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Author Topic:   An Army of One
BMG
Member (Idle past 2273 days)
Posts: 356
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 1 of 59 (346215)
09-03-2006 11:07 AM


Hello.

Just yesterday my older brother strolls into the house unusually late after work. He has a glowing smile and radiates confidence. He settles down-showers, shaves, etc- and joins the family in the living room. The rest of us are watching the Norte Dame game.

He expounds that he has just come from church, the Saddleback Church, and that he is no longer Catholic, but is now Christian (I didn't want to sound arrogant so I kept myself from correcting his mistaken belief).

He now looked at me and I could discern from him an itching sensation to "teach" me what he had just been taught. (I'm an agnostic who accepts evolution). We have debated God and evolution before, and this time was no exception.

As I make leave into the kitchen, he follows.
"Brian, do you believe in evolution"?
"I don't believe it. I accept it based on the facts".
"Do you believe a God exists"?
"I believe it's possible".
"You can't believe both. They are incompatible".
"Nonsense. Of course I can believe in the possibility of both".
"Nowhere in the bible does it make any mention of evolution".

Wasn't hard to refute, but the conversation continued.
He mentioned that a pastor at the Saddleback Church was the author of the Purpose-Driven Life, Rick Warren. We talked of Purpose, and that which you could see and not see.

Anyway, to wrap this up, this "conversation" left me feeling like a heretic. I calmly tried to answer each and every question as they were hurled at me from three different directions, instantaneously- Mother, Father, brother. Standing in a half circle round me, eyes as wide as dinner plates, and voices which sounded like gunfire, I felt incredibly uncomfortable, even though I love to talk of the possibility of God, and Afterlife, and evolution.

So, the favor which I ask of you EVCer's is counsel on how better to defend myself against such barrages of "holy-understanding". I want to learn more of evolution. I plan on taking a biology class next semester at college. But until then, I would very much like to read a book or two for the laymen on the how's and why's of evolution. I want to better defend myself and the noble and awe-inspiring endeavors of science.

Any suggestions for an outnumbered, evolutionist, army-of-one?


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by NosyNed, posted 09-03-2006 12:47 PM BMG has not yet responded
 Message 4 by sidelined, posted 09-03-2006 12:53 PM BMG has responded
 Message 6 by nwr, posted 09-03-2006 1:21 PM BMG has responded
 Message 8 by jar, posted 09-03-2006 1:44 PM BMG has responded
 Message 13 by RAZD, posted 09-03-2006 5:21 PM BMG has responded
 Message 20 by subbie, posted 09-03-2006 6:43 PM BMG has responded
 Message 22 by crashfrog, posted 09-03-2006 7:39 PM BMG has responded
 Message 34 by Archer Opteryx, posted 09-04-2006 1:59 AM BMG has responded

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


Message 2 of 59 (346227)
09-03-2006 12:43 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8842
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003
Member Rating: 6.7


Message 3 of 59 (346228)
09-03-2006 12:47 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by BMG
09-03-2006 11:07 AM


Thanks for asking and a warning
Thanks for the confidence that we'll be able to help here.

There have been a number of such discussions. Use search to see if you can find them. I will if I get time.

AND:

A warning to all: Do not make this a catch all place to argue. Let's keep it on approach with references to threads on any topics which arise.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by BMG, posted 09-03-2006 11:07 AM BMG has not yet responded

  
sidelined
Inactive Member


Message 4 of 59 (346229)
09-03-2006 12:53 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by BMG
09-03-2006 11:07 AM


Infixion

I would recommend Climbing Mount Improbable by Richard Dawkins.You can also get a huge database from which to understand things from this website here.
http://darwiniana.org/

Another favorite of mine that has to do, not with evolution, but with the the scope of scientific understanding is located here.
http://explorepdx.com/feynman.html

Take the time to follow the hyperlinks and you will find a world of wonder and questions to explore. Let me know how you like them.


Dear Mrs Chown, Ignore your son's attempts to teach you physics. Physics isn't the most important thing. Love is.

Best wishes, Richard Feynman.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by BMG, posted 09-03-2006 11:07 AM BMG has responded

Replies to this message:
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NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8842
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003
Member Rating: 6.7


Message 5 of 59 (346230)
09-03-2006 12:58 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by sidelined
09-03-2006 12:53 PM


Science side from Side
Good start from Sidelined.

I think the whole other issue is how to approach the true believer type so that they aren't turned off nor is there any rancour raised in the family.

Sometimes it is best to just not discuss it? (Not that I could manage that).


This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by sidelined, posted 09-03-2006 12:53 PM sidelined has not yet responded

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


Message 6 of 59 (346233)
09-03-2006 1:21 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by BMG
09-03-2006 11:07 AM


No contradiction
There isn't any contradiction between Christianity and evolution. Anybody reading Genesis as literature (i.e. without committment to a particular belief about it) would immediately recognize that the Adam and Eve story and the Flood story (as well as some others) are fables with a moral message, not intended as historical records. The understanding that they are not to be taken as literal history goes back at least to Augustine.

If God is omnipotent, then it was within his power to use evolution as part of his creation plan.

You might remind your family members of the evangelical principle "sola scriptura". Only the scripture itself is authoritative. A Christian is not expected to take what his preacher says as authoritative, but to question it. And you are entitled to come to your own understanding of how to understand scripture.

You might find this web page to be useful.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by BMG, posted 09-03-2006 11:07 AM BMG has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by BMG, posted 09-03-2006 3:06 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply

  
BMG
Member (Idle past 2273 days)
Posts: 356
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 7 of 59 (346234)
09-03-2006 1:30 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by sidelined
09-03-2006 12:53 PM


Re: Sidelined
Thanks Sidelined.

Prodigious and interesting material, to say the least. I will take a look at Dawkin's Climbing Mount Improbable and see if it is worth purchasing. Thank you, kindly.

Ned,

I agree it is best sometimes to simply not talk about it. A few years ago, after taking an anthropology class, I was eager to see how this newly acquired information would hold up against my "faithful" parents.

I was rude, and incited a great deal of frustration. However, my knowledge and tolerance of differing opinions has increased greatly over the years, and I am happy to admit that I am far less likely to be cynical, condescending or hurtful to God-fearing people.

But over the past year, roughly all of the debates over the existence of God and evolution have been incited by the "other side". I tried greatly, even this time, to avoid a conversation on the topic, but push came to shove and I am glad to admit I didn't lose my cool or raise my voice. I kept a more friendly and amaible disposition. I answered their questions to the best of my ability, but I did notice I do not know much of evolution or science, in general.

Hence my reason for asking assistance in this department. I want to better understand why I believe what I believe, and to speak, almost with an aire(sp) of emotional indifference, about the subject at hand.

It's a desire, a thirst for reliable and credible knowledge.

To wrap up, I do not wish to disprove their belief in a higher power and make them feel uncomfortable. But I do hope to teach them a little of how science and evolution works. For they are, I am afraid to say, "science illiterate", and I am not much better.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by sidelined, posted 09-03-2006 12:53 PM sidelined has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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jar
Member
Posts: 30936
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 8 of 59 (346238)
09-03-2006 1:44 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by BMG
09-03-2006 11:07 AM


I can only tell you that for many Christians there is simply no conflict between their theological beliefs and anything in science including the Theory of Evolution.

There seems to be two different issues here. One is your path, your journey, and the other is family relations. I will try to address both issues.

First, on your personal journey.

Other folk will likely address the science side so I will try to stick with the theological implications except to say, learn as much science as you can and understand that it will NEVER get to "The Answer", there will always be more to learn.

In your personal journey consider the Catechism of Creation which is one Protestant view of the issue of Faith and Science. For many of us, what we learn through science, for example the Theory of Evolution, is How God Did It. For us, there is no real problem presented by anything in science because all science shows us is the HOW.

The second issue is going to be far more difficult and that is living in the family group. That is always tough, particularly when there are basic fundamental lifestyle differences.

You describe yourself as "...an outnumbered, evolutionist, army-of-one". Well a good measure of any army is to decide what battles and skirmishes to fight. The successful army fights the ones where it can win, avoids those where it is sure to lose, and when possible disengages before major losses take place. Unlike the somewhat freer medium of exchange at a forum like this, family discussions carry higher risks. Small hurts can last a long time. Be careful when engaged in family fueds and discussions that you do not cause problems that will roll over into other facets of life.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by BMG, posted 09-03-2006 11:07 AM BMG has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 11 by BMG, posted 09-03-2006 3:11 PM jar has responded

  
NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8842
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003
Member Rating: 6.7


Message 9 of 59 (346244)
09-03-2006 1:58 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by BMG
09-03-2006 1:30 PM


An approach??
You (like us all) have a lot to learn. Here's a thought - free and maybe worth that much.

I'd suggest not discussing ANY interpretations or results for a long time. Instead discuss what are facts and not. As you learn looking around here the anti-science folks are almost universely ignorant of the facts.

As you learn things you can bring them up at appropriate times.

In addtion, you could bring (in appropriate threads) to here what "facts" they are telling you.

In fact, use that as a guide. Ask them for the "facts" that they want you to know. Things like "radio carbon dating is wrong", "there are no transitionals", etc.

Do not engage but ask for a lot of clarification. E.g., "how do you know?", what do you mean?, what do you define .... as?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by BMG, posted 09-03-2006 1:30 PM BMG has responded

Replies to this message:
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BMG
Member (Idle past 2273 days)
Posts: 356
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 10 of 59 (346253)
09-03-2006 3:06 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by nwr
09-03-2006 1:21 PM


Re: No contradiction
There isn't any contradiction between Christianity and evolution.

Good point. I remember Jar bringing to light the Clergy Letter Project, which is fairly strong evidence to support your statement.

If God is omnipotent, then it was within his power to use evolution as part of his creation.

Another point I had in stock but did not use at the time. The debates are so often bits and fragments of ideas and the issue, after a short while, is so muddled I have to stop my family and try to steer the debate back to the issue.

Sola Sciptura? Sounds interesting. One I must keep in store for the future.

Thank you, NWR.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by nwr, posted 09-03-2006 1:21 PM nwr has acknowledged this reply

    
BMG
Member (Idle past 2273 days)
Posts: 356
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 11 of 59 (346255)
09-03-2006 3:11 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by jar
09-03-2006 1:44 PM


...learn as much science as you can and understand that it will NEVER get to "The Answer", there will always be more to learn.

One of the aspects of science that so strongly draws me to it is the fact that the "job" is never complete.

Be careful when engaged in family feuds and discussions that you do not cause problems that will roll over into other facets of life.

This took me a few years to learn, and something that I continue to improve upon.

Thanks, Jar.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 8 by jar, posted 09-03-2006 1:44 PM jar has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 15 by jar, posted 09-03-2006 5:36 PM BMG has responded

    
BMG
Member (Idle past 2273 days)
Posts: 356
From: Southwestern U.S.
Joined: 03-16-2006


Message 12 of 59 (346257)
09-03-2006 3:20 PM
Reply to: Message 9 by NosyNed
09-03-2006 1:58 PM


Re: An approach??
As you learn looking around here the anti-science folks are almost universally ignorant of the facts.

Yes, I have noticed this.

Ask them for the "facts" that they want you to know.

Good point. Here's the problem; facts, reason, logic, critical thinking is practically shunned by my family when it comes to the possibility of the supernatural. It's strange, but I do use these tools to the best of my ability and will continue doing so.

Thanks, Ned. Much obliged.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 9 by NosyNed, posted 09-03-2006 1:58 PM NosyNed has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19819
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 13 of 59 (346271)
09-03-2006 5:21 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by BMG
09-03-2006 11:07 AM


my 2bits (emailed earlier)
The problem is not defending "evolution" but in defending a science based worldview, defending a worldview based on accumulation of evidence and observations,

against one based solely on belief, one that sooner or later denies evidence. One that doesn't care about pesky things like facts or evidence.

There is a very low probability of making a dent, especially on the newly converted

Set some ground rules or refuse to participate. No ganging up. No disparaging comments.

Preface arguments with "you can believe what you want, but what is the evidence"

One place to start is the real world: start simple -- going out a door is not based on a belief in an afterlife or creation but in the observation of the door and the knowledge from past experience of how it works, including how you can slam your hand in the jam.

What is outside in the world? -- according to the beliefs this is the result of the creation, so shouldn't that provide corroborating evidence for the belief -- should not the study of "life, the universe, everything" (D.N.Adams) be a study of the actual physical creation?

IF NOT WHY NOT?

The other thing to remember is that evidence FOR a {concept\hypothesis\belief} is not sufficient to rule out other possibilities -- the critical element in judging the validity of a {concept\hypothesis\belief} is whether evidence needs to be DENIED to continue to accept the {concept\hypothesis\belief}. Denial that the earth is old or that speciation happens, for instance, or denial that evolution occurs -- regularly.

Denial of evidence that falsifies a {concept\hypothesis\belief} does not make the {concept\hypothesis\belief} any more factual or valid.

There is plenty of observation evidence that can be used to explain that the earth is flat, at the center of the universe, and that everything orbits the earth.

Another avenue of defense is divide the opposition: why aren't all christians unanimous in their beliefs and interpretations? Why have so many different kinds of christianity evolved? Why don't all christians agree on the age of the earth for example?

Invite your brother to participate at EvC if he thinks he has any real argument.

... pastor at the Saddleback Church was the author of the Purpose-Driven Life, Rick Warren.

Talk to your brother (and your parents) about what CULTS are and whether you tell if this is one.

See
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Purpose_Driven_Life
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult

... how better to defend myself against such barrages of "holy-understanding".

Another approach is to not say anything. Just smile.

How much longer do you need to be there eh? Or do you live at home while going to college?

I wish you luck.


Join the effort to unravel {AIDS/HIV} {Protenes} and {Cancer} with Team EvC! (click)

we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

RebelAAmericanOZen[Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by BMG, posted 09-03-2006 11:07 AM BMG has responded

Replies to this message:
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RAZD
Member
Posts: 19819
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 10.0


Message 14 of 59 (346272)
09-03-2006 5:32 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by BMG
09-03-2006 3:20 PM


Re: An approach??
Good point. Here's the problem; facts, reason, logic, critical thinking is practically shunned by my family when it comes to the possibility of the supernatural.

This may seem strange, but it is an outgrowth of a belief based world view -- there is no need for facts, they don't need them for belief and thus don't see that facts have any value. They don't understand them.

It's also part of the perceptions of reality problem.

You might ask your brother why he converted -- what fact led him to change his thinking -- but don't expect a logical answer.

I'd be more worried that this "new" church shows signs of being a cult.

Enjoy.


Join the effort to unravel {AIDS/HIV} {Protenes} and {Cancer} with Team EvC! (click)

we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

RebelAAmericanOZen[Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 12 by BMG, posted 09-03-2006 3:20 PM BMG has not yet responded

  
jar
Member
Posts: 30936
From: Texas!!
Joined: 04-20-2004


Message 15 of 59 (346273)
09-03-2006 5:36 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by BMG
09-03-2006 3:11 PM


Remember that there are two kinds of people, those who look for Answers to questions and those who look for answers to Question. The difference is small, just the matter of one little 's', but the gulf is vast.


Aslan is not a Tame Lion
This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by BMG, posted 09-03-2006 3:11 PM BMG has responded

Replies to this message:
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