Why some evangelicals changed their minds about evolution

Jun 21, 2016

By Cathy Lynn Grossman

Creationist Christian tourists may soon flock to the Ark Encounter, a literal vision of Noah’s story in Genesis come to life in July as a theology-packed tourist attraction in Williamstown, Ky.

But this month, another group of evangelicals is making a very different case – minus any animatronic critters — in a new book, “How I Changed My Mind About Evolution.”

It promotes the idea that one can be serious about Christian faith and still accept a scientific Darwinian account of human origins. BioLogos, the organization of pro-evolution Christians in the sciences founded by famed geneticist Francis Collins, teamed with InterVarsity Press to publish a collection of 25 personal essays from clergy, scholars and scientists.


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89 comments on “Why some evangelicals changed their minds about evolution

  • @David R Allen,

    Concur, It just pushes the question back further until you hit up against Abiogenesis, as soon as we have a working model for this that can be tested in the lab evangelicals will be equally at a loss as most are now with evolution. Pretending that you can legitimately poke a deity in any place you want and that this is a respectable way to thing is just dishonest. And yes I’m not rude to my Christian friends and relatives (well they sometimes think I’m being rude when I don’t give them a completely free pass on this) when they spout this nonsense, but this does not mean we should pretend this is anymore than special pleading. It does society no good at all to pretend that it is okay to think in this manner. It is not, you are free to, but your thinking is faulty and I maintain the right to push up against it.



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  • @OP – BioLogos, the organization of pro-evolution Christians in the sciences founded by famed geneticist Francis Collins, teamed with InterVarsity Press to publish a collection of 25 personal essays from clergy, scholars and scientists.

    That’s all they have to offer! –
    No credible research – just personal opinions based on uncritical acceptance of religious ideas, which have then been cobbled on to cherry-picked bits of science and then had some fake badge of “authority” added in an attempt at suggesting credibility.



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  • I find it paradoxical how anyone can accept the theory of evolution, a theory based on scientific evidence, and yet still retain overall belief in the Christian credo. If you’re going to accept science at all then surely you must accept the scientific method of enquiry that lies behind it and from this draw the necessary logical conclusions that lead to the adoption of a non-theistic position.



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  • Alien #4
    Jun 22, 2016 at 9:22 am

    Blimey, Alan, you read their essays quickly in your mission to give an informed response!

    It comes down to understanding dictionaries rather than reading all of them! ( I have read some writings from BioLogos which unsuccessfully try to graft theology on to science.)
    An essay is not a scientific report or historical documentary report.

    To make scientific claims, you require objective observations, and experimental evidence from testing, put together in a scrutinised report.



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  • Ipse Dixit #5
    Jun 22, 2016 at 9:46 am

    I find it paradoxical how anyone can accept the theory of evolution, a theory based on scientific evidence, and yet still retain overall belief in the Christian credo.

    Ah! But they don’t “accept the scientific theory of evolution”!
    They BELIEVE that life-forms evolved and that god-did-it! –

    If you’re going to accept science at all then surely you must accept the scientific method of enquiry that lies behind it

    Belief in theistic evolution has nothing to do with scientific methodology.
    It is based on accepting authoritative statements from religious leaders, who are fudging issues, now that they face total debunking by the scientific establishment and loss of followers, if they challenge science head on.

    and from this draw the necessary logical conclusions that lead to the adoption of a non-theistic position.

    Uncritically accepting theistic evolution does not involve scientific methodology, scientific study, or logic.
    Cherry-picked bits of evolution are preached and accepted on faith, along with lots of “god-did-it-this-way-to-create-worshippers”.



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  • Alien #7
    Jun 22, 2016 at 10:12 am

    But you haven’t actually read what those clergy, scholars and scientists have written in that IVP book then, Alan?

    Well no!
    They are storybooks, not science papers or science reference books.

    I read some good science fiction stories written by scientists (Try “The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, if you have not read it), but that does not mean the science in it is correct!

    Terms like “essay” and “fiction”, describe the content of books, separating opinion and speculation from reference material!

    RDFS promotes investigative and research skills, so when we want to know what objectives a particular organisation is promoting in its literature, researchers look at their mission statement!

    http://biologos.org/about-us/

    Our Mission
    BioLogos invites the church and the world to see the harmony between science and biblical faith as we present an evolutionary understanding of God’s creation.

    Scientific methodology is notable by its absence!



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  • Alien #10
    Jun 22, 2016 at 11:04 am

    Alan, but it still comes down to you commenting on something you have not read. Is that wise and fair?

    No problem at all!
    The authors and publishers have stated their objectives in their mission statement, so it is reasonable to expect them to follow them, if they have any competence at all.
    If they do not have that competence, then the works are of little merit anyway.

    They are trying to pretend that beliefs uncritically accepted on the basis of faith in biblical teaching from religious leaders, is a thought process which is equivalent to evidence based scientific methodology and logical deduction.

    It is not, and never will be.
    The thought processes and methods are contradictory.

    Choosing what you like to believe, without evidence, will never be science, and will never be compatible with science.
    Science is always open to new evidence which is presented for critical examination, but unsupported opinions and repetitively asserted preconceptions, don’t count!

    If these people have any new evidence to support their claims, for any particular gods, let them publish it in a reputable scientific journal.
    Various large prizes have been offered for any such successful claim, but no such evidence has been forthcoming!

    It is nevertheless a sign of progress that more and more believers are moving away from Biblical literalism, starting to accept scientific evidence and reasoning, and taking a new look at the history of the writing of the Bible, as standards of education improve.
    It is probably too big a step for many of them to recognise what is evidenced and what is not in one jump!



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  • Alan, but it still comes down to you commenting on something you have not read. For all the other stuff you claim, you have not read the book. That seems to me to not be very clever.



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  • Alien #12
    Jun 22, 2016 at 12:06 pm

    Alan, but it still comes down to you commenting on something you have not read. For all the other stuff you claim, you have not read the book. That seems to me to not be very clever.

    As I was commenting to Ipse Dixit, It is easy for the religious using “faith” to choose to believe bits of science which suit their purposes or which are going to severely embarrass them if they offer a challenge, but once most religious claims are presented for scrutiny by science, they simply fall apart when subjected to evidence based investigations.

    Basically:-
    If I read a “Flat Earthist Mission Statement” which says particular publications are promoting the long refuted “Flat Earthism”, I don’t need to read ALL their publications to recognise that they are promoting the long refuted “Flat Earthism”!



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  • bonnie2 #14
    Jun 22, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    amazon.com/How-Changed-Mind-About-Evolution

    The answer is in the preface on the link!

    @your link – Yet many evangelicals have come to accept the conclusions of science while still holding to a vigorous belief in God and the Bible.

    They accepted THE CONCLUSIONS OF SCIENCE on faith! – Just as they accepted the belief in their god on FAITH!

    How did they make this journey?
    How did they come to embrace both evolution and faith?

    Compartmentalisation – but their preconceptions of faith and god-delusions, disable the the scientific thinking processes being applied to their earlier religious views, so their minds are dominated by compartmentalised “faith-thinking”, – not by the fully integrated evidence-based reasoning of scientific methodology of critically checking information and sources before accepting it.
    Those who are scientists, are only half scientists, and have to switch to science mode when working on their specialist areas of their science experiments.
    Outside of those areas, they default back to indoctrinated “faith-preconceptions” like a car which keeps slipping out of gear!



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  • Alan, yes, I know what you are saying, but it still comes down to you commenting on something you have not read and that is a bizarre thing to do.

    Is it common amongst atheists?



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  • Collins will be his Language of God schtick (a truly terrible waste of my money on sub C.S.Lewis apologetics and personal incredulity).

    Lamoureux will be his biologos piece.

    http://biologos.org/uploads/projects/Lamoureux_Scholarly_Essay.pdf

    The desperation to have design in there is palpable. The need for humans now to be the evolutionary end game and apple of His eye, shockingly distorts the science of what we know to be a probabalistic universe.

    Evolutionary creationists assert that the God-of-the-individual-shots, like the God-of-the-gaps who
    intervenes intermittently in creating the world, fails to reveal fully the power and foresight of the Designer.
    According to this Christian view of evolution, the breaking stroke is so finely tuned and incredibly precise that
    not only are all the balls sunk, but they drop in order. It begins with those labelled heavens, then earth,
    followed by living organisms, and finally the 8-ball—the most important ball in billiards—representing humans.

    When was the last time you heard something original from Christian apologetics? About two decades ago for me with ID. The excuses are drying up quickly now.



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  • Alien #16
    Jun 22, 2016 at 12:36 pm

    Alan, yes, I know what you are saying, but it still comes down to you commenting on something you have not read and that is a bizarre thing to do.

    Is it common amongst atheists?

    I would think that reading a publishers blurb or book’s preface to identify the nature of the content, is very common with atheists and with most intelligent readers who do not want to waste their time.

    Looking at Mission Statements is also common in identifying propaganda or biases in organisations.

    There really is nothing bizarre in that, although you may find it a novel concept.

    Do you believe them when they list their objectives and thinking processes in BioLogo’s Mission Statement?

    I think the “Flat Earth” example spelled it out clearly!



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  • Alien, try a different approach here if this is all you have to offer. Alan is being very patient with you as he is wont to do. But your repeated reassertions of the same sentence quite ironically show that you too are not reading what he wrote, which is much shorter than the essays. What he patiently tried to explain to you, repeatedly, is if the essay authors followed their own mission, they will simply be writing essays in support of theistic evolution, which is an oxymoron. End. Of. Story.



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  • It’s possible even intelligent or capable people, when it comes to understanding how science actually works, suffer from what has become known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect. The problem is that they don’t know just how uninformed they are. To sum it up, the knowledge and intelligence that are required to understand science are often the same qualities needed to recognize that one does not understand science … and if one lacks such knowledge and intelligence, one remains ignorant that one is not good at understanding science. They can’t see their mistakes, so their starting point is wrong even before they begin to explain their point of view. Theistic evolution is exactly like this.



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  • Steven007,
    I have read each of Alan4discussion’s comments, as I have read yours, but it still comes down to him not having actually read the items he is commenting on.



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  • Alien #21
    Jun 22, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    I have read each of Alan4discussion’s comments, as I have read yours, but it still comes down to him not having actually read the items he is commenting on.

    The essence of scientific methodology, is the ability to make testable predictions on the basis of evidence!

    I realise that “faith-thinkers” have difficulty understanding this!



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  • Alien, you’re parroting a fallacy of inconsistency (false equivalence – to wit: ‘Alan hasn’t read the essay so how on earth could he comment on the OP?’) with your comment. More importantly, instead of being so taken with Alan’s comment in lieu of his reading the 25 essays, why don’t you give your actual opinion on the OP? Shall we assume you’re a proponent of theistic evolution since you’re not offering anything but a critique of Alan’s commenting in lieu of reading the essays? If not, what exactly are you trying to say aside from what you’ve said, which is rather insubstantial (let’s be real)? Unspool your moral courage and speak your mind about something that’s not just a mere triviality.



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  • Be kind. They are working their way toward the light, trying to preserve cultural values intrinsic to their personal identities, while dealing with evidence they are too educated to disregard. Increasingly, they explain their system in terms of metaphor rather than hard fact. They are trying to keep “the good parts” but soon must realize that that even these (don’t murder, don’t steal, be truthful) are not unique to the system given to them by generations past. Rather than putting them on the defensive, encourage them forward while politely asking difficult questions.



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  • It seems that a non-literal reading of Genesis could be problematic for Paul’s arguments in Romans 5:12 thru 21 and the Christian confession of a propitiatory sacrifice including a new life in Christ.



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  • @ k_w_kemp

    I agree with everything you’ve said but I think a fair reading of the comments by and large reveal encouragement far more then purposefully putting them on the offensive. To wit, the member (Alien) repeatedly badgering Alan with the same message while offering nothing in return was the one in this case being offensive. But I agree with your last sentence.



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  • Dennis Reeder #25
    Jun 22, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    It seems that a non-literal reading of Genesis could be problematic for Paul’s arguments in Romans 5:12 thru 21 and the Christian confession of a propitiatory sacrifice including a new life in Christ.

    There are certainly theological problems, once it it realised that evolutionary evidence shows that there was no Adam and Eve, talking snake, Garden of Eden, or original sin! – Hence indicating that there was no requirement for any “sacrifice” to atone for this non-existent “original sin”!
    It kind of identifies a load of key dogma as pointless utterly confused fantasy!



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  • Steven007 #26
    Jun 22, 2016 at 5:19 pm

    . . . . while dealing with evidence they are too educated to disregard. . . .. . . . .
    Rather than putting them on the defensive, encourage them forward while politely asking difficult questions.

    I agree with everything you’ve said but I think a fair reading of the comments by and large reveal encouragement far more then purposefully putting them on the offensive.

    The problem as I see it, is not with “evidence they are too educated to disregard”, but with the areas where they will not look because these challenge their ingrained/indoctrinated preconceptions.

    To wit, the member (Alien) repeatedly badgering Alan with the same message while offering nothing in return

    I would see this as simply trying to evade the issues I gave in replies, and shift the agenda to side-track the subject off those topics where “faith” does not want to look and face up to challenges.

    Faith-thinking decries doubt, and is not open to up-dating in the light of new evidence.
    The more it clings to belief and flies in the face of the evidence, the stronger and more commendable the faith is deemed to be!
    Temptation to think and question is discouraged! That is one of the fundamental and incompatible differences between “faith” and science!



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  • @Alien #10
    Jun 22, 2016 at 11:04 am
    A not unusual attitude. I had a debate in the Guardian some time ago with a truculent guy who refused to read anything supporting creationism by anyone who started as a believer. I called his bluff with John Sanford’s ‘Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome;, but he just slunk off. Totally in denial.



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  • The more it clings to belief and flies in the face of the evidence, the stronger and more commendable the faith is deemed to be!
    Temptation to think and question is discouraged! That is one of the fundamental and incompatible differences between “faith” and science!

    This is clearly seen in theist attempts to fudge faith-thinking into science, to the total departure from (and attempts to redefine) scientific methodology and even reasoning!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_evolution#Pope_Pius_IX

    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.

    … 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




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  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_evolution#Catholic_teaching_and_evolution

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994, revised 1997) on faith, evolution and science states:
    159. Faith and science: “… methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.” (Vatican II GS 36:1)

    The question about the origins of the world and of man has been the object of many scientific studies which have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life-forms and the appearance of man. These discoveries invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator, prompting us to give him thanks for all his works and for the understanding and wisdom he gives to scholars and researchers….

    So Vatican pseudo-science is faith-based preconceptions from the very starting core dogmatic unevidenced beliefs, as they try to hi-jack and pervert the knowledge gained by real science.



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  • @Alien: have you read their essays? If yes, could you give us some sort of synopsis of the contents of these essays? It might help those of us who have not read the essays to decide if reading them is worthwhile or a waste of time.
    I have not read any books by, say, Ann Coulter, because I have read comments about her writing by authors whose judgment I would trust (not absolutely, but beyond reasonable doubt), so why bother with probable trash? But I have also read some of her mental diarrhea when quoted in newspapers or magazines (the current incarnation of this kind of mental cesspit is Donald Trump) which occasionally makes me think the comments of the authors that I have read are a bit too kind. Not that every utterance of such people is a lie, even the most abominable scum to deface my country’s history, Hitler’s Nazis, weren’t wrong 100% of the time (there are too few people so ignorant and gullible to swallow 100% – well, I hope so, at least).



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  • I don’t have to read the works of C S Lewis to know he was a Christian apologist, and also wrote a load of nonsense. And that he was one of the “better” apologists in the opinion of many Christians. I don’t have to read every children’s joke book to know there will be no murders, no starvation, nor deaths via disease.



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  • @ Alien #21,
    I accidentally “Liked” your reply; thought for a second it was a Reply button.

    Anyways…. taking a slightly different tack.

    If I see a “scientific document” that summarises itself as being “towards a viable flat-earth theory”, I will read no further. Would you then chastise me for dismissing it while not having read the actual document? Am I to understand that, if I read the document, I might actually have my mind changed and believe the earth is flat?

    So it is with the essay(s) in question. Combining theism with evolution, or just talking about theism, is not something that needs to be read to be dismissed, any more than does a flat-earther document.

    Perhaps you imagine that, if only an atheist were to read these “carefully reasoned” philosophical and theological arguments etc., that he or she would then take the mountains of evidence for evolution and the complete lack of evidence for a god, and thenceforth put them on an equal footing in some kind of symbiotic relationship? (A handy position to be in for theists, no doubt, as further evidence for evolution simply becomes further evidence for God.)

    Let’s be honest, as a denizen of the net I’m sure you too routinely dismiss garbage without reading it, so at heart we only disagree on what is or isn’t a priori classifiable as garbage.

    Consider the consequences if one had to read every bit of garbage that passed across one’s desk, from moon-landings-were-faked to Elvis-lives, before one was “permitted” to dismiss it as garbage – there wouldn’t be time to do anything else.

    Compare the views of theists (combining evolution into their worldview, or otherwise), with those who simply believe a rich entertainer faked his own death in order to fade into obscurity and live a normal life. Yet the latter will be ridiculed by many of the former. It’s a funny old world.



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  • 35
    Michael says:

    I read Alan4discussion’s original comment. He was commenting on the ARTICLE and the authors within the article who described their respective essays.
    I don’t know why Alien either could not understand that or chose not to, in favor of stubbornly accusing him of giving his opinion on the 25 essays without reading them first.

    My answer to Alien’s question: yes, atheists do give their opinions on articles they have read.



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  • I see way too much gloating here.

    First you slag off the creationists for their total contradiction of scientific evidence (6000 years old, ark, adam and steve, sorry, eve). Quite rightly too, they ignore the Evidence, put up false nonsense.

    Then when some put effort into reconciling their faith with actual scientific knowledge, you slag them off again for not instantly rejecting the faith part.

    No, it’s a step in the right direction. Show some appreciation.

    As long as religion sticks to the “why” questions (morality and so on), and leaves science to answer the “how” questions, there shouldn’t be such a direct conflict. Eventually, they’ll let go of the deity security blanket, stop trying to snatch it away.

    As an example of the mindset that can accommodate all science AND some form of theism, I recall the explanation that “we all exist in god’s imagination”. And therefore, all science is simply finding out more about this imagination and the wondrous detail it contains. Yes, all very Matrix-like, and it doesn’t answer the outermost questions, the ones that can’t be answered anyway. But it meant no need for argument over, for example, teaching about evolution, cosmology, genetics, AGW, everything. Which meant the arguments could shift to behavioral ones, moral ones, like how to save the planet, or at least how to stop wrecking it.



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  • @OHooligan #36

    As long as religion sticks to the “why” questions (morality and so on)

    I think they’ve on shaky ground even with this. The best they’ve got is the Golden Rule. Do unto others etc. But as Bertrand Russell observed. “What if I don’t like what you are doing unto me.” This Golden Rule is a licence for the theist to decide what is be done unto you. It is a licence to prosthelytize. Send out the missionaries. Convert you. Decide who you can marry and have sex with. All with the false belief that they are doing good, based on their theistic values. The decision maker in this transaction is the giver, while the recipient has no say. On your knees heathen.

    I think the secular Platinum Rule beats the Golden Rule, hands down. “First, do no harm.” This means the theist must stand back and be guided by the receiver as to whether what the theist wants to do is perceived as harmful.

    So I don’t think the theist has much to say about morality. I authored this which in my humble opinion places the theist in their correct place in society.

    Religion should be practiced by consenting adults in private and no longer has any place in the town square.



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  • OHooligan #36
    Jun 22, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    Then when some put effort into reconciling their faith with actual scientific knowledge, you slag them off again for not instantly rejecting the faith part.

    The problem is, that once science is perverted and altered to fit it to the preconceptions of faith, it is not science any more.

    Once scientific methodological thinking and testing is fudged into faith-thinking – it is not science any more, and it no longer uses reason or evidence!

    Scientists cannot fudge faith-beliefs into science and remain honest or competent scientists.
    Pseudo-science does not work in the real world, and fallacious thinking habits do not give proper answers.

    The galaxies and life do not work to preordained mechanisms for evolving worshippers of Christian or any other gods.
    The well evidenced theories and laws of science, tell quite a different story from that of the fantasy fudged compromises of theistic evolution, for which there is no evidence whatsoever.

    Creationists don’t even agree with each other!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_evolution#Pope_Benedict_XVI
    Converging evidence from many studies in the physical and biological sciences furnishes mounting support for some theory of evolution to account for the development and diversification of life on earth, while controversy continues over the pace and mechanisms of evolution.[4]

    The Church’s stance is that any such gradual appearance must have been guided in some way by God, but the Church has thus far declined to define in what way that may be. Commentators tend to interpret the Church’s position in the way most favorable to their own arguments.

    As is to to be expected with faith-thinkers, they just make up their pseudo-theories on-the-hoof to meet the argument of the day, so there are hundreds of contradictory versions of “theistic evolution” – even within particular denominations.

    To suggest these are science, is laughable! The education system needs to bypass the deluded old duffers who cling to their indoctrinated nonsense, and teach science!



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  • 39
    fadeordraw says:

    The chart from the source article (which I couldn’t copy to this reply) shows that about 60% of Jews, Buddists and Hindus believe evolution is a natural process, the same percentage as those with no affiliated to a traditional religeon! I would have thought that the non-affiliated would have been much higher. Then again, the chart also has a category by which evolution occurs with devine guidance, which is quite an incredulous concept.



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  • I’ll take it!! At least it’s a step in the right direction. It shows that they can’t simply deny the facts just because they’d like to. The kids that they teach will embrace science – they might then make the logical conclusions.



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  • 41
    Pinball1970 says:

    Please read what the mission statement actually asserts and what Alan is getting at

    “BioLogos invites the church and the world to see the harmony between science and biblical faith as we present an evolutionary understanding of God’s creation.”

    There has so far been ZERO harmony found between and the bible and evolutionary theory, also by definition faith has zero to do with science and the scientific method.

    They are polar opposite positions.

    This is why we can dismiss these essays without consideration, they are simply not based on anything scientific.

    I can dismiss a mission statement that is based on Gandalf the grey linking middle earth faith with evolution for the same reasons, or perhaps Silmarilion faith would be a analogy.



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  • OHooligan #36
    Jun 22, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    First you slag off the creationists for their total contradiction of scientific evidence (6000 years old, ark, adam and steve, sorry, eve).
    Quite rightly too, they ignore the Evidence, put up false nonsense.

    Yep! They have no business incompetently meddling in science or science teaching!

    Then when some put effort into reconciling their faith with actual scientific knowledge,

    Nope! That is precisely what they have NOT done!
    What they HAVE done, is to pervert the science to reconcile it with their faith and put up false nonsense dressed up as science!
    That is quite a different process and is thoroughly dishonest!

    Science cannot be changed to reconcile it with “faith”.
    Science is as the evidence shows it to be or it is not science!

    you slag them off again for not instantly rejecting the faith part.

    Nope! “Scientists “slag them off”, for dishonestly presenting faith-based perverted nonsense as science!



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  • Sorry, but that is nothing more than a desperate attempt to consolidate fact and your fiction, in order to try and keep your beliefs relevant. Don’t matter how much you try to twist, contort, and interject science, you are still just ignoring reality.



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  • A few general comments after wandering through the comments here:
    1. Nuance is often not a strong suit, either for fundagelicals or for skeptics. There are other credible options other than atheistic evolutionary naturalism or young-earth creationism. The Biologos people are trying to make this more obvious.
    2. The book is aimed at evangelicals, not skeptics. If you’re wondering how Christians go from anti- to pro-evolution, this book is for you; if you’re looking for arguments, there are other sources for that, from Walton’s “Lost World of Genesis” or Sailhamer’s “The Pentateuch as Narrative” or Young’s “The Bible, Rocks and Time” (these from a historical theology perspective), to Behe’s books (“Darwin’s Black Box”/”The Edge of Evolution”) or Dembski’s “The Design Inference” or Meyer’s “Signature in the Cell” (from a science perspective).
    3. Speaking of which, someone mentioned Dunning-Kruger: it is very much at work here, but it tends to be a universal acid. You don’t have to go very far in to the skepticweb before you run into fairly absurd readings of the Bible or caricatures of theology (and there’s a few here). The fact that there are dumb creationists doesn’t make skeptics automatically smart. Dumbness is a human trait not constrained by ideology.

    The book itself should be an interesting read, though Biologos in general is swimming upstream, mostly because it’s criticized from both sides: to godish for skeptics and too science-y for creationists.



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  • Thomas #45
    Jun 23, 2016 at 11:40 am

    A few general comments after wandering through the comments here:
    1. Nuance is often not a strong suit, either for fundagelicals or for skeptics.

    Science does not do “nuance”. It does “hard evidence”.

    There are other credible options other than atheistic evolutionary naturalism or young-earth creationism.

    There however, no real world alternatives to the scientific theories of evolutionary naturalism, regardless of whatever fantasies may keep some people amused or deluded.

    The Biologos people are trying to make this more obvious.

    BioLogos are trying to pervert science to accommodate their biblical beliefs.
    Formuli only need one wrong input factor to produce wrong answers. Science with a bit of junk mixed in is junk!

    The book is aimed at evangelicals, not skeptics.

    I realise it is about making money selling books to the uneducated and gullible. Sceptic scientists recognise it as nonsense straight away.

    If you’re wondering how Christians go from anti- to pro-evolution,

    Christians go to understanding the science of evolutionary biology by being properly educated in science classes by competent science teachers, not by reading a confusing mix of creationist mumbo-jumbo, ID nonsense, and scraps of real science.

    this book is for you; if you’re looking for arguments, there are other sources for that, from Walton’s “Lost World of Genesis” or Sailhamer’s “The Pentateuch as Narrative” or Young’s “The Bible, Rocks and Time” (these from a historical theology perspective), to Behe’s books (“Darwin’s Black Box”/”The Edge of Evolution”) or Dembski’s “The Design Inference” or Meyer’s “Signature in the Cell” (from a science perspective).

    Trying to learn science from a misleading mixture of creationism, the pseudo-science of “intelligent design”, and bits of real science, is only going to create a load of muddled confusion in the minds of those who do not already have a depth of scientific training.
    For those who have a proper science education without ingrained indoctrination, this stuff is junk.

    Intelligent design is just creationism dishonestly dressed up as science. It has been debunked as personal incredulity and deception, wherever it has popped up.

    The book itself should be an interesting read, though Biologos in general is swimming upstream, mostly because it’s criticized from both sides: too godish for skeptics and too science-y for creationists.

    That is understandable!
    It is criticised by fundamentalists and biblical literalists, because it “reinterprets” the bible attempting the impossible task of making it more compatible with modern science.

    BioLogos is criticised by scientists, because they dress up faith-beliefs as pseudo-science and dishonestly pretend they are real science, when they are not.

    BioLogos writings are just another range in the spectrum of religion inspired pseudo-science.

    Scientific methodology does not do compromise with wishful thinking from preconceptions, or with repetitive assertions of debunked nonsense.
    It starts with evidence and reasons out answers which can be repeatedly tested by experiment.

    Someone saying they “believe in evolution” is meaningless if they still reject the scientific theories of evolution, and BELIEVE in some new theology they have labelled as “evolution” by redefining the word (As the Vatican has done – see my earlier posts @#30 and #31), to mean “descent-by-god-did-it-to-create-worshippers”!
    That is not how evolution works, and no competent and honest science teacher is going to tell you it is!
    There is some slight benefit in bringing some religious people out of aggressive outright denial, but this is valueless if it is at the cost of perverting the integrity, methodology, and reasoning of science.



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  • If you posit a hyper intelligent mega being as an initiator of the current universe and try as you might cannot see an intercession by Hir in the clear actions of nature subsequently, then you must abide by the implications that follow from this evidence. The Creator had no specific plan (no body plan, no aesthetic or moral imperative as such) in mind and no, as yet, clear conclusion to the experiment apart from the likely dissipation of the heaped up mass/energy spring that has powered everything…

    Our conclusion of no hard billiard ball, determinism in a probabalistic universe applies exactly here too. No hidden local variables. Sorry Einstein. Hir Godliness plays dice.



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  • I still think it’s a step in the right direction. The C of E is better (in the sense of less harmful) than the Inquisition-Age Church, and so on. Religious folk who have some “inner faith”, who take Ancient Writings as metaphor and such, and who can learn to do Science (correctly) without inner conflict, are a step in the right direction. Hardline attitude of “science implies atheism” is just offputting. Do you really want to stay a small club, or do you actually want to bring in others? Sorry, it seems Un-Reasonable to be so harsh, to set the bar for entry into the field of “Reason” so high.

    Hey, imagine this: Powerful Entity (as near god-like as makes no difference for us) tinkers with whatever it tinkers with, and sets a universe going, and leaves it to fend for itself, but listens for a callback. The callback being “prayer” from the evolved intelligent entities. Once “prayed to”, the PE pays attention to the source, and maybe can’t resist tweaking a bit here and there (but never when there’s Scientists on watch)…

    See, you can imagine stuff. None of that (regretfully, for some of us) is incompatible with all manner of scientific investigation into this universe we inhabit, and into us, the inhabitants. And it makes a good story.

    A bit more effort could go into weaning the YECs and their ilk away from anti-science, towards at least science-neutral, where whatever is discovered about Life, the Universe, and Everything is no longer a threat to them and their conviction that there’s a Big Ear all around them listening to their pleas.

    Alan in particular is sounding like one of them Militant Atheists my grandpappy warned me about. Don’t listen to him, child, he’ll lead your soul straight to hell…… (shut out all Science, it’s Evil…)



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  • When Galileo was hauled before the Thought-Crimes Court, I recall reading somewhere, his prosecutors didn’t even look into his telescope, it wasn’t relevant to the case against him. Saying “But look, see for yourself…” was no defense whatsoever.

    Mind you they were probably knee-deep in a backlog of heresy cases, can’t be giving the perps any leeway to infect others with their dissenting views. Only in hindsight do we know he was right, but what about all the other cases before the court that week, that month? How were they supposed to know that somewhere amid all that heresy – it was rife, despite the dreadful punishments – was something they couldn’t just sweep away.

    The RCC has since learned a bit about science, and dealing with scientists. So – on that front – they’re not as batshit crazy as most of the others.

    They’re not all going to turn on a dime, chuck the whole thing, and look for a different hobby/lifestyle/day job/community. One by one, yes, some will and welcome. Others need coaxing out into a not-so-threatening light. Don’t you think?



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  • OHooligan #50
    Jun 23, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    The RCC has since learned a bit about science, and dealing with scientists. So – on that front – they’re not as batshit crazy as most of the others.

    The Vatican is just as steeped in pseudo-science woo as ever, but most of the RCC’s members know little about the details of dogma, so when the Vatican says they BELIEVE in (their perverted form of ) evolution, the followers are quite happy that god-did-it, so without looking at the details, feel free to study the science in biology class. –
    It’s a bit like the contraception issue, where the church babbles on as usual, but in SECULAR countries like England, where proper health services and education are available, congregations just ignore the rantings of the deluded geriatrics!

    The problems lie in countries where the governments are infested with theocracy!



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  • @Alien,

    Alan, but it still comes down to you commenting on something you have not read. Is that wise and fair?

    Alan was commenting on the lack of science present in a scientific question. These essays having not gone through a process of experiment or peer review will therefore have nothing to say about scientific questions like evolution that is worth noting. This says nothing about value as literature, philosophy or or any other aspect culture, but making judgments about evolution which was presumably the point of these essays.

    To try to get you to see the point I’ll give another example. Here in Australia we have a geologist of some small fame Ian Plimer who wrote a book about Climate Change being a hoax. Now Ian is and was a well qualified scientist, generally well regarded before his book was published. My criticism when I heard he was publishing a anti-climate change book was for the effort required to write and publish a book why would he have not published a few scientific papers before-hand? What was his motivation to publish for a non-scientific audience. I think I know. I suspect it is because he knew he had not a single verifiable fact to stand on and that publishing the sort of nonsense he put in his book would result in his being academically torn to shreds. As it happens when his book did come out it was also torn to shreds, he had such fundamental mistakes that any quick google search would have revealed to be inaccurate (for example he stated that the Sun is made of iron from a collapsed super nova). So people who seek to convince the public about matters of science without conducting any science are revealing themselves to be uninterested in what is actually factual about the issue and are thereby open to criticism even before you have read their work.



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  • @O’Hooligan,

    No, it’s a step in the right direction. Show some appreciation.

    Sorry, I was just at the vet and saw on a notice board (that public pin up lost cat posters) a natural healing session being offered for dogs and cats. $375 per person. Now you and I know that this is utter quackery, but probably not as bad for humans as say chiropractors saying they can cure cancer. So should we not say anything and let them continue to spread this less harmful nonsense unchallenged? Should I appreciate that these quacks are only likely to delay treatment for suffering animals? Every Christian I know who accepts evolution is embarrassed by and is sneering of Christians I know don’t believe in evolution. They laugh at them and tell me how much they love science, right up until I use it to question their beliefs. While I’d measure the creationists as being a little bit further from the truth, I’d also measure their intent to apply their faith directly to their lives a little closer to the intent in the bible than more moderate Christains.

    As long as religion sticks to the “why” questions (morality and so on), and leaves science to answer the “how” >questions, there shouldn’t be such a direct conflict.

    When have they ever done this? Why is it so hard to get through euthanasia legislation? Why is my government wanting to wast hundreds of millions of dollars on a bloody plebiscite on gay marriage reform when they know over 70% of the population is behind it? Why is stem cell research such an issue, I could go on. Frankly religion has no more place than my cat does addressing ‘Why’ questions anyway so long as you wish to eventually have an answer. This acceptance of parts of science while deliberately ignoring others is a symptom of their desperate need to hold onto as much power as they can, and human suffering will always follow those who believe nonsense. So no they’ll get no free pass from me.

    Eventually, they’ll let go of the deity security blanket, stop trying to snatch it away.

    See a 40 year old with his blankie and I show you a parent who should have stepped in a little earlier.



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  • I have argued that the shaking off of dogma by the religious is always to be applauded.

    I have to make a distinction here. It is always to be applauded in moral matters. Anything that helps anyone see the person in front of them more clearly, the harms and unfairness to that person, compared to all others, the better. Anything that moves people towards becoming autonomous moral authors is the best we can hope for.

    Science is entirely different to morality which latter is best and idealy understood as a negotiation between maximally autonomous individuals. Science cares nothing for our personal feelings or wishes. Science is misunderstood at its very heart if God is levered in to the start of the search rather than something falling out of a search. It is crucial (!) that the religious scientist understands, every day, God cannot inform science and it remain science. But science may inform their ideas of a god.

    Lamoureux’s argument is about the most broadband acceptance of the conventional biology of evolutionary processes, but in terms of basic physics it thus becomes powerfully wrong. The fit with science overall is no better than any other goddidit answer.

    The only reliable and convincing search for God is to simply search without that intention, like Newton or Faraday. The most interesting areas remain around physics, the thermodynamic hump of prokaryote to eukaryote transition and the structured and hugely helpful nature of evolutionary protein solution space, etc.

    Nor are there God proving hypotheses that can be pursued because they cannot be rendered in negatable form. Irreducible complexity.

    I will applaud and encourage any step along the path of moral improvement by slowly ditching dogma and increasing personal engagement. But science has an absolute and dispossessed character to it about which it is essential to remind everyone, even folks like Francis Collins, and all the time.



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  • Hi folks. I’m one of the editors of (and a contributor to) the book under question. I have read the whole thing several times, and so can actually speak to its contents. Alan4discussion #47 seems to be pretty certain about everything. Is that one of the scientific virtues, or is a little more skepticism called for? A couple misconceptions to clear up that should spark some discussion:

    “It is about selling books to the uneducated and gullible to make money.” Hmmm… I invite you to use the scientific method on this one. On what hard evidence are you basing this claim? If you can be bothered with facts, I’ll let you know it is improbable that my three figure advance on royalties will ever be met for this project. We really are trying to get evangelicals to accept legitimate science. Before they can accept the science, though, they need to see some exemplars. That’s what the personal stories are for. The book doesn’t give evidence for evolution; it gives evidence that one can accept evolution and be a Christian.

    “BioLogos are trying to pervert science to accommodate their biblical beliefs.” Hmmm… I wonder what science I don’t accept? What I don’t accept is that science is the only kind of explanations there are (e.g., beauty, morality, and even reason are not properly explained by science). That doesn’t seem to be a scientific conclusion, but one that is influenced by extra-scientific values. Of course not all Christians who accept evolution would describe things the same way, but I’ll tell you that I don’t think you have to pervert science to make it consistent with Christian theism.



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  • Jim Stump

    I don’t think you have to pervert science to make it consistent with Christian theism

    Lamoureux’s thesis fails dismally. By accepting all of biology he distorts the physics. Collins took a whole book to fail in the same way. These are not the big brains like Schroedinger who could see life as a physics problem centred around thermodynamics.

    Until you can demonstrate a mechanism by which a Hyper Intelligent Mega Being can operate in the probabalistic universe and achieve design, you do not get to make that transition from how to why questions.

    You can simply lose any extra design requirement on top of evolution but then HIMB becomes just a principle of physics and not a principle of mind.

    What I don’t accept is that science is the only kind of explanations there are (e.g., beauty, morality, and even reason are not properly explained by science). That doesn’t seem to be a scientific conclusion, but one that is influenced by extra-scientific values.

    Science increasingly explains the how of beauty, morality and the like. How they are rewarding, how morality is effective and retained and evolved as a trait. I’d love to take you through the arguments one day. Bracketing these off from science happens at a different place these days. You may be shocked.



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  • Jim Stump #55
    Jun 27, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    Hi Jim,

    We really are trying to get evangelicals to accept legitimate science.

    While I commend your efforts to persuade evangelicals to accept science, our differences are over the validity of claims and effectiveness of methods.

    Before they can accept the science, though, they need to see some exemplars. That’s what the personal stories are for. The book doesn’t give evidence for evolution; it gives evidence that one can accept evolution and be a Christian.

    If they are “accepting evolution” without starting with evidence and understanding, they are not learning or accepting scientific methodology or scientific reasoning. They are accepting it uncritically on “faith” on the “authority” of the authors. This is the reason for the flawed misunderstandings in “theistic evolution” in various doctrines such as those of the Vatican!

    Hi folks. I’m one of the editors of (and a contributor to) the book under question. I have read the whole thing several times, and so can actually speak to its contents. Alan4discussion #47 seems to be pretty certain about everything.

    No not “everything”! But I am clear about, what is supported by evidence, what is uncertain to a considerable extent, and what is probably unknown at present. That is how scientists find areas of the unknown to investigate and expand their knowledge.

    Is that one of the scientific virtues, or is a little more skepticism called for?

    The scientific values are in the ability to recognise the categories of scientific statements. Unknown, fanciful notions, debunked refuted nonsense, speculation, unsupported myths, hypothesis, theory , law, incomplete information, etc.

    Scepticism is not something which is applied indiscriminately, or isolated from evidence.

    “BioLogos are trying to pervert science to accommodate their biblical beliefs.”

    Hmmm… I wonder what science I don’t accept? What I don’t accept is that science is the only kind of explanations there are

    That is your error is supposing there are supernatural explanations beyond the physical mechanisms of the universe.

    (e.g., beauty, morality, and even reason are not properly explained by science).

    beauty, morality, and even reason are not properly and fully explained by science YET!

    That doesn’t seem to be a scientific conclusion,

    When corrected to my line above it is clearly a scientific conclusion.

    but one that is influenced by extra-scientific values.

    I think you would have to define “extra-scientific values” in material terms, of produce some evidence for the supernatural, to support that claim.

    Of course not all Christians who accept evolution would describe things the same way,

    That is the fundamental difference between evidence based reasoning and uncritical faith-thinking. Opinions which are inconsistent with evidence, objective observations, and test results, are simply invalid!

    but I’ll tell you that I don’t think you have to pervert science to make it consistent with Christian theism.

    “Christian theism” is a very bendy subject which is almost as diverse as the thousands of sects, denominations and individual believers. Separate “non-overlapping magesteria”, is just an expression of mental compartmentalisation, which theists use to prevent mental conflicts from holding simultaneous contradictory views.

    However, blind acceptance on the “authority” of modern preachers or the writings of ancient preachers, can never produce results consistent with scientific evidence other than by pure chance.

    The bible is a mish-mash of mythology, mistranslation and forgery, overlaid by “reinterpretation”, ink-blot reading, cherry-picking and insistence that chunks are rhetoric. It is neither a history book, nor a science book.

    The best way for anyone to understand and accept evolution, is to be competently taught evolutionary biology in school, along with scientific methodology.



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  • Jim Stump #55
    Jun 27, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    “It is about selling books to the uneducated and gullible to make money.”

    Hmmm… I invite you to use the scientific method on this one. On what hard evidence are you basing this claim? If you can be bothered with facts, I’ll let you know it is improbable that my three figure advance on royalties will ever be met for this project.

    You probably have other motivations as missionaries usually do, but you are not giving the book away free, so money is involved.
    I would suggest that only the uneducated and gullible, would buy into substituting one form of pseudo-science for another, rather than learning real science from competent biologists and geneticists.

    “BioLogos are trying to pervert science to accommodate their biblical beliefs.”

    Hmmm… I wonder what science I don’t accept? What I don’t accept is that science is the only kind of explanations there are (e.g., beauty, morality, and even reason are not [fully]properly explained by science[yet]).

    Biologos is just substituting a replacement for fundamentalist science-denial and pseudo-science, with a new form of pseudoscience including a richer mix of real science, but based on the same flawed thinking processes starting from indoctrinated pre-conceptions.

    Of course not all Christians who accept evolution would describe things the same way,

    If you BELIEVE that some god instigated the evolutionary processes to create human worshippers, then you do not understand the fundamental mechanisms of evolution, and have simply attached the label “evolution” to some unevidenced fanciful notion! (as I point out @#38)
    This is not science.

    Hmmm… I wonder what science I don’t accept? What I don’t accept is that science is the only kind of explanations there are (e.g., beauty, morality, and even reason are not properly explained by science).

    I think you have just listed several “god-did-it-by-magic-because-I don’t-understand-the- mechanisms”, here! (argument from personal incredulity)

    “Beauty” is in the eye of the beholder – or more correctly, is in the brain and the emotional responses of the beholder. (Neuroscience, psychology and endocrinology).
    Morality is about evolved social interactions and recognising the interests of various parties. (Sociology, ethics, kin-selection).

    Reason – an evolved mental process, for making testable predictions, and hypotheses from observations and evidence, which can be used to seek resources and aid survival.



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  • Have you guys ever read any philosophy of science?? You make it sound so overwhelmingly clear that you’ve entirely cleared up the problem of demarcation between what counts as science and what doesn’t (if you had actually done that, you could pick a named chair in philosophy in about any university in the world).

    Your mode of argumentation seems to be: if you don’t like it, call it pseudoscience; if someone suggests that something may not be science, say that’s ridiculous because there is no such thing as “extra-scientific” or anything beyond materialism.

    “You probably have other motivations as missionaries usually do, but you are not giving the book away free, so money is involved.” Please just say, “Sorry mate, I guess I was wrong about that one.” It might make people more ready to hear your good points (more on that later).

    “I think you have just listed several “god-did-it-by-magic-because-I don’t-understand-the- mechanisms”, here! ” Where did this come from? I didn’t hint that I was invoking a god to explain these; I merely said that science can’t explain them–which is patently true. Yes, you can hold out hope (i.e., have faith) that science will reduce them away to configurations of particles in our brains. There are other phenomena that humankind once thought needed non-material causes (e.g., thunder, epilepsy). So you might argue: we have figured out material causes for some things; therefore we will figure out material causes for everything. Obviously not a valid argument, but there is an inductive appeal to it. Here’s a nod toward why I don’t think it’s the right approach.

    Let’s stick to morality: I (and most other humans) believe there really are things that are right or wrong in ways that are not reducible to the interests of various parties; e.g., it is wrong to torture children for fun. It is philosophy 101 class to come up with a scenario in a society in which overall utility is increased by torturing one child for fun. But our intuitions scream against that. That makes us moral realists, which means there are properties of the world that cannot be replaced by a material description. You can say “no there aren’t”, but that isn’t an argument, right? I’ve given some data that needs explaining. Kin selection doesn’t explain why there are moral intuitions. It would be consistent of you to invoke the Michael Ruse explanation of morality: “a trick fobbed off on us by our genes”; but then you have to say it’s not really wrong to torture children for fun. That’s a pretty high price to pay for sticking to your guns.

    Finally (for now), “While I commend your efforts to persuade evangelicals to accept science, our differences are over the validity of claims and effectiveness of methods.” I would agree if we were trying persuade robots or Vulcans the method should be just to present the evidence and leave it at that. Human beliefs (all of us–you and me included) are affected by all sorts of factors, not all of which are rational. Are you familiar with any of the research on the psychology of belief formation? Plopping the scientific evidence for evolution on the table in front of someone who is foreclosed to it does absolutely nothing. I’ve seen it time and time again. People have to trust you before they will listen to anything that challenges their belief systems. The Dawkins approach does the exact opposite of earning trust. When you call people idiots, that makes them think everything else you say in unworthy of consideration. I’ve been to lots of churches where invoking the name “Dawkins” has the effect of galvanizing the group against everything he stands for (I gave a seminar one time at a religious music festival called “Making Peace with Richard Dawkins”; it was the most controversial topic they’d ever been confronted with!).

    So, perhaps we can find some common ground. You want to rid the world of religion. That’s obviously not going to happen (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2016/may/26/the-world-is-getting-more-religious-because-the-poor-go-for-god). We want to help religious people come to terms with the obvious reality of evolution. Maybe you could get behind that much?



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  • Hi Jim

    Good of you to come around and give your viewpoint. Could I ask a favor? It will be easier to follow the discussion if you separate out the quotes that you are addressing in your paragraphs. To do this, copy and paste the interlocutor’s sentences separately with a couple spaces above and below it. Then add a right direction arrow directly in front of the first word of the quote leaving no space between them. > That way we can easily see the difference between your words and those of someone else.

    Thanks and carry on!



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  • Jim Stump #59
    Jun 28, 2016 at 10:06 am

    Have you guys ever read any philosophy of science??

    Yep! Some of even know when science WAS Natural philosophy!

    You make it sound so overwhelmingly clear that you’ve entirely cleared up the problem of demarcation between what counts as science and what doesn’t

    That is pretty clear and simple to understand!
    If it uses evidence and logical reasoning, mathematics etc, and is based on scientific methodology, it is science.
    If it is based on ancient mythology, no testable evidence, no Popper falsification, and indoctrinated preconceptions leading to circular thinking and other fallacies, it is not science!

    (if you had actually done that, you could pick a named chair in philosophy in about any university in the world).

    Er no! That is a wishful assertion on your part.

    Your mode of argumentation seems to be: if you don’t like it, call it pseudoscience;

    Nope, it works strictly on if it meets the conditions of scientific methodology. If it is not based on that methodology, it is not science.

    if someone suggests that something may not be science, say that’s ridiculous because there is no such thing as “extra-scientific” or anything beyond materialism.

    If you can produce evidence of anything having material effects in the real world or universe, which is “beyond materialism”, please present it! (bear in mind that materialism includes all the matter energy, forces and space-time of the Universe.) – and collect you Nobel prize!

    “I think you have just listed several “god-did-it-by-magic-because-I don’t-understand-the- mechanisms”, here! ”

    Where did this come from? I didn’t hint that I was invoking a god to explain these; I merely said that science can’t explain them–

    I think that is the well known fallacious “god-of gaps argument”

    I merely said that science can’t explain them which is patently true.

    Clearly you are a bit behind with the study of neuroscience!
    http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/synapse.html

    Yes, you can hold out hope (i.e., have faith) that science will reduce them away to configurations of particles in our brains.

    Science has already done this to a considerable extent. There is no evidence that emotional reactions are anything but electro-biochemistry affecting brain circuitry and bodily functions.
    Optimism in extending well evidenced knowledge of material reactions, is in a whole different category, to inventing magical aether or other notions of dualism for which there is no evidence whatsoever.

    There are other phenomena that humankind once thought needed non-material causes (e.g., thunder, epilepsy).

    Yes! Those gaps in knowledge where supernatural gap-fillers have been fitted are disappearing as science progresses.

    So you might argue: we have figured out material causes for some things; therefore we will figure out material causes for everything. Obviously not a valid argument,

    I think you would have to produce some reasoned refutation, and evidenced explanation for anything claimed to have “non-material causes”. Simple assertions fail to make a case!

    but there is an inductive appeal to it. Here’s a nod toward why I don’t think it’s the right approach.

    No evidence? Just nods and rhetoric??

    Morality is about evolved social interactions and recognising the interests of various parties. (Sociology, ethics, kin-selection).

    Let’s stick to morality: I (and most other humans) believe there really are things that are right or wrong in ways that are not reducible to the interests of various parties; e.g., it is wrong to torture children for fun. … . . then you have to say it’s not really wrong to torture children for fun. That’s a pretty high price to pay for sticking to your guns.

    Oh dear! Where did this irrational emotive garbage come from?

    The children are “interested parties” whose interests and well-being have to be recognised in their social context!
    What is difficult in understanding the ethics in that?

    Plopping the scientific evidence for evolution on the table in front of someone who is foreclosed to it does absolutely nothing. I’ve seen it time and time again.

    I am aware of that! That is why it is important to give children a proper scientific education where they learn logical reasoning, evidence based investigation and objective fair testing of hypotheses, so they can go on to fully develop their formal operational thinking skills. http://www.simplypsychology.org/formal-operational.html

    It is also why indoctrination and fallacious apologetics should be opposed.

    People have to trust you before they will listen to anything that challenges their belief systems.

    I agree, which is why bigoted small-mindedness and inflexible fixed ideas should not be inflicted on young children.

    The Dawkins approach does the exact opposite of earning trust. When you call people idiots, that makes them think everything else you say in unworthy of consideration.

    Personally, I only resort to calling out idiots, and mocking their dogged resistance to reason and evidence, unless I judge them to be beyond reason, and then have to consider the wider audience.

    Those who did not reason their way into beliefs, often are incapable of reasoning their way out of them. Some of them are incapable of reasoning or learning to reason at all- due to their deep indoctrination.

    I’ve been to lots of churches where invoking the name “Dawkins” has the effect of galvanizing the group against everything he stands for

    A large number of members of congregations have no idea what Dr. Dawkins stands for! (Evidenced reasoning and science, + opposing the damaging effects of religions on societies.)

    They have not read his books, but have merely listened to negative preaching disparaging them for their criticism of closely held irrational beliefs. – Often negative preaching from others who have also not read his books beyond the titles.

    Some of them come to post on this site, and quickly demonstrate they have no idea what they are talking about. (ie. No idea about his books, no idea about biology in general or science, and no idea about the origins of THE Bible or the history of biblical times)

    So, perhaps we can find some common ground. You want to rid the world of religion. That’s obviously not going to happen

    In the more educated countries religion is fading fast in an increasing proportion of the population.
    In backward and corrupt countries it is expanding.

    We want to help religious people come to terms with the obvious reality of evolution. Maybe you could get behind that much?

    You may succeed with mental compartmentalisation, but swapping to more dilute pseudo-science will not teach scientific methodology.
    That has to happen in schools.

    Some of the old die-hard fundamentalists will take their beliefs and their comfort-blanket gods, to their graves, but a new generation of enquiring minds can and do learn.

    Internet access to science facilities such as ESA, NASA etc .providing understandings of astronomy and planetary sciences, can do much to sweep away nonsense like Young-Earth-Creationism.

    Documentaries and scientific archaeology can provide evidence based history like never before.

    Similarly the vast availability of wild-life videos showing working ecology, can give very clear examples of evolution in action.

    Debating sites like this RDFS one, provide opportunities for people to develop their ideas and understanding of science, with lots of links to educational material.

    In England that teaching of evolution is a National Curriculum legal requirement.

    The opportunities are already there – once the deluded obstructionists are cleared out of the way.

    I hope these suggestions help you with your educational objectives.

    Have a look around some of the science discussions on this site for a wider view of the wonders of the Universe, and a critical examination of scientific claims.

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2016/06/yes-there-have-been-aliens/#li-comment-205210



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  • Jim,

    I won’t have the time to respond today, but I hope you will stick around to debate this.

    A few quick questions for starters though…Have you read The Age of Empathy by Frans de Waals? Do you know anything of “over-imitation” in childhood?



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  • From the linked article above:

    He contributed to the book because, he said, “We are losing too many bright young people who are getting misinformation about science or faith or both. It’s a tragedy for many young people who think they have to choose.”

    This statement by Ortman above includes the word “tragedy”. I’ve seen this word used in another topic where there is an element of control being exerted on young people – abortion. The religious right claims that women who have abortions are suffering a tragedy from which they will never recover. In both cases it’s the person who feels that their ability to control young minds is slipping away and that their only hope is to frighten the young people into obeying them.

    There is no tragedy in abortion and there is no tragedy in young people considering the information from the Bible/Koran and the information delivered to us from the canon of science. They are perfectly capable of sorting these into two categories of information; one is Middle Eastern fable and the other is a slow gradual accumulation of scientific fact.

    I trust our young people to come to excellent conclusions about these matters – as long as those who have been indoctrinated in religious ideology leave their agenda out it.



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  • “It promotes the idea that one can be serious about Christian faith and still accept a scientific Darwinian account of human origins.”

    Yes, one can do whatever one wants. And that’s precisely what Christian faith should be called: faith. —Or a delusion. I am free to call it that.

    “There’s a lot of room for conversation in our culture,” Haarsma said.

    Yes, apparently.

    I read the article. Not impressed. Angered and disgusted. The usual incoherencies, confusions, deceptions, errors, false premises, irresponsible, hole-ridden, unreasoning assertions, the hidden agendas, the underlying, implicit rage and intolerance peeping out, the condescension and arrogance, the sheer stupidity, and all the usual inconsistencies and nonsense. It’s only a matter of time before religion is swept up into the dust-heap of history, as someone said (Dawkins?) A lie cannot live forever.

    The good news is that you can’t take faith away from someone. So don’t despair, children. Now brush your teeth and go to sleep.

    I won’t have time to respond either.



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  • “Those who did not reason their way into beliefs, often are incapable of reasoning their way out of them. Some of them are incapable of reasoning or learning to reason at all- due to their deep indoctrination.”

    Excellent, Alan! I am stealing this 😉



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  • Alan4discussion

    “That is pretty clear and simple to understand!
    If it uses evidence and logical reasoning, mathematics etc, and is based on scientific methodology, it is science.
    If it is based on ancient mythology, no testable evidence, no Popper falsification, and indoctrinated preconceptions leading to circular thinking and other fallacies, it is not science!”

    OK, if we can’t get past this one, there’s not much point in continuing to talk. Look up anything you can find on the problem of demarcation. There is no definition that gives necessary and sufficient conditions that captures only and all of what intuitively mean by science. And if we don’t confine ourselves just to today, it’s even harder to separate out science from non-science historically. Feel free to send your two sentences to an academic journal and see what the response is.



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  • Jim Stump #66
    Jun 28, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    Alan4discussion – “That is pretty clear and simple to understand!
    If it uses evidence and logical reasoning, mathematics etc, and is based on scientific methodology, it is science.

    Look up anything you can find on the problem of demarcation. There is no definition that gives necessary and sufficient conditions that captures only and all of what intuitively mean by science.

    I realise that dichotomous thinkers have difficulty with the continuity and range of some subjects, but for practical purposes my definition with its range of categories is clear enough to identify what is recognised as acceptable evidence based science. and what is not.

    And if we don’t confine ourselves just to today, it’s even harder to separate out science from non-science historically.

    As the terms “science” and “scientist” only acquired their present meanings, earlier historical work is unclearly defined – especially as it was mixed with alchemy and other since debunked ideas.

    Feel free to send your two sentences to an academic journal and see what the response is.

    I don’t need to, as scientific journals are rigorous in their requirements for scientific methodology and Popper falsification in research papers they publish and already use similar criteria for accepting articles for peer review. .
    That is not to say that speculative articles and conjecture at the frontiers of knowledge are not published, but in reputable science journals, these are required to be labelled as such, and are, as part of the scientific process subjected to peer-level criticism and debate.

    I gave you a link to an article @#61, where I demonstrate constructive criticism of a poorly written article on a science topic which is of low quality and not from a science journal.
    Even though the subject is of a speculative nature standards of evidence and probability need to be properly indicated.



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  • Jim Stump #59

    I’ve been to lots of churches where invoking the name “Dawkins” has the effect of galvanizing the group against everything he stands for.

    As I pointed out earlier in this discussion, looking at an organisation’s mission statement, tells you about its core values.

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/aboutus/

    The mission of the Richard Dawkins Foundation is to promote scientific literacy and a secular worldview. Some might see this as two distinct missions:
    1) Teaching the value of science, and
    2) Advancing secularism.

    Yes, those are my foundation’s goals.
    You will not be surprised to learn that my personal priority is science as one of the highest and most aesthetically rewarding achievements of the human spirit.

    But permit me to trace the connection between science and the other preoccupation of my foundation, the advancement of secularism. I see those goals as interrelated and mutually reinforcing.

    You are well familiar with the existential challenges of global climate change and unsustainable population growth facing mankind and the planet. Of all the forces opposing an evidence-based response, religion is the most active — and it is especially strong in America.

    Religious extremism not only interferes with the advance of science but with personal freedoms and human dignity, and not only in places where jihadists hold sway but in America as well, in areas such as access to contraception, LGBTQ rights and women’s equality.

    Critical thinking is the real saviour of humankind. My foundation promotes respect for people who hold critical thinking as a cherished personal value and use it in day-to-day life.

    The logical counter to religious extremism is people who rely on evidence to make decisions. Yet the voice of secular people is maligned in this country.



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  • Alan4discussion #68

    He’s so much better at one of those goals than the other. The Greatest Show on Earth is so good and helpful at explaining science in an elegant way. The God Delusion only made him a lot of money and created an environment that made it almost impossible for religious people to hear anything he has to say about science.

    You guys believe that acceptance of evolution is incompatible with religious belief. So if I were your PR agent, I’d say you ought to be as nice as you can to religious people and get them to accept common ancestry to start with. If you’re right, that will just be a stepping stone to shedding their ridiculous religious beliefs.

    Now I happen to think that a lot of religious people do believe some silly and cartoonish things, and understanding science can help to correct that. But I don’t at all think that means all religion is ridiculous, so I’m not worried that people who accept evolution will affect the kind of religious faith I think is valuable. I’m not expecting you to endorse my views, but it would be nice if you would see what BioLogos is doing as worthwhile and say to the religious people who object to your science, “Hey, there are religious people who accept this science too.”



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  • @Jim Stump

    Let’s stick to morality: I (and most other humans) believe there really are things that are right or wrong in ways that are not reducible to the interests of various parties; e.g., it is wrong to torture children for fun. It is philosophy 101 class to come up with a scenario in a society in which overall utility is increased by torturing one child for fun.

    These questions are posed to try to get people thinking about morality not necessarily finding final solutions. For example: Imagine in the doctors office sit 5 people all in need of an organ donation one guy comes in with in perfect health for a year check up, should the doctor kill him to harvest the organs for the other five sacrificing one to save 5. This sort of argument is often used to attack a utilitarian approach but to my mind of thinking is easy to see how it does no such think if you take a second to think about it. Just off the top of my head. How many people would go to a doctor if doctors regularly slaughtered healthy people wanting check ups? How many would then die from not getting vaccinated, early detection of diseases, the amount of people saved by organ donation would quickly dry up as would the medical community. So a utilitarian in reality unless an idiot would have to consider more than the immediate situation, eg. not just the 6 people in the waiting room and the impact on the doctor (having to select and kill random patients) but the overall impact of a policy on society as a whole. This is why we don’t support dystopian policies such as this, we can see it is usually infinitively more complex. Thus using these simplistic criticisms is simply B.S. If you cannot figure this out then I worry you may not be an honest actor in this.

    On the other hand Jim Stump, you believe you don’t need to dwell on issues of morality, you believe you already have a perfect guide to ultimate morality etched into your heart if only you follow your perfect book, which support slavery, child sacrifice, genocide selling women as sex slaves, and punishes thought crime with an eternal torture chamber. So you don’t get to suggest utilitarians support child torture while supporting a god that for example brainwashed a Pharaoh (hardened his heart – several times) so he would not follow his instincts and free Abraham’s people from slavery so he could make a point by torturing his innocent people (they were living under a dictator) and murdering the first born of the city.

    Kin selection doesn’t explain why there are moral intuitions. It would be consistent of you to invoke the Michael Ruse explanation of morality: “a trick fobbed off on us by our genes”;

    It can, although I am under no illusions the explanation is not more nuanced than that. There are many short hand instincts in our behaviors. This makes sense as very little is possible without some form of approximation. For example we would not be able to recognize a family member if we didn’t approximate, we don’t need people to look exactly the same every time or else we would be lost is hair 1 007 007 blew a millimeter to the left. Likewise our moral instincts are approximations ‘be kind to people who look like you’, and this empathy bleeds across not only kin but also races, humanity and even into other creatures. It’s far from perfect but has been heavily studied and to ignore this by simply stating that one factor doesn’t explain it without reference to why, is simply not good enough. Where is your evidence, what is your specific objection and let’s talk about that. What is the evidence for your view? It seems only that you can’t or don’t wish to believe it. Sorry not good enough.

    but then you have to say it’s not really wrong to torture children for fun. That’s a pretty high price to pay for sticking to your guns.

    Which utilitarians are suggesting a policy of torture for fun? Note* while I am mildly familiar with utilitarianism my atheism does not mean I support it unconditionally or even at all. Are you deliberately mistaking a thought experiment with a manifesto for athiests? Many atheists hate philosophy or are ignorant of it. We are not like you religious, all you can say about us as a group is that we do not believe there is any evidence of a God/s.

    If you want to put utilitarian arguments into question then let’s look at real life examples there are plenty we could discuss? Is war sometimes necessary? Should you risk side effects from vaccination? etc. All perfectly reasonable arguments we could look at from a utilitarian or any other philosophic standpoint. I’d argue we should discuss and look at problems knowing they will likely be imperfect and be prepared to modify them. The religious are often unwilling to either change, adapt or look at current beliefs, this is why gay marriage has been hard to get through, why euthanasia is still an issue. Your God on the other hand is the ultimate utilitarian in the negative sense you seem to be trying to paint.

    He is prepared to eternally torture billions to save some significantly smaller subset for the crime of disbelief. He according to you tortured himself (his son), to save the whole of humanity, is this not the very argument you just used to rail against the utilitarians. Only the utilitarians pose this as a thought experiment, you think your god is real, that he really organized his own/his sons torture and sacrifice. Ball is in your court.

    Regards



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  • Jim Stump #70
    Jun 28, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    You guys believe that acceptance of evolution is incompatible with religious belief.

    Both YEC and theistic evolution are incompatible with Darwinian evolution, ecology, and modern genetics.

    So if I were your PR agent, I’d say you ought to be as nice as you can to religious people and get them to accept common ancestry to start with.

    I have no problem doing that with those who are at that very basic starting point in their science education. Religion should not even come into such discussions unless dogmatic blockages have been put into their minds as children.

    If you’re right, that will just be a stepping stone to shedding their ridiculous religious beliefs.

    That does indeed happen

    Now I happen to think that a lot of religious people do believe some silly and cartoonish things, and understanding science can help to correct that.

    It certainly can when it is taught a step at a time on the basis of evidence and practical examples. (ie. The diversity on modern populations – classification of genera, species sub-species, variation in gene pools and generations, plus fossils.)

    But I don’t at all think that means all religion is ridiculous, so I’m not worried that people who accept evolution will affect the kind of religious faith I think is valuable.

    Many of the religious are very pleasant people in everyday life. The problem is with “faith” as a thinking process, because it leads to accepting information and views without using the critical scrutiny scientific checking mechanisms.
    This leads to them being vulnerable to delusional and charlatan leaders instigating scams, jihadism, incompetent proclamations about medicine and science etc.
    Indoctrinated preconceptions and circular thinking, are no substitute for scientific methodology as an information source on which to make important decisions.

    I’m not expecting you to endorse my views, but it would be nice if you would see what BioLogos is doing as worthwhile

    What it is doing is not worthwhile. They are pretending science can be fudged to be compatible with the doctrines/mythology of [ insert religion denomination/ cult]. It can’t.
    It is better to initially ignore religious mental blockages and concentrate on the basic understanding of science.

    and say to the religious people who object to your science, “Hey, there are religious people who accept this science too.”

    I do that regularly, but without fudging the science into pseudo-science.
    “My science” is the only kind of science there is – honest science which based on objectivity, evidence, and reasoning, which is open to correction up-dating in the light of new evidence.

    But I don’t at all think that means all religion is ridiculous,

    The problem is that the ridiculous parts are mixed into the whole and unearned respect is demanded for them.
    Faith has no distinguishing mechanism other than back reference to indoctrination, and repetitively asserted moral claims written in dogmas.

    Atheists for example would never prioritise resources in service to gods before service to people, as in the various versions of the TEN COMMANDMENTS. – (The Catholic version misses out the bit about “graven images” which Muslims take very seriously!)

    Many core Christian beliefs ARE ridiculous.
    Obviously Genesis IS challenged by science right across the spectrum, from the inflationary period of the formation of the universe, the formation of stars planets and galaxies, the sequences in the formation of the Earth, the sequences in the evolution of life, the evolution of humans – without any Adam. Eve, magic garden, talking snakes, original sin, or need for any sacrifices resulting from the mythical “original sin”, these dogmas are simple nonsense!

    Most Christians are unaware of the history of the writing of “THE bible”, its OT polytheistic roots, and its NT 4th century editing!

    In fundamentalist communities children are ludicrously taught the “THE bible” (whichever selected bits from a chosen version), is history and science!

    This collection of multiple translations of myths with added forgeries, is not compatible with either evidence-based history or science, as honest scholars recognise.

    What BioLogos fails to recognise, is that the fixed ideas of religious dogmatism ARE the core problem which close minds to objectivity, and obstructs learning and rational behaviour!

    Your argument seems to be that those whose minds are only partially blocked from learning and compartmentalised by dogma, somehow are better at clearing the minds of those substantially blocked, than those clear thinkers who understand the whole path from closed-minded religious dogmatism, to clear objective adult thinking based on science and objectivity.
    They also know where the fundamentalists are mentally stuck in the earlier child-like stages of mental development, . . . .
    Stages of Development:
    sensorimotor,
    preoperational,
    concrete operational,
    formal operational.

    . . . due to the retarding effects of indoctrination and the teaching that critical examination of ideas and open minded doubt, is a sin!



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  • Jim Stump #70
    Jun 28, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    Alan4discussion #68

    He’s so much better at one of those goals than the other. The Greatest Show on Earth is so good and helpful at explaining science in an elegant way.

    So is “Climbing Mount Improbable”!

    The God Delusion only made him a lot of money and created an environment that made it almost impossible for religious people to hear anything he has to say about science.

    That is the problem with the fitting of “Faith-Blinkers” using childhood indoctrination. or learned fallacious circular thinking habits from preconceptions.

    Criticism of astrology, homeopathy, Flat-Earthism, Moon-landing conspiracy theorists, faith-healing, etc. comes up against the same wall of the closed minded denial of evidence, and the contorted mental gymnastics of pseudo-science apologists clinging to delusions.



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  • Jim

    I’m not expecting you to endorse my views, but it would be nice if you would see what BioLogos is doing as worthwhile

    What it is doing is not worthwhile. They are pretending science can be fudged to be compatible with the doctrines/mythology of [ insert religion denomination/ cult]. It can’t.

    This is the essential point.

    It is far far less damaging to young minds simply to say here is the science as we know it, here are our beliefs as we know then, the interface is a mystery for us.

    In fact there are far better areas to look for divine intercession in natural processes rather than some astonishing initial cue ball shot as Lamoureux would have it. But to get to these places you have to be merely curious scientists. And if you have any hypothesis in these areas (the thermodynamic hump blocking prokaryote to eukayote transition, and an astonishingly fecund and helpfully structured functional protein solution space) you must, to establish knowledge reliably, try and concoct a negatable hypothesis and attempt to disprove it. You must try your very hardest, want passionately, to disprove the hypothesis of divine intercession if you are to serve the idea with the truth finding it deserves.

    Only skepticism yields certainty as hypotheses are disproved one by one. Atheism is the approach of skepticism and is the way to accumulate a truer and more certain understanding of all things.

    Bringing faith to the table of science undercuts science at its very heart. (Happy to talk about Newton and Faraday here.

    Feeding children the view that faith is compatible with the best truth finding strategies is immoral in my view. Feeding the view that a universe and its specific contents are exactly as intended is simply non-scientific for the reason’s already given (biology intacta, but physics violated.) This is a cheap trick and unworthy.

    Make true scientists, skeptical to the last. They are the best chance you have finding what you are looking for.

    Science has sooo much to say about morals and their mammalian roots. But I will leave this to others for a while.



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  • Jim Stump 70

    “The God Delusion only made him a lot of money and created an environment that made it almost impossible for religious people to hear anything he has to say about science.”

    The God Delusion should be mandatory in schools, and this above is a cheap shot. People always seek to attribute self-seeking motives to an author, and with zero evidence, when they can’t or won’t respond to specific ideas. Religious people find it impossible to hear what he has to say? Yes. Many do find it impossible. What else is new?

    The book is more than good. It is liberating! Brilliant eye opening stuff. No. No. Liberating stuff. The parable of the teapot. The parable of the Teapot. Bertrand Russell’s parable of the teapot.



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  • Dan #75
    this above is a cheap shot. People always seek to attribute self-seeking motives to an author, and with zero evidence,

    I’m sorry you took my comment that way. I did not impute any motives for why he wrote the book. I merely stated two outcomes of the book, for which I supply the following evidence:

    1. It made him a lot of money: Richard Dawkins tweet (3 Sept 2014): “Just learned that sales of The God Delusion have topped 3 million. Unable to disguise my pleasure.”

    2. It made it almost impossible for religious people to hear anything he says about science: For starters I submit the 9 June 2015 article from the Guardian, “Is Richard Dawkins destroying his reputation?

    The scientist and bestselling writer has become the face of a new crusading atheism. But even his closest allies worry that his online provocations do more harm than good”



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  • Hi Jim

    The evidence you provide for point 1. Is there more to that quote because I see no mention of money? I too would be pleased if a message I was trying to spread was read by three million people.

    Point 2. RD is not offering consolation but the truth. If people want therapy and shielding from the truth they can carry on reading their holy books.

    I have an older sister who is a born again Muslim. I have tried to explain to her about evolution and that beautiful bird she is looking at did not appear out of thin air. When exhausted with the detail she does not really understand, she claimed it for god anyway. It seems you are trying to do the same thing? It seems you are telling drug addicts (say) they can still be drug addicts and function in normal society. There is a conflict and it hurts the people around them, mainly their offspring.



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  • Thanks Alan. I find it extremely interesting but I cannot take the pained look on her face anymore or the many prayers she says for me after our conversations.



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  • Jim Stump #76
    Jun 29, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    I did not impute any motives for why he wrote the book. I merely stated two outcomes of the book, for which I supply the following evidence:

    It made him a lot of money: Richard Dawkins tweet (3 Sept 2014): “Just learned that sales of The God Delusion have topped 3 million. Unable to disguise my pleasure.”

    It does look rather more like pleasure at successful communication, rather than being about money!

    After all Richard was again “unable to disguise his pleasure” about this linked publication of “The God Delusion in Arabic“, for which he received no payments” when it was downloaded over 10million times!

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2014/11/the-god-delusion/
    It probably never crossed Richard Dawkins’s mind that his book, The God Delusion, would reach out to Arab audiences in their own language. When I met him in Switzerland at Denkfest, organized by the Swiss Freethinker’s Association, he was surprised when I said I had read The God Delusion in Arabic. He told me that he was not aware of the translation, and nor had he had any official request for it. I explained that it had been the work of an Iraqi friend called Bassam Al-Baghdadi, who lives in Sweden.

    To say that Bassam’s work has been well received would be an understatement. The pdf was downloaded ten million times, with 30 percent going to Saudi Arabia. Bassam said that there were over 1,000 downloads on the very first day after he uploaded it, and the numbers only climbed as the translation was picked up and shared on the blogs, websites and forums of prominent Arab atheists.

    It made it almost impossible for religious people to hear anything he says about science:

    Closed-ear-denial is a quite usual response of fundamentalists to to unpalatable facts.
    It has nothing to do with who is trying to impart those facts.

    For starters I submit the 9 June 2015 article from the Guardian, “Is Richard Dawkins destroying his reputation?

    I’d have to wonder if you read the article beyond the negative title some editor has stuck on to it?

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jun/09/is-richard-dawkins-destroying-his-reputation



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  • @ Jim Stump

    The God Delusion only made him a lot of money and created an environment that made it almost impossible for religious people to hear anything he has to say about science.

    Yes, its made him a lot of money, is this an argument against it? If so then I can only assume Biologos doesn’t sell any books or accept donations?

    His book has been attributed by many who read it for causing them to leave their faith. Not so in my case I was an atheist before the book came out but I became one trying to defend my religion. Like many people here I was once religious as were/are many in my family, I don’t think them all stupid, they all are using faulty thinking and pointing this out may cause offense but much less harm than that caused by belief.

    The religious were attacking Richard long before the God delusion as a simple search on you tube will uncover, after the selfish gene he was attacked by creationists and the religious, he was attacked constantly for merely suggesting that we share common ancestry. To criticize him for polarizing the debate is simply inaccurate, the religious want a free pass for faulty thinking, and when he points it out he is criticized for being rude. Well when the religious are out of our health care system, out of public morality issues like gay marriage then perhaps they have a point until then not.



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  • Jim Stump #76
    Jun 29, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    The scientist and bestselling writer has become the face of a new crusading atheism.

    So it would seem from the rapid take up of 10million downloads on the publication of “The God Delusion in Arabic“ in countries where criticisms from science and atheism are suppressed.

    But even his closest allies worry that his online provocations do more harm than good”

    One or two might have slight differences of opinion on methods, but most of the dissent comes from apologists posing as atheists.

    However, agreements between scientists and atheists, being objectively evidence based and subject to up-date and review, happen at a vastly more rapid pace than the conflicts between religious thinkers, whose inflexible, dogmatic, wish-thinking, thought processes, move almost on geological time scales in the face of new evidence or conflicting views.

    https://www.richarddawkins.net/2016/06/barton-bunk-religious-right-historian-claims-people-who-criticize-him-hate-america/#li-comment-205729



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  • 83
    Pinball1970 says:

    @76

    Some people really do have a low pain threshold at the Guardian, perhaps it is same journalists who cannot write an article without using the words; islamophobia, sexist, patriarchy or safe-space?

    Richard Dawkins is a scientist and a typical English gentleman, I have yet to see in interview where is he is rude shouts or swears.

    Even faced with idiotic questions he tries to be polite and impart information on why they are wrong, they are always wrong.

    Wendy Wright and unbelievably arrogant woman who seemed completely impervious to any sort of factual evidence and reasoning from Richard got over an hour of his time.

    Painful to watch and I was close to screaming at my computer monitor but RD managed to maintain his composure.

    Idiots on the big question in the UK, Q&A in Australia and moronic questions from brainwashed students in liberty in the USA were all given informed level headed responses, more than they deserved.

    I have not met any atheists who thinks he is doing a bad job promoting science and reason, whilst trying to expose the hypocrisy and nonsense seen in religion and pseudoscience.



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  • @OP But this month, another group of evangelicals is making a very different case – minus any animatronic critters — in a new book,
    “How I Changed My Mind About Evolution.”

    However, a more accurate title would be:-

    How I partially changed my mind about evolution, but still could not understand the random branching opportunist nature of Natural Selection – or how to use scientific methodology to reach valid conclusions“.

    It promotes the idea that one can be serious about Christian faith and still accept a scientific Darwinian account of human origins.

    . . .because it either instils mental compartmentalisation, or fails at scientific methodology, and is still stuck with biblical preconceptions based on faith in place of evidence!

    BioLogos, the organization of pro-[theistic] evolution Christians in the [pseudo] sciences. . . . . .



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  • 86
    Pinball1970 says:

    @#85 Hi Bonnie

    I think if we had enough time to teach these guys some genetics and biochemistry we would not have to worry so much about Lucy Ardi or in AMDs case Orchids (I cant open the link but I have seen the question is this the one?)

    I personally think the fossil record is strong as is are the other arguments (embryology vestigial organs etc) but the chemistry, biochemistry and genetics arguments are stronger because they are more fundamental.

    There is absolutely no way anyone with even a small modicum of scientific knowledge would see anything like a plan or intelligent in evolution when considered on the molecular level.

    Why would they? Its just electrons moving about, shape and charge- the same thing atoms have been doing since the beginning of time.

    Hand on heart however I still think this could be a good step having weighed up all the comments including my scoff earlier.

    Reason being is that most Christians already accept evolution but don’t know about or don’t think about the awkward parts.

    Things like oncogenes, prions, viruses, ERVs, harmful bacteria plasmids and anti biotic resistance, fungi, animal arms races and which primate species god gave a soul.

    If they care about the subject they will have read about those things and decide if they fit in with the concept of an intelligent designer if that designer bears any resemblance to YHWH and his ghost written book.

    I was a half decent student but a very committed Christian in 1980s and evolution (plus a few other things) made this position untenable.

    I did it so I have hope half a story will be enough to set things in motion.



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  • Pinball1970 #86
    Jul 1, 2016 at 8:35 am

    If you put a > in front of quotes, and leave a double line space at the end of them, it brings up the red highlighting, makes them clearer, and separates them from the text of your comments.



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  • To Jim Stump et al I have to say that while it might be mildly laudable trying getting the religious to believe in evolution it doesn’t alter the primary problem that they’re still religious. Believing in things for which there is no evidence is irrational, a position devoid of critical thinking, and as far as I’m concerned direct evidence of insanity. I don’t want people like that in positions of power, in education, in government or frankly even flying a plane or driving a train.

    The religious have no problem with 99.99999% of science – just the bits their books of bronze age woo refer to in some way. They’re quite happy to accept how cars, planes, mobile phones, microwave ovens and guns work and that the laws of physics and chemistry drive all this. Even without religion it seems utterly non-sensical to accept that the scientific method is correct so much of the time but quibble about a couple of bits that they don’t even have any evidence are wrong.

    Being happy that someone religious is finally convinced to accept evolution, while still remaining religious, seems a bit like taking some comfort in a psychiatrist finally getting a paedophile to accept that it’s bad to molest the under 10s. That still leaves a lot of teenagers at risk.

    There are profound works of literature that have some light to shed on the matter. Am I referring to Dawkins, the great philosophers of the ages, Jung, Kant? Nope of course not. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy tells us about the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation which produced a range of products operated by AI’s with Genuine People Personalities which invariably failed to work, often with fatal, or at the very least humorous results. It has this to say about their products:

    “It is very easy to be blinded to the essential uselessness of them by the sense of achievement you get from getting them to work at all.
    In other words – and this is the rock solid principle on which the whole of the Corporation’s Galaxy-wide success is founded – their fundamental design flaws are completely hidden by their superficial design flaws.”

    There rests my case. Worrying about which bits of science the religious can be coerced to believe in is to worry far too much about their superficial flaws. The fundamental flaw of believing in invisible sky pixies still remains.



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