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#21 The Baptist Death Ray

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 08:33 AM

Well first of all I'd say that the argument that something is "Quixotic" is hardly a convincing argument to abandon anything. Much in the Christian life is Quixotic -- the very idea of mortal, fallible humans being given a standard that we cannot reach on our own is Quixotic -- so that's not an argument that is going to go very far to convince anyone to abandon the struggle.

That said, even people who don't believe in evolution should understand the scientific theories and thought and research that goes into it, because people need to understand how science works. If evolution is wrong, it is at least wrong in a manner consistent with how science is advanced, and even if ultimately it is disproven there's still a lot of interesting and useful stuff we've learned in the process of trying to make it all work.

For my part, my only sticking point with the theory of evolution is where man comes into the picture. The Bible seems to show that man was a creation apart from the rest of creation, and so while I can see how much of the theory of evolution really does work, I don't see how it is therefore necessary that I accept that it happened with humans until *after* we were created "from dust."

But so what? What relevance does my personal belief have to do with anything? How is the creation story, with the lone exception of the Fall, even relevant to what is important to being Christian? I don't care if a biologist -- or anyone else, really -- thinks I'm a backward fool for believing man was created apart from the natural evolutionary forces in the world, and I don't see why it would be worth the effort to spend the time and energy to convince anyone else of my particular views on the matter, either. The people who are spending that time and energy are WASTING it.

Evolution was taught in my high school. Those of us who were Christian remained so with remarkably little difficulty. None of the teachers, after teaching the course, turned to the students with a smug look and said "and that, class, is why God doesn't exist and you've been living a lie." That was FAR more common in one of my english classes, when one particular teacher started teaching Herman Hesse as though he were God Incarnate.

But if we are to believe the proponents of ID -- the political proponents, at least -- there is a war raging in America where the Godless Athiest Scientists are trying to recruit new members by destroying belief in God by putting forward the idea that man was not uniquely and specially created. And this is, quite simply, not true. I'm sure there may be individual agents of G.A.S. who are, in fact, doing this, but on the whole the organization seems rather toothless.

#22 The Baptist Death Ray

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 09:06 AM

As I said, what does it matter? I included that only to illustrate that it's possible to not completely endorse an idea and still support it being taught. Evolution is the end result of scientific advancement in one field so far... and it's irresponsible to ignore it simply because you don't agree with it.

And yes, you can look at the passage you mention as metaphorical and it works out just nicely. I didn't say that evolution was incompatible with Genesis. I just don't believe that man descended from another species.

Edited by The Baptist Death Ray, 11 August 2005 - 09:07 AM.


#23 The Baptist Death Ray

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 09:36 AM

Because there seems to be a distinction made as to how man was created. Genesis gives a very vague mention of birds, fish, land animals all being created, with no real specifics, other than that they were created. And then something specific -- man is created out of dust, or clay, and the stated purpose is that it be in God's own image. There's no explanation of what the image is, though certainly it makes more sense that the "image" is spiritual rather than physical. But what I find interesting is that in order to do this, the story lists the "building block materials" as something that is essentially inert matter, and not just inert matter but something that is more or less the *remnants* of inert matter.

Whether that communicates any kind of significance to anyone else, I can't say, but it seems quite profound to me in terms of where we came from, what God made us into, and where we wound up today.



#24 The Baptist Death Ray

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 12:11 PM

And for my part, I don't doubt the validity of the evolutionary approach. I do reject one specific application of that approach. But I also don't really consider it a particularly important issue.

Edited by The Baptist Death Ray, 11 August 2005 - 12:12 PM.


#25 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 02:40 PM

Every time I see this thread, I think it is going to be about that Ivan Reitman movie starring David Duchovny, Julianne Moore, Orlando Jones and Seann William Scott.

The Baptist Death Ray wrote:
: I just don't believe that man descended from another species.

So we have all that "junk DNA" in common with other species because ... why? Because God wanted to TRICK us into thinking that we evolved from common ancestors?

#26 The Baptist Death Ray

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 02:48 PM

Because life generally moves on towards what works and drops what doesn't. I never said anything about God trying to trick anyone.

#27 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 02:56 PM

The Baptist Death Ray wrote:
: Because life generally moves on towards what works and drops what doesn't.

You evidently missed the point of my question. "Junk DNA" doesn't "work" or "not work" -- it's simply THERE. It's a mutation that produces no harmful effects, and is therefore not weeded out; but it also produces no positive effects, either. At some point, it simply entered the code, and thus, when the code was copied (and copied, and copied, and copied), it ended up in the DNA for both our species and at least one other species.

Then again, a quick glance at Wikipedia indicates I may be oversimplifying -- it could be that the "junk" genes DID serve a purpose once, for one of our ancestor species. But the basic idea remains; the DNA serves no known purpose now, but through it, we can chart how human beings are related to other species.

#28 The Baptist Death Ray

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Posted 11 August 2005 - 03:07 PM

My apologies -- I thought you were referring to DNA in general, temporarily adopting the voice of a "DNA skeptic", and then asking why humans shared so much DNA in common with other animals.

But note that the Wikipedia entry says that Junk DNA is DNA for which a use hasn't yet been *identified*, which means not only could it have served a purpose once, but it could even serve a purpose *now* -- we just haven't figured out what, yet:

QUOTE
Recent studies have, in fact, suggested functions for certain portions of what has been called junk DNA. The "junk" label is therefore recognized as something of a misnomer.



#29 The Baptist Death Ray

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Posted 01 September 2005 - 02:10 PM

Ya-har! Time to recite the liturgy: "Now thatsa spicey meatball..."

Avast!

#30 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 06 September 2005 - 11:40 AM

Who's calling who a creationist?
As so often happens on the Godbeat, language is everything and the problems start right there in the headline: "Teaching of Creationism Is Endorsed in New Survey." It turns out that this is the rare story in which it is possible to use the term "creationism" and have it mean something more than a slur. You betcha, there are real-life "creationists" in this poll and lots of them. . . . The problem, of course, is that Goodstein and her editors have only two words to use -- evolution and creationism -- and they have a number of other camps to describe, on both sides of the divide.
Terry Mattingly, GetReligion.org, September 4

Edited by Peter T Chattaway, 06 September 2005 - 11:40 AM.


#31 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 28 September 2005 - 06:17 PM

In pasta we trust
Always one of Earth's smaller gods, the Flying Spaghetti Monster's time has clearly come. Maybe it didn't create the Earth, but ending this twaddle about Intelligent Design might just be within its powers.
Let's recap. Intelligent Design boils down to the notion that the unsolved mysteries of evolution -- gaps in the fossil record, and so on -- can only be explained by interference from God. A project of the Christian right, "ID" doesn't totally reject all the scientific research that's taught us what we know so far, but it declares that some evolutionary questions can never be understood. It's as if 2005 were the cutoff date for science. Are there still questions about evolution? Then it must have been God at work. . . .
Ivor Tossell, Globe and Mail, September 23

#32 Andrew

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Posted 29 October 2005 - 12:53 AM

Has anyone here read Kenneth R. Miller's Finding Darwin's God? I'm about 2/3 of the way through, and am finding it to be a highly readable, provocative and enlightening book. Miller is a cell biology prof at Brown University, as well as a theist, who has debated folks like Phillip Johnson and Henry Morris in the past.

So far, he has (rather successfully, IMO) demolished Henry Morris' young earth creationism, Phillip Johnson's ID, and Michael Behe's irreducible complexity - pointing out the grave scientific flaws in their reasoning (such as Morris' ludicrous use to the biblical flood narrative to try and explain the fossil record), as well as failures to keep up with current evolutionary literature (e.g., Behe's comments on the irreducible complexity of the mammalian clotting cascade fail to account for recent literature describing very plausible mechanisms for its evolution) and some duplicity in debating or glaring ignorance (Behe's apparent unawareness of the great variations in complexity of flagella in different organisms).

Miller also describes very interesting lab studies revealing bacterial mutations occurring at a rate much more rapidly than that demanded by the fossil record (4-7 orders of magnitude more quickly!). He convincingly describes how various anti-evolution hypotheses are actually detrimental to faith, while also candidly relating how scientific reductionism has unnecessarily alienated people of faith.

The bulk of the theological commentary is yet to come, but so far, this is a book I'd strongly recommend...

#33 ThePersistanceOfWaffles

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Posted 31 October 2005 - 04:35 AM

Funny you should mention this, Andrew, I just finished reading this book this week. The philosophy/theology half of the book was by far the most interesting part, IMHO, I hope you enjoy it.

I was especially intrigued by the idea that quantum physics is the mechanism that allows for free will. I wasn't completely sold on it (I wish I had a chance to reread that section before I returned it to the library) but it's a fascinating idea that I'd like to see Miller (or a real phsycist?) discuss in more depth.

#34 Andrew

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Posted 06 November 2005 - 04:24 AM

Hey, PoW, I'm glad someone else on this board has read Miller's book. I found both the scientific and theological sections to be equally interesting, with the scientific section more cohesively argued, IMO.

OTOH, there were many very helpful insights in the latter half of the book. The analogy of the billiard players (i.e., which is more talented, the one who sinks all of the balls with one shot, or the one who requires 15 shots) has stuck with me as a great analogy as to why theistic evolution can be deemed more awe-inspiring than ID. The discussion about the importance of free will in our relationship with God, as mirrored also in the physical and evolutionary realm, was quite good, too.

#35 ThePersistanceOfWaffles

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 09:48 PM

QUOTE(Andrew @ Nov 6 2005, 04:24 AM)
Hey, PoW, I'm glad someone else on this board has read Miller's book.  I found both the scientific and theological sections to be equally interesting, with the scientific section more cohesively argued, IMO. 


I think the first half of the book didn't appeal as much because I'm rather scientifically illiterate; when Miller started getting technical on evolution, my eyes started glazing over. In my case, he was already preaching to the converted, so that wasn't really a problem, but I think the relative density of his arguments could lose a lot of other non-scientifically-incined people. This is a weakness in the book if he's specifically trying to build an argument that will convince us laymen of evolution's existence.

QUOTE
OTOH, there were many very helpful insights in the latter half of the book.  The analogy of the billiard players (i.e., which is more talented, the one who sinks all of the balls with one shot, or the one who requires 15 shots) has stuck with me as a great analogy as to why theistic evolution can be deemed more awe-inspiring than ID.  The discussion about the importance of free will in our relationship with God, as mirrored also in the physical and evolutionary realm, was quite good, too.

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That billiards line stood out me too, what an excellent analogy! The best thing about the book for me is that he actually tackled the philosophical implications of evolution for a believer. I'd never really seen someone who is both an evolutionist and a believer admit that there *are* implications before, so I appreciated his willingness to tackle this issue head-on, and the conclusions he came to were surprisingly inspiring.

#36 Persona

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Posted 28 January 2006 - 08:45 AM

Didn't know where to put this but had to share it with someone, I find it hilarious -- a critique of evolution, maybe? biggrin.gif
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#37 David Smedberg

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Posted 31 January 2006 - 12:38 PM

QUOTE(stef @ Jan 28 2006, 08:45 AM) View Post
"originally collected by legendary botanist Charles Darwin"

The Wikipedia says that's impossible.

#38 Darrel Manson

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Posted 11 February 2006 - 06:44 PM

The evangelist of creationism

#39 MattP

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Posted 03 July 2006 - 12:09 PM

--content deleted--

Very straw man.

#40 Sundered

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Posted 27 July 2006 - 11:37 PM

Does anybody know if they've found dinosaur fossils on top of human fossils?