A Conversation for Evolution and Creation - an Introduction and Glossary

Science versus Religion?

Post 1

TheMyriadWhoIsALordOfTheRingsFanatic

Hello,

It is clear to me that the two statements below are true:

1) There is no evidence strong enough to force anyone to abandon a belief.

2) There is no belief strong enough to force anyone to accept it against evidence.

Therefore this whole debate is a waste of time.

Just thought I'd add my two penny'orth.

Myriad.


Science versus Religion?

Post 2

Danny B

No, don't say that - I spent *ages* sub-editing it smiley - winkeye


Science versus Religion?

Post 3

TheMyriadWhoIsALordOfTheRingsFanatic

That "waste of time" bit was just my opinion. There is no evidence to support it!

Cheers,

Myriad.


Science versus Religion?

Post 4

Hoovooloo

I have to say, I agree. The Creation/Evolution debate IS a waste of time. Similarly, it would be a waste of time debating whether the earth is flat, or whether the moon is made of green cheese. There are two main reasons why it's a waste of time.

(1) all the evidence of reality points conclusively towards one side of the argument.
(2) no amount of pointing this out will change the minds of the people who choose to believe the opposite.

I would like nothing better than for Creationists to stop wasting everyone's time trying to get their nonsense taught in schools. However, as long as they continue to exert influence over the education of children, people with an interest in the future should resist them, and campaign aggressively to teach religion in ONLY religious studies lessons, and ONLY science in science lessons.

That, you must surely agree, is NOT a waste of time. Getting this debate aired as a University project was at least in part aimed at publicising what these people are up to. It's NOT about their right to their belief, it's about their attempts to pervert education.

H.


Science versus Religion?

Post 5

TheMyriadWhoIsALordOfTheRingsFanatic

I did say the "waste of time" bit was just an opinion.

Myriad.


Science versus Religion?

Post 6

TheMyriadWhoIsALordOfTheRingsFanatic

Hello,

"(1) all the evidence of reality points conclusively towards one side of the argument.
(2) no amount of pointing this out will change the minds of the people who choose to believe the opposite."


Just a note about your general style.

It is clear, by your words, that you are squarely behind one side of this argument. It is essential in any article to be balanced and show both sides of the argument without bias. This, I submit, is something you have failed to do. By your use of inflammatory language,i.e "nonsense", you alienate your reader to such an extent that they read your words with scepticism. If you seriously wish to argue your case, I suggest the softly, softly reasonable approach. As I said in my initial note; force, either by arms or by words, will not convince anyone to agree to one side of the argument or the other.

I hope you take this constructive criticism in the spirit in which it is given i.e. generously and with the aim of helping you.

Myriad.


Science versus Religion?

Post 7

Hoovooloo

Interesting observation about my lack of balance.

This whole project started because of the submission to Peer Review of an article by a Creationist. He wrote a biased, uninformed and just plain factually wrong article which defamed science in general and certain specific scientists in particular. Many qualified people pointed out to him where he was going wrong, gently at first. He ignored them, or rather, he said "I hear what you're saying, but I'm not going to take any notice. Put this in the Edited Guide now, please." So his entry was removed from PR. He put it back, unchanged. It was removed. He put it back. It was removed. He put it back. He refused to change it, and he refused to take on board any criticism of it, and he persisted in submitting it to PR.

I was interested, and thought that the debate deserved treatment in the Edited Guide. However, it was obvious that no single entry of reasonable length could cover both sides. It was also obvious that I couldn't write an entry from the Creationist point of view, because I don't believe it. It was equally obvious that no creationist could write an entry on evolution, because I've yet to even hear of one who understands what it is, let alone has a viable alternative theory with any scientific basis. I couldn't do evolution justice either, because I'm an engineer, not a molecular biologist. What I could do was coordinate a project.

The aim was emphatically NOT to produce a project in which every entry was balanced in itself - I believed from the start that that would be impossible. Rather, the aim was for a project which OVERALL, if read in its entirety, presented as much as possible of both sides of the argument. The Creationist entries were written by a believer, and there's no attempt to pretend balance in them. The evolution entries by a molecular biologist, and other stuff by myself and others. The "other stuff", in the interests of balance, includes an alternative view of the theory of human origins which mainstream science tries to ignore. It's no help to creationism, but it does aim to bring the science side down a peg or two.

My own views are expressed emphatically in the attached conversation threads, for sure, but as much as possible the aim for the entries was for them to be non-inflammatory and as balanced as possible, and I think that that *has* been achieved.

I'd be interested to know what you think of the project as a whole, taking into account only the content of the entries. If there's anything inflammatory in them, please, point it out.

I've never claimed to be neutral - but this project arose out of the absolute refusal of a creationist to present anything like a balanced or even accurate entry, and yet at the same time to DEMAND to be heard, so I don't feel too bad about that.

As to convincing people: the people who need convincing are the parents and people on the education boards. I have no interest in curing creationists of their superstition, nor do I believe it possible for a creationist to convince a scientist to ignore reality and look to the Bible for scientific truth.

The ONLY people who matter are those who make the decisions about the education of children, and Creationists don't mind using various means, subtle and not so subtle, to influence them. That makes me angry, and if that comes across, well so be it.

H.


Science versus Religion?

Post 8

TheMyriadWhoIsALordOfTheRingsFanatic

Hello,

"I'd be interested to know what you think of the project as a whole, taking into account only the content of the entries. If there's anything inflammatory in them, please, point it out."

I believe that we are living in an age of supposed free speech. Therefore anyone, with any opinions at all, should be allowed the freedom to express these opinions.
I, personally, do not wish to listen to the leader of the National Front giving a racist talk. However, I would not prevent him from giving his talk. I would simply walk away and refuse to listen (as I have heard all that trash before). This, I believe, is the dignified and adult thing to do.
However, it is clear that young children being taught in a school do not have the freedom to "walk away".

So what is the answer? As parents are supposedly responsible for their children, and teachers take over that responsibility while the child is in school, it would appear logical that teachers should have the authority to make the young childrens' decisions for them. However, teachers, being human beings, have a wide variety of beliefs themselves. So some would be Creationists and some would be Evolutionists. So where is the unbiased choice going to come from?

The answer is that I don't know. I do not know whether the theory of evolution is 100% fact. I do not know if the Creationist theory (any of them) is 100% fact. I think that it is important for any human being to hold his (or her) hand up and admit that there is an enormous amount that we still don't know (this applies to the scientists as much as to the believers).

The challenge for humanity is in the search for knowledge. As we gather more and more knowledge then superstition will fade. This, on reflection, is the long term (and only) solution. It is not a process that can be speeded up because knowledge MUST be proven and something which is promoted as being a fundamental truth but which then turns out to be false (or doubtful) is extremely damaging not only to the scientific community but to the advancement of humanity.

So I think patience is the solution. Anger does not help and, in many ways, is counter-productive. By arguing in a reasonable manner and listening patiently to the ignorant or biased a person elevates themselves to be like Gandhi, or (dare I say) Jesus Christ.

Anyway, that's my opinion.

Cheers,

Myriad.


Science versus Religion?

Post 9

Jordan

Hi there!

I can't help but agree that Hoovooloo's views on Creationism in religion and evolution in science are correct - evolution being (predominantly) a scientific theory and creation lacking much evidence. However, shouldn't we balance this out with another class in philosophy where the relevence of each can be debated?

- Jordan


Science versus Religion?

Post 10

Wargamer (The Wanderer)

"I would simply walk away and refuse to listen (as I have heard all that trash before). This, I believe, is the dignified and adult thing to do.
However, it is clear that young children being taught in a school do not have the freedom to "walk away"."

To comment on this, I think in that respect I was lucky. My parents are Church of England, but they never go to church or any of that c**p. I have no problem with religion like that; belief without major social effect. I prefer to think of myself as atheist, and feel quite strongly about the fact I was baptised when I was too young to talk, let alone make desicions for myself. This is how religion should be given to our children; tell them it's there, explain deeper if they're interested, but don't immerse them in it.

Anyway, religion is getting just a little tired now; we needed it to explain things and also, to a large extent, to control people. After all, doesn't religion have the commandments? Don't you /have/ to go to church on sundays or fast or whatever (you probably should, but these days you have the right to give "religious law" the finger)? Science doesn't ask anything of you. It's always in place. We can't defy gravity and we can't turn lead into gold. Conversly, however, we've got no-one to blame but ourselves for what we do wrong (think the well used "Holy War" or "God Told Me To" excuses. When's the last time gravity told you to kill someone?).


Science versus Religion?

Post 11

Jordan

Your view is biased, unscientific and illogical smiley - bigeyes. You are observing past conflicts between a few religions, and generalising to all others, regardless of the fact that the overwhelming majority of religions have never been part of such wars.

Additionally, separation of church and state is viewed, by many religions as essential. Note the fact that most of the injustices related to religious groups (including the Crusades and the Inquisition) occur when such a separation is not in effect, and religious groups are elevated to a position of extreme prominencesmiley - angel. The Taliban are no exception - the difference being that the authority is over a subgroup of the population rather than a nation. Also, consider the situation in Utah, where, for example, homosexual activities are banned because of the highly conservative views of the religious populace - despite the fact that the Prophet clearly stated that church and state should remain separate, and the teachings in the Book of Mormon to the effect that the Church has no right to restrain others when they believe that their activities are OK.

From this, we can derive a general rule: religion only becomes a problem when it decides that it has the right to impose its beliefs upon other people, at the expense of personal freedom. smiley - peacesign

This applies to scientists, too. Science is (thanks Hoovooloo!) based on the absence of faith, but most scientists live under the fundamental assumption that man-made laws can be developed which accurately mirror reality smiley - bluebutterfly. Unfortunately, this leads many scientists to believe that they, being members of this unassailable modern-day Tower of Babel, are superior to others who work on principles of faith. Thus, any attempts by religion to place itself on an equal standing with science as a valid belief system are resisted. If this is not imposition of beliefs, then what is?

Logically, it cannot be argued that a religious upbringing places some sort of burden on a child that a scientific upbringing would not. Just as a believer-come-atheist might still be affected by the guilty feeling that they are compromising their morality, an atheist-come-believer is still plagued by guilt that they are compromising their objectivity. Religious parents have every right to bring up their children in the way they see fit (despite the dubious nature of baptism at birthsmiley - huh), just as atheists can bring up their children to follow the guiding light of science.

A final point: I disagree that religion is becoming tired or obsolete. Religion provides an adequate foundation to answer questions that science cannot, examples being the nature of consciousness and the afterlife. (Please debate these elsewhere - debates get distinctly cluttered when such topics are introduced in parallel! smiley - ghost) Besides which, religion provides a firm basis for morality that can only be introduced into science by expanding it further into the realms of philosophy and incorporating the concept of 'natural good' - attempt to demonstrate objectively why murder is wrong - not just viewed as wrong - or why we ought to have the freedom to believe what we like without either of these provisions and science breaks down - there is no explanation. This leads me to conclude that either (a) there is nothing wrong with a mass genocide, or blowing up he planet (extreme examples, I know, but valid nontheless); or that (b) conventional science is incomplete. Thus the purpose of religion.

Bear in mind that I am, myself, religious, but I generally attempt to explain my views to non-believers (at least, so far as they affect other people) in terms of logic. smiley - smiley

- Jordan


Science versus Religion?

Post 12

Wargamer (The Wanderer)

Okay okay... So non-religious morality has fallen flat on its face in the past (Fascism and Communism being the best known) but Science believes in evolution, and as such it will evolve. To counteract your point is my view; Natural Law. For example, someone who commits genocide is threatening the species, and so must be terminated with extreme prejudice (I'm in favour of the death penalty, but believe you should just blow the guys/galls face off, rather than lock them up for twenty years, then run up a massive electric bill killing them). This covers many aspects. Someone who is, for example, staggering around blind drunk, poses a potential threat to the local community (eg: anyone in the area), and so must be arrested. Rape is difficult, but I suppose it could be classed as a crime as it causes pain to the victim. Pain = Danger, so it gets them that way.

Death is a tricky one. As an atheist, I take the simple view that if God exists, he should get off his arse and do something about our "friends" in the far east. I'm always willing to accept when I'm wrong, so if there is an afterlife, and this can be proven to me (like if I suddenly turn up infront of a pair of pearly gates...) then I will happily accept religion as accurate. Until then, I'll trust science.


Science versus Religion?

Post 13

Hoovooloo

Therein lies the fundamental and uncomfortable problem faced by all atheists - we can only be proved WRONG! smiley - winkeye

H.


Science versus Religion?

Post 14

Wargamer (The Wanderer)

The only scientist that believes he knows everything is a bad one.


Science versus Religion?

Post 15

m00seb0y2 [ ((189-9)/5)+6 = 42 ] ----- Just Say <moose>



the fact that the overwhelming majority of religions have never been part of such wars


I'm almost sure this isn't true smiley - devil


Science versus Religion?

Post 16

Jordan

Count them! smiley - winkeye

- Jordan


Science versus Religion?

Post 17

Jordan

I have more time than I thought I had, so I can reply to Warthingy's posting! YAY!!! smiley - biggrin

Science doesn't evolve because of the theory of evolution, but because of the nature of science - though this doesn't do anything to undermine the validity of your argument. As a matter of fact, because of the nature of science, the ussefulness of the scientific method cannot be established scientifically, because it cannot be disproved - it tries to explain everything. This is why science can evolve to take account of new data. smiley - bluebutterfly

I have great respect for scientists, but even more for philosophers; you cannot extend science to natural law because its underpinnings are axiomatic - i.e. can neither be proven or disproven. A very efficient scientist, using his Occam's razor, would probably reject morality, since no evidence can be found for its existance. smiley - magic In the example of genocide: there is no more evidence that the continuance of the species is important than that the continued existance of the chalk I use to write on the blackboard is important. The intrinsic importance of humanity has no intrinsic value, and thus the use of the separate discipline of ethics. Now, perhaps, you see why I think that philosophy is the tool that ought to be carried into the twentieth century - specialists like scientists or religious leaders, or superspecialists like psychologists, physicists, chemists, demonologists, mathematicians or microbiologists are great and useful (usually smiley - devilsmiley - angel), but we often to consider problems for which no formal discipline exists, or which require the integration of more than one speciality, and for this a general philosopher would be infinately more useful than a scientist or a fanatic. smiley - scientist

But that's just the view of a religious fanatic trying to debate with a scientist by using philosophy.

- Jordan


Science versus Religion?

Post 18

TheMyriadWhoIsALordOfTheRingsFanatic

Hello,

You have selectively qutoed me. I was speaking about racism, not religion. Please do not selectively quote as it is unfair to take a person's comments out of context.

Cheers,

Myriad.


Science versus Religion?

Post 19

Wargamer (The Wanderer)

"You have selectively quoted me."
I did not! How dare you accuse /everyone/ of doing that! Unfair!!!
*smiley - laugh to himself*


Science versus Religion?

Post 20

TheMyriadWhoIsALordOfTheRingsFanatic

The original quote was:

"I, personally, do not wish to listen to the leader of the National Front giving a racist talk. However, I would not prevent him from giving his talk. I would simply walk away and refuse to listen (as I have heard all that trash before). This, I believe, is the dignified and adult thing to do.
However, it is clear that young children being taught in a school do not have the freedom to "walk away"."

You did not quote the "racist" part thus misleading the reader into thinking the quote was about religion. It was not!


This is why I say you selectively quoted.

Myriad.


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