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Author Topic:   An Army of One
BMG
Member (Idle past 324 days)
Posts: 357
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 1 of 59 (346215)
09-03-2006 11:07 AM


Hello.
Just yesterday my older brother strolls into the house unusually late after work. He has a glowing smile and radiates confidence. He settles down-showers, shaves, etc- and joins the family in the living room. The rest of us are watching the Norte Dame game.
He expounds that he has just come from church, the Saddleback Church, and that he is no longer Catholic, but is now Christian (I didn't want to sound arrogant so I kept myself from correcting his mistaken belief).
He now looked at me and I could discern from him an itching sensation to "teach" me what he had just been taught. (I'm an agnostic who accepts evolution). We have debated God and evolution before, and this time was no exception.
As I make leave into the kitchen, he follows.
"Brian, do you believe in evolution"?
"I don't believe it. I accept it based on the facts".
"Do you believe a God exists"?
"I believe it's possible".
"You can't believe both. They are incompatible".
"Nonsense. Of course I can believe in the possibility of both".
"Nowhere in the bible does it make any mention of evolution".
Wasn't hard to refute, but the conversation continued.
He mentioned that a pastor at the Saddleback Church was the author of the Purpose-Driven Life, Rick Warren. We talked of Purpose, and that which you could see and not see.
Anyway, to wrap this up, this "conversation" left me feeling like a heretic. I calmly tried to answer each and every question as they were hurled at me from three different directions, instantaneously- Mother, Father, brother. Standing in a half circle round me, eyes as wide as dinner plates, and voices which sounded like gunfire, I felt incredibly uncomfortable, even though I love to talk of the possibility of God, and Afterlife, and evolution.
So, the favor which I ask of you EVCer's is counsel on how better to defend myself against such barrages of "holy-understanding". I want to learn more of evolution. I plan on taking a biology class next semester at college. But until then, I would very much like to read a book or two for the laymen on the how's and why's of evolution. I want to better defend myself and the noble and awe-inspiring endeavors of science.
Any suggestions for an outnumbered, evolutionist, army-of-one?

Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by NosyNed, posted 09-03-2006 12:47 PM BMG has not replied
 Message 4 by sidelined, posted 09-03-2006 12:53 PM BMG has replied
 Message 6 by nwr, posted 09-03-2006 1:21 PM BMG has replied
 Message 8 by jar, posted 09-03-2006 1:44 PM BMG has replied
 Message 13 by RAZD, posted 09-03-2006 5:21 PM BMG has replied
 Message 20 by subbie, posted 09-03-2006 6:43 PM BMG has replied
 Message 22 by crashfrog, posted 09-03-2006 7:39 PM BMG has replied
 Message 34 by Archer Opteryx, posted 09-04-2006 1:59 AM BMG has replied

  
BMG
Member (Idle past 324 days)
Posts: 357
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 7 of 59 (346234)
09-03-2006 1:30 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by sidelined
09-03-2006 12:53 PM


Re: Sidelined
Thanks Sidelined.
Prodigious and interesting material, to say the least. I will take a look at Dawkin's Climbing Mount Improbable and see if it is worth purchasing. Thank you, kindly.
Ned,
I agree it is best sometimes to simply not talk about it. A few years ago, after taking an anthropology class, I was eager to see how this newly acquired information would hold up against my "faithful" parents.
I was rude, and incited a great deal of frustration. However, my knowledge and tolerance of differing opinions has increased greatly over the years, and I am happy to admit that I am far less likely to be cynical, condescending or hurtful to God-fearing people.
But over the past year, roughly all of the debates over the existence of God and evolution have been incited by the "other side". I tried greatly, even this time, to avoid a conversation on the topic, but push came to shove and I am glad to admit I didn't lose my cool or raise my voice. I kept a more friendly and amaible disposition. I answered their questions to the best of my ability, but I did notice I do not know much of evolution or science, in general.
Hence my reason for asking assistance in this department. I want to better understand why I believe what I believe, and to speak, almost with an aire(sp) of emotional indifference, about the subject at hand.
It's a desire, a thirst for reliable and credible knowledge.
To wrap up, I do not wish to disprove their belief in a higher power and make them feel uncomfortable. But I do hope to teach them a little of how science and evolution works. For they are, I am afraid to say, "science illiterate", and I am not much better.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by sidelined, posted 09-03-2006 12:53 PM sidelined has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by NosyNed, posted 09-03-2006 1:58 PM BMG has replied

  
BMG
Member (Idle past 324 days)
Posts: 357
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 10 of 59 (346253)
09-03-2006 3:06 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by nwr
09-03-2006 1:21 PM


Re: No contradiction
There isn't any contradiction between Christianity and evolution.
Good point. I remember Jar bringing to light the Clergy Letter Project, which is fairly strong evidence to support your statement.
If God is omnipotent, then it was within his power to use evolution as part of his creation.
Another point I had in stock but did not use at the time. The debates are so often bits and fragments of ideas and the issue, after a short while, is so muddled I have to stop my family and try to steer the debate back to the issue.
Sola Sciptura? Sounds interesting. One I must keep in store for the future.
Thank you, NWR.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by nwr, posted 09-03-2006 1:21 PM nwr has seen this message but not replied

  
BMG
Member (Idle past 324 days)
Posts: 357
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 11 of 59 (346255)
09-03-2006 3:11 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by jar
09-03-2006 1:44 PM


...learn as much science as you can and understand that it will NEVER get to "The Answer", there will always be more to learn.
One of the aspects of science that so strongly draws me to it is the fact that the "job" is never complete.
Be careful when engaged in family feuds and discussions that you do not cause problems that will roll over into other facets of life.
This took me a few years to learn, and something that I continue to improve upon.
Thanks, Jar.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by jar, posted 09-03-2006 1:44 PM jar has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by jar, posted 09-03-2006 5:36 PM BMG has replied

  
BMG
Member (Idle past 324 days)
Posts: 357
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 12 of 59 (346257)
09-03-2006 3:20 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by NosyNed
09-03-2006 1:58 PM


Re: An approach??
As you learn looking around here the anti-science folks are almost universally ignorant of the facts.
Yes, I have noticed this.
Ask them for the "facts" that they want you to know.
Good point. Here's the problem; facts, reason, logic, critical thinking is practically shunned by my family when it comes to the possibility of the supernatural. It's strange, but I do use these tools to the best of my ability and will continue doing so.
Thanks, Ned. Much obliged.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by NosyNed, posted 09-03-2006 1:58 PM NosyNed has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by RAZD, posted 09-03-2006 5:32 PM BMG has not replied

  
BMG
Member (Idle past 324 days)
Posts: 357
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 17 of 59 (346281)
09-03-2006 6:20 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by RAZD
09-03-2006 5:21 PM


Re: my 2bits (emailed earlier)
Hi RAZD.
There is a very low probability of making a dent on the newly converted.
Or the converted from long ago, it would seem.
Invite your brother to participate at EVC if he thinks he has any real argument.
I would love for him to do so, but it seems highly unlikely.
Or do you live at home while going to college?
Unfortunately, yes. I am in school and I am grateful for the hospitality ( I'm not free-riding, I do pay rent) but I wish to be on my own.
Thanks for your words and time.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by RAZD, posted 09-03-2006 5:21 PM RAZD has not replied

  
BMG
Member (Idle past 324 days)
Posts: 357
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 18 of 59 (346282)
09-03-2006 6:25 PM
Reply to: Message 15 by jar
09-03-2006 5:36 PM


Remember that there are two kinds of people, those who look for Answers to questions and those who look for answers to Question.
Eloquence, it would seem, is second nature to you.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by jar, posted 09-03-2006 5:36 PM jar has not replied

  
BMG
Member (Idle past 324 days)
Posts: 357
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 19 of 59 (346283)
09-03-2006 6:34 PM
Reply to: Message 16 by nator
09-03-2006 5:38 PM


Re: An approach??
Acting curious and asking them to elaborate upon how it is that they know this information, who claims these things to be true, what did they do to check to see if the information is accurate, and so on, is a great way to get THEM to think about what they are claiming and saves you from trying to deal with a "Gish Gallop"
I have never heard of a "Gish Gallop", but if I had to slap a label to their argument and methods of reasoning, this phrase would fit like a glove.
Thanks Schraf.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 16 by nator, posted 09-03-2006 5:38 PM nator has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 21 by NosyNed, posted 09-03-2006 6:44 PM BMG has replied
 Message 29 by dwise1, posted 09-03-2006 10:18 PM BMG has replied

  
BMG
Member (Idle past 324 days)
Posts: 357
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 23 of 59 (346290)
09-03-2006 8:13 PM
Reply to: Message 20 by subbie
09-03-2006 6:43 PM


This book would not only help you understand the evolution/creation debate, but science in general.
Sounds interesting. I will keep this in mind.
Thanks, subbie.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 20 by subbie, posted 09-03-2006 6:43 PM subbie has not replied

  
BMG
Member (Idle past 324 days)
Posts: 357
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 24 of 59 (346291)
09-03-2006 8:22 PM
Reply to: Message 21 by NosyNed
09-03-2006 6:44 PM


Re: Questions
Why don't you jump in and ask your best dumb questions now?
Well, I'll give you one question, and if the admin's (I know, you're and admin too Nosy) find it off topic and requiring another thread, then so be it.
One question they asked of me was whether or not I believed in the creation of Adam and Eve. I nodded in disapproval. Their mouths stood ajar and "Oh my God"! was said in chorus.
I wanted to mention something of the DNA bottlenecking that would occur in the homo sapien species, and how want of genetic diversity
may have killed us off.
Before I could respond, the subject changed, and to reply then I would have had to yell, and decided not to.
P.S. I will respond to you tomorrow Crash, for I have run out of time for today.
AbE: I should have mentioned, although at the time I typed this I was short on time, that the greater reason I didn't mention the genetic bottlenecking was that this was something I didn't know much about, and needed to read up on this more before I was going to use it as support for my position.
Thus my reason for asking about credible books on the subject.
Thank you all for your time.
Edited by Infixion, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 21 by NosyNed, posted 09-03-2006 6:44 PM NosyNed has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 25 by NosyNed, posted 09-03-2006 9:05 PM BMG has replied

  
BMG
Member (Idle past 324 days)
Posts: 357
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 26 of 59 (346301)
09-03-2006 9:43 PM
Reply to: Message 22 by crashfrog
09-03-2006 7:39 PM


Nobody has a right to put your spiritual beliefs to the question, or bully you into belief.
That's the Crash I remember . I mentioned to them that I respected their beliefs and had no quarrels with it, if and only if they would extend the same courtesy, tolerance and understanding to me.
This seemed to register to a certain degree, but their incredulity in my being the only agnostic in the family still sends shivers down their spines.
This is definately a work in progress, but I remain optimistic.
As an aside, I appreciate this forum greatly, for I can think of no other place or forum in which I could reveal such personal issues. Aside from a psychologist's office, of course, but this method is far cheaper.
I see this site as almost an electronic journal, although I fear a poster here may have already used this metaphor.
Thank you Crash.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 22 by crashfrog, posted 09-03-2006 7:39 PM crashfrog has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 27 by crashfrog, posted 09-03-2006 10:06 PM BMG has replied

  
BMG
Member (Idle past 324 days)
Posts: 357
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 28 of 59 (346304)
09-03-2006 10:11 PM
Reply to: Message 25 by NosyNed
09-03-2006 9:05 PM


Re: Adam and Eve
Not necessarily just two but only a few in the garden of Africa.
Blasphemy! Sorry, I'm just imagining how they would respond. But you make a good point. Perhaps some form of compromise would be best.
I'll see how things roll out, but to be perfectly honest, I guess, I just needed to blow off some steam.
It seems to be something similar to many posts I have read on this forum of the science literate being overwhelmed with frustration when conversing with those less knowledgable of the facts.
Thanks again, Ned.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 25 by NosyNed, posted 09-03-2006 9:05 PM NosyNed has not replied

  
BMG
Member (Idle past 324 days)
Posts: 357
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 30 of 59 (346306)
09-03-2006 10:22 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by crashfrog
09-03-2006 10:06 PM


You're not alone in your walk.
That's reassuring.
Almost every athiest and agnostic has to deal with the well-intentioned evangelism of their family.
I guess I'm no exception.
Understand that they belong to a church that informs them that absolutely nothing is more important than convincing you to believe just like them.
This is the facet of several organized religions that I fear the most. Just today I was reminded that they were "not going to give up on me so easy"; I smiled and walked away.
I think the responsibility of clear and well-intentioned dialogue more strongly tilts on my side. It's possible some change in habits and ways of thinking can manifest itself in them, but it's not very likely.
But again, I will remain optimistic that we can live in harmony and with a greater understanding and tolerance for one another.
Thanks again.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 27 by crashfrog, posted 09-03-2006 10:06 PM crashfrog has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 33 by crashfrog, posted 09-04-2006 12:08 AM BMG has replied

  
BMG
Member (Idle past 324 days)
Posts: 357
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 31 of 59 (346307)
09-03-2006 10:29 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by dwise1
09-03-2006 10:18 PM


Re: An approach??
...if Gish fired off 10 "problems" in one minute...and each needed 30 minutes to respond to properly to demonstrate what was wrong with each claim, then the opponent would need five hours to respond in.
Interesting. You learn something new everyday.
Good luck
Thanks. Good researching could also go a long way.
AbE: My time's up. Thanks for the replies, I'll be back tomorrow.
Edited by Infixion, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by dwise1, posted 09-03-2006 10:18 PM dwise1 has not replied

  
BMG
Member (Idle past 324 days)
Posts: 357
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 36 of 59 (346412)
09-04-2006 11:21 AM
Reply to: Message 32 by Belfry
09-03-2006 10:49 PM


So, I guess that's all to say that I agree with what NosyNed said-sometimes it's best not to talk about it.
I couldn't agree more, Belfry. But sometimes, I don't know, I really feel like discussing it. I not only want to learn why they believe and feel about the divine the way they do, but through verbal dialogue I can sometimes learn why I believe what I do.
I just prefer to do it in a civil manner, not one in which voices are raised, tempers flare, and emotions run high. It seems pointless and a waste of breath.
I don't know. Thanks for your reply.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 32 by Belfry, posted 09-03-2006 10:49 PM Belfry has not replied

  
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