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Author Topic:   Is science a religion?
Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5980 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 4 of 295 (290688)
02-26-2006 6:12 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by subbie
02-26-2006 5:44 PM


Science is as Science Does
Interesting post, and a provocative question.
Is there any compelling reason to exclude the supernatural from the scope of scientific inquiry?
Well, not if you mean a priori rejection, no. However, you said it yourself:
quote:
But the reason I do not believe in these things is because I haven't seen evidence strong enough to convince me that such things exist.
Nor has anyone else. Science as a methodology or process for understanding nature writ large is simply not set up or equipped to address things that are by definition "supernatural". OTOH, if some unknown phenomenon had an actual physical impact (measurable or at least verifiable), then it would no longer be "supernatural" - and hence would be amenable to scientific inquiry.
Is science a religion because it refuses to even consider the idea that non-naturalistic processes are at work in the world?
As I noted above, science does not "refuse to even consider" ideas. It isn't, however, equipped to deal with things that can't (or haven't, to be fair) been shown to actually exist. IF a process has an effect on the natural world, THEN it is by definition "natural". If there is simply no way to validate a claim ("I have an invisible pink unicorn living in my garage that leaves no trace and can only be seen by me on alternate Tuesdays"), then science is unable to deal with it.
It's not dogmatic rejection. It's merely that if you have a claim that something is occurring, it is incumbent upon you to provide the evidence - something that science can evaluate - that it exists.
Hope that answered your questions.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by subbie, posted 02-26-2006 5:44 PM subbie has not replied

Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5980 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 11 of 295 (290722)
02-26-2006 7:14 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by subbie
02-26-2006 7:07 PM


Re: Is there any compelling reason to exclude the supernatural
Would you agree that such a situation would seem to be supernatural, and scientifically testible at the same time?
Not meaning to answer for jar, but I bet I can guess what his response is going to entail: unknown phenomena /= supernatural. If it is testable, then it is not "supernatural".

This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by subbie, posted 02-26-2006 7:07 PM subbie has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by subbie, posted 02-26-2006 7:17 PM Quetzal has replied

Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5980 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 13 of 295 (290728)
02-26-2006 7:33 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by subbie
02-26-2006 7:17 PM


Re: Is there any compelling reason to exclude the supernatural
Why would the phenomenon you described in your hypothetical scenario be of necessity "operating outside the known laws of the universe"? After all, according to your scenario, the phenomenon is replicatable under multiple conditions and by multiple researchers (one of the hallmarks of science). If the phenomenon doesn't fail under stringent conditions, then all we've done is possibly demonstrated the existence of a heretofore unknown - but perfectly natural - physical phenomena. Just another day in the workings of science.
It would, of course, cause lots of consternation among physicists. It might cause us to re-evaluate some things we thought we knew. But that's not necessarily a bad thing... Hmmm, sounds like science.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by subbie, posted 02-26-2006 7:17 PM subbie has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by subbie, posted 02-27-2006 9:33 AM Quetzal has replied

Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5980 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 21 of 295 (290997)
02-28-2006 8:21 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by subbie
02-27-2006 9:33 AM


Re: Is there any compelling reason to exclude the supernatural
Who's the guy with you? ;-)
I dunno. Some bum I met on the beach. Put him in the picture to give a sense of scale...
This message has been edited by Quetzal, 02-28-2006 08:22 AM

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Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5980 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 92 of 295 (310785)
05-10-2006 3:52 PM
Reply to: Message 89 by brianforbes
05-10-2006 2:59 PM


Re: putting on my goggles
So let me get this straight: people only accept evolution as the best current explanation for the diversity of life on Earth because they've haven't had trauma in their lives?
This is definitely one of the whackier theories I've ever heard. Okay, let's put it to the test. All you Evilutionists who have had trauma in their lives at some point (by the definition provided by BrianForbes this can apparently include sex) please raise your hands.
*Q raises hand.*

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 Message 89 by brianforbes, posted 05-10-2006 2:59 PM brianforbes has not replied

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Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5980 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 123 of 295 (310990)
05-11-2006 9:59 AM
Reply to: Message 105 by brianforbes
05-10-2006 6:14 PM


Re: I just know
Brian: I hope you'll accept this as a response to your post 98 in this thread as well. I just noticed that one - since you didn't use the little reply button, I didn't get notification that you had responded. Sorry for the late reply.
How'd you know that you wanted to believe in evolution? "I couldn't help it.. it just happened. I stumbled upon the feeling that it was the best thing for me."
I don't think that's accurate, at least in my case. Although the route I actually took to arrive at acceptance of evolutionary theory was somewhat convoluted, I seem to recall it being an outgrowth of a very early intense interest in nature. I spent a lot of time in the woods as a kid, and as I grew up I remember formulating questions about what I saw. It wasn't really until my senior year in High School (and a wonderful biology teacher named Cosmo DiBiasio who taught me and more importantly showed me about ecology) that I started getting answers. College was, in fact, where I first heard of evolution. The more I investigated, the more convinced I became - not because of indoctrination or emotional appeal, but because the theory neatly tied all my childhood observations and questions into a coherent framework. Since then, I've never seen anything to make me doubt it - and as my entire work/profession is intimately involved with natural systems, I think I would have noticed if something didn't fit.
IOW, there was no "emotional" response to evolution. I didn't "stumble on the feeling that it was the best thing for me". I slowly came to the conclusion that it was essentially correct based on my own observations. If somehow tomorrow someone came up with a better theory, I'd drop evolution like a hot rock. Of course, I honestly don't expect that to happen. It's too internally and externally consistent, too good at making predictions and providing an explanatory framework, and too adept at passing all the tests scientists have thrown at it over the last century and a half (or so).
I wonder if you can say the same about your view.
I can give you the evidence. I can show you historical documents that describe animals attacking man that have a striking resemblance to dinosaurs.
I'd LOVE to see the documents if you can provide a link or perhaps post them here? I have always had a soft spot in my heart for cryptozoology. I even had a chance to investigate one of those claims myself when I and a colleage were officially called in to look at the remains of an animal - alleged to be a chupacabra - a local farmer shot near Matagalpa, Nicaragua (I was working in Managua at the time). It was a blast to jump in the truck, dash 6 hours up the road ("road" being a generous term for the last 4 hours of the trip), and check it out. I leave it to you to picture what the remains looked like after 6 days of tropical sun, tropical decomposers, and tropical scavengers, not to mention the effect of the farmer's shotgun. Unfortunately for cryptozoologists everywhere, there was enough left to be able to definitively identify the corpse as a very dead, rather large, and very decomposed dog of indeterminate parentage. Even so, it was a lot of fun. It even made the national papers. I don't think the farmer to this day believes it wasn't a chupacabra. Ah well, maybe next time...
So please do post your evidence. I promise to examine it "without bias", since I love the idea of a relict population hanging on to the present. Now you know Quetzal's deep, dark secret - he's a closet crypto. (Don't tell anyone.) I will always harbor a teeny, tiny hope that every time I'm out in the woods, behind the great buttress roots of the next kapok (Ceiba pentandra), I'll catch a glimpse of some organism misplaced in time. Talk about an emotional attachment to an idea in the absence of evidence...

This message is a reply to:
 Message 105 by brianforbes, posted 05-10-2006 6:14 PM brianforbes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 125 by EZscience, posted 05-11-2006 12:01 PM Quetzal has replied
 Message 130 by brianforbes, posted 05-11-2006 3:23 PM Quetzal has replied

Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5980 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 127 of 295 (311058)
05-11-2006 2:36 PM
Reply to: Message 125 by EZscience
05-11-2006 12:01 PM


Re: The infamous goatsucker of Latin America
Well, since the first chupacabra mass-killings apparently occurred in Puerto Rico, it doesn't surprise me that there were so many. Must be the source population for the rest of Latin America.
And don't forget to buy your chupacabra t-shirt!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 125 by EZscience, posted 05-11-2006 12:01 PM EZscience has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 128 by EZscience, posted 05-11-2006 2:57 PM Quetzal has not replied

Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5980 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 133 of 295 (311073)
05-11-2006 4:16 PM
Reply to: Message 130 by brianforbes
05-11-2006 3:23 PM


Re: I just know
Actually, I don't consider myself or my worldview to be all that exceptional. Most of my non-believing colleagues (as opposed to the believers in either Christianity or Islam who I work/have worked with) pretty much arrived at the same conclusion, and for many of the same reasons. Their individual stories are different, but we pretty much ended up in the same place along similar routes.
I'm just saying there are more compelling arguments on the other side. I wonder if you've ever studied theology.
If there are, no one has yet presented them in a compelling manner. It's usually something along the lines of what SR71's friend has argued (see the Debating Evolution thread, for instance). IOW, arguments so lame and so obviously false it's almost an insult that someone would expect me to buy them.
I admit haven't "studied" theology. I have read a number of the major works of various religions, including the Bible and the Qu'ran (cover to cover), the Rig Veda and the first ten books of the Mahabarata, as well as works on Roman and Greek mythos and a few others. Some of them are quite interesting and even entertaining - I recommend the Mahabarata, for instance. None appeared to be overwhelmingly convincing, however.
You'll also find that threads of this nature always end up convincing people to become evolutionists because there are so many assertions and so little time or resource for the number of religious to confirm or reject them that they just end up sitting there without a reply.
I find that the assertions tend to come from the other direction, mostly. I agree there's a huge amount of evidence to overcome, making the evolution-denier work extra hard. Not the fault of the theory, rather the fault lies with someone with little knowledge trying to overturn one of the key concepts linking dozens of biological disciplines. Hard to keep all that straight, I know. Heck, there's no way even a scientist working in the field can keep track of even a fraction of the new literature that appears almost daily in the field. One of the problems with such a huge, encompassing science, I guess. No surprise that believers have some difficulty. The more germane question is, IMO, why do they bother unless they have some key evidence of their own that falsifies the rest?
...and they don't get out to the field to dig...
This may actually be a key part of the problem. You can read all the books, peruse all the papers, listen to all the arguments/counter-arguments, but if you don't get out "in the field" (or the lab, or whatever) at least a bit I don't know how you can internalize the theory. That's just my opinion - others may have a different view. Perfectly okay. I'm "biased" towards that viewpoint because that's how I arrived.
About the historical documents, I saw a couple of them on a video. You obviously know about Job 40-41... everyone does... I've read the opposing papers. I still don't know on what basis they reject it.
Ah, too bad. If you run across any of the historical documents you mentioned, bring them up. As to Job, yeah I've read it. I think its a neat story/parable. Now if someone could come up with a sub-fossil of an organism that resembled the giant whale (or whatever, depending on translation) Job got 'et by, you might have something. Lack of unambiguous evidence and/or external corroboration, unfortunately, tends to make the Job story more on the lines of "fiction" than "fact".

This message is a reply to:
 Message 130 by brianforbes, posted 05-11-2006 3:23 PM brianforbes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 135 by brianforbes, posted 05-11-2006 4:35 PM Quetzal has replied

Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5980 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 147 of 295 (311159)
05-11-2006 6:58 PM
Reply to: Message 135 by brianforbes
05-11-2006 4:35 PM


Re: I just know
I believe that the evidence that is given against evolution mostly has to do with the certainty that if A is true, B cannot be. I've accepted A, and therefore, B has to be tainted. You have not accepted A, so you probably don't have the emotional response to B.
Yeah, I think you hit the nail square on the head. The problem is that this is a false dichotomy. Not only does B not necessarily contradict A, they don't even play in the same sandbox. The other problem is that there isn't one sole A. There's a whole bunch of 'em. The ones that seem to have a problem with B are what I call "naive A". These are the folks that try and make factual claims that are contradicted by the evidence for B. Heck, even if B didn't exist, the claims of the naive A would still be falsified. In other words, even without evolution, a strict reading of, say, the Noachian Flood would be falsified by the non-evolutionary reading of the rocks. A global flood simply can't physically sort the stuff the way the fossils appear - no matter whether the organisms they represent evolved through common descent or not. However, when A doesn't try for an absolute literal reading (call it "mature A"), it finds that there's nothing to contradict its key tenets (salvation, etc).
If we aren't eternal, life is meaningless.
Actually, I'd argue that regardless of whether we're eternal or not, life is precious - i.e., meaningful. It becomes even more so if we aren't eternal, because that means we have to make the absolute best of what little time we've got. You've got to develop your own meaning, leave your own legacy, and make your own difference. Sort of a humbling thought, no?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 135 by brianforbes, posted 05-11-2006 4:35 PM brianforbes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 148 by brianforbes, posted 05-11-2006 7:18 PM Quetzal has replied

Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5980 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 184 of 295 (311376)
05-12-2006 10:17 AM
Reply to: Message 148 by brianforbes
05-11-2006 7:18 PM


Re: I just know
Wow, this thread is really moving right along! I hope I'm not too late in answering your post.
want to apologize for the nieve condemnation you get around here. I'm sure everyone here is guilty of it. I know I've had a lot of nieve things thrown my way in the past couple days. I wouldn't doubt that I'm nieve about a bunch of things.
Don't take the term I used ("naive A") personally. That wasn't the intent. I could have used A' or some other designator. However, I think it's a pretty good descriptor for what I was trying to get across. Jar and others could probably explain it better, but here goes my take on it. Naive A represents a subset of all A's that apparently haven't, for one reason or another, internalized the philosophical underpinnings of their faith. At best, they are allowing superficialities to obscure the true nature of their belief system. At worst, they are (in their own terms) skirting idolatry by placing more emphasis on a book (or Book, if you prefer) than the glory of the creation their deity has provided for them - including the intelligence and wisdom to see it. What this literalism leads to is an apparent "weakness" in their faith. When a perceived challenge arises from "mere science" (with apologies to Lewis), they are forced by their position into denial. If the challenge is severe enough - when the evidence becomes overwhelming - they are placed in the position of either denying the evidence or denying their faith. Like a child confronted with something that goes against a cherished idea, they try and cling to it in spite of reality even to the point of lying to themselves and others. This group is easily manipulated by the unscrupulous who prey on them by seeming to offer a life preserver in the form of reassurance that there's no need to question their position. To do this, the manipulators will say anything, do anything, and promise anything to keep their prey naive. Including proclaiming that all those who disagree are somehow damned. It can be a highly emotionally charged feedback loop - and highly effective.
Contrast this position with what I termed "mature A". These folks have, consciously or not, deeply internalized the "true" meaning of their belief system (whatever that may be). In the case of science vs. religion for instance, they recognize that there is no conflict. The two have "non-overlapping magisteria" as Gould puts it. IOW, there is no conflict because science and religion are concerned with different things (the physical and the spiritual respectively). Indeed, I have often heard "mature A" folks express the idea that science is actually a (perhaps imperfect) way for humans to begin to catch a glimpse of the mind of God Himself by observing, understanding, and relishing God's creation as it is, not as they think it should be, or as the parables and fire-side stories of a group of Bronze Age pastoralists may have perceived it. And moreover, by using the gifts - intelligence and reason - that their God has granted them, they may come closer to Him in the end by honoring those gifts. Their faith is certain and deep, and hence invulnerable to any challenge.
As to life being precious, that's fine that you feel that way, but as we all know, feelings don't change people's minds. Without a stronger authority, you will get weirdos who kill people in the name of evolution... including themselves... and I fail to see how you can justify condemning their actions. (BTW, I know it works both ways.. people killing others in the name of Christ... but you have to understand that it's not logically cohesive. Jesus preached love unto death.)
This is borderline insulting, dontcha know. There is no basis for this statement. Indeed, it is at the heart of one of the fallacies of the naive A: an Authority is needed to keep the peasants in line. Have you ever read the Humanist Manifesto? It's a fascinating document. I'll repost here the basic tenets, and put a link to a fuller explanation. I think you'll find a lot of commonality with the things that Christianity is supposed to stand for, especially in tenets 4, 5, and 6.
4. Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals.
5. Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships.
6. Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness.
I urge you to read the fuller descriptions (linky). The above doesn't do it justice, actually.
quote:
Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.
The lifestance of Humanism”guided by reason, inspired by compassion, and informed by experience”encourages us to live life well and fully.
Somehow this doesn't sound like the philosophy of mad rapists and murderers to me. Seems to me it would be fully compatible (except for the "lack of supernaturalism" part), with "mature A" Christianity.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 148 by brianforbes, posted 05-11-2006 7:18 PM brianforbes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 191 by brianforbes, posted 05-12-2006 2:32 PM Quetzal has replied
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Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5980 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 199 of 295 (311481)
05-12-2006 4:24 PM
Reply to: Message 191 by brianforbes
05-12-2006 2:32 PM


Re: I just know
Quetzal, if anyone on this is mature, you are. Your answers are articulated nicely and calmly. You make sense of what I say and dispute it instead of saying it makes no sense and that I'm stupid. Thank you for that.
You’re welcome. Do me a favor, however. When you type your response in Word and then paste it into the forum reply box, it often loses formatting. Don’t know why. Check your response by pushing the “preview” button at the bottom of the box. You may have to go back through and put a line feed at the end of the paragraph. Happens to me all the time.
I appreciate, as well, the clarity given for naive and mature personalities. I appreciate that you see a good many people cling to a book so strongly that they will dilute themselves if it doesn't happen to coincide with reality. I can see it too. I have also thought on this subject. I considered that it's possible that the books I've read regarding God and his interaction with his creation are false in part or in whole. I have some reason to doubt them.
No, I don’t think they’re “false”, in the sense that somebody’s lying to you in the text. I think that a lot of it is parable and morality plays, legend (especially a lot of the Hebrew “history”), and poetry. Some is factual, some is intended to be read otherwise. Several of the posters here can give you a good bibliography that will help you to figure out which is which. All you need to do is ask them. It doesn’t detract from the overall message and intent of the Book, after all is said and done.
I have more reason to doubt other things, such as many of the scientific theories that are proposed here. I am also fully aware that we cannot possibly conceive of all possibilities. Even the most obvious contradictions, I believe, could be made clear if given the proper explanations. They do this in books all the time. A good author will make the true answer impossible to detect until it's revealed. I believe God can do better than any authors we have alive today. The feeling I get when I finish a good book is wonderful. I expect I'll have a similar feeling when I am given the question for the answer of 42.. if you catch my meaning.
Well, I guess I disagree with you inre the scientific theories presented here. I quite happily and even gleefully disagree with some of the details (see the thread on Evolution Occurs Faster at the Equator for example) on occasion. However, I reiterate that these are more or less quibbles over details. The fundamental principles and framework, however, based on the accumulated evidence of a several centuries of study, remain virtually unchanged and unchallenged. You have to remember that although Darwin and Wallace wrote in the mid-1800s, many of the basic ideas and evidence had been accumulating for a long time previous. The more we look at nature today, the more this underlying and unifying principle of life science looks strong. Hard to see how it could be falsified at this late date (although, at least in general terms, it could be but hasn’t).
I believe you are a rational man. I believe you can give me an answer that is genuine. Does it take faith to believe in Evolution? Even if it takes more faith to doubt it, does it take even a little faith? (Replace faith with trust, belief, anything you want. Let's not get caught up in the definition like we did with religion.)
Thank you for the “rational” comment. Some of my friends would disagree, however.
As to your question, the short answer is “no”, it doesn’t take faith. What it takes is a great deal of study, a lot of hard thinking, and a lot of questioning. I would imagine there are people who take it on faith - faith in authority, faith in science, whatever (sound familiar?). However, those who have devoted their lives to trying to tease out answers and understanding from an uncaring and often capricious natural world (pardon the anthropomorphism) most definitely don’t. They see the evidence right in front of their eyes on a daily basis. That’s not faith. Faith isn’t needed in that case. We have the physical “proof” right in front of us. We can touch it, see it, sometimes even smell it and taste it. It’s there. It’s real, and we’re watching it in real time. And it doesn’t require faith to accept it.
All this talk about religion and science and how one is independent of the other is ridiculous to me. We like, sometimes, to categorize things and act like they don't interact with one another. Everything I do in life mingles with everything else I do. My work is not independent of my home life. What I'm feeling when I go home stems from what I was feeling while I was at work. You get the idea. To act as though trusting to the interpretations of the physical data is simple and that it doesn't affect the rest of your life is ludicrous, wouldn't you agree? If I believed in Evolutionism instead of Jesus, I would have to change my life, would I not? If I have to change my life to believe a thing, I'm going to evaluate it on all levels, not just the surface. Is that irrational?
I would argue that they very much are independent of one another. Science certainly has limits, at least in the sense of being unequipped to address unreferenced or unevidenced claims on their face. Even subjective notions like “feelings” can’t be addressed. Oh, we can chart the physiological and neurological changes that occur, and we can generalize from them that something physical is going on. We can even watch individual neurons firing. But we can’t analyze scientifically what a given individual means when they reference their internal feelings. The best we can do is provide a statistical generalization from a lot of different people. Even then, we won’t be able to tell exactly what a given person is feeling. This doesn’t detract from the validity of the concept, any more than our inability to predict the exact location of a single atom of oxygen in a room at any given moment detracts from our ability to know that the atom is there. Spirituality, the divine, etc, is the province of the theologian, not science. Only when the two cross into each other’s territory is there conflict (and yes, it happens from both sides). This is why creationism doesn’t belong in science class. As long as theologians don’t try and mess about in science’s turf (and vice versa), there’s no problem. Only when theologians, specifically the nave A creationists, try and make factual claims about the physical world that are completely contradicted by the evidence does science have the means and the right to stomp them flat. Which it does.
I never said that the physical doesn’t impact on emotion. Heck, I have emotional responses to the awe-inspiring beauty and complexity of nature as sharp and as clear as any believer. Just because I’m aware that these have a biochemical basis doesn’t make them any more, hmm, numinous. My limited understanding of nature even makes it more amazing to contemplate its intricacy. And knowledge of our itty-bitty insignificance in the vastness of the universe is a wonderful object lesson in humility, IMO.
Did I ever tell you my mom had a near death experience? I don't believe I have. Am I supposed to accept that she experienced a biochemical reaction in her dying brain and that she really didn't see what she thought she saw? She said it was as real or more real than reality as we know it. Am I a fool to accept testimonies such as this because they don't fall within the boundaries of science (5 senses and inference from those)?
No, not a fool. Perhaps uninformed. And definitely a product of your upbringing/and or experience. As are we all.
I believe we are both logical. I believe if I said that we process the data the same way, you would agree with me. I believe that the difference is that we start with a different base. What qualifies as truth? To you, personal experience does not count. To me it does. That's a huge difference. Would you agree that distinction in how we view the world would lead to drastically different views on what counts as truth?
I’m always hesitant about arguing over “truth”. I never imagine that I know what it is. I’m content with the ambiguity, and never have bothered to trouble myself with the Big Questions the theologians, for instance, are so concerned about. After all, it makes no functional difference in my life or how I live it what the “real” question is to which the answer is 42. There are enough other things in life to worry about.
Does the bible count as history?...(snip) . ? Sure, it takes very little faith to believe that the evidence supports the claim of evolution, but what do we do with those things that contradict it? I know what the vast majority of evolutionists have done. Am I a fool not to throw in my towel with them?
The historicity of Jesus and the other issues you bring up here are beyond my scope, to be honest. As Clint Eastwood said in Dirty Harry, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” There are several posters on this board who definitely would be willing to discuss them with you. I will simply say that thus far, no one has put up any valid evidence that contradicts evolution in any significant way. Not for 150 years of very close scrutiny. A lot of other scientific ideas, with much less evidential support, have died in the same period.
I would also like to bring your attention back to the nave vs. mature discussion. There is no incompatibility between Jesus’ teachings and mature A. Think about it. You don’t have to throw in the towel to accept evolution as the best explanation we currently have for the diversity of life on Earth. All you have to do is “graduate” to mature A.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 191 by brianforbes, posted 05-12-2006 2:32 PM brianforbes has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 201 by brianforbes, posted 05-12-2006 5:56 PM Quetzal has replied
 Message 202 by subbie, posted 05-12-2006 6:09 PM Quetzal has replied

Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5980 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 236 of 295 (311792)
05-14-2006 6:10 PM
Reply to: Message 201 by brianforbes
05-12-2006 5:56 PM


Re: I just know
I think much of what we find as contradiction in the historical texts is that we read our biases into it. It's human nature. Have you heard the theory that Lincoln was gay? Whatever we want to see there, we will find there. It's human nature. The only exception is when the evidence is overwhelming.
As with any human endeavor, biases can creep in. That's why science (and history, and other disciplines for that matter) expend a great deal of effort attempting to obtain independent verification. In fact, that's what the scientific method is based on - replication of results. Think cold fusion - since there was no way to replicate the results of the first research, it was ultimately rejected. The same for any other claim. It's one of the things that makes evolution so compelling - there have been multiple, independent lines of evidence corroborating the basic theory. We argue over details, but there's nothing that has been unearthed that calls into question the basic concepts.
I've seen several books by PhDs in Biology and other fields that challenge the evolutionary theory. In their books, they complain that nobody takes them seriously.
To be honest, I can think of only one PhD biologist - Jonathan Wells - who doubts evolution. His agenda is a bit suspect. His PhD was funded by the Moonies with the express purpose of "destroying evolution from within". Not very successfully, to be honest. You'd probably find his book, Icons of Evolution fascinating. Denton is the only other one, and he's pretty much recanted all his earlier anti-evolution writings. Other than that, beyond a handful of biochemists, one or two mol biologists (wasn't Borger mol bio?), and one ecologist (Salty started out life as ecologist), no one writing on the creo side is a life scientist. Their expertise, therefore, is not germane to the discussion.
As far as reading theories goes, have you read any actual evolutionary biology? Just curious. If not, perhaps you'd find one of the undergrad evo bio texts illuminating. My favorite is Douglas Futyma's Evolutionary Biology. It shouldn't be beyond a reasonably intelligent individual, which you seem to be.
The problem, as I've stated, is that I cannot believe in science if it doesn't jive with my theology. I believe the thing I hear people around here saying is that Science is more important than theology because it is testable. I can accept that if they give better evidence AND answers for the evidence that theologians (and prophets, etc.) give us.
[begin Yoda mode] And that is why you fail.[/yoda] But seriously, don't you think rejecting all that work by all those people from all those cultures just because of your particular perception of theology might just be a bit, hmm, wrong? Can you even entertain the possibility that reasonably smart folks working their entire lives in the field might - just might - know whereof they speak? Whatever your position in theology or metaphysics, when it comes to the physical world of our senses, it seems to me to behoove us to at least listen to what the folks that study that world have to say.
You wouldn't be opposed to them using the conclusions of science, though? What about a scientist using the conclusions of theology or history in their pursuits? That doesn't work, I suppose.
But why would they? My position, as I've outlined, is that the two have nothing in common. They don't play in the same sandbox, as I've said before. It would make no more sense for a scientists to use metaphysics to explain an observation of the physical world than it would for a theologian to use the scientific method to explain God. Neither are equipped to use the methodology of the other.
I've said it before, it takes faith to believe they work together fine.
That's my point. They don't "work together". They are concerned with completely non-overlapping arenas. That's why creationists end up looking like idiots when they try to deny science. As jar puts it, it's both bad science and bad theology.
I'm still better off believing that the evidence is skewed.
Unfortunately, whereas you can believe anything you want, you aren't entitled to your own facts. The facts speak loudly and unequivocally - evolution happens. Whether it makes you feel good or not is irrelevant. Sorry, but that's the way it is. Welcome to the real world.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 201 by brianforbes, posted 05-12-2006 5:56 PM brianforbes has not replied

Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5980 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 237 of 295 (311793)
05-14-2006 6:29 PM
Reply to: Message 202 by subbie
05-12-2006 6:09 PM


Re: It takes faith
I beg to differ, Questzal.
That's okay. You're allowed.
I think it does some faith. Faith in the scientific method, for one thing. Nobody can have direct, first-hand knowledge of all the facts necessary to fully understand evolution and how it works. Every scientist depends heavily on the work of other scientists. This is reliable only because all (good) scientists follow the scientific method. And, we believe the scientific method is the best method we have at our disposal right now for pursuing truth.
It also requires faith in our ability to accurately perceive the real world. And, it requires faith in our ability to intelligently reason and come to conclusions based on our reason that we can be confident in.
Of course. I have faith that I am an actual entity typing on an actual physical object communicating (indirectly) with another actual physical entity. From a philosophical standpoint, that might not necessarily be a given, I guess. However, in the context of discussions with True Believers (tm), faith has a somewhat different connotation. It is adherence to a philosophy or worldview in the absence of evidence - or even in the face of counter-evidence.
OTOH, it is at least theoretically possible to know all the facts upon which evolution is based. In reality, of course, there probably aren't enough days in a human lifetime for any one person to encompass it all, simply because the sheer volume of evidence is so vast. But therein lies the difference. A religious person, almost by definition, can't possibly encompass the evidence for the divine, simply because there isn't any (at least in the sense science means it when it talks about evidence). They rely on faith (or should that be Faith, with a capital F?).
These are the kinds of faith that are required, in my opinion, to accept evolution as a fact (or, as you suggest, blind faith in authority). And, because science places its faith in these things, and religion places its faith elsewhere, there is and will always be an insoluable conflict between those of a particular religious persuasion and the rest of the thinking world.
I don't have any fundamental disagreement with this, except as outlined above. I think it boils down to a basic difference between what Believers and Scientists mean when they discuss faith.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 202 by subbie, posted 05-12-2006 6:09 PM subbie has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 238 by subbie, posted 05-14-2006 7:35 PM Quetzal has replied

Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5980 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 239 of 295 (311821)
05-14-2006 8:59 PM
Reply to: Message 238 by subbie
05-14-2006 7:35 PM


Re: It takes faith
We are indeed in 100% agreement. So, what do we talk about now?

This message is a reply to:
 Message 238 by subbie, posted 05-14-2006 7:35 PM subbie has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 240 by subbie, posted 05-14-2006 9:09 PM Quetzal has replied

Quetzal
Member (Idle past 5980 days)
Posts: 3228
Joined: 01-09-2002


Message 243 of 295 (311848)
05-14-2006 11:18 PM
Reply to: Message 240 by subbie
05-14-2006 9:09 PM


Re: It takes faith
She's still kicking - almost 1 1/2 years after they said she'd be dead. What a good dog...
edited to change bad math.
Edited by Quetzal, : No reason given.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 240 by subbie, posted 05-14-2006 9:09 PM subbie has not replied

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