A God in Sheep’s Clothing: Theistic Evolutionism

Nov 15, 2013


Discussion by: worldagain

Dealing with persons who identify themselves as theistic evolutionists, "TEs", (i.e., fully accept Darwinian evolution and belief in a monotheistic god) can be tricky.  They denounce creationists and ID'ers, but yet still somehow accept faith and an entire universe created by a supreme being.  Many Christians claim to be TEs, prominent among them Dr. Kenneth Miller, American microbiologist and university professor.  I reached the conclusion (as no doubt many of you would) that TE is incompatible with a belief in the god of the Judeo-Christian bible, and that TE is just a "slippery slope" to Deism, a belief commonly attributed to U.S. President Thomas Jefferson.  Below are my three contentions with TE that I sent to a TE advocate, and you can judge them for yourself.

 

That said, here are my complaints against theistic evolution:
 
1. It seems to go against historical Christianity and the many Church fathers (maybe except Augustine) that believed in a literal Genesis interpretation.  How could so many believers have been wrong for 1800 years until evolutionary theory came around?  Weren't these literal interpretations cherished by scripture-loving Christians back in those days?  How come all of a sudden they are not to be taken literally?  Aren't we changing our beliefs to fit into a scientific worldview?  All the Apostles most certainly would have believed in a 6-day creation, not to mention all the Jews of the time.
 
2. As Carl Sagan has said, "God seems to be on the retreat".  There were a lot of gaps he filled in the natural world during ancient times and the middle ages, that he no longer fills thanks to evolution and science.  There was no thing as psychology or psychiatry in those days; it was demons who caused mental illness, not DNA and society.  How can you still believe in angels and demons (an unquestionable biblical belief) and modern science?  What role do spirits play now, that all those gaps have been filled in our understanding?  And realize that any reinterpretation you have of the role of spirits today, would seem ridiculous and weak to ancient believers, who thought that spirits controlled every aspect of matter.  Conclusion: Theistic evolution is closer to Deism than it is to ancient Judaism and early Christianity.

3. The slippery slope– Admitting that past Christians had very wrong interpretations of scripture.  Past Jews and Christians believed that Aaron literally stopped the sun in the sky, a miracle of God.  Now we know that geocentrism is false and that the earth revolves around the sun.  How far do we go with science…? In fact, we have gone all the way.  Plenty of Christians today no longer believe in a literal resurrection, some may not even believe Jesus existed.  How can we say that science has not caused this lack of faith?

 

Indeed, the onward march of science has caused the lack of faith, and has necessitated the re-branding of faith as "theistic evolution."

65 comments on “A God in Sheep’s Clothing: Theistic Evolutionism

  • There is nothing for this god to do. He is in the background, just in case. The evils of religion come from taking the “holy” books too seriously. This Cheshire cat god is pretty harmless.



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  • 2
    Mormon Atheist says:

    Why does it matter if someone is a theistic evolutionist? Kenneth Miller is a staunch defender of evolution and a powerful ally in keeping creationism and ID out of textbooks. I agree with you that the two seem incompatible, however, I really don’t see the problem when it comes to this particular point.



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  • 3
    Sjoerd Westenborg says:

    It seems to me that you should be glad about TE. According to your very own arguments, believers on this slope are sliding away from scripture-literal theism and towards a worldview based more on science and rationality. Of course they haven’t reached the bottom that is atheism yet, (apologies for the unfortunate wording, but this is my metaphor and I’m sticking with it!) but this should only be a matter of centuries.



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  • 4
    Mr Greene says:

    The stated position of the Catholic Church, Anglican Church and several of the Orthodox Patriarchies along with possibly the bulk of European believers is “incompatible”?

    You haven’t heard of the view that Genesis is a metaphor?

    Perhaps you need to rethink your assumptions.



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  • 5
    Alan4discussion says:

    The problem with “theistic evolution” which is NOT a scientific theory, is that it claims that evolution is not in conflict with religious doctrines of miracles, saints , god-did-it, etc. – which effectively says science defers to religious doctrine on these matters, but is conveniently vague on how this is supposed to work.

    A five-day conference, Biological Evolution: Facts and Theories, held in March 2009 by the Pontifical University in Rome, marking the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Origin of Species, generally confirmed the lack of conflict between evolutionary theory and Catholic theology, and the rejection of Intelligent Design by Catholic scholars.[54]

    The CofE and RCC claim to accept the science, but it is with the proviso that the woo is included and is CLAIMED not to conflict with the science!

    The Church has deferred to scientists on matters such as the age of the earth and the authenticity of the fossil record. Papal pronouncements, along with commentaries by cardinals, have accepted the findings of scientists on the gradual appearance of life. In fact, the International Theological Commission in a July 2004 statement endorsed by Cardinal Ratzinger, then president of the Commission and head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, later Pope Benedict XVI, now Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, includes this paragraph: (see link)

    Below the linked quote there is this quoted double-talk in which the RCC debunks “Intelligent Design” in favour of their own version “God-Design”, which claims evolution is a tool of their god’s design. Their criticism of ID is not that it is wrong, but that it is the wrong VERSION! They also dispute aspects of the scientific theory.

    In freely willing to create and conserve the universe, God wills to activate and to sustain in act all those secondary causes whose activity contributes to the unfolding of the natural order which he intends to produce. Through the activity of natural causes, God causes to arise those conditions required for the emergence and support of living organisms, and, furthermore, for their reproduction and differentiation. Although there is scientific debate about the degree of purposiveness or design operative and empirically observable in these developments, they have de facto favored the emergence and flourishing of life. Catholic theologians can see in such reasoning support for the affirmation entailed by faith in divine creation and divine providence. In the providential design of creation, the triune God intended not only to make a place for human beings in the universe but also, and ultimately, to make room for them in his own trinitarian life. Furthermore, operating as real, though secondary causes, human beings contribute to the reshaping and transformation of the universe.

    A growing body of scientific critics of neo-Darwinism point to evidence of design (e.g., biological structures that exhibit specified complexity) that, in their view, cannot be explained in terms of a purely contingent process and that neo-Darwinians have ignored or misinterpreted. The nub of this currently lively disagreement involves scientific observation and generalization concerning whether the available data support inferences of design or chance, and cannot be settled by theology. But it is important to note that, according to the Catholic understanding of divine causality, true contingency in the created order is not incompatible with a purposeful divine providence. Divine causality and created causality radically differ in kind and not only in degree. Thus, even the outcome of a truly contingent natural process can nonetheless fall within God’s providential plan for creation.

    ..

    @OP – A God in Sheep’s Clothing: Theistic Evolutionism

    . . . . . . or rather:- obfuscating sheeples in scientists clothing!

    Not only should we be aware of the “ifs, buts and denials”, attached to “Theistic Evolution” but we should be aware of other doctrinal features regarding science and reasoning!

    during the papacy of Pope Pius IX, who defined dogmatically papal infallibility during the First Vatican Council in 1869–70. The council has a section on “Faith and Reason” that includes the following on science and faith:

    • “9 Hence all faithful Christians are forbidden to defend as the legitimate conclusions of science those opinions which are known to be contrary to the doctrine of faith, particularly if they have been condemned by the Church; and furthermore they are absolutely bound to hold them to be errors which wear the deceptive appearance of truth.” (Vatican Council I)

    • “10 Not only can faith and reason never be at odds with one another but they mutually support each other, for on the one hand right reason established the foundations of the faith and, illuminated by its light, develops the science of divine things; on the other hand, faith delivers reason from errors and protects it and furnishes it with knowledge of many kinds.” (Vatican Council I)

    So RCC doctrine trumps scientific evidence, and “faith” trumps reasoning (allegedly) !!!!!!!

    Most congregations are too ignorant of the science to see any inconsistency in these claims, so genuinely believe this double-talk they have been told is the real scientific theory.

    Many believers, better educated in science, compartmentalise or fudge the issues to accommodate their doctrines.



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  • 6
    steve_hopker says:

    I think this is right in chart TE is incompatible with some belief systems, particularly fundamentalist literalism. So I do not see how one can support TE yet say that no modification of religious ideas is needed.

    However, if one is not literalist regarding scripture, it would arguably be even less of a step to say one need not be literalist about other sources of tradition, such as creeds or past teachings. In other words, non-literalism would allow the idea that religions are lived in the present and so inevitably scriptures and creeds etc are viewed with contemporary eyes, including the eyes of science. (Correspondingly I think that major reinterpretations, for example to accept evolution is strongly criticised by literalists).

    It would be interesting if there were any TE advocates who also maintained literalism and opposed any reinterpretation or other changes in teachings. If there were, they could struggle to show their views were coherent. But TE arguably can fit with non-literalism.



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  • 7
    Mr Greene says:

    Well so what if they aren’t literalists? Deal with their actual position rather than attempting to shoe horn them into a straw-man.



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  • 8
    Zeuglodon says:

    In reply to #4 by Mr Greene:

    You haven’t heard of the view that Genesis is a metaphor?

    Yes, because a metaphor requires its tenth, eleventh, twenty-fifth, and thirty-sixth chapters to be lists of genealogies. It’s not like creation myths weren’t a dime a dozen in human history, and certainly most people of the Abrahamic faiths throughout history seem to have taken it at face value. The only reason this literalism seems to have given way to “it’s a metaphor” thinking in recent centuries is because science and history have consistently proven its claims to be embarrassingly wrong.

    Calling Genesis a metaphor is essentially admitting it’s false, but with the get-out clause that one can now give it whatever modern interpretation one wishes and claim the books are still relevant. We’re not buying it.



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  • 9
    Tyler Durden says:

    In reply to #9 by Tyler Durden:

    In reply to #4 by Mr Greene:

    You haven’t heard of the view that Genesis is a metaphor?

    If Genesis is a metaphor, so is the existence of “Adam and Eve”, and the abhorrent doctrine of “Original Sin” (The Fall).

    Why did Jesus Christ pay a visit to planet Earth?



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  • 10
    Mr Greene says:

    In reply to #8 by Zeuglodon:

    In reply to #4 by Mr Greene:

    Yes, because a metaphor requires its tenth, eleventh, twenty-fifth, and thirty-sixth chapters to be lists of genealogies. It’s not like creation myths weren’t a dime a dozen in human history, and certainly most…

    Would you consider the Saxon Chronicles to be taken literally when much of the early sections are genealogical lists of people who never existed? The view that Genesis is metaphorical is far older than you seem prepared to admit.



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  • 11
    Seraphor says:

    In reply to #7 by Mr Greene:

    Well so what if they aren’t literalists? Deal with their actual position rather than attempting to shoe horn them into a straw-man.

    It is not a straw man.

    Proper understanding of the theory of evolution accounts for selection pressures that are entirely natural and not the hand of god. Environmental pressures, predator-prey relationships and sexual selection. These selection pressures have to be natural to be categorized by scientific theory, otherwise there is no process of which to speak of, just gods whims, god killing off the beings that don’t fit in with his plan so that the ones that do can reproduce. This would invalidate all of evolutionary biology, as there would be no sense to which species survived or how they changed in accordance to their survival abilities or suitability to their environment, or ability to adapt.

    Anyone who thinks that it is gods hand that is doing the selecting obviously does not understand the theory of evolution well enough. Once you remove gods hand from the equation and recognize it as a purely natural process, which is the only way it can make sense as a scientific theory, then the only place left for a god is in kick-starting the entire process. This retires god to a spectator position, and thus deism is the only conclusion.

    Acceptance of evolution demands a deistic god.

    It requires a god that is not at all concerned with who lives or who dies, or who reproduces and in turn who is born. When we extrapolate that to the realms of cause and effect, any minute interference of this god could effect the reproductive ability of an individual. Thus god could have no power in this universe, and that’s deism.



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  • 12
    Zeuglodon says:

    In reply to #11 by Mr Greene:

    In reply to #8 by Zeuglodon:

    Would you consider the Saxon Chronicles to be taken literally when much of the early sections are genealogical lists of people who never existed?

    Wait, was that meant as a rebuttal? I checked it on Wikipedia, and it doesn’t seem like it to me.

    The three-volume Res gestae saxonicae sive annalium libri tres (“The Deeds of the Saxons, or Three Books of Annals”) is a chronicle of 10th century Germany written by Widukind of Corvey. Widukind, proud of his people and history, begins his annals, not with Rome, but with a brief synopsis derived from the orally-transmitted history of the Saxons, with a terseness that makes his work difficult to interpret. Widukind omits Italian events in tracing the career of Henry the Fowler and he never mentioned a pope.

    Weren’t you intending to provide a historical example of something that gives a genealogy and yet was meant as a fiction rather than as a historical account? Moreover, how would you distinguish the difference in the face of the fact that, as I previously stated, creation myths were common in human history?

    The view that Genesis is metaphorical is far older than you seem prepared to admit.

    May I ask what convinces you that this claim is true, and how does it stand to the opposing claim that a literal reading was most likely the intention?



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  • 13
    Mr Greene says:

    In reply to #12 by Seraphor:

    In reply to #7 by Mr Greene:

    It is not a straw man.

    Anyone who thinks that it is gods hand that is doing the selecting obviously does not understand the theory of evolution well enough. Once you remove gods hand from the equation and recognize it as a purely natural process, which is the only way it can make sense as a scientific theory, then the only place left for a god is in kick-starting the entire process. This retires god to a spectator position, and thus deism is the only conclusion.

    Acceptance of evolution demands a deistic god, or at the very least, a god that is not at all concerned with who lives or who dies, or who reproduces and in turn who is born.

    It is a straw man, you aren’t dealing with the position they hold.

    Maybe they don’t understand the theory of evolution “well enough” whatever you think that might be, not everyone studies biology or is even literate.

    Your straw man is to claim that only literalism or deism is possible when the bulk of christians certainly in Europe, possibly most of the planet beyond the US hold the position of Theistic Evolution. They exist, deal with it.

    It is probable that large sections of the bible are considered to be non-historical, metaphors and parables.

    It may be that the sections considered fictional will expand over time (if they bother to research middle eastern archaeology honestly) but the individuals aren’t moving towards deism, they are moving away from the god of the gaps theology that seems prevalent in American Mid-West.



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  • 14
    Seraphor says:

    In reply to #14 by Mr Greene:

    In reply to #12 by Seraphor:

    In reply to #7 by Mr Greene:

    It is not a straw man.

    Anyone who thinks that it is gods hand that is doing the selecting obviously does not understand the theory of evolution well enough. Once you remove gods hand from the equation and recognize it as a purely natural p…

    What am I supposed to be dealing with? I haven’t said there aren’t moderates who are confused about evolution or about the bible itself, or who take it as being metaphorical. Are you confusing me with someone else? Someone who has taken this conversation off on a tangent about whether the bible can be taken metaphorically, because I haven’t gone there.

    The issue at hand is that evolution is not compatible with theistic beliefs, therefore Theistic Evolution is an oxymoron, or that the acceptance of evolution dilutes Christianity to a deistic position.

    This is my point.

    If you accept evolution, you cannot be a theist. If you are a theist, you do not understand evolution.
    THAT is not a straw man.



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  • 15
    Mr Greene says:

    In reply to #13 by Zeuglodon:

    Wait, was that meant as a rebuttal? I checked it on Wikipedia, and it doesn’t seem like it t…

    The Saxon Chronicles are the histories of the 7 kingdoms of Saxon England, the later portions relate the history whilst the earlier portions tend to include legends and usually begin with a genealogical list which tails off to mythical; forbears of the ruling family as justification for their position. The OT follows a near identical pattern and can be interpreted in the same manner, indeed it is a common form of interpretation this side of the Atlantic.



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  • 16
    norwegian_89 says:

    I personally think it is both hilarious and annoying when people are unable to completely come out of the closet and admit that they actually understand that the probability of there being any significant truth in the holy books are so small that they might as well be scientologists (or create their own religion from scratch). However, I don’t see the problem so long as they don’t reject rationality that is relevant to how we conduct life on this planet. In fact, I see them more as a helping part for enlightening those who are completely blinded by faith. They might make it easier for those who already have made up their mind about their belief, to accept the rational parts of their brain as well. One step at a time? Am I missing something?



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  • 17
    Zeuglodon says:

    In reply to #16 by Mr Greene:

    In reply to #13 by Zeuglodon:

    The Saxon Chronicles are the histories of the 7 kingdoms of Saxon England, the later portions relate the history whilst the earlier portions tend to include legends and usually begin with a genealogical list which tails off to mythical; forbears of the ruling family as justification for their position.

    I think you misunderstand me. I’m not saying the authors or the originators necessarily believed what they were writing, though tangentially speaking, that is a possibility. I’m saying that the books were supposed to be taken as literal history, whether because the originators believed it to be true or because they cynically wanted to edit historical accounts to suit an agenda. That’s not the same as suggesting that the stories are supposed to be taken allegorically or metaphorically or similar, which at best is an attempt to get around the obvious criticism that the Bible stories are invented history. Please be aware of the difference.

    Your own explanation pretty much says as such, for why else would they invent the mythical elements if not to bamboozle everyone else into taking it seriously?

    The OT follows a near identical pattern and can be interpreted in the same manner

    Are you saying that the events of the later books in the OT really happened, including the constant intervention of God? How do you justify that claim? In any case, the New Testament often makes references to the events of Genesis that wouldn’t work if the latter wasn’t meant to be taken seriously, such as in Mark 10, Romans 5, 1 Corinthians 15, 2 Corinthians 11, and 1 Timothy 2. In fact, broadly speaking, how do you decide which bits are meant literally and which are meant metaphorically, OT and NT?

    indeed it is a common form of interpretation this side of the Atlantic.

    Beg pardon, but what does that mean? Common interpretation according to whom?

    Finally, to get this back on topic, I would point out that the OP’s point about the problems with theistic evolution still stands. If such people wish to be seen as taking a reasonable position in the face of the scientific evidence for evolution, then they have to provide reasons for taking theism seriously. Otherwise, it’s a transparent attempt to salvage a conclusion they’ve already decided is correct (theism), hence the “bible as metaphor” approach: to reconcile the bible’s content with scientific evidence contradicting it.



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  • 18
    Lonevoice says:

    Totally agree with the OP. TE is incompatible with Conventional Christianity and has to revise its view of Genesis – i.e. admit that they think it’s false while at the same time calling themselves ‘believers’.

    Having taken a quick sweep through the comments, that seems to be the general view. In my (admittedly limited) experience debating these matters with TEs, they make a couple of logical errors that lead to the inconsistency (and probably more than I can recount here):

    1) They either want to believe or they don’t. However, they seem to want to hang on to their so-called faith while avoiding ‘feeling silly’ for believing the traditional doctrine of creation or Genesis as literal history, as has been handed (and written) down for millenia.

    2) They seem to have fallen into the trap of thinking that you only need a god to explain away the scientific stuff that we don’t understand yet – and when discoveries are made, god is no longer required in that area. This is false logic because, whether or not God made the universe and everyhting in it, is either true all the time or it was always false – the ‘fact’ doesn’t change as people learn more. The fantastic discoveries of . . . well, everything really. . . can logically be viewed as what God has done in creation and does not necessarily mean that because we can now explain something, we were wrong to think God made it.



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  • 19
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #7 by Mr Greene:

    Well so what if they aren’t literalists? Deal with their actual position rather than attempting to shoe horn them into a straw-man.

    The problem is that to cease being literalists they became fudgists, and they fudged the science as well as the mythology.

    Science does not do “politically correct” fudge! Facts bent by fudge, are no longer facts!

    While it may be convenient to bridge the gap between fantasy and evidenced reality, the intermediate position is just as wrong as the fundamentalist one.

    We can’t agree to compromise between flat-Earthists and “globalists” so as to agree on a saucer shaped Earth, without messing up all the geography, astronomy, physics, navigation, perceptions of seasons, the calendar, and compromising scientific integrity!

    Nonsense is nonsense, and nonsense with a bit of fudged science added to improve its credibility, is still nonsense!

    Theistic evolution is the theist response to make a come-back from the resounding defeat of their mythology by evolutionary and cosmological science. They claim to accept the science but twist it and insert bits of faith-thinking magic dogma CONTRADICTING THE SCIENTIFIC METHODOLOGY. You cannot contradict scientific methodology and honestly claim the results are still science. (Even if they deny the contradiction is a contradiction.)

    See the explanation of the theist position @#5 and the twisting of science and logic which is necessary to accommodate this pseudo-science.

    While it may be beneficial to have more people “BELIEVING IN EVOLUTION” – they are using “faith belief” on theistic “authority”, which is a flawed method of learning. This uncritical acceptance, precludes further rational investigations using the objective scientific methodology, which would weed out the erroneous unevidenced claims which they have so carefully woven in to pervert the original science. – Science fail!

    It is a perversion of scientific integrity to accommodate the inclusion of woo!



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  • If all goes well, the bible will slide toward the status of Lord of the Rings — a plot framework for movies, a set of costumes for role play, some stories to frighten children. People can have an emotional attachment to it, but they don’t kill people based on it.



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  • *In reply to #19 by Lonevoice

    “, they seem to want to hang on to their so-called faith while avoiding ‘feeling silly’ for believing the traditional doctrine of creation or Genesis as literal history, as has been handed (and written) down for millenia.”

    You have a valid point here, in my opinion. If a believer wants to be perceived as a serious minded individual, it doesn’t pay to be lumbered with an obvious creation myth. Far easier to jettison the whole nonsense in Genesis and the other early books and call them metaphorical then start afresh with a less specific depiction of events. After all, if “the beginning” of the bible is taken literally, it throws out all known science.

    Once the burden of literal truth has been lifted, the believer can embrace any scientific and technological findings with impunity. Evolution then becomes the way in which god performs his creative miracles. The only difficult aspect in this rationale is managing to suppress troubling thoughts that pop into the mind.



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  • There seems to be an assumption running through many threads that in the good ole days everone was a literalist. Please prove that, and not through the writings of acient scholars who probaly had no idea of what Joe/Jew in the street actually believed when they were out-of-sight of the religious police.



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  • In reply to #24 by GregR:

    There seems to be an assumption running through many threads that in the good ole days everone was a literalist. Please prove that, and not through the writings of acient scholars who probaly had no idea of what Joe/Jew in the street actually believed when they were out-of-sight of the religious po…

    In the days before the English bible, when mass was conducted in Latin, churchgoers probably had no idea what they were agreeing to. They just knew that it was dangerous to ask questions.



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  • 25
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #24 by GregR:

    There seems to be an assumption running through many threads that in the good ole days everone was a literalist.

    Most were not literate as almost all writing was in the hands of priest/monks/scribes with a bit done by the lords’ or kings’ stewards.
    All the rest were required to attend a house of worship (church/synagogue) and listen to what they were supposed to believe. The actual texts were in Latin or Hebrew, which most could neither read nor understand.

    Please prove that, and not through the writings of acient scholars who probaly had no idea of what Joe/Jew in the street actually believed when they were out-of-sight of the religious police.

    Obedience and loyalty to secular king/lords and bishops and priests was expected and enforced with dire punishments for dissent.

    when they were out-of-sight of the religious police.

    Google “Spanish inquisition”, “Witch-hunting”, or “Cromwell’s Puritans”.

    Even after the bible was translated into English (with much argument and persecution), literacy was very limited, and many who could struggle to “read” would have very limited comprehension, – hence taking texts literally.



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  • If the creation myths are metaphors, what are they metaphors for? If they are a way of expressing the literal truth poetically, then their value is a matter of literary criticism. The modern religious myth, featuring the Big Banger who lights the touchpaper and retires, is cheap comedy with no literary merit, I would argue. What is the point of worshipping such a fictional character — or any real one for that matter?



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  • 27
    Zeuglodon says:

    In reply to #24 by GregR:

    There seems to be an assumption running through many threads that in the good ole days everone was a literalist. Please prove that

    Nobody’s saying everyone was a literalist, or even that they believed every contradictory thing in the Bible (if anything, this is an argument for not taking it seriously); just that the majority of believers would have at least assumed the Bible was, in part, a historical account. That’s why they’re called believers in the first place: because they believe the accounts to be true, to a degree. The main quarrels in the history of Christianity were about how to interpret certain parts of Scripture, differentiating between Canon and Apocrypha, and while extraneous canon and other details could vary from sect to sect, fundamental tenets such as Adam’s fall and Christ’s deeds were staunchly defended even by St Augustine. Jeez, your question could be answered by looking it up on Wikipedia.

    and not through the writings of acient scholars who probaly had no idea of what Joe/Jew in the street actually believed when they were out-of-sight of the religious police.

    Sure. Send me your email address, and I’ll post my time machine over to you. Set it to any date within the Dark Ages.

    Did you even think before posting that statement of yours? You get a decent account of historical events through ancient texts, corroborated with archaeological findings such as Anglo-Saxon crosses and medieval tapestries, precisely because they take account of the contemporary scene. While no one’s saying the inner meditations of Julian of Norwich were representative of her fellow Britons’, they do indicate the flavour of thought at the time.



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  • 28
    steve_hopker says:

    In reply to #27 by aldous:

    If the creation myths are metaphors, what are they metaphors for? If they are a way of expressing the literal truth poetically, then their value is a matter of literary criticism. The modern religious myth, featuring the Big Banger who lights the touchpaper and retires, is cheap comedy with no liter…

    Creation myths are poetry of a kind. And Genesis more widely covers a lot of powerful and emotional themes – why and how are we here? (creation) why is there hard work, a struggle with nature (expulsion from Eden) : or exploring jealousy, hatred & murder (Cain and Abel). Many stories seem to double up eg Tower of Babel (pride and the profusion of language) or give moral explanations for terrifying disasters (The Flood: Sodom and Gomorrah).

    I suppose these being myths there is poetic licence to make them more vivid and captivating. In some ways any literal truths were beside the point. When everyone knew that everything obviously had to have been made by God/gods, what mattered was knowing the kind of God, what was accepted and what punished. Many no longer agree with the morals and values the stories teach, but I think their moral purpose was their main raison d’être



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  • 29
    David W says:

    Why would a loving God (the one christians believe in) choose to use evolution to eventually create humans? Evolution is cruel, heartless, wasteful and has resulted in the extinction of over 99% of species that have ever existed.



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  • 30
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #30 by David W:

    Why would a loving God (the one christians believe in) choose to use evolution to eventually create humans? Evolution is cruel, heartless, wasteful and has resulted in the extinction of over 99% of species that have ever existed.

    … . .. . .and 99.999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% + of the universe, has nothing to do with humans!



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  • 31
    Mr DArcy says:

    TE is of course as much nonsense as ID or YECism.

    At what point in the 13,82 billion year old universe did God decide to insert “souls” into humans ? The theory of evolution drives a cart and horses through the Adam and Eve story, and without that, – no original sin, no fall, and no need for Jesus to “die” on the cross.

    TE is just as ridiculous as YECism. Both fallacious, but at least the YECs take their holy book seriously and are easier targets.
    I can just imagine the last thoughts of a running gazelle as the leopard sinks it’s teeth into her throat :

    Well God just wanted me to die this way, what a wonderful Plan he has !



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  • 32
    thetimidmortal says:

    To deem evolution as cruel and heartless seems to anthromorphize it don’t you think?
    In reply to #31 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #30 by David W:

    Why would a loving God (the one christians believe in) choose to use evolution to eventually create humans? Evolution is cruel, heartless, wasteful and has resulted in the extinction of over 99% of species that have ever existed.

    … . .. . .and 99.999999999999999999999…



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  • 33
    Seraphor says:

    In reply to #33 by thetimidmortal:

    To deem evolution as cruel and heartless seems to anthromorphize it don’t you think?
    In reply to #31 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #30 by David W:

    Why would a loving God (the one christians believe in) choose to use evolution to eventually create humans? Evolution is cruel, heartless, wasteful a..

    From the perspective of it being a process created by a human-centric, loving deity, it is cruel, heartless and wasteful.
    If you’re a Christian and this is what you believe, then it HAS to be anthropomorphised.

    From the perspective of it being a natural process with no concerns of any kind, let alone human concerns, it is simply a natural process, and neither good or bad.



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  • 34
    steve_hopker says:

    In reply to #32 by Mr DArcy:

    TE is of course as much nonsense as ID or YECism.

    I suppose they are in the sense of the conclusions and contradictions. But I don’t think the steps are all equally nonsensical ie the TE school could proceed along quite reasonable lines until they reach the ‘and so therefore God’ step. Whereas YEC arguably involves swallowing manifest nonsense from the word go.

    ID tends to be associated with theism, especially Abrahamic monotheisms, but theism doesn’t logically follow from ID. There is a lively theoretical and philosophical debate around multiverses and simulations . The basic idea (which I think I’ve mentioned before here) is not to say the entire universe has been designed by an single benevolent God. Rather, that we live in simulation experiment run by alien intelligences. This sounds seriously crazy (and it may be!). But Nick Bostrum at Oxford Uni (http://www.fhi.ox.ac.uk/about/staff/) argues that the possible infinitude of universes suggested by some maths suggests that the odds are on we do live in a simulation (see also John Gribbin, In Search of the Multiverse: http://www.simulation-argument.com: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/10/11/physicists-may-have-evide_n_1957777.html) .

    Despite these various physicists and philosophers saying this isn’t entirely crazy, I’m still very sceptical. But – so long as you take out the claim for ID by a single benevolent God, there is some case for ID, something like this.

    Premiss 1 There is order in parts of the universe.

    P2 There is order in human artefacts.

    Sub-conclusion 1 There is a resemblance in terms of order between parts of the universe and human artefacts

    P3 The order in human artefacts is caused by intelligent design.

    P4 The more things resemble each other, the more likely they share the same causes

    Conclusion (SC1+ P3+P4) Parts of that universe whose order more closely resemble the order of artefacts are more likely to have been caused by intelligent design.

    The premises can be questioned, maybe especially P4 – but we do tend to use P4 in daily life and science (eg same fossil=same species, etc).

    But there is nothing in that argument to say that all parts of the universe has been equally well designed, that the design was divine or by just one intelligence or that any such intelligences were either perfect or benevolent. ID by only moderately intelligent and unpleasant aliens is entirely compatible with design faults and evil. Perhaps we and our universe are a simulation run by trainee simulator teenage aliens with plenty of sadistic fantasies but having somewhat patchy talent. Which might explain a lot!!

    Yet even the traditional analogies (by Paley from example in the watchmaker case attacked by RD, The Blind Watchmaker)* suggest that if nature really can be compared to human artefacts, then multiple creators would logically be most likely, in the way that all the elements in cars, houses etc are designed (and built) by teams, not one lone worker. In Paley’s pre-mass manufacturing era there were lone watchmakers, which is maybe why Paley chose watchmaking to argue for one Creator. If he’d argued from house or canal building, the monotheistic fallacy in his argument would have been much more obvious. Paley also made an unwarranted leap to arguing there was ID in life to ID across the universe. But of course he was obliged by his priestly profession to ‘prove’ a single universal creator.

    • Which I confess I am yet to read



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  • 35
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #33 by thetimidmortal:

    To deem evolution as cruel and heartless seems to anthromorphize it don’t you think?

    It certainly is, but this was quoted as a counter to the anthropomorphic “loving god”, – pointing out that while evolution is morally neutral, (ie. amoral) the suffering in nature is certainly counter to anything which a “loving” individual would produce.

    In reply to #31 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #30 by David W:

    Why would a loving God (the one christians believe in) choose to use evolution to eventually create humans? Evolution is cruel, heartless, Evolution is cruel, heartless, wasteful and has resulted in the extinction of over 99% of species that have ever existed.

    … . .. . .and 99.999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999 % + of the universe, has nothing to do with humans!

    It would indeed be incredibly wasteful to produce a whole universe, existing for billions of years just for the odd species existing in an insignificant fraction of it, for a tiny period of its time!

    This geocentric, homo-centric delusion is very obviously an expression of human egotism!



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  • 36
    Mr Greene says:

    In reply to #18 by Zeuglodon:
    >

    Originally yes, as propaganda it was expected that the population would accept the assertion that the royal families were directly descended from dragon-slayers and other characters with supernatural abilities. However once the Norman invasion (1066) had taken place that is no longer true, though it probably took till the Renaissance for the non-sense to openly cited as such. Once you reach that point though the parallels with the OT are obvious.

    The fact is that literalism whilst it may be prevalent in America, is virtually unheard of here, being akin to a declaration of flat-earthism. As such it is obvious that it simply doesn’t lead to Deism.



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  • 37
    Zeuglodon says:

    In reply to #37 by Mr Greene:

    In reply to #18 by Zeuglodon:

    Originally yes, as propaganda it was expected that the population would accept the assertion that the royal families were directly descended from dragon-slayers and other characters with supernatural abilities. However once the Norman invasion (1066) had taken place…

    You’re confusing “divine right of monarchs” with “believes at least some books of the Bible are true historical accounts” or at least contain explicit facts e.g. about salvation and theology. Or else you’re trying to pull a bait and switch as a distraction. People didn’t stop taking the Bible seriously around the Renaissance; the overwhelming response was Protestantism, which has Sola Scriptura as one of its major tenets.

    Literalism may not be extensive or absolute, but there’s a reason, say, that the hypothesis that Jesus never existed has been put forwards only in the modern era, and that’s because virtually nobody questioned that assumption before the 20th century. You forget that the secularism et al. that Europe takes for granted these days were recent developments. The reason there’s a number of US literalists and so forth is because those modes of thought are cultural relics lagging behind the zeitgeist elsewhere.



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  • 38
    ken.nardone says:

    Every thought, every dream, every book, every play, every piece of music, every work of art, every poem, every photograph, every film, every word ever spoken, written, chanted, or sung has come from a specific animal, generally categorized as one of the great apes. Evolution through natural selection is by far the greatest story on our planet!

    With this in mind, know that fiction played a very important part in expanding the great ape’s mind. Fiction is a major part of the great ape’s story; brought on mostly by dreams. However, other great apes quickly began to capitalize on their convincing ability to confuse, combine and manipulate fiction with reality.

    The greatest hoax of all time in the recent history of the great ape’s evolution is belief in a deity or deities. Not one other animal on our entire planet worships a deity. Just like ghosts, goblins, monsters and demons, deities are fictional characters. Deities (better known as gods) originated in our ancestors’ minds while they were just beginning to figure out how and why the world works. With self-discovery and environmental challenges, our ancestors’ brains began to grow and several species split from our ape like common ancestor. One of those species evolved into Homo sapiens, and many of those dreams transported through hundreds of thousands of years to become present-day myths, legends and deities.

    Geologically speaking, humans are an infant species. Science teaches us that dinosaurs roamed the earth for over 160 million years. Compare that to a few hundred thousand years for humans and you’ll get the idea that we are just babies.

    Although science and technology developed astoundingly; we have much to learn. Learn. This is they key. Learning about the natural universe is awe inspiring, fun and critical. When we learn, we grow and we discover new questions and answer old ones. When we learn, we shed old myths, wives tales and superstitions. When we learn, we reflect on what it means and how to apply it to our universe. When we learn, we evolve.

    I declare it’s time to move on from old deities our ancestors dreamed up. While gods and monsters hold a historical account of our past, it’s high time we recognize them for what they are: fiction!

    Let’s get on board with all the other animals on our planet and take a queue (or two) from them! Live, love, laugh, play, and most of all, learn!



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  • 39
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #19 by Lonevoice:

    2) They seem to have fallen into the trap of thinking that you only need a god to explain away the scientific stuff that we don’t understand yet – and when discoveries are made, god is no longer required in that area.

    Or more precisely no gapologist god explanations were valid in the first place.

    This is false logic because, whether or not God made the universe and everyhting in it, is either true all the time or it was always false – the ‘fact’ doesn’t change as people learn more.

    Correct! Only the evidence clears away the false claims and doubts.

    The fantastic discoveries of . . . well, everything really. . . can logically be viewed as what God has done in creation

    Not really! Nothing in the features of the universe indicate magical creations by one of the diversity of asserted gods.

    and does not necessarily mean that because we can now explain something, we were wrong to think God made it.

    It certainly debunks the earlier claims, but I am sure believers will cling to their assumed, vague, and shifting, god-claims, regardless of how many times the assortment of earlier claims is debunked, and will persist, despite the utter lack of evidence to support these strange, magical, anthropomorphic, claims derived from antiquated thinking.



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  • 40
    Mr Greene says:

    In reply to #38 by Zeuglodon:

    In reply to #37 by Mr Greene:

    Protestantism was a response to the greater availability of the text following the development of the printing press, and yes the idea of sola scriptura does appear limited to protestant groups. However this in itself shows that the Catholics did not view the bible as being literal in the protestant sense even then, though that may be too sectarian a viewpoint.

    In any case this historical view gets away from the original point, A non-literalist will view a literalist as crazy if not a dangerous heretic. They will reject anything that tries to shoehorn them into literalist ideas.

    For a direct example: http://youtu.be/lFKEZ9ZyVMM?t=5m40s

    Trying to deal with non-literalists as literalists is a non-starter.



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  • 41
    thetimidmortal says:

    In reply to #34 by Seraphor:
    human-centric would be a misunderstanding of deity. To completely anthropomorphize deity entirely would be ridiculous. It’s wasteful if your mind is progressivistic, its cruel if your mind is disturbed, and its only heartless because it affects your feelings. So in my opinion, it could just be as neutral with a deity as without one. .



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  • 42
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #42 by thetimidmortal:
    >

    human-centric would be a misunderstanding of deity.

    Why??? The Xtian deity is described as 3 PERSONS, THE FATHER or THE SON. Those are anthropomorphic (humanised descriptions). The whole biblical culture is human-centric. For centuries it was geocentric!

    To completely anthropomorphize deity entirely would be ridiculous.

    So you assert, but the descriptions clearly fit humanized characters.

    It’s wasteful if your mind is progressivistic, its cruel if your mind is disturbed,

    Does that jargon mean anything? It is wastful as explained @31 and @36. The objective text-book description of “cruel” nature is independent of the individual observer.

    and its only heartless because it affects your feelings.

    Nature is not heartless, it is brutally amoral, but if it was acting as it does under personified control or a deity, it would be heartless.

    So in my opinion, it could just be as neutral with a deity as without one. .

    It cannot be neutral with a claimed “loving” creator. That is the point. The fact that there is much suffering and no evidence of loving intervention, clearly shows the absence of the loving, capable, overseeing creator, claimed in the creeds of many Xtian denominations.
    Obviously with thousands of claimed deities, specifics of particular gods, or versions of gods, would have to be examined, but generally all claims of supernatural interventions fail to stand up to scrutiny.



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  • 43
    Seraphor says:

    In reply to #42 by thetimidmortal:

    In reply to #34 by Seraphor:
    human-centric would be a misunderstanding of deity. To completely anthropomorphize deity entirely would be ridiculous. It’s wasteful if your mind is progressivistic, its cruel if your mind is disturbed, and its only heartless because it affects your feelings. So in my op…

    As Alan has passionately pointed out above, the Christian god triune is human-centric and has always been.

    To propose a non-human-centric deity who is completely apathetic to the wants and needs and destiny of human beings is to propose Deism.



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  • 44
    thetimidmortal says:

    In reply to #34 by Seraphor:
    As Alan has passionately pointed out above, the Christian god triune is human-centric and has always been.
    To propose a non-human-centric deity who is completely apathetic to the wants and needs and destiny of human beings is to propose Deism.

    To begin with, I would disagree. The christian god is not human centric and neither is it deist. Are the words father, son, and spirit anthropomorphized descriptions?…I would argue that they are more analogy in the old sense of the term than entirely some anthropomorphisation. The idea of “persons” within the trinity is not akin entirely to the idea of the “human person.”



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  • 45
    Tyler Durden says:

    In reply to #45 by thetimidmortal:

    The christian god is not human centric and neither is it deist.

    It is curious then, how many human-centric traits the Christian god displays: wrath, jealousy, impatience, homophobia, racism, misogyny, megalomania, etc.



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  • 46
    thetimidmortal says:

    In reply to #46 by Tyler Durden:

    In reply to #45 by thetimidmortal:

    The christian god is not human centric and neither is it deist.

    It is curious then, how many human-centric traits the Christian god displays: wrath, jealousy, impatience, homophobia, racism, misogyny, megalomania, etc

    How else would a deity outside of reality communicate himself to a being of lower intelligence?



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  • 47
    thetimidmortal says:

    In reply to #46 by Tyler Durden:

    In reply to #45 by thetimidmortal:

    The christian god is not human centric and neither is it deist.

    It is curious then, how many human-centric traits the Christian god displays: wrath, jealousy, impatience, homophobia, racism, misogyny, megalomania, etc.

    Excuse me..begin to communicate himself.



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  • 49
    thetimidmortal says:

    In reply to #49 by Tyler Durden:

    In reply to #48 by thetimidmortal:

    Excuse me..begin to communicate himself.

    Now the Christian god has a gender? How very human-centric.

    He is an anaphoric pronoun.



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  • 50
    thetimidmortal says:

    In reply to #50 by thetimidmortal:

    In reply to #49 by Tyler Durden:

    In reply to #48 by thetimidmortal:

    Excuse me..begin to communicate himself.

    And of course its human-centric. I, a human being, am the one describing by analogy the christian god. I’m not some deist.

    Now the Christian god has a gender? How very human-centric.

    He is an anaphoric pronoun.



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  • 51
    Tyler Durden says:

    In reply to #51 by thetimidmortal:

    And of course its human-centric. I, a human being, am the one describing by analogy the christian god.

    The Christian god who exhibits fits of jealousy. How very human-centric.



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  • 52
    thetimidmortal says:

    In reply to #52 by Tyler Durden:

    In reply to #51 by thetimidmortal:

    And of course its human-centric. I, a human being, am the one describing by analogy the christian god.

    The Christian god who exhibits fits of jealousy. How very human-centric.

    Fits?



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  • 53
    thetimidmortal says:

    In reply to #52 by Tyler Durden:

    In reply to #51 by thetimidmortal:

    And of course its human-centric. I, a human being, am the one describing by analogy the christian god.

    The Christian god who exhibits fits of jealousy. How very human-centric.

    Are we having a conversation here or are you just here to be spiteful and arrogant, appending mocking sarcasm to all your statements?



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  • 54
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #45 by thetimidmortal:

    To begin with, I would disagree. The christian god is not human centric

    It has been proclaimed by its followers to be human-centric and geocentric for centuries, but that’s the thing about gods – every believer has their own personal “correct” version of their god. (Unsurprising when it hides and resides as a dominant part of their brains)

    and neither is it deist.

    It only becomes deist when believers want to dodge the refutable properties in biblical claims and hide it in gaps outside of scientific knowledge or reality.

    @42 – human-centric would be a misunderstanding of deity.

    @47 – How else would a deity outside of reality communicate himself to a being of lower intelligence?

    I see HE (male person) has now transformed from a Xtian biblical god, into a gapologist deity in a very quick semantic shuffle!

    Are the words father, son, and spirit anthropomorphized descriptions?..

    Of course they are. The RCC has human statues of the son on crosses, and pictures of human “angels” with wings, all over their chapel roofs! – Then there’s the old fellow with the beard!

    I would argue that they are more analogy in the old sense of the term than entirely some anthropomorphisation.

    It is well known in the shifting sands of theology, that any inconvenient features can instantly become “metaphorical” or “analogies” and subject to “reinterpretation”, while disappearing into complex semantic obfuscation, as words are claimed to no longer have their regular meanings!

    The idea of “persons” within the trinity is not akin entirely to the idea of the “human person.”

    That sounds very like an oxymoron! Persons are definitely human. Next you will be telling me the claimed Jesus person was not human!

    Anyway, we seem to be getting off this discussion topic of theistic evolutionism, which should be in the form of an evidenced, logical, reasoned, discussion. This site is not a chat-room.



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  • 55
    thetimidmortal says:

    In reply to #55 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #45 by thetimidmortal:

    To begin with, I would disagree. The christian god is not human centric

    It has been proclaimed by its followers to be human-centric and geocentric for centuries, but that’s the thing about gods – every believer has their own personal “correct” version of their go…

    There is so much false misrepresentation and presumption of my view here. If we are going to talk about a logical conversation that is evidenced, it’d be best if i wasn’t fitted to stereotypes and strawmans. Thank you.



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  • 56
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #56 by thetimidmortal:

    In reply to #55 by Alan4discussion:

    There is so much false misrepresentation and presumption of my view here. If we are going to talk about a logical conversation that is evidenced, it’d be best if i wasn’t fitted to stereotypes and strawmans. Thank you.

    Just vague denials? – You have offered no answers to any specific points, which I have presented clearly item by item??? – and have not addressed the OP topic of the discussion.
    So far you have only made assertions, have yet to demonstrate any logical replies, – and have certainly offered no evidence for any of your claims!



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  • 57
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #47 by thetimidmortal:

    How else would a deity outside of reality communicate himself to a being of lower intelligence?

    It would just talk from the delusion god-spots to other the parts of a believer’s brain.

    In addition, the researchers determined that other aspects of spiritual functioning are related to increased activity in the frontal lobe.

    “We have found a neuropsychological basis for spirituality, but it’s not isolated to one specific area of the brain,” said Brick Johnstone, professor of health psychology in the School of Health Professions. “Spirituality is a much more dynamic concept that uses many parts of the brain. Certain parts of the brain play more predominant roles, but they all work together to facilitate individuals’ spiritual experiences.”

    In addition, Johnstone measured the frequency of participants’ religious practices, such as how often they attended church or listened to religious programs. He measured activity in the frontal lobe and found a correlation between increased activity in this part of the brain and increased participation in religious practices.



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  • 58
    thetimidmortal says:

    In reply to #57 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #56 by thetimidmortal:

    In reply to #55 by Alan4discussion:

    There is so much false misrepresentation and presumption of my view here. If we are going to talk about a logical conversation that is evidenced, it’d be best if i wasn’t fitted to stereotypes and strawmans. Thank you.

    Just va…

    Firstly, your plethora of question marks and usage of the exclamation point gives me the impression that you are quite angry or something. Secondly, balancing work and online discussions is part of the picture for me. Also do you expect me to paste pages and pages of text content from research and studies? I figured since it was a comment section, if someone had questions about my responses then I would gladly provide an explanation. But no one ever did. Everyone kept asking more questions about other things..and other things…and other things….As well, I believe my original first comment was relevant to the post. If I have deviated, I apologize, I didn’t realize it would cause so much anger or frustration or whatever.



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  • 59
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #59 by thetimidmortal:
    >

    Firstly, your plethora of question marks and usage of the exclamation point gives me the impression that you are quite angry or something.

    I often use those to express surprise at self-contradictions or strange claims.

    There is no anger or frustration, but we like to sort out accurate details in debates, and so bring evidence to bear in dealing with questions so as to establish evidenced reasoned answers.

    I figured since it was a comment section, if someone had questions about my responses then I would gladly provide an explanation.

    Many theists arriving at this site for the first time, mistakenly think those who regularly post here have not heard their questions or answers before.
    Unfortunately there is often preached nonsense that atheists do not understand the Bible/Quoran etc or gods,
    Very often they are atheists because they do understand those in considerable detail.

    Also do you expect me to paste pages and pages of text content from research and studies?

    If you claim to presenting an informed view, we normally expect people to be able to quote their sources of information, so the validity of those can be checked.



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  • 60
    thetimidmortal says:

    In reply to #60 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #59 by thetimidmortal:

    Firstly, your plethora of question marks and usage of the exclamation point gives me the impression that you are quite angry or something.

    I often use those to express surprise at self-contradictions or strange claims.

    There is no anger or frustration, but we li…

    Thank you for clearing up the confusion about the tone of your punctuation. I am well aware that many theists assume atheists are ignorant. I understand that is obnoxious and condescending at times. I would never presume the such of any atheist and am sorry if i came off that way. Sorting out details is important, timing wise it probably wouldve been more suitable to converse outside of work.
    For clarification: By sources are we referring to the sciences only?



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  • 61
    thetimidmortal says:

    In reply to #60 by Alan4discussion:.
    +Thanks for clearing up what the tone was with punctuation.

    There is no anger or frustration, but we like to sort out accurate details in debates, and so bring evidence to bear in dealing with questions so as to establish evidenced reasoned answers.
    .

    ME:Yes, sorting out details in debates is no doubt important.
    As a question of clarification: what are we referring to when we are talking about evidence?

    Many theists arriving at this site for the first time, mistakenly think those who regularly post here have not heard their questions or answers before.
    Unfortunately there is often preached nonsense that atheists do not understand the Bible/Quoran etc or gods,
    Very often they are atheists because they do understand those in considerable detail.

    ME: IF I came off as presumptuous I apologize. However, I do understand that some theists do this and am well aware of striving to avoid it myself. As well, it seems much has been presumed of me here too. Having been a former atheist/agnostic I do understand a great deal of atheism in detail myself.



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  • 62
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #61 by thetimidmortal:

    In reply to #60 by Alan4discussion:

    By sources are we referring to the sciences only?

    Normally they would be scientific or historical articles, ideally peer reviewed papers, or references to, or citations of, peer-reviewed papers, – university studies – but links to encyclopaedias like Wikipedia are often enough (even though not always dependable). Basically reputable studies rather than stuff which someone has just made up and put on some dodgy site.
    Anybody just making stuff up or making dubious claims here is likely to challenged and called on to justify it.
    To some extent it depends on the nature of the topic. Some topics require higher levels of specialist knowledge than others – especially some technical science or historical discussions. This one is about theistic evolution.

    Have a look over some of the other discussion threads to see how debates go.

    The site mission and rules are clearly explained:
    http://www.www.richarddawkins.net/home/about

    http://www.www.richarddawkins.net/cms/terms



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  • 63
    mmurray says:

    In reply to #24 by GregR:

    There seems to be an assumption running through many threads that in the good ole days everone was a literalist. Please prove that, and not through the writings of acient scholars who probaly had no idea of what Joe/Jew in the street actually believed when they were out-of-sight of the religious po…

    It’s not true of the ancient scholars either. In fact it doesn’t have to be just literal or metaphor. You can take the position that the Holy Spirit inspired the original Biblical authors to write to suit the knowledge available to the audience at the time. Like popular science writing of the times.

    Michael



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  • 64
    Seraphor says:

    In reply to #45 by thetimidmortal:

    In reply to #34 by Seraphor:
    As Alan has passionately pointed out above, the Christian god triune is human-centric and has always been.
    To propose a non-human-centric deity who is completely apathetic to the wants and needs and destiny of human beings is to propose Deism.

    To begin with, I would dis…

    This very notion that this god would seek to communicate with humans and concern itself with human affairs is what makes it human-centric, regardless of how he did it or how he was interpreted by humans.

    The notion that this god specifically set out to create human beings at all is what makes it human-centric.

    If neither of these things are true, then it is not the Christian god, it is a deistic god.



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  • In reply to #50 by thetimidmortal:

    In reply to #49 by Tyler Durden:

    In reply to #48 by thetimidmortal:

    Excuse me..begin to communicate himself.

    Now the Christian god has a gender? How very human-centric.

    He is an anaphoric pronoun.

    I think you mean “generic” or “gender neutral” (anaphora is “repetition of a word or phrase in successive clauses” )

    Do not start me on this one…

    But you have, so…

    Both traditional grammar books and “Style Guides” present “he” means “he and she” as an unquestionable “fact,” of the English language. Yet language does not exist in some abstract Platonic universe and Grammar Books and Style Manuals are written by people — who bring their own conceptions of the way the language works. Or should I say “their conceptions of the way the language should work.” For the earliest English grammars were unapologetically prescriptive, complied by men who felt that the “unruly” English language should be “perfected,” corralled into the pen of a Latinate grammar, which was itself an artificial construct. These were the men who told us that we must say “It is I,” even though “It’s me” has a hoary pedigree going back to the Anglo-Saxon period, and who excoriated us as stylistic barbarians for saying “To boldly go…” (Because Latin infinitives cannot be split, English infinitives should not be).

    When these stylistic “rules” first emerged, the formulators were men, living in a male world — boys were the ones who went to school, and so it was “natural” (as well as flattering) for “he” to be cast as the all-purpose pronoun. Yet the very fact that every Parliament in the British Commonwealth felt the need to pass legislation (called Acts’ Interpretations Acts) explaining that “he means he and/or she” [Words importing the masculine gender shall be deemed and taken to include females] shows how artificial this assumption is.

    We all know, however much we pretend otherwise, that “he” does not mean “he and she” — “he” means “male person.” We (women) will never feel included.



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