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Author Topic:   Using the Bible as a Starting point for Scientific questions
Jor-el
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 44 (204980)
05-04-2005 2:02 PM


At AdminNosys' suggustion I have decided to ask the following question:

If I can't use the bible as a starting point to answer questions then how can there be a discussion?

I have noticed that many purely science threads leave out a biblical point of view in their interpretations of the origin of life. Since this forum is mainly about the interaction and discussion between the creationist perspective vs the evolutionary perspective it stands to reason that both viewpoints should have equal wheight in the discussion.

Jor-el:

I know I'm a newbie around here and that I shouldn't ask impertinant questions, but if I can't use the bible as a starting point to answer questions then how can there be a discussion?

AdminNosy:

There are no impertinant questions. This is one which perhaps deserves a thread of its own. It is an interesting philosophical and forum organizational issue. I think there should be some extensive material on this as part of the introduction to evcforum.

Be well... :cool:


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Lammy, posted 05-04-2005 3:16 PM Jor-el has responded
 Message 4 by ProfessorR, posted 05-04-2005 3:31 PM Jor-el has responded
 Message 24 by crashfrog, posted 05-05-2005 3:01 PM Jor-el has responded

  
AdminJar
Inactive Member


Message 2 of 44 (204987)
05-04-2005 2:52 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.

  
Lammy
Member
Posts: 3612
From: Chicago
Joined: 03-29-2004


Message 3 of 44 (204992)
05-04-2005 3:16 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Jor-el
05-04-2005 2:02 PM


First thing, your first post need more juice. I don't really know where you want us to go from what you have now.

Second thing is the theory of evolution has nothing to do with abiogenesis or other origin of life myth/theory/whatever.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Jor-el, posted 05-04-2005 2:02 PM Jor-el has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by Jor-el, posted 05-04-2005 4:39 PM Lammy has responded

  
ProfessorR
Inactive Member


Message 4 of 44 (204996)
05-04-2005 3:31 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Jor-el
05-04-2005 2:02 PM


Hi Jor-el,

Let me try to answer. If you mean *scientific* discussions, then your discussion has to be within the framework of scientific method. The latter is a set of "rules of engagement," one of which states that science always begins with a direct observation of some natural phenomenon. Every single word that you can find in all science journal articles or textbooks is necessarily based on someone's direct observations, followed by questions, hypotheses (or theories), predictions, and tests. All of the above - observations, questions, hypotheses (theories), predictions, and tests - must be such that all human beings should be able, independently of each other, repeat or reproduce them, or otherwise dismiss them. For example, if I read somewhere that Marcello Malpigi discovered blood capillaries in the early 1700's, I myself should be able to dissect a cat's kidney and, using a magnifying glass, see exactly the same thing that Malpigi saw 300 years ago. If I don't see the blood capillaries there, I have the right to say that these capillaries simply do not exist. Or, if I read that Charles Darwin in 1859 advanced the theory of evolution (or of the origin of species by common descent), I should be able to look critically at the SAME evidence Darwin looked at (plus new evidence), and see for myself, whether Darwin's theory is valid.

The Bible has a somewhat different nature. It is neither an article nor a textbook in science. It talks about God Who is principally, by definition, invisible, un-traceable through human sensory organs. God reveals Himself to those He chooses, but you and I cannot independently verify these revelations. The truths of the Bible are not necessarily of an empiric, scientific kind. The Bible does not invite people to evaluate its content critically and to dismiss it in the case we humans find it inconsistent with our empiric, sensory observation. Instead, it just asks us to believe.

Personally, I love the Bible, I read it almost daily and find a lot of wisdom and inspiration there. But I realize that one should not draw one's scinece from the Bible. To me, that would be something like drawing ideas about proper methods of forestry from Robert Frost's poem, "Whose woods these are, I think I know," or drawing ideas about how to make weapons from Hamlet's soliloque with its words, "whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune..." Just like Frost's poem is not exactly about woods, and Shakespeare's "Hamlet" is not exactly about slings and arrows, in much the same way, I think, the Bible is not about physical origins of our planet or of the humankind. Rather, it is about spiritual matters - life, death, love, faithfulness, deceit, human depravity, redemption, forgiveness, reconciliation with God etc. It certainly uses a lot of imagery of "making" the earth and man, but it is not a natural science or natural history textbook or account.

Sorry if I was not very clear. I am new on this forum. Thanks for bearing with me.

Richard


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Jor-el, posted 05-04-2005 2:02 PM Jor-el has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 5 by Jor-el, posted 05-04-2005 4:26 PM ProfessorR has not yet responded

  
Jor-el
Inactive Member


Message 5 of 44 (205002)
05-04-2005 4:26 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by ProfessorR
05-04-2005 3:31 PM


Hi ProfessorR,

I agree with the idea that you put forth. Intrinsically I don't see a correlation between scientific principles and the bible. They deal as you said with two completely different natures in that science deals with the physical and sensorial element and the bible purely in the spiritual element. As such, when these two principles try to encroach on one another there can be no margin for agreement as they are dealing with two completely different subjects.

The situation that I find when dealing with the wider discussion on the merits of the "Theory of evolution" vs the merits of the "Theory of Creation" which is the principle directive of this forum is that in the end there can never be a discussion on equal ground since essentialy, only the theory of evolution can be empirically tested. As for its' opposing counterpart, faith is the only ingredient needed for it to be accepted.

This is where my main difficulty lies in responding to many people who participate in this forum. The bible does give some guidelines on the origin question which is debated, but since empirical proof is not possible in most cases, the discussion starts off with a major limp in its' stride.

This message has been edited by Jor-el, 04-May-2005 09:39 PM


We are the sum of all that is, and has been. We will be the sum of our choices.

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Jor-el
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 44 (205007)
05-04-2005 4:39 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Lammy
05-04-2005 3:16 PM


Hi Troy,

It isn't my intent to discuss the scientific principles in detail here because I'd be out of my league in that respect.

The idea that I'm trying to put across is that in discussing the central issue of whether the biblical perspective can be used in the context of this forum, one must give its information some wheight otherwise a discussion isn't possible at all.

I've seen many people state that one must prove scientifically that a given statement is true. In the context of the biblical perspective one cannot do that in the majority of cases.

Since a discussion using the guidelines given to empirical science immediately puts its opposing viewpoint at a disadvantage, a middle ground has to be achieved so that an equal footing can be given to both viewpoints.


We are the sum of all that is, and has been. We will be the sum of our choices.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by Lammy, posted 05-04-2005 3:16 PM Lammy has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by Lammy, posted 05-04-2005 5:49 PM Jor-el has not yet responded
 Message 14 by ringo, posted 05-04-2005 10:26 PM Jor-el has responded
 Message 15 by NosyNed, posted 05-04-2005 11:17 PM Jor-el has responded

  
Jor-el
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 44 (205010)
05-04-2005 4:45 PM


Heres an idea...
From what I've seen generally in the forum, biblical events or viewpoints are discussed and and contested using scientific evidence to the contrary, we could do something of the kind here...

(I hope this helps any?) :)


We are the sum of all that is, and has been. We will be the sum of our choices.

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by PaulK, posted 05-04-2005 5:25 PM Jor-el has responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 15567
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 8 of 44 (205014)
05-04-2005 5:25 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Jor-el
05-04-2005 4:45 PM


Re: Heres an idea...
Historical criteria are appropriate to discussing more of the Bible than science per se. While the historical reliability of the Bible is variable (it includes myths and legends and even the parts that are largely historical are written to an agenda) it is far from being completely useless.

But I'm at a loss as to how faith could reasonably play a role in the discussion. I don't think that you can expect your faith to be a reason for anyone else to believe. Evidence on the other hand is something which should be considered by anyone with an open mind.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Jor-el, posted 05-04-2005 4:45 PM Jor-el has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by Jor-el, posted 05-04-2005 6:49 PM PaulK has responded

  
Lammy
Member
Posts: 3612
From: Chicago
Joined: 03-29-2004


Message 9 of 44 (205018)
05-04-2005 5:49 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Jor-el
05-04-2005 4:39 PM


Jorel writes:

Since a discussion using the guidelines given to empirical science immediately puts its opposing viewpoint at a disadvantage, a middle ground has to be achieved so that an equal footing can be given to both viewpoints.


http://http://www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dBoard.cgi


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Jor-el, posted 05-04-2005 4:39 PM Jor-el has not yet responded

  
Jor-el
Inactive Member


Message 10 of 44 (205037)
05-04-2005 6:49 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by PaulK
05-04-2005 5:25 PM


Re: Heres an idea...
Historical criteria are a good basis to discuss biblical history and that would be a good way of trying to work through the the many different viewpoints on whether events happened in the order that they are detailed in the biblical texts. I have seen many doubts as to whether they really happened or whether the people involved in those stories really existed.

There have also been many who state that the biblical texts are full of contradictions and fallacies. These are things that could be discussed here as well.

As for faith, I'm not proposing that faith should be a part of the discussion (there are already threads for that as can be seen by Troys' post) but stating that in the context of believing in the creationist standpoint, one is essentially required to have faith in the existence of God or at the very least a higher intelligence that directed the start of our existence.

In my opinion one can't have a creationist standpoint without faith playing an important part in that perspective. It is an implicit situation.

As such I stated that these two viewpoints stand on completely different foundations (and are intrinsically incompatible when you come down to it) yet if one is to have a discussion on the subject anyway, one must have a middleground to work on.


We are the sum of all that is, and has been. We will be the sum of our choices.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by PaulK, posted 05-04-2005 5:25 PM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by PaulK, posted 05-05-2005 2:53 AM Jor-el has not yet responded
 Message 17 by Ben!, posted 05-05-2005 5:31 AM Jor-el has responded

  
jar
Member
Posts: 31646
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 11 of 44 (205048)
05-04-2005 7:59 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Jor-el
05-04-2005 4:26 PM


There is no Theory of Creation.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion

This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Jor-el, posted 05-04-2005 4:26 PM Jor-el has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by Jor-el, posted 05-04-2005 8:33 PM jar has responded

  
Jor-el
Inactive Member


Message 12 of 44 (205057)
05-04-2005 8:33 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by jar
05-04-2005 7:59 PM


chalk that up to a bad choice of wording, but I'm sure you get the idea...


We are the sum of all that is, and has been. We will be the sum of our choices.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by jar, posted 05-04-2005 7:59 PM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
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jar
Member
Posts: 31646
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.6


Message 13 of 44 (205062)
05-04-2005 8:39 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by Jor-el
05-04-2005 8:33 PM


You can discuss religious beliefs in any of the non-science forums. But there is NO Way to introduce theology into a science discussion. That does not negate belief, many of us are believers, but the Bible is no use when it comes to science.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion

This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by Jor-el, posted 05-04-2005 8:33 PM Jor-el has responded

Replies to this message:
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ringo
Member
Posts: 17538
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 3.2


Message 14 of 44 (205104)
05-04-2005 10:26 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Jor-el
05-04-2005 4:39 PM


quote:
...a middle ground has to be achieved so that an equal footing can be given to both viewpoints.

The "middle ground" is the empirical evidence.

The beauty of science is that everybody has the same empirical evidence to look at, regardless of their philosophical or religious biases.

When you ask for your statements of faith to be put on the same footing as empirical evidence, you're not asking for a level playing field. You're asking for the playing field to be slanted in your favour.


People who think they have all the answers usually don't understand the questions.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Jor-el, posted 05-04-2005 4:39 PM Jor-el has responded

Replies to this message:
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NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8866
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003
Member Rating: 7.5


Message 15 of 44 (205119)
05-04-2005 11:17 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Jor-el
05-04-2005 4:39 PM


The middle ground
Since a discussion using the guidelines given to empirical science immediately puts its opposing viewpoint at a disadvantage, a middle ground has to be achieved so that an equal footing can be given to both viewpoints.

The "middle ground" adopted by nearly all believers and unbelievers alike is that when discussing the natural world the methods of science are appropriate for drawing conclusions and for discussion faith, spirituality and feelings about these things then religion is one good source for input.

This is the every popular "non-overlapping magistars" of Gould and many others.

If the methods used in inquiry about the natural world need to be changed I would like a detailed description of how that would work. Given the problem of determining the possibility of life on other planets how would starting from the Bible help?

Given the past history of using the Bible (as an example) as a source to inquire about the natural world wouldn't we be a bit gun shy of such an method. Over and over in history the Bible has been used to support a postition about the natural world and this position has been shown to be unhelpful. Demons cause disease and the Earth as the center of the universe are two examples of this.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Jor-el, posted 05-04-2005 4:39 PM Jor-el has responded

Replies to this message:
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