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Creationism vs. Evolution - A Culture Divided

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Lovers of Creation

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After three years at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, CA GTU and continued contact with friends and comrades who still attend and have since graduated...I encountered very little angst and debate concerning 'Creation vs Evolution'. On the contrary, I discovered many Jesuits, Methodists, Jews, Congregationalists, Lutherans, even Baptists deeply engaged in the world of science and ecology. They were finding ways to bring their respective Faith-communities to the terribly serious tasks of protecting the water, soil and air of our endangered planet. They were hard at work connecting ancient religious symbols and moral codes to terribly serious contemporary environmental threats. These Dominicans, Unitarians, Episcopalians, and Francisans were working together to learn the latest and best science concerning this wondrous Planet and its fragile ecosystems... and bringing thousands of years of spiritual practice to the healing, tending, and nurturing of the many wounds inflicted on this earth and her inhabitants.I didn't discover obtuse rejection of all things scientific...on the contrary, I found religious communities seeking the latest reports, studies, data concerning our misuse of water and pesticides in agriculture; our irrational production, consumption, disposal habits and lifestyles and their impact on the most vulnerable of our populations.I found theologians, ministers, sisters, priests, rabbis fascinated with the latest scientific discoveries in outer space, and hard at work trying to understand the internal mysteries of quantum physics and the sub-atomic universe.Together, starting from very different approaches, and with widely diverse tools, they are seeking ways to educate for awe and wonder at the complexities and interconnectivity of life on this Planet...illuminating the spaces of social injustice and ecological disaster...and organizing to halt such practices, and reconstruct cultural/social/political/economic life in closer allignment with what heals and nurtures all of Creation.
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I'm offended

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Stephen J. Gould and Richard Dawkins had an agreement, explained in an open open letter (unfinished at the time of Dr. Gould's death), never to debate creationists. The reason is that the creationist intent in debating biologists is to achieve a patina of respectability, to show that they are being taken seriously. They do not deserve to be taken seriously. By giving creationism a special place on this board, we are advancing the agenda of a dangerous anti-scientific lunatic fringe. No scientific or intellectual purpose is served; the question has been settled in the scientific community for decades. Such special treatment simply reinforces the impression among those less scientificly literate that there actually is some doubt that the diversity of life is the result of evolution by natural selection. If you make yourself really small, you can externalize virtually everything. Daniel Dennett, 1984
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Re: I'm offended

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I cannot argue with you. In a perfect world, I would just 'quiet' the Creationists. But then if that were the case, the world would be perfect only as applied to me.I do agree with you on everything, except that I think the debate is important...not that it will sway current Creationists, but that it will make their positions, which are weak beyond compare, visible to those not yet decided.Creationism is a fact. Right wrong or indifferent.I think you would have much to offer in this discussion, so I am sorry you will not participate.Be Well,Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.
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Re: I'm offended

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I'm not saying we shouldnt' discuss it. My original comment was that there is a perfectly good place for it in The Roundtable forum. What I object to is giving it special billing. If you make yourself really small, you can externalize virtually everything. Daniel Dennett, 1984
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Re: Lovers of Creation

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Quote:There is no dogma or absolutism among scientists; the highlight of any scientific age is finding our that the theories of the past were not an explanation of everything, for there is no such thing.I'm glad this is the case, but what is not reflected in this is your initial statement- to which I was referring- that you and those like you take a completely objective view of the issues; free of ideological, class, cultural, historical bias. It is a myth that says, "My view is free of bias, free of prejudice, free of ideologial baggage or historical limitations...I am completely neutral in the matter and want only the truth!" And, this is the Myth I applied to your statement. There are many things at work in the Laboratory beyond weights and measures and test tubes...and to say otherwise is to be either terribly naive of humanity, or disingenuous. Or, belonging to a wishful belief system that believes itself removed from the muck and grime of emotional attachment, political struggle, existential hope and....alas, financial funding for research. Quote:So my conclusion is very appropriate that the search for all the why's of our little world, in the religious sphere, is limited, biased by belief that the ultimate answer is known.Well, the Religious communities I referred to initially are hardly in the business of claiming ultimate knowledge about God, Creation or anything else for that matter. I admit to the bias and limitations presented when I apply the term 'God' to the mystery that makes the galaxies swirl and twist, reproduce, expand and die. It's hardly an attempt at 'ultimate knowledge'...it's participating in a wondrously fruitful tradition, flawed as it is, that hungers for knowledge, serves life, and loves creation. Why you deem the wildly diverse 'religious sphere' as lacking any fruit in this adventure is key to my challenge of what I can only describe as a lack of imagination...or study, or a bias against Religion.Quote:No artistic expression, fiction, dance, all very entertaining. But the do need to be put in their proper place. One would hopefully not use a science fiction novel to run scientific experiments.And, here, I think you show your deepest Religious attachments. As though art, music, dance, and all the genius of creative wonder are simply 'very entertaining'...but only in your Temple is the 'true' reality to be found...only Worship, iescientific experiements, as you see it can really access the truth. What needs to be put in its place, is everything, including your particular zeal for Science. One would hopefully see the value in literature, art, music and dance, and the myriad of ways human intelligence brings meaning and value to life, including science...and allow the beauties and genius of each to confront, shape and mobilize who you are. But, I think your love of Science is actually just a particular brand of Monotheism...functional and intelligent as it may be, it lacks any real self-examination or willingness to learn from temples outside of your particular spiritual taste.Quote:I spent the first 18 years of my life in the Catholic/Christian faith. I was an alter boy, privately schooled...the whole 9. I just happened to see that it was all a load of crap.Well, I'm glad to see that you've been able to reduce the entire global history of religious experience to your rather unfortunate experience within the terribly confining walls of Parochial School...seen through the eyes of a child forced to learn things they neither cared for nor understood. This, is bad science. My question regarding your actual experimentation was followed with this essential component you missed, Quote:and kept your mind open to the wonders of Science and Literature and Music and Dance and Art and Politics and Economics and Agriculture?...which surely leaves out your unfortunate misery in Catholic Schools. Although, I know quite a few 'survivors' of such situations who have impeccable knowledge of music and art and history and medicine, and are faithfully engaging a troubled world in search of peace and justice.I should hope that you might revisit the tumultuously wild world of religion with adult eyes, in communities where knowledge is honored and sought after, and the fields of science, literature, medicine, ethics, history, dance, diet, politics are seen as sacred settings for learning to love God and Creation.Quote:Do you believe that without belief in god, morality is impossible?No. But I do think morality is terribly difficult with or without God. Actually, I think consistent, active living moral systems are very difficult to embrace and sustain. It is far easier to succumb, submit, and sacirifce moral integrity and self dignity to the powers of oppression and domination. It is far easier to live in denial, make believe, and fantasize that the injustice is really not so bad, that things are not as catastrophic as they really seem...it is hard, sometimes deadly work to be moral in the face of this. I applaud any and all who embrace this struggle for clean air, water and soil against the forces of greed and domination in life.It seems that you are someone who does the same.
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Re: Lovers of Creation

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Quote:I'm glad this is the case, but what is not reflected in this is your initial statement- to which I was referring- that you and those like you take a completely objective view of the issues; free of ideological, class, cultural, historical bias. It is a myth that says, "My view is free of bias, free of prejudice, free of ideologial baggage or historical limitations...I am completely neutral in the matter and want only the truth!"Ok, clarification...I conditionally agree with this. I make every attempt to be as open and unbiased as possible...even going so far as not being totally concrete in my assertions of what I reason is true. I do not see this in the religious viewpoint. Everything is based on God first, reason second.No BeliefsJust a website about life without "beliefs".Quote:And, here, I think you show your deepest Religious attachments. As though art, music, dance, and all the genius of creative wonder are simply 'very entertaining'...but only in your Temple is the 'true' reality to be found...only Worship, iescientific experiements, as you see it can really access the truth. What needs to be put in its place, is everything, including your particular zeal for Science. One would hopefully see the value in literature, art, music and dance, and the myriad of ways human intelligence brings meaning and value to life, including science...and allow the beauties and genius of each to confront, shape and mobilize who you are. But, I think your love of Science is actually just a particular brand of Monotheism...functional and intelligent as it may be, it lacks any real self-examination or willingness to learn from temples outside of your particular spiritual taste.I do not agree that my trust in science equals dogmatic belief. You cannot make this statement because you do not know me. There are many things I refute with science...until enough evidence is presented to support it. If I were of a religious bent towards science, I would just accept every new theory that came my way, because the Gods say so.Quote:Quote:--------------------------------------------------------------------------------No artistic expression, fiction, dance, all very entertaining. But the do need to be put in their proper place. One would hopefully not use a science fiction novel to run scientific experiments.--------------------------------------------------------------------------------And, here, I think you show your deepest Religious attachments. As though art, music, dance, and all the genius of creative wonder are simply 'very entertaining'...but only in your Temple is the 'true' reality to be found...I just saw a typo. I should have put a comma after the leading 'No'. But that is neither here nor there. First let me say that I am an artist (drawing, crafting and music) and my appreciation of art and any other form of expression is that of deep respect. Art inspires me, yes. But when I am looking science, I do not refer to Michaelangelo's "The Creation of Man" to explain things. Art, in all it's forms, should inspire. Quote:I should hope that you might revisit the tumultuously wild world of religion with adult eyes, in communities where knowledge is honored and sought after, and the fields of science, literature, medicine, ethics, history, dance, diet, politics are seen as sacred settings for learning to love God and Creation.I engage more than you give me credit for. What I see, in general, supports my experience. Friends turning against me and my family because of joining a new church. FAMILY using their religion to belittle me and my immediate family (and this from the Church of Love). I have seen much to understand that belonging to MOST churches/groups means to adhere to them unquestioningly, which then leads to submission of the self to the group. Organized anything worries me. But as I have said, I do not judge the individual by the religion/ideology they follow. Their actions, one on one, factor into how I interact with people.Quote:No. But I do think morality is terribly difficult with or without God. Very good answer! I agree.Be Well,Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.
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Re: I'm offended

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Well...step in at anytime! I got my hands full!Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.
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Re: Lovers of Creation

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Quote:Everything is based on God first, reason second.I dont know where this idea comes from, becuase it isnt in anything I've said so far. I do know of many folks virulently irrational concerning things near and dear to their hearts...and they are not all Religious folks either. But "everyting is based on God" is a meaningless statement as far as I can tell. The Religious communities I associate with are more complex than that...they are based on many things beyond their ideas concerning God. As I see it, God is the power to heal and renew life...in Christian terms it is the Spirit of Resurrection and Liberation...this is a sparse thumbnail sketch of an entire lifestyle, but it shows that God is not simply an idea or concept, although that's all that language affords us in discussing such things. Instead, I see the issue of one of love...acting in the world, not simply in my head. Not merely debating theories, but healing and feeding bodies and confronting unjust social and political systems. Thus, I am not making an argument for the existence of God, but I am testifying to life commited to love, receptive to the challenge of liberation and renewal. Quote:If I were of a religious bent towards science, I would just accept every new theory that came my way, because the Gods say so. I don't see where Religion as I am describing it would lead to anything like this. On the contrary, I think I am describing Religion as a vibrantly living approach to learning and loving...something that could only help the Scientist...at least those Scientists open to the possibility. My application of 'Religion' to your worldview involves the sort of Universal and Absolute value you apply to your method...as though there are no other ways to make sense, understand, or love reality. In this sense, it would be both poor Religion and poor Science. But, I think your intentions are in the right direction.Quote:Art inspires me, yes. But when I am looking science, I do not refer to Michaelangelo's "The Creation of Man" to explain things. Art, in all it's forms, should inspire. Art should inspire, and enrage, challenge, confront, encourage, devastate, build, condemn, liberate, and much else besides. And, there may not be much biological functionality in Michaelangelo's 'Creation' fresco...but there is genius in its portrayal of human imagination, hope, fear and expectation...and even love.As for your personal experience in the world of what I call "Totalitarian Faith"...where there is only one religion, one explanation, one leader, one book, one interpretation- and all else are worthless, to be fought and destroyed....I can only encourage you to work to understand this abuse and find the will to forgive these abusers. What will probably happen, if you don't take these steps, is you will repeat them on others...you will find another Totalitarian Faith to retreat into to, one with the only set of answers, only set of right explanations, only way to see things correctly...something, and please forgive me if I am pushing too far...something very similar to your zeal for Science.But, I suspect this is pushing too far....
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Re: Lovers of Creation

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Quote:I dont know where this idea comes from, becuase it isnt in anything I've said so far.Again, when I talk on this subject, i do not talk about you personally; I speak of the institution called religion. Sometimes I can get confusing by switching between the specific and the general, but I never claimed to be a good author.I know there are deviations from the norm, and it is not these which I argue against. Your group sounds very encouraging. I would love to spend time with you there and experience what you speak of first hand.Quote:Thus, I am not making an argument for the existence of God, but I am testifying to life commited to love, receptive to the challenge of liberation and renewal. And I just believe that this can all be achieved without god, and not necessarily WITH science. Science provides answers to unknowns, morality, be it religion or other, should provide insights into co-existence among each other and exploring the nuances of the human existence. I do not argue this. Are we thinking similar thoughts here?Quote:there may not be much biological functionality in Michaelangelo's 'Creation' fresco...but there is genius in its portrayal of human imagination, hope, fear and expectation...and even love.Absolutely! Again these are human responses to our world, not observations about the world. Not science. Can appreciation of works such as this inspire a scientist, yes. Should it control her research? No.Quote:you will find another Totalitarian Faith to retreat into to, one with the only set of answers, only set of right explanations, only way to see things correctly...something, and please forgive me if I am pushing too far...something very similar to your zeal for Science.Again, I do not accept anything on a take it all or leave it basis. Science has been drastically wrong in the past, take Alchemy for instance. But despite the failings of Alchemy, processes were developed that helped true science. When someone comes to me and says 'this it IT and that is ALL', I immediately start looking for proof to debunk it. There is always another way. To me, though, it is not in a God; it is in human potential.You may be pushing a little too far on this point, but not pushing too far leads to regression!Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.
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Re: Creationism vs. Evolution - A Culture Divided

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Regarding the "proof" involving homosexuality and "survival of the fittest": genes don't get passed down in isolation, they are passed down in families. Putting your life at risk for a family member makes no sense according to the more simplistic ideas about natural selection. But it does happen, and it happens because it enables a person's genetic material, which is shared by family members, to be passed down EVEN if the individual dies and cannot reproduce himself. Homosexuality (or some instances of it) could be genetic if it enables the individual to enhance the survival of genetic relatives. A gay male might be able to stay with the wives while the hetero men go to war, for example. Or, lacking children, he might be able to focus on helping the tribe survive and maintain cohesion (gays in the priesthood would make sense in that case, if religion is seen as a mechanism for bonding and strengthening society). Or, it may just be a recessive trait. People tend to take "survival of the fittest" in a very simplistic sense, rather than looking at what "fit" actually means.
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