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Author Topic:   Is Theistic Evolutionist An Oxymoron?
Buzsaw
Inactive Member


(1)
Message 1 of 83 (575409)
08-19-2010 10:12 PM


I was reading a thread of another topic, a comment by Meldinoor that he, being an evolutionist and a theist, had a problem being called a "theistic evolutionist" because, as he put it, "I don't like to describe myself as a "theistic evolutionist". The term implies a belief that evolution requires a 'divine tinkerer' to work. And I don't think that's been scientifically evidenced."

Since a response to the above in that thread would be off topic, I'm proposing a a thread pertaining to this topic.

I think it is an oxymoron. I see it as a vain attempt to gain the best of both ideologies; that of secularisim which essentially absolves one from contradicting establishment scientific academia and that of theism which offers a purpose for existence and a hope of a blissful existence beyond this life.

It is aximoronic in that it implies a creationless deity, contradictory to the Biblical record, essentially reducing that record to the status of myth. On the other hand it promotes a godless explanation of origins relative to all that exists.

What do you think?

Probably Coffee house or what ever Admin determines would be fine.

Edited by Buzsaw, : Correct spelling of Meldinoor


BUZSAW B 4 U 2 C Y BUZ SAW.
The immeasurable present eternally extends the infinite past and infinitely consumes the eternal future.

Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by bluescat48, posted 08-19-2010 11:00 PM Buzsaw has responded
 Message 4 by subbie, posted 08-19-2010 11:02 PM Buzsaw has acknowledged this reply
 Message 5 by Blue Jay, posted 08-19-2010 11:03 PM Buzsaw has acknowledged this reply
 Message 6 by nwr, posted 08-19-2010 11:09 PM Buzsaw has responded
 Message 7 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-19-2010 11:20 PM Buzsaw has responded
 Message 8 by PaulK, posted 08-20-2010 2:00 AM Buzsaw has responded
 Message 15 by Meldinoor, posted 08-20-2010 5:32 PM Buzsaw has responded

  
Adminnemooseus
Director
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Message 2 of 83 (575415)
08-19-2010 10:55 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Is Theistic Evolutionist An Oxymoron? thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.

  
bluescat48
Member (Idle past 3127 days)
Posts: 2347
From: United States
Joined: 10-06-2007


Message 3 of 83 (575417)
08-19-2010 11:00 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Buzsaw
08-19-2010 10:12 PM


It is aximoronic in that it implies a creationless deity, contradictory to the Biblical record, essentially reducing that record to the status of myth. On the other hand it promotes a godless explanation of origins relative to all that exists.

Why would a creationist deity be oxymoronic, just because it goes against your belief in the Abrahamic god and your scripture? I think you keep forgetting that belief is not evidence.


There is no better love between 2 people than mutual respect for each other WT Young, 2002

Who gave anyone the authority to call me an authority on anything. WT Young, 1969

Since Evolution is only ~90% correct it should be thrown out and replaced by Creation which has even a lower % of correctness. W T Young, 2008


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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subbie
Member (Idle past 192 days)
Posts: 3509
Joined: 02-26-2006


Message 4 of 83 (575418)
08-19-2010 11:02 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Buzsaw
08-19-2010 10:12 PM


I think it is an oxymoron. I see it as a vain attempt to gain the best of both ideologies; that of secularisim which essentially absolves one from contradicting establishment scientific academia and that of theism which offers a purpose for existence and a hope of a blissful existence beyond this life.

Well, since most Christians believe both that Jesus was a god and that the evidence supports evolution, apparently it's not vain to them.

It is aximoronic in that it implies a creationless deity, contradictory to the Biblical record, essentially reducing that record to the status of myth.

Of course, that doesn't fit the definition of oxymoronic. (I have no idea if it's aximoronic since I've never heard of that word before.) About the most significant thing that can be said is that it simply denies the legitimacy of a very simplistic view of the bible, a view that most people deny.


Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus. -- Thomas Jefferson

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and non-believers. -- Barack Obama

We see monsters where science shows us windmills. -- Phat

It has always struck me as odd that fundies devote so much time and effort into trying to find a naturalistic explanation for their mythical flood, while looking for magical explanations for things that actually happened. -- Dr. Adequate


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Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 1635 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 5 of 83 (575419)
08-19-2010 11:03 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Buzsaw
08-19-2010 10:12 PM


Hi, Buzsaw.

It is oxymoronic only if you believe "oxymoronic" means "contradicts what two or more other people think."


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


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 Message 1 by Buzsaw, posted 08-19-2010 10:12 PM Buzsaw has acknowledged this reply

  
nwr
Member
Posts: 5727
From: Geneva, Illinois
Joined: 08-08-2005
Member Rating: 4.4


Message 6 of 83 (575420)
08-19-2010 11:09 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Buzsaw
08-19-2010 10:12 PM


I remember at one time, my pastor used to say "It's not chance, it's God" and "It's not luck, it's God." Theistic evolutionists are just going with this idea with respect to genetic mutations.

Buzsaw writes:
I think it is an oxymoron. I see it as a vain attempt to gain the best of both ideologies; that of secularisim which essentially absolves one from contradicting establishment scientific academia and that of theism which offers a purpose for existence and a hope of a blissful existence beyond this life.

Really, that's just silly. Secularism is a matter of keeping religious bias out of administrative matters. It does not imply atheism.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Buzsaw, posted 08-19-2010 10:12 PM Buzsaw has responded

Replies to this message:
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Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 7 of 83 (575423)
08-19-2010 11:20 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Buzsaw
08-19-2010 10:12 PM


Theist: one who believes in God.

Evolutionist: one who believes in evolution.

Nope, no contradiction there.

It is aximoronic in that it implies a creationless deity

No, just a deity that didn't do fiat creation of species.

... contradictory to the Biblical record, essentially reducing that record to the status of myth.

But obviously pointing out that Genesis is a myth isn't the same as saying that there's no God.

---

One might with more justice complain that "theistic creationist" is an oxymoron. You are apparently defining God as a being who did something that verifiably didn't happen, just as though you defined God as "the being who makes everything in the world bright pink". One can be certain that that God doesn't exist, and so you are in effect defining him out of existence.

(Of course, you do not know this, just as a blind man wouldn't know that the "bright pink" definition would render belief in God untenable to the sighted. But such is the case.)


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 9 by Buzsaw, posted 08-20-2010 8:42 AM Dr Adequate has responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 16881
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 8 of 83 (575434)
08-20-2010 2:00 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Buzsaw
08-19-2010 10:12 PM


quote:

I was reading a thread of another topic, a comment by Meldinor that he, being an evolutionist and a theist, had a problem being called a "theistic evolutionist" because, as he put it, "I don't like to describe myself as a "theistic evolutionist". The term implies a belief that evolution requires a 'divine tinkerer' to work. And I don't think that's been scientifically evidenced."

Meldinoor's interpretation, then is that a "theistic evolutionist" is someone who believes that a God intervened in the course of evolution. Since "theism" means either "belief that there is a God or gods" or (when opposed to Deism) "belief that there is a God or gods who intervene in this universe" the term is clearly not oxymoronic on that count. On the other hand this same belief is very close to modern evolutionary theory (and none of the interventions need actually contradict the theory - they may simply guarantee outcomes which were possible but would not otherwise occur). Michael Behe as of his last book appears to follow a belief of this sort, although he does insist that certain evolutionary stages require divine intervention.

So on this interpretation the term is not obviously oxymoronic, and is is certainly theistic.

The more common interpretation is that the term refers to the belief that God set up the universe so that it's ordinary operations bring about the desired results. While this view is consistent with Deism it does not rule out intervention in human history so it cannot be said that it is opposed to theism. And it fully accepts evolutionary theory, so this reading is certainly not oxymoronic.

quote:

I think it is an oxymoron. I see it as a vain attempt to gain the best of both ideologies; that of secularisim which essentially absolves one from contradicting establishment scientific academia and that of theism which offers a purpose for existence and a hope of a blissful existence beyond this life.

I don't think that it is fair to describe even science as an ideology and to describe theism in that way is absurd.

quote:

It is aximoronic in that it implies a creationless deity, contradictory to the Biblical record, essentially reducing that record to the status of myth. On the other hand it promotes a godless explanation of origins relative to all that exists.

What do you think?


Both Meldinoor's reading and the more common reading would generally be accompanied by the view that the universe was created by (a) God. Meldninoor's reading might well include the view that the first life was created by God. Since neither point contradicts evolutionary theory we can see that the term usually refers to someone who DOES believe in a creator God.

Since even the narrower reading of "theism" is not restricted to religions who consider the Bible sacred, contradicting the Biblical creation myths cannot be considered an issue. Even among Judaism, Christianity and Islam and their offshoots there are many who do not insist that those myths must be accepted as literally true (not least due to the clear contradictions between the two accounts).

So your argument that the term is an oxymoron is based on the assumption that all theists must agree with your doctrines. That assumption is certainly false.

Edited by PaulK, : Corrected a couple of typoes.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Buzsaw, posted 08-19-2010 10:12 PM Buzsaw has responded

Replies to this message:
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Buzsaw
Inactive Member


Message 9 of 83 (575509)
08-20-2010 8:42 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Dr Adequate
08-19-2010 11:20 PM


Dr Adequate writes:

Theist: one who believes in God.
Evolutionist: one who believes in evolution.

Nope, no contradiction there.

God being a generic term, I would agree but God, referring the Biblical god, Jehovah would imply a contradiction, unless the Biblical record is reduced to the status of myth.

The Biblical god is clearly a creative designer who, throughout the record is credited for all that evolutionist attribute to totally natural processes void of an intelligent designer.

Dr Adequate writes:

Buzsaw writes:

It is aximoronic in that it implies a creationless deity

No, just a deity that didn't do fiat creation of species.

But Jehovah created and designed, not totally by fiat, but by work and intelligent planning, after which he rested from his work on the seventh day. As per observed scientific laws, there was a measure of equaliberium effected in the process, just as was the case when Jesus healed the woman with an issue of blood. He said in Mark 5:30 (ASV):

And straightway Jesus, perceiving in himself that the power proceeding from him had gone forth, turned him about in the crowd, and said, Who touched my garments?
(Embolding mine for emphasis)

Dr Adequate writes:

Buzsaw writes:

... contradictory to the Biblical record, essentially reducing that record to the status of myth.

But obviously pointing out that Genesis is a myth isn't the same as saying that there's no God.

It's essentially saying there's no Biblical designer god, Jehovah as described throughout the Biblical record.

Dr Adequate writes:

One might with more justice complain that "theistic creationist" is an oxymoron. You are apparently defining God as a being who did something that verifiably didn't happen, just as though you defined God as "the being who makes everything in the world bright pink". One can be certain that that God doesn't exist, and so you are in effect defining him out of existence.

(Of course, you do not know this, just as a blind man wouldn't know that the "bright pink" definition would render belief in God untenable to the sighted. But such is the case.)

You, on the other hand, being a blind man spiritually, are assuming no intelligence above that experienced by humans on tiny planet earth.

That premise from which you extrapolate interpretations of observed phenomena happens to be different than that of the creationist does not necessarily make the term "theistic creationist" oxymoronic.


BUZSAW B 4 U 2 C Y BUZ SAW.
The immeasurable present eternally extends the infinite past and infinitely consumes the eternal future.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-19-2010 11:20 PM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-20-2010 8:54 AM Buzsaw has responded
 Message 12 by PaulK, posted 08-20-2010 10:00 AM Buzsaw has acknowledged this reply
 Message 14 by ringo, posted 08-20-2010 2:35 PM Buzsaw has responded

  
Dr Adequate
Member
Posts: 16112
Joined: 07-20-2006


Message 10 of 83 (575512)
08-20-2010 8:54 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by Buzsaw
08-20-2010 8:42 AM


God being a generic term, I would agree but God, referring the Biblical god, Jehovah would imply a contradiction, unless the Biblical record is reduced to the status of myth.

And God, referring to the being who makes everything bright pink, also doesn't exist. But one can assert this and not be an atheist, since, as you say, "god" is a generic term.

You, on the other hand, being a blind man spiritually, are assuming no intelligence above that experienced by humans on tiny planet earth.

No.

That premise from which you extrapolate interpretations of observed phenomena happens to be different than that of the creationist does not necessarily make the term "theistic creationist" oxymoronic.

And the term "theist-who-thinks-that-God-makes-everything-bright-pink" is not strictly an oxymoron. But I hope you see my point.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by Buzsaw, posted 08-20-2010 8:42 AM Buzsaw has responded

Replies to this message:
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Buzsaw
Inactive Member


Message 11 of 83 (575520)
08-20-2010 9:41 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Dr Adequate
08-20-2010 8:54 AM


And God, referring to the being who makes everything bright pink, also doesn't exist. ...........

No. ...............

And the term "theist-who-thinks-that-God-makes-everything-bright-pink" is not strictly an oxymoron. But I hope you see my point.

Your point?? No valid ponts worthy of response; nothing but blind assertions above, none of which address the tenets of my points in the message to which you responded.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


BUZSAW B 4 U 2 C Y BUZ SAW.
The immeasurable present eternally extends the infinite past and infinitely consumes the eternal future.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by Dr Adequate, posted 08-20-2010 8:54 AM Dr Adequate has responded

Replies to this message:
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PaulK
Member
Posts: 16881
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 12 of 83 (575523)
08-20-2010 10:00 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by Buzsaw
08-20-2010 8:42 AM


quote:

God being a generic term, I would agree...

For the purposes of defining "theist" and "theistic" "God" is a generic term. Thus, this is the only relevant part of your post and it concedes the point. The term "theistic evolutionist" is not an oxymoron.


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jar
Member
Posts: 33343
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004
Member Rating: 2.8


(1)
Message 13 of 83 (575529)
08-20-2010 10:37 AM


It is certainly not as much an oxymoron as the term Literal Biblical Believer.

On my journey towards becoming a Theistic Evolutionist there has been a common belief, that GOD is the creator of all that is, seen and unseen, and quite a few hurdles and milestones.

The first hurdle and milestone (H&M) was understanding that the creation stories found in Genesis 1 &2 really are simply myths and that they are included in the Bible, not so much as Creation Myths (though Genesis 1 would qualify there) but for other major mythos functions. Genesis 1 helps explain the formation of a week and that one day a week should be taken off to get away from labor. It's probably the first fair labor practices law.

The older story in Genesis 2&3 is not included primarily as a direct creation myth but rather as a "Just So story" explaining why women are subject to men, why we fear snakes, why we must work to find food instead of simply gathering (this may also be a somewhat fanciful remembrance of a pre-agrarian period), why childbirth seems more painful for humans, why we fear snakes and why we don't live forever.

The next H&M was understanding that there is no single god portrayed in the Bible. What we find are the fanciful creations of different peoples, cultures, knowledge levels, sophistication levels as those attempts to define GOD developed over time. It is a series of snap shot of how people at each period considered the concept of God. None are accurate or complete; all of the different gods found in the bible stories are but caricatures.

Then came the personal discoveries and observations, old old hills and rocks, far far away stars and galaxies, fossilized clams and sharks teeth and bones. Each such observation reinforced the understanding that the universe and this earth are old, that they certainly did not originate as described in any of the Biblical myths, and that life had changed greatly over time.

By then I was ready to actually begin learning what the Theory of Evolution meant.

One of the hardest hurdles to get over was the result of learning the implications of Evolution. The whole concept of Special Creation became irrelevant. Humans were no more special then any other critter and in many ways inferior to most lifeforms. This lead to a newer understanding of "Made in God's image" where Veronica's Veil became life itself.

"Man" could no longer be seen as a Special Creation; at best we might be a child prodigy but more likely just have too high an opinion of ourselves.

BUT...

the evidence in support of the fact that Evolution happened and that the Theory of Evolution explains the diversity we see is quite simply, overwhelming. There was no honest way to deny that and there is no other competing model available. Creationism, by any name or form is obviously false unless the God Creator was a fool and incompetent. Intelligent Design was simply too silly to take seriously again, unless the Designer was Inept, Incompetent, Ignorant and Inefficient.

The only honest position I could find was as a Theistic Evolutionist.


Anyone so limited that they can only spell a word one way is severely handicapped!

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 19139
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.5


Message 14 of 83 (575588)
08-20-2010 2:35 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by Buzsaw
08-20-2010 8:42 AM


Buzsaw writes:

God being a generic term, I would agree but God, referring the Biblical god, Jehovah would imply a contradiction...


You seem to be confusing "theistic" with "Buzsawistic". It's the same mistake as saying there are no Canadian republicans because we don't have a Republican Party.


Life is like a Hot Wheels car. Sometimes it goes behind the couch and you can't find it.

This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Meldinoor
Member (Idle past 3746 days)
Posts: 400
From: Colorado, USA
Joined: 02-16-2009


Message 15 of 83 (575656)
08-20-2010 5:32 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Buzsaw
08-19-2010 10:12 PM


Hello Buz,

It occurs to me that it's been quite a while since we both took part in a discussion. I think it's because you tend to gravitate toward theology/prophecy discussions while I spend most of my time in the science fora. So how've you been?

Anyway, since you refer to me in your OP it seems appropriate that I give my point of view on the question.

Technically, since I am both a theist and an evolutionist, that makes me a "theistic evolutionist". However, I am reluctant to use this term to describe myself as it implies a conflation of the two terms that I think is misleading. My being a theist should not influence how I read the evidence nor give me cause to make unsupported assumptions about a scientific theory. Neither does the fact that I accept the theory of evolution influence my faith in God.
It's like making a distinction between "theistic mathematicians" and "mathematicians". There's no reason to believe that the two groups do their math differently, so the distinction is irrelevant.

Buzsaw writes:

I see it as a vain attempt to gain the best of both ideologies; that of secularisim which essentially absolves one from contradicting establishment scientific academia and that of theism which offers a purpose for existence and a hope of a blissful existence beyond this life.

But you're wrong. I do not see how merely accepting the theory of evolution influences one's ideology. The ToE does not tell me how to live my life, or influence my moral or political decisions. I don't contest that to some people it might. Perhaps for some people "evolutionism" really is deserving of that -ism, and perhaps some people really can make a religion or an ideology out of it. Social Darwinism comes to mind, which I guess is an ideology, but that's taking the ToE out of the realm of science and using it to justify political actions.

My theism OTOH has an impact on my life and does influence my decisions and ideology. So my faith and my acceptance of the ToE have no bearing on each other, just as my belief in the existence of carrots does not influence my belief in God.

Hope that clarifies,

-Meldinoor


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Replies to this message:
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