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Can You Believe in God and Evolution?

Pedro Penna
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Alright, Sheriff... You're absolutely right. It doesn't hurt to be nice to other people.
I just got really angry after reading certain posts and I apologize for my rude behavior.

PS: I'm going to repeat the not-so-rude part of my first post here:

(...) most people haven't read much about the evolution theory.
There's a lot more to learn than just what we are taught at school.
Gerald Davis
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Originally posted by Roger Nelson:
I think if one wishes one can believe in both.
Beacause fundamentally both the beliefs are faith driven.
Scientifically no one has observed god, neither has anyone observed the evolution theory in progression.
So it boils down to faith, there a lot of things in life thats driven by faith.
The very fact that you do things today is because you have faith that there will be a tomorrow.
Gotta have faith :-)


Some elements of science, I do have a certain amount of faith. A TV works using radio wave to get its signals, even though I have studied radio technology, I still have faith that all this is true; for all I know it could be wizardry , the same wizardry that can make things levitate and things appear like a rabbit out of a hat.

Evolution, natural selection, I have a complete understanding of and to me there is no faith involved at all.

Isn't the evolution of dogs, evolution in action have not they evolved the way us humans wanted to. From fast Greyhound to Hunting dogs. Or could they all once lived in the wild even the little chiwawa fit in the size of a small mug. May they all did live in wild and TV and scientists are lying to me, it is faith that they are telling the truth. But my understanding of Evolution is so clear that even if it was true it would not change my mind at all.
Stan James
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Some elements of science, I do have a certain amount of faith. A TV works using radio wave to get its signals, even though I have studied radio technology, I still have faith that all this is true; for all I know it could be wizardry , the same wizardry that can make things levitate and things appear like a rabbit out of a hat.

Yeah, it's a shame but most of us will never have a deep enough understanding of most of the technology around us to prove it's not magic. But there are plenty of people who do understand it that well, and I pretty much trust the scientific process when enough peers agree that they have figured things out.

I remember thinking the first time I read Mysterious Island that Verne's character Cyrus Harding had in his head nearly all the technology of the day. He made glass, copper wire & batteries, explosives and much more from scratch. I'd be pretty hard pressed to make a laptop from scratch on a desert island.

Sure, I could be fooled today. A "sufficiently advanced science is indistinguishable from magic" after all. But there is a big difference between good science and other types of reasoning. I do claim to be smart enough to appreciate the difference.


A good question is never answered. It is not a bolt to be tightened into place but a seed to be planted and to bear more seed toward the hope of greening the landscape of the idea. John Ciardi
Roger Nelson
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Originally posted by Gerald Davis:


Some elements of science, I do have a certain amount of faith. A TV works using radio wave to get its signals, even though I have studied radio technology, I still have faith that all this is true; for all I know it could be wizardry , the same wizardry that can make things levitate and things appear like a rabbit out of a hat.

Evolution, natural selection, I have a complete understanding of and to me there is no faith involved at all.


I believe the term scientifically proven, demonstrates the ability to consistently produce a certain result again aand again. i.e ability to show how a tv works consistently.
On the contrary the evolution theory is the best theory available.
To the best of my ubderstanding it happens through such a long time frame that its not yet scientifically proven, but its just the best theory, the best philosphy.
At one time the earth was flat was the best theory available.
so till a theory is scientifically proven, its just a matter of faith whether one believes in it or not
Andrew Monkhouse
author and jackaroo
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  59

Originally posted by Roger Nelson:
I believe the term scientifically proven, demonstrates the ability to consistently produce a certain result again aand again. i.e ability to show how a tv works consistently.
On the contrary the evolution theory is the best theory available.


Unfortunately I read that as a dismisal of evolution theory as "just a theory", in contrast to rules and laws. I personally think that this is a mistake - just because something is still a theory (in the scientific sense of the word) does not mean that I am willing to dismiss it. So I am not willing to dismiss the theory of gravity (and go floating off into space ) just because it is only a theory (and a theory that is being regularly updated at that).

I think (and I am more than willing to be proven wrong) that when people talk about "scientifically proven", they just mean that it is proven to work within the current theories.

So you can prove that a TV works within the current theories of electricity and radio waves.

This does not mean that the current theories of electricity and radio waves have been proven at all - we may find sometime in the future that our current theories are just subsets of a greater theory. Similar to young school children being taught Pythagorean Theorem (c² = a² * b² ), however they might find later that Pythagorean Theorem fits within the rule c² = a² + b² - 2ab�cos(�). (And there are further applications of Pythagorean Theorem as well)

Originally posted by Roger Nelson:
To the best of my ubderstanding it happens through such a long time frame that its not yet scientifically proven, but its just the best theory, the best philosphy.
At one time the earth was flat was the best theory available.
so till a theory is scientifically proven, its just a matter of faith whether one believes in it or not


I think (again, feel free to prove me wrong) that evolution has not been demonstrated at a species level, and that is where the detractors of evolution typically base their attack.

However evolution has been proven to produce different sub-genus of species. One example is different sub-genus of flies (short life cycles make for good experimental subjects) have been produced that no longer appear capable of mating with each other however they are perfectly viable sub-genus in their own right. Horticulture experts are continually comming up with new sub-genus of various plants. And breeding for certain traits (forced evolution?) has been around for many years and has been extensively studied - take a look at specialist breeding of cats, dogs, and horses (to name a few).

Regards, Andrew
[ August 13, 2005: Message edited by: Andrew Monkhouse ]

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Gerald Davis
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I couldn�t have said it better myself. It would be easier to question evolution if enough non-religious scientists had their doubts about evolution. If the only reason to disprove evolution is to make room for Gods Mission then I am much less convinced.

Here is a scientific Christian website that makes a very good attempt to disprove evolution. It formally introduced me to macro and microevolution, which I previously called incremental and radical evolution.


Be warned! Some of you atheist might not come back , not as an atheist anyway. http://www.godandscience.org/evolution/
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Stan James:
We have to be prepared to admit we have little idea what God does or thinks from one day to the next. We might just be the ones who are wrong about one or two things.


It could be seen as slightly odd that some people will say that there exists an entity so incredible that it can create an entire universe from scratch, and at the same time our puny little brains can understand the motivations of this being. It seems to me its a bit like a dog trying to understand human philosophy. There are similar problems in scientific circles as well - there are, and have been, some scientists who believe they can discover and understand the deepest workings of the universe. Some Victorian scientists even said that they thought that everything worth knowing would be discovered before too long! Again a dog analogy: its like a dog trying to understand the inner workings of a nuclear reactor.

The universe (and/or god for deists) is/are really complicated. Obviously its a good thing to try and increase our understanding (and in doing so improve ourselves and our environment), but there is a certain degree of hubris in claiming to do understand more than the tiniest fraction of it.
[ August 15, 2005: Message edited by: Dave Lenton ]

There will be glitches in my transition from being a saloon bar sage to a world statesman. - Tony Banks
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Pedro Penna:
I think that everyone that believes in God, but denies some specific chapter of the holy scriptures in order to believe in the theory of evolution, falls into contradiction. I think that anyone who tries that, is actually trying to build a customized version of a certain religion for themselves, and to me that's weird, because the Bible is the only thing that transmitted these teachings through thousands of years, unchanged, unchallenged, from the people who wrote it, to them.


Actually the Bible has undergone several minor edits and re-translations. Its possible that certain parts of it may have, because of this, different meanings. This is irrelevant though - there is no reason why people cannot believe in God but not in some parts of the Bible.

There are almost two parts to a deist's belief. Part one is the idea that a deity exists. Part two is to fill in the details of what the deity is like, and how that effects the life of the believer. Its completely possible to attain either part without having any reference to religious scripture, or holding the entirety of a specific body of literature to be true.

There is also the issue of conflicting scripture. Even taking monotheist religious groups there are many different scriptures, and there's nothing unreasonable about people reading different scriptures and deciding that some seem more reasonable then others. This is even applicable to different parts of the Bible as it is not so much a single book as a collection of different bits of literature.
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Roger Nelson:
I think if one wishes one can believe in both.
Beacause fundamentally both the beliefs are faith driven.
Scientifically no one has observed god, neither has anyone observed the evolution theory in progression.
So it boils down to faith, there a lot of things in life thats driven by faith.
The very fact that you do things today is because you have faith that there will be a tomorrow.
Gotta have faith :-)


While it is true that very little is proven beyond any possible doubt, there is a difference in the scientific and the religious based view points.

The scientific point of view is to state that we have a whole bunch of theories, and that some of these seem most likely. While a scientist can be reasonably confident that a particular theory is a good approximation of the truth, they are also willing to throw out that theory when a better one comes along.

In contrast a great deal of religious theories are held to be fundamentally true, without any possibility of being incorrect.

While the scientist has a kind of faith that a particular theory is quite likely, the religious fundamentalist (and there are religious people with differing positions; I'm referring only to a subset (or should that be sub-sect? )) has faith that a particular theory is fundamentally true and utterly unchangeable. This is an entirely different order of magnitude of faith.

The other difference is that often a fundamentalist religious theory is based upon a much lower degree of proof (and faces a higher level of contradictory evidence) then a leading scientific theory, and therefore requires a higher degree of faith to hold it true.
[ August 15, 2005: Message edited by: Dave Lenton ]
Steven Bell
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Originally posted by Max Habibi:
[qb]It is rather full of holes and there is not much evidence to back it up.

I'd like to suggest some very light reading[/QB]


I see nothing here to suggest proof of macro-evolution. There are several examples of micro-evolution.

Macro-evolution has a starting point that is the single celled organisim. From the first single cell all life on earth arose. Given the amazing complexity of a single celled organism it's hard to take on faith that a single celled organism with the ability to reproduce simple fell into place. What your telling me, by saying the macro-evolution is basically fact,is that the right chemicals in the right positions just happened to fall into place to build an incredibly complex machine.

What if I were to tell you that stonehenge is not man made. That the rocks just fell into place like that. A little erosion, some gravity, a few million or billion years and poof, stonehenge.

Again, I'm not saying there is no way macro-evolution could have it right, just that there are problems with the theory. I don't understand why so many people get so concerned about questioning a theory. That's what they are there for, to be questioned and tested until we break them. Then when we break them we either adjust them or throw them out for something better.

Again (Again), I'm not saying evolution is bad, and I'm not saying the intelligent design is good or better. Just that it's ok to question things and that there is ample room in evolution to question it.
Max Habibi
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I see nothing here to suggest proof of macro-evolution. There are several examples of micro-evolution.

While there are, indeed, a great many examples of what you're referring to as microevolution, there are also several examples of what you're referring to as macro evolution( see here, here, and here).
[QB}
Macro-evolution has a starting point that is the single celled organism. [/QB]

This seems to be shifting of the definition of macro -evolution from the one you used earlier: to wit The theory in which a completely new species can arise through genetic anomaly and natural selection.. Now it's become a process that has a starting point that is a single celled organism.

In the actual literature, macro-evolution is used to describe changes caused by micro evolution to the degree that changes that if descendants could go back in time to mate with their distant ancestors, the genetic differences would prevent them from producing fertile offspring. In other words, they would be different species.

This is no great surprise to anyone familiar with engineering: large changes are made of smaller, incremental changes. For example, miles are covered one step @ a time, and thousands of miles are covered a mile @ a time. Pointing to the degree of distance between and a thousand miles does not prove that a given distance in incapable of being covered.

From the first single cell all life on earth arose. Given the amazing complexity of a single celled organism it's hard to take on faith

I disagree that any faith is required for a reason-based view: I know that the more austerely religious like to say that accepting science & reasoning is a matter of faith, but I've never actually heard any proof of this assertion. I've simple heard it repeated again and again.


that a single celled organism with the ability to reproduce simple fell into place.


I don't think it's a matter of simple: I think it's a matter of inevitability. When all the time and space in the universe, it's reasonable to observe that it finally happened. Similarly, given the number of people who play the lottery, it's reasonable to observe that someone won it.


What if I were to tell you that Stonehenge is not man made. That the rocks just fell into place like that. A little erosion, some gravity, a few million or billion years and poof, Stonehenge.



The problem with your example is that we know, a priori that stonehenge is man made. What if I were to tell you that the clump of dirt outside my office was arranged just so by a supernatural being who supercedes space and time over five billion years ago? What if I were to write it down in a book? would that make it correct? or would you require reasonable proof?


Again, I'm not saying there is no way macro-evolution could have it right, just that there are problems with the theory. I don't understand why so many people get so concerned about questioning a theory. That's what they are there for, to be questioned and tested until we break them. Then when we break them we either adjust them or throw them out for something better.


I don't think it's the question of the theory that has the more scientific minded amongst us upset: we question theories all the time, and we're excited when a more reasonable theory is reached. We're concerned about our educational curriculums being dragged backwards by fundamentalists: we're concerned that people who reject science are setting science curriculums. We're concerned when objective scientific process is dismessed because the results fail to provide spiritual emotional support. To those of us who were raised to accept reason, it's concerning.


Again (Again), I'm not saying evolution is bad, and I'm not saying the intelligent design is good or better. Just that it's ok to question things and that there is ample room in evolution to question it.

This might be where the disconnection comes in: when you talk about good and bad, it's seems that you're concerned with the moral or spiritual implications of the science. I could care less about those: I'm concerned with it's accuracy. The theory of evolution, both micro and macro, is the most reasonable, lucid, and valid theory we're aware of. I'm all for improving the theory, but I don't like to reject scientific process just because the spiritualists amonst us find it emotionally unsatisfying.

M


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Stephen Huey
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Your examples were pretty sparse. The problem is, a lot of creationists believe that the evidence for macro-evolution is way too slim (if there is any at all). I'm referring to the claim that the fossil record is missing the alleged intermediate bridges in between species.
Max Habibi
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Your examples were pretty sparse.

They're not my examples really: they're the reality of the situation. Declaring them to be sparse, without quilification or backup, doesn't really help the conversation progress.

The problem is, a lot of creationists believe that the evidence for macro-evolution is way too slim (if there is any at all).

A lot of creationists also believe in the supernatural: that belief isn't correct either

but more seriously: Of course, science does not have every answer: it never claimed to. What good science tries to do is formulate the best guess, based on reasoning and evidence, regardless of what people want to hear.
[ August 16, 2005: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]
Gerald Davis
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Originally posted by Dave Lenton:


It could be seen as slightly odd that some people will say that there exists an entity so incredible that it can create an entire universe from scratch, and at the same time our puny little brains can understand the motivations of this being. It seems to me its a bit like a dog trying to understand human philosophy.

God made an effort to makes his motive clear to us, he sent down his only son Jesus Christ to spread the word of the lord. That�s what I would say if I were Christian. Your view doesn�t really disprove the teaching of any religion.
Paul Bourdeaux
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It seems to me its a bit like a dog trying to understand human philosophy.

Who's to say that eventually dogs won't evolve to the point at which they can understand human philosophy... or at least try to. Of course, I am sure they would get major parts of it wrong, seperating into different sects that believe that their interpretation of human philosophy is the only correct one, form nations around these sects and fight wars based on their beliefs...

Of course, just because the dogs don't understand human philosophy doesn't mean that humans don't exist...


“Programming today is a race between software engineers striving to build bigger and better idiot-proof programs, and the Universe trying to produce bigger and better idiots. So far, the Universe is winning.” - Rich Cook
Max Habibi
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Of course, just because the dogs don't understand human philosophy doesn't mean that humans don't exist...

And just because dogs don't understand Martian philosophy, that doesn't mean that Martians do exist
Frank Silbermann
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I don't see a problem believing in God and in evolution. You can eliminate the contradictions merely be concluding that certain aspects of religious tradition shouldn't be taken literally.

And even if belief in God and in evolution were logically incompatible, that wouldn't matter either. Lots of things most people believe in are illogical or contrary to the suggestions of the evidence.

For example, [valid, but extremely tangential example deleted: no reason to hijack this thread any further with inflammatory material-MH]
I could come up with lots more examples.

I conclude that people can believe just about whatever they want to believe whenever they want to believe it, without regard for logic.
[ August 16, 2005: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]
Gerald Davis
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Originally posted by Frank Silbermann:


I conclude that people can believe just about whatever they want to believe whenever they want to believe it, without regard for logic.

[ August 16, 2005: Message edited by: Max Habibi ]


This is more typical of NT and not of geeks who like to find the truth using logic. There has not been a single religion that attracts more geeks then NT.

Trust the geek, they are not into social control systems that compromise the progress of science and truth.
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Max Habibi:
I don't think it's a matter of simple: I think it's a matter of inevitability. When all the time and space in the universe, it's reasonable to observe that it finally happened. Similarly, given the number of people who play the lottery, it's reasonable to observe that someone won it.


This is especially true when you consider how much stuff there is out there. Our galaxy alone has between 200-400 billion stars. If 1% of those have planets, and 1% of those have planets within a zone capable of supporting liquid water, and 1% of those develop simple proteins, then we're still left with about 200,000-400,000 planets where life is reasonably likely. Its even more likely than this though - firstly there's so many galaxies out there that we can't count them, and secondly we're kind of assuming that all life must exist under similar conditions to us e.g. in a liquid water, carbon based environment.

Probability would suggest that the universe is teeming with life forms, so its not really that surprising that eventually at least one of them would evolve some rudimentary intelligence.

What if I were to tell you that the clump of dirt outside my office was arranged just so by a supernatural being who supercedes space and time over five billion years ago? What if I were to write it down in a book? would that make it correct? or would you require reasonable proof?


This is something that is quite confusing to me. The various holy books around the world are often taken as being a kind of inspired truth, yet if I were to right a book containing instructions to mankind and say it was inspired by supernatural power then I would be considered a lunatic. Why are the older writings considered special? Why are their authors considered inspired? How can you tell that they are right and my book is not? Surely a kind of human judgement is required to answer each of these questions, and I'm sure we all agree that human judgement is often flawed.

We're concerned about our educational curriculums being dragged backwards by fundamentalists: we're concerned that people who reject science are setting science curriculums.


I've got no objection to things like creation and intelligent design being taught as part of a philosophy or religious education lesson (as long as other mainstream religions and view points (including atheism and agnosticism) are also taught), but they have no place in science lessons. Science is about learning based upon experimentation and the application of reason, and neither creationism or intelligent design are derived from these. Therefore they should not be taught as "science".

[ August 17, 2005: Message edited by: Dave Lenton ]
[ August 17, 2005: Message edited by: Dave Lenton ]
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Gerald Davis:
God made an effort to makes his motive clear to us, he sent down his only son Jesus Christ to spread the word of the lord. That�s what I would say if I were Christian. Your view doesn�t really disprove the teaching of any religion.


That's true, but it doesn't make it any less weird that people claim to not only totally understand that teaching, but to totally understand the motivations and reasons behind it.

I'm not attempting to disprove any teachings, but just point out that its strange when people claim to understand something that they also insist is so infinitely complex.
Paul Bourdeaux
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yet if I were to right a book containing instructions to mankind and say it was inspired by supernatural power then I would be considered a lunatic. Why are the older writings considered special? Why are their authors considered inspired?

Actually, they weren't regarded very highly either. Jesus Christ was crucified, and many early christians were martyred. Martin Luther was denounced as a heretic and ex-communicated. Joseph Smith was assassinated in a little country jail in Carthage, IL.
Paul Bourdeaux
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And just because dogs don't understand Martian philosophy, that doesn't mean that Martians do exist

Fair enough!
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Dave Lenton:
That's true, but it doesn't make it any less weird that people claim to not only totally understand that teaching, but to totally understand the motivations and reasons behind it.


What people claim this? Are you suggesting that religious people in general claim this? Are you suggesting that there are a large number of religious people who claim this? If so, who? Or are you saying that there must be a few people here or there who claim this?
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:
What people claim this? Are you suggesting that religious people in general claim this? Are you suggesting that there are a large number of religious people who claim this? If so, who? Or are you saying that there must be a few people here or there who claim this?

I have heard these kinds of claims from several people. I've heard people justify wars by saying "God wants us to attack them", and similarly there have been people who have said "We'll win because God is on our side". Just last week I heard a person say on the TV that he would not inform the police of someone within his community committing a crime, because God would not want him to.

There more common examples as well. Several athletes have, after winning a race, made comments that they have won because they prayed to their god to let them win. This implies that they believe that the reason they won was because their god heard the prayer and changed his mind. I have also heard people speaking of a particular dead person, and saying "don't worry, they're in heaven now", and in doing so they are making an assumption about their god's judgement upon the dead person.

The thing about all of these statements that have been made is that the people making them have jumped to an assumption about what their deity is thinking. This is a bit strange - they are claiming to know what the deity thinks while at the same time following a faith that holds the same deity to be almost infinitely complex and unfathomable. It would be a bit different if they'd been vague, or been making a guess, but some have been totally confident that they know what their deity is thinking.

This is reasonably rare though, and I doubt it is common that most theists make presumptions about the diety(s) of their choice in this way.
[ August 18, 2005: Message edited by: Dave Lenton ]
fred rosenberger
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This implies that they believe that the reason they won was because their god heard the prayer and changed his mind.

It most certainly does NOT mean this. For this to be true, you would have to know that God originally wanted that athelete to LOSE. I don't believe you can really know this.



There are only two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors
Paul Bourdeaux
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I have heard these kinds of claims from several people.

None of the examples you listed ever claimed to "not only totally understand that teaching, but to totally understand the motivations and reasons behind it." That being said, yes, there is a very small proportion of the religious community worldwide that seems to be completely sure that they have it right. But your broad generalization of religious zealots to the everyday athlete who thanks God (or a god) for giving him or her their gifts is more than a bit of a stretch.

Every day before meals I pray and thank God for providing me with the means to obtain food. I certainly don't believe that the reason I had food was because my prayer somehow persuaded God to allow me to go on eating one more day...

just point out that its strange when people claim to understand something that they also insist is so infinitely complex

That is strange, and fairly uncommon. It is almost as strange as someone passing judgment on someone else�s beliefs even though they don't understand them. Personally, I don't even pretend to completely understand God. In fact, I am pretty sure I've got some parts of it wrong! My guess is that the real truth lies somewhere in between Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, etc... and yes, even science. So in response to the original question in this thread... Yes, one can believe in both God and Evolution. In fact, I think you need to believe in both if you want to stand any chance at eventually getting it right.
Stan James
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I believe there are folks who are overly certain of things. They have figured out all the rules and want to start applying them to my life, often through legislation. I'm sorry to say that I don't know where the line is between acting on your beliefs in a good way and shoving them down peoples' throats in a bad way, but there are some organizations out there that definitely seem to be pushing pretty hard on everyone that isn't them. The important thing is to not be bitter about it.
Rick Beaver
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Thought this timely story may interest you guys


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Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by fred rosenberger:
It most certainly does NOT mean this. For this to be true, you would have to know that God originally wanted that athelete to LOSE. I don't believe you can really know this.


Normally I'd agree, but the tone of voice this athlete seemed to imply that he considered the prayer to be the reason why he won, as if without the prayer he would have lost.
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Paul Bourdeaux:
Every day before meals I pray and thank God for providing me with the means to obtain food. I certainly don't believe that the reason I had food was because my prayer somehow persuaded God to allow me to go on eating one more day...

Sure. I think the difference between this and the athlete example is that most "thanks for the food" type prayers are thanking something for providing something, where as the athlete was saying that he asked for something to happen, and the act of asking caused it to happen. The kind of prayer you say you do sounds a lot more humble, and in no way implies that you effected what happened, but are merely thankful that it did.

That is strange, and fairly uncommon.

Absolutely. I'd like to stress that its something I've noticed only in a very small group of people, and I certainly don't think that most theists (or any I've seen on this site) act in this way.
Personally, I don't even pretend to completely understand God. In fact, I am pretty sure I've got some parts of it wrong!

I think this is a really good attitude to have. There's nothing frightening or belittling to admit not understanding the universe. If anything, it makes life more interesting. Who'd want to live in a universe where's there's nothing new to discover? I see my ignorance as an opportunity to have fun finding out more stuff. In a way learning is more fun then knowing
Megs Maquito
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Einstein believes that there is a supreme being. Wow, whoever he is he's one heck of a programmer. I don't think our world or the universe came to be by chance.


I'm a Hood Ornament
Paul Bourdeaux
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Joined: May 24, 2004
Posts: 783
I don't think our world or the universe came to be by chance.

The probability of life is actually one of the arguments that both sides use.

On one hand, the conditions on earth are extremely rare. The probability of a planet being created by chance that is just the right distance from the sun to allow liquid water, with just the right mixture of flammable, poisonous, and corrosive gases in the atmosphere, and having the primordial soup/comet impact/whatever to seed life is so small it is almost incomprehensible by humans.

On the other hand, if the universe is indeed infinite, as we suspect it is, it doesn't matter how small the probability is, it is still bound to happen. In fact it is bound to happen an infinite number of times!

Personally, I have no problem with our world and even life on it happening by chance� I however, don�t think that the universe, as mentioned in the second part of the statement, could have.
Dave Lenton
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Joined: Jan 20, 2005
Posts: 1241
Originally posted by Paul Bourdeaux:
On the other hand, if the universe is indeed infinite, as we suspect it is, it doesn't matter how small the probability is, it is still bound to happen. In fact it is bound to happen an infinite number of times!

Even if its not infinite, and is only limited to the stars we can currently see, there's a massive amount of possible life producing planets out there. Even more so if we widen our boundaries of what kind of environment can support life - there was a time when we thought that places such as the ocean trenches and Antarctic rocks could not possibly support life, but now scientists have found them teaming with new species.

Personally, I have no problem with our world and even life on it happening by chance� I however, don�t think that the universe, as mentioned in the second part of the statement, could have.

The trouble here is that statistics fail to properly support either the theist or atheist views. While one argument is that the universe is so incredibly complex that it must have been created by an intelligent deity, this could also imply that this deity is itself too complex to have come about naturally. Its the old "if the universe had to have been made by God, who made God?" argument. What's more unlikely - a fantastically complex universe or a fantastically complex deity? They both seem fairly bizarre to me.

Somewhere along the line statistics fail us. Logic also seems to break down as well. The entire basis of human reasoning is the idea of cause and effect, but unless the universe is in some kind of time-loop or stretches back in time to infinity (both of which are incredibly hard for the human brain to comprehend), then somewhere along the line is an effect without a cause - something our logic denies. To me this implies that either cause-and-effect doesn't apply at some point in the universe's life, or our reasoning simply isn't complex enough to comprehend something this strange.
Paul Bourdeaux
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Joined: May 24, 2004
Posts: 783
The trouble here is that statistics fail to properly support either the theist or atheist views.
...
To me this implies that either cause-and-effect doesn't apply at some point in the universe's life, or our reasoning simply isn't complex enough to comprehend something this strange.


Well put. I agree.
 
It is sorta covered in the JavaRanch Style Guide.
 
subject: Can You Believe in God and Evolution?
 
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