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ThePersistenceOfWaffles wrote:

: If this were true, we'd have to toss out any criminal case with no direct witnesses.

And since eyewitness testimony is never entirely reliable -- there is always and intrinsically a "reasonable doubt" when it comes to anything that relies entirely on oh-so-fallible human memory -- we might as well toss out all the other criminal cases, too! :)

As for the assertion that gravity can be studied in a lab and evolution can't ... um, well, I was under the impression that evolution and natural selection were being proved in the lab all the time, as viruses mutate to become more resistant to our medications, etc.

Granted, that's low-level evolution -- the sort of thing we can witness within our own lifetimes, as opposed to the grand processes that derive birds from reptiles, etc. -- but the basic principles still seem to apply.

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Personally, I've become more and more adamently opposed to ID not becuse it's bad science, but because of what it's doing to Christianity. I think that everytime we deny evolution, what we are actually doing is telling anybody who is aware of the overwhelming evidence for evolution that the Church has nothing relevant or true to say to them.

I don't really like what the debate is "doing" to Xianity either, though I'm not sure our "doing" is defined the same way. What do you think it is "doing" to Xianity?

Hmm... reading over my comments, I realize I should have written "not just because it's bad science." I implied that I think ID is good science. Not my intent.

Anyway.

My second sentence was intended to explain what I think it

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Not much new to add to this thread, really, other than a sad story...

I tried to discuss evolution (at least four or five different "possibilities" philosophically/theological/scientifically speaking) with a small group of folk very, very dear to me (not at JPUSA). I sent the group an email explaining my understanding of at least the below:

1. Young-earth creationism - Inst. for Creation Research and so on.

2. Old-earth creationism

3. ID (Intelligent Design); different or not from 2.?

4. Theistic evolution

5. Non-theistic evolution - Richard Dawkins

Now I did this not as someone deeply committed to ANY of the positions (though I confess I then and now initially rejected both 1. and 5. as pretty much untenable from an evidentiary and theological perspective, respectively). My goal was to engage my dear ones in a discussion that might bring light collectively to us all as a thoughtful discussion ensued. My own issues had to do mainly with theistic evolutionists solutions (which I was then not much aware of) regarding some biblical difficulties that arise when/if the theistic model is embraced. Likewise, for young and old earthers, what do they do with some of the science (and no, the ICR folks' 'science' wasn't what I was talking about).

The result? I got emails basically telling me that to even raise such an issue was a sign of my increasingly softening stance toward biblical authority -- also evidenced, I was told, by my feminist readings of the Good Book. Not one of my respondents wanted to actually discuss the science, theology, and so on involved in the whole thing. I was stunned to discover that the young-earth theory was the "only" theory they considered biblically valid.

These were very educated folk, by the way, not a few of them having a more complete (as in formal) education than I, the college drop-out, have. So it was very disheartening, and I guess their Pavlovian response pretty much has made me duck and cover on discussing some issues with Christians "right" or "left" on this issue (or whatever terms one wishes to replace "right" and "left" with).

Sigh...

Blessings,

jon

Edited by jon_trott

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MattP   

Personally, I've become more and more adamently opposed to ID not becuse it's bad science, but because of what it's doing to Christianity. I think that everytime we deny evolution, what we are actually doing is telling anybody who is aware of the overwhelming evidence for evolution that the Church has nothing relevant or true to say to them.

...

I can't agree with your second sentence, but can't say why in so many words as this point in time.

Personally, I have a problem with the second sentence in its broad generality, as it starts from the position that if there's overwhelming evidence against something, we had better deny it or risk looking foolish or not relevant. I would hope this same standard would not be applied for something like, oh...the resurrection, which I think science has pretty overwhelmingly ruled out. That's not to say that any and all science is subject to dismissal on one's "faith whims" but it does warrant caution in using the above as precedent for what you'll choose to believe.

ThePersistenceOfWaffles wrote:

As for the assertion that gravity can be studied in a lab and evolution can't ... um, well, I was under the impression that evolution and natural selection were being proved in the lab all the time, as viruses mutate to become more resistant to our medications, etc.

Granted, that's low-level evolution -- the sort of thing we can witness within our own lifetimes, as opposed to the grand processes that derive birds from reptiles, etc. -- but the basic principles still seem to apply.

I've never heard of anyone, whether young-earth/old-earth/ID'er - whatever - argue that evolution on a micro level doesn't happen. But as none of that has anything to do with mutation between species (or rather, to a new species) I find it a bit like saying that because I can study and verify that I can jump a few feet off the ground, it's some sort of proof that I could also jump 50 feet off the ground.

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popechild wrote:

: I've never heard of anyone, whether young-earth/old-earth/ID'er - whatever - argue that evolution

: on a micro level doesn't happen. But as none of that has anything to do with mutation between

: species (or rather, to a new species) . . .

Well, for all I know, there might be actual speciation going on among those viruses that I mentioned. When I talk about "low level" evolution, I mean that viruses are not as complex as, say, mammals -- so creating a new species on that level would not be so hard or would not take as long, and thus speciation has reportedly been observed on those levels within our lifetimes, while speciation at the level of mammals has obviously NOT been observed within our lifetimes. I do NOT mean what creationists typically mean when they talk about so-called "micro-evolution", which refers only to changes in height or hair colour or whatever WITHIN a species.

All of this, of course, raises another question that is often assumed but never actually addressed by creationists: What IS a species? The word "species", like all words, is an intersubjective construct that we create to describe objectively observed phenomena. But are we all referring to the same phenomena when we use that word?

One extra point: Like Denis Lamoureux, I prefer the term "evolutionary creationist" to "theistic evolutionist". It gets the priorities in the right order, I think.

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Plankton   

Here I come ...

From PTC

As for the assertion that gravity can be studied in a lab and evolution can't ... um, well, I was under the impression that evolution and natural selection were being proved in the lab all the time, as viruses mutate to become more resistant to our medications, etc.

Er, viruses aren't actually alive. Most scientists agree on this. Perhaps you're referring to BACTERIA mutating and "evolving", in other words, adapting and becoming immune to our modern medicines.

However, there's a problem with this. Mutation, while being the foundation of modern macroevolution (I seriously doubt anyone is still objecting to microevolution), does not ADD information to a given living being's genetic code, which is needed for macroevolution to occur. All mutations that have been observed result in destruction of genetic information. Thus, it seems highly unlikely that mutation could be the cause for these bacteria developing strains immune to medicine.

What is actually the case is that these bacteria had the genes for resistance already present in their genetic codes. So all the bacteria HAD the information in there genetic code that would enable them to resist the medicine, just like all people have the information that determines whether they have hemophilia or not, but only a few bacteria had the resistance gene present, just like only a few people may have hemophilia. On top of all this, there are several more ways for bacteria to survive an antibiotic. A viral infection may cause them to pass on their gene more quickly than usual (bacteria have more means than just reproduction of spreading genes to other bacteria).

Did that make sense? Not all of it, probably. I tend to be fairly wordy. :D You may have guessed, I'm a six-day creationist. That's more because to me, it seems like evolution is scientifically impossible, rather than because I think that evolution is inconsistent with a Biblical worldview.

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MattP   

I've got a question hopefully someone can address on a broad level. One argument I've heard from creationists is that if God created the earth in the same literal way described in Genesis, it could have been created "appearing old." Not to say that God was trying to trick anyone, but basically, if a tree was spoken into existence by God, it very well may have been created with rings in it, and would have appeared to an observer familiar with the biological properties of trees that the tree was x years old, when in fact it had been created seconds before. Same thing obviously with Adam being created as a man of x years appearance, carbon isotopes (if that's the right word) already "half-life'd" (I'm pretty sure that's *not* the right word!) , etc. on down the line.

Basically, my question is, is this line of argument one of the those things that might be an interesting theoretical but which is scientifically pointless since it could never be "observed" in the historical record, or is there scientific, evolutionary evidence that would prove this to be an impossibility?

Hope that makes sense. Obviously a belief in the "old creation" idea (again, whatever it's actually called) is based purely on faith, but it's always sounded like something that could never be scientifically proven false either - am I incorrect to assume that?

(I'd definitely lean toward "creationist" as well, though I'm not as sure about the 6 day thing, partially because it seems to me that current evolutionary science is as much if not more of a leap of faith as creationism. As an area of "settled science" it seems to have some huge gaps in evidence (fossil record etc.) that are glossed over for fear that the only other (current) option is a belief in creationism that is unacceptable. But I'm certainly not as informed on all the arguments as many of you probably are, and I always like to remind myself that where Bible-believing Christians honestly disagree - I could be wrong.)

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Plankton wrote:

: Mutation, while being the foundation of modern macroevolution (I seriously doubt anyone is still

: objecting to microevolution) . . .

Well, the only people who USE the term "microevolution" seem to be the creationists who coined it to signify the kind of evolution that they approve of, so yeah.

: All mutations that have been observed result in destruction of genetic information.

Problematic, if true, admittedly.

: You may have guessed, I'm a six-day creationist. That's more because to me, it seems like

: evolution is scientifically impossible, rather than because I think that evolution is inconsistent

: with a Biblical worldview.

Wow, I gave up six-day creationism long, long before I became all that comfortable with evolution, mainly for astronomical reasons rather than biological reasons. (Though paleontological reasons are pretty compelling, too.)

popechild wrote:

: One argument I've heard from creationists is that if God created the earth in the same literal way

: described in Genesis, it could have been created "appearing old."

Yeah, I rejected that approach years ago, too. It's kind of like what I keep saying about evolution: EITHER God created the world's lifeforms through evolution, OR God just made it LOOK like he used evolution. I prefer to think that God wasn't trying to trick us.

: Basically, my question is, is this line of argument one of the those things that might be an interesting

: theoretical but which is scientifically pointless since it could never be "observed" in the historical

: record, or is there scientific, evolutionary evidence that would prove this to be an impossibility?

The essence of a scientific theory is it helps us to make falsifiable hypotheses. (My apologies to any actual scientists if I'm getting my lingo confused.) As one person once put it, every experiment is an attack on a hypothesis, to see if the hypothesis will be falsified. The more experiments a hypothesis is subjected to, and the more experiments a hypothesis survives, the more likely it is to be accurate.

So the question is, What sort of hypothesis would this theory allow us to make? What sort of experiments could we conduct to test it? If every experiment that seems to falsify the hypothesis can be answered with a, "Well, God did something to make it look like that," then the theory isn't a scientifically useful one.

: As an area of "settled science" it seems to have some huge gaps in evidence (fossil record etc.) that

: are glossed over for fear that the only other (current) option is a belief in creationism that is

: unacceptable.

Well, there are gaps in ALL historical records -- and we've only been looking for fossils for the past couple of centuries, and fossils are never deposited in a systematic and orderly fashion but are always the result of accidental death, etc. The more persuasive point, for me, is that the predictions Darwin made roughly 150 years ago have been confirmed, on a broad (or "macro"!) scale, by discoveries in genetics and plate tectonics and the geographic spread of fossils, etc., etc.

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Chashab   

Wow, I gave up six-day creationism long, long before I became all that comfortable with evolution, mainly for astronomical reasons rather than biological reasons. (Though paleontological reasons are pretty compelling, too.)

Can I ask why, exactly? I am no scientist, by any stretch, but in H.S. was quite interested in astronomy. Some of what I read then (I haven't read anything since) pretty much had me convinced of an "old earth" at the time, but I'm not comfortable with this idea any longer.

-----

I wonder if in this "age of science" we are afraid, Xian or not, to allow for any mystery at all, and will work to no end to find an answer that pleases us.

I'm not denying there's no Biblical precadent for seeking after the truth. But there are just so many things we won't know until we see Him face to Face.

His ways are higher than our ways. Is 55.

Edited by Chashab

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Chasab wrote:

: : Wow, I gave up six-day creationism long, long before I became all that comfortable with evolution,

: : mainly for astronomical reasons rather than biological reasons. (Though paleontological reasons

: : are pretty compelling, too.)

:

: Can I ask why, exactly?

The astronomical evidence would seem to indicate the universe, and indeed our solar system, is a heck of a lot older than a mere six to ten thousand years, and the paleontological evidence indicates the same. If I'm not mistaken, it was the paleontological evidence that forced scientists to come up with the theory of "evolution" some hundred years or more BEFORE Darwin came up with "natural selection", which is merely a mechanism by which evolution takes place.

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Chashab   

We need not discount or discard the scientific knowledge we've accumulated to have mystery. There is ample room for mystery in science. Cf., Luminous Web by Barbary Brown Taylor.

No no, I wasn't suggesting that. I was wondering if, however, it somehow causes people's mindset to become one of such expectation that they, perhaps, think man can know more or less everything

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I think, Chashab, you may be referring to "scientism,"a religion rooted in the misbelief that all things ultimately can (and perhaps will) be revealed via scientific methods. Novelist Walker Percy (among others) riffs nicely on that idea in his Lost in the Cosmos. But Percy did, I believe, think evolution was more than the spurious scientism, rather being good science.... I'm greatly simplifying (thus probably damaging) the man's ideas. Best to read him on it.

As far as evolution and Christianity, there are many links easily found on this, such as:

http://www.edwardtbabinski.us/evolution/ch...lutionists.html

A guy that offers a downloadable 1 hr long powerpoint presentation on Christianity and evolution (from a charismatic / evangelical theological framework and an evolutionary science framework) is Denis Lamoureux. The free download and/or playable file is here.

Again, I am not locked into the theistic evolution model. I see some theological problems (or should I say I *think* I see some theological problems) with theistic evolution. Mr. Lamoureux doesn't answer 'em all for me by any means. But he does offer a nice starting place.

Blessings,

jon

Edited by jon_trott

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Chashab   

I think, Chashab, you may be referring to "scientism,"a religion rooted in the misbelief that all things ultimately can (and perhaps will) be revealed via scientific methods. Novelist Walker Percy (among others) riffs nicely on that idea in his Lost in the Cosmos. But Percy did, I believe, think evolution was more than the spurious scientism, rather being good science.... I'm greatly simplifying (thus probably damaging) the man's ideas. Best to read him on it.

As far as evolution and Christianity, there are many links easily found on this, such as:

http://www.edwardtbabinski.us/evolution/ch...lutionists.html

A guy that offers a downloadable 1 hr long powerpoint presentation on Christianity and evolution (from a charismatic / evangelical theological framework and an evolutionary science framework) is Denis Lamoureux. The free download and/or playable file is here.

Again, I am not locked into the theistic evolution model. I see some theological problems (or should I say I *think* I see some theological problems) with theistic evolution. Mr. Lamoureux doesn't answer 'em all for me by any means. But he does offer a nice starting place.

Blessings,

jon

Thanks for the links . . . I've heard both sides of the story. It's been a while, and as I've noted I've bowed out of the debate proper. I just don't have enough interest in it to keep up, have no scientific basis for knowledge myself and have not found the debates I've been in profitable for the Kingdom in the least.

My real interest is in the arts and missions, and there just isn't enough time to be well versed in everything in this life!

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Thanks for the links . . . I've heard both sides of the story. It's been a while, and as I've noted I've bowed out of the debate proper. I just don't have enough interest in it to keep up, have no scientific basis for knowledge myself and have not found the debates I've been in profitable for the Kingdom in the least.

My real interest is in the arts and missions, and there just isn't enough time to be well versed in everything in this life!

I hear that! In fact, I just spotted a Billy Graham interview done by Newsweek where he basically talked about focusing on the central things of the faith more. It was a fairly moving, and thought-provoking, interivew. Your line about 'there just isn't time' is sort of what he was saying. I slowly have been trying to educate myself on the science of the evolution debate, mainly because I have a few people near me that would (I think) perhaps be more open to the gospel if they in turn knew Christians willing to grapple with science. That said, I'm also like you in that I'm unsure how much time I'll continue investing in that pursuit. I already sink a whole lot of time into gender issues (as is painfully obvious elsewhere on the board), and should be finishing up a few different book projects of my own.

We each have our field(s) the Lord has asked us to plow, and we'd best be plowing those fields.

As far as evolution goes, my present position (gently held!) is that God made all that is by one means or another, and that the Genesis account's description of a real (to quote ol' Francis Schaeffer) "space-time" fall did in some way, at some point in time, occur to humanity. Without those realities, the rest of the Christian story would collapse. So a young-earther and theistic evolutionist could, at least, agree on those things...

Blessings,

Jon

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MattP   

: Basically, my question is, is this line of argument one of the those things that might be an interesting

: theoretical but which is scientifically pointless since it could never be "observed" in the historical

: record, or is there scientific, evolutionary evidence that would prove this to be an impossibility?

The essence of a scientific theory is it helps us to make falsifiable hypotheses. (My apologies to any actual scientists if I'm getting my lingo confused.) As one person once put it, every experiment is an attack on a hypothesis, to see if the hypothesis will be falsified. The more experiments a hypothesis is subjected to, and the more experiments a hypothesis survives, the more likely it is to be accurate.

So the question is, What sort of hypothesis would this theory allow us to make? What sort of experiments could we conduct to test it? If every experiment that seems to falsify the hypothesis can be answered with a, "Well, God did something to make it look like that," then the theory isn't a scientifically useful one.

Its scientific usefulness doesn't rule out its possible correctness though, if I'm reading you right. ie. I certainly plan to continue believing in an actual bodily resurrection of Christ even though I can't in any way come up with any scientific way to prove that it ever happened. As a Christian, I have "extra-scientific" issues to consider (like the biblical record) that will inform my opinion. One may well be able to interpret the biblical account in ways that allow for the evolution of the species. Others may not.

The balance between scientific realism in one's thinking and beliefs accepted in faith based on biblical interpretation seems to me to be a matter of one's personal conscience. (And in this case, you appear to be conceding that the creationist account - while certainly not accepted by science - cannot actually be refuted by science either; as frustrating as that may be for some.)

Back to the example of the resurrection. I'm going to assume that you believe in the literal accuracy of the resurrection story, even though it flies in the face of scientific reality. If you do, it's because you believe that the scriptures telling the resurrection story are properly interpreted as literal, and your faith prompts you to accept that despite scientific evidence. You may not feel the same way about interpreting Genesis, but obviously many do, and also accept the creation account despite current scientific thought.

I'm probably most concerned by the attitude in some "evolutionary creationists" (and I'm not referring specirfically to you or anything you've said here PTC) that their "non-evolutionary creationist brothers and sisters are nothing more than un-enlightened idiots who refuse to accept the obvious when it's sitting right in front of them. I assume this is out of frustration that they're (the creationists) making all of us Christians look bad to the rest of the enlightened people out there and giving Christians a bad name. I find this attitude unfortunate and disheartening.

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Plankton   
The astronomical evidence would seem to indicate the universe, and indeed our solar system, is a heck of a lot older than a mere six to ten thousand years, and the paleontological evidence indicates the same. If I'm not mistaken, it was the paleontological evidence that forced scientists to come up with the theory of "evolution" some hundred years or more BEFORE Darwin came up with "natural selection", which is merely a mechanism by which evolution takes place.

As to the astronomical "evidence", there's a theory about that; something like, if when God created the universe with a Big Bang, then all the stars and planets would exceed the speed of light, hence their being more lightyears away than can be explained by normal creationism.

As to the paleontological evidence, have you ever heard of fossil graveyards? Paleontologists have found many areas with tons of fossils all grouped together tightly. The thing is, the species whose fossils are in question are supposed to have lived millions of years apart from each other. Also, when Darwin came up with his theory, there was NO evidence. NO transitional fossils. And there still are NONE, aside from a few, that are very controversial (meaning, not all scientists agree that they are transitional fossils).

Plankton wrote:

: Mutation, while being the foundation of modern macroevolution (I seriously doubt anyone is still

: objecting to microevolution) . . .

Well, the only people who USE the term "microevolution" seem to be the creationists who coined it to signify the kind of evolution that they approve of, so yeah.

Not true. Micro and macroevolution are completely different things. In micro, organisms adapt WITHIN their genetic code. In macro, they must ADD information to their genetic code, which apparently comes about by mutation. As I said, however, this seems highly unlikely, seeing as mutation (as far as it has been observed) DESTROYS genetic information.

The finches Darwin observed on the Galapagos probably all had a common ancestor. They were extremely similar, and all would have adapted within their genetic codes. On the other hand, a finches could not evolve into eagles, because that would involve adding information to their genetic codes.

It just seems like all the evidence is against macroevolution. And I have read about many scientists who acknowledge the many problems (and impossibilites) with macroev, yet believe it simply because they think the existence of God is scientifically impossible. Seriously, I have read this, written by the scientists themselves. I also think that if God HAD used macro to create life on earth, he would have had it written in the Bible, instead of saying he created it in six days.

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Wow, I go away for a day and the thread completely takes off. I can't leave this place for a moment! Going back upthread for a moment....

Popechild wrote:

Personally, I have a problem with the second sentence in its broad generality, as it starts from the position that if there's overwhelming evidence against something, we had better deny it or risk looking foolish or not relevant.

Well, sort of. If there's overwhelming evidence against something, then we should probably deny it because it most likely isn't true. But yes, looking foolish and irrelevant is certainly an issue for me as well--and not because I'm afraid the cool evolutionist kids won't let me join in any of their cool evolutionist games, but because it means people who might have seriously considered Christ and Christianity now won't. (It's a familiar story-- somebody decides they can't believe in God, because the case against creationism is so strong, and they're unaware that theism comes in any other flavor.)

Popechild escribe:

I would hope this same standard would not be applied for something like, oh...the resurrection, which I think science has pretty overwhelmingly ruled out.

But the everyday workings of the universe matter not one jot when we're discussing miracles. So the laws of physics and biology are not evidence. What does count as evidence, though, is the historical record. Not *could* God raise the dead or create us ex nihilo (because obviously, being God, he could), but is there any evidence at all that he did.

And yes, if there were overwhelming historical evidence against the resurrection (if say, it was discovered that the belief that Christ rose again is a late addition to the faith that only surfaced several centuries after his death; or, more in keeping with the comparison to evolution, tha we somehow found his bones and could identify them with certainty) well yes, I would have to (sadly) abandon my belief in a literal resurrection. Happily, there no such evidence exists in the case of the resurrection. Such evidence does exist in abundance in the case of evolution though: the fossil record, comparative anatomy, the geographic distribution of species; all fit evolutionary theory's predictions too well for it to be a coincidence.

Sayeth Peter:

Well, for all I know, there might be actual speciation going on among those viruses that I mentioned.

Do viruses actually come in species? Either way, actual speciation has certainly occurred in fruitflies.

Quoth Wikipedia:

The best-documented creations of new species in the laboratory were performed in the late 1980s. Rice and Salt (1988) bred fruit flies, Drosophila melanogaster, using a maze with three different choices such as light/dark and wet/dry. Each generation was placed into the maze, and the groups of flies which came out of two of the eight exits were set apart to breed with each other in their respective groups. After thirty-five generations, the two groups and their offspring would not breed with each other even when doing so was their only opportunity to reproduce.[5]

Plankton schrieb:

All mutations that have been observed result in destruction of genetic information.

I'm not sure I understand what is meant by "destruction of genetic information." I suppose any genetic mutation in a single allele (is that the right word?) will result in the lose of the old information that used to be on that allele, but that's just common sense. Is there some other sense in which "destruction of genetic information" occurs? (I've heard many creationists use a similar sounding argument, that all mutations are negative and destructive, but scientists say that this is flat out untrue--after all, many viruses and bacterii would have died out years ago if it hadn't been for mutation. Which is bad for us, but good for them.)

Popechild asked:

Basically, my question is, is this line of argument one of the those things that might be an interesting theoretical but which is scientifically pointless since it could never be "observed" in the historical record, or is there scientific, evolutionary evidence that would prove this to be an impossibility?

No, there is no evidence or logical proof that could disprove that theory. Much as there is no evidence or logical proof that can *prove* that the world wasn't created last Tuesday, or that I'm not the only thing that exists in the universe and you are all just a trippy dream I'm having.

Science does require some leaps of faith. (Which is why Scientism-ites who sneer at those "irrational" people of faith are kidding themselves--the very act of believing that if you get result A in 99 tests, then you will get result A in the 100th test (ie, inductive reasoning, one of the main principles that science is based on) is itself irrational. Perfectly reasonable, but strictly speaking, still irrational.)

But my objection to your idea is that there is no evidence for such a belief, nor can there ever be, pretty much by definition. And, as Peter asked, why would God go out of his way to make it look like the world developed over eons when it didn't? Is He just trying to mess with us?

Jon said:

Again, I am not locked into the theistic evolution model. I see some theological problems (or should I say I *think* I see some theological problems) with theistic evolution.

Jon, if you've got the time to talk about these problems, I would love to hear them. I'm very interested in discussing the philosophical implications of evolution, but I have to admit there are a some things about it that trip me up too, at least for the time being. (This is one reason I see continued assertion of creationism as a bad thing--it holds us back from finding solutions to these theological problems--which I do have faith exist-- by keeping most Christians from ever dealing with them.)

(Oh, and BTW, I, for one, am always happy to meet someone else with an interest in feminism and theology.)

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Persistence of Waffles... my loooong post I composed somehow got flushed completely. No one removed it. I think I did something myself. But argh, I had spent some time on it. Oh, well. I'll perhaps have time tomorrow or something to scribe those questions you wanted...

Re feminism, I'd love to have a discussion on it. Just not sure this is the venue. Maybe we should all get together at the Gender Revolution Tent next year, and pose for a photo op by the banner (that's a bad joke based on the thread about CBE elsewhere here).

Blessings,

Jon

Edited by jon_trott

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MattP   

Popechild escribe:

I would hope this same standard would not be applied for something like, oh...the resurrection, which I think science has pretty overwhelmingly ruled out.

But the everyday workings of the universe matter not one jot when we're discussing miracles. So the laws of physics and biology are not evidence. What does count as evidence, though, is the historical record. Not *could* God raise the dead or create us ex nihilo (because obviously, being God, he could), but is there any evidence at all that he did.

Well, God creating the universe in six days (however those are defined) would pretty much count as a miracle. And while the historical record of the resurrection may be more contemporary than that of creation, it's essentially the same evidence - scriptural accounts.

And yes, if there were overwhelming historical evidence against the resurrection (if say, it was discovered that the belief that Christ rose again is a late addition to the faith that only surfaced several centuries after his death; or, more in keeping with the comparison to evolution, tha we somehow found his bones and could identify them with certainty) well yes, I would have to (sadly) abandon my belief in a literal resurrection. Happily, there no such evidence exists in the case of the resurrection. Such evidence does exist in abundance in the case of evolution though: the fossil record, comparative anatomy, the geographic distribution of species; all fit evolutionary theory's predictions too well for it to be a coincidence.

I would adamantly disagree with your inclusion of the fossil record. Just as Darwin predicted that the fossil record would increasingly show transitional forms (which it has not) and evolutionary theory has 'evolved" itself to deal with that obvious problem, your statement about "all fit evolutionary theory's predictions too well for it to be a coincidence" is largely a matter of perspective. It's easy to develop a theory that works when you already know all the answers (ie. evolving the theory to fit the data).

Popechild asked:

Basically, my question is, is this line of argument one of the those things that might be an interesting theoretical but which is scientifically pointless since it could never be "observed" in the historical record, or is there scientific, evolutionary evidence that would prove this to be an impossibility?

No, there is no evidence or logical proof that could disprove that theory. Much as there is no evidence or logical proof that can *prove* that the world wasn't created last Tuesday, or that I'm not the only thing that exists in the universe and you are all just a trippy dream I'm having.

A bit of a stretch as a comparison, no?

Science does require some leaps of faith. (Which is why Scientism-ites who sneer at those "irrational" people of faith are kidding themselves--the very act of believing that if you get result A in 99 tests, then you will get result A in the 100th test (ie, inductive reasoning, one of the main principles that science is based on) is itself irrational. Perfectly reasonable, but strictly speaking, still irrational.)

But my objection to your idea is that there is no evidence for such a belief, nor can there ever be, pretty much by definition. And, as Peter asked, why would God go out of his way to make it look like the world developed over eons when it didn't? Is He just trying to mess with us?

I'm not saying that God is trying to hide anything. I do believe that man - in his neverending desire to be able to account for the world in a godless paradigm - will go to great lengths to interpret evidence in whatever way necessary to allow for this godless world. It's not God messing with us, it's us messing with us. If you're a creationist, it's pretty much laid out clearly for you in Genesis - quite the opposite of Him trying to fool anyone.

Jon said:

Again, I am not locked into the theistic evolution model. I see some theological problems (or should I say I *think* I see some theological problems) with theistic evolution.

Jon, if you've got the time to talk about these problems, I would love to hear them. I'm very interested in discussing the philosophical implications of evolution, but I have to admit there are a some things about it that trip me up too, at least for the time being. (This is one reason I see continued assertion of creationism as a bad thing--it holds us back from finding solutions to these theological problems--which I do have faith exist-- by keeping most Christians from ever dealing with them.)

If you don't mind me jumping in on this point, here are a couple of my own questions:

1) Let's say the creation account in scripture is not meant to be taken literally. What purpose does it serve? I say this as someone who doesn't read Revelation literally, so I'm certainly not a "100% literalist" - but I can see clear purposes for a figurative Revelation that I don't see for the creation story.

2) Regardless of the answer to #1, it seems at least to me that one clear emphasis of the Genesis creation story is humanity's special standing as a part of creation (created in the image of God, given dominion over the earth, etc.) If humanity is just a step in the random evolutionary chain, how does that jive? Are we to continue to evolve into a new species further down the road? If not, why not?

It seems to me that theistic evolutionists are in a weaker position even than typical evolutionists, because at least they're willing to admit that the idea of God and the science of evolution do not logically work together. Christianity is all about God's special, intentional relationship to man. Evolution is based almost exclusively on chance (random mutation). I don't see how the two can co-exist. And apparently neither do most evolutionary scientists, as the percentage of Christians in the profession is not surprisingly low.

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MattP   

I stumbled across this statistic in some browsing last night and was shocked at the results of this Gallup poll (from 2004 I believe, referenced here at cbsnews.com.)

A Gallup poll late last year showed that only 28 percent of Americans accept the theory of evolution, while 48 percent adhere to creationism - the belief that an intelligent being is responsible for the creation of the earth and its inhabitants.

28%?? I asked my wife (before she heard the results) what percentages she would guess the results would be. She guessed 75% would have accepted evolution, which is probably somewhat in line with what my assumption would have been. Obviously, this doesn't disappoint me like it will some people, but it shocks me nonetheless...

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SDG   

I hope the actual Gallup poll did a better job of defining creationism than the journalistic blurb quoted above. :angry:

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SDG   
Well, God creating the universe in six days (however those are defined) would pretty much count as a miracle. And while the historical record of the resurrection may be more contemporary than that of creation, it's essentially the same evidence - scriptural accounts.
"Scriptural accounts" are not a homogenous resource. The gospels are historical accounts, based on eyewitness experience, in many cases of widely witnessed events, written within living memory of the events themselves. Genesis 1-3 is in a wholly different category, both historically and literarily. (It has also historically been understood to allow non-literal readings in both Jewish and Christian exegesis.)

1) Let's say the creation account in scripture is not meant to be taken literally. What purpose does it serve? I say this as someone who doesn't read Revelation literally, so I'm certainly not a "100% literalist" - but I can see clear purposes for a figurative Revelation that I don't see for the creation story.
My friend Jimmy Akin on why a non-literal reading of Genesis 1 is supported by the text.

2) Regardless of the answer to #1, it seems at least to me that one clear emphasis of the Genesis creation story is humanity's special standing as a part of creation (created in the image of God, given dominion over the earth, etc.) If humanity is just a step in the random evolutionary chain, how does that jive?
Prescinding from the implications of the words "just" and "random," why couldn't God bequeath a new ontological status on hominids which until then had been merely natural creatures? Why couldn't our bodies have evolved but our souls come from God?

Are we to continue to evolve into a new species further down the road? If not, why not?
Technically, the question is not so much whether "we" will evolve "into" a new species, since the theory of evolution is not that one species evolves "into" another; rather, species give rise to other species, and sometimes species go extinct.

Will evolutionary changes ever produce a new species out of homo sapiens? If so, what would the status of this new species be? Perhaps the best answer here is: How on earth should I know?

It seems to me that theistic evolutionists are in a weaker position even than typical evolutionists, because at least they're willing to admit that the idea of God and the science of evolution do not logically work together. Christianity is all about God's special, intentional relationship to man. Evolution is based almost exclusively on chance (random mutation). I don't see how the two can co-exist.
"Chance" and "randomness" are both problematic terms; it might be helpful to rephrase by saying that evolutionary forces are understood to proceed according to natural laws operating in an undirected fashion.

But the same could be said for the forces studied by any other science. Say, meteorology. Do you believe that the weather is outside God's providence? Does God ordain the weather or not? If he does, does that mean that each day's weather is a sheer miracle, in such a way that meteorology is a bogus science? If divine providence is compatible with natural law in the area of the weather, why not in biology as well?

Edited by SDG

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