The Instigator
UNOWN301
Con (against)
Winning
1 Points
The Contender
Longline
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Christianity and Evolution are Incompatible

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
UNOWN301
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/18/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 378 times Debate No: 89846
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
Votes (1)

 

UNOWN301

Con

There are many who claim that the belief in the biological theory of evolution is incompatible with the belief that Christianity is true. In other words, one cannot be a Christian and believe evolution accurately describes how the vast array of biological diversity came about on this planet.

I will argue against the notion that evolution and Christianity are incompatible. My position, therefore, is that the theory of evolution is 100% compatible with Christianity. I do agree that evolution is incompatible with a specific interpretation of Genesis usually referred to as Young Earth Creationism, and if that is the route we go, I will further argue why Young Earth Creationism is both not mandated by scripture as well as most likely false.

Just to clarify, PRO will be arguing in support of the position that Christianity and the theory of evolution are incompatible.

DEFINITIONS:
The theory of evolution - a scientific theory of the origin of species of plants and animals
Evolution - the process by which organisms change over time as a result of changes in heritable physical or behavioral traits.
Christianity - the religion based on the person and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth, or its beliefs and practices.
Compatible - to be able to exist or occur together without conflict (compatible beliefs then would be two or more beliefs which can be held without any logical or otherwise contradictions)

ROUND:
Round 1: Acceptance
Round 2: Opening Speech
Round 3: Rebuttal
Round 4: Rebuttal (No new arguments)
Longline

Pro

"PRO will be arguing in support of the position that Christianity and the theory of evolution are incompatible."
this is a major subject that has been debated for as long as the appearance of the theory of science itself. Tho the creationist have been around far longer then evolution, our new generation is most likely to get confuse between the two. Or one might do a little research on the Bible, while not understanding it completely.
The theory of evolution can not be compatible with creationist, for some of these reasons.

I will use simple to understand logical example so that i do not go deep into rather too complex example, as this usually seem to confuse most people and lead the focus of the argument cloudy and become more of intelligent of speech.

It really does matter what you believe in. if you think it does not matter well try asking yourself some of these question and see if you can answer them.
If Evolution is true, if your life came about by accident, everything you know, all the animals, the very condition of the earth that enable you to survive. It's all meaningless, life has no purpose. 1 Corinthians 15:32
32 If like other men, I have fought with wild beasts at EphE7;e"sus, of what good is it to me? If the dead are not to be raised up, "let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we are to die."

why is it, when you ask an atheist, do you believe in living forever?, they say that is nonsense, a wishful thinking, but they do not hope in such a thing. But when you ask them, do you want to die? they respond no, i do not want to die. why? if you find it stupid to believe in living forever, why do you not favor death?
@Ecclesiastes 3:11
11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has even put eternity in their heart; yet mankind will never find out the work that the true God has made from start to finish.

On the other hand, if creation is true, you can find satisfying answer to the purpose of life and what the future holds. Jeremiah 29:11
11 ""For I well know the thoughts that I am thinking toward you," declares Jehovah, "thoughts of peace, and not of calamity, to give you a future and a hope."

this is however just my first argument. i will go even deeper on my next respond, being a little lazy right now.
Debate Round No. 1
UNOWN301

Con

I would like to thank PRO for accepting this debate and I hope we can have an overall productive and cordial exchange.

For starters, I want to first point out that PRO has already done exactly as I was hoping to avoid and has conflated Christianity and Creationism. He even quotes me when I say:
"PRO will be arguing in support of the position that Christianity and the theory of evolution are incompatible"
and then soon after he says:
"The theory of evolution can not be compatible with creationist, for some of these reasons".

I wanted to avoid this conflation for several main reasons:
1) Christianity does not equal Creationism. Christianity is a religion as I clearly defined, while Creationism is "the belief that the universe and living organisms originate from specific acts of divine creation".
2) One can be a Christian without believing in creationism as I defined above. Now, of course if you are a Christian you believe in creation in some general philosophical sense that God is the explanation for all that exists, but one is not bound to the belief that God specially created things in say six literal 24-hour days. Nor is one bound to the belief that God specially created things over a long period of time. Rather, a Christian is perfectly within his/her rational rights to believe that God endowed nature with the ability to bring about the vast array of life we see today.

Therefore, it seems obvious that there is no reason to think that there is something inherently contradictory about believing in Christianity and the theory of biological evolution. If PRO wants to try to make the case that Creationism, the belief that the universe and living organisms originate from specific acts of divine creation, is the only way in which a Christian can be faithful to the text, then the burden of proof is on them to show us why. As of now, no such argument has been made.

Now, even though PRO really has made no such arguments showing why the theory of evolution and Christianity are incompatible, I will answer PRO's question:

1) "If Evolution is true, if your life came about by accident, everything you know, all the animals, the very condition of the earth that enable you to survive. It's all meaningless, life has no purpose."

PRO does not actually explain why evolution would rid us of any meaning or purpose. Evolution being the way in which our physical existence came about no more rids us of meaning and purpose than knowing that there is a physical process that is involved and is necessary prior to our birth. In other words, just because we know the mechanism that is required to conceive a new human being is the joining of a sperm and egg from a mother and a father, that doesn't mean we are void of purpose and meaning. Furthermore, evolution is not merely a physical process of mere "accident" as he/she proposes. As Ken Miller, a professor of biology at Brown University explains:
"One of the great mischaracterizations of evolution is that it's driven by random chance, that things just happen. People like to say, 'I don't like to believe that I'm just an accident.' Well, you're not. What evolution says is that the variation that crops up in a species is indeed unpredictable. We can't be sure what will happen next. But that doesn't mean it's random...But the reality is that evolutionary change is restricted. It's restricted by the laws of physics and chemistry. It's restricted by the nature of molecular biology. It's restricted by the constraints of developmental biology during development. Most importantly, evolutionary change is governed by natural selection, and natural selection is not a random process at all. Natural selection selects for successful phenotypes, for successful combinations of characteristics that actually work, and that's not random at all." [1]

So in short, one does not need to believe that life came about "accidentally" in order to believe evolution explains the diversity of life on this planet. Therefore, PRO's question is flawed from the start.

2) "why is it, when you ask an atheist, do you believe in living forever?"

I am going to mainly ignore this question because I am not an atheist and quite frankly how an atheist answers a question about the afterlife has no bearing on this debate. One can easily believe in God and an afterlife and affirm evolution. PRO has the burden of proof of showing why that can't be true.

Lastly, PRO says "On the other hand, if creation is true, you can find satisfying answer to the purpose of life and what the future holds." Here I think PRO is referring to creation in that broad philosophical sense that God created all things and sustains them as it says in Colossians 1:17 - "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." But one is not required to believe in Special Creation which says that God specially created each and every plant/animal and made them appear immediately as opposed to some natural process like evolution.

On this point, I would agree with PRO that a world bereft of God is a meaningless world, but PRO has not even begun to explain why one cannot believe in God and believe in the biological theory of evolution. As far as I can tell, one can easily believe in both. Furthermore, PRO has not even begun to explain why one cannot be a Christian and believe in the theory of evolution as an accurate description of how the full range of biological complexity came about. I challenge PRO to do that.

SOURCES:
(1) http://www.pbs.org...
(2) http://biblehub.com...
Longline

Pro

Sorry for such laziness, for this is exam period for me, i'm trying to stay busy mentally. so my last respond was not to technical, i was just reasoning of my head. So here is my real argument.

When it comes to the theory of evolution, Bible does not completely disagree with everything in it. But there is a line that will never be cross. This line is a major factor and holds serious ground.
After all we have to keep one thing in mind, the Bible is a message from Jehovah to us humans, Jehovah was not focus on explaining how he did what he did. Rather the Bible start with as simple as this. Genesis 1:1(IN THE BEGINNING GOD CREATED THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH). It does not tell us in details how God did it, so one can argue, that God could have use a cosmic explosion or expansion to start everything in motion. This statement will still not contradict Genesis 1:1, this is probably a good point for con, But rather the question here would be WHO STARTED THE COSMIC EXPLOSION OR EXPANSION?.
The line here is scientist believe that this cosmic explosion or expansion was a spontaneous, un-directed event that led to the self-arranging of particles of matter into stars and planets over billions of years.
This we know the Bible does not agree with. Because Genesis 1:1 tells us that everything we see that is in existing was a direct act by God.
Now when it comes to the living things on this planet, scientist also have there own explanation of how life started. The idea of Macro-evolution "Macroevolution is evolution on a scale of separated gene pools. Macroevolutionary studies focus on change that occurs at or above the level of species, in contrast with microevolution, which refers to smaller evolutionary changes (typically described as changes in allele frequencies) within a species or population. This teaching the Bible does not agree with.
We also know that the Bible does not agree with this teaching. How?, Well this was one thing Jehovah was more then specific about, almost as if he knew that we where going to get confused about this. I can tell you right off the bat the Bible say God created all things according to its kind. (Genesis 1:11-12, 21,24,25.)
So now you have to ask yourself, can variation accord within a kind? "KIND
a group of people or things having similar characteristics". Yes. This does not mean, adaptation is a prove that eventually a knew kind will evolve. A research was done way back in the 70s called the Finch on Galapagos Island, look it up when you have a time. Scientist notice that these birds with bigger beaks where surviving the harsh winter better then the once with smaller beaks. This was a huge break through for evolutionist, for they have prove that animal can evolve to a whole new kind of species. Later on they started seeing these birds with bigger beaks returning back to small, so a new research conducted by Jeffrey H. Schwartz proves that there was no change in these birds, rather the change in the size of there beak was to due to climate change. Evolutionist have never not once observed a change in a species to another, neither do they have any prove of this other then theoretical speculations.

So can the theory of evolution come in harmony with the Bible? Never!!!
Why because we know that the Bible was more then clear telling us that God created everything. secondly we know that God did not use evolution to start life. How?
We know because God did not say that he created one single organism that multiply to create all kinds of specie we see today. God said that he made everything according to its kind. then he had to rest on the last day, so he did not just put down one thing and relax set back and which it evolve. IN fact once again the Bible was more then specific on this again.
Genesis 2:2 Revelation 4:11 Exodus 20:11 Revelation 10:6 Roman 1:20.
Debate Round No. 2
UNOWN301

Con

I thank PRO for switching the strategy to focus on Christianity rather than Creationism.

Firstly I would like to point out that PRO does not seem to have any quarrel with my claims that:
1) "one is not bound to the belief that God specially created things in say six literal 24-hour days"
2) "Nor is one bound to the belief that God specially created things over a long period of time"
3) "a Christian is perfectly within his/her rational rights to believe that God endowed nature with the ability to bring about the vast array of life we see today".

PRO even seems to agree with my contention that evolution is not necessarily "random" or an "accident" as PRO does not respond or disagree when I said "Evolution being the way in which our physical existence came about no more rids us of meaning and purpose than knowing that there is a physical process that is involved and is necessary prior or our birth".

The Big Bang - Not Evolution but I'll Adress it Anyway

PRO begins his second set of arguments by stating that the Bible doesn't actually disagree with evolution completely in that the Bible is from God, however it wasn't intended to explain how He created, rather it only focuses on what He did. I agree with PRO on this point, as Galileo once said "The Bible tells us how to go to Heaven, not how the heavens go." PRO concedes that a natural process like the Big Bang "does not contradict Genesis 1:1". I will somewhat ignore this point because the Big Bang has very little to do with the theory of evolution. I will simply say PRO and I agree on this point. At this point, PRO then asks the question "WHO STARTED THE COSMIC EXPLOSION" and points out that scientists don't put God into the equation. I really don't need to answer this question because it has nothing to do with the theory of evolution but I will mention that not all scientists leave God out of the equation. The Big Bang theory only states that the universe expanded from a very high density and high temperature state known as a singularity. [1] The Big Bang theory nor science can tell us what was the initial cause of that explosion. Any scientist who says it must have been an "un-directed event" as you say they do is not saying that because science tell them so, but rather that is their philosophical or theological inclination. To support my conclusion, one only has to mention Georges Lemaître, a Belgian priest, who provided the first detailed mathematical arguments for cosmic expansion, which today we call the "big bang." [2] I agree with George Lemaître on this one, there is nothing contradictory about a singularity in which the whole Universe begun and believing there is a God behind it all.

Evolution - Guided/Undirected, Micro/Macro, God Created Kinds

So ironically, while PRO starts off my saying evolution doesn't completely disagree with the Bible because God could have used whatever method He likes to create, PRO seems to contradict himself by saying "well He couldn't have done it this way" by which PRO states the reasoning for it because it was a "direct action by God". All one has to ask is did God create you? From our conception to our pre-birth fetal stages, until we are finally born, there is a natural process that takes place in our creation. Does this mean God didn't create us or do we have a more robust view of what it means to be created by God? I think we have a more robust view, we believe God uses nature to bring about His will. As Christians, God is the master of nature and we know that God has endowed nature with many freedoms and abilities to produce things - including us! I think we can think about evolution in the same way, God has used natural processes to bring about our existence. There is nothing contradictory about this and one can easily believe that God has guided or directed that process, even though like the development of every human being in a mother's womb, it appears to us to be undirected and unguided specifically by God.

PRO then makes a distinction between microevolution and macroevolution. He points out that the Bible doesn't agree with the teaching of macroevolution and gives the reasoning for thinking so because "God created all things according to its kind". Ironically, PRO neglects to quote any of the verses themselves which actually state "And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind..." (Genesis 24). Even if we take this in its most literal sense, one seems to be led to the conclusion that God used the natural processes of Earth to bring about the living creatures of each kind. In other words, not only does is it not contradictory to the text to say that some process like evolution could have produced the animals, instead it seems that the Bible supports this notion. Therefore, I disagree with PRO and conclude that macroevolution is not in disagreement with the language of the Bible. As Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers reflects on this verse Gen 24, he also concludes "However produced, we believe that the sole active power was the creative will of God, but of His modus operandi we know nothing." [4]

PRO tries to make a rather desperate attempt to show that macroevolution never even happened because of one single example that Finches changed beak, but then changed back to the beaks they had before. This debate is not about the truth of evolutionary theory, but rather about the compatibility of it with Christianity, therefore I do not need to reply to this objection. However, I will refer PRO to the mountains of evidence showing that the speciation (diverging of a species into two new species) has in fact happened and many examples can be found here: http://www.talkorigins.org..., the fossil record shows a myriad of transitional fossils which can be found here: http://www.talkorigins.org... is strong evidence that plants and animals of different species have evolved into new ones, some of which we still see today.

Lastly, PRO concludes that evolution and the Bible are not in harmony because the Bible says "God created everything". But as I clearly stated before, God is the master of nature, He controls it, He uses it to bring about His will. In no way does the claim that "God created everything" contradict with the notion that God used evolution to create the vast array of species on this earth. On this point I think PRO is wrong and his/her views are philosophically inadequate. Of course God doesn't actually say He used "one single organism that multiply to create all kinds of species" because even as PRO admits "Jehovah was not focus[ed] on explaining how he did what he did." It seems that PRO is being inconsistent here.

Conclusion:

Overall, it seems that PRO consistently tries to argue that God said that He did things a certain way, but admits that Genesis is only trying to tell us what God did rather than how He did it. PRO is being inconsistent here and I've further showed that even if we take the language in Genesis describing how God said "let the earth bring forth" literally, it appears that a natural process (including something like evolution) is completely compatible. I think it should seem obvious that PRO has not been able to defend the claim that the biological theory of evolution and Christianity are incompatible.

SOURCES:
1) https://en.wikipedia.org...
2) https://www.edge.org...
3) https://en.wikipedia.org...
4) http://biblehub.com...
Longline

Pro

Longline forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
UNOWN301

Con

Unfortunately, my opponent was unable to offer a rebuttal, so I will use this space to further expound on my response to PRO. Specifically, I want to address PRO's objection that if evolution is true, God is therefore out of the picture. Or maybe a better way of positioning PRO's objection is that is evolution is true, then our existence is "random" or by "chance" and therefore was not "guided" by God.

At the end of my last rebuttal I stated that I thought PRO's objection was philosophically inadaquate. The reason I describe it this way is for the same reason Thomas Aquinas, a great theologian from the Middle Ages, would have described it. Aquinas said that when you show that something that happens in the natural world has a natural cause, that does not take God out of the picture because he is the author of all things natural. So when you say the rain has a natural cause in the clashing of cold and warm fronts, that does not take God out of the picture, it simply places all of nature in God’s providential plan. I attempted to convey this same thought with the analogy of every single human being's conception which was caused by the joining of a sperm and egg from a father and mother respectively. Similarly, just because we know there are natural processes which explain our births, doesn't mean God isn't our creator.

One good way to explain this distinction might be to talk about a Ford Motor car. Imagine I asked you what is the explanation for the Ford Motor car and I asked you to choose either 1) Henry Ford or 2) the internal combustion engine? Which would you choose? The correct answer is both because these two options are both explanations of the existence of the Ford Motor car, but they are different kinds of explanations. The internal combustion engine is the mechanism or the natural process if you will, while Henry Ford is the agent. So we see here there are two types of explanations: Explanation by way of mechanism and explanation by way of agency. It seems to me that in the case of natural history and the origin of species, it makes plenty of sense to say that evolution is the mechanism, while God is the agent. In the same way that Henry Ford was the planner, the engineer, the artist, the mind underlying the existence of the Ford Motor car, God is the planner, engineer, artist, and mind behind the vast and beautiful array of species we see on this planet. Evolution is simply the mode of operation in which it happened.

I think Ken Miller explains this point in a much better way that I can, he says:
"The most satisfying, Christian view is a God who is the master of everything, including nature itself. Does that mean that God is not involved? No, to a person of faith like myself, God is involved in every second, every millisecond of existence, not by constantly pulling strings and subverting our independence, but by supporting our existence and the natural laws that make this world so orderly and enable us to do science in the first place." [1]

One of the things that Miller so clearly expounds here is how so many Christians want to look for gaps in science and say "ahh...thats where God fits in". In other words, God fits into those gaps of scientific ignorance. This type of thinking is very similar to the tradition of the Middle Ages where as soon as they found something that couldn't be explained, they said it therefore must be the work of God. I find this to be a very paganistic view of the world in which God is no longer the God of everything, rather He is the God of what science cannot explain - similar to how pagans had Gods for rain, thunder, lightning, corn, etc. They couldn't explain these things and therefore they were explained by some divine being.

Rather I think a much more robust view of all of this is like what Newton and other scientists did, which was to assume that the universe made sense because it had a designer, and then to use what we would call ordinary material scientific methods to investigate that universe. That's just what science does today. It is this view that is perfectly consistent, if not more consistent with Colossians 1:17 which says "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."

So to PRO's objection I ask this:
Does the natural process that brings about the creation of a main sequence star mean God didn't create the stars?
Does the natural process of egg and sperm joining to form a new living being mean God is not the creator of us?
Does the natural process of rain with the natural cause in the clashing of cold and warm fronts mean God is not the author of it?
and lastly
Does the natural process of evolution which is the cause of the vast array of species on Earth mean God is not the author of that?

My main point is if PRO takes this view that God is no longer needed if evolution is true, then he/she has much bigger problems than evolution. There are natural processes everywhere happening all the time that we never attribute directly to God, but as Christians we know God upholds it all and makes it all possible.

I will conclude with a quote by Aubrey Moore, a clergyman who wrote in 1891 that "The one absolutely impossible conception of God, in the present day, is that which represents him as an occasional visitor. Science has pushed the deist's God further and further away, and at the moment when it seemed as if he would be thrust out all together Darwinism appeared, and, under the disguise of a foe, did the work of a friend. It has conferred upon philosophy and religion an inestimable benefit, by showing us that we must choose between two alternatives. Either God is everywhere present in nature, or He is nowhere."

So if evolution is true is God out of the picture? My answer - Not even in the slightest! He's everywhere.

SOURCES

1) http://www.godofevolution.com...
2) http://www.pbs.org...;
Longline

Pro

Longline forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by UNOWN301 10 months ago
UNOWN301
@Longline
Apology accepted. I look forward to our next encounter.
Posted by Longline 10 months ago
Longline
perhaps i should apologize for not completing another debate. i will challenge you again after school ends.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 10 months ago
dsjpk5
UNOWN301LonglineTied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro ff many times, so conduct to Con.