File APIs for Java Developers
Manipulate DOC, XLS, PPT, PDF and many others from your application.
http://aspose.com/file-tools
The moose likes Meaningless Drivel and the fly likes Can You Believe in God and Evolution? Big Moose Saloon
  Search | Java FAQ | Recent Topics | Flagged Topics | Hot Topics | Zero Replies
Register / Login


Win a copy of EJB 3 in Action this week in the EJB and other Java EE Technologies forum!
JavaRanch » Java Forums » Other » Meaningless Drivel
Bookmark "Can You Believe in God and Evolution?" Watch "Can You Believe in God and Evolution?" New topic
Author

Can You Believe in God and Evolution?

Joe Borderi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 23, 2004
Posts: 151
Can You Believe in God and Evolution?

Four experts with very different views weigh in on the underlying question.
Prem Khan
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 30, 2005
Posts: 189
Nature, for me is a womb
in Nature, I plant my seed,
and from this seed of mine bursts forth,
the origin of all beings.

-Sri Krishna
[ August 09, 2005: Message edited by: Shawn DeSarkar ]
Gerald Davis
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 872
If you believe in evolution, you must also believe that we are a product of our genetic makeup, hence we to not have freewill. We also have to come to the conclusion that religion also evolves too and just a human kind is recent species to this planet and also the most successful so is Christianity and Islam even more so. Already there is many different kinds of Christianity competing with each other, survival of the fittest.
Jim Yingst
Wanderer
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 18671
[Gerald]: If you believe in evolution, you must also believe that we are a product of our genetic makeup, hence we to not have freewill.

No, not at all. Genetic determinism may be extremely powerful, but that doesn't mean it's absolute. Oversimplifications like this don't get us anywhere, I think.


"I'm not back." - Bill Harding, Twister
Andrew Monkhouse
author and jackaroo
Marshal Commander

Joined: Mar 28, 2003
Posts: 11278
    
  59

[Gerald]: If you believe in evolution, you must also believe that we are a product of our genetic makeup, hence we to not have freewill.

I think I have also heard the same argument said against the Christian religion - there's more than one location in the Bible where God "hardens the heart" of a critical person. Acts 4:27-28 seems to indicate that the decision to crucify Jesus might not have been free will on Pontius Pilates part.

The book More What If? has (amongst many other conjectures) a chapter devoted to "What if Pontius Pilate hadn't crucified Jesus but set him free?". There are good reasons presented in the book as to why he may have pardoned Jesus, and the end result may have been a change to both religious and political powers for centuries after Jesus was brought before Pontius Pilate. It is of course purely conjecture, but it is possible that there would never have been a Christian religion.

BIG BIG BIG disclaimer: To say that God took away free will, or that evolution removes free will, or that "instincts" are our governing traits are all oversimplifications. I only gave the example of Pontius Pilate to give an example of how the simplification can be done the other way around.


The Sun Certified Java Developer Exam with J2SE 5: paper version from Amazon, PDF from Apress, Online reference: Books 24x7 Personal blog
Dave Lenton
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 20, 2005
Posts: 1241
I guess it depends how literally people believe religious literature which denies evolution. Many of the current popular religions are based upon texts written before the theory of evolution was proposed, meaning that they either go against it or don't have a position on it. The latter case is ok, as it allows evolution and the text to coexist. In the case of the former, where the text makes statements directly contradictory to evolution, the reader has to determine which they feel to be most true.

One person may look at evolution and think something like: "The holy book I hold as utterly true says the world was made in six days, so evolution must be a mistake". Another person may think to himself "I believe in God, but I also consider the evidence of evolution to be very strong. To me this seems as if there is a God, and It used evolution as a tool to create us".

The most common way to reconcile a religious text which contradicts an evident truth is to take the position that the text is not being literal, but instead portraying an image or parable from which a moral or message should be taken. This causes problems for some people though, as it implies the possibility that the rest of the text may also not be accurate. This may be the reason why many people reject the theory of evolution, because if they accept that one area of their text may not be exactly correct, then they need to reconsider other beliefs they have based upon other sections of the same text that they have previously taken as entirely true.


There will be glitches in my transition from being a saloon bar sage to a world statesman. - Tony Banks
Dave Lenton
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 20, 2005
Posts: 1241
Originally posted by Gerald Davis:
If you believe in evolution, you must also believe that we are a product of our genetic makeup, hence we to not have freewill.


It could be possible that we are a product of our genetic makeup even if evolution did not exist. Evolution is the description of how we came to be as we are, not what we are. Having a different how does not change the what, and the genetic makeup is the what. Essentially it is theoretically possible that we could be exactly the same as we are now through evolution or through creation.

Either way its probably not relevant in a determining if we have free will or not. Our decision making process is based upon the internal workings of our brain, but these process are influenced by external stimuli. You could make 100 genetically identical clones and they'd end up doing very different things in different situations. You could even put them in the same situation and probably find them acting differently. Therefore although genetics can have an influence on how we act, they're certainly not the entire story.

To determine if determinism exists (if you excuse the pun) then you'd have to consider the wider environment we live in i.e. the universe. If the universe is a closed system, and all of its contents act according to certain rules/patterns then we would expect that for any given starting-state there is exactly one finishing-state. A way to picture this is to imagine that we press a magical pause button on the universe. We then take several copies of the universe and restart each of them in parallel. In theory each one of them would continue identically.

This could be taken to imply that there is no such thing as free will, and that our decisions are simply a product of the configuration of the universe, that there physically no way that we could have acted differently.

A way around this theory is to consider that the universe is not a closed system. Religions often do this by describing humans as a symbiotic combination of physical form in the universe and unphysical "soul" existing outside of the material universe. The theory is that the soul allows free will by not being tied entirely to the universe. Obviously holding this true is somewhat problematic for non-religious people!

Other people theorise that things like quantum physics allow a degree of randomness in the universe, and that this randomness may be part of the process that allows us to make decisions. Unfortunately quantum physics is far too mind boggling for me to understand it and properly comment on this.
[ August 10, 2005: Message edited by: Dave Lenton ]
Gerald Davis
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 872
I do acknowledge that environment also has a big role to play also, I didn't forget.

Freewill is the part of you that isn't predetermined by environment or genetics inheritance. I wonder how much percent freewill is left over. I guess a religious person would say we all have 100% freewill ,but that would not be logical.
Gerald Davis
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 872
I didn�t get a chance to read your post, but now I have read it, I dig your example of the universe.
Jesus Angeles
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 26, 2005
Posts: 2046
theRe is no gOd. its soil down there. and soil elsewhere.
Paul Bourdeaux
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 24, 2004
Posts: 783
I guess a religious person would say we all have 100% freewill ,but that would not be logical.

Then you would be guessing wrong. Even us crazy religious people agree that genetics influence behavior, especially those of us who hold degrees in psychology. For some reason people seem to think that you are either religious or a scientist, but never both. That's not a logical assumption. It is like saying you like apples or oranges, but never both. The two simply are not mutually exclusive.

Looking to the topic at hand, I would be willing to bet that many if not most Christians (at least in the US) accept both the theory of evolution as well as the big bang theory. My belief, which is shared by almost every Christian I have met in my travels, is that evolution is the creative means to the desired end. I don't look at this as trying to reconcile fact with established beliefs. Instead I feel we are using fact to better understand our beliefs.

For instance, take the creation stories from the bible (there are two of them you know). The first one tells us what happened, i.e. God created man (and the heavens and earth and all the living things). The second one tells us why it happened, i.e. God created man to tend to the earth. We probably aren't doing a very good job with that task right now . Neither one of those stories really tells us how it happened. I believe it happened through a series of events, starting with the Big Bang, and continuing through whatever event spurred the development of life on Earth (primordial soup, comet collision, etc.), and it is continuing through evolution. I doubt it is done yet.

So to answer the original question... Yes, I can, and do, believe in both evolution and God.


“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
Paul Bourdeaux
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 24, 2004
Posts: 783
theRe is no gOd. its soil down there. and soil elsewhere.

Soil? Really? Huh, I always though there was also rock, water, gasses, magma... and maybe even some forces we don't yet understand, like time, space, gravity, God... But maybe that's just me being blinded by religion again.

(Smiley added to make sure everyone knows that I am being nice!)
[ August 10, 2005: Message edited by: Paul Bourdeaux ]
Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15286
    
    6

Originally posted by Paul Bourdeaux:
Neither one of those stories really tells us how it happened.


Actually, the Bible does tell us.

Genesis 2:7 - the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

I'd also like to direct readers to Answers in Genesis which is a very scientific view of creationism.


GenRocket - A Test Data Generation Platform
Paul Bourdeaux
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 24, 2004
Posts: 783
Originally posted by Gregg Bolinger:

Actually, the Bible does tell us.

Genesis 2:7 - the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.


There is some doubt, even in the creationist camp, as to whether the first 11 chapters of Genesis are to be taken as literal interpretations or explanations. Genesis 2:7 is expert from the story explaining man's role earth. How man was created is not important for the passage. What is important is that God created man. This is demonstrated clearly with the rather powerful imagery of God breathing the breath of life into man.

Another important note is that in the ancient hebrew translations of Genesis, the actual Hebrew word used is adam, which can be translated man, human, person, or Adam. The above verse can easily be translated as "the LORD God formed humankind from the dust of the ground and breathed into their nostrils the breath of life, and humankind became living beings.".
Jesus Angeles
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 26, 2005
Posts: 2046
maybe its my being too much logical that leads me to ask...

if there is/was a god, is he alive now? or existing? or any you may use to describe it?

if he is existing, what is the logic that he is not seen or...why is he not present?
Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15286
    
    6

Originally posted by Paul Bourdeaux:


There is some doubt, even in the creationist camp, as to whether the first 11 chapters of Genesis are to be taken as literal interpretations or explanations. Genesis 2:7 is expert from the story explaining man's role earth. How man was created is not important for the passage. What is important is that God created man. This is demonstrated clearly with the rather powerful imagery of God breathing the breath of life into man.

Another important note is that in the ancient hebrew translations of Genesis, the actual Hebrew word used is adam, which can be translated man, human, person, or Adam. The above verse can easily be translated as "the LORD God formed humankind from the dust of the ground and breathed into their nostrils the breath of life, and humankind became living beings.".


If it wasn't important then it would not have been mentioned. There is one thing wrong with the translation you posted. You changed his to thier. Every similar translation I know of still says his.

Someone please get this thread back on topic.
[ August 10, 2005: Message edited by: Gregg Bolinger ]
Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15286
    
    6

Originally posted by Jesus Angeles:
maybe its my being too much logical that leads me to ask...

if there is/was a god, is he alive now? or existing? or any you may use to describe it?

if he is existing, what is the logic that he is not seen or...why is he not present?


This really has nothing to do with the topic. The discussion is about believing in God and Evolution. Start a new thread for new topics instead of hijacking this one please.
Gerald Davis
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 872
Originally posted by Paul Bourdeaux:
I don't look at this as trying to reconcile fact with established beliefs. Instead I feel we are using fact to better understand our beliefs.


Religion my biggest doubts about evolution and religion working together not the Big Bang, the universe, or quantum physics, or even biology. It the evolution of religion, which is an extension of politics; it controls the minds of the people for the good of the people; it little more then an evolved lies. I am not talking about this in a negative or positive way.

Christianity owes much of its success to the many different variations Protestant, Evangelists, Catholic Episcopalian, Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists, Mormons, 7th Day Advacists.

If there were only one variation it would end up breading in weakness, and it would be easier to be attacked. For example if Evangelists become unpopular because of their strong ties to Commercialism and consumerism we will still have more leftwing Christian variations like Quakers and Mormons. The same token if Quakers and Mormons socialism becomes unpopular( I think it has) then we will always have evangelists and Catholics.

Scientific discovery does not need so many variations to survive, because it is the truth or at least and abstraction of it and if it is killed it will only reappear at some time in the future. At the moment on another planet an alien has discovered evolution just like Darwin has over here. Specific religions will never be know by any alien on another planet.
Paul Bourdeaux
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 24, 2004
Posts: 783
It the evolution of religion, which is an extension of politics; it controls the minds of the people for the good of the people; it little more then an evolved lies.

This is opinion based on the belief that religion is lies. My opinion is that it is a set of evolved truths. As we evolve as a species, our understanding of the underlying forces of the universe also evolves. Since both religion and science are based on our understanding of the universe, they too must evolve.

Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Mormonism all share the same basis of belief, and in fact all evolved from the same root (the religion of Abraham). Cultural, political, and social forces have shaped these religions very differently, but that does not invalidate the underlying belief structure.

Scientific discovery does not need so many variations to survive, because it is the truth or at least and abstraction of it

Actually, science is what we believe or assume to be true, as is religion. As a scientist, I am sure you know that it is impossible to prove something true. You can only fail to prove it false enough times that it becomes accepted as theory. This, however, does not make it infallible. The "truth" about gravity was changed with Newton, again with Einstein, and is currently being challenged by quantum physics.

Specific religions will never be know by any alien on another planet.

Wow. Bold assessment. Is this based on your extensive research into alien religions or just your belief? Actually, while I agree that there probably isn't a Lutheran alien out there somewhere, I tend to think that when we do find intelligent life, they will likely have a religious structure similar to ours. Some would say that is because religions are a natural by product of civilization, but I tend to think it is because the same force that put the events into motion to create humankind also put into motion any events that result in other life.
Gerald Davis
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 872
Originally posted by Paul Bourdeaux:
The "truth" about gravity was changed with Newton, again with Einstein, and is currently being challenged by quantum physics.


The theories of Gravity change over time , but they do not need many variations to maintain its own survival The theory of Gravity does not need to look attractive to anyone in order to be remembered, it doesn�t need to give promises and it doesn�t need to give frets.. The theory of Gravity does not try to make allies with any socialist, capitalist, democrat or environmentalist it try not to give the image of good nor evil. This is the same with all the sciences.

The nature of scientific discovery is like slowly opening a curtain to reveal what is behind it. The nature of a religion always tries to make itself an attractive option, if it is not by promise of heaven then the saving from suffering in the afterlife.

Is there a science theory that survives by being attractive, or is there a religion that does not try to be appealing to you in anyway. Without heaven or the dangers of hell, there would not be any real reason to be a believer.
Dave Lenton
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 20, 2005
Posts: 1241
Originally posted by Paul Bourdeaux:
[b]Actually, while I agree that there probably isn't a Lutheran alien out there somewhere, I tend to think that when we do find intelligent life, they will likely have a religious structure similar to ours. Some would say that is because religions are a natural by product of civilization, but I tend to think it is because the same force that put the events into motion to create humankind also put into motion any events that result in other life.


I guess I'm in the former group. I think a lot of the structure of our religion comes from our pre-human tribal structures and our early-human societies.

Most primates gather together in tribal groups and establish a hierarchical system for establishing control, respect and power within the tribe. Its an instinct that has carried over into just about every human society - everywhere you look you'll see people scrambling for power over their peers. Similarly its instinctive for humans to respect those at the top of the hierarchy. The levels of respect given to Presidents, Queens and Prime Ministers just because they hold the top job is an example of this. This instinctive application of hierarchies and leadership to human society could also have been an influence on how we look at the universe. Most religions around the world focus on a single entity or small group of entities who rule over the rest of us. Many religious organisations (in particular the Catholic and Orthodox churches) create elaborate hierarchies of ranks and privileges. We have an almost instinctive desire to find, and place our trust in, a figure of authority.

This could be very different in an alien species which had evolved from a differently organised species. An alien with an instinctive tendency towards equality rather then hierarchy may have a completely different religion lacking in a central figure of authority. Things could be different again if the aliens had have evolved from a predator or vegetarian species instead of an omnivorous species such as ours, as each of those involve different group relationships and dynamics.

The other major influence on our religion is make up of early human society. For most of human history the majority of people have been involved in agriculture. For them the cycles of the seasons and the weather have incredible importance. To people relying on understanding and gaining benefit from the cycle of life-death-rebirth, these phenomena become incredibly important. This could be an indication of why this life-death-rebirth pattern is repeated in so many religions. These early farmers would also have been heavily reliant on the weather. To them nature was incredibly important and influential, so its no surprise that they attributed the weather to some intelligent entity. At first this manifested itself as environmental entities (such as a God Of The Sea, Goddess Of Harvests etc) and more recently as a single entity with control over the elements.

This too could have been different for an alien species that is either not reliant on environmental changes, or lives in a more environmentally static location. Their religion may be focussed on different areas in this case.
Gerald Davis
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 872
Originally posted by Dave Lenton:


This could be very different in an alien species which had evolved from a differently organised species. An alien with an instinctive tendency towards equality rather then hierarchy may have a completely different religion lacking in a central figure of authority. Things could be different again if the aliens had have evolved from a predator or vegetarian species instead of an omnivorous species such as ours, as each of those involve different group relationships and dynamics.


The chances are that the aliens would also adopt a hierarchical structure to because the laws of natural selection also apply to those aliens also, regardless of type of species. If you pit hierarchical religion against a more non-hierarchical the hierarchical will always win hands down. This pattern is the same as pitting Commercialism against capitalism.
Satish Chilukuri
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 23, 2005
Posts: 266
I have an interesting thing to share.

Thinking of evolution, I had taken it granted why I had chosen to believe it in the first place. When we were first taught Darwin's theory, there was a parallel religious interpretation we had came across.

Lord Vishnu is one the main deities most Hindus worship. According to the Hindu religion, the time on Earth is divided into different "Yugas". In each Yuga, Lord Vishnu was incarnated on Earth in a form suitable for that Yuga. In the first Yuga he was a fish. In the next a turtle and then a wild boar and then a bear. In his first appearnce as a man, he was very aggressive (He kills his parents). In the next Yuga, he was Lord Rama, the righteous man and in the next, he was Lord Krishna, the cunning and intelligent man. He is yet to be incarnated in the current Yuga.

As you can see there is strong parallel with Darwin's theory of evolution and this is a theory that most people I know quote as a reason why they think evolution isn't against religion or God.

Note: I may be wrong in certain details. Its been a long time since I've given up religion (oh yeah.. I'm one of those evil atheists ) and my memory is a bit rusty. So if anyone feels that I have given the wrong interpretation, please do correct me.
Gerald Davis
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 872
I guess that it would be natural for some religion to associate with science and the truth to maintain its own survival. Unlike the the scientific truth religion is very flexible.

You will never see scientists sing and dance to promote Evolution or any form of scientific truth. The truth does not need any spin to promote it, regardless how many or few people believe in it. If you see the scientists have a party concerning Evolution, could be a pro evolution religions way of promoting its own cause.
fred rosenberger
lowercase baba
Bartender

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 10912
    
  12

Well, to oversimplify things, why would somebody NOT be able to believe in both? Is there some bright line between the two that makes them mutually exclusive?

Even if some scientist says "It's evolution ONLY", and some religious leaders say "It's GOD only", why can't a person choose to believe in both?


There are only two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, naming things, and off-by-one errors
Paul Bourdeaux
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 24, 2004
Posts: 783
Even if some scientist says "It's evolution ONLY", and some religious leaders say "It's GOD only", why can't a person choose to believe in both?

Well put Fred. My sentiments exactly.
Max Habibi
town drunk
( and author)
Sheriff

Joined: Jun 27, 2002
Posts: 4118
I have to agree. It seems reasonable to me that if there were a god, s/he could just as easily achieve the goal of creating humanity through evolution as through spontaneous generation.

Since the former is more consistent with our observation of how the world works, it seems reasonable to assume that it would the preferred approach. Why 'fix' the way nature works if it t'aint broken? for that matter, how could it be broken, if an all-powerful, perfect being created it?

It seems to me that evolution isn't so much as threat to theory of god's existence, as it's a threat to the understanding that some people claim to have of his/her ways.

M


Java Regular Expressions
Gregg Bolinger
GenRocket Founder
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 15286
    
    6

Originally posted by Max Habibi:
It seems to me that evolution isn't so much as threat to theory of god's existence, as it's a threat to the understanding that some people claim to have of his/her ways.


I think the threat lies in the way that evolution is taught. Any reasonable person has to believe in evolution. Things evolve. As Max said, that is evident in nature. The problem is with the extreme measures of evolution such as man coming from apes or a single celled organizm. Whales growing feet and walking upright out of the water onto the sand. You laugh, but there are people that belive this. Evloution is taught in a way that there are no other alternatives.

As a strong believer in God and my faith I believe that it doesn't matter. If God said "Let there be fish" and a fish appeared, I believe that. If God said "Let there be fish" and over several thousand years something evolved into a fish based on a process God started, I believe that too. But at the end of the day it really doesn't matter to me. I'm sure that my kids will learn about evolution in school to some degree or another. And at home, they'll learn about God. And they'll learn to use their brains and make intelligent decisions on their own rather than believing what everyone tells them on face value.
Stan James
(instanceof Sidekick)
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 29, 2003
Posts: 8791
One thing that strikes me about religion(s) is how many there are and have been, how different some of their specific ideas are. Out of all these deeply sincere and spiritual people, a great many of them have to have been dead wrong. This makes me very skeptical of anyone who gets red in the face, wags a finger in my face and tells me the One True Way to believe, or worse yet, turns their interpretations into law.

Could God have "used" evolution in the creation? I don't know him well enough to say no. Swapping genetic material between Earth & Mars via asteroids? Cool! 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.


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
Jason Menard
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 09, 2000
Posts: 6450
Originally posted by fred rosenberger:
Even if some scientist says "It's evolution ONLY", and some religious leaders say "It's GOD only", why can't a person choose to believe in both?


I know I've said this before, but it bears mentioning again in order to show that not all religions insist on drawing a line in the sand... The theory of evolution is not incompatible with Catholicism. I think the fact that one of the largest Christian denominations accepts this, in light of what I think is a widespread misconception that Christians can't accept evolution on religious grounds, is worth highlighting.
Max Habibi
town drunk
( and author)
Sheriff

Joined: Jun 27, 2002
Posts: 4118
Jason is correct, and he makes a point worth underlining. Many Christian sects are comfortable incorporating the concept of god & science in their value system. The same is true, I believe, with sects of other religions, including Judaism, Islam, and(I assume?) other Asian religions.

M
Stan James
(instanceof Sidekick)
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 29, 2003
Posts: 8791
Have to agree the official Catholic line is much more open-minded than my prejudices led me to expect. It's pretty modern thinking for a group that once condemned people for denying the Sun went around the Earth or the measure around a circular kettle is exactly 3 times the diameter.
Gerald Davis
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 15, 2002
Posts: 872
Is God create nature, or is it completely the work of Evolution? It is however much easier to link God to social control system then it is with Evolution. Most popular religions don't believe in God just for the sake of acknowledging God and hugging trees; there is always the mission of God- which of course is really the mission of man.

The mission is clear:
1.Link the belief of God to Evolution to maintains the belief of God in a world of science and technology.
2.Then link the belief of God to a social control system of choice.
Max Habibi
town drunk
( and author)
Sheriff

Joined: Jun 27, 2002
Posts: 4118
Originally posted by Stan James:
Have to agree the official Catholic line is much more open-minded than my prejudices led me to expect. It's pretty modern thinking for a group that once condemned people for denying the Sun went around the Earth or the measure around a circular kettle is exactly 3 times the diameter.


All religions are less-then-favorable periods, I would expect. It seems to me that this is often a failing of people interpreting the religion, rather than the religion per se.

To the credit of The Church, it's done a good job of providing logically consistent line in the modern era: I'd say it's the most logical Christian religion that I'm aware of. Of course, the premise for it's logical in not one that I, personally, accept at face value: but happily, no one really needs me to
Steven Bell
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 29, 2004
Posts: 1071
When you talk about evolution I think there has to be a distinction made between micro-evolution and macro-evolution.

simplified

micro-evolution: An observed and documented occurance in which certain traits of a species become more dominant due to the advantages they offer. This may (and has) lead to different strains/breeds of a species.
micro-evolution is less of a theory and more of a fact. It has been observed (there was a moth that changed from white to black in the 18 or 1900's, common example). Anybody who argues against the existence of this is basically a fruitcake (IMHO ).

macro-evolution: The theory in which a completely new species can arise through genetic anomaly and natural selection.
This is basically a 'this is the best model we have so we'll just go with it' theory. It is rather full of holes and there is not much evidence to back it up. One of it's most well known characteristics is all the 'missing links' between species.
I'm not trying to say it's wrong, just that disagreeing with it is not a sign of mental problems.
Max Habibi
town drunk
( and author)
Sheriff

Joined: Jun 27, 2002
Posts: 4118
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
Max Habibi
town drunk
( and author)
Sheriff

Joined: Jun 27, 2002
Posts: 4118
Originally posted by Pedro Penna:

[ Insensitive comment deleted -- EJFH ]


Disclaimer: I'm an atheist.

The belief in God isn't naive: it's simply based on information that is, by definition, subjective: it cannot the shared, or objectively tested. A religious person has decided, for reasons that are really none of our business, to take a leap of faith. That's their right: we do live in a free country.

I dislike the mocking of people's religious beliefs: I think it's in bad taste, and I think it's unkind. While I'm always willing to discuss the ideas of this or that religion as academic point of debate, it's important to remember that this is the main focal point of life for many people, very much in the same way that love and family are other subjective focal points of life. I would no more mock someone religion that I would mock the love they have for their family.
[ August 12, 2005: Message edited by: Ernest Friedman-Hill ]
Pedro Penna
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 05, 2004
Posts: 46
I stick to my opinion.

This subjective point of view of religious people affects everybody else's lives.
Max, as an atheist, you probably have felt the prejudice from a lot of people. I live in a country (Brazil) where 99.95% of people believe in God, and I do feel their pressure and their prejudice!
My whole family is catholic, almost all of my friends are catholic or evangelic... And they frown at my beliefs (and at what I don't believe) and treat me in a different way when they find out that I am an atheist. Sometimes I think the prejudice I get is worse than having a serious disease or homophobia. It really affects my life!

Originally posted by Max Habibi:

I dislike the mocking of people's religious beliefs: I think it's in bad taste, and I think it's unkind. While I'm always willing to discuss the ideas of this or that religion as academic point of debate, it's important to remember that this is the main focal point of life for many people, very much in the same way that love and family are other subjective focal points of life. I would no more mock someone religion that I would mock the love they have for their family.


Theory of evolution is a subject I truly love and I'm often ridiculized by "believing" in it.

Originally posted by Gregg Bolinger:

The problem is with the extreme measures of evolution such as man coming from apes or a single celled organizm. Whales growing feet and walking upright out of the water onto the sand. You laugh, but there are people that belive this.


All I'm trying to do is fight back and express myself... I like to think that by being sincere, no matter how harsh my words are, I am encouraging people to use their heads and consider the existence of God, therefore helping them (sometimes being hard and unkind is the best way to draw attention ).

They ("believers") do have the right to express themselves, but so do I! I think teaching creationism at schools is dangerous. I think that things like the Monkey Trial are absurds. We should ponder about what we are taught (at home and at school) without restrictions or tabboos. By doing so, we can achieve progress, we can grow as individuals, we can improve our society. We can improve our lives and the lives of those we love.

Getting back to the topic now:
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.

Some examples of fine reading can be found here:

Richard Dawkins
Stephen Gould
Freud

PS.1: I think that genetic algorithms are a nice way for us geeks to learn more about the theory of evolution.

PS.2: I tried to be more "sensitive" with this post, so it wouldn't be deleted.
Roger Nelson
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 21, 2002
Posts: 95
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 :-)
Jim Yingst
Wanderer
Sheriff

Joined: Jan 30, 2000
Posts: 18671
[Pedro]: I stick to my opinion.

Great. For what it's worth, I agree with most of what you've said. However...

They ("believers") do have the right to express themselves, but so do I!

Unfortunately, neither group has unlimited rights to express themselves here. This is a privately owned site; the owner's primary goal is to provide a friendly place where people can improve their understanding of Java. This "Meaningless Drivel" forum is an incidental outlet for miscellaneous non-Java discussions among members of that community. The conversations may be intelligent or inane; interesting or not. Personally I enjoy those that are both intelligent and interesting. But the primary rule throughout the site is "be nice!".

PS.2: I tried to be more "sensitive" with this post, so it wouldn't be deleted.

Thanks; the difference was noted and appreciated. This second post of yours was perfectly acceptable, in my opinion - that's the sort of tone we prefer to see here. (Some people may certainly disagree with some of your statements, but that's OK as long as the tone is respectful. It's still very possible that this entire thread will eventually be closed because, really, it's an inherently controversial topic and we've seen many times in the past that it's often too much effort to try to keep people behaving in a civil manner when topics like this are being discussed. In the past we tried many times to be more permissive of controversial topics; it usually ended badly, with a lot of time wasted trying to referee arguments between people. It's not woth that much effort for us, as this site is not fundamentally intended as a forum for arguments. However so far this discussion is going well and most people are behaving politely; I'd like to see it continue in that manner as long as possible.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://aspose.com/file-tools
 
subject: Can You Believe in God and Evolution?
 
Similar Threads
Do you believe in God
How many of you believe in Evolution?
Atheism or Theism??
Walking with Cavemen - Evolution