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Stanley

Should We Laugh Or Cry?

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According to a Gallup poll conducted in June, 46 percent of Americans believe God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years, a creationist belief.

http://news.yahoo.com/fact-check-9-000-old-earth-really-looked-183713773.html

 

I grew up in the North and had never heard someone that actually believed this until I moved to Texas. Now I know lots who believe this. This is just crazy.

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Of course it is. Personally I think believing in a God who is love, merciful & just as the same God who would order his people to commit acts of genocide, execute non-virgins, support slavery, seek to harm and destroy homosexuals, etc etc, as crazy too. Yet so many people believe it. Why? - I think culture, family, approval by friends, security (promised an eternal heaven), fear (promised an eternal hell), not understanding an alternative, etc.

 

I'd add another option to laugh or cry - be afraid. I'm not fear-mongering, but I think people should be very concerned when people with such beliefs are in a position of power to implement harmful changes because they align with their beliefs or worldview.

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Is this a religious thing or is it an anti-intellectual thing. I don't mean that quite as pejorative as it sounds. Maybe the world seems out of control, and this emotional impulse seeks explanations that are simpler and less threatening.

 

That anti-evolution beliefs are so obdurate in the American public is evidence of the cultural battle going on. As long as 'respectable' people support or hem and haw - seeking any vote - about evolution people will find no need to change their minds. When they feel like an outlier they will change their minds as fast as it takes to want to be part of the group again. It's game theory driven by lowest common denominator politicking.

 

I agree with Neon that the internet is wonderful for persecuted groups or people who must look far and wide for others with the same issues. But I think the internet will decrease critical thinking (I am going out on a limb), increase polarization, and support a politics of power rather than ideas because, whether it is held in our common religious traditions or not, we are loosing the sense that there is something beyond us, but also that we hold in common that guides us and that we can refer to when seeking what is right and good. The internet encourages isolation and hardening of ideas not interaction and development of ideas.

 

For me a good example is the popular election of judges. Special interest groups are targeting judges not for malfeasance but for making decisions that are ideologically wrong. I acknowledge that this is not a new thing. It just has never been so blatant. I think it is a result of loosing that sense of common good, that we are in it together and we can talk about it,

 

Maybe the future is not that bleak but I think the internet will encourage polarization and loss of critical thinking as much as it encourages community and exploration.

 

Dutch

 

PS

The evidence suggests that hominins had capacity for rudimentary language 1.7 million years ago. Cheap stuff can be knocked out quickly (10,000yrs) but to get something of quality takes longer. :)

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Maybe we should look behind the answers to the poll. Personally I did not find my position described. But consider the following if you think that some creationists are weak minded.

 

Are you surprised that we believe in speciation, adaptation, genetic drift, etc.? If so, I suspect you have been taught that creationists believe in the fixity of species (search creation.com for "fixity of species" to see how we deal with this). This is not a teaching of the Bible, but of Aristotle! Yes, most people in Darwin’s day believed it, but they were allowing the weight of one ancient authority to trump another.

Scientific method: All science has to start with a set of presuppositions. As Christians, we start with an ultimate Creator and Lawgiver. Our methodology derives from this and I believe we have a solid and consistent line of reasoning. This approach, coming straight out of the Reformation, has borne tremendous fruit over the years as most branches of science were founded by a person with this view (See the many examples in Scientists of the past who believed in a Creator). Evolutionists start with the assumption of naturalism, that natural processes explain everything that ever was, is now, and ever will be. Thus, it is not the data we are quibbling over, but an overarching theory of how to collect, interpret, and act on the data.

You said, "the scientific method is the pursuit of truth based upon observation," then showed how you see confirming trends from observation, correlation between living and fossil forms, genetic relationships of living species, and peer review. I would like to point out that this set of correspondences is all interpreted in the light of naturalism and that the peer reviewers are all naturalists. Throw a creationist on that review board and there is going to be very little agreement on your list of corresponding evidences! Why is this? It is because fundamental assumptions drive everything in science. We cannot escape them as people and our science is not free from the limits of humanity.

 

http://creation.com/...al-distribution

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But I think the internet will decrease critical thinking (I am going out on a limb), increase polarization, and support a politics of power rather than ideas because, whether it is held in our common religious traditions or not, we are loosing the sense that there is something beyond us, but also that we hold in common that guides us and that we can refer to when seeking what is right and good. The internet encourages isolation and hardening of ideas not interaction and development of ideas.

 

Good point. It does facilitate associating only those of like mind and avoiding those who may think differently. In the real world, we must deal with those who think differently. We occasionally even find that they have some valid points of view.

 

George

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Good point. It does facilitate associating only those of like mind and avoiding those who may think differently. In the real world, we must deal with those who think differently. We occasionally even find that they have some valid points of view.

 

George

 

I think the option is there not to deal with those who think differently on the internet, but it's not really any different in the real world. Most christians will go to a church that suits them, or belong to a club that offers soemthing for them. Most of the time people won't deliberately put themselves in a group they don't agree with just so they can be challenged or do the challenging.

 

Unless your sitting at your computer 24/7, I imagine you're still dealing with some people in the real world - Probably no less than those who go to their church for an hour or so who don't really have to deal with people of an alternate view for that period of time.

 

I know I for one don't agree with other's points of view here sometimes, but I don't turn off. Similarly I occassionally find that they have some valid points of view.

 

In the quote that Dutch provides above...."Evolutionists start with the assumption of naturalism, that natural processes explain everything that ever was, is now, and ever will be. Thus, it is not the data we are quibbling over, but an overarching theory of how to collect, interpret, and act on the data."

 

Isn't it more of a case that the evolution simply starts with a question (where are we from) and then seeks out evidence to answer the question. Because they happen to find fossil evidence and DNA that demonstrates beyond all reasonable doubt that we evolved from primordial ooze and that the earth is billions of years old, is hardly a reason to say that they 'start with an assumption of naturalism". Actually to the contrary, I started with the assumption of creation and a young earth until the evidence became so overwhelming that I was forced to accept evolution.

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In my first career I worked for a company at the edge of computer technolgy. It was kind of giddy. The head of the company offered a sobering observation. He said yes this is changing the world, but later we might just find ourselves asking "my God, what have we done?"

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In my first career I worked for a company at the edge of computer technolgy. It was kind of giddy. The head of the company offered a sobering observation. He said yes this is changing the world, but later we might just find ourselves asking "my God, what have we done?"

 

Are you asking yourself that yet, Myron?

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Maybe the future is not that bleak but I think the internet will encourage polarization and loss of critical thinking as much as it encourages community and exploration.

 

Dutch,

 

I would agree that it indeed does both. However, in my view, the Internet has a greater benefit for critical thinking, encouraging critical community and exploration than just polarization and operation in the 'real world'. This is perhaps because the scope of individuals is a much larger circle on the Internet. Those that are highly prone to polarization of course will only participate in the same on the Internet but to those who are not, i see the Internet as filling a beneficial need for individuals that can then apply those exploration results to real life situations. Without the Internet explorations, those opportunities perhaps might not have been presented.

 

Joseph

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People are always drawn to others with like minds and the internet offers that to an extreme. There is a whole world out there now instead of just your home town to find people who believe and think like you. That is good and bad. As pointing out, It will polarize but it can encourage growth in some positive areas.

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I think asking if people believe in evolution is not a useful measure of people's openness to the scientific method.

 

From a creationist:

Science involves experimenting to figure out how things work; how they operate. Why is evolution, a theory about history, taught as if it is the same as this operational science?

---

This is an interesting distinction - and perhaps useful. A "can't we all get along" call to truce. Do the science. Forget the creation/evolution conflagration. What would happen?

 

Can we separate "origin science" from "operational science"? Does the science of climate change depend on a science of origins? New terms to me. I don't know.

 

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I'm not exactly sure what you're getting at Dutch. Whilst I agree that belief in evolution may not be a useful measure (on its own) of people's openess to the scientific method, I think statement's like the creationist's one you quote are flawed in that whilst evolution may have been a theory nearly 200 years ago, it is demonstrated science today. Although it is disputed, there are no grounds to do so and in fact the scientific evidence is beyond all doubt. It's like arguing that the world is not round - it is!

 

We possibly could seperate origin science from operational science (if I understand those terms correctly) and most non-creationist scientists would do so I think. I think the trouble is when you have people who refuse to acknowledge the science because it threatens their beliefs, then how can anyone move forward? It gets worse when you have these people trying to push their non-science into schools and communities. So in a sense, I don't see how non-creationists and creationists can simply 'all get along' by pretending neither group needs to be right.

Edited by PaulS

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I liked what Francis Collins said about it in The Language of God. Basically he said it is things like Creationism that is driving younger people away from Christianity. Kids in churches who promote Creationism are taught the Bible is the absolute truth. In my wife's church I would cringe every time the minister would say during his children's time at the start of the sermon, "If the Bible says it ..." and the children would excitedly reply, "It's the truth." Now this little children become young adults and go to college and learn about evolution and really can't dispute it. After being told their whole life the Bible is absolute truth and then to find out they have been deceived they have to conclude they have been deceived about everything they have been taught about Christianity. The baby is thrown out with the bath water.

 

So, I don't think the two beliefs and co-exist. For Christianity to be a viable religion in the future the Creationism mentality has to go away.

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According to a couple serious creation science web sites whether one is a creationist or evolutionist does not affect the science done in developing the flu vaccine, new materials for cars or airplanes, tweaking genes to improve nutritious foods or make mice glow in the dark. Assenting to evolution is not necessary in space flight, driving a one ton vehicle on mars, or laproscopy, or historical archaelogy. It is not necessary in studying the weird creatures in the deep ocean trenches or fighting fungal menigitis.

 

The mental gymnastics of creation scientists will not affect the poll with its simplistic questions. Whether one assents to evolution will be determined by how many friends say they believe in evolution and it will not change how they view science I think.

 

'Believing' in evolution will not make anyone scientifically literate and that is more important.

 

Dutch

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According to a couple serious creation science web sites whether one is a creationist or evolutionist does not affect the science done in developing the flu vaccine, new materials for cars or airplanes, tweaking genes to improve nutritious foods or make mice glow in the dark. Assenting to evolution is not necessary in space flight, driving a one ton vehicle on mars, or laproscopy, or historical archaelogy. It is not necessary in studying the weird creatures in the deep ocean trenches or fighting fungal menigitis.

 

The mental gymnastics of creation scientists will not affect the poll with its simplistic questions. Whether one assents to evolution will be determined by how many friends say they believe in evolution and it will not change how they view science I think.

 

'Believing' in evolution will not make anyone scientifically literate and that is more important.

 

Dutch

 

I think the distraction here is the reference to 'believing' in evolution. It's not a faith system, it's not something in which you have a choice, it is science. To not 'believe' in evolution is to 'deny' science. You don't get a choice whether to believe the earth revolves around the sun or not, you don't get a choice to believe if the earth is round and not flat, and you don't have a choice whether to believe evolution is true or not.

 

Now how does this denial of science matter. It doesn't in many cases as Dutch points out, but I think there is much concern when we trust scientists to use good science to develop theories and solve other problems or questions. What if the science starts to contradict their religous beliefs, what then? Can you expect such a scientist to place his or her religious bias aside to provide the most accurate outcome, or might their 'lack of belief' in certain scientific proofs taint their view and thus their outcomes.

 

Would such scientists be trusted to provide unbiased scientific data say in areas of stem cell research? Abortion? What does it say to kids in school when scientists are ignoring science?

 

And what about when we start theorising or discovering science we currently aren't aware of? Will religious scientists who ignore the science of evolution always be a drag on society because they don't want to accept the science that conflicts with their faith?

 

I think it is important Dutch. Not enough to condemn those who refuse to acknoweldge the science of evolution, but enough to be concerned and aware of this defiency and ensure it doesn't interfere with the betterment of society.

Edited by PaulS

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I watched a documentary on Creation Science vs. Evolutionary Science. The most striking comment was when a guy said if you ask a Evolutionary Scientist what would it take to change his support of evolution and the response would be something along the lines of, "When the evidence no longer supports it we would have to re-evaluate and change." When you ask a Creation Scientist what it would take to change his support for creationism his response would be, "absolutely nothing." At that point there is no science and how any true scientist can use the scientific method in one area and ignore it in another is beyond me.

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Stanley,

------------

And what about when we start theorising or discovering science we currently aren't aware of?

------------

I don't think creation scientists will be doing this. But going beyond the limits of known world is always a challenge.

 

I am just trying to take some of the heat out of this conflict. From what I read I would be 100% comfortable with a scientist who believes in young earth creation working in a lab preparing next year's flu vaccine. The changes in the bug are not examples of evolution to them but variations in kind.

 

I agree in part that understanding evolution as a way in which science connects the dots might be sine qua non for a scientist. My daughter taught biology for a couple years mostly to home schooled kids. The text book had a chapters on reproduction and evolution that were touchy for some parents. She did not teach from the chapter on evolution. She talked about "change over time" and stressed the scientic method and rigorous and critical observation. She felt if any of the kids were interested in science and grasped the scientific method - that would take their minds where they needed to go.

 

I think the reluctance to see evolution as the best explanation for the data as an anti-intellectual response by people who are tired of being pushed around by smart people in a time that authority is not respected by smart people. It is liberals after all who ignore the moral foundation of respecting leaders.

 

Anyway the conflict over text books is political and unfortunately decided by Texas. Whatever

Texas approves is what the rest of the country gets to some extent.

 

If we want fewer anti-evolution answers in poll we need better questions, we need to back off, stop calling them stupid. we need to make friends, so we can move the elephant first. Then the rider, who takes the polls, will follow.

 

Dutch

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Science has a lot of answers and more are on the way. It has opened up many realms of knowledge,

and we are justified in looking to science for help, but it cannot supply all the answers. Are we the bones, the chemicals, the tissues of the brain? All the dead bodies of the world are chemically identical, but we are living individuals with different personalities. We cannot live by science alone because science is only perceptions of our environment; we also need patience, sympathy, understanding, love, and hope. "...Man shall not live by bread alone..." This saying tells us it takes more than food and a pill to make us happy and healthy. Dead bodies are all the same, but living individuals are not because of our minds. Without positive feelings and the thought that life is unobstructed, science cannot heal. We need to know that life is expressing itself in us and through us with all its perfection. I feel we need to heal the rift between science and religion and stop the war. They both are concerned with the truth and can help us understand it. I feel the Christian war on science is killing Christian faith and not science. Texas, unfortunately is leading the war trying to change our text books to reflect an ideaology and not the truth.

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This e.coli experiment excites many, including me. Evolution over 13,000 generations.

 

http://www.sciencenewsforkids.org/2012/10/bacteria-learn-new-trick/

 

A creation scientist will say that this is not about evolution because there was no new information created in the organism. This is an example of variation within kind.

 

A telling description from the article:

During the second step, an UNUSED GENE that could move citrate within the cell BECAME ACTIVE AGAIN. In the final stage, that gene got busy, and the cell adapted other tweaks necessary to gobble up citrate.

 

Change over time but not evolution by a narrow definition.

 

 

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This e.coli experiment excites many, including me. Evolution over 13,000 generations.

 

http://www.sciencenewsforkids.org/2012/10/bacteria-learn-new-trick/

 

A creation scientist will say that this is not about evolution because there was no new information created in the organism. This is an example of variation within kind.

 

A telling description from the article:

During the second step, an UNUSED GENE that could move citrate within the cell BECAME ACTIVE AGAIN. In the final stage, that gene got busy, and the cell adapted other tweaks necessary to gobble up citrate.

 

Change over time but not evolution by a narrow definition.

 

I think many could roll with that, however they would have to ignore science in the main not to agree with evolution as a whole.

 

I too Dutch, don't worry too much about a scientist who refuses to acknowledge the science of evolution working on a new flu vaccine, but I might become concerned if we have scientists who refuse to take into account evolutionary science which may very much play an important part in the further development of science and other diseases, vaccine, medical developments, etc.

 

I wonder if there'd be huge differences in science between a young earth creationist and evolution when it comes to climate change? Could the misinformation of a young earth belief impact how they view global warming for instance?

 

I just see it as an issue where the truth matters. We know evolution in the main is science like astrology proves the facts of our galaxy. To not challenge this non-science seems inadequate to me.

 

Finally, I disagree that it's necessarily an anti-intellectual response which results in reluctance to accept evolution science, and more likely the individual's concern that it could lead to their house of cards falling down. Of course, many of us here would say that it doesn't have to be that way, but of course fear does prevent others from genuinely reviewing the truth sometimes.

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The term 'creationism,' as I understand it, refers to someone who believes that life was created by a divine agent, in its present form, 5.773 years ago.

 

While I am absolutely convinced that this is wrong, on some level, I think I might be a 'creationist.' I have difficulty accepting that we and the universe are the product of gazillions of random events. I feel like there may have been a creative force of some kind that put a series of systems in place (like gravity, evolution, etc.) that resulted in our present form and existence. So, maybe I am a somewhat agnostic, borderline 'creationist.'

 

George

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The term 'creationism,' as I understand it, refers to someone who believes that life was created by a divine agent, in its present form, 5.773 years ago.

 

While I am absolutely convinced that this is wrong, on some level, I think I might be a 'creationist.' I have difficulty accepting that we and the universe are the product of gazillions of random events. I feel like there may have been a creative force of some kind that put a series of systems in place (like gravity, evolution, etc.) that resulted in our present form and existence. So, maybe I am a somewhat agnostic, borderline 'creationist.'

 

George

 

I entertain that too, George. I mean at the end of the day, we don't know what we don't know, so maybe there is room for a creative force behind all that we do know. For me, because we can't answer just why the big bang occurred or more to the point, what instigated the molecules etc in the first place that formed the big bang, I think one has to leave room for 'something'. I have always wondered how an atheist could be so dogmatic that God doesn't exist, when we simply don't know what is behind our existence, behind the big bang - maybe God, maybe another answer.

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This apathy toward what is taught is interesting.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/21814/evolution-creationism-intelligent-design.aspx

 

45% don't care whether evolution or creationism or both are taught in school.

30% would be upset if only evolution were taught.

ONLY 18% would be upset if only creationism were taught

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45% don't care whether evolution or creationism or both are taught in school.

30% would be upset if only evolution were taught.

ONLY 18% would be upset if only creationism were taught

 

To answer the title of this thread, that is a reason to cry.

 

George

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George, Paul,

 

I would check none of the above of those three poll questions. What makes sense to me often in telling sacred stories is that God and the universe did it together. The more active the role given to God the less comfortable I am.

 

Of the chance and necessity of evolution God prefers both I think.

We should be adding scientic discoveries to the testaments of the sacred not subjugating them to our very limited understanding of other texts. The Sacred will thus be more completely revealed.

 

Dutch

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