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Author Topic:   Is Evolution a Radical Idea?
robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 195 (350239)
09-19-2006 9:53 AM


In the thread about the Pope's comments, Tusko and I were discussing "evolutionism," mentioned by the Pope as a danger to religion. I suppose we can define evolutionism as an atheistic philosophy that arises out of the Theory of Evolution. Evolution suggests abiogenesis, and abiogenesis, I would argue, suggests no God.

Tusko disagrees as follows, making an interesting parallel with heliocentrism:

I agree that some people might see God as an optional extra if they accept evolution and chemical abiogenesis to be true. But I disagree that this is necessarily the only course of action that a theist can take; personally, I think it would be a mistake. I don't think the existence of God becomes any less likely if we decide that life arose from natural processes at some point rather than god reaching down and shuffling carbon and hydrogen atoms like a magic trick. An omnipotent God who sets everything up and lets it roll is just as hands on as an interventionist god, because everything goes exactly according to plan.

Those who didn't want to admit that the earth wasn't the centre of the universe saw heliocentrism as a challenge to their notion of the Almighty. Now as our notion of God has adapted, heliocentrism is largely an irrelevance.

I'd argue that its similar with evolution and abiogenesis. These concepts challege people's notion of what God is and does, but there is still plenty of room for a pretty coherent notion of God that takes into account that life didn't necessarily originate with a Kazzam! one day when some omnipotent being felt like doing something a bit different.

As I mentioned in the previous message, my hunch is that that if you play up the "preplanned" nature of the universe, God is made no more of an irrelevance than when earth just became the third rock from the sun.

The issue here is whether evolution is the same sort of thing as heliocentrism.

My own view is that evolution leads quite naturally to evolutionism and is devastating to religious belief.

(I hope I got that right, Tusko).


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by NosyNed, posted 09-19-2006 10:40 AM robinrohan has replied
 Message 4 by iano, posted 09-19-2006 11:02 AM robinrohan has replied
 Message 11 by dwise1, posted 09-19-2006 11:42 AM robinrohan has replied
 Message 12 by PaulK, posted 09-19-2006 11:44 AM robinrohan has replied
 Message 19 by RickJB, posted 09-19-2006 2:19 PM robinrohan has not replied
 Message 20 by RickJB, posted 09-19-2006 2:20 PM robinrohan has replied
 Message 42 by Tusko, posted 09-19-2006 7:40 PM robinrohan has not replied
 Message 191 by Ben!, posted 09-24-2006 8:27 PM robinrohan has not replied

AdminNosy
Administrator
Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 2 of 195 (350251)
09-19-2006 10:32 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.

NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8971
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003


Message 3 of 195 (350256)
09-19-2006 10:40 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by robinrohan
09-19-2006 9:53 AM


Who or what is the center of attention.
I think heliocentrism and evolution both have exactly the same problem for some people.

It has nothing to do with God. The problem for them isn't that they make it easier or harder to believe in God. Heliocentrism doesn't move God out of the center of the universe. Evolution says nothing about how God became to be.

The problem with both is the they remove humans from the center of the universe and from special attention. It is pure hubris that underlies some people problems with our increasing understanding of how the universe actually unfolds.

Edited by NosyNed, : spelling


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by robinrohan, posted 09-19-2006 9:53 AM robinrohan has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by robinrohan, posted 09-19-2006 11:04 AM NosyNed has replied
 Message 6 by jar, posted 09-19-2006 11:10 AM NosyNed has not replied
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iano
Member (Idle past 1261 days)
Posts: 6165
From: Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
Joined: 07-27-2005


Message 4 of 195 (350262)
09-19-2006 11:02 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by robinrohan
09-19-2006 9:53 AM


My own view is that evolution leads quite naturally to evolutionism and is devastating to religious belief.

Billy Graham on Creation Science writes:


"I don't think that there's any conflict at all between science today and the Scriptures. I think that we have misinterpreted the Scriptures many times and we've tried to make the Scriptures say things they weren't meant to say, I think that we have made a mistake by thinking the Bible is a scientific book. The Bible is not a book of science. The Bible is a book of Redemption, and of course I accept the Creation story. I believe that God did create the universe. I believe that God created man, and whether it came by an evolutionary process and at a certain point He took this person or being and made him a living soul or not, does not change the fact that God did create man. ... whichever way God did it makes no difference as to what man is and man's relationship to God."

You have often said that you felt the two were irreconcilable (being a Christian and believing in evolution). I can't say I have ever agreed with that notion. If believing in ones need for a saviour and that saviour being Christ is what results in ones being made a Christian, then I cannot see what other beliefs about things such as the flood and evolution have to do with it. The one doesn't influence the other necessarily. Peoples theologies might vary but salvation by ones theology is not a method of salvation I have ever heard mentioned.

Evolution suggests abiogenesis

I cannot see this either. Evolution relies on being evidentially based, abiogenesis not. Even if someone managed to concoct some basic form of self-replicating life in a lab it says nothing at all about it ever having happened in fact. Concluding abiogenesis happened (whether due to evolution or anything else) is total leap of faith.

Edited by iano, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by robinrohan, posted 09-19-2006 9:53 AM robinrohan has replied

Replies to this message:
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robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 195 (350263)
09-19-2006 11:04 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by NosyNed
09-19-2006 10:40 AM


Re: Who or what is the center of attention.
It has nothing to do with God.

The scientific theory doesn't have anything to do with God, but the ideas suggested by it do.

evolution
abiogenesis
formation of planets

There's a similarity in all these ideas, namely the notion of gradual natural change over time. Evolutionism does away with any necessity for God. If there were no evolutionary ideas, we would have to suppose some kind of special creation.

I take your point about the human-centeredness, however.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by NosyNed, posted 09-19-2006 10:40 AM NosyNed has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by NosyNed, posted 09-19-2006 11:31 AM robinrohan has replied
 Message 62 by ReverendDG, posted 09-20-2006 1:24 PM robinrohan has not replied

jar
Member
Posts: 33957
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.0


Message 6 of 195 (350264)
09-19-2006 11:10 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by NosyNed
09-19-2006 10:40 AM


Re: Who or what is the center of attention.
The problem with both is the they remove humans from the center of the universe and from special attention. It is pure hubris that underlies some people problems with our increasing understanding of how the universe actually unfolds.

I think that is an important point. Many people seem to like the idea of God revolving around themselves.

It has nothing to do with God. The problem for them isn't that they make it easier or harder to believe in God. Heliocentrism doesn't move God out of the center of the universe. Evolution says nothing about how God became to be.

More to the point, science can never address issues such as the existence or non-existence of GOD. Reality is.

If GOD exists, She exists regardless of any evidence that shows It does not exist.

If GOD does not exist, He does not exist regardless of any evidence that shows It does exist.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion

This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by NosyNed, posted 09-19-2006 10:40 AM NosyNed has not replied

Replies to this message:
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robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 195 (350266)
09-19-2006 11:16 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by iano
09-19-2006 11:02 AM


I cannot see this either. Evolution relies on being evidentially based, abiogenesis not. Even if someone managed to concoct some basic form of self-replicating life in a lab it says nothing at all about it ever having happened in fact. Concluding abiogenesis happened (whether due to evolution or anything else) is total leap of faith.

The idea of evolution and the idea of abiogenesis fit together like matching gloves. I'm not talking about evidence, but the plausible ideas that arise out of the evidence.


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Replies to this message:
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robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 8 of 195 (350267)
09-19-2006 11:17 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by jar
09-19-2006 11:10 AM


Re: Who or what is the center of attention.
science can never address issues such as the existence or non-existence of GOD. Reality is.

I'm talking about evolutionism not the scientific theory of evolution.


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 Message 6 by jar, posted 09-19-2006 11:10 AM jar has not replied

NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8971
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003


Message 9 of 195 (350276)
09-19-2006 11:31 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by robinrohan
09-19-2006 11:04 AM


Other ideas to add to the list...
The scientific theory doesn't have anything to do with God, but the ideas suggested by it do.

evolution
abiogenesis
formation of planets

I don't see why you left these off your list:

earthquakes
the sun
volcanoes
lightning
wind storms


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by robinrohan, posted 09-19-2006 11:04 AM robinrohan has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by robinrohan, posted 09-19-2006 11:41 AM NosyNed has replied

robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 10 of 195 (350281)
09-19-2006 11:41 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by NosyNed
09-19-2006 11:31 AM


Re: Other ideas to add to the list...
I don't see why you left these off your list:

earthquakes
the sun
volcanoes
lightning
wind storms

I don't get your point. I'm speaking of origins.

Let me put it this way. The concept of there being no God is much more plausible now than in, say, the 18th century.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by NosyNed, posted 09-19-2006 11:31 AM NosyNed has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 28 by NosyNed, posted 09-19-2006 3:40 PM robinrohan has replied

dwise1
Member
Posts: 5199
Joined: 05-02-2006
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 11 of 195 (350282)
09-19-2006 11:42 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by robinrohan
09-19-2006 9:53 AM


quote:
My own view is that evolution leads quite naturally to evolutionism and is devastating to religious belief.

And we have observed that creation has led many to "creation science", which is devastating to religious belief.

How much are we to hold an idea responsible for the manner in which certain people misuse it?

BTW, good to see that you do distinguish between evolution and "evolutionism". It seems that most "creation science" rhetorics and misleading arguments is based on confusing the two terms. Their main fight should properly be with the philosophy of "evolutionism", not with science of evolution.

BTW, why would abiogenesis suggest no God any more than any other area of scientific research? It's the investigation of natural processes and conditions that would given rise to life. Why would God be restricted from using natural processes in the Creation of Life?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by robinrohan, posted 09-19-2006 9:53 AM robinrohan has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by robinrohan, posted 09-19-2006 12:20 PM dwise1 has replied

PaulK
Member
Posts: 17179
Joined: 01-10-2003


Message 12 of 195 (350283)
09-19-2006 11:44 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by robinrohan
09-19-2006 9:53 AM


I don't think that evolution as such leads to abiogenesis. The fact that the first known life is among the simplest known is an essential consideration.

Given the usual ideas of evolutionism it contradicts the idea that there is a God who directly intervenes in a detectable fashion in the history of life. This cannot rule out interventions at other levels - either in the creation of the universe as argued for by some (e.g. the "fine-tuning" argument), nor in human history.

Consider the history of life as we know it while remaining agnostic on evolution. Either it is the sort of thing God would produce or it is not. If it is then there is no problem with God permitting evolution to bring it about. If it is not then assuming that God directly intervened in that history only makes the problem worse.

I conclude then that evolutionism is a relatively minor matter. The real problem is that many visions of God are inconsistent with the world as we know it regardless of evolution. It is hard to find anyone who believes in a God-concept which is decisively refuted by evolution. Either evolution is a minor problem which can be accomodated or there are worse problems to consider.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by robinrohan, posted 09-19-2006 9:53 AM robinrohan has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by robinrohan, posted 09-19-2006 12:11 PM PaulK has replied

Dr Jack
Member (Idle past 1425 days)
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 13 of 195 (350285)
09-19-2006 11:47 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by NosyNed
09-19-2006 10:40 AM


Re: Who or what is the center of attention.
It has nothing to do with God. The problem for them isn't that they make it easier or harder to believe in God. Heliocentrism doesn't move God out of the center of the universe. Evolution says nothing about how God became to be.

The problem with both is the they remove humans from the center of the universe and from special attention. It is pure hubris that underlies some people problems with our increasing understanding of how the universe actually unfolds.

You know, the idea that Theologists objecting to Heliocentrism because it stopped humans being "special" in the centre of the universe is a modern misconception. In fact, almost the reverse is true. Under older conceptions of the universe, the centre wasn't a special and revered position it was the imperfect and decaying heart. Perfection was found out in the celestial and heavenly spheres. Many Theologists of the time objected to Heliocentrism because it lifted humans out from their position of scum floating in imperfection.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by NosyNed, posted 09-19-2006 10:40 AM NosyNed has not replied

robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 14 of 195 (350292)
09-19-2006 12:11 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by PaulK
09-19-2006 11:44 AM


Consider the history of life as we know it while remaining agnostic on evolution. Either it is the sort of thing God would produce or it is not. If it is then there is no problem with God permitting evolution to bring it about. If it is not then assuming that God directly intervened in that history only makes the problem worse.

I see your point, but I am speaking of the answer to the question, "How did we get here?"

If there were no evolutionary ideas, the only answer is special creation. We don't need that answer anymore.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by PaulK, posted 09-19-2006 11:44 AM PaulK has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by PaulK, posted 09-19-2006 12:25 PM robinrohan has replied
 Message 44 by nator, posted 09-19-2006 9:15 PM robinrohan has not replied

robinrohan
Inactive Member


Message 15 of 195 (350294)
09-19-2006 12:20 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by dwise1
09-19-2006 11:42 AM


BTW, good to see that you do distinguish between evolution and "evolutionism". It seems that most "creation science" rhetorics and misleading arguments is based on confusing the two terms.

I'm arguing from an atheistic point of view.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by dwise1, posted 09-19-2006 11:42 AM dwise1 has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 22 by dwise1, posted 09-19-2006 2:47 PM robinrohan has replied

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