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« Morally Velocitized | Main | Irritants »

November 28, 2007

Comments

Thanks Melinda. I read this article about a week ago, and it was encouaraging to read your insightful analysis. I'm grateful for everything you do at STR.

I didn't grow up caught up in this debate, evolution and the story of Adam and Eve somehow coexisted in my brain for quite a while before I realized one of them had to go. I'm grateful that I was taught evolution in an unbiased way since it became a key factor in my deconversion. The arrogance and stubbornness of religion in the face of scientific discovery is astounding. You demand 100% undeniable evidence before you will believe in evolution, yet you don't make the same demand of, for example, atoms, do you? If you're so untrusting of the man in the white lab coat why don't you demand 100% undeniable proof that atoms exist? We don't have and probably never will have 100% undeniable proof of atoms or evolution, but there are plenty of indicators. And if the indicators aren't enough for you then you are, like I said, stubborn and arrogant.

Steve,

What is the origin of the first 92 elements found in the Periodic Table?

Steve said: "I was taught evolution in an unbiased way".

Are you sure?

Steve also said: "The arrogance and stubbornness of religion in the face of scientific discovery is astounding"

Tell to Francis Collins!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Collins

Hi William, I went to the wiki and found it interesting, I'm not sure what your point was as it appears that Collins has evolved a world view that allows him to practice science and be a Christian as he understands things. As most folks probably won't go to the link you posted, I copied the part I found interesting:

"In Collins' book The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (published in July 2006), he considers scientific discoveries an "opportunity to worship." In his book Collins examines and subsequently rejects creationism and Intelligent Design. His own belief system is Theistic Evolution (TE) which he prefers to term BioLogos. BioLogos rests on the following premises: (1) The universe came into being out of nothingness, approximately 14 billion years ago, (2) Despite massive improbabilities, the properties of the universe appear to have been precisely tuned for life, (3) While the precise mechanism of the origin of life on earth remains unknown, once life arose, the process of evolution and natural selection permitted the development of biological diversity and complexity over very long periods of time, (4) Once evolution got under way no special supernatural intervention was required, (5) Humans are part of this process, sharing a common ancestor with the great apes, (6) But humans are also unique in ways that defy evolutionary explanation and point to our spiritual nature. This includes the existence of the Moral Law (the knowledge of right and wrong) and the search for God that characterizes all human cultures throughout history.

A documentary titled "Darwin's Deadly Legacy" by the Coral Ridge Ministries released in August 2006 originally advertised that it featured Collins and claims to "show why evolution is a bad idea that should be discarded into the dustbin of history." However, in email exchanged with science blogger PZ Myers, Collins was "unambiguous in stating that he was interviewed about his book, and that was then inserted into the video without his knowledge."[4] When asked by the Anti-Defamation League why he agreed to appear in such a production, Collins stated that he was "absolutely appalled by what Coral Ridge Ministries is doing. I had NO knowledge that Coral Ridge Ministries was planning a TV special on Darwin and Hitler, and I find the thesis of Dr. Kennedy's program utterly misguided and inflammatory."[5] Collins' name has since been removed from the Coral Ridge Ministries' promotional site[6]; however, the interview segment was left in place with Collins saying that "Man is a special creature. We are not just part of some random evolutionary process with no purpose." He also commented on the large amount of data in the genetic code of humans and on the percentage of scientists who believe in God.

In an interview with National Geographic published in February 2007, interviewer John Horgan, a scientist and agnostic, criticized Collins' description of agnosticism as "a cop-out". In response, Collins clarified his position on agnosticism so as not to include "earnest agnostics who have considered the evidence and still don't find an answer. I was reacting to the agnosticism I see in the scientific community, which has not been arrived at by a careful examination of the evidence. I went through a phase when I was a casual agnostic, and I am perhaps too quick to assume that others have no more depth than I did."[7] During a debate with Richard Dawkins, Collins stated that God is the object of the unanswered questions about the universe that science does not ask, and that God himself does not need an explanation since he is beyond the universe. Dawkins called this "the mother and father of all cop-outs" and "an incredible evasion of the responsibility to explain." [8]"

Alan,

The point being that contrary to what Steve seemed to be saying, there is no necessary conflict between science and (Christian) religion.

It should be noted that since the inception of "science" Christians have had no trouble practicing it while maintaining a Christian worldview. The argument has been made that the scientific method had, as part of its foundation, the assumptions of a Christian worldview.

Hi William, I can agree with that as that was also my read on Collins. Conflating epithets ("them secular humanists"), philosophical orientations, and methodological strategies, as well as term and category confusions have not been useful.

Collins has been able to deal with his faith and the facts of his profession in a productive manner. Perhaps there is a lesson here.

"The story concludes with a picture of the brain captioned 'Where Decisions Are Made.'"

I agree with this caption. So far I've not come across any convincing arguments that there is more to man's mind than the brain, or the arguments prove too much. For instance, to argue that we must have immortal souls because people don't have physical elephants in their heads when they think of elephants proves just as well that not only do animals also have immortal souls, but also computers which display images of things they do not contain.

It's seems that those who believe the brain is incapable of spiritual and moral thought are falling into the trap of thinking of the brain in purely naturalistic terms. That is, human brains are not created with any special abilities when compared with animal brains, but rather the soul is what distinguishes our minds from God's other creatures.

But just consider, if the soul holds our memories, what is the explanation for memory loss? Either the soul is corruptible and necessarily mortal, or our memories are contained in our brains. And if that is the case, then what good is an immortal soul without memories once death separates it from the body? We wouldn't have any knowledge of who we once were or what had happened to us and no ability to form new memories.

In fact, the brain is where eternal decisions are made.

"You demand 100% undeniable evidence before you will believe in [macro-]evolution..."

I need at least 1% undeniable evidence for anything before I give it serious consideration. Macroevolution doesn't even have that.

There are basically only two possible scenarios here. You see, whether one is an evolutionist or a creationist, the fact remains that the entire human race had to have descended from a single couple.

The chances of evolution producing a male and a female to produce our race are so incredibly improbable that's it's generous to say the least to imagine even one couple fathering this race as a result of evolution, much less multiple couples.

Even in the case of that one couple, they most likely would have been siblings since the chances are even slimmer that two compatible mutations could have resulted from different parents.

So then, we are left with the question of which theory best explains the current state of humanity?

On the one hand we have the entire human race coming down from a single couple with perfect genes.

On the other hand, we have the entire human race resulting from the inbreeding of two mutants with really messed up genes.

Now obviously humanity isn't living in one huge trailer park, and if macro-evolution is true there wouldn't even be anyone around capable of making trailers.

Cary,

>>But just consider, if the soul holds our memories, what is the explanation for memory loss? Either the soul is corruptible and necessarily mortal, or our memories are contained in our brains.

That's actaully a false dilemma. Another option, that proposed by theories such as substance dualism, says that the mind and brain are interrelated but distinct, and that therefore the mind is not identical with the brain (or any completely physical manifestation thereof), but that its expression into the world is mediated through the brain. This would allow for your memory loss.

"Another option, that proposed by theories such as substance dualism, says that the mind and brain are interrelated but distinct, and that therefore the mind is not identical with the brain (or any completely physical manifestation thereof), but that its expression into the world is mediated through the brain."

That's the only theory I knew of with regard to those who believe the mind is not the brain.

"This would allow for your memory loss."

For the reason's I pointed out, it does at that, but not if the soul is immortal. For the mind must be corruptible if it can forget, and the soul corruptible if it is the seat of the mind.

What you seem to be suggesting is that the mind is immortal, but it can't remember what it knows without first filtering what it knows through the brain and then receiving what it should have known in the first from the brain but with pieces missing.

In effect, if one is dead the mind will not be able to remember anything because there won't be a brain for the mind the relay its memories through.

Oops, that was from me.

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