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How could anyone believe in Theistic Evolution?


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Showing 1-25 of 48 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 4, 2012 7:41:03 PM PST
Jack Vix says:
"The diversity of life on earth is the outcome of evolution: an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable and natural process of temporal descent with genetic modification that is affected by natural selection, chance, historical contingencies and changing environments." -Eugenie C. Scott

Creationists are quite correct in seeing evolution as the enemy. Liberal believers are even less rational when it comes to this topic. At least a creationist understands what it is they believe, even if it is false. It makes sense, from a theistic perspective to see evolution as the enemy. You can not simultaneously believe that we were created by God and that we evolved naturally. A deist could easily accept evolution, but not a theist. A theist who believes this is fooling themselves.[1]

Most religious people are moderates, and it's the more popular point of view among them that evolution and God are completely compatible. I see this as the most successful form of irrationalism. As Richard Dawkins has said, this is the superfluous attempt to "smuggle God in by the back door". People are willing to accept evolution because they know it's a scientific fact, but most theists say it's perfectly compatible with their beliefs. This rationalization is because if it is not compatible then they have to either go with the fact rather than God, or deny fact and continue believing. So they must see it as compatible... it's not.

They will say "I see no conflict at all", which of course is just an excuse and not an actual attempt to look at the problems with it. No conflict? This is simply not the case, just because it sounds nice doesn't make it true. Feels good is not truth. This is the epitome of the golden mean fallacy, a logical fallacy which asserts that the truth can be found as a compromise between two supposed "extreme" opposite positions, in this case that of theistic evolution denial on one end and atheism on the other. A compromise =/= correct.

Theists will claim that evolution by natural selection was God's ingenious way of doing His creation. Instead of individually creating every species, God made the process of evolution by natural selection and let it take it's own course, to produce all the species we have. There's absolutely nothing persuasive about this claim, other than maybe wish-thinking. Evolution by natural selection is not a process that needed inventing at all. The whole point of it is that it just happens. It doesn't need an ingenious inventor to put it in motion. It happens without invention and without planning. That's what it's all about. That's how it works. It's not supernatural selection, it's called natural selection for a reason. The Earth and the organisms on it are the way they are for natural reasons. Religion cannot come in and make claims about natural processes, that's the domain of science.

Posted on Nov 4, 2012 7:41:19 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 4, 2012 7:44:27 PM PST
Jack Vix says:
If God decided to do His creating by inventing evolution by natural selection, he was doing it in a way that makes himself superfluous. It's even more unpersuasive because the theory of evolution by natural selection precisely explains the existence of complicated entities, the kind of entities that are capable of creating anything. So it's a self-defeating idea because it postulates, as the instigator of it, an entity, namely a complex creating designer, of the very kind of which you're trying to explain. That's not how you do science. "What made complex beings that create things?" "Obviously it was a complex being that creates things!" It explains nothing, and only relieves the curiosity of the dumb and deluded. In fact, the term "theistic evolution" is an oxymoron.[2]

In order to justify their beliefs, they will present the range of opinions on evolution as a continuum(as if opinions matter in the realm of facts). Theistic evolution is presented as the comfortable middle ground between the two opposite "extremes" of atheism and creationism. The idea being that one can accept a theistic version of science as long as you don't fall for creationism. In other words, science and religion are compatible as long as you position yourself close to the true science end of the continuum. This is a ridiculous view of the options. There is no continuum between science and non-science. Either your explanations of the natural world are scientific or they are not. There is no middle ground.[3]

As said above, God would have no place to do anything in our evolution. However, even if He somehow did, for those who stubbornly cling to your vague conceptions that He "guided" it, it would be evidence of a unimaginably cruel God who also takes great care to conceal Himself. Evolution is cruel, not a loving process of creation. The idea of God being loving and involved in this is absurd. Evolution is not supervised, it has no goal, it is a terrifyingly harsh process of survival.[4]

"We humans are obsessed with purpose. The question, 'What is it for?' comes naturally to a species surrounded by tools, utensils and machines. For such artifacts it is appropriate, but then we go too far. We apply the 'What is it for?' question to rocks, mountains, stars or the universe, where it has no place."
-Richard Dawkins

Posted on Nov 4, 2012 7:41:41 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 4, 2012 7:46:49 PM PST
Jack Vix says:
Notes:

1. Not even God can direct an undirected process. You can't have inherent purposes for a blind, purposeless process. We are not the goal of evolution anymore than a mouse or bacteria. Evolution has no goal or criteria to meet. That's the whole point, it's a blind watchmaker.

2. Evolution is science; theism is religion. You can't mix religion and science and still call it science because the practice of science must exclude theistic(unscientific) explanations. There is no middle ground on this. There are two possibilities: either what you're doing is science or it isn't science. In the case of theistic evolution, religion is overlapping the domain of science.

3. http://bioinfo.med.utoronto.ca/Essays/images/Science_vs_Religion.gif
It's closer to the dividing line than the explanations of young earth creationists but "close" isn't good enough. Theistic evolution is still in the "non-Science" half.

4. Some things live on for no reason, some things die for no reason. But for some there will be a reason why they live on and those reasons(traits) will be honed in on over time. It's reasons without a reasoner. If an organism survives long enough to reproduce, then his mutation gets passed on. Of an entire population, some will reproduce. The rest will die unapologetically. Nature is uncaring. If organisms are not fit, they are snuffed out. As this inefficient, terrifying, survival struggle goes on over time (about a billion years) you get so many mutations and so many environmental changes that you get the diversity of life that we have today.

Posted on Nov 4, 2012 9:20:04 PM PST
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Posted on Nov 4, 2012 11:05:57 PM PST
Jack Vix says:
How does one believe in such a ridiculous notion as a loving God guiding an unguided process of abject suffering and struggle to survive?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 1:12:59 AM PST
Jack Vix said:
>>"The diversity of life on earth is the outcome of evolution: an unsupervised, impersonal, unpredictable and natural process of temporal descent with genetic modification that is affected by natural selection, chance, historical contingencies and changing environments." -Eugenie C. Scott

J.H.--We might start by changing that phrase -- "...is the outcome of evolution" -- to "...is 'a' by-product of evolution: which is not unsupervised, but may be impersonal." Since Bible God clearly dislikes some sorts of people, and mythologies around the world stipulate their creator deities had ulterior motives. Until you can demonstrate viable purity control DNA which is clearly not related to any known earth organisms, you don't have proof that any living matter can transmutate from one form of organism into another. All we have are varying degrees and sophistications of plant and animal husbandry.

Yours
>>"As Richard Dawkins has said, this is the superfluous attempt to "smuggle God in by the back door". People are willing to accept evolution because they know it's a scientific fact, but most theists say it's perfectly compatible with their beliefs. This rationalization is because if it is not compatible then they have to either go with the fact rather than God, or deny fact and continue believing. So they must see it as compatible... it's not."

J.H.--People who don't believe in the 'young-earth' branch of creation ideology can accept micro-evolution is fact, that all sorts of changes evolve within the generations and families of individual species. A Theist however isn't averse to a deity who examines and tests all those natural selections, who proceeds to isolate and groom their candidate species for further development. Theistic evolution requires that some competing species would arbitrarily be eliminated to serve the purpose of promoting others which were deemed more compatible.

Preferred usage of the mathematical term rationalization, shouldn't deviate so far from set-theory where it describes the process of reducing some complex non-integers to their lowest common denominator. To twist this to an absolute variance of compatible versus incompatible belief is not consistent with your comparison statement: "most theists say it's perfectly compatible with their beliefs." Religion is divisive. Adherents are much more likely to gravitate towards either liberal or conservative interpretations rather than moderate, conciliatory abandonment of biases. Everyone is heretic but for me and thee, and I sometimes wonder about thee.

Yours,
>>"Evolution by natural selection is not a process that needed inventing at all."

J.H.--Which brings us back to the irreconcilable difference here, not that supernatural things cannot be found to have happened, nor that supernatural entities can be proven or disproven, but the assertion that the process cannot have been invented, nor nurtured, is blind faith in a mythical prime directive of non-interference which only exists in science fiction. Dawkins wants to make up his own definition of 'supernatural', to exclude whatever is not metaphysics. And he can of course exclude any physical phenomena which aren't repeatable by a laboratory experiment.

Scientists who also happen to be Christians wrestle with the math and science to describe and define how natural phenomena occur, or are sustained. The ability however to describe and define in naturalistic terms, processes that are remarkable, powerful, or intricate, doesn't exclude a belief or acceptance of God in the machine. When the Bible delineates that which is 'real' as being that which is established upon things which are unseen, or don't yet appear, it doesn't possess the sophistry to exclude natural, scientifically defined processes, nor does it presume the snobbishness to exclude simple graces, like the softness of the wind, the taste of bread, or the sound of trees.

Posted on Nov 5, 2012 1:13:57 AM PST
Jack Vix - "How could anyone believe in Theistic Evolution?"

Well, like most things associated with theology, it looks good until you examine it more closely. I've never taken theistic evolution as a particularly well thought-out position. It's just a defiant "god said so" stuck after you get through with the science stuff. I just think that many people find bare reality disheartening. When I hear "this can't be all" or "there has to be something else" I hear a person who finds reality insufficiently comforting to them. Considering that no chain of events or facts can contradict the assertion that "there's something else going on here", it's no wonder they just paste "God said so" on the side of the box and move on. It's comforting, answers a deep need, and can never be disconfirmed.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 1:34:21 AM PST
AxeGrrl says:
Mark Hornberger wrote: "I just think that many people find bare reality disheartening. When I hear "this can't be all" or "there has to be something else" I hear a person who finds reality insufficiently comforting to them. Considering that no chain of events or facts can contradict the assertion that "there's something else going on here", it's no wonder they just paste "God said so" on the side of the box and move on. It's comforting, answers a deep need, and can never be disconfirmed."
~~~~

Nicely articulated, Mark.

*adding this to my ever-growing 'great/insightful posts from the amazon boards' file*

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 8:29:41 AM PST
Jack Vix says:
Macro-evolution follows from micro-evolution, unless you don't believe in long periods of time. There's really no such distinction, it's simply evolution. It's evolution baby!

I'm not gonna argue with an evolution denier. You're simply uneducated. That's fine, convince yourself it's a conspiracy and keep believing.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 8:36:18 AM PST
Brian Curtis says:
Red-herring fans of the micro/macro-evolution type conjure up a magical and unknown barrier that prevents small changes from adding up into large ones. To prove the existence of this barrier, they offer... well, nothing. But they're certain that it MUST be there.

How this is supposed to be 'scientific' rather than a point of faith is unclear.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 8:38:38 AM PST
Jack Vix says:
MH
Well, like most things associated with theology, it looks good until you examine it more closely

JV
Right. Most people don't want to examine things closely when it comes to religion, because as Abraham Lincoln of all people once noted, it's apt to lead to infidelity.

It helps sad desperate people latch onto something in an unhealthy way. I'm no Buddhist but attachment is suffering. If you need something outside of life to make it good, you're saying it's bad. It's escapism so you don't have to process the pain of thinking life is bad. It's pain avoidance pure and simple.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 5, 2012 8:42:43 AM PST
Jack Vix says:
Only argument for what you're saying that I've heard is, "My daddy ain't a monkey! My grandfather ain't a monkey!" it didn't happen in 1953, you nut.

Posted on Nov 9, 2012 12:21:11 AM PST
Jack Vix says:
Bump(for the lovely Anne Rice)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2012 5:59:46 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 9, 2012 6:02:03 AM PST
Ambulocetus says:
The theory of evolution is exactly as atheistic, and for exactly the same reasons, as the germ theory of disease. If one does not destroy Christian faith, then neither does the other.

The Bible tells us that diseases are caused and cured by God's will. Scientists tell us that it is the mindless movements of microorganisms.

Well? Which is it?

God is not necessary if you believe in Newton's laws of motion, or the germ theory of disease, or the theory of evolution. In fact, it was precisely Newton's laws of motion that led to the incredible popularity of deism in the 18th century.
Newton and the Culture of Newtonianism (The Control of Nature)

However, God is not refuted by the fact that nature operates by way of laws. CERTAIN ideas of God are rendered idiotic--Ken Ham's and Kurt Cameron's, for example--but just because the talking-snake part of the book of Genesis is (gasp!) an allegory does not mean that there is no room for a Creator.
http://college.holycross.edu/faculty/alaffey/other_files/Augustine-Genesis1.pdf

"You can not simultaneously believe that we were created by God and that we evolved naturally."

Really? One might as well say:

"You can not simultaneously believe that God decides who gets sick and that microbes cause disease."

Or:

"You can not simultaneously believe that the behavior of organisms is decided by their brain chemistry and hormones AND that it is caused by an evolutionary history that has hard-wired instincts into their genes."

I don't buy a Creator personally, but there is nothing empirical that can tell us that no such Creator exists. The best the atheist can say is that there is no NEED for such a being, and no WARRANT for belief in his existence. Logical disproof on empirical grounds only works for certain very infantile and parochial God-concepts.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2012 8:17:02 AM PST
Jack Vix says:
Theistic germ theory, ah, real science./sarcasm

No you could believe in ghost germ theory, the point is it's not persuasive in the least, and it's certainly not science. Your second example is just silly, these are false comparisons. We naturally evolved, we weren't factory made by a deity. To say he used evolution to create us is a wild unjustified and unconvincing claim as demonstrated above.

Although you say you don't buy it, it sounds like a theist arguing because you are mistakenly arguing about it not disproving God. You cannot disprove leprechauns, first you would need reason to even believe in them in order for it to be refuted. The point is that it's very unpersuasive once you actual understand evolution to believe that a God(especially a loving one) "guided" it, when it is not a guided process.

Again, either what you're doing is science or it's non-science, pseudo-science, religion, etc. There's no middle ground of mixing them, that makes it non-science.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2012 9:11:46 AM PST
I think it was Richard Dawkins that stated, if evolution needed any sort of guiding divine agent, then evolutionary theory is just plain wrong.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2012 10:10:39 AM PST
Jack Vix says:
Exactly, it would defeat the whole theory of natural selection in principle. It's either darwin or guided, it can't be both. There's evidence of one and wishes for the other. Darwin destroyed the illusion of design. Anyone who still appeals to a designer is simply ignorant of biology.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2012 10:52:47 AM PST
Roeselare says:
Heh, from a post like that you make me wonder, what is your small concept of God?

No concept of God is consistent with evolutionary theory?

How much more about God and evolution do you know than me?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2012 12:45:16 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 9, 2012 12:47:22 PM PST
http://hgn53k.blogspot.com/

Note tan/black picture

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2012 12:48:02 PM PST
Bill M. says:
So SpiralArchitect, how does a link to a page about non-theistic creationism tie back to the exact opposite topic?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2012 12:50:11 PM PST
Bill M. says:
>>No concept of God is consistent with evolutionary theory? [werranth413]

He said in the original post, "a deist could easily accept evolution".

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2012 1:00:57 PM PST
Jack Vix says:
There are concepts of a deity that are compatible with the way the world is. For instance, although still unjustified in their belief in a deity, a deist can accept evolution and it wouldn't be contradictory since a deist god doesn't need to make people or concern itself in human affairs. It's consistent to believe in a deity that isn't antrhopocentric.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2012 1:08:26 PM PST
Jack Vix says:
Alien gods?

This is probably more accurate:
http://religiousfreaks.com/UserFiles/Image/evolution.cross.jpg

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2012 3:29:20 PM PST
Roeselare says:
what is it that is still unjustified?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 9, 2012 3:36:33 PM PST
Jack Vix says:
There is no reason to believe in deities. No positive evidence has ever been presented, therefore, a positive claim is unjustified.
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Initial post:  Nov 4, 2012
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