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#1 of 41 Old 01-05-2009, 10:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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http://www.theistic-evolution.com/

Learning about this has been such a fascinating journey for me.

It's funny, I started out horrified at the idea of "man evolving from apes" ... but becoming a mother has opened my awareness to how divine such a heritage really is. Actually, maybe apes should be horrified that we evolved from their ancestors!

Just kidding -- I'm really not anti-human, I just mean that we're the one species who has got things so out-of-whack.

It puzzles me that many Christians see theistic evolution as "riding the fence." The more I study it, the closer I feel to God and His creation.

Thoughts, anyone?

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#2 of 41 Old 01-05-2009, 11:26 PM
 
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I think it is good that you're reading about this and that it seems you want your beliefs about God and His creation to fit into one worldview, instead of having a "science beliefs" and "religious beliefs" and keeping them seperate/contradictory.

My main theological reason for not believing theistic evolution is:

I believe death entered the world because of sin, specifically the sinful decisions of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. Evolution requires the death of animals and humans/pre-humans, which are things with a living spirit. The Hebrew word for this spirit/soul/breath is nephesh. I view plant "death" as something different because they are never referred to as having nephesh and God specifically gave plants to humans for food before the fall into sin (Genesis 1:29). Anyway, I believe that the death, sickness, disease, and suffering that we see in the fossil record and that is required by the evolutionary theory, could not have happened in the world as created originally by God (in Genesis 1:31 God declares his creation "very good"). It had to happen after the fall into sin.

My main reason from the science angle for not believing in evolution (theistic or otherwise) is:

Genetics. Mutations are mistakes. They may occasionally prove harmless or beneficial to a population (a wingless beetle or sightless fish) but they never generate new information (nonsense maybe or a variant of the original information, but never something new). The nature of information is such that it cannot be created by chance. Sure, you can pull random letters out of a hat and spell "mothering magazine" but there has to be an already existing language structure etc. for that to have meaning.

I am not too interested in debating the scientific aspects of the theory on this particular board since it is Spirituality. I do wonder, though, how death and suffering before the fall can be reconciled with the Bible in the theistic evolution view. If anyone can explain their beliefs in this area and how they all fit together (death, fall into sin, when did humans show up on the scene, etc.) that would be great! Please let me know if there is anything in my explanation that seems unclear or self-contradictory.

Blessings on your journey mammal_mama.

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#3 of 41 Old 01-06-2009, 03:50 AM
 
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Very interesting thoughts, BananaBreadGirl. I never thought of how death entering the world could be a spiritual argument against theistic evolution.

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#4 of 41 Old 01-06-2009, 09:09 AM
 
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I think it is good that you're reading about this and that it seems you want your beliefs about God and His creation to fit into one worldview, instead of having a "science beliefs" and "religious beliefs" and keeping them seperate/contradictory.

My main theological reason for not believing theistic evolution is:

I believe death entered the world because of sin, specifically the sinful decisions of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. Evolution requires the death of animals and humans/pre-humans, which are things with a living spirit. The Hebrew word for this spirit/soul/breath is nephesh. I view plant "death" as something different because they are never referred to as having nephesh and God specifically gave plants to humans for food before the fall into sin (Genesis 1:29). Anyway, I believe that the death, sickness, disease, and suffering that we see in the fossil record and that is required by the evolutionary theory, could not have happened in the world as created originally by God (in Genesis 1:31 God declares his creation "very good"). It had to happen after the fall into sin.

My main reason from the science angle for not believing in evolution (theistic or otherwise) is:

Genetics. Mutations are mistakes. They may occasionally prove harmless or beneficial to a population (a wingless beetle or sightless fish) but they never generate new information (nonsense maybe or a variant of the original information, but never something new). The nature of information is such that it cannot be created by chance. Sure, you can pull random letters out of a hat and spell "mothering magazine" but there has to be an already existing language structure etc. for that to have meaning.

I am not too interested in debating the scientific aspects of the theory on this particular board since it is Spirituality. I do wonder, though, how death and suffering before the fall can be reconciled with the Bible in the theistic evolution view. If anyone can explain their beliefs in this area and how they all fit together (death, fall into sin, when did humans show up on the scene, etc.) that would be great! Please let me know if there is anything in my explanation that seems unclear or self-contradictory.

Blessings on your journey mammal_mama.
I had one thought reading your post, Bananabreadgirl. Some theologians feel that humankind actually may have fallen the second that it was actually created. I'm not sure of the details of this line of thought, but I seem to recall that it says the fall and the garden of Eden part of the story, although presented as a narrative in the Genesis account, actually happened in an instant. I think it would be much like the way that the angels fell.

So the time in Paradise would have been a "time outside of time" as we know it, and when the fall occurred time really began. This could account for the discrepancy between sin and death. Though it seems to me that it causes lots of other complications.

Another thought entirely though - does death really happen after the fall even? I am not sure that it does. Suffering, disease, yes, but I don't think it can be said that we really die, even those who lived before Christ. I am not sure what life would have looked like without the fall - would there have been no viruses, would lions have eaten something else? I am not sure I can really imagine what an un-fallen creation would look like, because I think it would still have a natural quality.

One more thought for the OP - the RC church recently said that evolution was not against Christian teachings as they say them. They might have soe information on why they think that available online somewhere.

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#5 of 41 Old 01-06-2009, 10:47 PM
 
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I had one thought reading your post, Bananabreadgirl. Some theologians feel that humankind actually may have fallen the second that it was actually created. I'm not sure of the details of this line of thought, but I seem to recall that it says the fall and the garden of Eden part of the story, although presented as a narrative in the Genesis account, actually happened in an instant. I think it would be much like the way that the angels fell.

So the time in Paradise would have been a "time outside of time" as we know it, and when the fall occurred time really began. This could account for the discrepancy between sin and death. Though it seems to me that it causes lots of other complications.

Another thought entirely though - does death really happen after the fall even? I am not sure that it does. Suffering, disease, yes, but I don't think it can be said that we really die, even those who lived before Christ. I am not sure what life would have looked like without the fall - would there have been no viruses, would lions have eaten something else? I am not sure I can really imagine what an un-fallen creation would look like, because I think it would still have a natural quality.
Wow, thanks! You brought up a lot of thoughts I hadn't heard before. I'm not sure I understand your thoughts about death. All my life experience says that people and animals die. Also, the Bible refers to the death of many people (including Jesus), death entering the world through Adam (Romans 5:17) and the wages of sin being death (Romans 6:23). I'm just thankful for the 2nd half of that verse! (but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.)

I am also curious what an un-fallen creation would be like .

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#6 of 41 Old 01-06-2009, 11:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm glad you guys are already commenting!

BananaBreadGirl -- The guy with the site I linked to talks about the likelihood that God's idea of "very good" is different from our idea. He also says some really interesting stuff about how random chance is just another way of saying "I don't know."

I've also heard the idea that the kind of death brought about by man's sin is spiritual, rather than an instantaneous physical death.

Bluegoat I've heard the same thing about the RC church. I think I'll try to look into that more.

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#7 of 41 Old 01-07-2009, 12:02 AM
 
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I read a little more from the site in the OP. His thoughts on random chance were helpful in understanding his position (it is being directed by God, and is just a way of saying that something happens a certain part of the time, not how or why).

His site addresses the objection of evolution being cruel. I agree with him that we do not know the mind of God as to what his plan is, and many other things he says. However, he says:

Quote:
There are some places in the Bible where apparent cruelty is recorded, and man's sin cannot reasonably be the cause.
but all the examples he cites (flood drowning "innocent"* babies and animals, etc.) are after the fall. Man's sin is the cause of the examples he describes. I believe that a fundamental change happened at the fall- death, sickness, etc. now happen to all humans and animals, "innocent" or not. Human choice affected the whole creation. Sicknesses, natural disasters, and so on, are not punishments to wipe out specific sins, they are a result of the state of the broken, fallen world that the first humans chose. God allowing his redemptive plan to unfold in a cruel world is very different than God himself choosing death as a mode of creation.

*I believe we all lost our innocence at the fall, in other words, we're born sinful. Don't know if that's relevant to this discussion, but that's why I put innocent in quotes.

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#8 of 41 Old 01-07-2009, 04:03 AM
 
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BananaBreadGirl, I agree with all that you posted. So I guess I will not just repeat you.

Any misspellings or grammatical errors in the above statement are intentional;
they are placed there for the amusement of those who like to point them out.
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#9 of 41 Old 01-07-2009, 11:45 AM
 
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One more thought for the OP - the RC church recently said that evolution was not against Christian teachings as they say them. They might have soe information on why they think that available online somewhere.
I'm not sure what you mean by "recent". I went to Catholic school and first learned theistic evolution in the 6th grade, about 25 years ago!

The Catholic Church has long hold that evolution is compatible with Christian teaching. Even in 1951 Pope Pius XII stated that biological evolution is not contrary to Catholic doctrine as long as one believes in the special creation of the soul. Although Pius XII was not a fan of the theory of evolution (he considered it an unfortunate possibilty), he was not aginst it.

Pope John Paul II readdressed the issue in the 1990s. He again stated that there is nothing in the idea of biological evolution that contradicts Catholic doctrine, and that evolution can be considered part of the Creator's plan. Again, the soul must be understood as a special creation. John Paul II was much more accepting of evolution than Pius XII; some sources indicate that he may have considered it to be scientific fact.

Here's some brief information from Catholic Answers on the Catholic Church's view:

http://www.catholic.com/library/Adam..._Evolution.asp

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#10 of 41 Old 01-07-2009, 12:05 PM
 
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I'm not sure what you mean by "recent". I went to Catholic school and first learned theistic evolution in the 6th grade, about 25 years ago!

The Catholic Church has long hold that evolution is compatible with Christian teaching. Even in 1951 Pope Pius XII stated that biological evolution is not contrary to Catholic doctrine as long as one believes in the special creation of the soul. Although Pius XII was not a fan of the theory of evolution (he considered it an unfortunate possibilty), he was not aginst it.

Pope John Paul II readdressed the issue in the 1990s. He again stated that there is nothing in the idea of biological evolution that contradicts Catholic doctrine, and that evolution can be considered part of the Creator's plan. Again, the soul must be understood as a special creation. John Paul II was much more accepting of evolution than Pius XII; some sources indicate that he may have considered it to be scientific fact.

Here's some brief information from Catholic Answers on the Catholic Church's view:

http://www.catholic.com/library/Adam..._Evolution.asp

I was thinking of the statement made in the 90's, though I suppose in the last 2000, even the 1950's could be considered recent

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#11 of 41 Old 01-08-2009, 05:30 PM
 
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My main reason from the science angle for not believing in evolution (theistic or otherwise) is:

Genetics. Mutations are mistakes. They may occasionally prove harmless or beneficial to a population (a wingless beetle or sightless fish) but they never generate new information (nonsense maybe or a variant of the original information, but never something new). The nature of information is such that it cannot be created by chance. Sure, you can pull random letters out of a hat and spell "mothering magazine" but there has to be an already existing language structure etc. for that to have meaning.
As a molecular biologist, I am going to take issue with your claim that mutation doesn't lead to new information. Of course it does. If I provide references will that change your view on evolution? It sounds like you're regurgitating things you read off answersingenesis.com without actually learning any real biology.

To the OP - I'm an atheist, but I think theistic-evolution is a great way for people to reconcile their faith with science. I think it's incredible to see how all life on earth - bacteria, plants, animals, humans - are all connected in a giant family tree that goes all the way back to the first spark of life billions of years ago. It is way more awe-inspiring to believe God created a life force so strong that it could self-replicate and diversify into the variety that we see now, rather than magically "poof" each species into existence. Evolution is a beautiful and elegant thing. I feel privileged that I understand how it works.
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It is way more awe-inspiring to believe God created a life force so strong that it could self-replicate and diversify into the variety that we see now, rather than magically "poof" each species into existence.
It may be more impressive, arguably, but it is no more likely. If God can "poof" a "life force" or "spark" into existence out of nothing, He can "poof" multiple species. Neither is inherently more likely. The "primal life force" that lead eventually to multiple life forms feels more "science-ish" to modern sensibilities, but it is really no more or less scientific.
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#13 of 41 Old 01-08-2009, 07:52 PM
 
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It may be more impressive, arguably, but it is no more likely. If God can "poof" a "life force" or "spark" into existence out of nothing, He can "poof" multiple species. Neither is inherently more likely. The "primal life force" that lead eventually to multiple life forms feels more "science-ish" to modern sensibilities, but it is really no more or less scientific.
We're talking about reconciling faith in a "creation" event with the scientific evidence. There is NO evidence that species just magically appeared 6000 years ago. But it is a FACT that we share a common ancestry with all living things that dates back billions of years. If someone feels a need to insert god in there somewhere (I don't), it only makes sense to do it at the beginning of life itself.
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As a molecular biologist, I am going to take issue with your claim that mutation doesn't lead to new information. Of course it does. If I provide references will that change your view on evolution? It sounds like you're regurgitating things you read off answersingenesis.com without actually learning any real biology.

To the OP - I'm an atheist, but I think theistic-evolution is a great way for people to reconcile their faith with science. I think it's incredible to see how all life on earth - bacteria, plants, animals, humans - are all connected in a giant family tree that goes all the way back to the first spark of life billions of years ago. It is way more awe-inspiring to believe God created a life force so strong that it could self-replicate and diversify into the variety that we see now, rather than magically "poof" each species into existence. Evolution is a beautiful and elegant thing. I feel privileged that I understand how it works.
Like I said earlier, given the context of this thread, I don't want to derail it into debating the science of it (maybe I shouldn't have even posted my issues with the genetics), and you're right that I'm unlikely to start believing in evolution, but I would be open to a quick post or PM to some references that would help me understand and give examples of how the processes of mutation could work to form something new, such as a new protein, or a new feature such as an eye. At the level of someone who was taken only up to the level of college zoology (hopefully there was a little "real biology" in there ).

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#15 of 41 Old 01-09-2009, 03:12 AM
 
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I've noticed that to a lot of creationists, "new information" seems to mean "sprouting limbs" or some such nonsense. So I'm glad to see that you would consider a new protein as new information. You are ahead of your peers.

New proteins are formed very easily via gene duplication. There's a lot of info about that if you google "gene duplication" and evolution. This was a nice little layman's synopsis that I found, it even explains how we can test this hypothesis that a protein evolved from a duplication event:
http://blog.lib.umn.edu/denis036/thi...tion_allo.html

(Though I'm a little afraid you're just going to come back with "well, a gene duplication isn't actually new, it's just a variant of the same thing" and I'll have wasted my time. It still can create a protein that a) wasn't there before b) has an entirely different function. I would call that "new".)

Wikipedia has a nice explanation of how eyes likely evolved:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_the_eye
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Wikipedia has a nice explanation of how eyes likely evolved:]
The issue of "irreducible complexity" where the eye is concerned, if I understand it correctly, is not just the development of the eyeball itself. For a mammal's eye to evolve, not only must all the functions of the eye develop together, but the skull must develop to allow for the eye, the muscles connected to the eye, and the optic nerve behind it; a system of muscles must develop which allow the eye to move; and the brain must develop a section which receives and accurately interprets information sent to it from the eye; and all these things must develop at the same time and at the same rate; and they must develop in slightly different ways to fit the needs of each species.
But this is getting away from the original topic.


The main problem I have with evolutionary science is that it is so often approached as if it were a religion itself. Scientists seem to feel that current views on evolution do not require as much evidence as theories on other subjects, because to question the concept is not so much wrong as unthinkable. They accept ideas without evidence; their thinking seems sloppy where this subject is concerned. Granted, most "creation science" is ridiculous, but that does not excuse real scientists from being objective. I constantly hear descriptions of evolution which imply that it is either a conscious force or being directed from outside, rather than a random physical phenomenon. I hear scientists forget themselves and imply that organisms unconsciously direct their own genetic changes; or that outward, non-genetic changes in one animal can affect its offspring's genotype, something I was taught is impossible back in the fifth grade. If questioned, I am sure the scientists would correct themselves, but it is a kind of muddy thinking that is constantly seen in discussions of evolution.

The best scientific theories of the past started out going in the wrong direction; then, through experimentation or critical thought, finally arrived at the truth. I get the impression that, if species evolved in a different way than is now theorized, if some aspects of evolutionary theory are completely off base and need to be revised from the most basic level, that rethinking would never happen. Evolution, unlike most areas of scientific study, is treated in a way I can only describe as unscientific.

So, the reasons I mistrust theistic evolution are
(1) that it is tying religious faith to an unreliable science, and
(2) that I suspect a central function of evolutionary theory as it now exists is to provide an explanation for life on earth which precludes God. It is strange to accept a theory that explains how life can exist without any deity being involved (and which I believe is embraced at least partly because it excludes a deity); then inserting a deity into the mix at random - even restricting God, as Sugarbeth suggests, to the very beginning of existence, where He won't be so much in the way.
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Wow, thanks! You brought up a lot of thoughts I hadn't heard before. I'm not sure I understand your thoughts about death. All my life experience says that people and animals die. Also, the Bible refers to the death of many people (including Jesus), death entering the world through Adam (Romans 5:17) and the wages of sin being death (Romans 6:23). I'm just thankful for the 2nd half of that verse! (but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.)

I am also curious what an un-fallen creation would be like .

Well, what I meant was that even before Christ, it is clear that the soul had eternal life. Even if we believe some people go to hell, they are not dead in the sense of being nothing, and those people in the old testament also seem to have stuck around in Limbo. So it seems that death in the sense of being nothing was never an option, although we could use in as meaning not having eternal life with God.

I'm not sure about animals, I know that supposedly don't go to heaven. Perhaps, since they are not rational, their souls don't survive as individuals. Dogs, for example, might simply join some sort of doggy consciousness. But then what about their bodies?

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The issue of "irreducible complexity" where the eye is concerned, if I understand it correctly, is not just the development of the eyeball itself. For a mammal's eye to evolve, not only must all the functions of the eye develop together, but the skull must develop to allow for the eye, the muscles connected to the eye, and the optic nerve behind it; a system of muscles must develop which allow the eye to move; and the brain must develop a section which receives and accurately interprets information sent to it from the eye; and all these things must develop at the same time and at the same rate; and they must develop in slightly different ways to fit the needs of each species.
But this is getting away from the original topic.


The main problem I have with evolutionary science is that it is so often approached as if it were a religion itself. Scientists seem to feel that current views on evolution do not require as much evidence as theories on other subjects, because to question the concept is not so much wrong as unthinkable. They accept ideas without evidence; their thinking seems sloppy where this subject is concerned. Granted, most "creation science" is ridiculous, but that does not excuse real scientists from being objective. I constantly hear descriptions of evolution which imply that it is either a conscious force or being directed from outside, rather than a random physical phenomenon. I hear scientists forget themselves and imply that organisms unconsciously direct their own genetic changes; or that outward, non-genetic changes in one animal can affect its offspring's genotype, something I was taught is impossible back in the fifth grade. If questioned, I am sure the scientists would correct themselves, but it is a kind of muddy thinking that is constantly seen in discussions of evolution.

The best scientific theories of the past started out going in the wrong direction; then, through experimentation or critical thought, finally arrived at the truth. I get the impression that, if species evolved in a different way than is now theorized, if some aspects of evolutionary theory are completely off base and need to be revised from the most basic level, that rethinking would never happen. Evolution, unlike most areas of scientific study, is treated in a way I can only describe as unscientific.

So, the reasons I mistrust theistic evolution are
(1) that it is tying religious faith to an unreliable science, and
(2) that I suspect a central function of evolutionary theory as it now exists is to provide an explanation for life on earth which precludes God. It is strange to accept a theory that explains how life can exist without any deity being involved (and which I believe is embraced at least partly because it excludes a deity); then inserting a deity into the mix at random - even restricting God, as Sugarbeth suggests, to the very beginning of existence, where He won't be so much in the way.
I don't think you are wrong in your assessment of much poor thinking that goes on among scientists. I think evolutionary theory is on the right track, but it is widely misunderstood and misused. In fact, I would say that the role of science is widely misunderstood.

A lot of this, IMO, is due to journalists or others who use science for their own ends, but scientists themselves do bear some responsibility. I have come to the conclusion that universities do a very poor job giving their undergraduate science students an understanding of the very basics of the philosophy of science. I have heard post-graduate students talk about evolution being proven, and not as a mistake. That should not happen.

I really think all first year science students should have to do a credit in the philosophy of science, and should know the difference between an inductive and deductive "proof"

As well, any good scientist knows that evolution doesn't really even touch the problem of why there is something as opposed to nothing, and what is the foundation of being. I find physicists have more perspctive on this myself.

I remind myself, though, that there are a lot of crazy hypocrites in religion, too.

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The issue of "irreducible complexity" where the eye is concerned, if I understand it correctly, is not just the development of the eyeball itself. For a mammal's eye to evolve, not only must all the functions of the eye develop together, but the skull must develop to allow for the eye, the muscles connected to the eye, and the optic nerve behind it; a system of muscles must develop which allow the eye to move; and the brain must develop a section which receives and accurately interprets information sent to it from the eye; and all these things must develop at the same time and at the same rate; and they must develop in slightly different ways to fit the needs of each species.
This argument irritates me so much, because it implies that a single mutation can (and must) do a single thing, as well as that mutations occur in isolation. Neither is necessarily true; Some mutations make subsequent mutations more likely, and single mutations can have multiple resultes. One mutation could change a single protein, but that doesn't mean it's the only effect of that mutation. That different protein could have any number of effects on the system of which it is part. The entire argument lacks any sophisticated understanding of biology or genetics (let alone evolution).

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The main problem I have with evolutionary science is that it is so often approached as if it were a religion itself. Scientists seem to feel that current views on evolution do not require as much evidence as theories on other subjects, because to question the concept is not so much wrong as unthinkable. They accept ideas without evidence; their thinking seems sloppy where this subject is concerned.
I don't know who you've been talking to, but I disagree entirely. I hear a lot of people saying this... and not only has no one been pointed out to me, but not one of the people saying it have managed to produce any alternative arguments which make much sense.

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Granted, most "creation science" is ridiculous, but that does not excuse real scientists from being objective. I constantly hear descriptions of evolution which imply that it is either a conscious force or being directed from outside, rather than a random physical phenomenon. I hear scientists forget themselves and imply that organisms unconsciously direct their own genetic changes; or that outward, non-genetic changes in one animal can affect its offspring's genotype, something I was taught is impossible back in the fifth grade. If questioned, I am sure the scientists would correct themselves, but it is a kind of muddy thinking that is constantly seen in discussions of evolution.
I'm not sure when you were in fifth grade, but I must tell you that I learned differently, regarding outward, apparently non-genetic-level changes in an organism being passed to offspring-- and with fairly compelling, rational evidence. As to the "evolution is a conscious force" argument, I'm sure there are people who believe that. While I don't, I don't see how it's any more ridiculous than creationism just because they choose not to involve a Christian notion of "god" in the equation.

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So, the reasons I mistrust theistic evolution are
(1) that it is tying religious faith to an unreliable science,
The fact that there are unreliable scientists doesn't mean the science is unreliable. And again, I would challenge the notion that creationism is any different in that respect. Likewise "intelligent design."

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(2) that I suspect a central function of evolutionary theory as it now exists is to provide an explanation for life on earth which precludes God. It is strange to accept a theory that explains how life can exist without any deity being involved (and which I believe is embraced at least partly because it excludes a deity); then inserting a deity into the mix at random - even restricting God, as Sugarbeth suggests, to the very beginning of existence, where He won't be so much in the way.
I think viewing evolutionary theory in that way, as anti-christianity rather than pro-something else is really doing a disservice to those of us who go for science and reason over religion just because we prefer rationality to faith. I don't buy into evolution because I'm looking to preclude your verson of god from any explanation for life on Earth, but because it makes more sense to me than any other explanation I've encountered. I like it when things make sense. Lots of people are like that.

I figure this 'theistic evolution' is probably for people who want to reconcile conscious, rational thought with their generally conservative religious beliefs. Well, good for them.

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#20 of 41 Old 01-11-2009, 04:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow! I was finally able to come back and start reading this thread last night, and just now caught up (mainly because I was so interested in sugarbeth's links, I read through them as they came up, so it took me longer to finish -- by all means, keep on sending any scientific links that seem pertinent, I don't see it as derailing at all! Reading scientific stuff is actually becoming a spiritual experience for me ).

The following comment really resonates with me --

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Originally Posted by sugarbeth View Post
I think it's incredible to see how all life on earth - bacteria, plants, animals, humans - are all connected in a giant family tree that goes all the way back to the first spark of life billions of years ago. It is way more awe-inspiring to believe God created a life force so strong that it could self-replicate and diversify into the variety that we see now, rather than magically "poof" each species into existence. Evolution is a beautiful and elegant thing. I feel privileged that I understand how it works.
This is actually what I've been feeling, too (even though I'm somewhat behind you in understanding how it works! ) Which is why I've also become fascinated with the Gaia hypothesis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaia_hypothesis

I've always felt that Creationists (at least, the ones I've been around) have mostly been interested in simplifying everything ("God made it -- that's all I need to know"). But it's complexity that fascinates me! I still recall how years ago, back when I still didn't accept macroevolution but was fascinated by microevolution, I tried to share about it with some people at church who were bashing evolution.

I was talking about how neat it was that people in different regions in the world developed different amounts of skin-pigment to adapt to their climates -- and this older gentleman just cut across what I was saying and shouted something like, "GOD made us the colors that we are, that's all we need to know about it." He did acknowledge that there might be such a thing as microevolution, but just seemed to think it wasn't worth discussion.

Similarly, a youth leader once shared how he was really into biology when he came to Christ -- and at first he didn't want to give up his science, so he was trying to rationalize and tell himself, "Well, God could have made the world through evolution."

But then he felt like he was trying to "fit" God into science, and if he wanted God then he needed to give up science. So he did. And that seems so sad to me, the way some Christians think if you want to be right with God, you have to give up all sense of inquiry and discovery, give up the things that fascinate you (your God-given gifts and interests), because thinking, discussing, and learning about anything but the Bible can take you off-track --

(And, actually, some churches I've been in have even discouraged things like house-church or home Bible study, 'cause they think we "untrained" individuals can go off-track even with Bible study ).

I internalized a lot of this, and in college when I realized how much I enjoyed studying anthropology, I held back from majoring in it, because it seemed too tied to evolutionary theory, and of course I also didn't like the way Christian missionaries got "demonized" (never mind that some of them did a lot of harm by wanting to impose their ways, rather than listening and learning from the people they had come to live among ).

Anyhow, I now think it's wrong (yes, even a sin) to hold back from following an interest, simply because learning more might cause me to question my faith. God is way bigger than my preconceived notions. And I see now that, just as the Church persecuted Galileo when he said the earth was round, so fundamentalist religion still stands ready to attack anyone who challenges the old, "traditional" ways of looking at things.

I looked up how my old denomination viewed evolutionary theory, and it looks like their main objection is that they don't see how this theory allows for the man to be made first, and for the woman to be made from and for the man. Apparently they think being open to evolutionary theory will destroy marriage and the family as they feel it should be.

As to my religious faith being tied to evolutionary theory, that's really not how it is with me. I don't believe we'll ever have complete knowledge this side of Heaven, and we're all in for heaps of surprises when we come face to face with the Lord. I see evolutionary theory as the best explanation we currently have, but I don't see it as a religion.

As to thinking that scientists treat it as "religious doctrine" -- I used to hear that and say it, too. But now that I've actually started reading stuff written by evolutionary scientists, I don't see them that way at all. It seems they're frequently commenting on the incompleteness of the current knowledge, and striving to do better, and also to allow for and correct their current errors.

But I'm sure biologists are only human and not perfect -- just as, as someone else mentioned, there are hypocrites in the church, I suppose there are some people in every field who get attached to a current way of looking at things, and consequently resist new knowledge that could destroy the foundation they've built for their life. But I honestly don't think most scientists resist new knowledge -- this seems so antithetical to being a scientist.

Whereas, with fundamentalist religion, there tends to be a tremendous motivation to reject new ideas and discoveries, because of how scared the leaders/members are of believing anything that could be an error, since they think God will cast His children into hell for believing errors

(becoming a mom was the primary catalyst that got me questioning fundamentalism, because I simply can't imagine rejecting one of my children because she had a misconception about something, and I know God is a much more loving parent than even I am).

Oh, eilonwy, even though I didn't tune in much in biologiy class (all those church warnings about how that anti-God "indoctrination" could mess up my head, as well as probably some undiagnosed ADD ), I also remember hearing something about how sometimes a parent's adaptation can get added to their genetic code, and be passed onto their offspring.

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#21 of 41 Old 01-11-2009, 06:29 PM
 
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Have you ever seen "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed"?

I just recently watched it, and it was an absolute eye opener. It is not about Christianity. And I was absolutely shocked to hear the evolutionist admit that real belief in evolution will destroy your belief in a god.

If you have not seen it, check it out.

I believe the new "theistic evolution" is just the enemy's way of introducing evolution into Christian theology and make it sound good. It is desensitizing our children the same way violent games are desensitzing them to violence.

Any misspellings or grammatical errors in the above statement are intentional;
they are placed there for the amusement of those who like to point them out.
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#22 of 41 Old 01-11-2009, 09:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Kidzaplenty View Post
Have you ever seen "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed"?
I haven't; I'll have to see if I can access it.

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I just recently watched it, and it was an absolute eye opener. It is not about Christianity. And I was absolutely shocked to hear the evolutionist admit that real belief in evolution will destroy your belief in a god.
I think the big difference between evolution and creation science, is that there are people from all belief-systems who accept evolutionary theory, but it is just religious people who accept creation science. So of course you're going to run into some evolutionists who are such staunch atheists that they don't see how anyone can consider "the facts" and still believe in God.

Just as many of us believers don't see how anyone can consider the facts, and the beauty of God's creation, and not believe.

It's true that there are probably lots of scientists who are atheists. Believe it or not, I think it is primarily the Church that is to blame for this. Throughout history, it seems that powerful branches of the Church have always been ready and eager to dismiss new discoveries as "heresies."

So I think people with the most intelligent, enquiring minds have often felt compelled to choose between God and the pursuit of truth. Which is sad because God is truth, He created the spirit of scientific inquiry, He wants us to use our minds and to not be afraid to question. But many church leaders want to keep people afraid, it gives them more power.

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If you have not seen it, check it out.
Okay.

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I believe the new "theistic evolution" is just the enemy's way of introducing evolution into Christian theology and make it sound good. It is desensitizing our children the same way violent games are desensitzing them to violence.
Well, for the man whose site I linked to, theistic evolution is his path to living a life of integrity. He got so saddened seeing creation scientists attacking evolutionists by misrepresenting their statements. I've been saddened, too.

For example, at a church music presentation a while back, a member of the traveling singing group (student of a Christian college), led into a song by explaining evolutionary theory as "It's where this ape is walking along and then he suddenly turns into a man."

It seems that in many Christian circles, it's acceptable to attack evolution with total stupidity. So, as far as the "no intelligence allowed"-thingy, I feel I've encountered that attitude lots of times in Christian circles. But I still will check out the movie. Thanks for letting me know about it, Jenny.

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#23 of 41 Old 01-15-2009, 07:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Kidzaplenty View Post
I believe the new "theistic evolution" is just the enemy's way of introducing evolution into Christian theology and make it sound good. It is desensitizing our children the same way violent games are desensitzing them to violence.


Ok, I'll bite. Who is the "enemy"?
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#24 of 41 Old 01-15-2009, 09:29 PM
 
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Ok, I'll bite. Who is the "enemy"?
Even my heathen, Jewish behind knows this one. The enemy is none other than The DEVIL, Satan himself. Everything bad comes from Satan, remember? (No, I'm not being sarcastic... I'm being totally serious.)

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#25 of 41 Old 01-15-2009, 10:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The reason it's so hard for me to see evolution as coming from the enemy, is that the more I study it, the closer I feel to my Creator.

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#26 of 41 Old 01-15-2009, 11:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Kidzaplenty View Post
Have you ever seen "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed"?

I just recently watched it, and it was an absolute eye opener. It is not about Christianity. And I was absolutely shocked to hear the evolutionist admit that real belief in evolution will destroy your belief in a god.
So far I haven't purchased the movie. From what I've read about it, it sounds like they're saying that the schools are suppressing free discussion, and discouraging critical thinking (duh, that's why dh and I are homeschooling our own kids ... and since many churches also are like this, we're also exercising caution about where we get involved).

As far as suppressing the other point of view, I feel like that's exactly what would happen if I attended a fundamentalist Bible Study on Genesis, and shared my current views. Maybe the public schools "should" be more supportive of open debate than we'd expect the Church to be -- but I don't know. I kind of wish that for once the Church would lead the way, and be the promoter of free discussion that it apparently thinks the school system should be.

And as to the assertion that some evolutionist was quoted as saying that real belief in evolution will destroy a person's belief in God -- maybe we all have different ways of defining "real belief." My ever-expanding views on how God made the world, are not "real belief," in the sense of being comparable to my faith in God Himself.

But even my faith in God is based on the knowledge that "now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face." I agree with Madeleine L'Engle that we are all in for big surprises when we see the whole picture in Heaven.

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#27 of 41 Old 01-16-2009, 12:00 AM
 
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Psst... hey there, OP, I'm right here with you. I think evolution is just part of God's plan.

Carry on.

Trying to turn hearts and minds toward universal healthcare, one post at a time.
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#28 of 41 Old 01-16-2009, 01:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Psst... hey there, OP, I'm right here with you. I think evolution is just part of God's plan.

Carry on.
Thanks!

I see it as nothing short of wondrous, that God chose to do things in such a way that some could actually think it was "random chance" --

Which, again, the man I linked to defines as "I don't know" how this or that process really happened ... I'm paraphrasing here, but suffice it to say "random chance" doesn't really mean no God, it just means it's beyond our ability to figure some things out.

He explains this way better than I can.

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#29 of 41 Old 01-16-2009, 10:40 PM
 
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Even my heathen, Jewish behind knows this one. The enemy is none other than The DEVIL, Satan himself. Everything bad comes from Satan, remember? (No, I'm not being sarcastic... I'm being totally serious.)
Whew! I was worried the "enemy" was going to be biologists! You're reminding me of these t-shirts:
http://controversy.wearscience.com/design/devil/
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#30 of 41 Old 01-16-2009, 11:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Whew! I was worried the "enemy" was going to be biologists! You're reminding me of these t-shirts:
http://controversy.wearscience.com/design/devil/
I love those shirts!

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