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Creationism vs. Evolution - A Culture Divided

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Mr. P

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Creationism vs. Evolution - A Culture Divided

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I wonder if the other animals believe in a god. I have pondered this question since I was a child and I still do not know. I also wonder if humans are really the most advanced animals on the planet. Who knows, but I offer this observation: Other animals do not treat members of their own with contempt and disrespect and they cannot bring on self-inflicted mass destruction. The following address an on-going debate that is tearing cultures apart in this country, as well as the world. The theory of evolution has grown since emerging from the primordial ooze of the 19th century thinking. The article "A Theory Evolves" by Thomas Hayden, shows how Charles Darwins' theory has matured. "Through observation and cast iron logic", Mr. Darwin postulated his theory of evolution through natural selection. But with the "science of genetics yet to be invented", he could not fully detail the mechanics involved. This caused confusion among "non-scientists" and creationists seized on this confusion to subvert the sound precepts of evolution. Geneticists have recently applied their theories and research to evolutionary theory and have "{confirmed} virtually all of Darwins' postulates". Take for example the study called "Evo-Devo". Through this study of how "egg cells develop into adults", biologists have found that changes in certain genes, named "Homeotic" genes can produce extreme variations in body structures of animals. Homeotic genes produce proteins which act through DNA to "turn on or shut down other genes that...make tissues". A recent experiment reported in Science magazine reported that " a single mutation in a regulatory gene was enough to produce mice with brains... resembling our own" in structure. These small changes, over millions of years, are the driving force of evolution. Creationists argue that the randomness of evolution could not have produced the variety of life on Earth because "organisms are too perfect", but as Mr. Hayden points out "science shows that organisms don't work perfectly at all; they just work." Evolution is not "Elegant" in it's creation of modification, instead " [it] works work with what it has [modifying] exisiting structures". By trial and error the most viable and adaptive of these modifications continue on in the chain of life. Creationist like to simplify the tenets of evolutionary theory in a form of mockery that shows the fear of realization that their position is weak. One argument is that "half and eye would be worse than none at all." No credible scientist would suggest that there was ever a half an eye, but there are primitive sensory organs that resemble the eyes' mechanics, such as that of the star-nosed mole (see Catania in bibliography list). Another accusation is that evolutionary theory has no factual evidence to support it. Sorry "pot" this "kettle" is stainless. Intelligent Design?In the article "Life's Grand Design", Holly Morris explains the newest twist in creationist'' strategy to debunk evolutionary theory. What it actually represents is an attempt to circumvent the separation of church and state and introduce creationist curriculum into public schools. Ms. Morris states that "conservative Christianity has embraced the idea [of intelligent design], seeing it as a viable way to introduce religion into the classroom and sunder materialism in the process". Materialism in this context refers to the philosophy of modern science. Intelligent Design theory is more comfortable to the average person, who believes that life is to complex to have happened by chance, yet feels uneasy about "dogmatic" presence in their views. It also, as Mr. Kenneth Miller is quoted as saying in the article, "Plays to our own ego's... Many people would prefer to think they are a direct product of a benign, beneficent creator". What I do not understand is, what does ego have to do with fact and observation through experimentation. Are we after truth or a pat on the head? Ms. Morris addresses the cultural issues of this ideological tennis match in an intelligent way, representing both sides in a sensitive game. Her topic focused more on the social impact of the creation / evolution debate, as there was pending legislation in Ohio which would decide whether or not intelligent design would be required teaching in the scholastic cirriculum, in addition to evolution. Unfortunately, the debate continues. Let Intellect Be the WeaponIn "The Gradual Illumination of the Mind", Michael Shermer addresses the perplexing fact that most people believe in a creationist view of life as opposed to evolutionary theory. Most mind boggling of all is the statistic that states "45 percent of Americans believe god created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so". Fortunately, the evidence supporting Mr. Darwins' theory, representing evidence from all of the major life and physical sciences, overwhelmingly "[concludes that] evolution is real". Thankfully science, true science, is not concerned with majority opinion, just the facts. Mr. Shermer says it best: "It does not matter what percetage of the public believes a theory, it must stand or fall on the evidence". Mr. Shermer presents one explanation for America's "Evolution Denial", explaining that Evolution is seen as a challenge to religious beliefs. Some think that "if god did not personally create life, then [there is] no basis for belief, morality and the meaning of life." This fragility of the cultural ego is a danger to the progress of our knowledge. As mentioned in my analysis of Ms. Morris's article, this has prompted the creation of "intelligent design" theory. It seems more time is spent trying to appease people than truly educating them. The more science and rational thought explains the formerly unexplainable nuances of our lives, the less there is to thank god for. That leaves most of us with a feeling of vulnerability and emptiness and no where to seek exoneration for our transgressions. In our modern society, god is playing less of a role, which is to be expected, since god and religion was the creation of a scared and simplistic early ancestor who, through experience and reasoning, grew into the advanced "man who thinks" that we are today. As mystery is stripped away, reality takes hold. As Mr. Shermer suggests though, "It is not enough to argue that creationism is wrong; We must also show that evolution is right". There must be a focus on educating, as science has always striven for. Science accepts that it's theories will fall, it expects and hopes that they will. For that is the only way we will ever grow. Equal TimeWith the Creation v. Evolution debate causing such a stir in society, it can be expected that it would influence our political leaders and media. In the article "Evolution Series Prompts 'Equal Time' Response", Sonya Senkowsky reports on the implications an Idaho PBS station manager pondered regarding the airing of an Evolution series. The concern was over expected attacks from viewers who would demand "Equal Time" for creationist programming. The concern of the management stemmed from past "legislative action requiring" the monitoring of any programs viewed as "controversial". With such potential pressure on their minds, the station brass decided to air Creationist programming after each episode of the Evolution series, one of which was "recommended by a state legislator during hearings involving the station's budget, which is 28% funded by the state. The station felt it did it's best to give 'equal time' and felt comfortable with that. But the station still faced admonition from the religious and the scientific community. Each side still was not happy with time being distributed at all. The most compelling statement in the article was from Eugenie Scott, PhD, director of the National Center for Science Education at Oakland California. She states: "Science isn't a democratic process", which means that scientific data is not subjective, but a consensus of research and experimentation. That is what should be taught. What kind of curriculum bases syllabus on a 'take it on faith' basis? Why is it just science, and more directly, Evolution that takes the brunt of the attack? What about 'Equal Time' in literature and social studies? Now with legislators getting involved, and more ominously with the Republican control of our country, it is a very real threat that laws will be passed requiring the teachings of a theory which lacks the possibility of factual verification through a rational method. Creationsists have disguised themselves under the new guise of "Intelligent Design" theory, which is the sheep's clothing that will grant the wolf of unenlightened thought "a backdoor approach for teaching creationism-dressed as science-in science classrooms". There can be no definitive answers to where we came from and who or what powers our lives. If you believe Science, we can trace our beginnings back to Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes, or maybe a simple protien. But Science does not offer hard answers; nothing is absolute. Creationists provide no evidence or experimentation to bolster their theory; you just have to accept it on faith. If I had to pick one facet of the "Human Condition" that shines as a ray of hope for our claim to the evolutionary throne, it is our ability to realize, albeit reluctantly, that we are generally wrong. Polls show that the majority of the population believe that a god created life on earth. Majority may rule, but it is rarely convincing; the earth is not the center of the universe, it is not flat and we can leave it for other worlds. It is our scientists and thinkers, those who question authority and the majority, not with malice and contempt, but with fellowship and respect, that lead us from the shelter of our caves & out into the promise of the unknown. Head...bang...wall, Mr. P.
positivenew

Different Realms

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Religious evidence needs to be used to make religious theoriesScientific evidence needs to be used to make scientific theoriesPhilosophical evidence needs to be use to make philosophical theories.The Bible or any other religious text is just that, a religious text, not a scientific one. One could formulate ideas about religion from those texts, but not science, they are different domains.The author accuses creationists of making unsupported scientific statements.The other side is creationists accusing the evolutionists of making unsupported philosophical and religious statements.The creationists is wrong to think philosophy and religion make science.The evolutionists is wrong to think science makes religion and philosophy.With that said, there are two debates going on here; the how and the whoseven day creation vs ample amounts of timeGod behind creation vs nothing behind creationThe first debate is scientific, not religious or philosophical.The second is philosophical and religious, not scientific.So as this discussion goes on, please keep the realms seperate.
positivenew

Devils Advocate

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Man, I thought some people would join right in and spout off their opinion on this subject matter, considering how "controversial" the topic is and how the "nation is divided" upon it. Well...hmm, i don't think there's squat for seven day creation (scientifically) so instead of arguing positive, i'll try to argue against common descent, rather than give a solution.I found this logical proof interesting So many people who are attracted to the same gender claim it to be a part of who they are, they claim it to be genetic. Here goes the results of that premise that being gay is genetic with the mechanism for selection being survival of the fittest.Human not attracted Human attracted Let's continue with the second (Human cannot be attracted and not attracted at the same time)... Human attracted to himself Human attracted to himself and something outside himself Human attracted to something outside himself Let's go with the third... Human attracted attracted to human Human attracted to things other than human and human. Human attracted to things other than human. Let's continue with the first... Human attracted to transgender Human atrracted to transgender and male and/or female sex Human attracted to male and/or female sex Let's go with the third Human attracted to same gender Human attracted to both genders Human attracted to opposite gender -ArgumentHuman attracted Human not attracted Which one would survive? Obviously the one who is attracted for they would reproduce, where as the one who was not attracted would not reproduce. The human that is attracted is the "fittest" So based on genetics all humans that are to survive and continue are to be attracted. Human attracted to themself Human attracted to themself and outside themself Human attracted to outside themself Which on these would survive. Now let's keep in mind that transgender is still a possibility here. Is it possible to imprenante oneself. I would say not because one organ usually does not function. But let's keep the possibility that one could impregnate one'self. So one could get pregnant. What happens when one has the baby, almost all I would say would die, because one has two fully functional sex organs and therefore not always adaquate developement for the baby. But let's say by some mere chance that one has the baby. Would it be the survival of the fittest for this kind of birth to continually happen, no. So over time, the human that is attracted to something outside themself is going to continue and become fitter. The "fittest" is one attracted to something outside themself. So both Human attracted to themself and Human attracted to themself and outside themself would "die off" Human attracted to human Human attracted to things other than human and human Human attracted to things other than human. Humans can only reproduce with humans. A man could try to impregnate anything, but only women would work. A woman could try to become pregnant by anything, but only a man's sperm would work. So those attracted to things other than human, would die off genetically, for they could not reproduce. The "fittest" is human attracted to human. So both Human attracted to things other than human and human and Human attracted to things other than human would "die off." Human attracted to transgender Human atrracted to transgender and male and/or female sex Human attracted to male and/or female sex I will take the same argument for the trouble for a truly transgender person to have a baby, and say that they will are not the fittest and would die off. The "fittest" is Human attracted to male/and or female sex. So both Human attracted to transgender Human atrracted to transgender and male and/or female sex would "die off." Human attracted to same gender Human attracted to both genders Human attracted to opposite gender Only opposites could reproduce. All others would die off. The "fittest" is human attracted to opposite gender. So both Human attracted to same gender and Human attracted to both genders would "die off." By genetics alone, Humans attracted to opposite gender should be the only remaining humans. But obviously that is not the case. So one of two things could be concluded, that evolution and natural selection are not true, or that they are true, other reasons are behind people being gay.One could easily substitute in being instead of human and see the results. So why are people still claming that their homosexuality is dependent upon the genes? Why isn't there a big story about how homosexuality can't be genetic? If the gene were recessive, it would still die off, considering the amount of time evolution gives. We notice animals being gay as well. So if it is truley a gene, it started before Homo Sapiens. Now rightly, I would say that your homosexuality is not dependent upon genes, but tell that to someone who is gay and see their reaction.Ok, enough with the funny or satiristic part. I have to agree with micro-evolution-evidence shows that species varyI have to agree with macro-evolution-if a june bug mates in may, it is now a new species, so by the defining macro-evolution as developement into a new species and classifying the mating time of the year as a new species, I am have ot agree to macro evolution.I do not think I have to agree to common descent.Common objections already played out over and overCambrian (bad spelling) explosion-shouldn't the fossils appear over time, not rapidlyLack of transitional fossils to Homo Sapiens-Like I said i'm not positing another positive point, just agruing negatively.Violation of the 2nd law of thermodynamics (probably bad spelling again). I've heard this is the easiest point to refute, so how does common descent not violate that law?Hopefully this will get some kind of argumentation going and turn out to be a great discussion.
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Re: Creationism vs. Evolution - A Culture Divided

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How did this get to be a forum by itself? It strikes me as a possible roundtable discussion, at best. There is a misaprehension in our culture that issues always have two sides. Sometimes they have many more than two sides, and sometimes there is no "other side". The IDs and creationists get as much ink as they do solely because media tend to treat every issue as binary, and think there is "fairness" in finding someone to speak for the "other side". But evolution is one of those areas where there is no legitimate other side. Evolution by natural selection is the only scientific explanation for the diversity of life. The controversy exists in the minds of the deluded, not the scientific community or the mind of anyone who truly makes the effort to understand how life works. If you make yourself really small, you can externalize virtually everything. Daniel Dennett, 1984
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Regarding the Bible

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The Bible provides a network of images, metaphors, symbols and meanings that offer a space for conversation with ,and about, God to take place. There are texts of beauty, joy, hope and terror in the Bible...stories that uplift and empower, as well as terrify and demoralize. It is not a simple black and white issue. As I see it, the Bible demands a response from the reader. NOT a response of absolute submission to a terribly dangerous fantasy of 'perfect inerrancy'. NOR a response of complete rejection founded upon a sloppy reading and lazy consideration of the text. Instead, the Bible confronts you with your life...who are you and what are you doing with your gifts? Where are you going and why do you do the things you do? How should we respond to terror and tyranny, oppression and domination? Why should we endorse peace and love, encourage hope and healing? In the best sense, the Bible is a mirror- reflecting what is precious and wretched about the human experience. But, more than merely a reflection, it is a spur and challenge...a confrontation and encouragement- and THIS is the Conversation that makes the Word of God living, and brings Life from Death. In this sense, the Creation vs Evolution drama is a conflict between lenses and a disagreement about meaning. Or, a lack of imagination.On both sides.
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Back it up, ight?

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-Jeremy1952But evolution is one of those areas where there is no legitimate other side. -MeWoah, there buddy, you are crossing the line. You've went from science support science to science making materialism and man, you've got to define your terms.By evolution did you mean macro, micro, or common descent?-Jeremy1952Evolution by natural selection is the only scientific explanation for the diversity of life. The controversy exists in the minds of the deluded, not the scientific community or the mind of anyone who truly makes the effort to understand how life works.-meHold up. What you have said is 100% correct, but the conclusion implied is not.Science proves science not philosophy. The implied conclusion is that science is the only explaination for the diversity of life. That beaks the ground between philosophy and science that has no valid reason for the support of the other. Please define explaination. If you mean the how, you are completely correct, but the means, or the possibility of who behind it in my mind are a possible explaination for the diversity of life.One could say, a diety is an explaination for the diversity of lifeAnother could say evolution is an explaination for the diversity of lifeBoth could potentially be true. The fact the evolution explains scientifically the diversity does not eliminate the philosophical possibilities of a means or who behind it. Could you please explain how, the how eliminates the who?
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Re: Back it up, ight?

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"Macro" and "micro" evolution are creationist terms, not recognized in the scientific literature.I, personally, have little use for philosophy most of the time, for reasons spelled out perfectly here: philisophically one could posit a "creator"; philisophically, one can posit anything. But such a thing is impossible in the real physical universe, so why waste time on it?The other reason that I didn't specify further was that it seemed clear to me that the topic was creationism, not deism. I have no practical conflict with someone who beleives, for whativer reason, in a universe set in motion by a creator; I simply find explanations with "and then a mircale happened" in the middle useless. If you make yourself really small, you can externalize virtually everything. Daniel Dennett, 1984
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Thanks for the responses

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I will have to read through them all thoroughly before I answer...I have been away from the computer for the w/e, but I did not abandon my post.I do not remember in which comment I read this, but someone said that this topic does not warrent a separate forum...I beg to differ. This is one of the most heated topics in science and religious spheres and does indeed warrent a spotlight!Mr. P.
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Re: Thanks for the responses

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This separate forum will be a permanent addition to the BookTalk community in an effort to stimulate discussion and debate. We might be hosting some formal debates on this subject matter, which could either occur in our chat room or in this forum.Chris "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them"
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Re: Thanks for the responses

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Well forgive me, but I find it mildly offensive. If you make yourself really small, you can externalize virtually everything. Daniel Dennett, 1984
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