Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  JFett on Thu Dec 10, 2009 12:39 pm

snafu wrote:
The statement "There are no absolutes" is absolute."

Doesn't that only show that statements can be made in absolutist language? "There are no absolutes" is absolutist, and so is "There are absolutes", and so is "There is no God", and so is "There is God".

Just because statements can be made in absolute language (which is evidence of absolutism in language only) does not mean that this can then be extrapolated into other arenas as evidence for other kinds of absolutes existing in those other arenas. It does not follow.

You know, I really think Objectivitees has the point when it comes to this argument.

While absolute moral right and wrong are certainly debatable and while we may not be able to confirm scientific discoveries to absolute (p=0.00) certainty, absolute truth must necessarily exist. The reason is simply because the alternative is impossible because it is internally contradictory, which Objectivitees has pointed out.

The reason that this isn't simply a matter of "absolutist language"--- and I see where you are coming from-- is because the statement regarding the nature of truth refers to itself. Unlike, for instance, "there is no God" which refers to an external subject, namely God.

"There is no God" and "There is a God" are both internally consistent statements. Whether or not they are true is another matter.

The statement "There is no absolute truth" cannot be true because it contradicts itself if it is! It violates, within the same breath, one of the most fundamental "rules" of logic: the Law of Noncontradiction (x cannot be not x).

It's nonsense, along the same line as saying, "All potatoes are not potatoes."

The only possible alternative to "There is no absolute truth" is "There is absolute truth". Now, whether or not we can confirm it or even know the "truth" of anything may be impossible (the same way that there is no such thing as a "perfectly round" circle, but that we can conceptualize a "perfectly round" circle).

Hope that clarifies things!

Now, Objectivitees, I hope my backing you up on this matter can give you some incentive to respond to my original reply? pirat

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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Objectivitees on Thu Dec 10, 2009 2:43 pm

Now, Objectivitees, I hope my backing you up on this matter can give you some incentive to respond to my original reply?

I'll try Jfett, but you may have to wait a bit...life interfering with my time and space for creating cohesive and comprehensive responses. Your question as I understand it is a bit more detailed than you may realize and necessitates covering ground gone over earlier in this discussion. Thanks for your patience in advance.

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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  JFett on Thu Dec 10, 2009 4:58 pm

Objectivitees wrote:
Now, Objectivitees, I hope my backing you up on this matter can give you some incentive to respond to my original reply?

I'll try Jfett, but you may have to wait a bit...life interfering with my time and space for creating cohesive and comprehensive responses. Your question as I understand it is a bit more detailed than you may realize and necessitates covering ground gone over earlier in this discussion. Thanks for your patience in advance.

No worries, I can certainly relate to what it is like to be busy. Replying to a message board is also low on my "to do" list. I just wanted to make sure that you saw my reply, seeing as you are the lone person arguing against Evolution (bravo for taking the flak). Take care, I await your reply patiently Very Happy

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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  jgrow2 on Thu Dec 10, 2009 8:07 pm

Objectivitees wrote:
Why on earth do they "have to?" Explain this, please.

I already did. but I guess i'll repeat it again for you. The statement "There are no absolutes" is absolute.

Not what I was asking. You said, "absolutes exist. They have to." My question is, why do they have to exist? And no, your previous answers did not make it clear. This was an assumption you expected we all make.

(edit: this is out of quote order because I want to respond without re-writing the bloody post)

Objectivitees wrote:
And "time" is NOT physical.

Not according to Einstein.

Einstein actually postulated something called "spacetime" to describe space and time. He did it because it fit other pieces of his theory better than Newton's claims of absolute space and time. Newton's theories and equations still get used all the time in astrophysics because they work. Just as Einstein's theories work where they've been applied. Both of them fail in the face of quantum theory, which has different explanations of time and space and, for that matter, cause and effect.

You could say this proves your insistence that "space is time." You might even quote just that last sentence. Whatever. What this says in my view is that space and time are pretty conceptual, and that concept can change due to context. This is mainly because there is yet to be a theory that encompasses Einsteinian, Newtonian and quantum physics in one package. Einstein never found it, string theory is the best bet so far. But so far neither space nor time are absolutes, and time is not definitively physical.


Objectivitees wrote:
You bet. That's all we are, that's all there is. And metaphysics (AGAIN!) have no other existence than in the human brain. They do not exist outside thought.

Thoughts, in a natural world, are only bio-chemical reactions in a brain. If Logic is created by a brain, it must then have a basis in the physical nature of the brain, which you should be able to point to. Which neurotransmitters are Logic? Which structures? Which reactions?

This one I did point out sometime back. What I pointed to was specifically the pre-frontal cortex. I'm not a neurobiologist but from what I've read, it fits the bill if you seek a physical structure of the brain. There is also the issue of learned behavior and memory to consider here.

Objectivitees wrote:
And finally, I am insulted by your choice of words. I haven't "wormed" out of anything.

Yes you have. You wheedle back and forth. Insulted? Come on now, If anyone here should be insulted it's me. You have questioned my integrity, my intelligence, my sanity, (a couple times) my intent, my methods, and my 'choice' of words, all while I let your consistent insults pass without comment. One of the sure signs someone has lost a debate is the descent into ad hominem.

You sent me a private message earlier that was much more nicely worded than this is, which is why I am responding here publicly. All the things you accuse me of, I felt from you throughout this thread. I didn't speak on it when I should have, and I should have a while ago. I apologize for my part in any "ad hominem," but I was not alone in this. My remarks too were designed to (try to) make a point. Sometimes it was laid on too thick.

And in the end, as I pointed out about a week ago here, you and I are and have been at an impasse. I don't see your point and you certainly do not see mine. I will leave it at that. Whatever you and JFett and the rest come up with, I think it will be interesting to see.


Last edited by jgrow2 on Thu Dec 10, 2009 8:42 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : added the "edit" bit.)

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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Neon Genesis on Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:26 pm

JFett wrote:

The only possible alternative to "There is no absolute truth" is "There is absolute truth". Now, whether or not we can confirm it or even know the "truth" of anything may be impossible (the same way that there is no such thing as a "perfectly round" circle, but that we can conceptualize a "perfectly round" circle).

But I think Objectivitees is using a false dichotomy here by presuming everything must be either equally absolute or equally relative but they're forgetting a third possible option, that not everything is equally relative. Like for example, there might be a 1% chance the Earth is flat and the NASA moon landing was a hoax to decieve us but the plausiblity is so low that we don't consider it. In that sense, you could say it's an "absolute" fact that the Earth is round and NASA has been to the moon, but there's that 1% "relative" chance that we could be duped all along, but the relative possiblity that we have been duped is so low it's meaningless to consider it, if that makes sense. Likewise, there might be a 1% possiblity that evolution could be a hoax and there is a god that designed every species separately, but the percentage of that relative chance is so low that in our everyday language we just consider it implausible to consider.

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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  JFett on Wed Dec 16, 2009 2:25 pm

Neon Genesis wrote:But I think Objectivitees is using a false dichotomy here by presuming everything must be either equally absolute or equally relative but they're forgetting a third possible option, that not everything is equally relative. Like for example, there might be a 1% chance the Earth is flat and the NASA moon landing was a hoax to decieve us but the plausiblity is so low that we don't consider it. In that sense, you could say it's an "absolute" fact that the Earth is round and NASA has been to the moon, but there's that 1% "relative" chance that we could be duped all along, but the relative possiblity that we have been duped is so low it's meaningless to consider it, if that makes sense. Likewise, there might be a 1% possiblity that evolution could be a hoax and there is a god that designed every species separately, but the percentage of that relative chance is so low that in our everyday language we just consider it implausible to consider.

Thanks for the reply, Neon Genesis (cool name, by the way).

First, I think you pointed out some important concepts behind the philosophy of science. Namely, the process of science can only determine that an event is non-random to 99.99(repeating)% certainty. That is, due to both philosophical and mathematical limitations (our sample size is a sample, for example) we can never be 100% certain that what we have discovered about nature is true. Whether or not there is such thing as "TRUTH" is different from those truths about nature. We can know if truth exists as a concept, and do.

But, there is an important distinction to be made: the fact that we can never be 100% certain that these events happen is NOT due to the possibility that they aren’t happening, as they either are or are not happening, but due to the limitations in our ability to discover if they are happening.

Here’s the Kicker: (using gravity as an example)There either IS or IS NOT an attractive force between objects of mass (Gravity), and this fact is INDEPENDENT of our ability to observe it. We simply cannot confirm it to 100% certainty.

Now, you may ask: if we can’t observe the phenomena as happening, then what is the point? Why assume that it is true if we can’t know if it is?

I’d reply to that by asking: was the earth still round when our ancestors thought it was flat? Did the earth orbit the sun before the work of Copernicus and Kepler? Of course not.

Now, these physical and material truths are independent from the subjective tastes and opinions we might have. For instance, I believe that morality has a foot in both the objective (through group selection, the “moral machinery” of the brain, and complex physical interactions between moral agents) and the subjective (in the character of moral laws, codes, and methods for creating them).

I’m not sure where Objectivitees feels the “absolute” ends and the “subjective” begins, but I’m hesitant to believe that he dichotomizes the clearly subjective (“Coke is better than Pepsi”) as an question with only one, true answer.

Enjoy the Holidays!
-Jordan

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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Objectivitees on Mon Dec 28, 2009 1:41 pm

I just figured I'd respond from the perspective of a trained Evolutionary Biologist and parallel the other fine, likely highly science-educated minds, who have been refuting you thus far.

Q. How many trained Evolutionary Biologists does it take to recognize a philosophical debate?
A. Hopefully just one.

Jfett, I've read your post and you've gone another direction than the folks up until now have, and I switch gears slow. (I'm old) Off the top of my head you seem to be making the claim that considering Evidence alone is all we need. Obviously I would disagree, and I have already stated several times. Before I try this with you, can you at least acknowledge my point that "Evidence" does not speak for itself? I don't think I phrased it that way before, but perhaps this will help make it more clear. It seems that most here have taken to the idea I will not allow evidence in the discussion, when in fact (and have said so many times) it does play a role, but not a deciding one. This is at heart a philosophical debate, because no matter how well we observe physical evidence, and I admit most here are better at observing evidence, the evidence says nothing about it's meaning with respect to the origins debate. We bring those concepts to the table, the evidence does nothing but sit there. No matter how well we understand the "design" of matter, or it's organization into self-replicating organisms, we eventually step out of the realm of Biology (or any of the hard sciences for that matter) into the realm of philosophy when we make statements about how it got that way. We see the design, then we make hypothesis about how it got that way. The problem for Evolution, is that there is no testable hypothesis for 'molecules to man' Evolution. It all happened in the past, and we can't test for it. Unless you equivocate by defining Evolution to mean something other than molecules to man, and make it about what we see biological organisms doing today, in the present, "Evidence" will only play a role in the debate, and not bear the heavy lifting of 'Proof'.


Very briefly, the argument will, in fact be settled on the evidence.

I agree that it will be settled on the evidence, but not the evidence of "matter", it will be on the evidence of "Reason", and what that 'matter', means.

The reason that this is so is because we know that some interpretations can be found to better explain the evidence than others. The addition of evidence is usually what is required to produce a more refined interpretation. For example, before Pasteur, the best evidence seemed to support the hypothesis of spontaneous generation. When he was able to demonstrate through experiment and measurable data that a sterile environment will not produce life, the idea that maggots spontaneously generated on raw meat had to be revised.

Of course, I have no argument with you here. Evidence is necessary to support claims about what a piece of matter is, or is doing. Pasteur was able to perform repeatable experiments in the 'present' on existing materials, and make observation of the results. Perfectly fine science. I am not arguing the 'scientific method's' efficacy in helping us to understand what "is", but rather what "was".

What you are saying is right, though: the Theory of Evolution has been developed from the scientific method. The scientific method works given the assumption of naturalism.
Emphasis added.

Or the assumption of uniformity due to cause.

(The same way the Pythagorean Theorem works given the assumption of Euclidean geometry) I'm not so sure why this is a problem. But I'm sure you'll have more on it later.


And that's the rub. Why 'it' is a problem is because if we assume naturalism (is true) and then use Methodological Naturalism (logical means) to establish "Evidence" that it is True, we have reasoned in a circle. Methodological Naturalism presupposes Philosophical Naturalism. Methodological naturalism cannot find answers that are accurate if supernatural causes exist. It precludes the possibility, so at the outset, one who utilizes MN, assumes PN, then derives "evidence" though his methodology, which can only confirm what he has already assumed.

I'm curious... if you had to find out the age of the earth, how would you do it? Better yet, how would you do it without using Science, and the associated scientific method?

I would use the scientific method, albeit with different presuppositions. rather than the geological assumption of uniformitarianism, I would use principle of uniformity. A principle used by the very scientists who developed and refined the scientific method itself.

Not only can we separate Evolutionary Theory from Abiogenisis, we must. Inorganic matter does not evolve through natural selection. The process that creates diversity of living things is not the same process that created the first “living” thing.
Emphasis added.

The problem here for you is, if you accept 'Evolution' is true, then you must explain how living things came to be from non-living things. To narrowly restrict the concept of evolution only to biology is to have a discussion on a topic other thant the OP proposed. We are discussing origins here, because if we limit ourselves to only "change" as a definition of Evolution, we wouldn't have the contradiction the OP posits. Change does not oppose Creation. Only molecules to man as Evolution does that. This is what I mean when I say you can't separate Evolutionary theory from Abiogenisis. If you 'separate' it the way you suggest (and steg suggested) you are guilty of the type of "compartmentalized" thinking that Jgrow2 accuses of me.

Scanning through the majority of your posts, Objectivitees, it seems that your main argument is whether or not methodological naturalism can account for logic. Good question. It doesn't have anything to do with debating Evolution against Creationism.

More accurately, it's whether any Naturalistic worldview can account for Logic. It's a very good question, thank you. However, it has everything to do with "Evolution against Creation", as it sheds light on whether a worldview is consistent with Logic as a presupposition. If a worldview is not consistent internally, Logic tells us that it cannot be a candidate for "Trueness". Now before I make my point, I will acknowledge Evolution can be described in logical terms. My argument is that a worldview needs to be consistent as well. It has to account for the existence of the "tools" it uses to verify it's truth claims. That is to say, if a worldview cannot account for the existence of something that clearly exists, it is not conforming to it's presuppositions and therefore not consistent with Logic. Since Logic demands consistency to be a requirement for a philosophical claim of "Truth", an idea that is inconsistent should not be considered as a candidate for being "True".

One presupposition of Naturalism is that metaphysical things do not exist. Logic is Metaphysical. Therefore Naturalism is not consistent with the very Logic that supports and underpins the methods used to derive evidence in support of it as being "True", and is accordingly, an irrationally held belief.


Here's why: methodological naturalism comports with reality.

How can this statement be True without already knowing what "reality" is?? This is an example of the circular reasoning I mentioned earlier. If you already know what reality is, then why do you need to use methodological naturalism? You have begged this question. In doing so, you have demonstrated my point that MN presupposes PN. Your claim assumes we know what reality is, and then seeks to say we can prove it with MN. This is why Creationists view natural philosophies as irrational.

You could say that the theory of Gravity, because it is built upon the presupposition of methodological naturalism, and therefore cannot account for logic, is then logically unsound.

This ignores the possibility of explaining gravity logically with the principle of uniformity, rather than the assumption of geological uniformitarianism. Besides, my argument does not seek to undermine the efficacy of Science to describe physical phenomena, it undermines it's ability to make any Metaphysical claim, such as "evolution is true, therefore creation is not."

Very well, drop your pen. What happened? Why did that happen? What explanation do you have for the phenomena you witnessed?

The same one you do, albeit derived from a logically consistent presupposition.

Evolution by Natural Selection (and Genetic Drift) is simply defined as a change in gene frequency within a population of organisms over time.

I thought you might be going there. We are not discussing evolution as "change over time", (or the adaptability of species) we are discussing it as an 'origins theory', compared to the creation origins theory. This was set forth in the OP. Your definition is one of several accurate definitions of evolution, but in this context, serves only as an equivocation. Evolution as "change over time" does not refute creation as the OP suggests, it is only Evolution as an origins theory that would accomplish that for the OP. Many creationists accept that changes do occur in organisms that allow for survivability in changing environments. This is why Creationists object to the creation myth of "Evolution", but not necessarily the process of evolution as you defined it. The argument is over whether this constitutes a design feature of a creator, or is just the result of nature. For that, (a design of nature) we have to discuss 'molecules to man' Evolution, a philosophical discussion, not biological change frequencies in a gene pool. (a science based evidential discussion) If it were just the result of nature, the naturalist has to argue molecules to man, explain abiogenesis, and the existence of metaphysical constructs in a universe where metaphysics don't exist.



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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  LonghWynn on Mon Dec 28, 2009 6:52 pm

I'm curious, in your view then, is speciation possible? I'm trying to figure out where you're drawing the line with evolution. Do you oppose that humans and other animals share a common ancestor?

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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Orion on Sat Jan 02, 2010 2:01 pm

"This is why Creationists object to the creation myth of "Evolution", "

Evolution doesn't explain creation. It doesn't attempt to. You've explained why you believe it is tied in with a 'non-God biogenesis' theory, but there's no reason why it should be. God creating the first life is entirely consistent with evolution, hence Professors Francis Collins and Ken Miller being evolution experts who are also Christians who believe God created life.

One could postulate a hundred different ways for life to have begun on earth - any number of them involving a God or the supernatural, and all of them being followed by the evolutionary process that is accepted by biologists.

On a separate note, how would you propose science establish any theories or ideas, if the supernatural is included in hypothesese? It would be like carrying out a court case to investigate a crime, where the defendent and prosecutor are allowed to posit the intervention of infinitely powerful entities as accomplices of the accused. It would be impossible to establish the guilt or innocence of anyone in such a case.

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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Neon Genesis on Sat Jan 02, 2010 3:29 pm

Objectivitees wrote: It all happened in the past, and we can't test for it.

O r ly? http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2009/1203/2
During the winter, British bird-lovers lay out suet rolled with seeds and oats for birds landing in their chilly, barren yards. They believe that these handouts help the birds through winter, but scientists have now discovered that the practice may be splitting a species in two.

A recent study showed that this new winter destination has led blackcaps to breed mainly with their migratory companions. The United Kingdom is closer to blackcap breeding grounds in central Europe than is Spain, so the northwest-migrating birds return home 10 days earlier and start mating among themselves.

Although the two groups aren't geographically separated during the mating season, the migratory division has led to a rapid genetic and physical divergence between them as though they were reproducing kilometers apart, the researchers conclude. This split could be the start of speciation. But it's too early to know for sure, and the changes could always reverse if people in Britain stopped feeding the birds, Schaefer says. If nothing else, says Schaefer, the findings provide yet another example of the dramatic impact humans can have on other species. "Even [actions] based on good intentions, like feeding birds, can have evolutionary consequences on populations."

"[The study] has done a nice job of showing the early stages of speciation," says evolutionary biologist Michael Webster of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Whether blackcaps will eventually diverge into different species depends on the fitness of offspring from crosses between northwest- and southwest-migrating birds, says evolutionary biologist Darren Irwin of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, in Canada. These hybrid birds are known to migrate due west, which would lead them to the Atlantic coast of France. If blackcaps wintering there fare worse than their counterparts in the United Kingdom or Spain, the "selection against [these birds] could promote further divergence between the two groups," Irwin says.

This is what I mean when I say you can't separate Evolutionary theory from Abiogenisis. If you 'separate' it the way you suggest (and steg suggested) you are guilty of the type of "compartmentalized" thinking that Jgrow2 accuses of me.
So, why are you suddenly given special privileges and excused from explaining how God created logic if not through evolution? It's a double standard that you insist that we have to explain the origins of the universe if we accept evolution yet you are excused from having to explain how God created logic. So far your only reason for it is that atheists who accept evolution have to first explain the origins of the universe to prove evolution is true but you don't have to do the same thing because you're special and you said so.








The argument is over whether this constitutes a design feature of a creator, or is just the result of nature. For that, (a design of nature) we have to discuss 'molecules to man' Evolution, a philosophical discussion, not biological change frequencies in a gene pool. (a science based evidential discussion) If it were just the result of nature, the naturalist has to argue molecules to man, explain abiogenesis, and the existence of metaphysical constructs in a universe where metaphysics don't exist.

If you object to evolution because you believe philosophical naturalism is circular reasoning, then why is it impossible for you to accept God created evolution? If a Christian believes God created evolution, then they don't believe in something that's circular since your only argument is evolution is false because naturalism is circular but that says nothing about a supernatural caused evolution. So, if you think naturalistic evolution is circular because you think naturalism is circular, then supernatural evolution cannot be circular by your logic and you have no reason to deny evolution is true unless you admit you're trying to redefine evolution to be the equivalent of atheism.

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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Orion on Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:36 am

“God driven evolution is not what the OP proposed as refuting christian creationism. God driven evolution kinda cuts short the Atheistic/Naturalistic presuppostion God doesn't exist, doesn't it??”
1. Yet God-driven evolution is not what I proposed to refute your false dichotomy. Your problem with evolution is that you claim it doesn’t account for logic. If God created logic, then perhaps even started the first spark of life, and then evolution occurred naturally from there, then it would not ‘God-driven evolution’, and logic could still be explained to your satisfaction. You'd have God-driven abiogenesis, not evolution.

2. The question was whether or not evolution is true, not whether it is reasonable to presuppose God exists.

3. Even if God drove evolution too, that wouldn’t invalidate evolution. It would simply mean that it was wrong to say it wasn’t God-driven. Either way, your argument still falls.

As a side point, the presupposition you refer to is not necessary for either atheism or naturalism. A deist can be a methodological naturalist simply because he accepts that the supernatural, while it may exist, cannot be tested by science and is therefore not part of it. And an atheist may allow that a God MAY exist, but that he has yet to see evidence for one, and so will proceed as though there isn’t. Give him evidence and he’s consider it, until then he will treat it as an unproven hypothesis. This is as distinct from an agnostic who says knowledge of God’s existence or non-existence is equally impossible.

“We wouldn't have a discussion at all if we all believed God did it would we?”
Whether some people believed that God did it, and other believed it was started by God and then proceeded naturally, and others believed it was all natural, it wouldn’t affect the question of whether or not it happened.

You can believe JFK was shot by aliens, your mate can believe an alien gave Lee Harvey Oswald the gun, I can believe he bought it from the store. That doesn’t stop us all accepting the evidence that JFK was shot. One of us can't accuse the other of not believing it happened simply because they disagree on the cause.

“Legal standards of guilt or innocence differ greatly from the objective standards necessary to establish Evolution as physical reality and therefore your analogy here is irrelevant”

You noticeably avoid the point. Science and law are both concerned with getting to the truth. Legal standards of guilt are irrelevant to this point. The point was that if you include the supernatural in your hypothesis then it would be impossible to come to any conclusions about anything, whether in science or law or anything else. You call naturalism circular - if one assumes the supernatural wasn't involved then one will come up with non-supernatural explanations. This is the same as saying 'assume that ghosts don't commit crimes and you'll never convict a ghost for murder'. If one assumes the supernatural wasn't involved you can attempt to follow the evidence, once you include the supernatural then the evidence becomes meaningless.

“I explained that to jfett, did you read any of this thread prior to making this post?”
Sadly, yes, I did, and your reply was “I would use principle of uniformity”. That’s not much of a reply I’m afraid. How would you establish any ideas if you have to give weight to supernatural explanations? There's not a single natural explanation that one couldn't say was equally likely to be supernatural.

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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Orion on Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:46 am

By the way Objectivitee, you made reference to the 'law of excluded middle' presented in the first post here. I thought it would be helpful to go back to that OP:

"Some Christians, many even, have no problem with evolution. Maybe they haven't really considered the problem it presents for their doctrine. You see, if evolution, the aspect of it that says we and apes came from a common ancestor, is true, then the Adam and Eve story is just a story"

As I see it, it's not the law of excluded middle here, but the false dichotomy. Evolution excludes Adam and Eve. It doesn't exclude alternative origin stories involving God (of which there are many). There's nothing in the original post that says that evolution has to exclude God, simply that it has to exclude Adam and Even. The false dichotomy here is saying that the only two choices are:
1) God created Adam and Eve, everyone else is descended from them.
2) There is no God.

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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Orion on Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:28 pm

Objectivitees wrote:
As I see it, it's not the law of excluded middle here, but the false dichotomy.
No, the proper framing of the issue is just as the OP made it, If evolution is true, then Christianity is "bollocks". One way to rephrase what the OP presented is in the classical argument with respect to God's existence. Either He does or He doesn't. No false dichotomy, no fallacious bifurcation. The middle is excluded nicely, either Evolution is true or it is not. This holds because the positions are not compatible. To claim "theistic evolution" is to simply claim creation. There is no halfway or middle position.

The false dichotomy is saying 'Either the bible is completely, literally true, or God doesn't exist'. And yes, that is the false dichotomy you're indulging in if you say that 'if evolution is true then Christianity is bollocks'.

But we'll let that lie and look at your argument. So you're saying that the only true Christians are the particular sect of fundamentalist bible literalists. In other words, the hundreds of millions of Christians who don't qualify for this definition - from the pope, to most of the founding fathers, to the majority of Bishops, Arch-Deacons etc - aren't actually Christians at all. They all believe in a God, they all accept that Jesus was his son, and that he died and rose again on the third day. And yet none of them are actually Christians. I'd be interested to know what religion you'd consider them all to be. It also puts a spin on claims that America is a 'Christian nation', if you consider the majority of the population to fail the test.

That's fine if that's your belief. There's nothing more pointless in arguing with a theist about which other theists qualify to be a member of the same religion as them. It sounds like the 'No True Scotsman' fallacy to me, but if that's your definition then you'll no doubt disagree.

But if your argument comes down to "My own personal, narrow, definition of a Christian includes the rejection of evolution, therefore anyone who accepts the huge body of evidence for evolution must by definition not be a Christian", then you could have saved 11 pages rehashing Plantinga's 'logic' argument, which is a completely unrelated argument.

You could have said 'evolution invalidates a literalist reading of the bible', and we'd all have had something to agree on. But almost any scientific look at the world also invalidates a literalist reading of the bible too. Unless you believe that the ark really had 10,000 or so different breeds of spider on board, and several million other breeding species too, to pick just a single example.

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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Neon Genesis on Wed Jan 13, 2010 3:07 pm

Orion wrote:

The false dichotomy is saying 'Either the bible is completely, literally true, or God doesn't exist'. And yes, that is the false dichotomy you're indulging in if you say that 'if evolution is true then Christianity is bollocks'.

.
Yeah, what about all the other religions out there like Islam or Hinduism? What are they, chopped liver?

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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  gorgardard on Wed Jan 20, 2010 2:14 pm

One presupposition of Naturalism is that metaphysical things do not exist. Logic is Metaphysical. Therefore Naturalism is not consistent with the very Logic that supports and underpins the methods used to derive evidence in support of it as being "True", and is accordingly, an irrationally held belief.

Please explain what you mean by "Logic is metaphysical". Yes, there is no physical entity called "Logic" but that doesn't make it metaphysical, as it concerns itself with the physical world in many ways. Logic can be observed and quantified, and therefore is part of Naturalism.

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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  Objectivitees on Wed Feb 17, 2010 5:00 pm

gorgardard wrote: Yes, there is no physical entity called "Logic" but that doesn't make it metaphysical, as it concerns itself with the physical world in many ways. Logic can be observed and quantified, and therefore is part of Naturalism.

So then, quantify it, and point out where in nature you observed it.

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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

Post  2buckchuck on Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:51 am

Curious that this fascinating debate just up and ended.

Like many extended threads, it wandered away from the original topic. I'll first make some comments regarding the original post: anyone who takes the word of the bible as literal fact would necessarily reject evolution out of hand, simply because evolution is incompatible with the literal words in the bible. OK - for non-fundy christians, they have to reconcile the literal words of the bible with the reality of evolution as a key part of modern biological science. How these "moderates" accomplish this feat is somewhat mystifying to me - they offer many different interpretations of biblical words: the creation story as some sort of allegory, or myth, or whatever. To me, if one part of the bible is mythical, then I have the right to question any part of it. Moderates are 'cherry-picking' what to believe out of the bible, which they also profess in church on Sundays to be the only basis for any of the religion to which they offer their faith. Faith requires no evidence, and in fact is proud of that.

OK - regarding the philosophical debate: logic, mathematics, and science can be considered branches on the tree of philosophy. But logic encompasses the notion of absolute proof by syllogism. If you accept the premise(s) of a syllogism, assuming there are no mistakes along the way, the conclusion cannot be contravened. In logic and mathematics, then, absolutes are quite possible, although you may dispute the axioms/premises. Science proceeds in a very different way. Scientists make observations in the natural world and, based on those observations, create hypotheses about how the natural world works. Along the way, they can use mathematics to explore abstract versions of that natural world, which can be very useful in crafting hypotheses about how that world operates. But in the end, those hypotheses make statements that can be tested against observations. To the extent that those hypotheses are consistent with the observations, those hypotheses are granted more credibility. The more rigorous and exacting the tests of them against observations, the more credibility they're given.

Einsteins Law of Relativity is given high credibility because it has withstood repeated tests and no one has proposed a competing hypothesis (yet) that is better at matching the observations.

So what does this have to do with christian belief in evolution? It is a well-established fact that evolution has been a very successful hypothesis, although in its modern versions, it differs somewhat from the Darwin's original concept. This is the way science works - paradigm shifts both large and small (and everywhere in between) are contributing to a continued growth of success for the evolutionary model. Can we say that this has advanced to the level of absolute truth? No. Although there are absolutes in logic and mathematics, there are no absolutes in science. Everything is provisional, subject to revision in the face of new and more successful hypotheses, or new evidence.

Creationism has no explanatory power whatsoever. It's an intellectual dead end. If you say "God did it." then that's all there is or will ever be. Imagine an old-time mechanical watch .. if I say it was made by a watchmaker named "Yahweh", I still know nothing about how it works, or why it's useful for marking the passage of time. Even if I grant the possibility that god did create the world, the vast body of scientific evidence in support of evolution is distinctly at odds with the literal words of the bible. Either you accept the biblical version on faith or you take the rational path and accept the scientific evidence as the best understanding we have. Creationist 'science' is not science at all - it's just religious doctrine.

Moreover, as real science continues down its path, we can anticipate the likelihood that gaps in our understanding will be filled in the future. "God did it" is no explanation at all, and carries with it the implicit notion that we need look no further, or even that we should look no further. Fundies often claim that evolution is the work of the devil and should cease its labors. The more we learn about evolutionary science, the more threat that science represents to the theist's belief in a divine creation.

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Re: Why Christians Might Resist Belief in Evolution

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