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Author Topic:   Heliocentrism and Evolution
platypus
Member (Idle past 3829 days)
Posts: 139
Joined: 11-12-2006


Message 1 of 9 (363587)
11-13-2006 12:50 PM


An earlier thread (Is Evolution a Radical Idea?) suggested that evolution may be like heliocentrism, in that it offended people but was not actually disastrous to religion.

If it is accepted that evolution is true, what must be rejected from Christian religions? Will acceptance of evolution lead to the downfall of religion?

I'm going to contend that evolution is different from heliocentrism in that we must reject a literal interpretation of the book of genesis. But beyond that, there are no critical changed that must be made to Christian religions. And considering that many demonitations all ready reject a literal reading of the Bible, it seems as though ToE is not that devasting to religions. It may cause some religions to change (probably not collapse), but for many religions it will involve only minor adjustment.

promoted from Proposed New Topics by AdminNWR


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Taz
Member (Idle past 1367 days)
Posts: 5069
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


Message 2 of 9 (363591)
11-13-2006 1:05 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by platypus
11-13-2006 12:50 PM


platypus writes:

If it is accepted that evolution is true, what must be rejected from Christian religions?


In no particular order: Six days creation, man-dirt relationship, female inferiority to male, the great flood account, origin of all human languages (tower of babel), etc.

Will acceptance of evolution lead to the downfall of religion?

No, it won't. Religion feeds on human ignorance, and good luck getting rid of human ignorance.


Place yourself on the map at http://www.frappr.com/evc

The thread about this map can be found here.


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Chiroptera
Member (Idle past 11 days)
Posts: 6531
From: Oklahoma
Joined: 09-28-2003


Message 3 of 9 (363596)
11-13-2006 1:18 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by platypus
11-13-2006 12:50 PM


It doesn't disprove religion any more than heliocentrism does, at least not in the sense in logic that "all known species evolved from a small number of ancestral species" and "the earth orbits the sun" would have to be the negative of the statements "a deity created the universe," "this deity is interested in humans," and "this deity has arranged for humans to continue to exist in an afterlife".

However, I do agree that modern knowledge of the universe makes the existence of a deity unlikely. Namely, the theory of evolution, along with the laws of orbital mechanics, gives naturalistic explanations for the way the universe exists, removing one of the reasons for believing in a god.

Furthermore, just as heliocentrism shows that the earth is but a small speck in a very large universe, so does geology and cosmology show that humans have existed for a small instant in a very ancient universe. It then becomes hard to believe that humans could possible be the center of any creator's attention.

But, unlike Dawkins, I don't think that there is anything special about the theory of evolution in this regard. I think that Copernicus' theories were the first steps of removing humans from the center of the universe, and Newton's work were instrumental in removing the necessity of a god. In fact, it was Newton who inspired the Deists, who were basically proto-atheists, and atheists already existed by the time Darwin came around.

-

quote:
I'm going to contend that evolution is different from heliocentrism in that we must reject a literal interpretation of the book of genesis.

This is not true. Genesis makes it clear that the sky is a solid dome with windows through which rain fell. The Old Testament also makes it clear that the earth is flat. This isn't taking into account the internal inconsistencies in the Bible. A literal reading of the Bible must be dismissed from the get-go.

Edited to add:

I forgot my manners. Welcome to EvC, platypus. Now you need to upload an appropriate avatar.

Edited by Chiroptera, : typo in the first sentence

Edited by Chiroptera, : No reason given.


Kings were put to death long before 21 January 1793. But regicides of earlier times and their followers were interested in attacking the person, not the principle, of the king. They wanted another king, and that was all. It never occurred to them that the throne could remain empty forever. -- Albert Camus
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AnswersInGenitals
Member
Posts: 509
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 3.4


Message 4 of 9 (363612)
11-13-2006 2:36 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by platypus
11-13-2006 12:50 PM


I didn't read the previous thread, so disregard this post if it is just rehashing ideas already presented. Heliocentrism is not just a small blip in biblical historicity. The Israelites were unable to defeat the Canaanites at Jericho. So god stopped the sun in its course across the sky to give the Israelites more daylight and more time to complete their conquest. If we accept heliocentricity, then the Israelites didn't conquer Jericho. They didn't displace the Canaanites from Palestine. They never established the kingdom of Israel. Geocentrism is essential to all the Judaic-Christian history that follows. Pope Asshole VIII understood this well enough to threaten a sick old man with having the skin and flesh seared off his bones, To confine him to his small quarters for the remainder of his life, to restrict him from ever seeing his friends and supporters. and to forbid his writing about his favorite subject, which was his bread and butter. (Interestingly, my spell checker wants to replace geocentrism with egocentrism.)

While not disastrous to religion, it has been argued that the anti-scientific stance of the church contributed greatly to the decline of the papacy and the emergence of protestantism. The problem was that Galileo's proof of heliocentism relied on his use of optical telescopes, which the pope declared must therefore be instruments of the devil. The problem with that is that such optical instruments were essential for long range accurate navigation. So, while spain, portugal, england, and just about everyone else were exploring the world and gaining fabulous wealth, the papal states and italy were almost singularly (for european states) absent from the trough. We can anticipate that the same will happen to any country that abstains from the current revolution taking place in biology, the central tenet of which is evolutionary theory. That countries religion will not suffer in that it will not go away. But that country will find itself declining in wealth and influence. This might have the ironic impact of enhencing the strenght of that counties churches.


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kuresu
Member (Idle past 588 days)
Posts: 2544
From: boulder, colorado
Joined: 03-24-2006


Message 5 of 9 (363613)
11-13-2006 2:38 PM
Reply to: Message 2 by Taz
11-13-2006 1:05 PM


man-dirt relationship

eh, they could bend this. wehn we die, we are buried (most of us, at any rate). regardless, our bodies are returned to the ground, providing nutrition for other things--like plants. We eat plants. the nutrition provided by plants allow us to procreate.

omg, we're cannibals!


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platypus
Member (Idle past 3829 days)
Posts: 139
Joined: 11-12-2006


Message 6 of 9 (363635)
11-13-2006 5:02 PM


Rephrasing
Ok, ok, point taken. There are many things outside the book of genesis that cannot be taken literally if evolution is accepted. So with evolution, as with heliocentrism, we lose a literal interpretation of the Bible. My question I guess is, why are YEC's fighting the ToE?

Four possibilities:
1) They really, really like a literal interpretation of the Bible.
2) There is something other (more important) religious issue at stake.
3) They are just plain stubborn and conservative.
4) There really is no conflict or loss, but they think there will be one because the ToE is misunderstood (in particular, assuming that atheism will fall from the scientific understanding of evolution, which is plainly not true).

I contend its 3) or 4), or that there is nothing inherently threatening to religion offered by ToE.

I have just the Avatar in mind, wait and see.


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nwr
Member
Posts: 5585
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005


Message 7 of 9 (363637)
11-13-2006 5:15 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by platypus
11-13-2006 5:02 PM


Re: Rephrasing
My question I guess is, why are YEC's fighting the ToE?

Here is my understanding. I don't have a reference, so it could be wrong.

My understanding is that a small group of evangelicals noticed that students were going into undergraduate biology class as evangelical Christians, and coming out as atheists. They then devised the YEC cult to counter this.

Four possibilities:

I'll suggest another.
5) Most YECs are highly gullible people, who are easily led astray by fancy rhetoric.
This message is a reply to:
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jar
Member
Posts: 30934
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 8 of 9 (363639)
11-13-2006 5:21 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by platypus
11-13-2006 5:02 PM


Re: Rephrasing
platypus writes:

My question I guess is, why are YEC's fighting the ToE?

Four possibilities:
1) They really, really like a literal interpretation of the Bible.
2) There is something other (more important) religious issue at stake.
3) They are just plain stubborn and conservative.
4) There really is no conflict or loss, but they think there will be one because the ToE is misunderstood (in particular, assuming that atheism will fall from the scientific understanding of evolution, which is plainly not true).

Let's look at those one at a time.

1) They really, really like a literal interpretation of the Bible.

Well, no. They do not take the creation stories in Genesis Literally. If they did honestly do that they would have to admit that there are two mutually exclusive stories there. If one is true then the other is false. The stories vary as to the order of creation, the methods of creation, the personalities of the Gods portrayed.

2) There is something other (more important) religious issue at stake.

They might well believe that. The fact that many other Christians reading the same book, looking at the same evidence come to different conclusions should get them to reconsider that. It doesn't.

3) They are just plain stubborn and conservative.

That is an unlikely one.

4) There really is no conflict or loss, but they think there will be one because the ToE is misunderstood (in particular, assuming that atheism will fall from the scientific understanding of evolution, which is plainly not true).

That is possible, yet when evidence is presented to them showing that it is not just possible to be a theist as opposed to atheist and still accept the TOE, but to actually be a Christian and still accept the TOE, they still insist that Evolution is an attack on God.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
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DarkBoards
Inactive Member


Message 9 of 9 (364907)
11-20-2006 12:14 PM


Platypus, I think the answer is in understanding that the Hebrews were a population of people which, like any large population had a culture. Cultures compose poetry, and songs and have a shared history, all of which we can find in the Bible itself.

Something else cultures share are stories, myths and legends. Just as we entertain our children with Star Wars and Lord of the Rings in movie theatres today, people told each other stories even in ancient times.

It would be absolutely unthinkable to except that the Hebrew people had no culture, and therefore no myths and legends.

The first five books are clearly a collection of such myths and legends. They read like fanciful stories full of magic and heros on epic journeys fighting incredible odds and overwhelming odds.

We find hero's like Noah, and David slaying Goliath, we find Moses leading the Hebrews from captivity against the Egyptians, Samson with his "super hair". These are all clearly myths and fables.

The contradiction resides not between Science and Religion, but in those who would deprive the Hebrews of their rightful identity with their own distinct culture. It robs them of part of their heritage.


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