Does evolution affect your faith?

Hi everyone!
I’ve been following some evolutionary biology lessons and quite honestly am a bit distraught about how alien the body is underneath all that skin.

Does your knowledge of human biology and also the shortcomings of evolution, our back not being fully equipped to deal with bipedalism, for example, shake your faith at all? All these evolutionary “design flaws” plus the frailty of our meaty machines make me question whether God is consistent with all this after all. Not to mention the best explanation.
I’ve been gone for a good while but I’m still always ruminating on the very same matters.
Good to be here again for the holidays though.

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Hope you are having good holidays, Totti!

It doesn’t bother me, honestly. Even before I knew of any “design flaws,” I knew plenty of people who suffered physical problems and hardships, even if just related to aging. If I can accept that on an individual level, then it doesn’t seem much different from a more general view of humanity. Either way, it’s back to the problem of evil – creation is imperfect, material, subject to physical laws and degradation. To me the bigger mystery is that it works at all – that life and consciousness exist at all and have continued evolving, and I attribute that to God.

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Of course, these “design flaws” are pretty good support of evolution being the way they were developed, and being an evolutionary creationist site, most here take that as a given, and it doesn’t negatively affect their faith at all. If one is holding to a YEC view, or a rigid ID view, it certainly will give one pause. It is probably relates to how I had a fundamental shift in my understanding of Christianity. I saw that an old earth and evolution were true and real, and if the Bible was true, my literalist training in youth was wrong and it had to be read in a different manner.
Of course, having a sore back due to less than optimal engineering is really not that far removed from being made from dirt.

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Evolution affects my faith by purging it of all superfluous belief.

Evolution isn’t by design, doesn’t design. It operates by chance and necessity; on the principle of that’ll do for now. In the phenomenal, eternal, infinite possibility space grounded, instantiated by God as revealed through Jesus. What’s the problem? How can there be one?

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Does evolution affect your faith?

Yes, it made my faith in Christianity possible.

Otherwise, I might have settled on Buddhism or an existentialist atheism.

Which suggests premises which are utterly alien to me.
(I didn’t understand this at the time… and do so better down below)

All you need to do is toss the intelligent design watchmaker god which is not in the Bible anyway. You don’t create living things that way. The God of the Bible is a shepherd. And the harsh realities in the Bible goes together with the harsh realities of evolution like a couple celebrating their 50th anniversary.

Life is a self-organizing process which includes growth, learning, and evolution. We learn by making mistakes. That is part of what life is. Machines are perfect but they are not alive or conscious. They are just tools made for an end. Perhaps that is what the angels are but not us.

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Thanks for your responses everyone.
I think @jpm rticulated my issue. I think the issue stems from my previous view of God and creation that has left it’s mark. That, plus being too caught up about the soul or immaterial part of a person to forget the material machinery behind it.

Another of my worries was one of doubt. At times doubt strikes me out of nowhere and I begin to wonder if evolution gives more credibility to naturalism or atheism than it does to theism. Yes, I am still caught up in the evidential struggle of faith and you’ll have to excuse me for that. I am young after all.

@Laura My holidays were alright! Spent time with my mother and grandfather for a while but all in all it was uneventful. Quite the change from the usual family gatherings and parties with my friends. Hope yours are a little more exciting!

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Yes evolution has affected my faith a lot but I’m positive ways. Coevolution helped me to better understand our roles as being good stewards of this land.

In genesis we see a few things mentioned such as Adam naming the animals, Adam being told the fruits was for them and the green plants for animals, and to protect the garden. In the genesis story
It mentions part of our job as co-rulers with God is to be good caretakers of earth. This helped push me into caring for nature more and being more in awe at creation.

Genesis 1-11 has seemed for a while to be distinctly different from other chapters and reminded me a lot of psalms or revelation. Knowing the truth about evolution helped me to be more certain that the mythological nature of genesis was indeed there. That the story was not meant to be taken literally.

So evolution helped affect my faith positively by making me more in tune to nature and our biblical roles as stewards and by helping confirm that parts of the Bible was a combination of fiction and reality to paint a beautiful truth.

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to ponder about the design flaws of creation - or evolution is always entertaining. in design form follows function and you have to achieve the best possible outcome with the materials at hand to serve the conditions you are working in.
The “imperfect solution” of interconnecting your food and your windpipe as perceived by some of the “Brights” who would prefer to have them completely separate like in dolphins. It is actually the perfect solution for land animals who need to wash the dust out of their lungs continuously thus are in need of recycling the liquid for doing this to avoid dehydrating which would kill even more people in no time.
If we want to feel crap in our design the first priority should be to worry about the ageing process as a good designer should have given us an everlasting body without wear and tear without having to die. but then, perhaps those imperfections are there on purpose to teach us something, to be thankful for what we have. Within that lies the secret of happiness and love

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To this I said

I didn’t get it.

But now I do. I totally get it, by comparing it to very similar feeling which I had about something completely different. You see, I am a physicist. Physics looks at the world in mathematical terms. So in physics, the world and all of reality itself looks like mathematical equations. Perhaps you see the picture they give you of electrons, photons and other particles. But these too boil down to mathematical equations in more ways that you might imagine.

And that is where I have such a similar feeling to what you have had about what is beneath our skin. WHAT have these mathematical equations to do with ME?!? The idea that these are the essence and reality of my existence – it doesn’t seem real – that feels alien to me and my experience of life.

Yeah! I get it now.

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I was uncertain how to respond to this since I didn’t know how to explain it. But you have done so now in a way that I don’t think I’d come up with. We have this rich inner experience as a human. And I now realize that, even though I knew persons have bodies which are made out of flesh and bones, there seemed to be some sort of lack of understanding on what it truly is and means. A see but not perceive kind of deal.

Being doubtful of the soul I now face the idea that we might not be more than our parts. The biological machine that is our body. But somehow it seems so, so alien to equate all those structures, those material machines that are prone to degradation with a person. It’s as if I have an inner bias to separate a person from their body. And certainly up until now I never realized that I did believe in some magical part of a person that is irreducible and indestructible. Now I am unsure.

So as you say, how do these biological parts relate to me?? Am I the body? Is it my essence?
To say that it is, seems alien and it doesn’t really coincide with my experience of things. But to say that it is not my essence, or at least very important to whatever is the essence seems contra to reality. Is our perception of the world more like illusion?

Not to mention how it would be with physics. Because that is a whole lot more abstract and impersonal, to think reality is made out mathematical equations, atoms and energy is also super absurd. I wonder how you keep faith with this?

On reflection I notice that I didn’t ask my question well. But I still struggle to find out what my question is exactly.

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This is what it comes down to in my opinion. There is more going on in the soul of every human being than his deliberate machinations. This is what I think best supports God belief. At the very least it demands a competent hypothesis which can never be proven to anyone else. That is why faith is required, and we all need it no matter what we believe about that.

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Design flaws are a matter of some debate. We were not equipped for bipedalism. We were equipped for any terrain and any activity; walking, climbing, swimming, even space. Limiting the view of the body as just physical without taking in the mental and spiritual is only seeing half the picture.

Besides, the body hasn’t been perfect since Adam, or near-perfect since Noah. Within a few generations after the flood, our lifespans went from nearly a thousand years to 120.

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I agree with your notion but I find it very hard to word how I feel about the entire thing. I’m guessing that it’s because I do not understand the philosophy as well as I should yet.

You have all kinds of philosophical theories that attempt to explain it. Emergence, illusionists, dualists, monists, panpsychism and souls. All of them require prior knowledge about physicalism, idealism and platonic forms. Existence as a predicate all that. It is like a massive bowl of spaghetti. If you want to take one string out you take 3 or 4 with it that need their own unentanglement. And you must do so while being consistent.

For example a physicalist who believes that everything in existence is explainable by some sort of mechanism can’t posit immaterial things that exist on their own in another realm. Which would mean that a person is either their body or the person emerges from the functions of the body. It is so deep and complex.

I have spoken to a whole lot of people who think that science in it’s objective ways can never solve subjectivity. It’s simply impossible by definition. I find myself leaning towards such an idea but what do I know. Reality is already quite absurd! I might have lead this down a rabbit trail though :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

TLDR: I seem to intuitively agree that persons are more than the sum of their physical parts. Subjectivity from objectivity seems absurd and since we are, in my opinion, nowhere near explaining it in a way that does it justice requires us to take a leap of faith. I also agree that the cheer happenstance of such a rich social and cultural world coming into existence with pleasures and pains, happiness and anger seems to imply more than naturalism, a teleology, a God. But once again, people are prone to make mistakes.

I agree with you that thinking of a body merely as biological structure seems to miss an entire and very very important part of what it means to be human. But I do not accept that genesis or Noah’s flood are literal. It simply doesn’t fit with what we see, I’m afraid.

But believe me, I would accept it if it did. That would make my life a whole lot easier with doubt and sleepless nights. :wink:

Probably more than I know but the area of philosophy that interests me most when it comes to understanding consciousness is phenomenology - which is simply examining our own first person experience of it. That isn’t enough but any other theory of mind will have to account for what we experience for anyone to take it seriously. So your reluctance to embrace my or anyone else’s take on it is healthy and wise.

Well you are in good company and I concede that this is the best support for embracing God belief. I sort of do but I’m uninterested in accepting on authority what the nature of this God really is so I leave it wide open and stamp it “TO BE DETERMINED” if and when …

Lately I’ve been trying to find what I believe amongst what it is the thoughtful Christians believe and I think I most embrace the part of the trinity identified as “the holy ghost”. But I’m not tempted to look for a book which will elucidate just what that is thought to be by the finest theological minds. What I think is and likely will remain a work in progress and I’ve gotten comfortable with that.

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I accept that it does represent what we see, from the Grand Canyon to the White Cliffs of Dover, to the dinosaur burials worldwide found in the drowning pose.

Noah spent over a hundred years building the ark. If the flood were only local, why not just gather up animals and move? You can walk a long way in a hundred years. The problem is, you have the same problems with man that the angels corrupted physically, along with the animals.

People today tend to think of ancient man as cave men, not as supermen compared to us. They had 2000 years before the flood, along with long lives to build a highly technical civilization. Probably superior to the one we have today. Many ancient stone building sites show evidence of advanced tool use.

Please read and understand:

  The Defeat of Flood Geology by Flood Geology

Like with evolution it wasn’t a matter of keeping a faith I was given to me but quite the opposite – one of finding a reason for belief in this stuff. I found the physics so alien to my experience of life that I decided it just wasn’t credible. Here is a link to my reasons for belief to explain more.

the best summary of “stupid design” is given by NDGT trying to convince us of the stupid design. I like it that he wants to eat and drink at the same tome as talking. Seems to be his problem, struggling with the concept of when better to keep ones mouth shut. We would only hope that he needs to drink to stap talking for a second :slight_smile:
And his unawareness of the fact that we have separate holes for breathing and eating as in a mouth and a nose is hilarious. They must have failed to tell him not to stuff food up his nose. The best one is in the end when he complains about the proximity of what he perceives to be his entertainment complex in the middle of the sewage system. It is frightening when we think this guy to be heralded as a science communicator who confuses his reproductive organs with his entertainment complex, the place intellectuals usually locate to be the thing between their ears called brain. So if scientists finds their entertainment centre up their own or someone else’s sewage systems it indicates that Houston has a problem.

As to evolution affecting my faith - yes it does. It teaches me that survival fitness is the ability to love your neighbour like your own, so that it demonstrates the power of the word of God. To believe in a God that makes mud pie humans by the seaside was my level of comprehension when I was a child making mud pies myself. Then I grew up.

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Life is a losing proposition against chaos and decay. Nothing in nature is getting more organized, healthier or better in any way. We were created perfectly, but since the fall, we have been infected with disease, aging and moral decay. Any short upward trend requires great cost compared to the output.

We will die. Our civilizations will fall. Mountains will crumble and the land will become uninhabitable. That is naturalism and natural laws in a nutshell. God is all that holds the universe together, and he will withdraw his hand one day.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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