast indeed. But I see it as evidence of an infinitely powerful entity behind the universe, and you see it as proof that man really has no great purpose on the grand scheme of things. Just as a said before Man is what you make of him. If he is just fungus growing on the third planet from an obscure star, then thats who he is. But if he is more then that, more then just a creature on a speck of dust in the Sahara desert and somehow he is more prominent in the universe then why couldn't he after all have some prominence in the eyes of the universe's creator?

"and that's how insignificant our planet is. Now why would a magic man, the ruler of the universe, want to make a big deal out of one grain of sand, which is all the earth is when compared to the rest of the universe. The idea a god would give a crap about earth is almost as ridiculous as the idea there's a god."

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, to any other person an infant is absolutely insignificant but to its father it is the most precious thing in the universe. Once again I urge you to try to differentiate fact and opinion.

"Just for your information, I'm 59. I was a brainwashed Catholic until age 18. Then I stopped believing the insanity of jesus, god, and the other religious garbage. As I learn more about science, and as I notice scientific discoveries being made every day, my atheism has grown stronger every year."

It is probably because you pitted your faith against science, thus you set yourself up for a fall.

"Today I look at the out-of-control religious beliefs in this world and it disgusts me. Thanks to religions we have daily suicide bombings from Muslims and we have Christians harassing and threatening biology teachers. You don't do these things, but you're part of the problem because you believe there's a god, also known as a magical fairy who hides in the clouds. It's a nutty belief, it's a dangerous belief, and the world needs to get rid of it."

Yes religion can be abused but also remember religion also breeds charity, love, human rights, joy, and lives reformed. Also atheism can also be abused, just think of the Stalin and Mao Zedong. It would be a fallacy to reject atheism because of the horrible things done by atheists but the same standard applies and besides modern dictatorships have killed more people then Christians have in the crusades and inquisition put together. I don't think either religion nor atheism should be ranked according to whats their followers did do you?

Also I'm afraid you have a horribly warped view of the relationship between Christianity in science, do you believe that the church taught earth was flat during the Middle Ages? And another thing concerns me;

"but you're part of the problem because you believe there's a god, also known as a magical fairy who hides in the clouds. It's a nutty belief,"

First of all yes I aghree that is a nutty belief, it is not the teachings of Christianity. God is not an oversized Caucasian male with flowering beard counting the number of sparrows falling from trees and hides in the clouds. And along with that neither is Satan a red-skinned humanoid with horns and a pitchfork living in a hole in the ground which God throws people into. This is not at all an accurate portrayal of the Judeo-Christian God. According to Christian theology God is simply an immaterial entity which resides outside of space and time and is made of spiritual matter (as opposed to Baryonic matter). He is not a human and is not to be represented as such, neither does he have a body, and neither does he live in the clouds. God I guess you could say resides in another dimension so that he can be everywhere at once. He is right next to you. That is God, the God you think I believe in is utterly alien to me.

"Sorry. One more thing. At your age you need to start looking at other viewpoints, and you especially need to understand how people who are much different from you think."

Thats how I went from being a young-earth creationist to being a theistic evolutionist. I spent an entire year looking at other worldviews I have been looking at other ways of thought. I find it almost insulting that you would think I was so uninformed.

"I highly recommend PZ's biology blog. Just google "PZ" to find it. It's the first result from a google search for "PZ". It's the most popular science blog in the world,"

No thanks I'll stick with the Bad Astronomy blog its also one one of the most popular blogs in the world. I like astronomy better then biology anyways

"many of the people who comment there are real scientists who do real research. They have a better understanding of reality than anyone, so of course virtually all of them are atheists."

So are many of the people who post on BA's blog. I also look at blogs such as Splendid Elles and Evolved and Rational. As far as seeing how other people think, I think I'm ok.

"They have a better understanding of reality than anyone, so of course virtually all of them are atheists."

actually nearly half of scientists (40%) are theists and I do try to keep in touch with people who are in contact with reality. Thanks for the thought anyways.

My kindest regards
Created Rationalist

murf said...

CR: Interesting article. The problem of evolution and morality is whether one can have an atheistic evolutionary framework combined with a transcendent morality (applicable to all people at all times). The answer (using their own logic) is absolutely not, and they will generally admit this.

However, if you watch they will invariably begin to make moral statements that they apply to all people (thus ER condemns the "religious indoctrination" of children as "child abuse." Interesting opinion, but of no value whatsoever given her philosophical foundation of evolution).

I would disagree that evolution is separate from morality, it cannot be. Whatever worldview one brings to the table in regards to evolution, must somehow explain the Moral law we find inside of ourselves (see C. S. Lewis - Mere Christianity). Every person who holds to evolution also holds to some view of morality as well and that view must reconcile itself with their view of evolution, so evolution is not amoral it must be synthesized with one's view of the world.

I am not commenting on a theistic evolutionary position here, I do not happen to agree with it, but one can reconcile theistic evolution and morality. One cannot reconcile atheistic evolution and transcendent morality and everyone understands this (Dawkins, Hitchens, et. al.)

I read one interesting debate between Hitchens and a Douglas Wilson. Wilson kept trying to pin Hitchens down on morality and its foundation and Hitchens kept avoiding it because he certainly realized the implication for his own worldview. It simply crumbles.

Created Rationalist said...

Murf, I think it is atheism which gives no epistomic basis for morality not evolution. As you may remember Darwin developed the theory to explain phenomena in biology not morality, and as you may know Darwin in fact opposed applying his theory's mechanisms (natural selection for one)in human soceity.

Kind regards

daffyfiregirl said...

Hiya, just wanted to say have come across your blog a few years later,and it was a delight to read the calm clear thinking demonstrated.

Stephanie Butler said...

I believe in both God and evolution
God and Evolution