The Creation Story from Genesis and Evolution are Not Necessarily Mutually Exclusive
Debate Rounds (3)
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The debate will be three rounds, I don't have any preference for a particular structure.
Cited evidence is preferable, but not necessary. This is primarily a debate of ideas rather than facts and figures. It is a debate of possibilities.
The debate is not whether one happened or the other, it is about whether it is possible that the Genesis story was used as a way to express an unfathomable reality to an early civilization. This could have classified under religion or science.
I'll be taking the affirmative side, and the burden of proof for showing that it is possible (not proving that it is actually true) for the "conflicting" beliefs to coincide. As a debate could endlessly continue if the plausibility of both theories/stories was in question, so it is assumed that they are both "true", however one wishes to contrive that truth.
First of all, thanks to whoever accepts this debate, it is my second on this site, and the first I have started.
Moving on to the actual debate, I hold that it is possible for the Creation Story and Evolution to coincide, and I will do this by showing how Genesis can dovetail into the theory of evolution:
1) Time in the Genesis story is vague, especially in the original Hebrew. The word for day, yam, can mean a modern day, sunrise to sunset, or even an undisclosed length of time. Similar meanings occur for the equivalent terms for evening, morning, and even the actual phrasing of the story in Hebrew says something akin to "evening and morning and day", but in a strange and vague fashion. In fact, in Genesis 2:4, "This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made earth and heaven", the passage is referring to all seven days which had previously been discussed as one day. This seeming discrepancy was later explained in multiple places, including by Peter who said in 2nd Peter 3:8 that to God "a thousand years is as one day" and many early Jewish scholars and Christian fathers including Hippolytus held that the "days" were a long period of time. My final point on this contention is from Genesis 1:11-12, "Then God said, "Let the earth sprout vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them"; and it was so. 12The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good. " Note, He commanded the Earth to sprout vegetation, and then it actually grew them naturally, not as a "Grow" command.
2) I would like to point out the distinct traits of evolution evident from the fossil record. Namely, that while small mutations to adapt are common and well-established, even the most accurate and undisturbed fossil records (those of the ocean floor) show that most species remain relatively unchanged for millennia, sometimes eons! As Dr. Fagerstrom, researcher of evolutionary theory, stated,
"Major transitions in evolution - such as the origin of life, the emergence of eukaryotic cells, and the origin of the human capacity for language, to name but a few - could not be farther from an equilibrium. Also, they cannot be described satisfactorily by established models of microevolution."
In the context of his research, this statement was alluding to the fact that instances such as the Cambrian explosion (where, as Dr. Stephen Gould put it, "We have reason to think that all major anatomical designs may have made their appearance at that time."), swaths of animals change in ways that defy the normal model of evolution. While some may cite incomplete fossil records, this conclusion was reached from study of ocean beds, the most complete records available.
In summary, by showing that the "days" schedule was an abstract concept to place the genesis into a more comfortable dimension, and that current evolutionary models cannot explain the drastic changes that occur at specific points in time, I believe that it is evident that the coexistence of the Genesis story and evolution is, at the very least, possible, and that it accounts for numerous discrepancies in both scenarios. Thank you for your time, and to the opponent who would care to debate this topic.
You guys have plenty of common ground with where atheists tend to stand: you don't deny science, or history, or anything like that. You aren't bigots, homophobes or racists. From a moral perspective, you guys are the best version of Christianity there is.
However, therein lies the problem.
Because to pull this off, you transform the bible's stories that conflict with reality into "that's an allegory/story so ancient people would understand the concept". You have to change most of the bible's moral system, old and new testament into "Well that was for them" and play endless pedantic word translation games so you can justify throwing out everything you find distasteful (sexism, racism, etc etc etc the list goes on for miles). It's a completely exhausting juggling act.
What liberal christianity does is make the entire bible irrelevant, except for one tiny slice of Jesus' teachings that is used to justify doing so and then create a God in your own image. God becomes simply your buddy that you pray to and he blesses you, relieves you of stress, helps you get through the day and then when everything is over spirits you off to eternal undying bliss. Basically, you have created a god of wishful thinking. God agrees with whatever you agree with, and he is against whatever you are against. In other words, God is you.
I could not tolerate the charade, as I eventually came to see it, of being a theist atheist (That is, believing in God, but approaching life like an atheist with a veneer of divinity coating it).
And that is why I cannot respect liberal/progressive Christianity as a position. You are good people who are 99.9% atheist, just drop the God already and use your mental energies for more productive means. You are good because you are good people, not 'cuz Jesus loves you.
To respond to your "argument", I am a Catholic who sincerely believes in the church, and in discovering how to become closer to God through science. Considering that the history told within Genesis was most likely handed down generation after generation, I see it as not only plausible for the story to have become adapted to be understood by earlier minds, but also likely. Whether or not God directly told the early Israelites the time span of the Earth, how does a civilization that does not even understand why the sun moves in the sky comprehend the concept of billions of years. When one of them is lucky to live to 50, how do they comprehend the fact that the Earth used to be swirling with molten rock. By the time Genesis was actually written down, it had been passed down numerous times with each generation understanding less of the original concept. Just because one decides to seek truth through science, doesn't mean that he forsakes his beliefs. If you are so bigoted to the point that you cannot understand the fact that science could possibly correlate to religious beliefs, then your mind is as an oyster, cloistered away from the world and refusing to see anything.
The point of this debate was to depict whether two seemingly-contradictory theories could actually coincide. Your hate-flame has completely thrown any hope of a reasonable debate in that regard away. I'm sorry that you have apparently grown so hardened that the world extending from beyond your nose is completely in doubt.
As a final closing argument, and returning to the point of the actual debate, I have won because I have shown that the theories of Genesis and evolution can coexist, and my opponent has shown nothing to the contrary except for attack the integrity of the story of Genesis, which did not fit the criteria of the debate
Dano forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Sagey 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con lost conduct points from the forfeit, Pro's arguments were a little vague, but Con did not challenge them well.
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