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Do theists actually understand evolution?

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Chris OConnor

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Do theists actually understand evolution?

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This is an odd poll so don't expect it to make a ton of sense. The purpose is more to spark a discussion and see where the conversation leads.I find myself in debates all the time and end up banging my head against the wall. Most theists KNOW evolution to be false, yet they don't even understand the first thing about this well-established theory. Within a few minutes of a debate I typically hear...1. "I didn't come from an ape! LOL" - as if anyone made that claim. Explaining what is meant by a common ancestor is like talking to a wall. Explain the basics to them and the following week they're making the exact same silly statement... "I didn't come from an ape! LOL"2. "Evolution contradicts the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics! Even your God, science, says that evolution cannot be a valid theory!"Maybe I'm simply running into the wrong theists, but I'm currently under the impression that almost all theists don't understand evolutionary theory, AND don't care to understand it.So what is your opinion?Results (total votes = 12):Theists know as much as the average atheist&nbsp2 / 16.7%&nbsp Theists actually understand the theory better&nbsp0 / 0.0%&nbspTheists don't need to understand it and don't try&nbsp4 / 33.3%&nbsp Theists are afraid to study the theory and don't&nbsp5 / 41.7%&nbsp Evolution and faith aren't related&nbsp1 / 8.3%&nbsp  "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them"
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Re: Do theists actually understand evolution?

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I concur. The responses I hear from theists tell me that they do not know a thing about evolutionary theory and do not care to learn about it. They are blissful in their ignorance and feel they do not need to learn, as they already know the truth.Sad. All they really know is what they have been told to know. No challenge to ingrained faith at all. Closed doors.Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.
booper54

Re: Do theists actually understand evolution?

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I agree. I think most theists are already established in their beliefs and "know" it's the right thing to believe in, so they don't bother to question or research any of it. This is why I don't like debating with most theists about the subject; they just don't understand the theory to begin with.I once talked to a pastor about evolution (among other things) and he happened to know a great deal about it. It was a fun discussion I made a post at the time on scienceforums.net... Here's what I said:Quote:Well my mom found out I don't believe in God this morning and forced me to go to church She also made me ask my questions to one of the pastors there. To my surprise he has read (so he says) hundreds of books on evolution, the universe, etc. One of the things he asked me was if I had ever seen the actual fossils that lead to the conclusion that something had evolved. I said "No."I asked him why God used to talk to humans so often and why he doesn't talk to anybody anymore and that it seems the farther you go back into time, the more often he interacts with humans, like when he would talk to Adam and Eve. His answer was that they were without sin, which is why they could take him, with all his glory, and talk to him. Also, the other people he did talk to (such as Abraham and others) were prophets that could stand his presence. The pastor said if a normal person were to see him, supposedly they might just die right there.We talked for maybe 30 or 45 minutes and he had very good reasons for most of the things I asked him. But later, as I thought about it, some of the things he said that were "wrong" with science could also be turned around against christianity. For example he said, about one of the books I read, that the author (Carl Sagan) is a "very good story teller." I didn't think, until afterwards, that...So is the Bible!After pondering it a bit after the conversation, I still believe there is much more evidence on the side for no god. He also told me to consider both sides, which I think is the most important thing. I'm going to email him when I have questions and hopefully will eventually have it straightened out.He was pretty knowledgable about it. The only thing was (which always happens after I debate with a theist) I thought of all the things I should've said AFTERWARDS... haha. Edited by: booper54 at: 6/28/04 2:39 pm
Brother William of Basker

Re: Do theists actually understand evolution?

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Quote:I agree. I think most theists are already established in their beliefs and "know" it's the right thing to believe in, so they don't bother to question or research any of it. This is why I don't like debating with most theists about the subject; they just don't understand the theory to begin with.As someone on the opposite side, I am always amused to hear that you folks always seem to just know what it is we do or don't know. I am also quite tired of the old chestnut "well unless you agree with Evolution, you must not have undertsood it. Because it's just so obviously true, once you truly understand it, you will agree with it." Which is bupkus. It's for stuff like that that the term "circular reasoning" was invented.So to start with can we at least get over the idea, so apparently prevalent here, that somehow theists are uniformly afflicted with some perverse refusal to think?If so, progress toward understanding might be made (or is that really the goal here?). If not, continue on ... Edited by: Brother William of Baskerville 02 at: 6/29/04 10:38 am
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Re: Do theists actually understand evolution?

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BrotherYou said, "As someone on the opposite side, I am always amused to hear that you folks always seem to just know what it is we do or don't know."What we're saying is that our discussions with theists almost always demonstrate that the theist doesn't have a clue about evolutionary theory. Why is this amusing? It should be embarrassing.Then you said, "I am also quite tired of the old chestnut "well unless you agree with Evolution, you must not have undertsood it."Nobody made this statement. This is precisely why we get annoyed. You're putting words into our mouths. Again, nobody said this. What I have said is that the majority of theists I have encountered are absolutely clueless about evolutionary theory and science in general. Not only are they clueless...but they desire to be clueless. They actually think ignorance is a virtue.What am I to think when I hear...I didn't come from an ape!Evolution contradicts the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics! Even your God, science, says that evolution cannot be a valid theory!Is it not fair to conclude that the person making these statements is clueless about the subject at hand? I think I'm being fair with my assessment.You then said, "Because it's just so obviously true, once you truly understand it, you will agree with it." Which is bupkus. It's for stuff like that that the term "circular reasoning" was invented.Wrong. The logical fallacy of begging the question doesn't apply here, but I can show you an example of where it does indeed apply...Example: God exists because the Bible says so. The Bible is the word of God. Therefore, we know that God exists.You said, "So to start with can we at least get over the idea, so apparently prevalent here, that somehow theists are uniformly afflicted with some perverse refusal to think?"I'm not sure how to respond to your statement without coming across harshly. No, we can't just get over it - at least not until we see some evidence to the contrary. BookTalk was created in response to the irrational world atheists or freethinkers have to live in everyday.So your request for us to get over it isn't going to actually prompt us to get over anything. Help us get over it by showing us that you're a clear thinker. Show us how most theists are actually clear thinkers and literate in the sciences. Chris "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them"
Brother William of Basker

Re: Do theists actually understand evolution?

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I do apologise for how snarky that sounded. I really did not intend it. Quote:Show us that you're a clear thinker. Show us how most theists are actually clear thinkers. Then we'll talk about getting over this idea.Wow, where to begin indeed? Most theist, like most people, for that matter, are not clear thinkers. Most of them are too busy living their lives and trying to survive to bone up on any subject. This has been the case throughout most of history. A quote from one of those curatives I suggest in another thread (Apologies for it's length):Quote:What gets lefty juices flowing is those crazy Christian fruitcakes down in the Bible Belt, with their double-knit-clad preachers in cheap hairpieces, their reflexive patriotism, their dogged hostility to such obviously healthful and liberating practices as fornication, abortion, and homosexuality, and their obscurantism about evolution.Ah, evolution! The touchstone of redneck religiosity! The ultimate litmus test separating the benighted from the enlightened, the foolish from the wise, the sheep from the wise shepherds
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Re: Do theists actually understand evolution?

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Quote:Now by implication, you seem to be saying that once they do understand this Well Established Theory (no, it isn't- it is arguably -VERY!- the best established, but best is very, very relative), they'll see how right you are, and come begging for absolution.Kinda like the Theists think everyone can be saved? No. And his statement was, I think, directed at MOST theists, and those he has had discourse with on this topic.How is Evolution relative?Mr. P. The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.
booper54

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Quote:Now by implication, you seem to be saying that once they do understand this Well Established Theory (no, it isn't- it is arguably -VERY!- the best established, but best is very, very relative), they'll see how right you are, and come begging for absolution.His statement didn't exactly say they would think he was right once they understood the theory, it was just explaining how people who try to agrue against it don't know enough about it to be arguing. At least that's how I read it...The same goes for the long quote you posted. I agree that most people could care less whether somebody believed in evolution or not, as long as they got the job done. And many people don't care enough about the subject to "master elaborate scientific theories." But if someone is going to argue, whether it be for or against it, they should be informed and have their facts straight. To me it's very frustrating when I try to explain it to the person, but they don't even care, and yet they are arguing against it!
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Re: Do theists actually understand evolution?

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BrotherI wanted to make a quick post about this snarky situation. Quote:I do apologise for how snarky that sounded. I really did not intend it.You've handled yourself very well in the discussions on BookTalk, so don't worry about some occaisional snarkiness....whatever that is. You're in the minority on BookTalk, being a theist, so you're allowed some leeway for snarkiness. I've been in your shoes and it gets overwhelming to be under fire from every direction. So don't worry. Do your best to be nice and we'll all be ok - same goes for our camp. You're doing fine. And Booper was correct. I'm not saying that ALL people that understand evolution will, by default, agree that it is a valid theory. I am saying that ALL people that don't understand do not have the ability to debate it. Most theists attempt to refute evolution without even understanding the theory at a 3rd grade level. You DO see how this is rather silly, right?Chris "For Every Winner, There Are Dozens Of Losers. Odds Are You're One Of Them"Edited by: Chris OConnor  at: 7/3/04 9:12 am
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Evolution

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Having not read the thread at all, and just responding to the thread title's question, I'll respond with "Some do."Perhaps even most. I think a big problem (and the reason why I largely stay out of these debates) is that both sides make sweeping generalizations. As amazing as it sounds, evolution is accepted by a large number of the mainstream religions. There are even...and this is going to be a shocker...religious Evolutionary scientists (as well as cosmologists, but that's a different story). In fact, there are quite a few Evolutionary Scientists who are also Jesuit monks.So essentially, the entire question you framed, Chris, is something of a red herring, because you've over-generalized so much that the question doesn't really even mean anything because it's so absurd.
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