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Christians battle each other over evolution

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posted on May, 28 2009 @ 09:25 PM
First the article:

The Discovery Institute – the Seattle-based headquarters of the intelligent design movement – has just launched a new website, Faith and Evolution, which asks, can one be a Christian and accept evolution? The answer, as far as the Discovery Institute is concerned, is a resounding: No.

The new website appears to be a response to the recent launch of the BioLogos Foundation, the brainchild of geneticist Francis Collins, former head of the Human Genome Project and rumoured Obama appointee-to-be for head of the National Institutes of Health. Along with "a team of scientists who believe in God" and some cash from the Templeton Foundation, Collins, an evangelical Christian who is also a staunch proponent of evolution, is on a crusade to convince believers that faith and science need not be at odds. He is promoting "theistic evolution" – the belief that God (the prayer-listening, proactive, personal God of Christianity) chose to create life by way of evolution.

It sounds like a nice idea, but to my mind any time you try to reconcile science and religion by rejecting Stephen Jay Gould's notion of "non-overlapping magisteria" and instead try shoehorning them into a single worldview, something suffers. My concern is that science will take the hit – and Collins's speculative arguments about divine intervention via quantum uncertainty seem dangerously poised for the punch. The Discovery Institute's concern, on the other hand, is that Christianity will take the hit. "For Christians," they write on their website, "mainstream theistic evolution raises challenges to traditional doctrines about God's providence, the Fall and the detectability of God's design in nature." For them, reconciling evolution and religious faith is simply a hopeless endeavour.

Related Links:
Stephen Jay Gould and the Politics of Evolution
divine intervention via quantum uncertainty

Forget Atheism, there is a fierce battle brewing between Christians over evolution.

On one hand we have The Discovery Institute who want to replace science with religion and on the other we the Biologs foundation which sees the two as perfectly compatible.

The Discovery Institute has now made it crystal clear that they have no interest in reconciling science and religion – instead, they want their brand of religion to replace science. Which makes it all the more concerning when their new website includes resources and curricula for high-school biology classes, and promotes the pseudoscientific documentary film "Expelled" as part of their campaign to introduce non-scientific alternatives to evolution under the banner of "academic freedom".

Basically this is a dispute between those who think that "dinosaur fossils were put on earth by God in order to test our faith," and those who see no heresy in reconciling their faith with reason and scientific knowledge.

I am agnostic and I have no horse in this race ...

I do admire however individuals who are secure enough in their faith not to take affront at the light of each scientific discovery. That in itself is more indicative of said faith than the above mentioned dinosaur fossils.

I also suspect that as usual, creationists and atheists have much more in common than they are willing to concede. In this case a shared adversary in a Man who is both accepting of his spirit AND his reason.

posted on May, 28 2009 @ 09:30 PM
As a Christian, I think science is a wonderful thing.

God gave us a mind to think, deduce, and decide. Without our minds we would be nothing more than drones.

Science, for me, helps to explain some things, and those things it cannot explain strenghten my faith and give me even more of a yearning for knowledge.

I think that God does use evolution as a tool, and that God is a galactic tinkerer and likes to create new beings and things.

Without science, a world with nothing but religion would be a FAR WORSE thing than a world with both.

Faith needs science. Science needs faith.

posted on May, 28 2009 @ 09:31 PM
Just as there where Pharisees in the time the Good Book was written they abound today.

It clearly states in the book all have sinned and come short of the glory of God and he is the ultimate judge. And judge not lest ye be judged yourself.

But men and there pride like to judge others even if they proclaim to be Religious. God knows your heart and will judge accordingly.

Always has to be some one pointing fingers...

posted on May, 28 2009 @ 09:37 PM
I'm not a christian but i believe that God created us.

I also believe that we evolve to survive in our environment.

I just can't believe in the theory that we were accidently created.

That's just my belief.

posted on May, 28 2009 @ 10:06 PM
reply to post by LDragonFire

i hope god doesn't judge on grammar.

no seriously. atheism vs evolution has provided some of the most entertaining debates i've ever seen. it is really great to watch them in action. the athiests try to act so cool and collected and the religious ones try to prove a personal belief. it is really entertaining and i suggest that everyone watch at least one or two of these debates.

the problem is that neither of these subjects matter in the slightest. evolution is totally useless and religion is only good if you believe and practice it. neither of them are worth deciding on or deciding between. except of course if your livelihood relies on one or the other. that's understandable.

christians vs. christians is so far beyond rationality it's practically normal.

posted on May, 28 2009 @ 10:19 PM
reply to post by schrodingers dog

S&F. Good post.

I'm most interested in microbial evolution these days, but consider any reasonable discussion of the general topic to be important.

posted on May, 28 2009 @ 10:23 PM

Originally posted by soficrow
reply to post by schrodingers dog

I'm most interested in microbial evolution these days ...

Ah, if you haven't seen this you might find it interesting:

Historical contingency and the evolution of a key innovation in an experimental population of Escherichia coli

posted on May, 28 2009 @ 10:33 PM

Originally posted by schrodingers dog

Originally posted by soficrow
reply to post by schrodingers dog

Ah, if you haven't seen this you might find it interesting:

Historical contingency and the evolution of a key innovation in an experimental population of Escherichia coli

Very. So a successful mutation "finally evolved in one population by 31,500 generations." ...I can't access the full article but seems there were no environmental changes - which are key to triggering mutations.

...I'd like to know how quickly E. coli might evolve with few electrical jolts added to the medium. Just occasionally...


posted on May, 28 2009 @ 10:39 PM
reply to post by soficrow

As requested.

posted on May, 28 2009 @ 10:53 PM

Originally posted by schrodingers dog
reply to post by soficrow

As requested.

...You expect me to read THAT at this time of night?

...I tried tho. Saw nothing about any electrical jolts. Stable medium. Seriously, those suckers need to be shocked. Then they'll perform.

PS. Thanks. That was QUICK.

[edit on 28-5-2009 by soficrow]

posted on May, 28 2009 @ 11:02 PM
Yes! The religious are fighting amongst themselves now! Satan will be pleased...

As an atheists, and a supporter in the Theory of Evolution, Im glade that some christians have joined my side. I don't see why any atheist would be against some christians also believing in evolution, but I do see why the creationists would have a problem and it is great. Slowly the ignorance of the old ways will fade.

posted on May, 28 2009 @ 11:08 PM
Actually, Satan would be more pleased with ignorance, I think

And yes, some of us Christains, even Protestants like myself, are open minded and try to look at everything as objectively as we can. Granted, we are in the minority, and are shunned for some of our 'sacriligeous' beliefs, but we really don't care.

After all, to us, God is the ulitmate decider, not man. Not the church.

posted on May, 28 2009 @ 11:09 PM
Ok, back to the above mentioned "battle" between Creationists and Theistic Evolutionists ...

If I had a goat this is is what would be getting it:

Francis Collins criticizes intelligent design (ID) on the grounds that it fails to suggest approaches for experimental verification, but then he cites experiments that he says prove it wrong. He also criticizes it for being a God of the gaps argument, but only after redefining ID as an argument from ignorance. Collins feels that ID poses a serious problem to Christian belief because it rejects Darwinian evolution, which he feels is supported by overwhelming evidence. But the only evidence Collins cites for Darwin’s mechanism of variation and selection is microevolution – minor changes within existing species. And the principal evidence he cites for Darwin’s claim of common ancestry is DNA sequences that he says have no function – though genome researchers are discovering that many of them do have functions. Collins’s defense of Darwinian theory turns out to be largely an argument from ignorance that must retreat as we learn more about the genome – in effect, a Darwin of the gaps. CSC

Nothing like taking a well established creationist tactic and attempt to semantically reverse it for one's own dogma.

God of the gaps:

The term God-of-the-gaps argument usually refers to an argument that assumes an act of God as the explanation for an unknown phenomenon, and is a variant of an argument from ignorance.[citation needed] Commonly such an argument can be reduced to the following form:

There is a gap in scientific knowledge.

The gap is filled by acts of a god (and therefore also proves, or helps to prove, the existence of said god).

One example of such an argument, demonstrating how God is supposed to explain one of the gaps in biology, is as follows: "Because current science can't figure out exactly how life started, it must be God who caused life to start." This example is widely used in the debate of "intelligent design vs. evolution", since the religious side of intelligent design often tries to discredit the theory of evolution for not accounting for the origin of life.

The God of the Gaps argument tries to relegate God to the leftovers of science: as scientific knowledge increases, the dominion of God decreases. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said: " wrong it is to use God as a stop-gap for the incompleteness of our knowledge. If in fact the frontiers of knowledge are being pushed further and further back (and that is bound to be the case), then God is being pushed back with them, and is therefore continually in retreat. We are to find God in what we know, not in what we don't know. wiki

So lets review this ...

Take the argument that has so successfully been made against creationism, change God with Darwin, and voila ...

A ready made position against Atheists and Theistic Evolutionists.


posted on May, 28 2009 @ 11:13 PM
I'm a Diest and believe I keep good company with the likes of Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Thomas Paine, George Washington and many others.

I do believe in god and thus that god created the Universe but do not believe in Genesis and the depiction of creation depicted within.

Of course I could be wrong, but keep in mind that: Genesis, even if it is completely true, was written thousands of years ago to people with no concept of science whatsoever. Anything more complex or written in more detail, in genesis would have been completely over anyones heads at the time.

That leads to countless debate that we will never know the answers to. What did they mean by days? What would have happened if they would have written that god created single cell organisms in his likeness and that through his magnificence we evolved into the wonderful beings we are today? Those men who wrote it would have been burned alive and then dismembered! lol

[edit on 28-5-2009 by amazing]

posted on May, 29 2009 @ 11:35 AM
reply to post by schrodingers dog

Can one be a Christian and accept evolution? The answer, as far as the Discovery Institute is concerned, is a resounding: No.

I'm surprised to hear that. The main 'requirement,' if you will, for being a Christian is accepting Jesus as our savior. If a creationist Christian and a theistic evolutionist Christian want to get in a debate over the science, then they should be able to without having their beliefs called into question.

If we take all the evidence into consideration, what it seems to be pointing to is a creation event followed by various levels of evolution. The totality of evidence does not appear to point to an instant creation event nor does it appear to point to all organisms on earth having a common ancestor. It really does appear to be a mix of both.

And that's me being completely honest with what the evidence seems to be saying. Also, none of what I said above contradicts the Bible, which says 'It is good,' not 'It is finished.' After the fall, it is very possible original creation was thrown out of kilter, just as the Bible implies, so it is very possible the original creation later became faulted through mutation, also supported by the evidence.

That is all my personal opinion, of course, but I bring it up to prove a point- I love Jesus with all my heart and He comes first, always. I am a Christian who believes He is my savior and I believe God created the universe, earth, and life even if I do not understand all the details and workings.

So it is a fun debate and an interesting discussion but I really dislike one Christian saying to another that they aren't real Christians due to something that isn't even a salvation issue. All that is really mentioned in the New Testament is that we believe God did it and that He is the creator- not the means through which he did it.

If someone loves Jesus and has accepted Him as their savior, then they are Christians, IMO. I absolutely do not accept evolution on the complete level as discovered by Darwin or defined by Darwinism because that is not what the evidence shows but I can see that it happens on some levels and that does not conflict with the Bible.

So it's a moot issue, IMHO.

And as for the 'God of the Gaps,' criticism, I see Darwinists have a similar escape and that is 'Chance of the Gaps.'

posted on May, 29 2009 @ 11:45 AM
Darwinism has not existed for over a 100 years,but i know many Christians who have no problem with evolution and understand it.I think thats what it comes down to...understanding.The basics of Evolution itself is very simple to understand,i think alot of why people are so vehemently opposed is a sub conscious need to believe we are not great apes and somehow apart from the natural world and the natural phenomena which governs it..everyone is different of course and not one size fits all.

posted on May, 29 2009 @ 11:49 AM
Eek, I just noticed that I forgot to include the source article in my OP.

Christians battle each other over evolution

My apologies.

[edit on 29 May 2009 by schrodingers dog]

posted on May, 29 2009 @ 12:23 PM
Faith and Reason have always been intimately connected since way before the "Enlightenment" reduced reason to the scientific method. Have a look, for example, at the writings of St Thomas Aquinas, full not only of reason and logic in the manner of his discussion but also treating of reason itself.

I'm afraid that America having such a vocal evangelical element has left all Christians being tarnished with the irrational label. One Christian institution - the Catholic Church - was fairly quiet on the whole issue of Evolution from its first appearance until Pope Pius XII addressed the issue about 60 years ago.

A summary of the Catholic position vis-a-vis evolution can be found here for those who may wish to look.

Personally, as a Christian, the jury is out for me. Evolution proposes some reasonable answers to the questions of our material existence. I am fascinated by science and still love dinosaurs from my childhood and am currently getting into the early history of homo sapiens sapiens - its really quite fascinating, not least the evidence of how soon after the sub-species appearance there seemed to be a concern for the spiritual.

I am, perhaps obviously, a theist and do believe in a personal God Who is involved in the whole of creation as a continuing presence in a continuing process, if that process is and has been evolution His hand has been there.

I do love in Luke (Chapter 12) the words:

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. ...
Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?
Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you.

Of course a major problem that arises is that many use evolution as a proof that God does not exist - that to me is irrational - and I think this has resulted in a rejection by some Christians of evolution. However, it need not, nature is reasonable because its Creator is Reason.

posted on May, 29 2009 @ 04:19 PM

Originally posted by Supercertari

Of course a major problem that arises is that many use evolution as a proof that God does not exist - that to me is irrational - and I think this has resulted in a rejection by some Christians of evolution. However, it need not, nature is reasonable because its Creator is Reason.

I think you and AshleyD have it just about right there.

Evolution as a theory is just that.

Even if correct it neither proves or disproves the existence of God.

To start with I can't imagine that to the faithful God needs to be empirically proven. If so it would be called pragmatism not faith.

No matter how some atheists and IDers wish to spin it for their own cause, the two issue couldn't be more unrelated.

Evolution addresses a process not creation.

I could never understand how that for some can be construed as an affront to God.

posted on May, 29 2009 @ 05:09 PM
reply to post by schrodingers dog

Agreed totally S&F.
For some reason this thead made me think of this quote:

“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”
Galileo Galilei

I could never understand how that for some can be construed as an affront to God.

Classic human BS? I can't understand how evolution could be construed as irrefutable proof one doesn't exist. But there you have it.
And I think part of it is a classic human "I'm right, nothing you can say will change my mind." refusal to accept information contrary to their accepted worldview. You see it at times in science too.

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