American Majority Accepts Evolution as God-Guided! Is BioLogos part of this?


(Mitchell W McKain) #101

I think it is natural to presuppose that all discourse in a forum like this is philosophy and theology. Nobody from the scientific community is going to be coming here for scientific information. Which is not to say that someone will not don scientific robes loosely with a phrase like, “scientifically speaking…”


(Christy Hemphill) #102

Not necessarily. There are plenty of threads where people ask “How does radiometric dating work?” or “What are ERVs?” That would be the discourse of science.


(James Stump) #103

This discussion we’re having doesn’t seem to be shedding much light, so I’ll try one more time to briefly explain myself (of course these topics require books for anything like a full defense), then let you have the last word, and then move on to other things.

You’re a physicist; I’m a philosopher. It seems to me that my central point is confirmed in the way we’re each talking, coming from different disciplines. You’ve claimed, “theology and philosophy are always lacking in utility compared to scientific explanations.” But then you also claimed to be doing theology here; doesn’t that amount to admitting that what you’re doing here lacks utility compared to science?! If so, just give us some equations instead of all this ridiculous talk we’re engaged in. :slight_smile:

But I’m unwilling to concede the point as baldly stated. Of course science has better explanations for some things (how does photosynthesis work? are planetary orbits spherical or elliptic? how old is this rock?, etc.); but science became so spectacularly successful through the Scientific Revolution by limiting itself to certain kinds of explanations, viz., namely Aristotle’s efficient causes and material causes (though his causes are just one way of carving up the conceptual territory). Your claim “if there is no opening in the causal network, then it is impossible for them to see how theism (rather than Deism) is even viable” depends crucially on the assumption that these scientific causes tell the whole story. I reject that assumption and claim instead (and have argued at length elsewhere) that science does not tell the whole story, that it is one very important, but limited perspective on reality.

You suggest that I’m just espousing non-overlapping magisteria. I certainly am not espousing NOMA if you mean Gould’s version of it, which claims science deals with facts and religion only with values. That seems much closer to what you’re doing by claiming that religion isn’t really about explanations anyway. I say that my claim above, “God intentionally created human beings in his image” is a factual claim (whether true or false, is another matter). But it is not a fact that can be adduced by science. There are other ways of knowing, and to dispute that is to check into the holy shrine of scientism.

So my claim is that the two statements I gave above are two perspectives on the same thing–just as you might have two very different styles of art depict the same thing (though of course that is just an analogy). The scientific discourse appeals to (and mathematizes, whenever possible) causes for events; the personal discourse (of which theology is a part, so long as your God is a personal being), appeals to reasons why agents have done things as different kinds of explanations for events (sometimes the same events). I don’t care much for the personal discourse when I’m looking for the cure for cancer; and I don’t care much about the scientific discourse if I’m trying to understand the Trinity. But sometimes I care very much about both discourses, like when I wonder what it means to be human.


(Mitchell W McKain) #104

I don’t need a last word, but I continue to hope that we can iron some things out. Bridging the gap between the very different ways of thinking people have is never an easy task. But of course, you may be too busy to spend any more time on this.

Absolutely! But perhaps I am using the word “utility” in a different way than you are taking it. I meant something you can use in a material practical way other than just rhetoric, thinking, influencing people, or even deciding how to conduct your personal life. Science is especially geared to material practical applications because that is where it derives its demonstrable knowledge. Here on this forum, I am obviously engaged in the latter (rhetoric) rather than former (practical).

Well I obviously reject that assumption also or wouldn’t be here. I would be a naturalist rather than a Christian. But quantum physics is a big part of the reason I why I can reject that assumption without serious cognitive dissonance. It is one thing to simply have blind faith that science doesn’t tell the whole story and quite another to have a rational faith that science doesn’t tell the whole story – I am definitely in the latter category.

Well I agree not only that this is a factual claim but I also agree with that particular factual claim. And I guess that means I need to be more cautious and do a little more work on the idea of religion not being about explanations to qualify that in some way. Otherwise I would be shutting down the whole subject of theology which certainly isn’t my intention. I am reminded of how the eastern orthodox tend to shy away from doctrine and theology and there is a sense in which too great a focus on theology is missing the point of religion. So when I say religion is not about explanations I am talking about its ultimate purpose and not saying that religion should be forbidden to make any explanations of anything ever. I suppose it resonates with my own realization that salvation does not come from understanding – which really is a life epiphany for me since my whole life has been pretty focused on the acquisition of understanding. In any case, I certainly think it should be made clear that religion is not a rival to science in the effort to explain everything.

As for your last paragraph, I can only give a thumbs up on that one.


(Christy Hemphill) split this topic #105

2 posts were split to a new topic: Interpretation & Meaning in Genesis + Sabbath


(Earl L Dunn) #107

Hello Mitch,

@mitchellmckain
That is for God ONLY to judge.

Thank you. But are you aware where God wants you to place your heart for Him to judge it favorably?

@mitchellmckain
Scientists are people and we have no reason to believe any group of people more than any other group of people. We should believe the objective scientific results which are independent of what anyone believes. If it isn’t independent of what you believe then that is pseudo-science not science.

But aren’t we interested only in the truth that scientists reveal whether it lines up with our thinking or not? Is it not the truth that settles issues? Shouldn’t we be careful that we hear only those that are truthful?

@mitchellmckain
Definitely! The creationists not only twist the Bible to make it contradict science but then they indulge in pseudo-scientific rhetoric to prop up their distortions.

But how is that true when the Bible clearly documents that God created? Why are we labeled as “creationists?” The field of science supports the truth that God created.

I digress a moment to speak about the Bible and slavery that you spoke of. A prisoner of war that respects his captor regardless the cruelty according to the NT command for slaves to respect their master would save himself from the internal poison of hatred to his captor and the captor would be astonished at his refusal to hate. This is the basic message of these scriptures.

If the Bible supports slavery, why don’t Christians have a rival to the huge slave market of the world that would be bigger? Why are Christians against that market? Why are there abolitionists against slavery? You are correct to say that only abusers of religion permit this evil.

@mitchellmckain
Oh! That is an EXCELLENT question! I LOVE IT. I love that question! Science is a method for finding out the truth about the things of nature – how the universe works. But it isn’t so useful for people who instead of discovering the truth want to be the masters that dictate the truth. By this question you give away the whole game and tell us that you prefer religion because in religion you can make yourself the master of the truth and thus the master of “God.” I see that that in religion a LOT where they have a long list of things which God cannot do in order to enslave “God” to their theology, making this word “God” into nothing more than a tool of rhetoric for power and manipulation of other people. Religion can be a tool of rhetoric, but science is just a tool for finding out the truth. Science is only useful if you actually want to know the truth.

Thanks for stating that science is a method of finding out truth. Well said!

The topic of religion is very broad and may be used to describe a wide variety of people engaging in a wide variety of practices good or evil. It even includes those that call themselves having no religion. But that does not negate that which is true. It is written, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him (John 4:23).” Many evil religious practices were going on even as Jesus made that statement. Have you noticed the word, “truth” in the statement? There are good and evil worshippers as well as good and evil scientists.

@mitchellmckain
The problem with God’s spoken word is explained by Jesus in Matthew 13:10-13, that when people do not want to see, hear or understand the truth then they can use childish literalism to close their eyes, ears and minds.

Are you saying that the Son of God explained a problem with His Father’s spoken word? Are you saying that God’s spoken word is problematic? It was made to appear that way in Genesis 4 to deceive and thus brought the fall of mankind. The word of God appears problematic only to those that reject it to continue with their fallen nature.

ELD


(Earl L Dunn) #108

@pevaquark
I suppose but I would hope that you could separate ‘the word of God’ and your ‘interpretation of the Word of God.’ It is a classic move, I get it, I used to think that way too when I was a YEC in particular. It’s why Answers in Genesis says:

From the Bible we can already know the big bang idea is wrong: the Word of God in Genesis 1 says the earth was created before the stars.
I speak of the word of God as it actually means, not as arbitrarily interpreted.
A more accurate thing to say would be:

Our interpretation of the Bible is in conflict with the Big Bang idea. Because of our extreme confidence that our interpretation of the Bible is absolutely correct, then we feel confident to reject the Big Bang idea.

They’d be wrong of course but please let’s not make this about the Bible vs. science but rather interpretations of the Bible vs. science.


The conflict is not between the Bible and science, but between world views that influence interpretations of both the Bible and of scientific observation. and thus which conflicting group of scientists (creationist vs evolutionists) to believe.

The school of thought of the evolutionary view is that modern scientific observation supersedes “ancient” Biblical knowledge. It’s the equivalent of a “modern minded” youngster that’s “smarter” than his “old-timey” dad only to later find out the hard way that Dad with his timeless wisdom was right all along.

According to the survey above, the majority of Christians tends to believe that evolution was God’s way of creating. But is scripture democratically validated? How do we know to trust the use of the supposed evidence by fallible scientists that said we evolved to the point of doubting what the Bible says? If we best know where we’re going by knowing where we’ve been, and that life is a one-way street, doesn’t it thus behooves us all to make quadruple sure we accurately know our history?

I have material by several authors that are PHD scientists that scientifically show flaws with the Big Bang theory.

Through science, we learn that the year is determined by the earth orbit around the sun, the month by the orbit of the moon, and the day by the rotation of the earth. But where did we get the 7-day week? Why are we instructed in the Decalogue to remember the sabbath day? If God truly used million years evolution to create, why don’t we work millions of years between weekends? Please?

Eld


(Mitchell W McKain) #109

I am aware of what the Bible actually says. I couldn’t care less how some people convert it into saying what they want. For example, I am aware that in Isaiah chapter 1 God says he is rather sick and tired of religious rituals and meetings when he would really rather that they just stop doing evil, learn to do good, seek justice, correct oppression, and help those in need. I am aware that in Matthew 25 it says that the way that people treat the stranger is how God feels that they are treating Him personally, and he will judge people according to that. I can go on and on if you like…

Like I said the question isn’t what scientists say but what the objective evidence says and then it is our thinking that should be changed to agree with the evidence. What we most certainly should not do is let some group unwilling to listen the the evidence dictate thing and simply accept it because they say it is the truth or because they can twist the Bible to make it sound like that. Instead the scientific evidence should inform our reading of the Bible.

God created yes, and then in Job God makes it clear that we know practically nothing about what God created and how He did it. So when people treat the Bible like some kind of science textbook supposedly explaining everything like that, then clearly they have it wrong, and what is really happening is that they are taking God’s lessons and parables in the Bible literally in order to avoid what God is really trying to communicate to us. Because they don’t care what God has to say but want to take God place supposedly as His mouthpiece which does all of God’s speaking for Him.

But that explanation is only based on the premise of the OT which lays down laws severely restricting the treatment and keeping of slaves. Something which a bunch of so-called Christians completely ignored in order to resurrect the practice of slavery in the Americas after it had been abolished in Europe. In this way Christianity became twisted into a means for claiming entitlement and pretended righteousness to hide a reality of evil – exactly as God complained about in Isaiha chapter one, as Jesus complained about the Pharisees, and Paul complained about in Romans chapter two.

Yes indeed. There are those call themselves Christian and yet practice a righteousness based on law saying who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, because they have twisted Christianity into a justification for an attitude of entitlement. But Jesus and Paul refute them absolutely teaching a gospel of salvation by the grace of God alone and tell us to seek a righteousness based on faith, which does not ask who goes to heaven or hell but simply does what is right for its own sake.

Likewise there are scientists who follow the methodology of science to seek to truth by testing their hypotheses and and the there are those calling themselves scientists who use the terminology of science for the purpose of rhetoric to “prove” what they want to be the truth, grasping for favorable evidence while ignoring anything to contrary. While the former have procedures anyone can follow to get the same result no matter what you believe, the latter only has a bunch of arguments to support their claims just like any lawyer, politician and used car salesman.

And Jesus says in Matthew 13:10 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to him who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

When people do not want to understand or hear the truth then God’s word allows them to avoid the truth by treating what it says literally. Thus it requires you to have a desire for the truth much like the scientists who study nature who instead of leaping for the simplest and most convenient explanations, will test everything to see if it actually works. When you do that, then you find out things that change the world.

But yes there are many like Lamech in Genesis 4 who will take what God says and twist it to serve themselves and even to justify all kinds of evil like genocide, slavery, and misogyny.


(Earl L Dunn) #110

Someone had replied to an earlier version of this post #107 prior to my having to abandon it and re-post because of a problem I experienced when trying to edit the previous version. The reply went with it. Please forgive me. So whoever made the reply, please do it again to replace what was lost.

ELD .


(James McKay) #111

Looks like it’s because your post was moved to a thread of its own. The moderators do that sometimes when the discussion veers off topic.

Your post was moved here:


(Christy Hemphill) #112

Let’s not attribute motives to people based on where they come down on an interpretive issue. Plenty of people treat the Bible like a science textbook because they have been taught their whole lives that taking the Bible “at its word” in that way is how you honor God and submit to the Bible’s authority. It doesn’t mean they don’t care what God says or want to usurp his role.


(Christy Hemphill) #113

@Ecerotops

Sorry, I should have clued you in better. James is correct. I moved your post because it introduced a new topic and I thought you would get more interaction on a fresh thread than you would buried down at post 100+ of an old one.


(Earl L Dunn) #114

@Ecerotops

Sorry, I should have clued you in better. James is correct. I moved your post because it introduced a new topic and I thought you would get more interaction on a fresh thread than you would buried down at post 100+ of an old one.

Thank you.


(Earl L Dunn) #115

You are correct that I named myself after triceratops. Thanks for the help.

ELD


(Earl L Dunn) #116

Hello Mitch,

@mitchellmckain
God created yes, and then in Job God makes it clear that we know practically nothing about what God created and how He did it. So when people treat the Bible like some kind of science textbook supposedly explaining everything like that, then clearly they have it wrong, and what is really happening is that they are taking God’s lessons and parables in the Bible literally in order to avoid what God is really trying to communicate to us. Because they don’t care what God has to say but want to take God place supposedly as His mouthpiece which does all of God’s speaking for Him.

Other than what we see in the present, we know nothing about how God created except for what God told us in His documented word. Didn’t our parents instruct us as simply as possible so that the instructions may only be taken literally? Did they make it necessary for another to “decipher” them for us and risk the possibility of our being misled?

@mitchellmckain

But that explanation is only based on the premise of the OT which lays down laws severely restricting the treatment and keeping of slaves. Something which a bunch of so-called Christians completely ignored in order to resurrect the practice of slavery in the Americas after it had been abolished in Europe. In this way Christianity became twisted into a means for claiming entitlement and pretended righteousness to hide a reality of evil – exactly as God complained about in Isaiha chapter one, as Jesus complained about the Pharisees, and Paul complained about in Romans chapter two.

I am now reading the book, “The Civil War as a Theological Crisis” by Mark A. Knoll which I highly recommend for help in debates whether the Bible supports slavery or not.

You will find in it passionate, convincing arguments based on the Bible by Christian abolitionists against slavery and the same by supposed Christians, supposedly based on the Bible that supposedly stand for slavery. You will also see all the decisive Biblical passages as well as hermeneutical nuances in usage of the word “slave” that do not support America’s slavery that are included, ignored, or twisted in the messages depending on their authors. The book is available at Amazon.

In a world where many evils including slavery are rampant, it’s unfortunate that the Bible that’s full of unique, unparalleled wisdom is accused for support of evils including slavery.

@mitchellmckain
Yes indeed. There are those call themselves Christian and yet practice a righteousness based on law saying who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, because they have twisted Christianity into a justification for an attitude of entitlement. But Jesus and Paul refute them absolutely teaching a gospel of salvation by the grace of God alone and tell us to seek a righteousness based on faith, which does not ask who goes to heaven or hell but simply does what is right for its own sake.

Likewise there are scientists who follow the methodology of science to seek to truth by testing their hypotheses and and the there are those calling themselves scientists who use the terminology of science for the purpose of rhetoric to “prove” what they want to be the truth, grasping for favorable evidence while ignoring anything to contrary. While the former have procedures anyone can follow to get the same result no matter what you believe, the latter only has a bunch of arguments to support their claims just like any lawyer, politician and used car salesman.

There are always false leaders and teachers that twist both the Bible and science. But there are also those that do their jobs right. With our hearts pure we have the power to discern which is and is not true to the purpose and thus follow those that are true. We remember what Jesus said about the pure in heart.

As I see your concern about false teachers, perhaps God may be calling you to prepare you to handle the truth properly and do the gospel job right.

Earl


(Mitchell W McKain) #117

Those who don’t believe in a lying God just have to look at what the creation is telling us and believe what the objective evidence shows to be the case. Then they can read the Bible according what God has shown them in His creation.

Our parents instruct us according to what we need to know at the time. And one thing we never needed was a “creation for dummies” book to show us how such a thing is done. But as we learn to ask the right questions the truth is out there for us to find if we make the effort to discover it as scientists have done, instead of simply insisting that we know everything already as religious ideologues have done.

The point was that the Bible certainly opposed slavery as it was practice in the United States by a lot of so called Christians, demonstrating that Christianity can be used to cover up a great deal of evil just as has been done by religious people so many times before and as has been complained about by God in Isaiha 1 as well as by both Jesus and Paul.

Seems to me that a lot of false teachers say that.


(Mark D.) #118

Wouldn’t it be ironic if God too practices faith and has no other choice so long as true goodness is the hoped for crop. That would really make us His image bearers.


(Mark D.) #119

Perhaps because that would make whatever goodness there may be in human affairs the kind enacted in a show performed by marionettes?


(George Brooks) #120

@MarkD

Now that’s ironic, yes?

I was convinced of Free Will by watching Dennett’s ANTI FREE WILL lecture on You Tube… just a few years ago!

He said there is Free Will… but NOT the kind that everyone thinks it is.

That made me realize, the only way we are NOT marionettes (at the mercy of natural processes, even if they are random!)… is if God is there to make sure super-natural Free Will does exist!!!

Being 100% in charge of all mutations does not create free will… nor does it curtail free will.

So coming up with arbitrary reasons why God would never MUTATE a DNA molecule by cosmic radiation is like saying he would never do it at all.

And I think that idea is patently opposed to what both testaments tell us.


(Mark D.) #121

To be fair I don’t really have a dog in that fight since I don’t think there is a separate unified consciousness creating or directing anything - even though I do think there is a separate internal consciousness which can contribute but only if we allow it.

Many of my fellow nonbelievers dismiss free will … almost willfully. I’m not one of those. I don’t think we have free floating, unbiased, dispassionate will, but I think we have free enough will for all intents and purposes. Being human isn’t a cake walk. One not only has to figure out how to shape ones habits but also learn how to delay acting until one is clearer about ones intent. What free will we have must be cultivated and should not be pushed to the extreme of wishing every action was equally as appealing or possible. There are internal bounds we shouldn’t wish to slip even if we could.