The Instigator
Tatarize
Con (against)
Losing
20 Points
The Contender
killa_connor
Pro (for)
Winning
32 Points

The theory of evolution is compatible with mainstream religion

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/12/2008 Category: Religion
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,810 times Debate No: 1203
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (14)
Votes (12)

 

Tatarize

Con

Modern mainstream theological thought is not compatible with evolution. Not simply inconsistent with the Genesis' literal account but evolution itself is undermining to the core claims religions mainstream religions make.

1) You are special.
2) God created life (with or without evolution).
3) Perfect/Good creation.

A good understanding of evolution is deadly to these claims. Denial to these claims is deadly to religion.

A) Evolution does not hold that you are special. One of the defining understandings of religious thought is that humans are the divine end product of a divine process and that the creation of you, is a special creation. Much thought is devoted to the idea that the universe was created specifically for humanity. This is not the case. Evolution holds that we are simply a result, rather than a predefined result. Rather than a sentient species of chimpanzee becoming dominate, anything could have happened. Developments could have allowed plants to use the waste oxygen they produce and prevent all aerobic species from developing.

Evolution isn't random or chance, rather it is better described as shuffling a deck of cards and getting some result. However, looking at this result and claiming that it is special or more special than the nearly infinite number of other possible products is flat-out wrong. If the process was started over again the odds of our existence a second time would be so close to nothing as to be unworthy of mention. In short, evolution holds that you aren't special, you're just lucky. This does not reveal some divine plan at work in the universe; it destroys that picture.

B) God did not create life. God does not guide life. God does not do anything in the biological science. Most likely God does not exist. Regardless of the proposition of God, evolution only requires imperfect replication, we demonstratively have this. The question of the compatibility of evolution and religion isn't whether God the Create negates the possibility that evolution happened. Rather, does evolution contradict the notion of God the Creator? As broad as the theme of modern theology that "you are special" is to the idea that God created life.

However, we understand the process of evolution and, as observed, it clearly does function in the world as we see it. With simple processes it easily can create all the complexity and order we see around us in the world today. "From a simple beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."- As Darwin wrote at the end of The Origin of Species.

Evolution undermines the idea and purpose of God. We understand from our study of the natural world, that we are a part of the natural world and that natural forces are sufficient to create these "endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful." This understanding is intrinsically contradictory to the idea of God to which most theists subscribe. With a proper understanding of the theory of evolution and the implications thereof, one hardly has a need for this God figure. Even with all the power in the universe, science is reducing this God of the Gaps into the deist God (first mover, then does nothing) after all. By removing the peg of creating life, God becomes a shallow idea. With a materialistic explanation of the complexities of life God explains nothing. I maintain that theists would be uncomfortable and find their understandings of God to be incompatible with a deist God. Mainstream religions do not find comfort in the idea of a shrinking God, explaining less and less about the universe. There is a true need in mainstream religion to have God at the bottom of things, rather than as a secondary unneeded notion.

C) The natural world is not benevolent. It is not good. It is not perfect. It is not kind. The originator of the theory of evolution, Charles Darwin wrote to his friend Asa Grey, "With respect to the theological view of the question. This is always painful to me. I am bewildered. I had no intention to write atheistically. But I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and as I should wish to do, evidence of design and beneficence on all sides of us. There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae [wasps] with the express intention of their [larva] feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice. Not believing this, I see no necessity in the belief that the eye was expressly designed."

The natural world isn't a pretty utopia as it is made out to be. 99% of all species which have ever lived are dead. Evolution builds amazing and wondrous structures of the natural world on the corpses of those with a slightly inferior edge in the fight for survival. The natural world allows for outright disturbing things such as one blue-footed booby chick pecking the brains out of a second chick in order to get more resources. Most theists would find this to be contrary to the typical concept of a perfect and good God lovingly creating all life. To evolution, this behavior is not only to be keenly observed it is to be understood as in the best interests of the wasp or surviving chick.

Charles Darwin, like many afterwards, eventually lost his faith in God. And though it was the death of his daughter which finally broke his faith. His understandings of the chance happenings of the world and his understanding of evolution allowed him to easily break free.

Richard Dawkins in the Blind Watchmaker wrote: "An atheist before Darwin could have said, following Hume: 'I have no explanation for complex biological design. All I know is that God isn't a good explanation, so we must wait and hope that somebody comes up with a better one.' I can't help feeling that such a position, though logically sound, would have left one feeling pretty unsatisfied, and that although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist."

If one takes a look at the statistics you'll find that very few biologists believe in God. Further, you will find that belief in evolution is negatively correlated with belief in God.

---

I hold that a good understanding of the theory of evolution is devastating to mainstream religious thought.

1) Evolution holds that you are an unlikely chance occurrence (not to say evolution is chance just that the specific result 'you' is). A core religious claim is that you are a special intended result of God.
2) Evolution explains the natural world. God explains the natural world. This is a clear conflict.
3) Evolution holds that the misery in the world is an expected part of the world. Mainstream religious view of God is that good and God's creation should also be good. However, as Murphy's law states: Nature is a mother...
4) Although, the typical accusations that evolution is an atheistic religion are wrong and biased, they do have a grain of truth to them. Paley's argument that the intricacy of the natural world leads one to the conclusion that just as watches are made by watchmakers, nature is made by a nature-maker God, is the strongest argument for God to ever have existed; evolution utterly and completely demolished it.
5) Statistics strongly hold that understanding of evolution are inversely correlated with religion.

One could hold a vague idea of God in the pantheistic sense that the universe and phenomenon in the universe was 'God' or that a general non-religious form of undiscovered God exists. And as evolution demonstratively exists this would be a compatible notion. However, God as envisioned by the masses is not compatible with evolution as properly understood and any God which is compatible with evolution is a sorry hollow shell of a deity.
killa_connor

Pro

Hey Tatarize! Great debate topic and I'm excited for the exchange! I'm a big fan of yours on this site and I know this will be hard fought. I will admit that I'm back at school and so you might have to wait a couple of days for each response, simply because I feel that this debate deserves my time and attention.

Let me start by explaining that I understand and accept the theory of evolution. Natural Selection is an elegant mechanism for the development and complexity of life on this earth and I believe that the existing debate and controversy over the theory of evolution is largely based on distortion of the facts and religious rhetoric. Having said that evolution should never be used as a basis for the kind of cosmological divisiveness that you're asserting it to have. The philosophical implications that you have mapped onto the process of evolution are in no way a part of the theory of evolution merely an interpretation of its significance. Lets start with a basic definition that we can work with and flesh out:

"In the broadest sense, evolution is merely change, and so is all-pervasive; galaxies, languages, and political systems all evolve. Biological evolution ... is change in the properties of populations of organisms that transcend the lifetime of a single individual. The ontogeny of an individual is not considered evolution; individual organisms do not evolve. The changes in populations that are considered evolutionary are those that are inheritable via the genetic material from one generation to the next. Biological evolution may be slight or substantial; it embraces everything from slight changes in the proportion of different alleles within a population (such as those determining blood types) to the successive alterations that led from the earliest protoorganism to snails, bees, giraffes, and dandelions."
- Douglas J. Futuyma in Evolutionary Biology, Sinauer Associates 1986

Since you have already presented some opening arguments, I'll just go ahead and address them from top to bottom.

"1) You are special."

Actually I would contend that by an evolutionary stand point the human race is indeed unique and special. We, with the dawn of civilization and society, have been able to effectively immunize ourselves from the otherwise perilous effects of Natural Selection and the "survival of the fitness" battle that the animal kingdom must constantly participate in. We no longer need to hunt for survival or fear predators, instead we live in an environment where we can produce art, culture, writing, and even debate online. We have created our own social constructs or society for which one could argue a sociological evolution occurs (making oneself more competitive and desirable in a society) but certainly not the kind of biological evolution that Darwin or evolutionary biologists describe. So it would appear that even from an evolutionary stand point we are special because in a sense we won the evolutionary struggle! We control and manipulate this plant (for better or worst), we have supreme dominance over the animal kingdom, and we're really in no position to be challenged by forces outside of our own as a species.

"Evolution holds that we are simply a result, rather than a predefined result. Rather than a sentient species of chimpanzee becoming dominate, anything could have happened."

Evolution couldn't possibly prove this. It's likely that everything happened by random chance and by accident but does something being extremely unlikely make it impossible for an omnipotent and omniscient deity to control and manipulate. This is all based on the pre-supposition that God exists (which I don't) but I would even concede that there is no way to definitively prove that this wasn't all within "God's plan" because really there is no extent to God's power and mystery (Haha don't you love that line?). Evolution doesn't prove that things weren't pre-defined either that is another philosophical interpretation that you have mapped onto the scientific theory.

"2) God created life (with or without evolution)."

Evolution has nothing to do with the origins of life. It merely describes the methods for the increasing complexity in life over time. This is the most common perceived point of contention for people though but really evolution is based in observable traits of nature that we can use to understand the course of biological life on this earth. There are contending theories about the origins of life and the Universe most notably being the primordial soup theory of abiogenesis and the Big Bang theory.

"Mainstream religions do not find comfort in the idea of a shrinking God, explaining less and less about the universe. There is a true need in mainstream religion to have God at the bottom of things, rather than as a secondary unneeded notion."

Scientific America had an interesting response to this perceived conflict and the "god of the gaps" argument you appear to be employing.

"You can be a theist, believing that behind the veil of randomness lurks an active, loving, manipulative God, or you can be a materialist, for whom everything is matter and energy interacting within space and time. Whichever metaphysical club you belong to, the science comes out the same."

I think it's important to remember that most "mainstream religions" hold God as an overseeing eternal powerful force that is a constant presence in our world. You assume that natural occurrences and the theories that predicate them are not the direct result of God but in reality the ambiguity and inherent mystery of the notion of God prevents you from making this assertion. So my question to you is, why the divisiveness? Religion is a belief system and today in society it would serve us better to tear down the walls of division between science and religion so we as a culture can embrace and support scientific discovery. By creating this false dichotomy between religion and science you alienate and intimidate people from encouraging and participating in scientific discourse.

"3) Perfect/Good creation... The natural world is not benevolent. It is not good. It is not perfect."

Agreed. But I think this accounted for by a Christian perspective. Generally Christians believe that man and indeed life on this earth fell from the grace of God and evil and maliciousness was introduced to the world. This is allegorically represented by Adam's falling from God's grace and indeed the basis of free will. I'm not an expert on this topic but I don't think it has ever been a problem for theists to explain evil and imperfection in the world.

"99% of all species which have ever lived are dead."

But what does this mean to an eternal and omnipotent God? Time is nothing and and neither are the statistics that try to predict who he is paying attention to and downplay the human race's importance to him. Ultimately, I don't think this is a point you can win because it implies that you understand how God prioritizes. Which can't be true. Haha remember how mysterious he is?

Ultimately, I agree with your points about how religion and God is NOT a source for understanding and explaining the Natural world but that doesn't mean that the natural world disproves God's existence. As long as the Bible is interpreted on an allegorical level and God is accepted to be a force outside of observation (thus the need for "faith) then evolution nor the natural world will ever be in contradiction with God. Again, thanks for the topic and I can't wait for your response!

-connor
Debate Round No. 1
Tatarize

Con

I am not divisive, evolution is divisive. Mainstream religion is directly contradicted by the clear philosophical implications of biological evolution. I'm just the messenger.

I'm sure that some people could rectify their faith with evolution. However, one must be diminished. Either their God didn't create all the life on the planet or the life evolved. One could perhaps contend divinely driven evolution; many do. However, that isn't evolution proper, it's a silly concept of evolution as a tool for an all-powerful being. It largely contends that we are the inevitable result of evolution; we are not. One quick change in the carboniferous and poof, we never would have existed. There is no requirement that we evolve, those that happen to, happen to live. The true power of evolution is that no driving force whatsoever is needed.

In the struggle for life, there are far fewer organisms in existence than could be in existence if you consider the breeding rates of organisms. There is a struggle within a species to survive, and anytime one organism has a slight edge due to a helpful genetic chance change, it will take over the gene pool, one change after another, mistakes and prior models dead and failed. We are nothing more than a massive accumulation of lucky genetic mutations. That isn't what is accepted or even acceptable by mainstream religion.

"I know I'm somebody 'Cause God don't make no junk." - Ethel Waters

This is the traditional view of religion. You are special. You are good. You are created by God! -- Evolution, says that one little jiggle and the entirety of humanity would have been another could-have-been. There's nothing special about the accumulation of mutations which lead to you, just as there was nothing special about that particular sperm of your father's meeting that particular egg of your mother's... you got lucky. Nothing divine... nothing special. If not you, something else.

I don't argue that humans don't believe humans are special, or society and civilization aren't extremely useful. My point is that there is a core religious *EXPECTATION* of humanity's divine creation rather than just luck.

Human evolution, according to recent studies is actually going much faster (not stopped as you contend). There is still a battle of survival. If you check your family tree back far enough, you know what type of people you descend from? Rich people. There are genes for accumulation of wealth and in areas where poor people die and rich people live even as recently as the middle ages we can see these genetic changes.

Certainly humans have advantages over other animals, but my point is that we are just another ape, the third chimpanzee, better at using tools and having a larger brain. However, all in all, we could far more easily not exist. This is a clear implication of evolution and an unacceptable notion by mainstream religions.

You argue that "It's likely that everything happened by random chance and by accident but does something being extremely unlikely make it impossible for an omnipotent and omniscient deity to control and manipulate." -- No. I'm not saying it's impossible or anything about odds. Talking about evolution, "odds" aren't a coherent notion. My point is that this fiddling deity, this deity who tweaks little bits here and there and helps evolution over the difficult bits is religiously unacceptable: a third wheel of creation! 'Evolution explains it all, but certainly God must help sometimes' is not the argument of mainstream religion. Mainstream religion does not exalt God of Special Pleading. -- Mainstream religion worships God the creator who MADE life. This notion also requires an inferior understanding of evolution. The sheer power of building bits of lucky happenstance upon the corpses of the less lucky cousins does not require outside forces. It is akin to suggesting that math only work because elves make sure the numbers add up right.

You suggest that evolution does not dissuade one from believing in a predetermined outcome. By whom was this outcome predetermined? What part of random mutations with the lucky-rare-useful ones preserved suggests things are predetermined? Not only should evolution dissuade one from believing in a predetermined outcome, believing in a predetermined outcome should dissuade one from believing evolution.

Mainstream religions find the fact that we're apes and we descended from a common ancestor with monkeys to be categorically unpalatable, rightly so, and far from your nuanced suggestion.

You talk about "God's Plan" or consistency with "God". That isn't what the topic refers to. I am saying that evolution and mainstream religion are not compatible. Not religion in general or just *SOME* religion, I refer to mainstream religion: the religion of the people. Not some abstracted belief in a deist God or in some semi-interventionist deity.

Let me be clear here. I do not wish to be accused of committing a "no true Scotsman fallacy". I use the word mainstream to imply the bulk of religious thought today. I do not mean to shift the goalposts or equivocate. I am simply saying that the majority of religionists would be unable to comport their religion with a good understand of evolution.

If I were to argue fundamentalists, I'd have strong grounds:
http://www.answersingenesis.org...
(Twenty Reasons Why Genesis is incompatible with evolution)

This clearly show some obvious disjunct when you consider the utter disbelief in evolution within the fundamentalist communities and the extremely good understanding and acceptance of evolution within the secular community. Why then do the mainstream religious believers reject evolution?

http://www.religioustolerance.org...

A 2006 poll found 55% of people in the Us hold the creationist view, 27% theistic evolution, and 13% evolution. Which seems to hold a 68% group that doesn't find evolution at all compatible with religion. Also, it's noteworthy that creationism is often placed opposing evolution. You either believe in evolution or creation. You believe God did it or evolution did it. This is a majority claim.

The reasons for non-belief in evolution were asked in the 2006 poll the top five reasons are:
1) belief Jesus Christ
2) belief in God
3) due to my religion or faith
4) not enough evidence
5) belief in the Bible

And I'm pretty sure that #4 there is also due to religious beliefs. There's literally a world of evidence for evolution.

My point that "God created life", is meant to express the complexities of life. I do not believe that mainstream religious faith is okay with the idea of God creating a simple replicating molecule and then evolution unguided creating whatever willy-nilly. Further, although evolution has nothing direct to say about abiogenesis it isn't unconcerned. The origin of life perhaps consists of a simple molecule or a starting chemical reaction. Evolution doesn't directly explain abiogenesis but it does reduce it to a trivial point.

You state: "I think it's important to remember that most 'mainstream religions' hold God as an overseeing eternal powerful force that is a constant presence in our world." -- Exactly. And the idea of simple easy to understand natural processes like evolution making everything we are isn't a "compatible" notion with this idea.

As for your commentary on Adam and Eve, I refer you to Answersingenesis which gave pretty clear reasons to actually find those incompatible with evolution: animals starting off as vegetarians, God making Adam from dust, etc. You can't pick and choose what "mainstream religion" accepts. You can't suggest they believe the fall and yet would have no qualms believing they are related to radishes.

Perhaps these people just don't understand their religion or evolution well enough to comport the two, or perhaps you don't realize the divisiveness.
killa_connor

Pro

"I am not divisive, evolution is divisive."

You need to stop making generalizations like this. Your interpretation's implications are divisive not the theory itself, how could a theory about the development of life disprove a super-natural entity like God? Nothing can. Just like nothing can affirm his existence.

"It largely contends that we are the inevitable result of evolution; we are not. One quick change in the carboniferous and poof, we never would have existed."

It would contend that we are the unlikely result of evolution. And you're right, we should have never existed just pure chance that we did pop into existence. Except maybe if some omnibenevolent God was tipping the odds in our favor =) You see where I'm going with this? It's really not difficult to rationalize and explain the domain in which a hypothetical God could exist and operate. It is because a majority of Christians in this country (and the entire Catholic tradition) embrace an allegorical interpretation of the Bible. Last round I felt that you were attempting to straw man some of my arguments by introducing the ridiculous nature of the Fundamentalist account for creation and arguing against it. In reality, the majority of the mainstream religion we're arguing about appear to comfortably understand the different realms for which the two operate (Keep in mind that 40% of scientists in the natural sciences believe in God!). Take Brian Greene who is a theoretical physicist at Brown University, he works at the University's Institute for Strings, Cosmology, and Astroparticle Physics (ISCAP), and is leading a research program applying superstring theory to cosmological questions. He offers this explanation in a 2004 National Geographic article:

"Science is very good at answering the 'how' questions. How did the universe evolve to the form that we see? But it is woefully inadequate in addressing the 'why' questions. Why is there a universe at all? These are the meaning questions, which many people think religion is particularly good at dealing with. This is where many people will find God, and the fact of having a final unanswerable 'why' will not go away, even if the 'why' gets more and more fundamental as we progress."

If you don't need an explanatory principle, don't invoke it. Which is why the questions that religion attempts to answer are inherently outside of scientific inquiry.

"We are nothing more than a massive accumulation of lucky genetic mutations. That isn't what is accepted or even acceptable by mainstream religion."

Again you're very presumptuous about the nature of mainstream religion. I think most theists would hear this and merely equate this 'luck' with the realm within God operates. Again I ask, what does a percentage mean to God? You're trying to use statistics to argue against an entity we can't even define. And yes, one "little jiggle" could have kept humanity from ever existing. But we do exist. In a way this only re-affirms the perceived power and manipulation that theists accredit God of having over the natural world. What's left after we establish that we do, in fact, exist? Why do we exist. Which is a hypothesis that science can never have.

"Human evolution, according to recent studies is actually going much faster (not stopped as you contend)"

I foresaw this argument in the first round and already addressed it. What you proceed to describe so is a form of social evolution which operates on an artificial system that we have created from social constructs. This is not the biological evolutionary theory that you have drawn your philosophical implications nor can it be associated with Darwin or the natural sciences. From the perspective of evolutionary biology and the natural selection associated with it we as a species have effectively immunized ourselves from otherwise lethal forces of an adopted environment. I don't mean to suggest that evolution is not a constant force in nature but the kind of environmental survival of the fittest mechanism that works in the natural world does not apply within the confines of established civilization. This is because even if you're retarded, crippled, and poor you can still find a niche in developed society. The natural world would not be so forgiving!

"Certainly humans have advantages over other animals, but my point is that we are just another ape, the third chimpanzee, better at using tools and having a larger brain."

Agreed. But we appear to be in a position of significance control and power over the rest of the animal kingdom and the the planet. Aren't we? This is what I was referring to when I clumsily described how we as a species are winning the evolutionary struggle. You can downplay the significance of homo sapiens as much as you would like, but I am under the sincere belief that we are an incredibly endowed species and I think the theory of evolution only re-affirms this belief.

You also provide several articulate arguments that appear to reinforce the "god of the gaps" model you are describing. Again, I don't think this is hard for your average person of faith in the United States (90%) to rationalize this. God can operates through the forces of the natural world. He is not "tweaking" a little bit here and there. He would be a constant force that absolute laws of the universe stem from. God doesn't just directly intervene here and there with miracles and magic. I think that's a rather archaic model that you have attacked because most modern day theists accept that these kinds of examples of empirical and natural support will never be found for affirming the existence of God.

"You believe God did it or evolution did it. "

You provide statistics that support this false dichotomy but it doesn't re-enforce your arguments because I think you're misrepresenting mainstream religion in your wording. 'Creationism' in the 21st century is near extinction what many Americans have chosen to embrace is a form of Intelligent Design which is false but it also accepts a vast majority of evolutionary theory. Michael Behe popularized this movement and although it is also empirically flawed it does accept the mechanism of Natural Selection, the age of the earth, speciation, and the fossil record. So again, remember what we're debating here. This isn't a black and white issue people can understand evolution and evolutionary theory and interpret it differently and recognize it's own implications. It's no less valid then the interpretation that you have adopted.

The top five reasons you supplied are great because they prove that the sad truth in America is that people don't understand evolution and blindly despise it because of the implied divisiveness you (and many others) have assigned to it. The idea that Jesus Christ in some way refutes or is a reason for not accepting evolution speaks for itself. This is a problem of perception not that the two notions are contradictive.

"Evolution doesn't directly explain abiogenesis but it does reduce it to a trivial point."

Not really. It narrows it to the conclusion that life began. We assume it was simple life. I don't see what else it could possibly explain and there is much much more that needs explaining.

"You can't pick and choose what "mainstream religion" accepts."

I'm not trying to. I'm using the generally recognized allegorical interpretation of the Bible that lends itself to a macro-context of morality in the Bible. I have to stay in generalities because the group you have identified, "mainstream religion", is an enormous percentage of Americans that have a range of beliefs but who generally adopt an allegorical interpretation. You really just don't find Christians running around condemning virgins to death anymore.

Okay that's all for now. Nice second round. I hope people take the time to read through this debate because it really has a lot to offer!

-connor
Debate Round No. 2
Tatarize

Con

You asked "how could a theory about the development of life disprove a super-natural entity like God?" -- Well, does that supernatural entity involve itself with with the development of life? Oh, it does. Oh, it suggests that rather than arising out of a slow and gradual process of incremental changes that life arise suddenly at the divine hand of the creator? That seems contradictory.

Stop trying to shift the argument. I need not prove or disprove either notion. I am seeking to demonstrate the incompatibility between the two, not that evolution disproves God. Just as easily, God could disprove evolution. The theory of evolution is not compatible with mainstream religion. I do not suppose that one is true or the other false, I am simply saying that they can't both be accurate with their core claims. I am saying that you cannot bake a cake AND have it appear out of thin air (I'll leave the attribution of which process involves baking and appearing to the reader).

You state that "[i]t's really not difficult to rationalize and explain the domain in which a hypothetical God could exist and operate." - Certainly, that is true. Now if you could demonstrate that mainstream religions believe in a "hypothetical God" you'd be all set. I contend that they are not compatible for the express reason that they believe in a real God who created life. You are a special creation of God. I contend that religionists are not apt to "rationalize" a "domain" for their God, but rather believe their God exists and has a domain: the universe!

"I know I'm somebody 'Cause God don't make no junk." -- You are a cousin to monkeys and radishes, made via selection forces weeding out less fit lines as OPPOSED to being created in the image of God. You're a fluke of an uncaring universe and a mindless process which makes impressive things.

You say that "Christians in this country embrace an allegorical interpretation of the Bible." - Better not let them hear you say that. 55% responded to a 2006 poll that God created the Earth exactly as it is less than 10,000 years ago. That seems to be pretty non-allegorical to me. And, praytell, what part of the Genesis "allegory" did Christ die for?

In round 1, you said that "[g]enerally Christians believe that man and indeed life on this earth fell from the grace of God and evil and maliciousness was introduced to the world." - They do? They believe that man and life allegorically fell from the grace of a metaphorical God? I understand the desire to play both sides, and indeed I concede that to some extent some Christians do this same dancing around the issues. That is that wiggle-room is carved out of religion to the detriment of religion; it is a minority opinion. The vast majority of people either believe the Bible or the science and they do not, as you say, rationalize and hypothesize some vague domain for God.

And where are the scientists in all this? Where are the scientists creating allegories of valid scientific theories and strong evidence in favor of these notions? Are genes simply metaphors too? Do the proteins created giving one organism a slight edge over another an allegory for something? Is the six hundred million years since the end of the Precambrian a poem on creation? Mainstream religion is compatible with evolution so long as it's a hollow void of true religion? According to that 2006 poll that sort of sell-out religion is only endured by 27% of the population. Mainstream?

You state that science can answer the "how" questions but not the "why" questions. When a hurricane destroyed New Orleans I watched as religious figures debated the why question, whether it was the gays in the French Quarter who were spared the brunt of the force, the sin and decadence of Marti Gras, a loss of faith of the community, or a test of faith to bring God's wrath... I don't believe religion answers the "why" questions at all. Further, in explaining exactly how hurricanes form and why they intensify and why they act as they do and why this and that science provides answer to the why question too! You could take any question asking "why" and replace it with a question asking "how" and find yourself with more robust answer. -- None of this at all excuses the problem at hand. Mainstream religion rejects evolution. Evolutionists reject mainstream religion. This isn't because one side has failed to change their position into an allegory and make the two fit into the same head... this is because they both speak to the question of "how". How did life get here? Evolution or creation?

You continue, noting "[w]hich is why the questions that religion attempts to answer are inherently outside of scientific inquiry." But, religion answered the question of how life came to be! Genesis 1:11 "And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so." -- This is the core of the problem, evolution answer that question too: it is a series of small gradual mutations over millions of years producing the species of grass and fruit trees. -- To argue that Creation is inherently beyond trying to answer questions science answers is as incoherent as saying that my ancestral relationship with bacteria has no religious ramifications! Here, they are trying to answer the same question. Somebody is wrong and everybody knowns it!

I'm not being presumptive when talking about mainstream religion, I have been giving statistics as the mainstream beliefs. Fundamentalism is mainstream whether you like it or not. These percentages may mean nothing to God, but they mean everything to the definition of "mainstream".

We may very well be a special species with a number of remarkable adaptations, but the most impressive monkey is still a risen monkey rather than a fallen god. This is the promise of religion and the conclusion of evolution. They are not two ways of seeing the world, they are two contradictory answers to the same question.

You proceed on to what, I admit, is an interesting argument; though a failure. You state "'Creationism' in the 21st century is near extinction what many Americans have chosen to embrace is a form of Intelligent Design"? Well, I have a poll here...
http://www.gallup.com...
58% say that creationism is probably or definitely true (extinction?). Intelligent design? 31%. And this ignores the real problem with your argument. Intelligent Design is religion with a hat. In Kitzmiller v. Dover, Judge Jones ruled that Intelligent Design could not be taught because it violated the prohibition against teaching religion in science class. On top of that, ID is not compatible with evolution!

You spend a lot of energy trying to show how religion can bend over backwards to perhaps avoid saying anything about the creation of life on this planet and yet forget that evolution isn't going to bend with you at all. Even if ID was mainstream (which it isn't) it is *STILL* not compatible with evolution.

----

Although the point is actually minor, you say that I described "social evolution which operates on an artificial system... not the biological ... theory" - No. I am actually saying that biological evolution is going faster today. Biological evolution is more rapid today:
http://www.reuters.com...

It's auxiliary to the debate, but you seemed under the impression that evidence suggested that human biological evolution had stopped or slowed. Stating: "This is because even if you're retarded, crippled, and poor you can still find a niche in developed society." -- I use to believe the same thing. Apparently, as studies show, that opposite is true. A result religion might have an objection to.

----

Thank you for the fantastic debate. I recommend readers enjoy.

Tatarize.
killa_connor

Pro

killa_connor forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Kleptin 9 years ago
Kleptin
Ugh, almost, but not quite there. Need another *intelligent* voter.
Posted by Tatarize 9 years ago
Tatarize
Statistics show 55% are young Earth creationist. Or weakly identify with that position.

I think my case is pretty set anyhow, but to say that I'm wrong is a bit suspect on account of the statistics backing me up.

Furthermore, come on, he forfeited. *sigh*
Posted by erkifish26 9 years ago
erkifish26
I just feel like Con misconstrues "mainstream religion" to mean much more extreme than I believe it is. As this issue is never fully settled in the round, I vote Pro.
Posted by Tatarize 9 years ago
Tatarize
-- "And you wonder why religious people continually try to discredit evolution...."

No. I don't wonder for a moment why religious people try to deny an amazingly established scientific theory which explains pretty much everything about life on this planet.

Their answer of "God", needs to do something and without the mystery of life, their God pretty much does nothing. Realizing how evolution explains things, with a fullness and satisfying explanation, that is something religions should envy.

I daresay you can only exalt mysteries for so long waving your hands and leaving them just as mysterious as you found them, before people get tired of you. Give people a taste for real answers and they will come to expect them. I daresay steering people away from science itself is probably a goal the religion should advocate in their own interests. Understanding the world is poisonous to faith.

"An atheist before Darwin could have said, following Hume: 'I have no explanation for complex biological design. All I know is that God isn't a good explanation, so we must wait and hope that somebody comes up with a better one.' I can't help feeling that such a position, though logically sound, would have left one feeling pretty unsatisfied, and that although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist." - Richard Dawkins, a Blind Watchmaker.
Posted by AntiPatriot 9 years ago
AntiPatriot
"A good understanding of evolution is deadly to these claims. Denial to these claims is deadly to religion."

And you wonder why religious people continually try to discredit evolution....
Posted by Tatarize 9 years ago
Tatarize
So you argue evolution and mainstream religion are compatible even if evolution supporters and mainstream religionists don't see how? How do you carve out this nuanced position? And moreover does anybody?

I'm sure you could accept all of science on religious grounds as Kleptin noted anything could be compatible with religion because religion is basically groundless and incoherent.

You might be able to fit them into the same head. However, I still have another argument up my sleeve. The understanding of "compatible". Ken Miller is a catholic with a fairly traditional faith, he's also a rather famous and remarkably good evolutionary biologist. Does this mean the two beliefs are compatible? I think not. I don't think he comports the beliefs. He has part of his head set aside to believe this nonsense and another part for being a fantastic scientist... I don't think the two ever bleed over or are forced to mesh at all.

Basically if you get somebody who believes in evolution and stuff him in the same head as a mainstream religionist and don't let the two interact... that's the kind of "compatible" you have. It's like saying that my computer is compatible with my pet goblin because I have a rule that goblins can't use the computer.

You're argument has shown quite well versed at suggesting that Christianity can be adjusted enough to work well with evolution. But, that's a one way street. Part of the clear and obvious power of evolution is the lack of guiding force, and suggesting a guiding force is like suggesting math only works because fairies adjust the numbers. Suggesting that evolution is a tool of God may be acceptable by religion, Asa Grey was fond of this argument, but that doesn't mean that evolution is compatible with design. Evolution works strictly because at the bottom there is no design, just random processes bootstraping amazing complexity out of happy little mutations. Adding, "And God helps", is to but it bluntly, shallow on both sides.
Posted by killa_connor 9 years ago
killa_connor
Gah! I hate missing my response due dates!

Either way I'd like to end by pointing out that the debate turned into arguing about what the definition of "mainstream" religion is. I feel that even with two rounds I was able to prove the science and religion are not inherently at odds. Unfortunately, most people don't recognize the compatibility and instead reject evolution without fully understanding it. Even so mainstream religions such as Catholicism openly recognize and accept the theory of evolution and assert that religion and science are compatible.

Mainstream religion might be pitted against evolution but that does not mean evolution is incompatible with Christianity and its various sects that comprise this mainstream. God can work through nature which means that the study of these natural processes can be equated with the work of God or the understanding of God's plan.
Posted by Tatarize 9 years ago
Tatarize
Logic is restrictive. It restricts claims only to those claims which can be shown to be true. Faith, by its very nature, is not restrictive. With faith anything can be accepted as true. With logic only a subset of those things are acceptable, namely the subset of true facts.

Faith certainly can allow one to believe anything. However, is that helpful? Is that good? Should we permit that? -- Logic, reason, science, math... many of these endeavors seek to restrict what we can say and what we can believe to only those things which are true. Isn't that better?

You can have a useful system for believing true things or a limitless system for believing anything. I think the proof is in the pudding. What has science, logic, math, reason produced and compare that to what faith has produced? To date, I am unaware of any mystery, great or small, which has be solved via faith sans evidence. As for an evidence-based contradictory-free way of knowing things, technology has reshaped the world. Finding true facts about how the world works and letting reality guide beliefs rather than beliefs supplant reality has produced undeniable results.

Religious beliefs have exempted themselves from the standards of evidence, allowing them to believe everything and prove absolutely nothing. Even a causal stroll through an insane asylum will show you that faith proves nothing.
Posted by Kleptin 9 years ago
Kleptin
That's what I'm iffy about.

I've been toying around with a really strange notion that found its way into my head and won't leave. For all intents and purposes, this idea is completely unreasonable with absolutely no logical merit whatsoever. I've even had an immense about of difficulty typing it out because I can't quite seem to place it in words coherently.

Logic as a yardstick for validity has its axioms.

Faith excludes logic and reason and is the foundation for religious belief.

To answer your question, religious beliefs should be exempt from the standards of evidence because by definition, they do not need to be validated, seeing as how they operate solely through faith.

In this case, religious belief can be compatible with anything.

My head hurts. I must have committed twenty or so different fallacies in that argument and I can't even pick them out.
Posted by Tatarize 9 years ago
Tatarize
Why should religious beliefs be exempt from the standards of evidence? And if they are, then couldn't any and all religions be valid?

If we want to have true beliefs and reject false beliefs, it is best to have some standards of evidence for beliefs. You could go ahead and believe things even without any reason to suppose that they might be true, but shouldn't the very real possibility that you're believing outright falsehoods nag at you?
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