Our governor here in Kentucky has decided to implement the new Common Core “Next Generation” science standards. Progressives are celebrating this move for a few reasons : 1) It will put us in line with many other states, which is great because we all know a diverse and enriching education must be in utter uniformity with the national collective and in compliance with the federal agenda. 2) The criteria calls for a renewed emphasis on man-caused climate change and, of course, evolution. Evolution — atheistic, nihilistic, materialistic, mindless evolution — must be taught as fact, without other ideas presented to compete with the theory.
Proponents say that atheistic evolution is the only thing that belongs in the classroom because religion and science just don’t mix. I agree, partially at least. Some religions don’t gel with science — religions like Scientology or, say, Atheism. The followers of the COA (Church of Atheism) are not only hostile to science, they are aggressively allergic to history and philosophy as well. They are the ones who constantly need to alter and warp these subjects, so as to fit them all in their tiny little box of nihilism and emptiness. A Christian doesn’t need to be so selective and manipulative because he is part of something full, rational, multi-faceted and universal. He is part of something that, as Chesterton said, has “a multiplicity and subtlety and imagination about the varieties of life which is far beyond the bald or breezy platitudes of most ancient or modern philosophy. In a word, there is more in it; it finds more in existence to think about; it gets more out of life.”
This is where some of my Christian brothers and sisters fail mightily. So often they cede “science” to the atheist and shrink away from his challenges, backing off in defeat while muttering something about “faith” and “belief.” “Well, you might have your fancy science books, but I’ve got faith.” Yes, faith and belief are important, but you, my Christian compatriot, are standing on the Mountain of Truth. You have the high ground. YOU have the facts and the science on your side. Your faith does NOT conflict with science. Christianity built this civilization; your Christian ancestors are the pioneers behind the greatest advancements in many fields of study. Christianity illuminates the sciences and invigorates the passion for discovery. As a Christian, you aren’t just a member of a religion — you’re a member of a rich intellectual tradition unmatched by any group, anywhere in the world. So don’t just sit there and let the atheists blabber about how your faith hates science. Speak up, damn it. Fight back. Get angry.
I have heard this “you can’t mix religion and science” argument so many times, and so many times the atheist gets away with making such a silly and irrational claim. A guy actually told me today that “Christians have always hated science.” What a bizarre and stupid thing to say; easily refuted, if only we take the time and endure the frustration. Modern science, despite the incoherent ramblings of historically illiterate fools, wouldn’t exist without religion.
Christianity hasn’t stifled science. Christianity has been its driving force and, for hundreds of years, virtually its only significant contributor. Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Pascal, Descartes, Newton, Kelvin, Mendel, Boyle — all devout Christians. You want to remove your science from my religion? Fine. But we’re keeping these dudes. You can have Richard Dawkins and his tales of “mild pedophilia.” Enjoy.
Father Steno was a priest. Geologists call him “father,” but for none religious reasons: he’s considered the father of modern geology.
The Basilica of San Petronio is a beautiful church. It was also, for many years, one of the most sophisticated solar observatories in the world.
The Jesuits helped contribute to the development of clocks, barometers, microscopes and telescopes. They theorized about things like human flight, the moon and the tides, and blood circulation. They observed certain astronomical phenomena before anyone else. They did these things as an aspect of their religious pursuits, not in competition with it.
In fact, for five or six centuries no institution funded and supported the sciences more than the Church. They don’t teach that in school, which yet again demonstrates the danger of mixing atheism and education. Atheism has to hide from so much, deny so much, and twist and manipulate so much, because its existence is always jeopardized by the scorching light of truth. To paraphrase CS Lewis, an atheist has to be careful about what he reads and which facts he encounters. There are traps everywhere.
When western scientific knowledge came to places like China and India in the 1600’s, it came by way of Christians and their science-hating Christianity. You’d be hard pressed to find a single bit of modern scientific knowledge that wasn’t discovered, or heavily influenced by, the work of devout Christians.
Do the progressive science lovers, who use the Big Bang to “disprove” God, even know the name of the guy who originally formulated the hypothesis? Well, they think the universe and the human mind came about my happenstance, so I guess it follows that the Big Bang Theory just appeared magically in text books one day. But, unfortunately for them, just like the Big Bang itself, the theory has an originator. His name was Monseigneur Georges Lemaitre. “Monseigneur,” for the uninitiated, means “priest” in France-talk.
Those who broadly mock religion, and who pretend that Christianity inhibits education and discovery, aren’t just arrogantly dismissing Joe Schmoes like me. Yesterday I received a typical email from a tolerant progressive atheist. It read, in part, “f**ck you and your Jesus bull sh*t. You people are all idiots constantly afraid of real education.” Oh, don’t worry, he then segues from calling billions of people “idiots” who believe in “Jesus bull sh*t” to railing against Christians for being “bigoted” and “hateful,” just as you’d expect. Masters of unintentional irony, these left wing atheists.
But are we Christians all “idiots”? Well, I don’t mind if you say that about me, but was Da Vinci an idiot? Aquinas? Shakespeare? Mozart? Washington? Locke? Martin Luther King Jr? Edison? Tesla? Alexandar Graham Bell? Adam Smith? Marconi? Chesterton? Lewis? MacDonald? Dickens? Faulkner? Tolkein? Marco Polo? Neil Armstrong? Magellan? Columbus? Henry Ford? All of these guys are idiots, along with the scientific pioneers I mentioned earlier? They all hated education? I mean, sure, they weren’t as smart as modern liberals — they certainly can’t compete with the atheist intellectuals of our day, like Seth McFarlane and Angelina Jolie — but they were sort of clever in their own way, don’t you think?
Science, just like any other subject, is multidimensional. There is the fact, and then there is the meaning behind the fact, and then there is the motivation to pursue the fact and its meaning, and then there is the issue of how to apply and interpret all of these things. In other words, science does advance or regress drastically depending on the prevailing philosophy of any civilization. Christian civilizations advanced science immeasurably because they were Christian civilizations. If you take God out of the study of the origin of life, not only are you left with a confused and arbitrary thing, riddled with holes and inconsistencies, but you’ve also stripped the subject, and the study of the subject, of its meaning and purpose.
Our understanding of the universe deepened so profoundly during the Christian era because of the Christian tradition that brought a sense of order and rationality to the universe. Now political and ideological forces wish to decapitate existence from the Mind that created it, thus shredding its order and meaning, and leaving us with a “science” that has regressed back into something incoherent and archaic. Atheism does not advance science — it doesn’t advance anything — it does only what it is designed to do: confuse and destroy.
You can’t take Christianity out of the classroom no matter how hard you try. If you take it out, most everything — especially science — goes with it. Christianity is woven into the fabric of most every academic subject (except gender studies). You can, however, remove Atheism, and I think it’s time we do that. Such a silly superstition — uncaused causes removed from the Ultimate Cause, human consciousness that develops accidentally out of lifeless material, order coming from chaos, rationality coming from irrationality, everything coming from nothing — has never done anyone any good, and it doesn’t belong inside a school.
Really, we must get atheism away from education before we all end up like the modern atheist’s greatest prophet, Nietchsze, who died insane and naked, eating his own feces in a mental institution. This is not the sort of fate we should wish upon our children.
Think of the children, for goodness sake.
Firstly, I just want to say, “You are great!” I’m so glad I found your blog:) I have an eleven-year-old son who will testify that he came to believe in the reality of Christ through the study of Science. He will tell you that learning about creation convinced him. He wants to be a scientist and asked, “But won’t it be hard to be a scientist and a Christian?” I said, “It’s hard to be a Christian.” Thank you for posting.
How precisely did your son use Science to study “creation?”
Since creation is The-Thing-Created, from a deistic or theistic perspective, that would simple be: reality. A Christian scientist taking joy in studying creation would be the same as an atheistic/materialistic scientist taking joy in observing the non-teological, materialistically reducible reality (self-refuting epistemological contradictions aside). i.e. what a Christian calls “creation” a materialist would call “reality”. Different label, same thing…
Actually not the same thing, “creation” implies that something was created, “reality” does not
Because that is what science studies. All that was created.
No, Science studies the reality. You don´t need to believe that reality was created to study it. Actuallly, I will discourage it, because the first things people know when they start to study nature, are the beautiful ones, but after a while, you will discover the no so beautiful and the plain nasty or even cruel and sadistic by human standars. The universe as a product of physical laws and casualty is amazing, but as a product of a creator it gives a very bad image of such entity.
“I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent & omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidæ with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars…” Charles Darwin
Just wanted this link (http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd/2013/09/has-christianity-done-more-for-science-than-christianity-ever-could/) to be in the top comments. Dear Matt, you seem to be a very confused man, I hope you will one day break through your belief-induced blindness.
That link contains pure, delicious and righteous ownage.
Cute. Too mad he’s entirely wriog, but hey, I guess even faux atheists need their own religion.
Wrong, even. Bah
I hope you don’t disown him when his brain is more developed and he becomes more educated (should he continue to pursue science) and completely reverses his position.
As a personal testimony, I can say that my becoming a Christian was to a large extent catalyzed by my interest in science. A decade later, I have continued to pursue science, even to a professional extent. Interestingly, I’m also still very much a Christian. No reversal of position, only becoming more of what I was beginning to be.
Your atheists accusing all Christians of being idiots, like your education reformers trying to make every school district identical, are straw men. Let’s cool the rhetoric and get to the point: I don’t want “creationism” or “intelligent design” (a.k.a. creationism) taught in science classes because they are–it is–not science. Science is the investigation of nature through observation and experimentation. Evolution is one of the most solid scientific explanations we have, up there with Newton’s laws of thermodynamics. It is not atheistic except in the sense that physics is atheistic, that is, a-theistic, not-theistic, neither proving nor disproving God’s existence because NOT ABOUT GOD AT ALL.
You do not have to be an atheist to study what we know of the biological world and draw conclusions. But in order to do good science, you cannot at any point seek to use as evidence anything that is in a document such as the Bible. It might be a very wise document. It just isn’t what scientists do, for a simple reason: as soon as someone says “I know this fact is so because the Bible says so,” a scientist of any religious persuasion will say, “And how do you know whether everything in the Bible is true?” And then you are off on a very different topic.
It’s a very interesting one. We discuss it quite a lot in my church. But I don’t think it is the discussion you are asking us to have in our science classes.
“NOT ABOUT GOD AT ALL” Very well said!
Very well said! As a Christian, I still have questions about what is truth and what is man’s interpretation of the truth, but it doesn’t mean I don’t believe in God and Jesus. It simply means I have questions. I loved science in school and I still enjoy it but I don’t enjoy the way science is bogged down with everyone’s religious views of what is right or wrong; fact or fiction, real or unreal! I really am concerned for our future generations if Christianity is taken out of education and villanized.
If you read Matt’s blog post at all, I don’t think you understood his point in any sense. His point was not to say that we should be teaching the bible in government schools. Government hostility to the truth that the Church built western civilization out of the ashes of the barbarian wasteland is a very dangerous thing for everyone. And yes, atheism is hostile to science. Their pursuit of embryonic stem cell research, while sidelining adult stem cell breakthroughs is only one proof of that.
You are confusing scientists with atheists.
Re: “…atheism is hostile to science. Their pursuit of embryonic stem cell research, while sidelining adult stem cell breakthroughs is only one proof of that.”
I think you need to reevaluate your understanding of the word “proof.” If atheists preferring embryonic stem cell research over adult stem cell research is “proof” that atheists are hostile to science, what are we to make of Christians who oppose embryonic stem cell research? Your argument- were it even valid- proves that atheists and Christians alike are “hostile to science.” All we can derive from your argument is that only theists who aren’t Christian embrace Science… is that what you were going for?
You have some valid points, but you appear to assume there is no scientific evidence for intelligent design (which is sort of like creationism WITHOUT referencing the Bible in any way) and that assumption is simply false. Furthermore, examining evolution with a critical eye has led me to find numerous flaws in it’s ‘evidence’. To admonish that it is as solidly founded as the laws of thermodynamics indicates to me that you haven’t really studied it. But I could be wrong.
The problem with creationism is not that it lacks evidence, it is that it is impossible to judge the evidence to see if it is in support. The reason is this: unless you can recognize disconfirming evidence, then all evidence is consistent with your hypothesis. Life forms a natural, nested hierarchy based on shared character traits? Creationism can explain that. Look a whale with gills, that violates the nested hierarchy, but creationism can explain that as well. Creationism can explain any hypothetical observation. Therefore it cannot be tested, and you cannot claim supporting evidence.
As for flaws, they are more than likely your misinterpretation of the science. No doubt influenced by the poor arguments of creationists.
And of course Glenn would assume I’m an idiot who hasn’t done my research because I think evolution’s wrong. Everyone who is intelligent must agree. Baaaaah.
Not necessarily an idiot, but mistaken. And yes, pretty much anybody who is educated on the subject (see pretty close to all biologists everywhere) do accept evolution.
Do you know why no ‘scientists’ question evolution? Because if they do people like you immediately declare them ‘psuedoscientists’. There are plenty of ‘psuedoscientists’ out there who are perfectly legitimate scientist except that they’ve dared to question the likelihood of evolution. Don’t pretend to know the extent of my education on the matter because it suits you.
Yes, it’s a giant scientific conspiracy, because, well, just because. The actual reason so many scientists accept evolution is because to doubt it would be absurd. You need to ask yourself, what do tens of thousands of biologists, each with nearly a decade of education in the subject, and decades of actual real world experience in labs, in the field, and writing papers, know that you do not. I’m willing to bet a whole lot.
And by plenty you mean a tiny fraction, a fringe minority, of largely religious scientists, mostly not in the field. See Project Steve http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Steve for an idea of the tiny size of this minority.
Could you tell me one of those flaws? I study evolution, I know none.
I really think that any discussion of religion and evolution should make very clear what it means by evolution. I fully am in support of evolution (read adaptation [e.g. Darwin’s Finches]) being taught in school as that has been proven to a point were it is considered fact. But to then say that the evidences for that evolution are evidences of evolution (read the origin of man from apes) is a logical fallacy.
We either need to express ALL of the theories or none of them, depending on what level of science you are teaching. But to represent a theory of any kind as a law or as fact is wrong.
From a scientific standpoint, that all species are related via shared ancestry, is considered factual (because holding serious doubt is absurd). Amongst scientists there is no controversy.
I don’t think you know the meaning of theory. Evolution is a theory as gravity is a theory. God is a theory as warp drive is theory. Possible? Maybe, but not likely
i often find it interesting that proponents of evolution attempt to separate intelligent design and science as if they cannot at any point be related. in your own words science is investigation “through observation and scientific experimentation” well unfortunately evolution is a process that takes many millions of years to work its magic and since there have not been that many years of recorded history it isn’t possible that evolution has been observed at all. now i have discussed evolution with many people at length(of course not ever with someone that has a rev. at the beginning of their name) so i know you’re thinking to yourself well what about the fossil record etc. well before this conversation gets out of hand let me just say that both of these schools of thought are expressions of faith. you have faith in the scientific community and their assurance that these things have been happening for millions of years and will continue happening even though there isnt any way to observe it nor is there any concrete evidence it happened and thats fine. i wont try and convince you otherwise. i have faith that an eternal God created you me and everything and sent his son to die for me as payment for my sin. please dont try and tell me my views are “unscientific” because they dont line up with your faith in evolution.
It isn’t a matter of observing evolution in process (although we have seen as much evolution as would be expected given the amount of time looking). If that were the case, science could never try to explain any historical event. It is a matter of testing hypotheses that attempt to explain our observations. Common ancestry as an explanation for the diversity of life has been so well tested that scientists no longer doubt it is correct.
Intelligent design, however, contains no testable hypotheses. That’s why it is considered pseudoscience.
Evolution doesn´t take millions of years, it takes several generations and it has been observed many, many, many times. With flies, with bacteries, with the millions of fossils housed in the museums.
The biggest prove that intelligent desing is bogus, it is that our bodies are pretty fuck up, biologically speaking. We have blind points, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, the birth canal going along the waste… for giving some examples. A human engineer would desing it better. As a nature product, our bodies can be wonderful, but If these is the work of god, I´m not impress.
Faith in god and faith in the scientific method are two different things. God has failed the scientific method however evolution has passed. If there was ever a discovery proving evolution wrong then evolution would no longer be accepted in science.
I’m sorry, that’s relative nonsense. There is much more than faith at work as evidence for evolution. Skip the work if you choose but please don’;t insult the rest of us with a claim that faith in science equates to faith in God. As one simple example, you need only look in the newspaper or hop online to see evidence of evolution in action in the form of the increase in the number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Any organism with a sufficiently short life span will evolve a little faster than others.
Here’s a brief summary. http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/what-evidence-supports-the-theory-of-evolution.html
There is no falsifiable evidence to support your belief, nor is there similar support using scientific methods for the concept of Creation. Please teach religion in classes dedicated to religion, and leave it out of science.
One might even make the point that teaching Biblical creation to children is child abuse, as it can deprive children of the right to make up their own mind based on demonstrable facts.
christians deserve vitriolic rhetoric at times, especially when defending violent and bigoted traditions inherent to scripture, simply as a buffer against internal inconsistency or to avoid deviating from the culture. if you understand the scientific method, great, but dont expect people to not group your ideas together with more extreme ideas, simply because you play semantics to escape christianity’s violent past or to somehow make “your christianity” different.
Actually, no. Atheists disbelieve in “god”. Atheists do not accuse Christians of being idiots. The majority of Christians fully accept the SCIENTIFIC theory of evolution. Don’t act like your creationist cult of biblical idolatry is the only Christianity on the planet, because it’s not. It’s just a band of narrow-minded Luddites clinging to a bronze-age mythology. And that’s what makes you idiots.
Evolution is a terrible theory that is full of logical holes.
It is not surpising that it is terrible at explaining life, because it is not the explanation for life.
It hurts nothing to at least give an alternative to a bad an incorrect theory and I wonder why people fight so hard against that. It’s not as if we’re talking about teaching Genesis as science, we are talking about presenting solid science that makes a case for a created Earth. This science will be shown to be correct because the Earth and all the life on it was created,
Evolution is terrible at explaining life because evolution is NOT the explanation for life. Evolution is the explanation of the DIVERSITY of life. There is no alternative theory. None. There is no evidence (solid or otherwise) for a “creator”, therefore, creationism will never be an explanation for life, either. Evolution has ALL of the evidence, that’s why it is accepted as SCIENCE by 99.98% of all the scientists in the world. Creationist opinions of science are irrelevant. There are no “logical holes” in the scientific theory of evolution, only gaping holes in your understanding of a solid scientific theory. There is FAR more evidence for evolution than there is for your concept of “god”.
Ma’am, I happen to be non-theistic, as well as non-militant toward those who do believe in a god I haven’t been able to convince myself is there. I have honesty never seen any argument so beautifully delineated. Thank you for this. It will help me maintain my faith in humanity.
Thank you for not being an idiot. I wish the OP deserved the same praise.
First, if you think the atheist(s) described in the blog post are straw men, you clearly haven’t spent much time on the internet, around a college campus, or watching any television program featuring pundits pertaining to the topic.
Second, I say the following not in the spirit of ad-hominem, but because of the inevitable implications of the fact. Based on the page attached to your listed name, you are a Unitarian. Thus, I’m reluctant at best to see you as fit to be commenting on: the truth or lack thereof in the Bible, as you acknowledge it selectively- approving of it’s teachings or disapproving, not letting its teachings approve or disapprove of you; science as a whole, as science is objective and fact-based, whereas Unitarianism is inherently relativistic; or specifically evolution, as you don’t seem to understand how it fits into the scheme of empirical science, namely- it isn’t empirical science, but is instead merely a theory or set of theories with some experimental data supporting a small set of hypotheses that would illuminate a vast framework of all that would go into the collective theory of evolution being somewhat rational, with actual observed(-able) instances of evolution being entirely restricted to microevolution, which no one argues against.
You are a very reasonable Christian. Unlike the writer of this blog, who is a hate filled, one eyed, ill informed, moron.
Then again, she isn’t a Christian, and is ill-informed.
I know professionals who work in the physical sciences who have strong Christian faith, They just understand that these things are not intertwined. I feel that Rev. Morgenstern did an excellent job summarizing my reaction after reading the blog. I had an individual who wanted to waste almost a quarter of every university human biology class arguing about the origins of man during the lessons about embryonic development and other topics. Our professor did an excellent job over and over trying to explain to this very grandiose individual that what he was trying to convince the class was about faith and what we were learning was about proven human science. These are two very separate topics. Ultimately after enough students complained about their hard earned tuition monies being wasted on forced philosophic rhetoric he was quieted down to the same level of participation as any other student. It was interesting that he somehow felt inherently entitled to force his Christian faith on the rest of the class, and as if that was somehow more valid than the proven biological sciences we had all paid to learn. There also remains the well needed division between church and state and for a damn good reason. Our country was founded on religious freedom. We are supposed to be protected from forms of discrimination in our race, religion, gender, etc. If creationism is allowed to be taught in public schools where does that leave other religions? They are just as solidly convinced of their beliefs as Christians are and yet, I have never heard a Buddhist or Taoist assert that their teachings and theories belong in mainstream public school. The same can be said of many other world religions, practiced in the US. If we open that can of worms, we might want to think it all the way through to the “Nth” degree. Science based in evidence is not religious at all. It is just science, there is no mention of an existence or non existence of God. It is not a factor and nor should it be. If creationism was allowed to be taught in public schools, the USA just eliminated the promise of religious freedom for all. If a parent strongly wants their children taught creationism the answer is so incredibly simple. Enroll your young Christians in Christian schools, there they will learn everything they need to know about the Bible and God and creationism. Other children can learn about hard sciences without any religious bias. Personally I do not want to be treated at a hospital by a nurse or a physician who based all their beliefs in faith and Christianity. I want a medical professional who learned the hard sciences and can objectively interpret and treat me based on this. However, if I was of Christian persuasion and in need of guidance I would most certainly seek out a clergy/spiritual educator for guidance and support. And if my doctor or nurse has a strong religious faith, that has always been a strong positive in my experience. I am sorry that your perception is that Atheists think badly of Christians.I know a lot of hard solid examples that can be held up of some horrendous behavior in the name of Christianity… but I still refuse to throw all into one category. That certainly doesn’t seem like WWJD now does it?
I completely agree. I think Matt has missed the point here. He just moved from earnest discussion to thorough rant, and lost me.
Why not teach about some scientific evidence that makes a case besides that for a Godless universe that is self-existent.
Because there is none, genius.
Because there is no evidence for such a thing, not that scientific theories go to the trouble to rule out any gods specifically.
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Right on and very true. The naysayers here need a little less one sided history in their education (which is another reason why your blog is valid and relevant). The Church built western civilization and each of these respondents take for granted that their very own system of morals have come from the Church. The barbarians and stoics whom the Church saved the west from, held very different ideas of justice and had the Church not intervened and taught them about serving the poor (as the Church today is the chief example of) we would be in a much poorer state. (Ref: How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization; Thomas E Woods Jr for documentation on every
“The Church built western civilization and each of these respondents take for granted that their very own system of morals have come from the Church.”
Clearly wrong on both counts. Western civilization was well underway before the birth of Christ. Western civilization advanced considerably during the life of Christ and after his death w/ no considerable influence from Christianity. Western civilization collapsed and rebounded in the era of Christianity. It’s true that Catholicism did much to preserve academic knowledge for centuries but that’s mostly due to the reality that nobody knew how to read apart from priests.
As for the Church’s claim to morality, it’s absurd. People were moral before Christ. Non-Christian societies all over the earth were and are moral without Christ. Your argument isn’t even plausible.
Sure, religion isn’t in conflict with science. But Biblical literalism is. I mean, c’mon, the Bible is full of parables, which are, of course, not literally true. And then you go and say that things that are against science ARE literally true?
It’s not only bad science, it’s bad theology. In some cases, it’s blasphemous.
For instance, young-Earth creationism is blasphemy, because it denies the Glory of God. The universe is probably about 13.8 billion years old. That means that there is a Living God who created a universe of a scale that is beyond human comprehension. To deny that, to state that the universe is only a few thousand years old, is to say that God is so small that He can fit within the human mind. A few thousand years is a human timescale. What kind of tiny God would that be?
And what of evolution? What of the amazing explosion of life forms in the Burgess Shale? Doesn’t that fill you with wonder and awe at Creation — at its complexity, and its beauty? This complexity and beauty comes from evolution — not from a Being simply dropping things in their final form and forgetting about it. No, evolution shows that God’s Creation continues on to this day: Creation is a constant and ongoing process.
To say that it was a one-time thing is to deny the awesomeness and glory of God.
The Bible was created to be a thing that can fit within human comprehension, which is why it was given to us. To state that the Bible is literally true is to state that GOD can fit within human comprehension, which is blasphemy.
I’m and atheist but I was once offered the intriguing proposition that the Bible- though literally true- appeared contradictory because we just aren’t smart enough to comprehend God’s logic. Not terribly convincing, but novel.
The first two chapters of Genesis are two incompatible creation stories. When I taught Sunday school, I taught kids that this HAD to be deliberate — that, if the VERY FIRST THING you’re given is two things that can’t both be literally true, then it’s pretty clear that you’re being given a very clear message that this isn’t SUPPOSED to be literally true. Instead, for all these things, we should be looking for the spiritual and metaphysical meanings. We’ve got science to answer the literal things.
I’ll certainly take your interpretation over that of a literalist, Ian.
Ian Osmond – Please explain how the first two chapters of Genesis are incompatible.
They are not. You obviously do not understand the first two chapters of Genesis.
Perhaps your church should have taught you about Genesis before they allowed you to teach the young people of the church.
Think more carefully about your statement equating young earth creationism with blasphemy. By saying that God’s glory is dependent on a timescale of billions of years, instead of thousands, you too limit him. Suppose he wanted to create a younger world, one that was ready to go and “in the middle of things,” so to speak. God, by definition, was able to do it. And a plausible reading of the text suggests that he did. But you say that he couldn’t have, because then he would be too comprehensible. (Besides, if it must be a large timescale, why billions and not trillions?)
Regarding the last bit about the Bible. I agree – the Bible makes sense as a book that contains what God wants us to know about him and about redemptive history. That means, for the most part, things we can comprehend. But that doesn’t make it completely figurative. In fact, if literal truth about reality, about who we are and what our purpose is, and about God’s character is the same as saying “GOD can fit within human comprehension,” I’ll eat my hat. It’s not. Having literal truth is not the same as having all there is to know.
I am not a scientist, so I am willing to trust people who are when they say that scientific evidence points to an old earth. And frankly, to me it makes no difference what the scientific projections for our origins are. I’m more interested in reasonable, consistent readings of the Biblical text. Science works because the universe has some order to it. Things tend to do and be predictably. So when we look at recent history and the collected data, we look back and make the reasonable conclusion that the earth is Old with a capital o. But when God wants to do something, maybe he doesn’t always want to follow the predictability of the order he created. I think it’s plausible to believe that he simply created the world mature, or ‘in motion,’ and then gave us Genesis partly to let us know, “Look, I did something more than simply wind the clock and let it run. Science is a good way of knowing things, but there are few key things I will simply tell you.”
After reading your post, the only conclusion I’ve come to is that you seem to have deep misunderstanding of science, religion, philosophy and history. What’s truly amazing, is that you’ve managed to scribble so many words without presenting a single evidence-based argument for your central point. While I dont have the time to address each of your supposed arguments (this would require a serious focus on fundamental concepts you seem to to have missed), I do think it is important to point out that many of the scientists/philosophers you identify as “christian” were so out of necessity (i.e. due to the period of time in which lived) rather than belief. In fact, many of these individuals were at odds with the church (and in many cases condemened) for most, if not all, of their scientific/philosophical careers. Galileo, for example, was accused of heresy after putting forth his theory on heliocentrism. More important, Descartes’ work was revolutionary for shifting moral authority from God to humanity. It was his work that revolutionized the way we think about morality , emancipating, in a sense, humanity from Church doctrine. These are just two examples and you can be assured that of the names you listed, many more exist. I think it would be a great stretch to identify any of these individuals as “christian.”
Aside from the various flaws of this verbose blog post, I think the most pressing issue is that you stand in a position to influence the opinions of a large audience of people. Unfortunately, many of the people that read your posts or listen to your show will take your arguments as fact and will live their lives thinking you’ve uncovered some great truth. Some may even take this “information” and alter the way in which they live their lives. That said, you have a responsibility to put forth arguments that are based on sound evidence and laid out using sound logic, so as to not mislead ,or perhaps damage, those who read or listen to you. I know this will more than likely fall on deaf ears but I think it’s an important point to be made. While you may buy into all the ridiculous theories you write about, you must understand that spreading these theories under the guise of authority is ultimately morally (secular morality, that is) irresponsible and deleterious to society.
Just because they were at odds with the church does not mean they were not Christians.
You need to go educate yourself.
The church has been wrong.
God is never wrong.
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I feel your argument “Really, we must get atheism away from education before we all end up like the modern atheist’s greatest prophet, Nietchsze, who died insane and naked, eating his own feces in a mental institution. This is not the sort of fate we should wish upon our children.” is not valid. With the same token Jesus was stripped & nailed to the cross and left to die..
So… Christians who think they’re “ possessed ” by a “ demon”, something that there is completely no evidence of, isn’t insane? So Christianity isn’t causing delusions? So Christians aren’t delusional?……WOW…………..
This is a perfect example of tunnel vision.
It reminds me of the people who critisize the Mormon religion for their faults but fail to acknowledge their tremendous contributions to the poor.
Take off those “Science is God, Religion is the Devil” chains and embrace all of life’s canvas.
Best thing I’ve read on the internet so far. Well done. You’ve put all my own personal thoughts into words. Having English as my second language, has always made this hard for me. Thank you for sticking up for the facts. I’d have to say less than 10% of Christians I know have the guts to stand up for the points you mentioned (Especially when you said “Your faith does NOT conflict with science”). Thank you.
Ladies and gentlemen first I am an Atheist. I can not debate that Christians have given a lot to the scientific community. That is a fact written in history. But i think you really need to dig more into your history. Many of the ones you mention such as Galileo and Newton where continuously persecuted by the church and Galileo was force to repute his discoveries by fear of death. I heard of several others who was tortured, crucified and burnt to death for teaching against church beliefs. In modern times the church has taken new stances in science including funding in astronomy, medical research and genetics but do not let that make you forget the previous stand the church once took. The same can be said of the teaching of evolution. I believe in evolution. the evidence of it is so over whelming 1000’s of scientist in all fields agree with it. I can see the signs of evolution everywhere I look. It is right in front of you. I just wish you could understand it. But i think you misunderstand. evolution is not only atheist idea. Many of those scientist are christian and hold true to their beliefs. I think most Christians are threatened by the idea of evolution. But I always say this: To believe in evolution is not lack of belief in God but to question what man thinks of him. Because if evolution is correct then God is older than the Bible says he is and older then man. So how could man possibly know what he meant for us to do. With evolution religion falls apart but your belief in God should hold strong.
There is scriptural evidence for interpreting Gen 1. poetically, which allows that God may be older than if you interpreted it literally (which I do, fyi). The idea of evolution doesn’t bother me because of my religion, but because of scientific doubts. What bothers me religiously is the religious idea that evolution can and must explain anything and everything, which big names like Dawkins push.
Evolution can’t explain everything, but at least it explains something.
Scripture explains nothing. It’s just meaningless text – the product of some ancient person’s imagination.
That is why I trust evolution, and not Genesis. Genesis will never give me any answers, but evolution might…
“Many of the ones you mention such as Galileo and Newton where continuously persecuted by the church and Galileo was force to repute his discoveries by fear of death.”
I’m not sure it’s accurate to say Galileo was “continuously persecuted”. He was given house arrest for espousing an inaccurate position using bad supporting evidence and for calling the Pope a simpleton. I don’t know that he was ever threatened with any type of physical violence. I’m not aware of any persecution that Newton went though due to his scientific endeavors (or any other endeavors for that matter).
“I heard of several others who was tortured, crucified and burnt to death for teaching against church beliefs.”
For heresy, not scientific advancement. One of the Church’s core missions is to prevent heresy. Other than the questionable Galileo affair, I’m not sure what the Church has ever done to suppress the moral advancement of science.
“Because if evolution is correct then God is older than the Bible says he is and older then man. So how could man possibly know what he meant for us to do.”
What? The Bible says how old God is? I’m pretty sure all forms of Christianity hold God is eternal. The second sentence is a complete non-sequitur.
Another Christian University graduate trying to torture science in the name of their fantastical, daddy-issue in the sky. Here’s a little math for Walsh and every other Christian who points their trembling finger at the likes of Nietzsche, Lennon, and Hendrix, and declares, “Look! Look, at what happens to the Atheists who don’t believe in the glory of Christ!”
Atheists, Agnostics, and other religions make up about 20% of America’s population, and Christians make up about 80% of the population. Let’s keep it simple and say that means there is one Atheist for every five Christians. So for every Atheist like Nietzsche, who, “died insane and naked, eating his own feces in a mental institution,” that means that five devout, faithful-to-faith, Christians, “died insane and naked, eating their own feces in a mental institution.”
Today, that means five Christians that “believe” are punished for every one Atheist (or non-Christian) who doesn’t “believe”. Yup, toss a book of psalms in a church on Sunday morning, and you won’t miss a blank-faced fool with a grandmother who screamed through terminal bowel cancer for eight months, an uncle shot in the face for three dollars, an offspring molested by a relative, or an infant who lived a healthy three weeks and died in the crib. For so many who embrace Christ, it is remarkable how much they suffer compared to the minority Atheist.
How miserable must a blessed Christian’s life must be, knowing that no matter what happens to an Atheist, it happens five times as often to their fellow faithful? All that groveling on their knees, having a conversation with god, and begging their creator to spare them the horrors of mental illness, cancer, and mortality, they still watch their homes wash away, their children die, and tumors blind their eyes.
So much prayer, so much righteousness from this majority of Christians, so much wasted time, and still the Atheists suffer far less often. There is no misery an Atheist has suffered that hasn’t happened ten-fold to their Christian counterparts. If the purpose of faith was to invoke the mercy and forgiveness of a god, it would’ve worked by now. It hasn’t.
Even with a mouthful of feces, the words out of Nietzsche’s mouth were his own. Those five Christians with feces in their mouths, in the cells of the mental institution beside good ole Frederick, had nothing to utter but the blind beliefs of their parents and the long-dead words of men seeking power.
The purpose of faith is not to invoke the mercy and forgiveness of a god. It’s a matter of belief and trust. The Bible tells an account of reality – some believe it, some don’t. Faith is about accepting even when you don’t have all the necessary knowledge/evidence to test or prove the claim. Before you ask about the Flying Spaghetti Monster, remind yourself that some evidence is better than no evidence.
I don’t envy Nietzche in the least. Is what he had freedom? And did the simple fact that the words were his own mean that they were worth saying? I don’t think that follows.
loved it… but, while I see your point about bringing up the big bang originator (who was a priest?), How is the Big Bang concept biblical or true?
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This article is a perfect example of why mutually respectful discourse between believers and atheists is so difficult to achieve in practice. To so willfully misrepresent your opponent is to invite antagonism and flout the conventions of profitable conversation. It’s articles like this that raise ignorance to a major league sport and is a testament to the dangers of allowing just anyone to jot down their hastily contrived thoughts on a blog.
It’s truly troubling to read this degree of drivel. The one reprieve is that it seems the majority of commenters are atheists (and even Christians) who take issue in the same way I do.
This article is destroyed here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd/2013/09/has-christianity-done-more-for-science-than-christianity-ever-could/
So, just make sure I understand your point, many discoveries in science were made by Christians (never mind the accusations of heresy and opposition they received from their own church) therefore Christianity itself promotes science and is inseparable from it, but in the case of climate change and evolution these discoveries really are heresy this time? We had better get algebra out of schools before it turns the children all Muslim then!
This is dumb. Really dumb.
You name some Christians and suddenly their work is an achievement of Christianity? Well, since we are taking one aspect of the lives of those scientists and making absurd correlations, why don’t we also remark the fact that nearly all of them were white? Yeah, I would like to see your public reacting to that.
Newton is quite an interesting case. When you read his book, you find no mentions of God, except where he had no explanation for what he was studying. Laws of mechanics? Ok, pure math. How the solar system sits in balance? “Welp, I can’t explain that, better bring up God.” It took almost a century until Laplace was able to explain what Newton couldn’t, and what [as often claimed] did Laplace had to say about God when inquired by Napoleon? “I did not need that hypothesis”. It doesn’t sound like Christianity has helped Newton in any way, except in making him comfortable with his own ignorance, which is pretty much what it suits for nowadays as well…
Other than that, there’s not much in this post except gratuitious attack against those who don’t believe in your one true “God”. So I can’t say much. I’ll just remind you that, among the great works of the Jesuits, were the destruction of Amerindian culture and the killing of many many lives. So much love in those hearts, I almost feel sorry I’m not a Christian.
LMFAO! Here is this article broken down… http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd/2013/09/has-christianity-done-more-for-science-than-christianity-ever-could/
The stupidity in this blog post is simply… overwhelming. Religion and science are two POLAR OPPOSITES and they can never coexist. They will always antagonize each other, unable to reconcile their differences.
Science is and always will be superior to religion – facts, peer-reviwed evidence and rigorous analysis will always be stronger than ancient superstition, fairy tales, imaginary “gods” and fear.
Have a nice day.
Religion and science can actually complement each other quite nicely. It’s the followers of both who make a war out of it.
This whole article is absolutely laughable.
I won’t go into detail since every lunatic statement has already been eliminated by the author of this counter strike: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/wwjtd/2013/09/has-christianity-done-more-for-science-than-christianity-ever-could/
What an ignorant and hypocritical rant about a subject which you obviously haven’t the first idea. Atheism is not a religion. I think what you mean is secularism. Science is an endeavor that is completely removed from religion whatsoever. Also, you make wild accusations and attacks, yet you back none of it up. Keep the faith!
Actually just shut your idiotic, cesspit of a mouth. You and people like you give other people of faith a bad reputation.
You sir, are so completely lost in the head.
Remove atheism? How? Their is no atheism without God, atheists are not in a religion. How can you support the big bang and be a creationist? how can there never be something created from nothing, yet you think gawd created the world from what? playdoh?
If this isn’t a spoof blog, this is just more proof of the accelerating decline of the intelligence level in the US. Us Europeans look over at the US today in awe. Awe over how you crazy ass christian ignoramus is driving the nation into becoming a developing country. I mean, just the fact you are using a computer to blog against science – man you gotta be so totally lobotomized to miss the irony in that… xD
It is quite evident that your science education has been thoroughly deficient (or you have been an atrocious student).
Science is not against god or religion. Science has NO USE for those concepts since it is based on explaining NATURAL phenomena BASED on NATURAL causes. Therefore, there is no christian (or muslim, or buddhist, or hinduist, or atheist) science.
We should tax stupidity and we’ll run surpluses in this country in no time.
It has been a long, long time since I’ve read such diatribe & nonsense. If you’re going to teach religion in schools, then you may as well teach Grimms’ Fairy Tales as unquestionable fact. Furthermore Atheism isn’t a religion, doesn’t belong in a church, it is simply a name given to free thinking individuals who are logical & rely on factual irrefutable proof for their beliefs. You claim to be Christian, yet you openly segregate & discriminate in your article.
Dude, this is so riddled with incorrect answers to your own questions that i’m crying right now. i’m crying for our race, a race that has for years been under the crushing tyranny of christianity, where any and all scientific discovery was to be burned and the man who did the discovering was burned as well. that such an organization can put no effort to covering up its past but still incite such ignorance is baffling and proves, to me, that our race is ultimately doomed by it. enjoy your ignorance, im going to try to ignore our impending racial death and enjoy life for its own sake.
Scientists in centuries past were “christian” because that we all there was. Even if it wasn’t, sensible people have moved on to recognise that hanging on to such nonsense is neither helpful nor constructive (unless you seek to control others). Atheism is not a religion. It is state of accepting that (as much as we might like it) there is neither proof (to even start a hypothesis!) or a reason for zeuz, the god of abraham or any other man-invented person/thing or whatever at the bottom of the garden or anywhere else. It simply is not relevant, interesting or hardly worthy of discussion, except that it’s a fiction, put out as non-fiction, which confuses simple folk.
I think this is one of the scariest things I ever read. I was looking everywhere on the headers, desperately hoping this was some kind of sarcastic satire. But… it would seem… you are completely serious? There are so many incorrect assumptions and fallacies here, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. I have a headache just wrapping my brain around the fact that anyone could be this ignorant… or wanting others to “get angry” about … well, any of the jokes written here. And they are jokes. You just don’t appear to know it. TWO WORDS: “Dunning-Kruger” effect –> please look it up.
Man, you just stirred up the pseudointellectual “scientist” wannabes trying to make science into a substitute religion into a self-righteous tizzy, haven’t you? And they *study* evolution, how precious! (Gotta get a head start on all those Womyns’ Studies majors!)
Keep up the good work; these are the kind of pseudointellectual special snowflakes who need to be challenged. It’s the first time they’ve ever encountered anyone who didn’t coddle them for being “gifted”.
Oh, and I love the special snowflakes using an article by JT Eberhard, who is…not a scientist. He is, however, a guy who is buttmad over religion (or rather, Christianity speficially) because he “can’t be gay” otherwise. (In fact, most of these faux atheists base their beliefs on the emotions wrapped up in their sexual preference) And of course, a lot of real atheists have called him out on sniffing his own farts and his prejudices. (http://freethoughtblogs.com/lousycanuck/2013/08/20/dearest-jt-eberhard/ and http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/4432 for example) But hey, never let facts get in the way of pretending that ego-stroking is intellect.
When i first read this blog i thought it was a joke, then i quickly went through your other posts and realized that it’s something else, your complete lack of self-criticism(1), your utter contempt for logic(2) and your abismal ignorance about science(3) puts your work in a category for itself: if you think evil exists and is due to a disregard for truth or suffering, then you truly are the same thing that your faith says is up against.
…and this ignorant fool gets ripped apart by an Atheist in this post:
They say ignorance is bliss….must be what Matt Walsh meant by Christians being less depressed.
You are completely deluded. This post is a bunch of crap.
1302 posts and if you do the typical math that means 4 times as many people have read his blog. Not bad for an “Idiot” lol, I’ll say this, if for nothing else you atheists have been good for Matt’s wallet now please don’t forget to click the ad before you leave just to put a few more nickles in his pocket
There are many, many examples of idiots spewing inflammatory drivel and it attracting people to argue. This is no different. Just because there are a lot of posts does not mean he’s not an idiot. You could apply your same “logic” to anyone who manages to make money, regardless of actual intellect.
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Damn it…I enjoyed so much the “pro-abortion” and the “gifted basement dude” posts …then I had to keep reading and this one spoiled it all.
I am sure your readers would be delighted if you’ll craft a post about the difference between faith and spirituality on one side and the Christianity as an institution (with its tweaked scripture and rules) on the other side.
An then you may also clarify towards which side the devotion should point.
Otherwise one may consider the following phrase as an effect of smoking too strong stuff.
“Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Pascal, Descartes, Newton, Kelvin, Mendel, Boyle — all devout Christians.”
Because you’re so passionate of paragraphs and definitions , let me see if manage to show how much Christianity (as institution) “contributed” to their scientific aspirations.
1. Galileo Galilei – translation from Latin of his trial sentence
“Therefore . . . , invoking the most holy name of our Lord Jesus Christ and of His Most Glorious Mother Mary, We pronounce this Our final sentence: We pronounce, judge, and declare, that you, the said Galileo . . . have rendered yourself vehemently suspected by this Holy Office of heresy, that is, of having believed and held the doctrine (which is false and contrary to the Holy and Divine Scriptures) that the sun is the center of the world”
2. Copernicus delayed the publishing of his book “On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies” (hereafter referred to simply as Revolutions) until 1543 shortly before his death for he feared the wrath of the Church. Nevertheless he was deemed as heretic and removed from the churches burial grounds .
3.Johann (or Johannes) Kepler the “Father of Physical Astronomy” was an “unorthodox” Lutheran, he had a deep love for Christ and the inspiration and authority of Scripture. Life, however, held many trials for Kepler. His Protestant beliefs won him little favor with the Catholic church, and the Lutheran church shunned him for his sympathies with Calvinist beliefs. He was forced to relocate more than once to avoid persecution. Together with Tycho Brahe and Edmond Halley were pioneers in describing the orbits of comets and planets. The orderly laws of nature they described contradicted the Church’s belief that comets were thrown in anger from the right hand of God, or that they portended disaster and war. For over a hundred years the Church argued against them. But Halley secured the final victory by accurately predicting the return of his comet. All three would have been brought before the Inquisition had they not been Protestant
4. René Descartes is the first great philosopher of the modern era . His pursuit of mathematical and scientific truth soon led to a profound rejection of the scholastic tradition in which he had been educated. Fearing the condemnation of the church, however, Descartes was rightly cautious about publicly expressing the full measure of his radical views. Throughout his life and afterwards his work was condemned by the Catholic Church, and was officially prohibited in 1663
5. Blaise Pascal – I’ll have to bow on his paragraph as he indeed was a genuine devoted Christian “scientist” in all aspects you mentioned. Too bad he didn’t live long enough to become the villain.
6. Isaac Newton kept his true religious beliefs secret, for fear of persecution, until literally his dying day. He privately rejected his native Anglican Church at about age 30, convinced that its teachings about Christ’s divinity and the existence of a Trinity were a fraud. Only on his deathbed did he reveal his true beliefs by rejecting the Anglican sacrament (refer to the book Persecution And The Religious Life Of Isaac Newton)
7. William Thomson, aka Lord Kelvin – one more point for you, a very religious mathematician and physicist let his theological conviction drive him into continuously discrediting Darwin’s evolutionism and Hutton’s age and formation of the earth theories…considered very accurate today, at least by the scientists.
8. Gregor Mendel (an 1869 monastery abbot considered the father of genetics). There was little odor of sanctity in his scientific writings or personal letters. He kept his faith and his science separate in watertight compartments-probably owing to his own lack of philosophical interest per se. But nevertheless you got it right.
9. Robert Boyle…finally an excellent example to even the balance.
“Although the Bible is not a scientific textbook, it occasionally addresses scientific topics. Like a telescope, this information extends man’s knowledge of the world around him and does not contradict the knowledge gained in the laboratory.53 When a conflict developed between science and the Bible, Boyle explained it as either a mistake in science or an incorrect interpretation of Scripture. ”
Bottom line is that for every scientist that benefited from Christianity there is at least one or more who were terribly persecuted or burned alive by the Inquisition for heresy. We cannot avoid the historical “coincidence” between the end of the European Dark Ages and the removal of the Church’s influence from life-or-death decisions.
Apparently both perspectives are moderately acceptable….as long as neither of sides don’t claim any “dudes” for them selves.
The article is full of “appeal to authority” without putting those authority figures in the context of their times. I suspect it is also tainted by (American) history taught in US schools. The environment in which scientific advances happened is always mentioned here in Germany. Another thing you fail to mention (purposefully I have to assume from adversarial language of your blog post) is that the leading scientists of their time where progressively less and less religious as we get closer to present day.
If you are really serious about the general message your blog post tries to convey then respond (as it would be done in science) to the rebutal of blog post.
I just wasted 4 minutes of my life skimming this article and its comments. I had no idea people were so ignorant. The only thing missing here is a good old fashioned stoning.
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Christianity and Science!. The interwoven study…
Even if you’re not an atheist (which I would wager you are not), the article below does a pretty decent job pointing out the logical flaws of this blog post. It is full of them.
that article utterly has no understanding of the irony and subtle sarcasm of this, original, article. That article many have linked to is a) incredibly tedious b) totally insulting to the majority of Christians and Scientists, making so many snide assumptions as to who “we” [I am Christian (Methodist), have been all my life and my immediate family includes PhD’d scientists who are 1) dedicated Methodist 2) married to a Catholic 3) pantheist pagan] are that I left the article half read to wallow in its contempt.
I read the original again and clearly I read differently from most of the atheist and anti-atheists in these threads. With a huge assumption about Americans, learn to read irony and subtle sarcasm please; taking all things literally can be an insidious worm.
Well said Matt! Evolutionary theory is so vacuous and so devoid of logic, I find it hard to believe that otherwise intelliigent individuals give it more than a passing glance.
Vacuous is a big word for a doctor who doesn’t understand that the Scientific Method is based in logic, and that Evolutionary Theory is supported by the Scientific Method across the spectrum of many disciplines of Science.
It is quite apparent that people like yourself have never given it anything more than a passing glance.
You must be an Intelligent Design proponent(?) the thing that is the most (insert vacuous here for proper usage) assemblage of non-scientific drivel that has never succeeded in achieving a single argument that has countered Evolution.
Of course, if you think you have the scientific understanding to form such an argument, PLEASE, by all means, step up and claim your Nobel prize!
Except for the unfortunate misspelling of the word “intelligent” in my post, I stand by my statement. Also, I am not a medical doctor and as such should have rendered the proper protocol, Scott R. Forrest, PhD. I apologize for that.
My background is micro and nano systems engineering and I teach mathematics and statistics, so I tend to look at things through the lens of mathematics and probability. If, for example, you examine the odds of assembling a gene capable of creating a single medium sized protein, by random processes alone, you come up with something like 10 to the 600th power, a number completely beyond our comprehension! To put that number in perspective, the total number of stars in the visible universe is estimated to be only 10 to the 22nd power! Since there are 20,000 to 100,000 different kinds of proteins in a single human cell and about 100 trillion cells in an average human body, the probabilities involved are, no pun intended, simply astronomical. Not to mention how many times these kinds of probabilities have to play out to get from a single celled organism to something as complex as a human being through random evolutionary processes. Looking at the big picture from a strictly mathematical perspective, these kinds of probabilities illustrate the staggering obstacle that evolution has to overcome to be viable as a theory.
I may not have it all figured out, but as a critical thinking individual, I have to eliminate current evolutionary theory as even a remote possibility. Logic demands that I look elsewhere for the answers to the origin of man. And that would be true whether I believed in intelligent design or not.
Thank you Scott! I appreciate your logical point of view.
I think the problem with probabilities and statistics is they change so much depending on the position you are viewing them from.
Genomes contain ALL of the missing fossil records. The makings of everything that has ever lived is contained in the cumulative genomes of everything alive today. Every day there are common gene sequences being discovered, stretching hundreds of letters long found in drastically distant species. I’ll use “histone 4” a an example: Cows and Peas both contain this sequence of 306 letters. The likelihood of this very same sequence assembling twice independently is also ‘astronomical’,that it actually indicates a common ancestor of the two living entities, ‘possibly’ going back 700 million years ago. As we look at species of closer order or genus, we see the number of these commonly occurring gene sequences more and more “frequently” the closer in relation the species are to each other. This is an absolute pattern showing an absolute relationship, there is NO question and there is NO disagreement across Scientific disciplines. When something unexpected shows up, as in a new species or one previously thought extinct, it doesn’t throw Evolution into a tail-spin, it merely gives us an ever-so slightly altered version of what they tree of life looks like.
Hmm, guess the Designer/Programmer of life reused code in the life forms He created and incorporated more of these commonly occurring gene sequences in creatures with analogous forms and functions. Not surprising. Oh, and be careful using terms like ALL SCIENTISTS, ABSOLUTE AGREEMENT, NO, NONE, NEVER. They close the door (and the mind) to a logical discussion, let alone a scientific one.
I was being very careful in my use of terms. I didn’t say there were no scientists who disagreed, I said, “…there is NO disagreement across Scientific disciplines”, which there is not. The consensus is pretty much unanymous across disciplines. I could qualify the prior phrase as, “there is NO [legitimate] question…”
Those frequently occurring gene sequences that increase in numbers and in frequency also happens to fit perfectly into the timelines presented in the strata.
Sure you could go on and on with saying “god did it” …”god did it” …”god did it” just because you will occassionally run into a question science hasn’t been able to answer yet, but the problem is, just because those questions exist does not automatically grant the luxury of making up false answers to creationists/I.D.ers, who have yet to make a single valid argument that holds up to real scientific scrutiny.
Like I mentioned earlier on, if you think you have such an argument, or know someone who does, PLEASE, by all means, step up and claim your Nobel Prize!
“If, for example, you examine the odds of assembling a gene capable of creating a single medium sized protein, by random processes alone, you come up with something like 10 to the 600th power, a number completely beyond our comprehension! … these kinds of probabilities illustrate the staggering obstacle that evolution has to overcome to be viable as a theory.”
Statements like this have three problems associated with them.
Firstly, they’re akin to a lottery player who claims that the odds of the lottery organisation picking one specific set of numbers are so miniscule that the lottery must have been rigged.
Post hoc determination of the odds of a specific thing happening are related to the odds of *something* happening only by, often hopelessly flawed, implication. The odds of a specific set of numbers winning a given lottery in any given week may be one in 14 million or so; but the odds of at least one ticket, somewhere, having the set of winning numbers quickly approaches 1:1 if there are enough people willing to buy lottery tickets.
Secondly, they fail to recognise where the boundaries of scientific disciplines lie. Evolutionary Theory deals with changes in the characteristics of populations over time due to natural selection and variations in allele frequencies. Evolutionary Theory categorically does *not* deal with how living material, or the components thereof, may have arisen from simpler origins.
Thirdly, such statements – not uncommonly amongst creationist attempts to refute abiogenetic hypotheses – presume a scenario whereby a gene is spontaneously assembled from an assortment of chemical elements or simple molecules.
This is the more serious error, for one simple reason: No serious contemporary biologist believes that genes spontaneously appear from nonliving chemicals. As such, the observation is at best irrelevant; and further, to claim that it poses a problem for evolutionary Theory that something no-one believes happened didn’t happen is at best misguided.
So why would our revered “doctor” make such a claim? It serves no purpose to say “the odds against something no serious biologist believes happened is staggeringly huge”. It’s clearly wrong to say that because the odds are against, this poses a problem for a Theory that is well-attested by multiple strands of evidence, to the point where if one is being honest and open about looking at the science and leaves silly idolatrous preconceptions at the door, it would be as perverse to deny evolutionary Theory as it is to deny the Theory of Relativity, or the Standard Model, or plate tectonics, or germ theory, and which is in no way whatsoever threatened by any silly statements about the colossal odds against things happening that no-one believes happened anyway, and is in any event unrelated to whether evolutionary Theory is itself true.
As for the question of whether evolution is “viable as a theory”, the mountain of evidence in support of it combined with its practical applicability – as has already been stated, Theodosius Dobzhansky is famously quoted as saying that nothing in biology makes sense except in light of it – testifies not only to its “viability” but to its essential truth – to the point that truths can be said to exist in science – that underpins and explains just about everything we observe about living things in nature, past and present. No competing scientific hypothesis even comes close to explaining biological diversity as well as evolutionary Theory does. No amount of silly straw-man arguments have any bearing on that. The fact that too many creationists appear to be wilfully blind everything that’s happened in biology since Watson and Crick, save what they can quote-mine and distort, does not alter the uncomfortable reality that creationists are standing on sand-castles, and the tide isn’t ever going to stop coming in.
I’ll be charitable and assume that the good doctor has been misinformed and, whilst his position may be honest, he hasn’t really thought it through properly and hasn’t done his research. Which is forgivable, since his doctorate is in an unrelated field, though perhaps he would be well advised to pause and consider before holding forth on matters outside his area of expertise by way of shockingly poor, old and discredited young-Earth creationist arguments.
The only other credible alternative is that he’s deliberately out to mislead people, and I prefer to give people the benefit of the doubt.
Yes, thank Christians for Science! in your face atheists! you too Muslims! as if Hindus!
Also not pointed out by Matt Walsh (but in-your-face-obvious): science was created by men! get back in the kitchen women! we have no need for your kind.
Also not pointed out (again, as obvious as the nose on your face): science was created by whites! dark skinned people can go back to living in caves, or the jungle, or the desert, or where ever you came from.
Wake up people, what we need MORE of in the classroom is Christian-white-male centered learning, it’s been ignored for far too long.
(The logic of Matt’s argument applies to Christians, men, and whites equally well)
You take circumstance and twist it to adapt to your perverse world-view:
It’s not only Christianity that was at the center of scientific advancement, it was also what we today call western culture. Your reference to Muslims? The reasons Muslims lost their edge over the west, was their inability to keep up with the technology the west developed. And if your culture was/is in caves, jungles, or deserts, I sincerely doubt they’re contributing to science. Seems to me, once women “got out of the kitchen”, they’ve been doing just fine with science. However, outside Curie, there really weren’t many women of notoriety in the explosion of science that occurred in the 1500-1800s and early 1900s.
So it’s not coincidence, that when you look at science over the last 500 years, that it looks the way it does. You got your whites, you got your males, you got your Christians. No doubt there is a mix of all races, religions, etc. But it is dominated by WC males. So, what would you do? Have us read some fictional, politically correct fantasy about how things went down?
The only thing we need to wake up to is your emotional, racist laden squealing. You sir are one of the worst racists I can imagine: a racist accusing non-racists of being racist.
Since you apparently failed basic reading comprehension in high school, let me break it down to the elementary school level.
> You take circumstance and twist it to adapt to your perverse world-view:
No, I was taking the argument in the original post, and using EXACTLY THE SAME ARGUMENT, only substituting other characteristics those scientists had in common.
I was doing this to point out how absurd the argument is.
Only you thought I was serious.
> It’s not only Christianity that was at the center of scientific advancement, it was also what we today call western culture.
Take a deep breath and repeat after me: correlation does not imply causation… correlation does not imply causation… correlation does not imply causation.
Yes, the white, male dominated, Christian, western world was in power when society got the point where enough people had free time to discover the scientific method and use it to lay the foundation for all the sciences we have now. Nobody is denying that historical fact.
But the hubris involved to attribute scientific advancement to “Christiantiy” is appalling.
Which is why I used THE SAME LOGIC to imply that science owes more to whites, and to men.
Find another characteristic those scientists shared. Maybe something like, “science owes more to short people than you dim-witted giants” (if, say, the men were all under 6 feet tall), or “science owes more to rich people – stop dragging down society poor people” (undoubtedly those scientists were in the upper classes – as poor folks spent all their time simply surviving).
But nobody would ever think that only short people can do science, or that only rich people can do science.
> So it’s not coincidence, that when you look at science over the last 500 years, that it looks the way it does.
Nope, it’s historical fact.
But, if you’re going to use that historical fact to argue that we owe Christianity something special, then you’d better get ready to stand by the exact same argument that we owe whites just as much, and that we owe men just as much.
And, by doing so, you’re denigrating non-Christians, women, and non-whites.
I won’t bother repeating the well detailed arguments other people have pointed out in other comments, but the fact is these scientists did what they did IN SPITE OF Christianity. Christianity was actively impeding scientific progress at nearly every turn.
> The only thing we need to wake up to is your emotional, racist laden squealing. You sir are one of the worst racists I can imagine: a racist accusing non-racists of being racist.
You sir, need to learn how to understand what you read before you open your mouth. I’d be happy to recommend some basic reading comprehension courses in your area.
It’s interesting to note that you got agitated over the issue of race, yet when I repeated the same argument towards women you seem to be fine with it. Misogyny much?
And, to be clear, since you obviously need the help, I wasn’t making an argument I was believe in. I was repeating the argument Matt Walsh made, just substituting other characteristics – IN ORDER TO SHOW HOW ASININE AN ARGUMENT IT WAS.
Reblogged this on Armor of God.
Reblogged this on Clay Tablets.
Wasn’t it Albert Einstein, who was raised in the Jewish tradition but later become agnostic if I’m not mistaken (which is probably why he didn’t make it onto your list of Christianity’s greatest thinkers) who said that “Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind?”
As an educator myself, I strive to maintain a learning environment that finds the balance between respect for my students’ diverse beliefs and backgrounds and respect for rational, objective thinking based on empirical data and evidence. The only way to do that, I’ve found, is to request that everyone leave their religion hat at the door upon entering, or at the very least, keep their personal faith just that, personal. That goes for me just as much as it does for them.
What Einstein and your list of Christian geniuses (though I would leave Edison off the list myself) figured out was how not to let their faith and the church, which in many cases was sponsoring their endeavors as foot soldiers of the empire or their solitude that enabled them to work, get in the way of their pursuit of the truth by blinding or intimidating them. More than one suffered at the hands of the church to bring forth the uncomfortable and incompatible truths they discovered. Darwin was a devout Christian and clergyman, who didn’t release his theories and findings on evolution for many years because of his fear that it would be misinterpreted as heretical, much like what happened to his predecessor Galileo. Lets not forget the church’s crusade against the pagan writings of the Greeks, which only survived because so many Muslim scholars during the Golden Age of Islam set about to translating them into Arabic for their libraries, which were then discovered by Christian scholars hundreds of years later and translated from Arabic into English.
The thing about school is that we teachers provide a very specific service that students cannot find elsewhere: not at home and not at church. That service is showing them where to look to find a very specific thing, empirical data and evidence, using a very specific method, science and logic. But while we can tell them where to look, we can’t tell them what to see, necessarily. Two students may look at the same set of facts and while one may see them as proof that their is no omniscient God, the other may see just the opposite. Either way, it’s imperative that I as the teacher don’t try to steer either student toward one interpretation or the other. That’s why religion does not belong in the classroom, at least not as part of the curriculum, not because I want to police my students’ minds and souls, but because I want to do the exact opposite.
Excellent response professorlibertine, best one so far. I do differ as to religion on the classroom (being British I am free of the separation fanaticism that some Americans get into); not the science labs of schools, but discussion and learning about all the religions and options out there in the world, information a child may not come across in a family household, absolutely find a classroom for that! (metaphysics, philosophy, sociology … thinking! Science is a sad place without the thinking behind it – GREAT quote you started with, who ever said it)
I’d like to think it’s not the religion that’s the problem, be it Christianity or Atheism etc, it’s the people who use it to further their close minded way of thinking. There are lots of wonderful, inclusive people from all walks of faith or non-faith. Let’s stop attacking each other’s belief system and just deal with the fact that we are all flawed in some way or another. Let’s focus on finding common ground instead.
I accept the science behind evolution. I’ve studied it in-depth enough to know that the evidence is overwhelming.
That said, religion and religious people have progressed science WAY more than athiests have. Evolutionary biology is a small piece of what science encompasses.
To be honest, the only people I care to have learning about evolutionary biology are evolutionary biologists.
I’d much rather have my kids learning about computer science and programming at school. If they want to learn about evolution they can wikipedia it or by a book to read on their free time.
Learning about evolution is not important.
Yes, heaven forbid our children learn more than one or two things in school. After all, there’s only so much once can learn, right? Right?
To be fair, even though I believe in evolution, I don’t want to have to pay for your children or mine to learn about evolution. It’s so unimportant to making someone productive and valuable to the economy. It’s a vestigial topic.
If you can convince me that believing God created everything will somehow detract from your happiness, well-being, or productivity as an individual, I will start petitioning for evolution being taught.
So far I don’t see the evidence. As someone who values evidence, I need that.
That is literally one of the most anti-intellectual things I have ever heard in my life. You should be ashamed of yourself.
Even aside from apparently viewing the purpose of education as merely churning out more pawns for the economy, knowing the truth of such topics is worthwhile. Understanding evolution is important in many areas, such as medicine, agriculture, and zoology. It is not even remotely a vestigial topic.
Finally, I want to know the truth. Evolution has overwhelming evidence, God creating everything does not. It would affect my happiness and well-being if I did not have at least a basic understanding of how I came to be on this Earth. I could not have that without understanding evolution.
Explain how knowing you evolved brings meaning and purpose to your life.
People who believe in creation believe they know where they came from. They don’t spend their days in confusion at how everything is as it is.
Take 100 creationists and 100 evolutionists. Set all other variables the same. Income, education, kids, ect.
The data shows the creationists report higher levels of fullfillment and satisfaction with life.
I think you underestimate our religious counterparts.
Lastly, I believe in freedom above all else. How dare I attempt to demand what others and their children are to learn.
How quickly my fellow athiests leave one god only to create another they call Government.
It brings purpose to my life specifically because I place no value on the supposed virtue of faith. Therefore, knowing that I have searched for the truth of my existence so far as it can be shown by evidence satisfies my inherent desire for such knowledge. Most human beings have a desire to understand their existence.
A lot of people who believe in creation are confused as to how everything came to be, because you don’t have to study evolution to notice problems with it. You are mistaken there. I know this because I once believed in creationism, and found flaws in it prior to ever being educated in regards to the theory of evolution. I am certain that I am far from alone in that, regardless of whether or not all of find those problems abandon religion. It is worth noting that many Christians believe in evolution anyways, so the theory is not exclusive to atheists.
It does not particularly matter to me if people who believe in religion are happier on the whole or not. It seems to me that there are plenty of explanations as to why that would be, such as those people being delusional and clinging to a religion that satisfies their psychological issues in life. If everyone lived their lives in reality and not with the idea of an afterlife with streets of gold, perhaps their would be fewer problems that they feel the need to escape from with such ideas.
There is no such thing as absolute freedom, and the idea that I somehow worship the government is preposterous. However, I do believe that there should be standards in basic education. So, I suppose I do dare to demand that others have their children learn a few things. How dare I not want to be surrounded by people that lack even a basic understanding about the world around us, when those people hold as much power to elect officials and sway opinions as those who took the trouble to open a book? That is just ridiculous of me. /sarcasm
You work tirelessly to create a society that lacks one of the central components to evolution and survival; diversity.
Standardized tests and Government mandates are anti-diversity and therefore I find them anti-evolution.
Government is also anti-science. As they wish to turn a million laboratories into one.
I don’t work tirelessly for any one thing, and certainly not a lack of diversity. On the contrary, a society that is informed about the basic world around them is a society that can then have even greater potential and means to express their diverse opinions. Like I said before, even with the example of evolution, people can be educated about it and retain their religion. It seems like your version of diversity is having people who are ignorant and then another group that is educated. There is no reason why you should make the assumption that having a basic education about the world would lead to less actual diversity. That is ridiculous, because that is not what diversity stems from. We all have different backgrounds and personalities that contribute to our views of the world, and education enables our expression of these, not inhibits them.
Standardized tests and government mandates can be done many ways, some of which do not work well in reality and some of which do not. There is no point in addressing such a general thing, except to say that there is literally no way that every conceivable standardized test and government mandate must be anti-diversity.
Likewise, there is no reason to assume that government is also anti-science. Some governments invest in science more than others, but the government currently invests via grants in many, many laboratories across the world.
You clearly do not know what you are talking about, and I am sorry that someone who claims to appreciate evidence so much is also so thoroughly ignorant.
My wife’s been an evolutionary biologist and biology teacher for twenty years.
I’ve been in general education for five.
We’ve had eight foster kids that were/are wards of the state.
Finally, I started three companies that employ 15 people and paid $876, 389.21 in taxes last year.
Yep, I know nothing about Government or Economics.
Fascinating statistics. Forgive me though for knowing that even people with certain experiences under their belts can be incredibly wrong about things. Your (and your wife’s, because her being an evolutionary biologist does not make you one) experiences do not change any of the flawed logic that you have espoused here.
Typo above. Standardized tests and government mandates can be done many ways, some of which work well in reality and some of which do not.*
No worries. Everyone has typos. Sometimes we gotta drive with one hand and type with the other while keeping eyes on the road. Or a baby is hanging on an arm.
After reading these responses, I’m not sure what point you are trying to make. I think Jacob is correct in that the purpose of public education is to advance the interests of the state, specifically to produce a productive workforce. Previously governments put more emphasis on agricultural education, when the workforce was more agrarian. Now technological education is more important and a corresponding emphasis should be made. I don’t see why the government needs to spends billions annually on building the public’s “greater potential and means to express their diverse opinions.” Insane asylums and blogs are great examples of where one could do that. Also, you’ve called out Jacob as not being an evolutionary biologist and for his logical flaws. What is your education and career background?
Second, I fail to see why Creationists are confused about where they come from. Their (Young Earth Creationists’) theory is more set in stone and complete than followers of evolution via natural selection, which is constantly being revised.
Third, I don’t know why the specific mechanisms of evolution are so vital to primary education. 7% of Detroit Public School 8th grade school students can read at a proficient level. Is the answer more evolution teaching? Only 30% of New York City 3rd-8th grade students are proficient at math. Not enough Darwin? Primary education should cover the basics, traditionally reading, writing and arithmetic. There seems to be little success on this front these days and the battle of the teaching of evolution through natural selection is quite tangential.
Fourth, I don’t understand your explanation of why evolution brings meaning to your life. “It brings purpose to my life specifically because I place no value on the supposed virtue of faith. Therefore, knowing that I have searched for the truth of my existence so far as it can be shown by evidence satisfies my inherent desire for such knowledge. Most human beings have a desire to understand their existence.” This is one giant non-sequitur. Saying it brings value because you don’t value faith is like saying “I like football because I hate tennis.” Also, your “most human beings have a desire…” argument can easily be redirected towards “to believe in God”, ” to get revenge”, “to be lazy”, and all sorts of other behaviors you may or may not find to be virtuous. David Hume made a great observation that one cannot derive an “ought” from an “is”, and therefore “because most humans think so” is not a valid reason and you are back to “evolution brings meaning to my life just because it does.”
Finally, while I certainly don’t deny species have changed over the ages, how much does that actually mean to my daily life? My father was an engineer who spent much of his career producing titanium dioxide. I would venture that fewer than 10% of the general public has ever heard of this substance, but its utilization has probably contributed far more to the advancement of science and the improvement of our daily lives than a full current understanding of evolution via natural selection. Comparatively, how much time should we spend teaching 9th graders about titanium dioxide vs. evolution via natural selection?
The overall point is simply that evolution is worth teaching in schools. I do not see how that is difficult to comprehend. Although since several of your responses simply concern my responses to Jacob taken out of the specific context in which they were made, perhaps it is not hard to see after all.
First, I do not disagree that the general purpose of education is to further a productive workforce. I never said otherwise. However, when I said that education provides greater potential and means for people to express their diversity, I do not simply mean that they can become better at debating or blogging. This extends to the workforce. Most of our progress does not come from programs designed to take any given individual and place them in the a certain specific job slot. Our progress comes from giving people the basic knowledge to know what they want to pursue and the means to pursue it. Through this, we get original ideas and concepts and new minds expanding our knowledge in ways that would not have happened (or would have taken longer to happen) if we had not educated them in diverse subjects. The fact of the matter is that most subjects contribute to our economy in significant ways, it just isn’t equally as obvious for all of them. A lot of our technological advances that you see on a daily basis, that have created many jobs, came from scientific advances that were meant for another purpose, but ended up having several other as well. The point is that education does not need to be a linear type of thing that takes people from point A to point B. Education itself needs to be diverse, because time and time again we have shown that we can surprise ourselves if given the means to do so.
Side note, I was not the one that turned this into a comparison between statistics. I did not care what Jacob’s background was, it was he that introduced this into the conversation. My career and interests lie in the fields of immunology and epidemiology, as does my graduate education. Unless you want to talk about something highly specific though that only experts really have any business discussing, I don’t really see the point in throwing around such things. This has been a pretty general conversation.
Second, change is a good thing in science. A theory should not be set in stone, as we are constantly finding out new information. The evolutionary theory has overwhelming evidence for it, and all new evidence simply modifies the theory as necessary. It is not as if anything has turned it on it’s head (although even if that should happen, if the evidence is strong, that would be a good, welcomed thing). Creationist arguments is laughable in comparison, in terms of evidence, quite frankly. Although I do not see why this matters. As I have said multiple times now, one can believe in both creation and evolution. They are not necessarily at odds unless an individual decides that they are
Third, I did not state how specifically evolution should be taught. It should be taught at a general level, in my opinion, so that students can have a basic understanding of it. This is because, like I have said, it is important to several fields. I never suggested that it was the answer to those problems that you named, so really you’re being somewhat condescending for no reason whatsoever. More than one subject can and should be taught. The subject of fixing education is a very large one that is a topic of its own. Just because I say that I think basic evolutionary theory should be taught does not mean that I am saying that if it were taught (which it already is), it would suddenly fix the many issues of the educational system.
Fourth, my explanation is only mine and mine alone, because he asked me about me, specifically. I don’t necessarily expect you to understand it, because you’re not me. I could ask you why you like virtually anything you like, but at the end of the day I probably won’t get it, because I don’t value the same things as you. There is literally no point in arguing with me about a personal preference. The majority of this conversation should focus on the usefulness of evolutionary theory, because that was the point. How much evolution means to me in a personal sense has no bearing. I’m not sure why Jacob asked it, and I’m even less sure why you want to argue with me about it. You most certainly could redirect my statements to anything, including “to believe in God,” because, like I said, it only makes sense in terms of what I value. I value evidence, not faith. Evolution has a great deal of evidence, so I value it in my life. If you do not value evidence, or you fail to comprehend the evidence behind evolution, or you don’t know it, or even if you just disagree with it, you would obviously find my personal reasons not convincing. So what?
Finally, evolutionary theory has contributed a great deal to many people’s lives. If you have ever, do, or plan to use medicine or crops, I’d wager it has already been of great use to you, because the people in those fields understood evolution, which enabled them to make those things, and enables others to improve those fields. Those are two examples. Again, you are talking about one substance versus an entire (and rather important) scientific theory. How about you teach people chemistry and evolution to the point where they could decide if they wanted to further themselves in careers that involve either one or both? So again, what I am talking about is a basic understanding. To teach people full evolutionary theory would take quite a bit of time. It is what one would consider specialized knowledge for a specific career. Just like working with specifically titanium oxide and knowing everything about it would be specifically for a career with titanium oxide. Take as much time is necessary to teach people the basics so that they are enabled to choose their direction and career paths. I suspect that varies depending on the subject. Chemistry is a very large field, so that takes a good bit of time. Evolution is part of biology, so less than an entire field would take to cover the basics of it.
Jacob stated “[Evolution is] so unimportant to making someone productive and valuable to the economy…” Your response was “Even aside from apparently viewing the purpose of education as merely churning out more pawns for the economy…” If you now agree that the state’s chief interest in providing a free public education is to provide productive members to the workforce, then I withdraw my comment.
“My career and interests lie in the fields of immunology and epidemiology, as does my graduate education.” Where are you specifically in these career plans? I ask only because my level of questioning differs from someone about to obtain a PhD and a freshman in high school with career aspirations. You also called out Jacob on this specifically (“and your wife’s [experiences], because her being an evolutionary biologist does not make you one”).
“Second, change is a good thing in science.” I’m not denying this. You stated “A lot of people who believe in creation are confused as to how everything came to be…” I don’t find this to be the case with the Young Earth Creationists I have known in my life, not in the least. They are more apparently confident in their beliefs than people holding other views, in my experience. Young Earth Creations are very clear in their belief as to how everything came to be.
“Fourth, my explanation is only mine and mine alone, because he asked me about me, specifically…So what?” You hold that evolution was so important that it should be taught in public schools. One of the reasons you gave for why it should be was “[The lack of evolution education] would affect my happiness and well-being if I did not have at least a basic understanding of how I came to be on this Earth.” I’m not sure if you meant that federal policy should be dictated by how you subjectively felt about the issue or how it affected the happiness and well-being of the population in general.
“If you have ever, do, or plan to use medicine or crops…” I plan on using both crops and medicine. Please explain to me in detail how evolution by natural selection contributed to either of them. In other words, state “But for a modern understanding of the theory of evolution via natural selection, we would not have _____.” I’m not trying to be demeaning, I have just never heard anyone say what we have invented due to Darwinian evolution that affects my daily life. I’m truly curious. Did we not eat crops before Darwin? Was there no medicine? Vaccines?
“How about you teach people chemistry and evolution to the point where they could decide if they wanted to further themselves in careers that involve either one or both?” I think evolution is part of the field of biology, so we should teach people about “chemistry and biology” instead of “chemistry and evolution”. I agree with this. If we taught biology in schools and someone said, “Man, I really want to learn more about that”, then that person could go to a university and learn about Darwinian evolution and Lamarckian evolution and Neo-Darwinian Synthesis and Stephen Jay Gould’s disagreements with Richard Dawkins over the importance of gene selection. For the 99% of high school students who will not pursue a biology degree, focus more on basic reading, writing and arithmetic.
“If you now agree that the state’s chief interest in providing a free public education is to provide productive members to the workforce, then I withdraw my comment.”
I never disagreed that it was the state’s chief interest really, it is just my personal opinion that education is worth more than that. It is entirely possible that I did not manage to clarify that.
“Where are you specifically in these career plans?” Not career plans, career and interests. I’m an immunologist. I focus on infectious disease.
“I don’t find this to be the case with the Young Earth Creationists I have known in my life, not in the least.” I misunderstood what exactly you were trying to say. I have met both types of creationists. Some are very firm in their beliefs, to an almost scary degree. Some were raised to believe it or believe it for other reasons, and have many doubts. Perhaps we just have experienced different things. I lived in a very religious area for most of my life, so I met a lot of creationists, and my overall impression was that there was a significant percentage that felt doubts.
“I’m not sure if you meant that federal policy should be dictated by how you subjectively felt about the issue or how it affected the happiness and well-being of the population in general.” Neither, actually. I was essentially asked to address how knowing basic evolutionary theory improved my happiness. I gave my subjective opinion of its worth to me. I would never dictate policy based on my personal happiness (although I think that ultimately everything is subjective, just to different degrees, but that is another thing entirely). I also can’t possibly claim to know that evolution would somehow directly make the population happier.
“Please explain to me in detail how evolution by natural selection contributed to either of them.” I do not intend to offend you either, but I have found that you can’t substitute what people learn over years for a paragraph, however thorough it is. Quite frankly, you will have to look these things up. One example I can give though is that in medicine, much of it in relation to infectious disease depends on understanding evolution, because studying the evolution of pathogens help us develop better treatments for them, particularly in a timely manner (because they are constantly changing). In medicine, it also helps our understanding of how certain genetic diseases came to be. Understanding such things helps provide us insight in how to treat. In agriculture, knowledge of evolution is important in relation to insect populations and biotechnology. Possibly other ways, but that is not my field of expertise. If you want details and specifics, these general examples should provide you with good places to start in your search.
“I agree with this. If we taught biology in schools and someone said, “Man, I really want to learn more about that”, then that person could go to a university and learn about Darwinian evolution and Lamarckian evolution and Neo-Darwinian Synthesis and Stephen Jay Gould’s disagreements with Richard Dawkins over the importance of gene selection. For the 99% of high school students who will not pursue a biology degree, focus more on basic reading, writing and arithmetic.” I have no arguments here. I just want evolution taught as a part of biology, basics covered, and then the classes can move right along. That’s about it.
“I’m an immunologist.” Do you have a PhD or an MD? I’m curious. I mentioned earlier that my father worked as an engineer producing titanium dioxide. You repeatedly referred to it as “titanium oxide”. I would not otherwise think twice about it, but considering titanium dioxide has been linked to autoimmune disorders, I think you would have heard of it. Maybe that is not your specific area of expertise, but if I was speaking to someone claiming to be a lawyer and that person didn’t know what a warrant was, I would not take much comfort in the claim that he doesn’t practice criminal law.
“Quite frankly, you will have to look these things up.” You can only cite a general influence? This is why I am highly skeptical of the utility of evolution via natural selection and the hysteria when someone suggests it doesn’t need to be taught to high school students. If I had a PhD in medieval Japanese history and demanded to make its teaching mandatory to adolescent children, I would hope to have a better reason why other than “because…look it up yourself” or “because it influences everything else.” Evolution only means things change (which is why I keep referring to “evolution via natural selection”). It could easily be taught that “things change because God changes them”. If it was taught that God changed things rather than natural selection, what medical or crop-related innovation would not have occurred? You said “much of [medicine] in relation to infectious disease depends on understanding evolution…” Your field is immunology, if you can’t give me a specific example, who can?
PhD. I thought about medical school, to the point where I did an internship at the infectious disease department of the hospital near where I went to university, but I found that I greatly preferred research settings to interacting with patients. The medical students that were also doing internships also described some experiences that just didn’t really make it seem worth it to me. Sorry, I read that wrong. I know more than the general public about autoimmune disorders, but I don’t remember very specific information about many of them. Infectious disease has always been my passion, since I was five. I took courses that covered autoimmune diseases, obviously, but I have not exactly spent time reviewing them since. It’s possible it was mentioned and I just don’t remember. Sorry.
“You can only cite a general influence?” It is not that I could not go into great detail about all manner of things related to the topic, it is just that I have talked to people on the internet many times about things related to immunology. They always say, “Give me details. Tell me why. Tell me how.” Etc, etc. Every single time it has turned out to be a huge waste of my time. That is why when I get into arguments now and something like that happens to come up, I tell people to do their own research. Not only because of that, but because the information is readily available. So, I figure, if someone is really truly interested in immunology, and not baiting me, they will take their time and go look into it. That’s why I even gave you examples to start searching with. A good, very specific example to look into would be trypanosoma. It, in its three major species, is a huge problem in Africa. Drug companies do not want to make good drugs for it because the main population affected will not generate profit, so the research falls to educational labs. One of the main issues with it is that it has evolved the means to constantly change the proteins that it expresses to antibodies, because it lives outside the cell, to avoid exciting an immune response (this is one of the ways it avoids immune response at least). Understanding how it evolved this mechanism, how it works (because it does not behave in tests how you would expect, in comparison with similar mechanisms in other organisms), as well as how it has managed to adapt so successfully to two completely different hosts, would be or great use in how to develop a safer and cheaper treatment. Evolution is, like you say, a pretty basic concept, but evolution also describes the types of things that things evolve in response to and how those things might evolve. If it were taught that a god was changing things, you would have no basis for experimenting with such aspects. There would be no way to design an experiment if a supernatural force was just randomly shifting things around. Anyways, I’ve given you basic examples. I do not understand why it is unreasonable to ask someone who claims to be interested in something to do their own research. I’ve been a TA, I’ve taught classes, etc. I don’t even particularly like teaching even in formalized settings like that. I like it even less on the internet when experience has taught me that it is just going to leave me frustrated. I hope that you can at least see where I am coming from with that, even if your personal experiences turned out better than mine.
“If it were taught that a god was changing things, you would have no basis for experimenting with such aspects.”
That’s not true. You know it. That’s saying I can’t learn anything about a computer because it was designed by someone.
Next question please.
Um, well I think that’s true, which is why I said it.
You could make a good case for taking everything about evolutionary theory and then saying, “All of this, but God did it.” That would functionally have the same effect. That’s not how I took what he said, but I could have taken it the wrong way. What I meant was that if you don’t have the same ideas of what to expect and how changes occur that evolutionary theory provides, then you would not have that to go off of when experimenting. Which is true. So, like I said at the beginning of the paragraph, if you take everything about evolution, and not just saying God decides to change things sometimes, then that would be the same functionally.
But it is not as if I would promote teaching a religious reason in schools across a diverse nation even if you could come up with a way to make it functionally the same in this one instance, although that is another topic in and of itself.
Me saying the Universe created itself does not hinder me from figuring out how the Universe did it. The same is true with God and people of faith. They know God created everything. They don’t know how he did it. But they do know they can keep working towards those answers. There’s lots of Astronomers and Biologists that believe in God and believe that God made them out of star dust and that God created man out of the sands of the Earth over a long period of time.
Have you read the Bible or are you spouting out the words of drug addicted pastors?
Judging Christians today off of their writings from over 2000 years ago is nonsense. I certainly don’t want people judging the validity of science based on the mistakes it had in the past. If you want to know who Christians are, you will need to approach a family of them. The Bible offers little clues. If you think the Westboro Baptist Church is an accurate description of Christians, you are wrong and are simply leaning on them for support of your beliefs. I guess it’s fine, it’s just not very scientific.
“Me saying the Universe created itself does not hinder me from figuring out how the Universe did it. The same is true with God and people of faith. They know God created everything. They don’t know how he did it. But they do know they can keep working towards those answers. There’s lots of Astronomers and Biologists that believe in God and believe that God made them out of star dust and that God created man out of the sands of the Earth over a long period of time.”
-I don’t disagree. I’m not sure if one or both of us is misunderstanding what the other is saying overall in regards to this. I just don’t think that evolution is something that religious people don’t believe in, because there are a lot of them that do. It doesn’t rely on a belief in either the universe creating itself or a god creating it to understand.
“Have you read the Bible or are you spouting out the words of drug addicted pastors?”
-I’ve read it a few times. I don’t actually know any drug addicted pastors, most of them are decent people (in my experience).
“Judging Christians today off of their writings from over 2000 years ago is nonsense. I certainly don’t want people judging the validity of science based on the mistakes it had in the past. If you want to know who Christians are, you will need to approach a family of them. The Bible offers little clues. If you think the Westboro Baptist Church is an accurate description of Christians, you are wrong and are simply leaning on them for support of your beliefs. I guess it’s fine, it’s just not very scientific.”
-I know a lot of Christians. I don’t think that Westboro is representative of most Christians. Generally speaking, I prefer to judge beliefs rather than people anyways. In any case, I really have no idea where all of this is coming from.
“PhD.” You’ll have to forgive me, but my experience had left me with the same amount of skepticism you seem to have. I know of two people with whom I went to high school and became militant “pro-science” atheists. One went to JUCO and failed to graduate, the other went to a 4 year state school and failed to graduate. I remember one being a sub-par student with a mild case of social adjustment disorder and the other being an average student at best, but since their conversions, both became militant advocates of science.
“So, I figure, if someone is really truly interested in immunology, and not baiting me…” I am not trying to bait you in the least. I have never heard of the trypanosoma virus, germ, whatever. My point is whether a knowledge of evolution THROUGH NATURAL SELECTION is necessary to prevent this disease, if it is preventable. Is it preventable? If so, how did the natural selection aspect of this disease prevent it? If a knowledge of natural selection did not ameliorate the disease, why is it relevant? If you discount or eliminate the supernatural through a material reductionist or Popperian dogma, how can you discount the possibility of a materialist non-natural selection causation? In other words, if the changes to the virus, bacteria, etc was caused by something other than natural selection, would your efforts to combat it vary to any degree? The example I have always been given is that the flu vaccine varies every year because the virus it is intended to prevent evolves every year. Whether the influenza virus changes due to natural selection or some other mechanism (supernatural or natural) impacts the affect of the change very little. The simple statement that “a virus changes” tells us very little. It is not unlike a criminologist telling a law enforcement agency that a suspect is “on the run.” Great, but where is he running? If the information gleaned is non-predictive, why is it useful?
I do think knowledge of evolution is valuable. Just not valuable enough to warrant the Federal Government demand that all children be taught it.
It’s not like reading. Reading you use every day to navigate and communicate in the world. It’s not like math. Math helps you think critically and keeps you from getting swindled.
I’ve yet to stumble upon an occasion where knowing about evolution has gotten me through or even helped my day.
Should people learn about evolution on their own dime and time? Perhaps. There’s plenty of books and internet sites for them to do so.
“I do think knowledge of evolution is valuable. Just not valuable enough to warrant the Federal Government demand that all children be taught it.
It’s not like reading. Reading you use every day to navigate and communicate in the world. It’s not like math. Math helps you think critically and keeps you from getting swindled.
I’ve yet to stumble upon an occasion where knowing about evolution has gotten me through or even helped my day.
Should people learn about evolution on their own dime and time? Perhaps. There’s plenty of books and internet sites for them to do so.”
-I agree with everything said here, except I think it’s important enough that basic evolutionary theory be taught as part of a biology course, probably in high school. People have different passions in life, so some will find evolution interesting, and perhaps later on useful in their careers. Those people can make a point to go educate themselves further on it. But at least they would have the basic concept that, okay, things have changed over time, here is a little bit of theory on how that happens, tie it into a couple of things maybe, and then move on. That provides them with a knowledge that such a thing exists, and lets them know it’s there if they want to look into it further or work with it later in life. I don’t think that is incredibly unreasonable.
“You’ll have to forgive me, but my experience had left me with the same amount of skepticism you seem to have. I know of two people with whom I went to high school and became militant “pro-science” atheists. One went to JUCO and failed to graduate, the other went to a 4 year state school and failed to graduate. I remember one being a sub-par student with a mild case of social adjustment disorder and the other being an average student at best, but since their conversions, both became militant advocates of science.”
-I am not exactly sure what you want me to say. I’m sorry that your two high school friends are not very bright? There are a lot of atheists, just like there are a lot of religious people, that are extremely misled in their beliefs. Most people hop on the bandwagon, and the “movement” that is popular for many atheists is “science is awesome, religion sucks, ha.” I was a devout Christian for a long time. I have always been pro-science, regardless of my religious stance. That doesn’t make me anti- any other subject though. My first undergraduate degree was in religious studies. My second was in biochemistry and molecular biology. Both humanities and science are important. Other than that, I have done what I’ve done in life. I’m not about to contact the educational institutions I’ve gone to and have them forward you my transcripts. Take it or leave it.
“I am not trying to bait you in the least. I have never heard of the trypanosoma virus, germ, whatever. My point is whether a knowledge of evolution THROUGH NATURAL SELECTION is necessary to prevent this disease, if it is preventable. Is it preventable? If so, how did the natural selection aspect of this disease prevent it? If a knowledge of natural selection did not ameliorate the disease, why is it relevant? If you discount or eliminate the supernatural through a material reductionist or Popperian dogma, how can you discount the possibility of a materialist non-natural selection causation? In other words, if the changes to the virus, bacteria, etc was caused by something other than natural selection, would your efforts to combat it vary to any degree? The example I have always been given is that the flu vaccine varies every year because the virus it is intended to prevent evolves every year. Whether the influenza virus changes due to natural selection or some other mechanism (supernatural or natural) impacts the affect of the change very little. The simple statement that “a virus changes” tells us very little. It is not unlike a criminologist telling a law enforcement agency that a suspect is ‘on the run.’ Great, but where is he running? If the information gleaned is non-predictive, why is it useful?”
-Knowledge of evolution through natural selection would be necessary to either prevent or to treat it, although it would be very different depending on which of those you were trying to accomplish. In any case, there are other microorganisms that are similar to trypanosoma. If you understand how trypanosoma manages to evolve the way it does, and other microorganisms do not (or do in different ways), you can try to slow or stop its evolution to resist the immune system or treatments. The same basic idea is true for the influenza virus, obviously it would just be different because it is a virus, there are many, many strains of it, and the way it operates is different. Like I said above, you can take evolutionary theory, stick God did it in front of it, and it would functionally be the same. But since plenty of people who believe in God accept evolution and don’t think God did it (as well as the fact that since the nation has a diverse population of many different religious stances, it is better to try and keep state schools away from religious teachings that might alienate persons of other stances), there is no reason to not just call it evolution and explain it normally, because that is the word for it. If you are going to explain it at all, the scientifically accepted terminology and explanation works. What is the importance of if you can explain it supernaturally or not, and why do you keep bringing it up when I said above that the way it works is what is important in a research setting?
“I’m not about to contact the educational institutions I’ve gone to and have them forward you my transcripts.”
That’s obviously not necessary. I’ve had “religion is wrong because evolution”-ists imply they have degrees they obviously did not. Your reference to “titanium oxide” gave me pause as to the expertise of the person with whom I am talking. That is all.
“If you are going to explain it at all, the scientifically accepted terminology and explanation works.”
I think the important part is whether it needs to be explained at all to 15 years olds, the majority of whom will have no use for it after their final. Why not teach it in an advanced placement class for those kids who may pursue biology at the next level. To everyone else, tell them there is sufficient evidence that life changes, different people have different theories why this is and just move on. I don’t know how the future cashiers, police officers, soldiers, elementary school teachers, homemakers, etc. will be negatively affected. Sure saying “God did it” is not science. However, we are not talking about a laboratory discussion between PhDs, but what brief exposure we give adolescents during their 6 hours school day, most of whom will most likely not pursue the matter further. That would eliminate 99% of the hysteria over the teaching of the subject and any charges leveled that the teachers are promoting a materialist agenda.
Finally, I still am not sure how a Darwinian view of evolution helped to cure or treat trypanosoma, or anything else for that matter. I’ve only gotten some sort of vague systemic influence from you. Maybe I would need a PhD to understand. I’m guessing Pasteur was probably not very familiar with Darwin, if at all, when he was working on his immunizations. Was his work hurt by his ignorance? If the beneficial influence of a Darwinian understanding of evolution on science can only be explained at an expert level (if at all), then why such the uproar about how primary school students must be taught it?
There’s a myth that is rampant within the athiest community that scientific and innovative progress comes from scientists.
All of history shows they’ve come from entrepreneurs and grease monkeys on the shop floor.
I mean, I really think that innovation and progress comes from everywhere. Scientists are making all sorts of progress weekly that the general public is unaware of. But there have been really significant contributions from the most unexpected places.
One of the great things about people is how much we can surprise ourselves.
A tip for other athiests,
You should downplay the relationship that your atheism has with science.
I’d prefer a nation of Christians that don’t turn their nose up at science because their sick of constantly being attacked by one single minuscule branch of it.
That would be nice, but it is unlikely that will happen anytime soon. Many people aren’t content with a simple “I don’t think there is evidence to support the existence of your god.”
Atheists should be more content with belief in God.
I disagree. I find the belief in any god ridiculous, and I don’t see why I should become content with the belief itself. However, I recognize the various reasons why people believe in gods, and I know that a certain amount of the population will continue to have such beliefs for the indefinite future. It is unlikely that any sort of activism in the name of atheism that I try to do will alter that significantly. It’s that fact that I’ve become content with.
Realistically, the same holds true for many other beliefs and facts in life. I don’t have to like that people believe things or act a certain way, but the only things I will spend any amount of effort fighting are those actions that directly harm me (or society as a whole, in some instances, if the means are available).
“Your reference to “titanium oxide” gave me pause as to the expertise of the person with whom I am talking.”
-I’m far from perfect. I didn’t read as closely as I should have, I feel appropriately silly for it.
“I think the important part is whether it needs to be explained at all to 15 years olds, the majority of whom will have no use for it after their final. Why not teach it in an advanced placement class for those kids who may pursue biology at the next level. To everyone else, tell them there is sufficient evidence that life changes, different people have different theories why this is and just move on. I don’t know how the future cashiers, police officers, soldiers, elementary school teachers, homemakers, etc. will be negatively affected.”
-Teaching it in AP Bio is actually a good idea. I would support that.
“Finally, I still am not sure how a Darwinian view of evolution helped to cure or treat trypanosoma, or anything else for that matter. I’ve only gotten some sort of vague systemic influence from you. Maybe I would need a PhD to understand. I’m guessing Pasteur was probably not very familiar with Darwin, if at all, when he was working on his immunizations. Was his work hurt by his ignorance? If the beneficial influence of a Darwinian understanding of evolution on science can only be explained at an expert level (if at all), then why such the uproar about how primary school students must be taught it?”
-Pasteur did groundbreaking work. The thing is that we know now that there are definitely ways that we can improve the way we treat diseases, and understanding evolution has become very important to the research that is going on right now. In some cases, what I described above would be very helpful in creating vaccines for pathogens that have eluded vaccine production thus far. My main point was that although a full understanding of the impact that evolution has comes at an expert level, because it often seems to be that you won’t understand fully how it is important until you fully understand what is going on in a given scenario, introducing the basic idea of evolution could be important to give people the idea to further pursue these areas. You make a good point that teaching it in an AP class for the more scientifically inclined would be better than every single student.