Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 86 (8951 total)
545 online now:
DrJones*, Minnemooseus (Adminnemooseus), Percy (Admin) (3 members, 542 visitors)
Newest Member: Mikee
Post Volume: Total: 866,803 Year: 21,839/19,786 Month: 402/1,834 Week: 402/315 Day: 80/78 Hour: 1/1


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Author Topic:   Evolution guided by god? Or a natural process?
inge1990
Unregistered


Message 1 of 44 (499076)
02-16-2009 2:56 PM


Hello!

I have no idea if it is allowed to ask questions with regard to an assignment for school on this forum,
but I have a topic for a presentation in which I will try to
convince people that God created the universe and organisms,
but that God also guides the process of evolution.
Now I was wondering if there are "arguments" (not scientifically proven) to support the statement that Evolution is guided by God,
and that is not just a natural process occuring after the creation.
Are there any suggestions on this?


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Fosdick, posted 02-16-2009 7:19 PM You have not yet responded
 Message 4 by Dr Adequate, posted 02-16-2009 7:39 PM You have not yet responded
 Message 5 by Rahvin, posted 02-16-2009 7:46 PM You have not yet responded
 Message 6 by bluegenes, posted 02-16-2009 7:51 PM You have not yet responded
 Message 10 by Nighttrain, posted 02-16-2009 11:15 PM You have not yet responded
 Message 11 by Huntard, posted 02-17-2009 1:47 AM You have responded

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


Message 2 of 44 (499103)
02-16-2009 6:43 PM


Homework
Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.

We don't usually encourage cheating on your homework here. But if you want to engage in a discussion you are welcome. I have prematurely moved this to a discussion forum for you to get it started.

However, you should start by supplying what arguments you have so far.

You have picked a tough one, you know. There are no arguments that stand up to scrutiny -- none. And we've had lots of people try before.

Edited by AdminNosy, : No reason given.


  
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3836 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 3 of 44 (499115)
02-16-2009 7:19 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by inge1990
02-16-2009 2:56 PM


Darwin's "Creator"
inge1990, maybe this quote has legs for your assignment:

There is grandeur in this view of life with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, while this planet has gone circling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.

—Charles Darwin, 1859 (the last sentence of The Origins of Species).


I can see Lower Slobovia from my house.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by inge1990, posted 02-16-2009 2:56 PM inge1990 has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 7 by Modulous, posted 02-16-2009 7:57 PM Fosdick has responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16107
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 8.3


Message 4 of 44 (499118)
02-16-2009 7:39 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by inge1990
02-16-2009 2:56 PM


Now I was wondering if there are "arguments" (not scientifically proven) to support the statement that Evolution is guided by God and that is not just a natural process occuring after the creation.

I guess there are lots of arguments that are not scientifically proven. And, indeed, dumber than a bag of hammers.

They tend to take this form:

We can see that evolution happened. But I don't understand how such-and-such a thing evolved. So God must have intervened to make it evolve.

Logically, such arguments are puerile; biologically, they tend to be flawed in detail.

And theologically, they seem to be flawed as well. If evolution was God's idea, presumably he'd set it up so that it worked.

By analogy, if I write a computer program to perform some calculation, I don't write it so that every now and then I have to stop the program and rewrite the code in order to get it to do what I want. I'd be a pretty lame programmer if I did. Instead I write it so that I press the start button and the program does the rest.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by inge1990, posted 02-16-2009 2:56 PM inge1990 has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 26 by JaysonD, posted 02-18-2009 12:07 PM Dr Adequate has responded

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3964
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 5 of 44 (499119)
02-16-2009 7:46 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by inge1990
02-16-2009 2:56 PM


Hello!

I have no idea if it is allowed to ask questions with regard to an assignment for school on this forum,
but I have a topic for a presentation in which I will try to
convince people that God created the universe and organisms,
but that God also guides the process of evolution.
Now I was wondering if there are "arguments" (not scientifically proven) to support the statement that Evolution is guided by God,
and that is not just a natural process occuring after the creation.
Are there any suggestions on this?

Evolution is driven by mutation and genetic drift guided by natural selection. When you look at the process itself, it's quite apparent that the process itself is inevitable - no guidance would be necessary, any more than a dropped ball requires guidance to fall to the ground. The copying process for DNA replication is imperfect, and so inevitably minor copying errors are made now and again when organisms reproduce. Since these changes are made to the genetic code of an organism, occasionally some of those changes will be expressed as an altered trait compared to the new organism's ancestor. Some of these altered traits will be beneficial in the organisms environment, or a disaster can alter the environment and allow previously neutral or even detrimental mutations to be beneficial. Those individuals in the population who are slightly better adapted to their current environment will tend to reproduce more, and those beneficial mutations will gradually spread to the majority of the population over several generations. Given a system where resources are limited and reproduction is slightly imperfect, species changing over time is inevitable jsut as that ball falling to the ground is given a Universe that includes gravity.

Your argument will likely need to be focused around the random aspects of mutation. Bear in mind that mutations are not compeltely random - they still need to obey the laws of chemistry, and so while mutations can be extremely varied and over time produce enormous variety through cumulative small changes, the "whirlwind in a scrapyard" argument is inappropriate. You could argue that a deity directly "nudges" chance now and again to ensure the inevitable process of evolution leads to the deity's goal. Counter-arguments will typically revolve around vestigial organs and other such "design flaws" - if a deity is guiding the process, it would appear that the deity is extremely bad at designing organisms. Even the extensive variety of life on Earth points to the conclusion that there is no "goal" or intent behind evolution, and that life simply "goes with whatever works" at the time. Attempting to argue that the variety "demonstrates the grandness of God" is simply an argument from personal incredulity, a logical fallacy.

A better argument might be that, if a deity Created the Universe, that deity defined the behaviors and properties of the Universe (which we try to describe through scientific laws and theories) in such a way that evolution would happen - a sort of divine clockmaker who designed the process of evolution itself rather than designing organisms directly. This bypasses the "poor design" counter. Because all action on the deity's part would occur at the creation of the Universe, no evidence of his direct hand in events would be found.

Whatever argument you use, however, is going to run into problems. Essencially, none of the arguments are based on fact and evidence - they're bare speculation. That's basically the entire issue with Creationism/Intelligent Design/etc - they all involve unfoudned and unsupported conclusions that are not based in objective fact, but rather on speculation and unfalsifiable assertions. I know that this is what you've asked for, but such "arguments" are extremely weak because they don't have anything of real substance to back them up. One might as well claim that an invisible pink unicorn is standing next to you - I have no evidence to support such a claim, but neither can you falsify it because the unicorn is supposed to be invisible. I can "argue" that the unicorn affects your daily life by say, preventing lethal wyvern attacks, but when it comes down to it we're really pulling assertions from thin air. Real arguments must be backed up with objective fact and evidence, else there is literally nothing distinguishing your claims from figments of your imagination. I currently know of no arguments supporting the existing of a deity (let alone said deity "guiding" evolution) that are based on objective fact and evidence. They are all arguments from faith, which by definition is a belief not based on objective evidence.

Oh...and welcome to EvC, and good luck on your assignment!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by inge1990, posted 02-16-2009 2:56 PM inge1990 has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by RAZD, posted 02-16-2009 10:48 PM Rahvin has responded
 Message 16 by Fosdick, posted 02-17-2009 11:41 AM Rahvin has not yet responded

  
bluegenes
Member (Idle past 813 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 6 of 44 (499120)
02-16-2009 7:51 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by inge1990
02-16-2009 2:56 PM


Theistic evolution
inge1990 writes:

Now I was wondering if there are "arguments" (not scientifically proven) to support the statement that Evolution is guided by God,

I've never heard any arguments along those lines that I consider any good, but that's just me!

However, maybe I can point to some of the better attempts.

Try John Polkinghorne for some theology from someone who is a respected scientist in his own right, and an Anglican Bishop. One of his ideas is that evolution is God's way of giving us free will, which may interest you as a Christian.

And Simon Conway Morris, a respected paleontologist, and a Christian who thinks that convergence that we see in evolution is an indication of direction, and relates this to his religious beliefs.

Both, in perhaps different ways, also seem to imply that the human mind contains something beyond what evolution might produce. But both are certainly believers in evolution and common descent.

If you google those two names, you should find some material from them somewhere related to evolution.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by inge1990, posted 02-16-2009 2:56 PM inge1990 has not yet responded

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 440 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 7 of 44 (499121)
02-16-2009 7:57 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Fosdick
02-16-2009 7:19 PM


teleology
It is a minor point, but for accuracy it should be be pointed out that the quote you gave is not from 1859, but from 1860 (ie., the second edition). The 1859 quote is

quote:
There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

But I'm not sure an argument that it is a grand view is too compelling. I'd go for a much stronger argument:

quote:
In crossing a heath, suppose I pitched my foot against a stone, and were asked how the stone came to be there; I might possibly answer, that, for any thing I knew to the contrary, it had lain there for ever: nor would it perhaps be very easy to show the absurdity of this answer. But suppose I had found a watch upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place; I should hardly think of the answer which I had before given, that, for any thing I knew, the watch might have always been there. Yet why should not this answer serve for the watch as well as for the stone? Why is it not as admissible in the second case, as in the first? For this reason, and for no other, viz. that, when we come to inspect the watch, we perceive (what we could not discover in the stone) that its several parts are framed and put together for a purpose, e.g. that they are so formed and adjusted as to produce motion, and that motion so regulated as to point out the hour of the day; that, if the different parts had been differently shaped from what they are, of a different size from what they are, or placed after any other manner, or in any other order, than that in which they are placed, either no motion at all would have been carried on in the machine, or none which would have answered the use that is now served by it.… This mechanism being observed (it requires indeed an examination of the instrument, and perhaps some previous knowledge of the subject, to perceive and understand it; but being once, as we have said, observed and understood), the inference, we think, is inevitable, that the watch must have had a maker: that there must have existed, at some time, and at some place or other, an artificer or artificers who formed it for the purpose which we find it actually to answer; who comprehended its construction, and designed its use.

Which is of course, the great Paley - the last respectable ID theorist :) Though it is an old argument, Aquinas writes:

quote:
We see that things which lack intelligence, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result. Hence it is plain that not fortuitously, but designedly, do they achieve their end. Now whatever lacks intelligence cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence; as the arrow is shot to its mark by the archer. Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God.

Or going further back to Cicero

quote:
If, then, the things achieved by nature are more excellent than those achieved by art, and if art produces nothing without making use of intelligence, nature also ought not to be considered destitute of intelligence. If at the sight of a statue or painted picture you know that art has been employed, and from the distant view of the course of a ship feel sure that it is made to move by art and intelligence, and if you understand on looking at a horologe, whether one marked out with lines,1 or working by means of water, that the hours are indicated by art and not by chance, with what possible consistency can you suppose that the universe which contains these same products of art, and their constructors, and all things, is destitute of forethought and intelligence? Why, if any one were to carry into Scythia or Britain the globe which our friend Posidonius has lately constructed, each one of the revolutions of which brings about the same movement in the sun and moon and five wandering stars as is brought about each day and night in the heavens, no one in those barbarous countries would doubt that that globe was the work of intelligence.

So what if its a two thousand year old argument? It remains the best there is.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 3 by Fosdick, posted 02-16-2009 7:19 PM Fosdick has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 8 by bluegenes, posted 02-16-2009 8:15 PM Modulous has not yet responded
 Message 14 by Fosdick, posted 02-17-2009 10:52 AM Modulous has responded

  
bluegenes
Member (Idle past 813 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 8 of 44 (499123)
02-16-2009 8:15 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Modulous
02-16-2009 7:57 PM


Re: teleology
Modulous writes:

Or going further back to Cicero...

Thanks for that last one, fellow barbarian, as I don't remember reading it before.

The Blind Horologe-Maker, eh?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Modulous, posted 02-16-2009 7:57 PM Modulous has not yet responded

  
RAZD
Member
Posts: 20323
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.6


Message 9 of 44 (499152)
02-16-2009 10:48 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Rahvin
02-16-2009 7:46 PM


LOL nothing like a little deja vu
A better argument might be that, if a deity Created the Universe, that deity defined the behaviors and properties of the Universe (which we try to describe through scientific laws and theories) in such a way that evolution would happen - a sort of divine clockmaker who designed the process of evolution itself rather than designing organisms directly. This bypasses the "poor design" counter. Because all action on the deity's part would occur at the creation of the Universe, no evidence of his direct hand in events would be found.

Whatever argument you use, however, is going to run into problems. Essencially, none of the arguments are based on fact and evidence - they're bare speculation.

Now consider the ones that are not contradicted by fact and evidence ...

In other words they are inherently bad speculations because you can't prove or disprove them, while the equally bare speculation that there are no gods is a good speculation that does not "run into problems" because it is not based on fact and evidence ...

Thanks.


we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand
Rebel American Zen Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


• • • Join the effort to solve medical problems, AIDS/HIV, Cancer and more with Team EvC! (click) • • •

This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Rahvin, posted 02-16-2009 7:46 PM Rahvin has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 19 by Rahvin, posted 02-17-2009 12:18 PM RAZD has responded

  
Nighttrain
Member (Idle past 2330 days)
Posts: 1512
From: brisbane,australia
Joined: 06-08-2004


Message 10 of 44 (499158)
02-16-2009 11:15 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by inge1990
02-16-2009 2:56 PM


Constant attack
Hi, inge1990. Be sure to mention the vast numbers of bacteria God created to keep his Prime Creation not only alive, but under constant attack. And how they are evolving.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by inge1990, posted 02-16-2009 2:56 PM inge1990 has not yet responded

  
Huntard
Member (Idle past 631 days)
Posts: 2870
From: Limburg, The Netherlands
Joined: 09-02-2008


Message 11 of 44 (499183)
02-17-2009 1:47 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by inge1990
02-16-2009 2:56 PM


inge1990 writes:

Now I was wondering if there are "arguments" (not scientifically proven) to support the statement that Evolution is guided by God, and that is not just a natural process occuring after the creation.


Well, I can think of "God is omnipotent, so he can guide evolution without anyone noticing".

The problem with these arguments, as others have pointed out, is precisely that there is absolutely no evidence for them. So while they might be true, there's no way to tell.

In fact, the same argument given above, can be used to say that the invisible pink unicorn is driving evolution, or the flying spaghetti monster, or whatever. And basically, so can any other argument you use.

So, while there are arguments to use that god is guiding evolution, they're pretty much worthless, precisely because there is no evidence for them and they can be used for any imaginary deity.

BTW, are you Dutch (or Belgian)? :)


I hunt for the truth

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by inge1990, posted 02-16-2009 2:56 PM inge1990 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 12 by inge1990, posted 02-17-2009 6:49 AM Huntard has not yet responded

  
inge1990
Unregistered


Message 12 of 44 (499188)
02-17-2009 6:49 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Huntard
02-17-2009 1:47 AM


Indeed, I am Dutch :)

Thank you for all your reactions! It really helped me!
And I'm sure I will visit this forum more often, I am really interested in those things. (I noticed this during the last few weeks, when I was working on my assignment :),
I had to choose a topic related to Darwin, and since I believe in the evolution theory, but also believe in God, my main focus is
theistic evolution).
I already had one "argument" which is maybe more or less related
to Rahvin's reply:

"It is argued that evolution would require some kind of guidance to guarantee that random variation combined with undirected selection would produce any particular creature. There are simply too many accidents involved without guidance." (I have this from another site)

Another argument I have (maybe not directly related to guidance by god, but to faith/belief), is a question James and Clifford ever proposed:
“Must ALL your beliefs be dictated by the evidence you have and by nothing else?”

Further I also talk about some "gaps" in the Big Bang theory,
the first organisms and the origin of DNA (to support creation by God). The evidence for the evolution theory (to support that evolution is true), but after that I want to convince people that
evolution should be guided by god (The only thing I still need to work on). The presentation and essay don't have to prove that the story of God is true, but it has to be persuasive, So I hope I am!

By the way ... I will go to a lecture from Cees Dekker (see wikipedia for information about him :) ), and if he has some interesting things to say (I'm sure about that) I will definitely
let you know! (if I get his permission)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by Huntard, posted 02-17-2009 1:47 AM Huntard has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 13 by Dr Adequate, posted 02-17-2009 10:01 AM You have not yet responded
 Message 20 by Huntard, posted 02-17-2009 12:42 PM You have not yet responded
 Message 21 by Rahvin, posted 02-17-2009 12:58 PM You have not yet responded

    
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16107
Joined: 07-20-2006
Member Rating: 8.3


Message 13 of 44 (499204)
02-17-2009 10:01 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by inge1990
02-17-2009 6:49 AM


I had to choose a topic related to Darwin, and since I believe in the evolution theory, but also believe in God, my main focus is theistic evolution).

But it's a strange leap from belief in God to arguing that he guides evolution as a primary cause.

It's as though someone were to say; "I believe that the planets travel in ellipses; but because I believe in God, I want to prove that God, not the law of gravity and the laws of motion, causes them do so."

As I have pointed out, this is theologically dubious. If God created the Universe and its laws, surely it would be smarter of him to create it with laws that achieve his purpose, rather than laws that thwart his purpose and that he needs to overcome with a series of miracles.

The evidence for the evolution theory (to support that evolution is true), but after that I want to convince people that
evolution should be guided by god (The only thing I still need to work on).

Your terminology is wrong. The theory of evolution is the explanation of how evolution works: mutation, recombination, natural selection, genetic drift, and so forth. What you believe in is the fact of evolution; you are trying to argue against the theory of evolution.

It is argued that evolution would require some kind of guidance to guarantee that random variation combined with undirected selection would produce any particular creature. There are simply too many accidents involved without guidance.

"Too many"? Oh, but I forgot, you didn't require that the arguments should be scientific, or you'd need some sort of numbers in it.

Another argument I have (maybe not directly related to guidance by god, but to faith/belief), is a question James and Clifford ever proposed:
“Must ALL your beliefs be dictated by the evidence you have and by nothing else?”

Imagine if you were sitting on a jury and the counsel for the defense addressed that argument to you. Wouldn't you start to think that he must have an incredibly weak case?

---

Here's an argument against God acting as the primary cause of evolution. (Yes, I know it's not what you asked for, but it's what I've got.)

The history of evolution is littered with failures and dead-ends. We can point to species that didn't make it ... and genera ... and families ... and orders ... and classes ... and phyla. At the lowest level, we see lots of failed mutations that will never make it: mutations that lead to death or severe handicap or sterility. Does this look like the product of a perfect, all-knowing God, or of the hit-and-miss processes described by the theory of evolution?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by inge1990, posted 02-17-2009 6:49 AM inge1990 has not yet responded

  
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3836 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 14 of 44 (499207)
02-17-2009 10:52 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Modulous
02-16-2009 7:57 PM


What teleology?
"Modulous" writes:

It is a minor point, but for accuracy it should be be pointed out that the quote you gave is not from 1859, but from 1860 (ie., the second edition). The 1859 quote is

quote:
There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

You are correct in the sequence of editions of The Origin of Species, wherein "the Creator" was left out of the first edition but included in the second. The question is: Why?

I think the answer is revealing: In the beginning there was no Creator, but he had to be retro-fitted to the job to sell more books.


I can see Lower Slobovia from my house.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Modulous, posted 02-16-2009 7:57 PM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by Modulous, posted 02-17-2009 11:35 AM Fosdick has responded

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 440 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 15 of 44 (499210)
02-17-2009 11:35 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by Fosdick
02-17-2009 10:52 AM


Darwin's creator
You are correct in the sequence of editions of The Origin of Species, wherein "the Creator" was left out of the first edition but included in the second. The question is: Why?

I think the answer is revealing: In the beginning there was no Creator, but he had to be retro-fitted to the job to sell more books.

Well - given that every single copy of the first edition sold out so a second edition was put out within a few months, I don't think selling more was necessarily the agenda in question. Besides the first edition was not without mention of a Creator:

quote:
Have we any right to assume that the Creator works by intellectual powers like those of man?

quote:
Let this process go on for millions on millions of years; and during each year on millions of individuals of many kinds; and may we not believe that a living optical instrument might thus be formed as superior to one of glass, as the works of the Creator are to those of man?

quote:
Authors of the highest eminence seem to be fully satisfied with the view that each species has been independently created. To my mind it accords better with what we know of the laws impressed on matter by the Creator, that the production and extinction of the past and present inhabitants of the world should have been due to secondary causes, like those determining the birth and death of the individual.

All taken from the first edition.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 14 by Fosdick, posted 02-17-2009 10:52 AM Fosdick has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 17 by Fosdick, posted 02-17-2009 11:53 AM Modulous has not yet responded

  
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2018 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.0 Beta
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2019