• Strange Notions Strange Notions Strange Notions

God, Professors, and Evolutionary Biology Classes

Fish

Professor David P. Barash recently wrote an opinion column in the New York Times titled “God, Darwin and My College Biology Class.” Professor Barash is in the psychology department at the University of Washington. He teaches courses on sociobiology. He explained in his essay why he gives undergraduate students “The Talk.” No, it’s not about sex. The Talk is about faith and science. He says:

"And that’s where The Talk comes in. It’s irresponsible to teach biology without evolution, and yet many students worry about reconciling their beliefs with evolutionary science. Just as many Americans don’t grasp the fact that evolution is not merely a “theory,” but the underpinning of all biological science, a substantial minority of my students are troubled to discover that their beliefs conflict with the course material.
 
Until recently, I had pretty much ignored such discomfort, assuming that it was their problem, not mine. Teaching biology without evolution would be like teaching chemistry without molecules, or physics without mass and energy. But instead of students’ growing more comfortable with the tension between evolution and religion over time, the opposite seems to have happened. Thus, The Talk."

While professor Barash’s essay may upset some people, it does not ruffle me much. I have no problem with the above statement. To the extent that the “tension between evolution and religion” is interfering with his biology classes, yes, the teacher needs to address that tension and avoid distractions. Long tangents about religion can distract from teaching the science. Besides, there is a vast array of opinions about how to interpret the two in light of each other.

Barash noted with chagrin that Stephen J. Gould’s NOMA (non-overlapping magisteria) is the “received wisdom in the scientific establishment.” NOMA basically holds that science and religion can coexist in their own separate spheres and minimally inform each other in the search for truth. Barash believes that the two cannot stay separate, and he feels that “accommodating” religion imposes some “challenging mental gymnastic routines.”

I agree that the two cannot stay separate, but I take exception to his solution. In “The Talk” he tells students that as evolutionary science has progressed, the “space” for faith has narrowed. He tells them that “no literally supernatural trait has ever been found in Homo sapiens,” and that we are all just animals. He tells them that “living things, including human beings, are produced by a natural, totally amoral process, with no indication of a benevolent, controlling creator.” He concludes by telling them that it is not the duty of science (or science professors) to do the mental gymnastics to reconcile faith and science.

But here’s the thing. Rather than bringing clarity to the classroom, Barash brings more confusion by imposing his own beliefs about religion. It is enough to say, “This is a science class, please do not distract the class with questions about religion.” But what does he do? He imposes his beliefs on the students by making the very statements about faith that he asks the students to avoid. He is the one bringing religion into his science class.

But what about those tensions? Where should they be discussed? They need to be discussed outside of science class and with the guidance of someone competent to instruct in the faith. A lot of believers add to the confusion too, particularly those who think everyone must agree with their scientific interpretations to have real faith. In my opinion, people on all sides of the evolution and religion debate get too worked up and too impatient trying to claim all the answers. By our very human nature, we do not know everything and never will. We advance in knowledge. We are discursive creatures. It’s perfectly acceptable, even laudable, to say, “I don’t know.” By defining what you do not know, you more effectively guide your discovery. The apparent conflicts or tensions between science and faith are not the result of God’s incomplete knowledge or poor planning; they are the result of our partial understanding. We explore into the mysteries to seek more understanding. Scientists know this intimately, though some of them will not admit it.

We don’t know exactly how humans or anything else evolved, just that it all did. Catholics don’t know exactly how God created the first man and woman, just that he did. Catholics don’t know exactly how God might have guided the evolutionary process, instituted physical laws, or granted free will and intellect to the human being. They just know that he did, he does, and he will. Our theories are explanatory; we try to find explanations by forming hypotheses and testing them. The work of science is to discover how the material world works. Regarding faith, Catholics have the divinely revealed deposit of truth, i.e. Scripture and Tradition upon which dogma is founded. The work of theology is to understand those truths and to interpret and communicate them. Science can indeed be guided by faith, and faith can indeed be enriched by science—but only if you have faith. Does it require challenging intellectual effort? Yes. But so what?

A believer needs only to state that he or she sees science as the study of the handiwork of God. Note, that is not an argument but a statement. Nothing about evolutionary theory can ever be a threat to faith because believers interpret scientific discovery in a fuller scope of reality. Where faith is certain, science—never forget this—is provisional. If you are so inclined, study evolutionary theory in confidence. It is fascinating and underpins biological sciences just as Barash says it does. And if your science teacher is not religious? You probably shouldn’t consider him an authority on faith.

Never forget this either. The non-religious worldview is ultimately incoherent because science only gets you so far. Science points to greater realities beyond it. Even the scientific method demands a Christian worldview. To do science, we all have to view the world as ordered, symmetrical, intelligible, and predictable, and we have to fundamentally believe that we are rational beings who can gain knowledge about our world.

If people do not understand what I have just said, then yes, evolutionary theory may seem to threaten the “space” for faith. I really don’t know how to address this problem except to say that it demonstrates precisely why religious education needs to precede science education in priority, consistent with the words of Christ, “For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul?” The student who is confident in his or her faith should be free to study science and the professor free to teach it without invoking his own mental gymnastics routines to try to avoid mental gymnastics routines. This human endeavor we call science ought to unite us, plain and simple.
 
 
(Image credit: New York Times)

Dr. Stacy Trasancos

Written by

Stacy A. Trasancos is a wife and homeschooling mother of seven. She holds a PhD in Chemistry from Penn State University and a MA in Dogmatic Theology from Holy Apostles College and Seminary. She teaches chemistry and physics for Kolbe Academy online homeschool program and serves as the Science Department Chair. She teaches Reading Science in the Light of Faith at Holy Apostles College & Seminary. She is author of Science Was Born of Christianity: The Teaching of Fr. Stanley L. Jaki. Her new book, Particles of Faith: A Catholic Guide to Navigating Science (Ave Maria Press) comes out October 2016. She works from her family’s 100-year old restored lodge in the Adirondack mountains, where her husband, children, and two German Shepherds remain top priority. Her website can be found here.

Enjoy this article? Receive future posts free by email:

Note: Our goal is to cultivate serious and respectful dialogue. While it's OK to disagree—even encouraged!—any snarky, offensive, or off-topic comments will be deleted. Before commenting please read the Commenting Rules and Tips. If you're having trouble commenting, read the Commenting Instructions.

  • Gray Striker

    In the New York Times, Baresh at least pays lip service to religion and Gould when he says the following.

    According to this expansive view, God might well have used evolution by natural selection to produce his creation. This is undeniable. If God exists.

    I think that is a magnanimous enough of an admission on the part of professor Baresh. He also says...

    As evolutionary science has progressed,the available space for religious faith has narrowed: It has demolished two previously potent pillars of religious faith and undermined belief in an omnipotent and omni-benevolent God.

    And what objective person can deny that fact...be it unfortunate or not in the long run. But surely we can't expect him, in a classroom setting to give any credence to the idea that that Inteligent Design may be part of the picture.

    • Carole DiClaudio

      What two potent pillars of religious faith have been undermined by evolutionary science? My understanding of Catholic doctrine is that, even if the theory of evolution eventually advances to a law, the Catholic faith is just fine with such advancement. Its the deep thinking mathmeticians that seem to scoff (or at least find dismissively humorous) the theory of evolution, because they appear to believe that the theory of evolution, at least as it stands now, and consistent with a roughly 14+/- billion year old universe estimate, doesnt have nearly enough time to work itself out to the current human genome. This seem most especially true if evolution is pure random, or even environmentally driven mutations that lead from a microbe to a flat worm to a human. I don't have the math, so I cant argue with them about it. But they seem pretty sure about their belief. And regardless, we still don't know how life began in the universe. So arguing about how it advance seems a silly place to place much effort at this point. I for one have a very deep faith (a gift of grace from God that falls equally on all, so I don't take credit for the grace but acknowledge a willingness on my part to cooperate with His grace. I guess that is a grace too - lol). Anyway, I don't care, nor do I believe we as a human race should generally care much, if God chose to create man and women through evolution or any other method. 'Im just grateful that He did. Be well...

      • Gray Striker

        What two potent pillars of religious faith have
        been undermined by evolutionary science? My understanding of Catholic
        doctrine is that, even if the theory of evolution eventually advances to
        a law, the Catholic faith is just fine with such
        advancement.

        Of course the Church is fine with
        this.....The "Potent Pillars" mentioned are referring to to a quote
        from prof. Barash....not my words....I understand that there is no
        conflict with science from the "official" Catholic perspective....nor
        should there be....and any atheist worth his salt knows this fact. I do think that his point about the "two undermined pillars" is valid in the sense that it was mostly in reference to those who cling to a simplistic "faith", and not only Catholics per se. He was likely referring to Christian fundamentalists as well as the Catholic version of such...Not Surprisingly Catholic fundamentalist do still exist....even among those with formidable educations. He was also probably including atheists who expect Christians to all hold to the literal view of the bible as well..."literal atheists?. I don't think that it is productive to argue about a "random" or "guided" process of "mutations", "guided or random", the fact that obviously guided or random played a significant role in biological evolution is cannot be contested. And going forward from the "singularity" that inititiated the "Big Bang" and hence evolutionary evolution also is undeniable.

        As you say...."be well"....Gray.

        Edit:due to formatting problem.

      • Ignatius Reilly

        What two potent pillars of religious faith have been undermined by evolutionary science?

        Easy. Undermines belief in god being both all good and all powerful. Undermines belief that we are all descended from two first parents. Undermines belief that original sin brought evil into the world.

      • God, Truth, gave the possibility of all events, past, present, and future. Here, there, or somewhere else. Physics and chemistry did the rest. Even your name was give to you as a possibility by Truth, but it was a human being who assigned it, a human being, who accepts it, and a human being who uses it. Evolution was given by God, who is Truth, to all life forms anywhere in the Universe. The form we find and participate in on Earth, is certainly possible and some forms are no longer. Some possible forms will come up in the future. Some possible forms may never exits anywhere or any time in the infinite space and time. A form of existence that is impossible, according to Truth, will never be. Such a form is a square circle or a spherical cube. Even the certainty of the exact value of Pi (ratio of circumference to radius) cannot be demonstrated, but must exist between the numbers 3 and 4 in any system of measurement or numeration. That would be 101 and 110 in binary. III and IV in Roman numbers.

  • David Nickol

    A believer needs only to state that he or she sees science as the study of the handiwork of God. Note, that is not an argument but a statement. Nothing about evolutionary theory can ever be a threat to faith because believers interpret scientific discovery in a fuller scope of reality.

    I can see how this might apply very well (thought not perfectly) to modern Catholicism, but how does it apply to Young Earth Creationism? Are not Young Earth Creationists "believers"? Is the appropriate answer for a college geology or biology professor to a Young Earth Creationist, "Well, of course science is provisional"? It clearly cannot be maintained that no scientific statement contradicts any statement of faith. Please, please, please let us not argue Galileo again, but it certainly was the case that, at the time of Galileo, religious opinion was that geocentrism contradicted religious faith.

    One might say that scientific findings, properly understood, may never contradict religious belief, properly understood. If that is the point here, then I have no quarrel at all with it. But the "properly understood" part is absolutely critical. It is now the position that the Bible, properly understood, is not a source of correct information about the movement of the sun and the earth. But at one time is was clearly a matter of religious belief that the Bible "said" the sun revolved around the earth.

    We don’t know exactly how humans or anything else evolved, just that it all did. Catholics don’t know exactly how God created the first man and woman, just that he did.

    There are, of course, still those who hold, as a matter of religious belief, that evolution did not happen. So for them this statement represents a conflict between their faith and science. Also, as we have argued a number of times before, there is no place in evolutionary biology for the concept of "the first man and woman." The best the "quasi-fundamentalests" here have done is offer a scenario in which talk of the "first man and woman" is to be interpreted "metaphysically," not scientifically.

    Where faith is certain, science—never forget this—is provisional.

    It seems to me this is comparing apples and oranges. Faith may be "certain," but there may exists contradictory religious

    • @davidnickol:disqus I will invite you to read this as I had to put up with YECS -- you have the Old Earth Creationists and Evolutionists from the Christian side who can help with this on. OEC -- they can fall into progressive creationism, theistic evolution and everything in between because we can use the Genesis account as allegorical. Man appeared 200,000 years ago of a 4.54 billion year calendar four eons.

  • Jim Dailey

    Other than teaching an undergrad course at a second rate university, has David Barash done anything at all to merit serious consideration on these matters? Seriously, how many rocks does the NY Times have to turn over to find dingbats with an opinion?
    I would much rather take a course on biology from Tracy the Catholic than Barash the atheist. We could actually all focus on science if Tracy taught the course.

    • David Nickol

      Do you have any actual arguments to make, or just insults? Have you read the commenting guidelines?

      • Jim Dailey

        I am not sure Barash's editorial lends itself to either an exchange of ideas or that he is trying to persuade anybody of anything. Please point out if I am wrong, but does Barash exhibit anything but utter contempt for the idea that there is an intersection of faith and reason?
        In the face of such absolute certainty based on incomplete information, are we left with anyhting other than an expression of opinion?

        • Ignatius Reilly

          I think it does - otherwise we wouldn't have this post. Barash raises substantial criticisms to theodicy. By the way, I believe University of Washington is a tier 1 school. He probably has a fairly prestigious professorship.

  • Mike O’Leary

    Even the scientific method demands a Christian worldview. To do science, we all have to view the world as ordered, symmetrical, intelligible, and predictable, and we have to fundamentally believe that we are rational beings who can gain knowledge about our world.

    With the responses to the various science-in-other-cultures articles it has been demonstrated repeatedly that the first statement is not true. In fact those repsonses have shown that the enlgihtenment (a lessening of the influence of religion) has far more to do with the flourishing of science than whether the dominant religion is Christianity.
    I agree wholeheartedly with the second statement, it's just that it doesn't jibe with the first statement. An atheistic or deistic vantage point is more likely to produce a view of an ordered world than one which is constantly influenced by an outside being. Such a worldview also means not having to explain away claimed fantastical events which have been scientifically falsified (e.g. the flood, the Tower of Babel, a universe where the Earth was created before the Sun)

    • Maxximiliann

      Just about all ancient peoples possess lore telling how their forebears made it through a global deluge . African Pygmies , European Celts , South American Incas—all have very similar legends , as do peoples of Alaska , Australia , China , India , Lithuania , Mexico , Micronesia , New Zealand , as well as regions of The North American Continent , to point out just a few .

      Through the years the legends were , needless to say , adorned nevertheless they all incorporate a number of specific details thus revealing the existence of a well-known source narrative. Specifically : God was angered by mankind’s evil . He caused a great inundation . Humanity on the whole was wiped out . A handful of righteous ones , nonetheless , were protected . These constructed a vessel wherein individuals as well as wildlife were protected . In time , birds were sent off to seek out dry terrain . At long last , the vessel came to rest on a mountain . Upon disembarking , the survivors presented a sacrifice .

      Precisely what does this establish ? This likeness simply cannot be coincidental . The collective evidence of these particular legends corroborates the Bible’s ancient testimony that all people descend from the survivors of a flood that eradicated a world of humankind . For that reason , we need not rely upon legends or myths to learn what occurred . We have the carefully preserved history in the Hebrew scriptures of the Holy Bible .—Genesis , chapters 6-8 .

      • Mike O’Leary

        Here is a list of flood myths from Talk Origins:
        http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/flood-myths.html

        You stated that each of the myths contain an angry God, heavy rain, the wiping out of humanity, a few righteous survivors, a vessel where wildlife was protected, birds seeking terrain, the vessel resting on a mountain, and a post-flood sacrifice. If you look through the flood myths in the link I gave that you are wrong on all counts.

        You ask what do these flood myths establish. I think it shows that ancient man often chose to live near water, that without a rational explanation people often gave a superantural explanation to the weather, and that people feared what they did not understand. The flood myths are much more Carl Jung than Genesis.

        But this article is about science interacting with faith. We know quite a lot about the alleged global flood from a scientific standpoint. For instance the placement of fossils in various geological strata counters the idea of worldwide flood. The gradual change of both humans and other animals shows that we can not have the variety that we possess today a few thousand years after only 2 or 7 of each "kind" were left alive. Mathematical models shows that not only was there not enough water to flood the earth, but that atmospheric conditions that would allow for that much water would have killed nearly every air-breathing animal on the planet.

        • Maxximiliann

          And “if all you have is a hammer , everything looks like a nail .” -Maslow

          Stated more explicitly , your Scientism or just Radical Positivism is an awfully parochial or small-minded philosophy of knowledge . On this opinion there is certainly absolutely nothing good or evil , right or wrong , exquisite or hideous . Even so, can it be tenable to believe that experimental truth is the one and only truth that exists ? That simply no aesthetic , moral , metaphysical or otherwise putative facts obtain ?

          Abiding by this view , for starters , the Atheist who rapes a little kid to death ( or engages in this: http://bit.ly/1bu2CrY ) is doing absolutely nothing wrong . Exactly why ought we agree to such a conclusion resulting from an epistemological limit ? Isn’t this an indication that you ought to unlock the ambit of your beliefs and incorporate all the other different types of truth that abound?

          Withal , the basic principles of Gödel’s Second Incompleteness Theorem altogether gainsays Radical Positivism’s primary assumption . In fact , Science is suffused with assumptions that can never be scientifically verified . The epistemology of radical positivism , as a result , abrogates science itself . Take for instance , the concept of induction. It simply cannot scientifically defended . Attempting to render a conclusive inductive line of reasoning for radical positivism is ridiculous as this begs the question by presupposing the legitimacy of inductive reasoning to begin with !

          All the more devastating to your beliefs is the fact that radical positivism is self-refuting . At its heart , this pernicious conviction declares that we must not accept any concept that cannot be scientifically tested . Yet what about that very supposition ? It can’t per se be scientifically tested out much less corroborated . As a result we ought not believe it . Your trusty Radical Positivism, as a result, asphyxiates itself .

          Or alternatively , as Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem made evident , ‘Whatsoever may be bounded cannot explicate itself without referring to that which is without itself - some postulate whose certainty is unobtainable .’

          This is just what famed Physicist and Mathematician James Clerk Maxwell alluded to when he came to the conclusion , “Science is incompetent to reason upon the creation of matter itself out of nothing . We have reached the utmost limit of our thinking faculties when we have admitted that because matter cannot be eternal and self-existent it must have been created .”

          Demonstrably , then , your current opposition to as well as distaste for the idea of God’s presence is not evidentiary, just philosophical . It is actually your ethos - and only your ethos - that occludes your path to your Creator’s truths .

          Having said that , the day you at long last choose to unshackle your epistemology of truth is the day the bounteous ken of God Almighty will finally be within your reach . Only then , but with terrific shock and piercing remorse , will you realize you’ve been needlessly depriving yourself and your family of truly astonishing and precious truths for all this time.

          • Mike O’Leary

            You seem to see Noah in every drop of rain, so I find it a bit baffling that you would reference the hammer and nail analogy towards me.

            The matter at hand is where science and faith meet, clash, and cooperate. I brought up several scientific reasons why the flood couldn't have happened. It's then that you throw out science completely and claim its utter uselessness. This is followed by a Turing-test-failing philosophical jumble that includes a strange misuse of the Godel's Incompleteness Theorem to suggest that if science can't possibly explain everything that it must mean that it can't explain anything. The anything in this case is the idea of the global flood.

          • Maxximiliann

            Where do I claim science is utterly useless?

  • Kevin Aldrich

    > "evolution is not merely a “theory,” but the underpinning of all biological science."

    I guess I don't understand what he means by underpinning. It seems to me you could study all kinds of biology without needing to refer at all to evolution. When my wife studied gross anatomy and human physiology in medical school, I don't believe evolution was ever mentioned. To the the extent that biology is the study of living things "as they are," evolution is not relevant.

    • mriehm

      No biologist am I, but I don't think that is correct at all. The relationship between organisms is described in the phylogenetic tree. The history of "how we got here" defines the classifications of organisms, and the similarities and differences.

      I'm sure there are fields of biology where you don't have to concern yourself so much with evolution. But I imagine that when you "dig deeper" in those fields, you'll find it lurking there. And with our modern knowledge of how microorganisms and parasites co-evolve with their hosts, I doubt you could achieve an honest medical degree in 2014 without knowing those underpinnings.

      • Kevin Aldrich

        Not "correct at all"? A great deal of science is the study of what is and how it works so it can be brought under control to benefit human beings. In that regard it is not necessary to know how it got that way and the scientist need not think about its evolution to do his or her work.

        • mriehm

          Nevertheless, it underpins. :D

      • Maxximiliann

        "My doubts about evolution began when I was studying synapses. I was deeply impressed by the amazing complexity of these supposedly simple connections between nerve cells. ‘How,’ I wondered, ‘could synapses and the genetic programs underlying them be products of mere blind chance?’ It really made no sense.

        Then, in the early 1970’s, I attended a lecture by a famous Russian scientist and professor. He stated that living organisms cannot be a result of random mutations and natural selection. Someone in the audience then asked where the answer lay. The professor took a small Russian Bible from his jacket, held it up, and said, “Read the Bible—the creation story in Genesis in particular.”

        Later, in the lobby, I asked the professor if he was serious about the Bible. In essence, he replied: “Simple bacteria can divide about every 20 minutes and have many hundreds of different proteins, each containing 20 types of amino acids arranged in chains that might be several hundred long. For bacteria to evolve by beneficial mutations one at a time would take much, much longer than three or four billion years, the time that many scientists believe life has existed on earth.” The Bible book of Genesis, he felt, made much more sense.

        Every good scientist, regardless of his beliefs, must be as objective as possible. But my faith has changed me. For one thing, instead of being overly self-confident, highly competitive, and unduly proud of my scientific skills, I am now grateful to God for any abilities I may have. Also, instead of unfairly attributing the amazing designs manifest in creation to blind chance, I and not a few other scientists ask ourselves, ‘How did God design this?’" - Professor František Vyskočil - Former Atheist (http://bit.ly/K8lEip)

    • It is conceivable that some chemists could do their work without direct mention of electron theory. But I would be very worried if I ask a chemist about electrons and he responds "what are those?"

    • Tim Dacey

      Kevin:

      I firmly ally myself with Theodosius Dobzhansky's position. He said "nothing makes sense in biology except in the light of evolution," all the while maintaining an observant Christian worldview

  • Ignatius Reilly

    He tells them that “no literally supernatural trait has ever been found in Homo sapiens,” and that we are all just animals. He tells them that “living things, including human beings, are produced by a natural, totally amoral process, with no indication of a benevolent, controlling creator.”

    There is a great deal of truth to this. Evolution is certainly amoral, and its effects are very difficult to reconcile with a benevolent creator. Certainly natural selection does not indicate the God found in Catholicism. The two are contradictory.

    But what does he do? He imposes his beliefs on the students by making the very statements about faith that he asks the students to avoid. He is the one bringing religion into his science class.

    This is not imposing ones beliefs on students. University would be a rather boring place if professors were not allowed to suggest things that go against a students belief system.

    But what about those tensions? Where should they be discussed? They need to be discussed outside of science class and with the guidance of someone competent to instruct in the faith.

    So we would rather be indoctrinated by a competent religious instructor than hear how a scientists interprets the philosophical implications of evolutionary biology. I suppose we will also stay away from any philosophers who may say things contrary to the faith.

    We don’t know exactly how humans or anything else evolved, just that it all did. Catholics don’t know exactly how God created the first man and woman, just that he did. Catholics don’t know exactly how God might have guided the evolutionary process, instituted physical laws, or granted free will and intellect to the human being. They just know that he did, he does, and he will.

    If Catholics know these things, then they know them without evidence and in the face of the evidence that we have. If God is responsible for the process of evolution, it would seem that he is unusually cruel.

    A believer needs only to state that he or she sees science as the study of the handiwork of God. Note, that is not an argument but a statement. Nothing about evolutionary theory can ever be a threat to faith because believers interpret scientific discovery in a fuller scope of reality. Where faith is certain, science—never forget this—is provisional.

    So when faith and reason come into conflict, trust faith? I hope some theists take exception to this.

    And if your science teacher is not religious? You probably shouldn’t consider him an authority on faith.

    I guess we should just indoctrinate ourselves by only listening to Church-approved sources.

    The non-religious worldview is ultimately incoherent because science only gets you so far. Science points to greater realities beyond it. Even the scientific method demands a Christian worldview.

    Three assertions all with plenty of evidence to the contrary. Please show that the non-religious worldview is inconsistent. Please show how science points to greater realities. The scientific method does not demand the Christian worldview. Archimedes was a scientist.

    To do science, we all have to view the world as ordered, symmetrical, intelligible, and predictable, and we have to fundamentally believe that we are rational beings who can gain knowledge about our world.

    Depends what you mean by all of those terms. The predictability of Newtonian mechanics is different from the predictability of quantum mechanics.

    I really don’t know how to address this problem except to say that it demonstrates precisely why religious education needs to precede science education in priority, consistent with the words of Christ, “For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul?”

    So we should teach religion before science, even though the later is founded on facts and evidence, while the former is founded on a bronze aged book full of genocide, racism, murder, and misogyny, especially since trusting reason over faith could cast doubt on the fate of our immortal soul. This is why I view Catholicism as both a program of indoctrination and anti-knowledge. I hope to see some theists take exception with this post.

  • GCBill

    "The apparent conflicts or tensions between science and faith are not the result of God’s incomplete knowledge or poor planning; they are the result of our partial understanding. We explore into the mysteries to seek more understanding. Scientists know this intimately, though some of them will not admit it."

    If a science teacher said this, they'd certainly be inserting their religious views into the classroom. All we can know is whether current scientific theories conflict with religious ones. It's hard to predict whether or not that will continue to be the case or not without some other outside perspective. We certainly can't know it for certain unless it's been doctrinally or dogmatically decreed.

    "Never forget this either. The non-religious worldview is ultimately incoherent because science only gets you so far. Science points to greater realities beyond it. Even the scientific method demands a Christian worldview. To do science, we all have to view the world as ordered, symmetrical, intelligible, and predictable, and we have to fundamentally believe that we are rational beings who can gain knowledge about our world."

    A strange thing for science to demand, since the only Christians who embraced certain elements of Greek philosophy ended up pushing science forward. Some of the others said some pretty scarily dismissive things about natural inquiry. At the very least, I'd propose a Christ X Aristotle interaction effect, but I'm more inclined to say that the main effect was Aristotle.

    Now that I'm done responding to specific points, consider the following argument:

    1) If God exists, then He is omnipotent and omnibenevolent.
    2) An omnibenevolent God would never prefer gratuitous(2) evil.
    3) (via 1,2) Therefore, if gratuitous evil exists, then God is not omnibenevolent.
    4) It is logically possible God could create human beings identical to the ones produced by evolution, without utilizing the process of evolution.
    5) (via 1,4) Therefore, God could have created humans as we know them without the process of evolution.
    6) The process of evolution by natural selection entails that trillions of organisms die, never having flourished through achievement of their telos.
    7) (via 5,6) Since God could have avoided this state of affairs by creating humans without evolution, the failure to flourish is an example of a gratuitous evil.
    8) (via 3,7) Therefore, God is not omnibenevolent.
    C) (via 1,8) Therefore, God does not exist.

    My argument doesn't depend on very many provisional facts; it only requires that evolution via natural selection is occurring in some form. It's rather improbable that it could be overturned by a shift in the scientific consensus. And it seems to suggest that a scientific fact really does conflict with religious dogma. So I wonder if Barash's students aren't on to something after all.

    • Jim Dailey

      Your argument falls apart when free will is injected somewhere between 1 and 2.
      Of course a "secular" way to put this would be to say that your "process of evolution" does not allow for random chance. That is, your model seems to assume that humans are a given outcome in evolution.

      • GCBill

        Even if human free will necessitates the possibility of evil (natural or moral), it can't be used to explain the existence of natural evil within the very method that was used to produce humans in the first place.

        I'm not sure what your "secular" comment means. Humans needn't be a given outcome in anything.

        • Jim Dailey

          Evil is a by-product of free will.

          Evil - in a world were there is no objective good or evil - i.e a world where "living things, including human beings, are produced by a natural,
          totally amoral process, with no indication of a benevolent, controlling
          creator.” would therefore be considered a "random" act.

          • GCBill

            That's not always true. For instance, I'm not sure how catastrophic natural disasters could be a result of free will, except in the most distal sense in which God willed secondary causation.

            I do think that if a God chose to create things through a process that involves gratuitous suffering, that would be an example of evil (by said God's own standard) resulting from free will. Whether or not gratuitous suffering constituted "evil" on an alternative theory is irrelevant.

          • Jim Dailey

            Well, since you are now declaring that natural phenomena such as catastrophic natural disasters have the capacity for evil, there is not much left to discuss.
            As far as "choosing to create things through a process that involves gratuitous suffering" it appears you now want to to discuss the problem of suffering, and also to subjectively declare things as "gratuitous". Not very much left to discuss there either.
            In sum total, you are now dragging a metaphysical arguments into what you originally posited as a logical truth. Sorry, but I think you should save that for theology classes. Your discussion have no place in biology or logic classes.

          • GCBill

            1) I made an argument based on the existence of a gratuitous natural evil.
            2) You responded by bringing in free will, which (except in the case of God) only pertains to moral evil.
            3) You misread my response, thinking that I attribute malevolent intentions to natural disasters.
            4) You ignore my very objective basis for calling evil gratuitous (i.e., that it was not logically necessary).

            You're right, there is absolutely no use discussing this further.

          • Jim Dailey

            Hey - do you think I am being "uncharitable" to you? If so, sorry no offense intended.

          • Tim Dacey

            I think you should be more charitable to GC Bill, as he is making a valid point.

          • Jim Dailey

            i really do not think his point is valid. However I do apologize if I appear uncharitable.

    • Tim Dacey

      GC Bill:

      Using your schema, couldn't I argue the following:

      2): An omnibenevolent being would never prefer gratuitous evil.
      3): Therefore, if gratuitous evil exits, then God cannot be omnibenevolent (i.e., no God worthy of worship exits)
      4): However, it is not the case, that I have sufficient cognitive capacities to know God's reasons for permitting evil.
      5) Therefore, I am in no position to judge (given my limited cognitive capacity) to deem any evil as gratuitous.
      6) Therefore, your argument (from evil) is false

      (4) is the interesting point; I think it is intuitively correct. If you agree, which I think you kinda have to (given our definition of God), then it seems you'd have to agree with (5), right? Therefore, you'd be obliged to reject your argument

      • GCBill

        I think your counterargument can be streamlined, since you're not actually using (2) and (3) to derive your conclusion:

        1) If we cannot know that there is gratuitous evil, then we cannot conclude that God doesn't exist on the basis of evil.
        2) Our limited cognitive capacities ensure that we cannot know that there is gratuitous evil.
        C) (via 1,2) Therefore, we cannot conclude that God doesn't exist on the basis of evil.

        I've heard similar responses before; the position was described to me as skeptical theism. And well, I am skeptical of it.

        (1) shouldn't be controversial, since an evil that is necessary to
        bring about some desired good could reasonably be condoned even by an omnibenevolent being. However, I reject (2) (which is (4) in your original argument).

        I understand the intuitive appeal of (4), since God could conceivably possess reasons for condoning some evil that we would otherwise label "gratuitous." But this conceivable scenario doesn't actually seem likely in cases where the exact same good appears to be attainable without any intermediate evil. This is especially true since God's omnipotence ensures that He can bring about this alternative, evil-free scenario so long as it is logically possible. So now you need to show that 1) evil->good (which seems logically possible) actually isn't, or 2) there's some other reason why evil->good is more desirable than just ->good (maybe some other less-obvious good comes from it?). I don't have much confidence in solution 1, and 2's plausibility depends on the magnitude of allegedly-gratuitous evil in question. The reason I don't think it's likely in the case of my argument is because you'd need a significant good to offset the failure of untold number of lifeforms to flourish. It's possible, sure, but I certainly wouldn't bet on it.

        If there is a likely locus of error in my argument, it is in the assertion that gratuitous evil exists. But I'm still pretty confident that it does, and so I'm still pretty confident in my argument.

        • Logike

          "I reject (2)"

          --Yes, if (2) were true, then the theist would be pushing, not just a local skepticism, but a total skepticism about all inductive reasoning whatsoever. It's a Humean-type rejection of the following inductively strong inference:

          (a) There is no good that we know of that would vindicate God's allowing evil of type described.
          (b) Therefore, there is probably no good that would vindicate God's allowing evil of the type described.

          Sometimes other mitigated factors can block these kinds of inductive inferences, but the burden is on the theist to elucidate what those factors would be. We can then see whether these factors apply in the situation described.

    • Maxximiliann

      In order for your conclusion to obtain you need to prove there is no good reason God might have for temporarily permitting suffering in the world. Can you?

      • Logike

        That God is all-powerful undercuts any "good" reason for permitting suffering he may have, because, ex hypothesi, he can bring about the good without permitting evil in the first place. Is it better to bring about some good without evil than with evil? Yes. Is this possible for God? Yes. Therefore, even if he had a reason, he would have no GOOD reason for permitting suffering.

        • Maxximiliann

          But he does have a very good reason for temporarily permitting suffering. I kindly invite you to carefully consider the following:

          How might an adoring and capable mother or father really feel if they were openly charged of being deceptive to their young children , abusing their authority over them , as well as withholding what they need from them ? Could they disprove those slanderous allegations by physically attacking their accuser ? Certainly not ! Without a doubt , by responding like this , they would give credibility to the charges .

          This depiction really helps to clarify Jehovah God’s strategy for managing a challenge brought up against him at the dawn of man's historical past in a region identified as Eden . There God Almighty announced to the very first pair of human beings , Adam and Eve , a fantastic undertaking . These were to fill up the globe , take care of it , and thus transform it into a worldwide paradise . ( Genesis 1 :28 )

          Truly being a big-hearted Father , Jehovah handed Adam and Eve an exquisite haven home with all of its succulent fruits . Just one tree was not in bounds for them—“the tree of the knowledge of good and bad .” By avoiding this tree , Adam and Eve would certainly display their absolute trust in their Father , accepting that he had the right to determine that which was right and wrong for his children .—Genesis 2 :16 , 17 .

          Lamentably , one amongst God’s spirit sons , inspired by the want to be worshiped , led Eve to believe that when she consumed the outlawed fruit , she would never perish . ( Genesis 2 :17 ; 3 :1-5 ) And so , this wicked angel , Satan , flagrantly contradicted God , in effect calling him a liar ! To boot , Satan proceeded to criticize God of withholding critical facts from Adam and Eve . Mankind , Satan suggested , could determine on their own what is actually good and what is bad . Stated more forcefully , Satan charged God of being an unfit Sovereign and Father and additionally indicated that he , Satan , could perform a significantly better job himself .

          Through the use of those astute and fatal mendacities , this angel fashioned himself into Satan the Devil . These particular names stand for “Resister” and “Slanderer .” What exactly did Adam and Eve do, then ? They sided with Satan , turning their backs on God .—Genesis 3 :6 .

          Jehovah could have eradicated the rebels just then . But bear in mind , as mentioned above previously in our representation , these kinds of difficulties can never be worked out through violent retaliation . Take into account too that when Satan confronted God Almighty , innumerable angels were paying attention .

          By enticing Adam and Eve into deciding on autonomy from their Maker , Satan established a family which was not in fact self-reliant but , as you see , under his command . Prompted , consciously or unwittingly , by their “father ,” the Devil , this family would pick and choose its own objectives as well as values . ( John 8 :44 ) Still , might this way of life bring them genuine liberty as well as enduring happiness and joy ? Jehovah understood full well that it would never . Even so , he left the rebels to go after their ill-fated ambition , for only by doing so could the problems brought up in Eden be completely resolved for all time .

          For upwards of 6 ,000 years now , humankind has erected one society after another , attempting more and more varieties of rulership as well as rules of behavior . Do you happen to be overjoyed with the outcome ? Is the human family actually joyful , undisturbed , and united ? Undeniably , the answer is absolutely no ! In its place , wars , famines , catastrophes , disease , together with unspeakable loss of life has besieged humanity , inflicting “futility ,” “pain ,” and “groaning ,” much like the Holy Bible reported long ago .—Romans 8 :19-22 ; Ecclesiastes 8 :9 . Fundamentally , "People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the LORD ." -Proverbs 19 :3 ( NLT )

          Nonetheless , some might wonder , ‘Why has God not averted these disasters ?’ Honestly , that would certainly be an injustice , as it would undoubtedly blur the issue by creating the impression that rebelling against God is without deadly repercussions . Accordingly , Jehovah has not been in the background protecting against all the crimes and calamities that results , explicitly or in a roundabout way , from disobedience to him . Jehovah could never ever be party to the fatal myth that Satan’s approach could turn out well ! Notwithstanding , Jehovah has not been apathetic to what has transpired . Truth be told , he continues to be extremely active , as we shall subsequently appreciate .

          Since the rebellion in Eden , he has long been very active . Case in point , he inspired Bible amanuensis to document his guarantee that a future “seed” would undoubtedly defeat Satan with everyone who allied with him . ( Genesis 3 :15 ) On top of that , via that Seed , God would constitute a governing administration , a heavenly Kingdom , which would bless obedient people , stop all causes of misery and even death itself .—Genesis 22 :18 ; Psalm 46 :9 ; 72 :16 ; Isaiah 25 :8 ; 33 :24 ; Daniel 7 :13 , 14 .

          As a step in the fulfillment of those wonderful promises, Jehovah sent to the earth the One who would become the primary Ruler of that Kingdom. This one was none other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God. (Galatians 3:16) In accord with God’s purpose for him, Jesus focused his teaching on God’s Kingdom. (Luke 4:43) In fact, Christ provided a living preview of what he will accomplish as King of that Kingdom. He fed hungry thousands, healed the sick, resurrected the dead, and even showed his power over the natural elements by calming a violent storm. (Matthew 14:14-21; Mark 4:37-39; John 11:43, 44) Concerning Jesus, the Bible states: “No matter how many the promises of God are, they have become Yes by means of him.”—2 Corinthians 1:20.

          Those who listen to Jesus and come “out of the world”—the system of things that is estranged from God and ruled by Satan—are welcomed into Jehovah’s family. (John 15:19) This global family of true Christians is governed by love, committed to peace, and marked by determination to eradicate any trace of bigotry and racism in its midst.—Malachi 3:17, 18; John 13:34, 35.

          Instead of upholding the present world, true Christians support and proclaim God’s Kingdom in obedience to Jesus’ command recorded at Matthew 24:14. Think: Who preach the “good news of the kingdom” worldwide? Who have refused, as a worldwide spiritual family, to engage in warfare and divisive national and tribal disputes? And who let God’s Word guide their conduct, whether its lofty standards are popular or not? (1 John 5:3)

          • Logike

            "How might an adoring and capable mother or father really feel if they were openly charged of being deceptive to their young children , abusing their authority over them , as well as withholding what they need from them?"

            --You don't have a context here explaining what is going on. So I don't know what it is to which you are referring.

            "Nonetheless , some might wonder , ‘Why has God not averted these disasters ?’ Honestly , that would certainly be an injustice , as it would undoubtedly blur the issue by creating the impression that rebelling against God is without deadly repercussions ..."

            --We are talking about pain and suffering due to non-human natural events, not pain and suffering due to human free choices. So this plagiarized crap is irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

          • Maxximiliann

            But it certainly does explain why God has taken a hands off approach in dealing with mankind as a whole.

  • Mike

    "men became scientific because they believed in a lawful universe and they believed in a lawful universe because they believed in a law giver" or something like that; it's no surprise that systematic science and the univ was invented in christian europe and no where else.

    Science and faith can inform one another but are strictly speaking interested in different kids of questions; there is no contradiction between the 2 just like there isn't between say biology and quantum physics even though the 2 appear to study fundamentally different problems.

  • mriehm

    There is a vast array of opinions about how to interpret [science and religion] in light of each other

    Yes, that is true. And the reasons for it to be so arethat religion is not objective nor falsifiable. There is no way to conclusively prove one religious thing or another, despite all the attempts in this website to do so. And so for every different religious viewpoint, there is a different co-interpretation between science and religion.

    As Gandhi said, "there are as many religions as there are individuals."

  • mriehm

    The apparent conflicts or tensions between science and faith are not the result of God’s incomplete knowledge or poor planning; they are the result of our partial understanding. We explore into the mysteries to seek more understanding. Scientists know this intimately, though some of them will not admit it.

    No, the conflicts are really coming from the myriad assertions of religion, which are completely unverifiable.

  • mriehm

    We don’t know exactly how humans or anything else evolved, just that it all did. Catholics don’t know exactly how God created the first man and woman, just that he did.

    Of course we actually know quite a lot about how "humans [and] anything else evolved", and we learn more each year. And as we accrue knowledge about evolution in general, and human evolution in particular, the notion of "the first man and woman" makes less and less sense.

    • Maxximiliann

      As many, many reputed scientists in many, many different fields have confirmed through evidence, gradualism is a canard. That it has no support in the fossil record is the fundamental reason why they had to invent PE (a really, really bad euphemism for special creation by God Almighty). It’s all merely apophenia inbred with confirmation bias.

  • mriehm

    "Regarding faith, Catholics have the divinely revealed deposit of truth."

    As believes every adherent to every other strain of every religion on the planet.

  • mriehm

    The non-religious worldview is ultimately incoherent because science only gets you so far. Science points to greater realities beyond it.

    Science does not point to "greater realities beyond it". True science says, "Reality is what we can measure." There are phenomena for which science provides limited understanding, or hints, that we cannot - currently - explore further. But once you abandon science, and rely upon dogma and suppositions, you leave behind true reason.

    There are no guarantees that we will ever be able to explore our universe fully. Science is okay with that. We will learn what we can, and we will drive God further into the gaps with every major progression.

    • Well put. I would say the modifier "greater" is really inapplicable to a concept like reality. There can be only one reality as I understand the term. There is reality and fantasy. If God and angels etc are real they are no more real than a cheeseburger.

      I suppose she means reality is more complex, than is apparent.

    • Maxximiliann

      And “if all you have is a hammer , everything looks like a nail .” -Maslow

      Stated more explicitly , your Scientism or just Radical Positivism is an awfully parochial or small-minded philosophy of knowledge . On this opinion there is certainly absolutely nothing good or evil , right or wrong , exquisite or hideous . Even so, can it be tenable to believe that experimental truth is the one and only truth that exists ? That simply no aesthetic , moral , metaphysical or otherwise putative facts obtain ?

      Abiding by this view , for starters , the Atheist who rapes a little kid to death ( or engages in this: http://bit.ly/1bu2CrY ) is doing absolutely nothing wrong . Exactly why ought we agree to such a conclusion resulting from an epistemological limit ? Isn’t this an indication that you ought to unlock the ambit of your beliefs and incorporate all the other different types of truth that abound?

      Withal , the basic principles of Gödel’s Second Incompleteness Theorem altogether gainsays Radical Positivism’s primary assumption . In fact , Science is suffused with assumptions that can never be scientifically verified . The epistemology of radical positivism , as a result , abrogates science itself . Take for instance , the concept of induction. It simply cannot scientifically defended . Attempting to render a conclusive inductive line of reasoning for radical positivism is ridiculous as this begs the question by presupposing the legitimacy of inductive reasoning to begin with !

      All the more devastating to your beliefs is the fact that radical positivism is self-refuting . At its heart , this pernicious conviction declares that we must not accept any concept that cannot be scientifically tested . Yet what about that very supposition ? It can’t per se be scientifically tested out much less corroborated . As a result we ought not believe it . Your trusty Radical Positivism, as a result, asphyxiates itself .

      Or alternatively , as Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem made evident , ‘Whatsoever may be bounded cannot explicate itself without referring to that which is without itself - some postulate whose certainty is unobtainable .’

      This is just what famed Physicist and Mathematician James Clerk Maxwell alluded to when he came to the conclusion , “Science is incompetent to reason upon the creation of matter itself out of nothing . We have reached the utmost limit of our thinking faculties when we have admitted that because matter cannot be eternal and self-existent it must have been created .”

      Demonstrably , then , your current opposition to as well as distaste for the idea of God’s presence is not evidentiary, just philosophical . It is actually your ethos - and only your ethos - that occludes your path to your Creator’s truths .

      Having said that , the day you at long last choose to unshackle your epistemology of truth is the day the bounteous ken of God Almighty will finally be within your reach . Only then , but with terrific shock and piercing remorse , will you realize you’ve been needlessly depriving yourself and your family of truly astonishing and precious truths for all this time.

  • mriehm

    Nothing about evolutionary theory can ever be a threat to faith because believers interpret scientific discovery in a fuller scope of reality. Where faith is certain, science—never forget this—is provisional.

    Ahhh, the arrogance. So science is subservient to faith? Please give examples where we must subvert accepted science to faith. Sounds like fun discussion!

    • Ignatius Reilly

      It's like some dystopian science fiction. I had hoped we had moved past the whole reason being subservient to faith thing.

    • Jim Dailey

      It is not so much that science is "subservient" to faith as it is that science is a subset of faith.
      Like a digestive tract for knowledge, science provides "food for thought" for the rest of human existence. However, anybody who feels their digestive tract is somehow subservient to their brain has never been hungry.

      • Logike

        Interesting...because science can now empirically show the docrtrine of transubstantiation to be false because the underlying molecular compositions of bread and wine (their "substance") can be shown to remain.

        • Jim Dailey

          My molecular composition is the same both before and after obtaining knowledge from erudite scientists. Does that mean I am the same person before and after learning new facts?

          • Logike

            You are talking about accidental change, not substantial change. Substantial change is a change in kind. Your acquiring knowledge is not a change in kind; you don't cease to exist when learning a few things more. But if you ceased being human, you would cease to exist, because being human is necessary for you to exist. Similarly, with bread, wine, human bodies and blood. These have essential characteristics without which they would not exist at all. So, with a claim that bread had substantially changed to a person's body, we shouldn't expect the same kind of stuff to remain at all. But it does. So the doctrine is false.

          • Jim Dailey

            Funny you should bring up the whole death thing. I was actually going to lead off with that.
            That is, at the moment of death, all my molecules are the same. However, there is a big change. You cannot see it in a microscope, you cannot count a bunch of atoms, but there it is, all the same. A true, undeniable, what did you call it - change in kind?
            Listen, we have been putting up with this argument since Martin Luther. You led off with "science can now empirically show...". Did some guy do some sort of experiment or were you merely being srcastic?

          • Logike

            "That is, at the moment of death, all my molecules are the same. but there it is, all the same."

            --There "what is"? Your soul? But the person, according to Catholic Hylomorphism, is a composite of matter and form (soul). That is, your soul cannot exist without your body. So when soul separates from the body, the person, quite literally, ceases to exist. This is why Aquinas in his metaphysics was forced to called in "God" to perform a kind of "life-support" for the soul until the soul was reunited with its body at the general resurrection. But Aquinas' solution is not satisfactory. Ignoring what happens to the soul, the person, which is a composite of body and soul, still ceases to exist. It logically falls out of your view, genius. So you are unwittingly proving my point.

          • Jim Dailey

            No, there is where science comes up short on measuring and quantifying things. That is, science can measure things like brainwaves, or heartbeat, etc., but can not really say if an individual's life force, the accumulation of their experiences, decisions and interactions with the world - their soul - is still in their body, or if it left and went somewhere, or if it is asleep.
            So if science can not measure this, how can science be expected to measure something like the transubstantiation of the Host?
            So no, your "point" - which I think originally had something to do with transubstantiation - is not proven. Further, I think it is pretty arrogant of most people to assume that these things will never be measured and never be proven because our latest and greatest technology is unable to figure it out. I think science zealots sell both Faith and Science down the road in this regard.
            As to Aquinas, etc, you appear to be well-read. Do you really need me to go get the Catholic responses to Martin Luther?

          • Logike

            "So if science can not measure this, how can science be expected to measure something like the transubstantiation of the Host?"

            --Because your example is disanalogous. The soul is, by definition, immaterial. But the substance of bread and wine is, by definition, material. And if it is material, it can be verified to exist or not. The bread can be verified to stay bread after the alleged transformation. So the doctrine is false.

          • Jim Dailey

            Yes - it is indeed a physical transformation. But just because our poor senses (and by extension any type of machine currently available) cannot detect the difference between Christ's body and bread does not mean the bread is no Christ's body.

            Jesus Christ himself said "This is my body...." So the doctrine is true.

          • Logike

            What physical transformation? Would you please specify the anthropomorphic material properties you think the bread changes in to?

            "does not mean the bread is no Christ's body."

            --Yeah, ok. Even though no material human-like properties are present after the alleged transformation.

          • stevegbrown

            Transubstantiation is the central tenet of all Catholics. It is beyond empirical science in that it is a miracle; that is, the accidents - appearance, weight, shape, taste, color, etc. all remain, sensibly experienced as bread. The "accidents of bread" remain suspended while the substance is replaced with that of the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus.
            That claim can never be verified by any empirical science.

            However from time to time there have been miracles to bolster people's faith. That is they show what actually happens and is hidden from science. This is a link to what seems to be one of them:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbg_dhI4XCs&index=1&list=PL3FDZzzde0mVsAON3HflCg4MgFvYtLbzI

            The man doing the presentation is Ricardo Castanon
            Gomez a doctor of neurophysics.

          • Logike

            "The "accidents of bread" remain suspended while the substance is
            replaced with that of the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus"

            --But the substance remains. What is the underlying substance of the bread if not the molecular composition of the bread which remains the same? What is the substance of a human body if not human DNA and human cells? Clearly you think a "substance" in this context is a physical (not a metaphysical) thing. Your video suggests this is how you are construing it.

            On the other hand, you seem to be suggesting "substance" is not a physical thing in your claim that it is beyond our scientific capacities to verify. But this doesn't seem right at all given you think there is actual physical transformation happening. If the transformation is said to be physical, then the alleged transformation is not beyond scientific capacity to verify or disconfirm.

            "It is beyond empirical science in that it is a miracle."
            --But not in the sense that it can't be tested. It can.

            Your video is circumstantial hearsay. You need to be able to reproduce the alleged transformation under closed laboratory conditions with a priest doing his handiwork and test whether the bread actually changes to a human body. No non-Catholic buys this garbage.

          • stevegbrown

            I think part of the problem is that you seem to think that metaphysics is some ethereal, wispy, esoteric study. The metaphysical studies both the material and immaterial. This is part of what others have tried to explain to you regarding the real. All things we can know are made up of both. Matter and form. A human person is not reduced to merely their DNA and human cells. If you didn't have a conscious mind could you communicate as a person on this blog? What about your concepts? What about the intelligibility of all things? I think the Scholastics got it right by positing that to know a thing is to have it contained in the mind in an immaterial way.

            Excuse me, but nobody views the physical as merely hard billiard balls bouncing around. That is a laughable remnant of the 19th century. This website on the philosophy of chemistry should get you up to speed.
            http://www.hyle.org/journal/issues/19-2/ochiai.htm

            Before you make further insulting comments calling a deep-held belief "garbage"
            you may want to consider that minds much greater than you or I (Louis Pasteur, Joseph Lemaître, Stanley Jaki and Werner Heisenberg -- do you even know who these people are) had the humility to keep an open mind and they believed it. No one is asking you to believe, but please, keep the conversation civil.

            You are the one who brings up transubstantiation often. I was simply explaining the doctrine to you. Actually, once one receives the gift of faith, it makes perfect sense. An infinite God should be able to control even the physical which He created. Why put such a limit on God? Oh I forgot.

            As for the link. It's not merely hearsay. Either those events happened or they didn't. Did you even watch the video? It doesn't seem like it. You would have known that Ricardo Gomez brought the sample to Dr. Frederico Zubiga a world renowned forensic cardiac specialist in NYC. According to Dr. Zubiga, who blind tested it, they would have had to literally murder someone and dug it out of the subject just before submitting the sample.

            I don't think Dr. Zubiga would have staked his reputation on such a fraud.

          • Logike

            "All things we can know are made up of both. Matter and form."

            --Exactly. So again, what is the substance of bread except molecular composition (form) of its subatomic particles (matter)? And what is the substance of a human body except the arrangement and function (form) of certain proteins, water, carbon, oxygen, etc (matter) contained in the cells of human DNA? I am not telling you. I am asking you. If I am wrong, and this "substance" specified in your own Doctrine is something different than what I have identified, will you please tell us what that is? Let's stop beating around the bush here.

            "You would have known that Ricardo Gomez brought the sample . . .they would have had to literally murder someone and dug it out of the subject just before submitting the sample."

            --Exactly. No transformation was actually observed in a laboratory setting. That Gomez is a fraud and harvested the tissue from a cadaver, or even found the tissue from some garbage heap, is much more likely than bread itself having ever become human tissue. So you already have a competing explanation that is much more plausible. You really are fighting an uphill battle of empirical believability here.

            And who is Ricardo Gomez or Dr. Zubiga for that matter? Was this experiment conducted under the purview of the scientific community at large? Has this experiment been repeated with the hundreds of thousands of other consecrated hosts being claimed to be a human body? Were similar results published in peer-reviewed journals?

          • stevegbrown

            "Clearly you think a "substance" in this context is a physical (not a metaphysical) thing. Your video suggests this is how you are construing it."
            The Metaphysical is the ground of the physical, it is its foundation.

            In a very sketchy way, I agree with your matter and form however matter is informed by form (as in information, intelligibility) so ultimately, what is "physical" but pure potency + information creatively thought by God.

            http://home.comcast.net/~icuweb/c02003.htm#3
            No. 5 talks about protomatter.

            Regarding knowledge of things, you don't directly observe substance. The mind abstracts substance from what is obtained through the 5 senses with the 3 acts of the mind.

            Aquinas is relevant here. As he observes, all knowledge of the real comes to mind through the senses. There are no innate ideas (big difference between Aristotle and Platonism). This is a problem of Epistemology a whole subject of study. This is the hylemorphic view of reality. Even physical things are mixed of both material and immaterial. Ultimately form is immaterial.

            "'It is beyond empirical science in that it is a miracle.'"
            --But not in the sense that it can't be tested. It can."

            No it can't, that is why it is a miracle. This is why you can't directly validate nor can you disprove using empirical science because of the nature of the miracle. The observables the accidents remain bread while the substance which should be bread, become Christ.
            He is personally present.

            If you took a host into a lab all you would see, baring a miracle, would be the appearance of bread. Even if you had a microscope. Yes, I have heard of those. But still anyway, it is a problem also of Epistemology. The mind doesn't come into contact with subsisting forms (substance) directly but through the accidents i.e. the appearances, even those seen in a microscope.

            That is why transubstantiation is totally unique. To be the agent of such a change, you would have to be the one who sustains and continues to sustain all matter, and all of reality: God.

            "So to answer your question, If I am wrong, please specify the properties YOU think changed."
            By properties I'm assuming you mean accidents. They don't change. The substance becomes Jesus hidden under the appearance of bread.

            No one would claim to understand it fully; that is why it must be either believed or not believed. Yet at the same time it is not a total contradiction.

            You don't seem to get it that, because it is a miracle, the normal laws of physics, etc. are suspended. And who can do that? That is precisely the claim.

            Forensics can establish the conditions and circumstances of a death event, but strictly speaking, you cannot repeat a lab experiment of that particular death. But alot can be gleaned from what you know of other deaths under similar circumstances. According to Dr. Zugibe, the heart tissue was so fresh a cadaver was out of the question.
            According to witnesses back in Buenos Aires, the host-turned red blob and been stored for 2 years in water until Cardinal Bergoglio was made aware of it, and asked Dr. Gomez to have it tested.

            Sorry, I mispelled Dr. Zugibe. He is a well known forensic scientist in NYC "one of the United States' most prominent forensics experts, known for his research and books on forensic medicine"
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frederick_Zugibe

            That's all I have time for. Have a nice day.

          • Logike

            "Regarding knowledge of things, you don't directly observe substance. The
            mind abstracts substance from what is obtained through the 5 senses
            with the 3 acts of the mind."

            --Even if we don't directly observe a substance, a substance still possesses essential properties without which the substance in question would not be what it is. And a change in these properties IS directly observable. Take the substance Gold. Gold has the essential property of having atomic number 8. This means that without having 8 protons in its nucleus, the atom in question would not be a "gold" atom. If it had 7 protons, the atom would be a Nitrogen atom instead. Further, whether or not the atom in question possesses 8 protons is empirically observable too, and so would any substantial change in the number of its protons.

            "By properties I'm assuming you mean accidents."

            --No, I don't. I mean essential properties. These are the properties that must be gained and lost if there is to be a change in substance as you claim. So again, what
            are those essential properties you think were lost in the change from bread to human body? And what properties were gained?

            Look, even if a substance
            were something over and above the collection of its essential properties, a change in substance would still be empirically detectable because the essential properties in question are empirically detectable. The molecular composition of bread (an essential property) is empirically detectable. The DNA of a human being (an essential property) is empirically detectable.

            "But not in the sense that it can't be tested. It can."-No it can't, that is why it is a miracle."

            --Well, if it can't be tested, then why did you post a video describing tests performed on human tissue in the first place? Isn't the whole point of posting the video to show evidence that a miracle happened? You're really not thinking this through.

            "You don't seem to get it that, because it is a miracle,"

            --No, you don't get it. My objection is not to miracles themselves. My objection is that this particular alleged miracle can be shown NOT to be a miracle. The claim is falsified by the empirical evidence, because if transubstantiation of the bread to a human body actually happened at the consecration, we would definitely observe this transformation. But we don't. Therefore, no such transformation takes place.

            "He is a well known forensic scientist in NYC "one of the United States'
            most prominent forensics experts, known for his research and books on
            forensic medicine"

            --So? The question is: Is his work in this particular instance backed by most of the scientific community at large? If not, it is not very well supported. There is something called "peer-review" in the scientific community. Every heard of it? It prevents frauds--even "smart" frauds--from pushing grandiose and improbable claims off to an unsuspecting public as coming from a "authoritative source." His work has not passed the peer-review test. So it lacks the needed credibility to take it seriously.

          • stevegbrown

            Let me say that I am sorry if including the account of the miracle muddied the waters although your objection makes no sense to me. I thought it would help understanding, not hinder. In any case, I agree with you that they should submit the findings to a peer-review. This is just one of the most recent. The most well-known is in Lanciano Italy in the 8th cent. which has been scientifically tested.

            It is important to note that all such miracles fall under the category of private revelation. Whereas transubstantiation is public Church teaching.

            when you said:
            "I don't have any principled objection to miracles themselves."

            Then what is a miracle to you? There are many examples used but the proper understanding of miracles according to St. Thomas is where God suspends or alters the laws of nature temporarily. In the case of transubstantiation, it would be metaphysical laws.

            Maybe that mode of being which makes substance substance (including, requiring all essential notes) is held in suspension or changed.

            "My objection is that this particular doctrine in question can be shown NOT to be a miracle. The claim is falsified by the empirical evidence, because, if transubstantiation of the bread to a human body actually happened at the consecration, we would definitely observe this transformation."

            That is why it is called a miracle, you can't observe the substantial change because the laws that would normally allow you to apprehend substance would not hold in the case of a miracle.

            I guess we are at an impasse here and will have to just agree to disagree.

            Do you think that the natural order of the universe makes it impossible for the author of everything to intervene?

            The reason I ask, is that Naturalists hold that it would be impossible for even God to directly intervene. I can't say, that I understand that.

            God being of the supernatural order would be able to intervene into the natural order.

            You might want to run your objections by Edward Feser's blog.

            Daniel Oderberg's Real Essentialism as it is pretty recent and has some clear explanations on the topic.

            http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/01/oderbergs-real-essentialism.html

            Have a good one.

          • Michael Murray

            Louis Pasteur, Joseph Lemaître, Stanley Jaki and Werner Heisenberg -- do you even know who these people are

            I'm uncertain about the last one. Mind you he is the only Nobel Prize winner. Do you really think these people all belong on the same list ?

          • stevegbrown

            "I'm uncertain about the last one. Mind you he is the only Nobel Prize winner. "
            Ha ha. For my purposes they do. They were all devout Catholics and all received communion daily and all were much smarter than me. Maybe I should have offered my sincere apologies to Logike :-) as I was just guessing that he wasn't smarter. Who would you have doubts about? Stanley Jaki?

            Cheers.

          • Caravelle

            I think part of the problem is that you seem to think that metaphysics is some ethereal, wispy, esoteric study. The metaphysical studies both the material and immaterial. This is part of what others have tried to explain to you regarding the real. All things we can know are made up of both. Matter and form. A human person is not reduced to merely their DNA and human cells. If you didn't have a conscious mind could you communicate as a person on this blog?

            Would you say the "substance" that gets changed from bread to the body of Christ is material or immaterial? Would you say consciousness is material or immaterial? If they're both immaterial, then what do you mean when you say metaphysical studies both the material and the immaterial, surely in this case it's only the immaterial that's under consideration?

            And if you think consciousness, say, has both material and immaterial aspects (hence why studying it would involve both the material and the immaterial), then surely you'd agree the material aspects are mediated by the components of the brain, the ability of neurons and other cells to affect each other's behavior and the resulting patterns of cell activation; i.e. it's inseparable from the brain's physical composition. Wouldn't the same be the case of any material aspect of what you call "substance", if such material aspect exists?

          • Logike

            "Wouldn't the same be the case of any material aspect of what you call "substance", if such material aspect exists?"

            --It seems to me he is confusing identity and composition. He seems to think the substance is over and above its essential properties (the Lockean "unknown substrate")--which is fine--but then he incorrectly concludes that the essential material properties of substances are not actually parts of substances, which explains why he thinks no empirical observation could, in principle, refute the doctrine of transubstantiation. But essential properties are necessary for the substance to be what it is in the first place, so these properties at least have to be present to the thing question even if not identical to it.

          • stevegbrown

            Hi, It's way above my head and this is a subject of great interest to me. Yes I agree, the brain is important. I think that yes our knowledge is conditioned by our brain activity. You have to be conscious to learn, and have to concentrate your attention on more complex types of knowledge. As I understand the Scholastics, I would hold that our knowledge originates or comes through the 5 senses, that is, through sensations then perception then abstracted into concepts.
            The classic view about human knowledge is that we have reflexive knowledge insight and we are able to question the rules of our knowing.
            Bernard Lonergan wrote a fantastic tome(huge) called Insight. It covers the various acts of understanding or "insights".

            I'm currently reading Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience M.R. Bennett and P.M.S. Hacker. Seems like a good read.
            Have a good one.

          • Logike

            "Jesus Christ himself said "This is my body...." So the doctrine is true."

            --Not convincing.

          • Logike

            "Listen, we have been putting up with this argument since Martin Luther."

            --It's a good argument impervious to defeat, that's why! If there is any doctrine capable of such decisive empirical refutation, the doctrine of transubstantiation would be it.

            I don't expect you to be convinced, because most religious folks are stubbornly irrational in the face of refutation of a belief they hold dear. But no matter how much you try to save your belief with your rationalizing mental gymnastics, it just doesn't pass muster on empirical grounds.

          • Jim Dailey

            The same stubborn irrationality could be said of people who make absolute conclusions and judgments about metaphysical ideas based on an incomplete understanding of an evolving body of knowledge.

          • Logike

            What incomplete understanding? Explain.

          • Jim Dailey

            Well for one thing, our knowledge of science is incomplete because science is evolving.
            For another thing, I have never met a scientist who claims to know everything about every science.

          • Logike

            "Well for one thing, our knowledge of science is incomplete because science is evolving."

            --True, but how does this prove the bread becomes Christ's body? You said my understanding was "incomplete." So would you please enlighten me on what it is that you understand that I sorely lack?

          • Logike

            By the way, I don't understand what you mean by "faith is a subset of science." Please explain. How do you define "faith"? How do you define "science"?

          • Jim Dailey

            Actually I wrote that science is a subset of faith.
            You need faith if you are going to make life decisions based on scientific advice. For example, you trust that the venerated doctor has been to medical school and studied all the latest papers on using leeches to cure you of ague. Therefore, you willingly let the old scientist put a blood-sucking insect on your carotid artery. You have faith that this is the best thing to do because all the smartest scientists agree that it is.
            You don't need science if you are going to make life decisions based on faith.Science can not explain courage, love, loyalty, trust, repentance or redemption.

          • Logike

            "For example, you trust that the venerated doctor has been to medical
            school and studied all the latest papers on using leeches to cure you of
            ague."

            --This isn't "faith." It is an inductively supported belief. I "trust" a doctor knows what he is doing because it is highly unlikely he would be still practicing in his field if he didn't. He would likely be barred from practicing medicine if he were totally unqualified.

            "You have faith that this is the best thing to do because all the smartest scientists agree that it is."

            --Exactly. But this isn't faith. It's an inductive argument:

            (1) Medical doctors most of the time know what is the best thing to do in situations like these.
            (2) Therefore, my own medical doctor knows what is the best thing to do in situations like these.

            (1) is an inductive generalization from past experience, and the inference to (2) is inductively strong. This is reason, not "faith."

            These alleged "faith" examples theists offer are actually inductively supported beliefs, and they will fail every time, unless the person in question is behaving irrationally. But most people are rational creatures, and given a situation where the pay off is high and the risk is low, even if the outcome is uncertain, but still probable, it is rational, by logical standards alone, to seek treatment.

          • Jim Dailey

            Ha ha. Well, my "inductuctively supported belief" is based on the statements of one Jesus Christ. So, ok, I guess it is not "faith" after all! It is actually "inductively supported belief"!
            Those nutty Romans! You would think they could get that right when translating from aramaic. But no, thye screwed up big time!

          • Logike

            "my "inductuctively supported belief" is based on the statements of one Jesus Christ."

            --Not all inductive inferences are strong, however. This appeal of yours is a very weak appeal to an alleged authority figure whose credibility on this matter is by no means established.

          • Jim Dailey

            Hahahaha! Excellent! Well, talking to you has made me feel very lucky indeed! I think I will go and light a candle for you at the three Catholic churches that are within a mile of my house, and while I am there ask JC to take another shot at revealing his "credibility" to you.

          • Logike

            Actually, I'm completely open to JC about that. Thanks!

          • Logike

            So, what do you mean by "faith" again? Your examples are actually examples of inductive reasoning. Try again.

      • The digestive tract is a subset of the brain?

        • Jim Dailey

          I think faith encompasses all academic disciplines. However, all the academic disciplines are integral parts of faith. I brought the digestive tract into it as I was hungry at the time.

      • Ignatius Reilly

        How is science a subset of faith?

        • Jim Dailey

          See response to PB Rimmer below.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            I don't understand your response. How do you define faith? How do you define science?

  • Science is the determination of the mathematical relationships inherent in the measurable properties of material reality. ‘Why are they there?’ is a philosophical question. ‘What are they?’ is the question of science. This OP is pointing out that there can be no conflict between their answers. Rather, a philosophy (or religion), which holds that everything is intelligible and explicable, is one which underpins and prompts scientific investigation. In contrast, some scientists think that in answering, ‘What is the math?’, they are answering, ‘Why?’

    With respect to evolution, Richard Dawkins has made an extremely important contribution to its scientific understanding by his reinforcement of the identification of Darwinian evolution as a mathematical algorithm ("The God Delusion" and elsewhere). His contribution is not lessened by errors in the details of the mathematics. Specifically, Dawkins labels an increase in the efficiency of random mutation, due to the serial application of the algorithm, as an increase in the probability of evolutionary success.

  • a_theist

    In “The Talk” he tells students that as evolutionary science has progressed, the “space” for faith has narrowed

    He is wrong in assuming some essential trade-off between science and doctrine. His view (supplied by creationists who do not represent mainstream Christianity) is common among atheists and indeed is a corner stone of much atheist argument. Athiests need to get a life outside of fundamentalism.

    He imposes his beliefs on the students by making the very statements about faith that he asks the students to avoid. He is the one bringing religion into his science class.

    Got that right.

    The apparent conflicts or tensions between science and faith are not the result of God’s incomplete knowledge or poor planning; they are the result of our partial understanding

    There is no conflict, at least not for Catholics. I think the ”partial understanding” can be solved by reading the catechism [159, 283 & 284].

    Regarding faith, Catholics have the divinely revealed deposit of truth, i.e. Scripture and Tradition upon which dogma is founded

    I start to worry about what she is saying here. Pope JPII said it in his address to Pontifical Academy of Sciences (October 22, 1996). Truth cannot contradict truth. There is only one truth and once science establishes something as such then we need to let doctrine follow even if it conflicts with Tradition.

    Science can indeed be guided by faith, and faith can indeed be enriched by science

    . My worry increases. Faith is belief in judgments about things where the evidence in not conclusive. When science provides that conclusive evidence it eliminates the need for faith in that regard. One does not have faith in gravity, nor does gravity enhance faith.

    If people do not understand what I have just said, then yes, evolutionary theory may seem to threaten the “space” for faith

    I must say I had a battle understanding some of what she said. It is not that those who ” do not understand what I have just said” but rather the fundamentalists – Christian, Muslim and atheist – who are threatened

    • Jim Dailey

      Well said.
      Except I think science can indeed be guided by faith when science must rely on things like scientific consensus rather than clear cut mechanist understanding or the ability to replicate experimental results.

      Since true faith requires us to question our beliefs, so to can scientists (particularly in the contemporary academic atmosphere) learn a thing or two from Catholics about accepting things at face value from supposed "experts".

      • a_theist

        fair comment

  • Fr.Sean

    A few months ago i read, "Where the conflict really lies" by Alvin Plantinga. While i found the first nine chapters (which were focused on the supposed conflict between faith and science ) informative it was a little difficult to get through because i never understood why there was an apparent "conflict"? You're article seems to hint at the same theme, i think if everyone understood what is meant by "faith" and what is meant by "science" they would see that there really is no conflict. Very nice job Stacy!

    • David Nickol

      i think if everyone understood what is meant by "faith" and what is meant by "science" they would see that there really is no conflict.

      Doesn't it all depend on exactly what a person claims to "know" as a matter of faith? Stacy Trasancos says:

      Nothing about evolutionary theory can ever be a threat to faith because believers interpret scientific discovery in a fuller scope of reality. Where faith is certain, science—never forget this—is provisional.

      As I pointed out before, Young Earth Creationists have the certainty of faith the the earth was created in six literal days a few thousand years ago. Catholicism still seems, in some instances, to cling to the idea of two "first parents" from whom all humans have descended. If I have the certainty of faith that the earth was created in 4004 B.C., and I take a geology course in which I am taught that the earth is 4.54 billion years old, why is that not (for me) a conflict between science and religion?

      • a_theist

        If I have the certainty of faith that the earth was created in 4004 B.C., and I take a geology course in which I am taught that the earth is 4.54 billion years old, why is that not (for me) a conflict between science and religion?

        In the situation you describe it is a conflict, and it is a conflict for many Christians, certainly most evangelicals, but for many Catholics too.
        So you raise an interesting point about the validity of a particular faith belief. It is easy to say that they should know better or have been taught correctly; but ignorance is rife. Even within the Church much of what the scholars take for granted such as apocryphal tales in NT&OT, is not laid before all Catholics.
        Many atheists attribute there deconversion to discovering that what they thought was true – their faith in say creation – is not in fact true. Religions contribute to the appeal of atheism by their (sometimes blind) adherence to nonsense such as a literal and inerrant Bible/Q’uran.
        One can at best assist those who flounder a “lie” and feel betrayed by their religion to discover the richness of what religious leaders seem determined to conceal. The myths of religion don’t prove God does not exist, they help us to understand the people involved in the revelations and the context of their transmission.
        Atheists can play a positive role by highlighting the nonsense taught by many religions and denominations and by assisting people to be seekers of the truth. Problem is that atheism in general is as proselytising as any religion and conceals its own half-truths and denying of evidence.

      • Fr.Sean

        Hi David,
        You make a good point. i suppose if you look at Catholicism, Orthodox or some of the seasoned Christian denominations there isn't a conflict but who says they have the monopoly on the correct understanding. I just think when one looks at the history and development of doctrine and theology there isn't any conflict. if people could learn to look at both spheres separately there isn't any conflict.

  • Peter

    New earth creationists are not the problem any more. The problem rests with cosmological creationists who hold that God magicked the universe into existence by activating the big bang and equipping it with fine-tuned laws to create us.

    Just as new earth creationism opened the door to ridicule from evolutionists, cosmological creationism is opening the door to ridicule from cosmologists who produce all manner of naturalistic models for the origin or eternal existence of the universe which suggest

    Any form of creationism, new earth, old earth, ID or cosmological, does a disservice to belief in a benevolent Creator in that it leaves itself open to falsification by the scientific community either now or in the future, and consequently to ridicule.

    • Mike

      Why do cosmologists have to "ridicule" big bang creationists if their arguments against big bang creation suffice?

      • Peter

        If the arguments against big bang creation suffice, then the big bang creationists open themselves to ridicule by insisting that they are right, very much in the same way that new earth creationists insist they are right despite the overwhelming scientific arguments against them.

        • Mike

          Seems like you're justifying ridiculing ppl for holding beliefs that you are convinced are incorrect; which seems cruel and pointless to me.

          • David Nickol

            Seems like you're justifying ridiculing ppl for holding beliefs that you are convinced are incorrect; which seems cruel and pointless to me.

            I am not big on ridiculing people, but I don't think it is reasonable to maintain that all religious beliefs are equal or that all religious beliefs should be respected. Until quite recently, there had been a long history in Christianity of justifying slavery, racial segregation, and anti-Semitism on Biblical grounds. I have no doubt that many people who did so were utterly convinced of the rightness of their religious beliefs. I don't know how often ridicule is an effective tool for fighting bad ideas, but when it is, I would have no objection to using it.

          • Mike

            So if it's "effective" it's ok to use? that sounds even worse...btw at the very least ridicule the IDEA not the PERSON.

          • David Nickol

            I largely agree about ridiculing ideas, not persons.

            Don't you think bad ideas, like belief in slavery, racism, and anti-Semitism, should be fought?

          • Mike

            Yes ideas not people as people themselves are the overwhelming amount of times not directly responsible and so that is a charitable approach, to attack the idea not the person.

            Those examples are obvious but with regards to cosmologists ridiculing other scientists/lay people who don't see any problem with metaphysical claims based on the same science for a universe created by god, i think arguments contra created universe by "god" work better than ridiculing ppl/ideas based on sound principles.

          • David Nickol

            So if it's "effective" it's ok to use? that sounds even worse . . .

            What would be the point of using an ineffective means? Rightly or wrongly, Christianity long ago found justification for using violence when "necessary." Why not ridicule, particularly in the form of satire?

          • Mike

            Ridiculing is a bad method; especially considering the topic here.

            Ridicule/satire is not charitable and we should always start with charity.

          • Jim Dailey

            Weren't you the guy whining about the rules of the blog because I bashed the academic credentials of Barash? Now you're here asserting your right to ridicule people on this blog? Nice.

          • Bob

            It seems the actual point is that it may be a bit unwise to actively subject any particular religious belief (faith proposition) to empirical falsification.

            At least that is how I am reading it.

          • Mike

            If for you "empirical falsification" = ridicule, then yes.

          • Bob

            No, but perhaps I was unclear. I do not think that Peter was trying to justify ridicule.

          • Mike

            ok.

          • Peter

            ST Augustine had this to say 1600 years ago:

            "Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men." (Literal Meaning of Genesis)

          • Mike

            Thanks for this quote i am familiar with it.

            Are you comparing believing in young earth creationism with believing that God created the universe "via" the Big Bang? If you are i think you're on slippery ground but that is your prerogative. Either way i don't think that ridiculing ppl even YECreationists is a charitable strategy and ultimately not very effective.

          • Peter

            It depends on what you mean by God creating the universe "via" the Big Bang. If you mean that God suddenly conjured up the big bang with its exquisitely fine tuned parameters, then this is no different in principle from the young earth creationist belief that God suddenly conjured up the earth and its wonderfully intricate life. In both cases a miracle is implied.

            Conversely, if you mean that God called the universe into being through naturalistic means which we haven't yet discovered, and that the big bang is a natural event in this process, then no miracle is implied. The universe physically comes into being through natural processes just as we humans physically came into being through natural processes.

          • Mike

            YEC think the world appeared or popped into existence with the appearance of age but ppl who believe god created the universe, like me, think that god created the universe some 14 b years ago and this is supported by cosmology via the big bang so i don't think they're comparable.

          • Peter

            The sudden creation of the big bang with its near impossible fine tuning would, as feats go, be a far greater miracle than suddenly creating an old-looking earth.

            If it is unlikely that a miracle on the scale of suddenly creating a complex earth occurred, it is far less likely that a miracle occurred on the vastly greater scale of suddenly creating an exquisitely fine-tuned early universe.

            Finally, what a

          • Mike

            Thanks for this Peter. All the best in your search for what ever it may be you're searching for.

  • I tend to agree with you that Barash is going beyond science in his "Talk" and there is no need for him to get into things like theodicy.

    But it is unfair to say that he is imposing his beliefs about religion and he explicitly says that students may retain their beliefs and pass his class.

    Also, I think your comment about the certainty of faith is interesting. Science is open to changing its beliefs based on empirical evidence and reason. Not sure what your understanding of faith would be, I find the term useless. But the idea of non-contingent beliefs is unreasonable to me.

    I think we need to be open to follow the evidence wherever it goes, and not rule out any possibilities, whether they lead to a belief in a god, or dropping such a belief.

    Finally, you are flat out wrong that a worldview is incoherent because it only gets you so far. I don't think any will provide all answers, or full knowledge. My world view just has a larger area labeled "unknown". Yours, it would seem takes a portion and labels it, "known but god explains it".

    • Ignatius Reilly

      I tend to agree with you that Barash is going beyond science in his "Talk" and there is no need for him to get into things like theodicy.

      Why is that a big deal? When I was in college, I preferred it when professors shared how their discipline affects their beliefs.

      • It has nothing to do with biology. I really would not care but I think it is irrelevant and opens up the course for discussions that he is not necessarily trained to lead.

        Though I wish it were not, this is a sensitive issue and saying that the suffering and evil we see is evidence that god does not exist is a very troubling concept for many theists and outside of philosophy classes I think this could be properly called discrimination.

        I would certainly have a problem if a physics teacher were to make comments about how the weapons of war, developed from science are evidence of man's sin nature and the existence of god.

        The problem is that if you try to engage the discussion further, you will either get a response that this is it the subject matter or the class and we shouldn't waste more time on it, or that it is outside of the prof's expertise, or a long tangential discussion that does waste valuable class time.

        I think all that really needs to be said in the talk is that evolution is scientific fact, and we are going to continue to show you why. Confirm that science applies methodological naturalism and for good reason. If you want to debate these issues the place for that is philosophy, and theology classes, not biology. Biology deals won't empirical evidence.

        • Ignatius Reilly

          Thanks! That was well argued, but I have some disagreements

          Though I wish it were not, this is a sensitive issue and saying that the suffering and evil we see is evidence that god does not exist is a very troubling concept for many theists and outside of philosophy classes I think this could be properly called discrimination.

          How is it discrimination? Why would they care if one of their professors mentions in one class period that evolution is incompatible with God? You are using a word with very negative connotations to paint the "talk" as something much worse than it actually is. College is partially about challenging ones views and understanding the views of others.

          I would certainly have a problem if a physics teacher were to make comments about how the weapons of war, developed from science are evidence of man's sin nature and the existence of god.

          And I would chuckle and move on with the course. Although, I have never met a physicist who would say such a thing.

          The problem is that if you try to engage the discussion further, you will either get a response that this is it the subject matter or the class and we shouldn't waste more time on it, or that it is outside of the prof's expertise, or a long tangential discussion that does waste valuable class time.

          Most disciplines are related to each other. It is not a waste to get one discipline's opinion on a different discipline. It could be very informative. Some of the most interesting things that I learned in college and graduate school came from a "tangential discussion". When I taught, I would usually assign an extra credit paper that would relate my class to another discipline.

          I think all that really needs to be said in the talk is that evolution is scientific fact, and we are going to continue to show you why. Confirm that science applies methodological naturalism and for good reason

          That is all that is necessary, but a professor could choose to go a little deeper, as long as it was just a one time thing.

          • A professor saying that evolution is incompatible with God is basically saying you have to choose between believing evolution is true or that a god exists. This is pretty much saying that you can't be a proper biologist if you believe in god. This is not true and it excludes theists from feeling welcome and equal. It is also unnecessary as would a prof starting class with a optional prayer.

            Sure, go ahead and challenge ones views and assumptions but have that discussion in philosophy class, not in biology.

            To properly deal with philosophical questions on the existence of god, or the compatibility of science and religion, would take several classes and I would get annoyed if my biology class was taken up by such irrelevant tangents. I would think that the point of the "talk" is to avoid creationists pushing the lectures off track with theological and philosophical and metaphysical non sequiturs.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            I think you partially changed my mind. I would not want a biology professor to say at the outset of a class that evolution excludes the possibility of God. I think we agree that he would be perfectly correct to give an explanation of what science is and how creationism is not science.

            I think however you and I have different ideas on what a foray into philosophy would look like. It shouldn't be an every day occurrence, but if it happened for one period towards the end of the class, I do no think that would be a big deal. 50 minutes of conversation devoted to possible philosophical implications to evolutionary theory could possibly be very interesting. I know we had the discussion at the end of Quantum Mechanics and Modern Physics.

  • Dear Stacy,

    Thank you for the article. I especially appreciate the encouragement to practice humility, and to be able to admit when we are not certain. It is reckless to declare that science requires something when we have not explored all possible options. We might exclude the right answer! Science is always changing.

    But then, near the end, you seem to make the same bad leap David Barash does, although in a different direction:

    The non-religious worldview is ultimately incoherent because science
    only gets you so far. Science points to greater realities beyond it.
    Even the scientific method demands a Christian worldview.

    Is there one and only one non-religious worldview? Can non-religious worldviews point to a reality beyond what science reveals? Does the scientific method exclusively demand Christianity? When learning about the scientific method, I don't remember hearing much about the resurrection of Jesus.

    One of the things I love about science is that science can change my beliefs. I enjoy exploring the many different ways of figuring things out. In that grand context, both your view and Barash's view seem too limited. Figuring things out doesn't mean that one's religious beliefs must be discarded. Neither does it mean that one's religious beliefs are required.

  • Linda

    Thanks so much for this commentary. When I was in college we had a biology professor who handled this much better. At the beginning of the semester he said something like: "This is a college biology course. As such, we will be covering evolution. I realize that this is in conflict with the religious beliefs of many of you, however this is biology, not theology, and evolution is a valid scientific theory. If you would like to discuss creationism with me, please make an appointment to see me during my office hours and we can discuss this then. We will not spend class time discussing it." When we did get to evolution, some students tried to bring up creationism, but he again said to make an appointment and moved on with the class topics.

    At my Catholic high school, however, our science teacher was a fundamentalist Lutheran who refused to teach us evolution and said we were welcome to read the chapter ourselves, but that he would not be covering it. We went to our religion teacher to ask if it was okay, and she went through the high points, saying that as Catholics we could believe in evolution, we just needed to see the Hand of God in it. I always thought it was funny that we learned about evolution in religion class instead of biology.

    • Ignatius Reilly

      However, Creationism is not a valid scientific theory. It is false.

      • Linda

        Exactly. Which is why it should not be covered in a high school or college science class. It has nothing to do with scientific theories or facts.

  • Mike

    Here's where i suspect everyone runs into trouble: in thinking that Evolution is something you can believe "in" when evolution simply is or is not; it either exists as a process of natural selection by "random" or unpredictable mutation or it does not; but bc something exists doesn't mean that you can then BELIEVE in it the way you can believe in your mom or dad that they will "come through" for you in the end. Evolution just is it seems to me and atheists make a mistake if they say they "believe" in it; the same way that Christians make a mistake if they say they don't "believe" in it - "evolution" or whatever other name/label we come up with as a short hand for whatever physical processes occur in nature - just is.

    • a_theist

      Evolution is [not] something you can believe "in" when evolution simply is or is not;

      or I could say God is [not] something you can believe "in" when God simply is or is not ... but that is not quite the same is it? While God may simply be or not there is a measure of uncertainty and that is what your point highlights.

      Certainly I agree that we can't believe in something which is established as fact - evolution or gravity.

      We need to believe when there is insufficient evidence for something to be considered fact. However, what we believe in is that the evidence is sufficient to satisfy our judgement - for God falls into that category.

      • mriehm

        There are different meanings to the word "believe". It can mean, "to hold something as an opinion; think", or, "to hold something as true without proof". There is nothing wrong with believing in evolution, so long as one understands that one is doing it with proof.

      • Mike

        There is uncertainty when it comes to God to "Trust" him with your life; you CAN NOT "Trust" evolution with anything; it just is a label that we've come up with for something that occurs naturally; and the extent to which it occurs is obviously still being studied and probably will be for ever.

  • Ye Olde Statistician

    Several commenters below referred to evolution undermining religion because of "gratuitous evil." I was wondering what branch of biology deals with evil and what experiments were performed in support of the conclusion.

    • Ignatius Reilly

      I don't think one can partition the various fields of study so they do not overlap. Indeed, each field has the potential to inform other fields. For instance, anthropology can perhaps tell us what is the natural state of man, which could then inform our philosophy.

      Evolutionary biology paints a picture unusual cruelty and suffering. Whether such suffering is compatible with an all powerful and all good God is a philosophical question, but the philosophy is informed by the science. Certainly, biology/psychology can offer insight into how we perceive evil, how we make moral judgments, and whether or not the animal kingdom has a concept of justice.

      So yes, biology can test our conceptions of evil. What those conceptions mean, becomes more of a philosophical question.

      • Ye Olde Statistician

        Evolutionary biology paints a picture unusual cruelty and suffering.

        Where in biology do value-terms like "cruelty" and "suffering" arise? A lioness is not "cruel" to a gazelle; she is merely hungry. She cannot form the necessary mens rea for cruelty.

        • Logike

          So I suppose you have no ethical objections to that lioness munching on you for dinner?

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            No ethical objections, surely. A few more pragmatic ones. Nor do I object to the gazelle running for his life. Concepts like ethics and cruelty have no place in methodological naturalism.

          • Logike

            So it would be morally ok to allow animals to munch on other human beings? After all, if there is no objective moral fact of the matter about whether animals eating human beings is good or bad, whence comes a moral obligation to prevent such suffering from happening? I suppose you think it's morally ok for God to allow tsunamis to destroy thousands of people too and allow all types of natural suffering?

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            So it would be morally ok to allow animals to munch on other human
            beings? After all, if there is no objective moral fact of the matter
            about whether animals eating human beings is right or wrong, whence
            comes a moral obligation to prevent such suffering from happening?

            What color is the sky on your planet?

            Where do you go from the fact that there is no morality or cruelty in storms and lionesses to that there is no morality in people? If a hungry lioness eats an unfortunate human, there is no moral blame to the lioness. If Logike were to throw an unfortunate human to the hungry lions there would be moral blame attached.

            People didn't used to need such things explained to them.

          • Logike

            I am not attributing moral blame to non-human animals. I am asking you what moral obligation you think human beings have--if at all--to prevent human suffering if there is nothing objectively *bad* about being eaten by a lion. --Or is there?

            People didn't used to need such things explained them.

          • Ye Olde Statistician

            if there is nothing objectively *bad* in the first place about being eaten by a lion

            Not sure how you added on that "not objectively bad" when what was said was that material nature does not have concepts such as "bad" or "cruel." It is simply not a matter on which biology is competent. Of course, it is bad from the viewpoint of the gazelle or other meal since it is a deprivation of a good; viz., life. But it would also be bad for the lion to starve to death because he mustn't eat Bambi.

            Human beings, as previously noted, do have moral standing. That was the whole point of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil thingie.

            Late Modern environmentalists may of course have a different take on things.

          • Logike

            "Not sure how you added on that "not objectively bad" when what was said
            was that material nature does not have concepts such as "bad" or
            "cruel."

            --But you said you had no ethical objections to being munched on by an animal. I think anyone would take this to mean that you think there is no fact of the matter about whether being eaten is good or bad. "Good" and "bad" are ethical/normative terms.

        • Ignatius Reilly

          Evolutionary biology tells us what the natural world is like. That view of the natural world is incompatible with an all powerful all good God. Suffering is not a value term. It is descriptive of certain observations and experiences in the natural world. A god who allows such unnecessary suffering cannot be all good and all powerful.

          • Logike

            I understand "suffering" is descriptive, not evaluative. But the undesirability of some suffering is what explains why it is "bad" or "evil," etc. In value-theory parlance: "the property of 'badness' supervenes on the undesirability of some states of affairs." So we are still left with the fact that some natural suffering is bad or evil.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            We are in agreement. Interestingly, this suffering predates the appearance of homo sapiens, which would seem to contradict the original sin theory.

          • Logike

            Good point.

          • Maxximiliann

            In order for your conclusion to obtain you need to prove there is no good reason God might have for temporarily permitting suffering in the world. Can you?

          • Logike

            (1) There is no good that we know of that would morally justify God's permitting the intense suffering of the kind described in animals slowly dying agonizing deaths in forest fires (for example), for two reasons; either because,

            (a) God's omnipotence could bring about a good state-of-affairs without letting the animal suffer in the first place,

            or because

            (b) the good-states-of-affairs is not good enough to sufficiently counterbalance the suffering in question.

            (2) Therefore, it is likely there is no good that would morally justify God's permitting the intense suffering of the kind described above.

            The inference from (1) to (2) is an inductively strong inference. To doubt it would be to introduce skepticism about inductive reasoning itself.

          • Maxximiliann

            You're begging the question. How do you know animals experience suffering in the first place?

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Do dogs have emotions? Can they feel fear? If they do, then they can suffer.

          • Maxximiliann

            That only proves that they can feel pain but that's not the issue. The question is, without self-awareness, can an animal actually suffer? In other words, this all hinges on animal's specific mental state.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Usually pain is seen as proof of self-awareness than the other way around.

          • Maxximiliann

            Really? What's your evidence?

          • Logike

            Non-human mammals, in particular, have the same kind of pain receptors in their brains responsible for the subjective feeling of pain that humans do. So it is highly likely they can feel pain just as we do. Having complex self-awareness is not required to feel pain.

          • Maxximiliann

            "Neurological research indicates that there are two independent neural pathways associated with the experience of pain. The one pathway is involved in producing Level 2 mental states of being in pain. But there is an independent neural pathway that is associated with being aware that one is oneself in a Level 2 state. And this second neural pathway is apparently a very late evolutionary development which only emerges in the higher primates, including man. Other animals lack the neural pathways for having the experience of Level 3 pain awareness. So even though animals like zebras and giraffes, for example, experience pain when attacked by a lion, they really aren’t aware of it.

            To help understand this, consider an astonishing analogous phenomenon in human experience known as blind sight. The experience of sight is also associated biologically with two independent neural pathways in the brain. The one pathway conveys visual stimuli about what external objects are presented to the viewer. The other pathway is associated with an awareness of the visual states. Incredibly, certain persons, who have experienced impairment to the second neural pathway but whose first neural pathway is functioning normally, exhibit what is called blind sight. That is to say, these people are effectively blind because they are not aware that they can see anything. But in fact, they do “see” in the sense that they correctly register visual stimuli conveyed by the first neural pathway. If you toss a ball to such a person he will catch it because he does see it. But he isn’t aware that he sees it! Phenomenologically, he is like a person who is utterly blind, who doesn’t receive any visual stimuli. Obviously, as Michael Murray says, it would be a pointless undertaking to invite a blind sighted person to spend an afternoon at the art gallery. For even though he, in a sense, sees the paintings on the walls, he isn’t aware that he sees them and so has no experience of the paintings.

            Now neurobiology indicates a similar situation with respect to animal pain awareness. All animals but the great apes and man lack the neural pathways associated with Level 3 pain awareness."

            http://bit.ly/1wefxg1

          • Logike

            Even assuming what Craig says is an accurate description of the consciousness of most non-human animals (and there is no reason to suppose this is true because there are no sources quoted), how does this answer the problem of evil with respect to beings such as ourselves undergoing suffering as a result of natural disasters and other phenomena?

          • Michael Murray

            Also I wonder why why so many people oppose cruelty to animals when it apparently isn't cruel.

          • Michael Murray

            I don't think I will get ethics approval for this experiment but I wonder what happens if you show a blind sight person some really upsetting visual stimulus that would normally cause suffering to a sighted person. Do they suffer resulting stress and anxiety symptoms even though they don't know why ? If so am I causing them suffering ?

          • Maxximiliann

            You can chalk it up to stupidity. The only reason why people die from natural disasters is because they've chosen to live in zones prone to powerful, destructive natural phenomena.

            Ex: If you build your house over a fault line and an earthquake kills you whose fault is that?

          • Michael Murray

            So people living in Japan chose to live in Japan ?

          • Maxximiliann

            I'll amend my statement, then. The main reason most people die as a result of some natural disaster is because they've decided to make their homes in areas prone to powerful and destructive natural phenomena.

          • Michael Murray

            Obviously, as Michael Murray says, it would be a pointless undertaking to invite a blind sighted person to spend an afternoon at the art gallery.

            I do ? This seems to make me a person who says things without being aware of them ?

          • Maxximiliann

            Are you Michael Murray the author of "Nature Red in Tooth and Claw"?

          • Michael Murray

            No I'm not him. Thanks.

          • Logike

            I noticed Craig doesn't give any evidence that Level 1 pain is analogous to blind-sighted people lacking phenomenal consciousness. He just stipulates it. Precisely because experiencing Level 2 pain is not necessary to feel Level 1 pain, his argument doesn't actually demonstrate that animals don't feel pain. Oops.

          • Maxximiliann

            Strawman. The issue is whether or not animals suffer (for which level 3 pain awareness is necessary), not whether or not they feel pain. Try again.

          • Logike

            Suffering or not, animals still feel pain. And in case you forgot, a lot of pain can be bad. Try again.

          • Maxximiliann

            I've already addressed this and I'm not going to repeat myself. Move on.

          • Logike

            I said earlier that pain, and a lot of it, is relevant to our argument from evil. That's not a strawman. And it's a fact that Craig's argument shows animals CAN feel pain. So just because you want to gerrymander fine-grained distinctions between suffering and pain, it makes no difference to the argument from evil being offered here and the moral culpability of a creator who allowed a lot of unnecessary pain to befall animals.

          • Maxximiliann

            Give it up. Pain and suffering are not the same.

          • Logike

            "The question is, without self-awareness, can an animal actually suffer?"

            --Of course they can suffer without self-awareness, precisely because feeling Level 2 pain is not needed to feel
            Level 1 pain. Duh.

          • Maxximiliann

            But level 3 awareness is necessary for anyone to experience suffering ...

          • Logike

            But not to feel pain.

          • Maxximiliann

            Do pay attention. Feeling pain and suffering are not the same thing. An ant might feel pain when doused with acetone but it doesn't actually suffer. It lacks the proper mental awareness to actually experience third order pain awareness.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Besides, humans suffer.

          • Maxximiliann

            Yes, they most certainly do! You still need to prove that our All-Knowing Creator cannot possibly have a very good and legitimate reason for temporarily allowing our suffering. Can you?

          • Logike

            We've already given you one reason why an all-knowing creator cannot possibly have a good reason for permitting suffering, namely, he can bring about the good he would have brought with suffering without permitting that suffering to happen in the first place. We are still waiting on a coherent rebuttal from you.

          • Maxximiliann

            I'm still waiting for you to present evidence for your claim. Unless, of course you simply don't have any and I can proceed to show you why his temporary allowing of human suffering is not only logical but necessary.

          • Logike

            But my claim is not an empirical claim requiring evidence. It is a moral a priori judgment about whether God would have moral justification for permitting evil. This is not an empirical question about whether God does or does not have reasons for permitting evil. Let's suppose he does have reasons for the sake of argument. The question then becomes whether God, given his reasons, has moral justification for them.

            Let me make this easy for you. First question, All things being equal, which of the two worlds is better?

            (w1) A world with a good state-of-affairs and a evil state-of-affairs

            Or,

            (w2) A world with the same good state-of-affairs found in w1 without the same evil state-of-affairs found in w1

          • Logike

            Take mammals. I have good reason to believe mammals experience suffering because (1) they have mammalian brains like mine making them capable of it, and (2) because they exhibit the same behavior as mine when they appear to be hurt: they yelp, they scream, they wince. . . This is a strong inductive argument if I have ever seen one.

          • Maxximiliann

            That only proves that they feel pain and, instinctually, react to it. Without possessing self-awareness, though, how can you prove that they can experience suffering?

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Regardless, we consider it cruel of humans to fight dogs, why don't we consider it cruel of the creator to do the same thing?

          • Maxximiliann

            Are dogs people?

          • Ignatius Reilly

            I don't see why that matters. We consider it immoral to be cruel to animals. Are we wrong in that morality judgment? It is either immoral, moral, or amoral to fight dogs. If it is immoral then the creator is not all good.

          • Maxximiliann

            Predators kill each other in the wild for a whole host of reasons yet, that's not immoral because animals don't have a conscience like we do.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            It isn't immoral for animals to do it, but it is immoral for God to create a universe in which animals are killing each other and getting killed by natural causes.

          • Maxximiliann

            What's your evidence?

          • Ignatius Reilly

            I already gave it to you. We believe that it is immoral for humans to be cruel to animals. If cruelty to animals is immoral, then it is immoral for God to be cruel to animals.

          • Maxximiliann

            Belief is not evidence just belief. I asked you for evidence. Do you have any?

          • Ignatius Reilly

            It is your morality system. You either have to deny that it is immoral to be cruel to animals or deny that God does such cruelty.

          • Maxximiliann

            When has All-Loving God ever displayed callous indifference to or derived pleasure in causing pain and suffering to any animal? Chapter and verse if you would.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            He drowned all of them in a great flood. Two major extinctions before Man appeared on the earth. I'm sure animals have drowned/burnt in volcanic ash.

          • Maxximiliann

            But you need to prove that God derived pleasure from any of those. Can you?

          • Ignatius Reilly

            No I don't. I simply need to show that God allowed unnecessary evil. Once that is established, we know that he cannot both be all good and all powerful.

          • Maxximiliann

            Yes you do for your claim is that God is cruel. For that to be true you need to prove that he derived pleasure from their deaths so present your evidence for your outlandish claim or retract it.

          • Maxximiliann

            Then you can't say God has ever been cruel.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Cruelty has nothing to do with pleasure derived. If a person sets a rabbit on fire, but does not get any pleasure from the action, then that person is still cruel.

          • Maxximiliann

            It has everything to do with it.

            Cruelty: Callous indifference to or pleasure in causing pain and suffering (Oxford Dictionary)

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Then forget cruel. Use immoral instead. It is immoral to set a rabbit on fire, unless some greater good could only be brought about by setting said rabbit on fire. God being all powerful can have both the greater good and not the burning rabbit. Therefore God either lacks omnibevolence or omnipotence.
            You are trying to erect a strawman that isn't there. It is either wrong to allow the things that go on in this world, or it isn't. If it is wrong, an all-powerfull God could have made a different world without the wrong.

          • Maxximiliann

            Prove it. Prove that's it's immoral to cook a rabbit ...

          • Ignatius Reilly

            That is not a counter example to my claim. Obviously, feeding yourself justifies cooking the rabbit. That is the greater good. God doesn't need to eat rabbits for sustenance, so He doesn't get a pass for setting rabbits on fire.

          • Guest

            Alright then, go ahead and give my stance some "air."

          • Maxximiliann

            Obviously, feeding yourself justifies cooking the rabbit.

            Why? Why is it ok for us to slaughter animals to satisfy our needs?

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Not relevant. The point is that God does cannot justify torturing rabbits for some hidden reason. This is because God is all powerful.

            Humans on the other hand could justify cooking a rabbit, because food is necessary for survival. Whether or not this justification holds is irrelevant to the argument. The argument if about God's lack of justification.

          • Maxximiliann

            Hardly. If it's ok for people to kill animals why can't God?

          • Ignatius Reilly

            We kill animals to survive - God can have no such justification. Besides, God doesn't just kill animals - he causes them to suffer needlessly.

            If a person just ran around killing as many animals as possible, for no reason, I would consider that to be wrong. However, if that same person killed one animal to feed their himself, that action would be moral. That is the whole point of justifications. Actions aren't usually immoral or moral without context. For instance, it is immoral to kill, but moral to kill in self-defense. God cannot have this redeeming context, because he is all powerful.

          • Maxximiliann

            You've yet to prove that animals suffer. Besides, I already demonstrated that animals do not possess the necessary awareness to actually suffer.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            That is not the point of our discussion here. The point is whether or not an all-powerful being can have justifications for wrong doing.

            We are talking about a given immoral act X being justified by reason Y. For instance, it is immoral to steal, but it would be moral to steal if it was the only way one could feed their family. Feeding one's family justifies the immoral action X. Or do you think that if action X is sometimes immoral it is always immoral regardless of justification?

          • Maxximiliann

            Morality is not relative but absolute. For instance, if the Neo-Nazis ever attained world domination and then exterminated all who believed racism was completely wrong , might that at once render racism as well as bigotry moral ?

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Again not the point. My comment is about objective morality. I asked about justification in an objective morality situation. Either it is always moral to kill in self defense or it is always immoral to kill in self defense. Do justifications like self-defense exist?

          • Maxximiliann

            Murder is always wrong. Killing in self-defense is not murder.

          • David Nickol

            Murder is always wrong.

            Murder is always wrong because murder is defined as wrong. To say that murder is always wrong is basically tautological, since it is saying, "wrongful killing of the type we call murder is wrong."

            In Catholic thought (as I understand it) using deadly force if absolutely necessary for self-defense is not wrong, but using deadly force with the intention of killing is wrong, even in self-defense. Shooting an intruder with the knowledge that the shot will probably kill him is permissible, if necessary to protect your own life. Shooting an intruder because you believe anybody who trespasses on your property deserves to die is wrongful killing, even if it is done in self-defense.

          • Maxximiliann

            Agreed.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            So justifications do exist. Suppose person A kills person B in self-defense. We can then say that person A is justified in killing person B. However, suppose person A could defend himself without resorting to killing person B. Is person A then justified in killing person B?

          • Maxximiliann

            Employing lethal force with the purpose of killing is completely wrong , even in self-defense . Spraying a trespasser with the awareness that the shots will most likely kill him or her is allowable , when necessary to preserve your life . Spraying a trespasser simply because you think that anyone who trespasses onto your own home demands death is wrongful killing , even though it happens to be done in self-defense .

          • "Employing lethal force with the purpose of killing is completely wrong , even in self-defense"

            Except when god commands you to kill. Then its obligatory!

          • Maxximiliann

            Since when is executing evil people immoral?

          • You just said killing is wrong, even in self-defense. An execution is a killing.

            How do you define evil?

          • Maxximiliann

            Where?

          • "Employing lethal force with the purpose of killing is completely wrong , even in self-defense ."

          • Maxximiliann

            As you can see, then, the issue is intent. Killing an incapacitated intruder is unnecessary and so the claim of self-defense can't hold up; he's committed murder.

          • You're just a liar trying to save face now.

          • Maxximiliann

            Evil is the opposite of godliness. It is the antithesis of God's very own nature.

          • But god is jealous and wrathful. The opposite of that would confident and happy. So are you saying confidence and happiness are evil?

          • Maxximiliann

            Nope.

          • Maxximiliann

            Why are you acting as if animals live forever? Do you honestly believe those animals that died during The Flood would still be alive today?

          • Ignatius Reilly

            In your religion, what happens to humans that don't serve God. Is everyone saved, or do some people cease existing?

          • Maxximiliann

            The Bible teaches that those who oppose God will simply perish during Armageddon.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            So, since those people will not live forever, those who are saved can do any action to them, because beings who have finite existence (animals) cannot be wronged. That is what you seem to be saying.

          • Maxximiliann

            Except that only the good will survive Armageddon. Being sadistic and doing harm to others falls a tad bit out of that range, wouldn't you say? :)

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Is it possible to commit an immoral act against a being (animal, plant, human, alien), whose existence is finite in time?

          • Maxximiliann

            Human: Of course
            Plants and animals: No because they're not sentient.

          • Maxximiliann

            an all-powerfull God could have made a different world without the wrong.

            Not without suppressing free will.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            So we need hurricanes and polio, in order to have free will?

          • Maxximiliann

            Dogs have been known to maim and kill people. Is it also your contention that their existence is immoral?

          • Maxximiliann

            The only reason people die from natural disasters is stupidity. You can't build your house next to an active volcano and then blame God when it erupts and kills your family ...

          • Ignatius Reilly

            So the people of Haiti suffered because they were stupid? It is nice to know that your religion brings out so much compassion in you.

            Obviously, I wouldn't blame God, because he doesn't exist.

          • Maxximiliann

            "People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the LORD." -Proverbs 19:3 (NLT)

          • Ignatius Reilly

            How were the people of Haiti foolish? I suppose they all should have immigrated to the United States? Do you even have a cursory understanding of their history?

          • Maxximiliann

            Seriously? Who, if not the Haitian people, are responsible for all violence, abuse, strife, discord, hatred, inequality, injustice, abject squalor, preventable disease and depravity that characterizes their daily lives?

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Slavery played a large part. It was nice of God to kick them while they were down with an earthquake and a hurricane.

          • Maxximiliann

            Except that All-Loving God is not directly responsible for weather phenomena. In fact, given what we know now, man's greedy destruction of the environment has a direct impact on both the severity and frequency of powerful weather patterns.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Pompeii? There was horrible natural disasters before man polluted the earth with emissions.
            How is God not directly responsible? He created the earth and the rules that the weather patterns follow.

          • Maxximiliann

            Does he tell people to build their homes next to volcanoes, earthquake zones, right next to the ocean or in other unsafe locations?

          • Ignatius Reilly

            So, if I am out late at night in a rough neighborhood and I get mugged, who is directly responsible for the mugging? Myself or the muggers? Any responsibility I have is indirect, and could quite possibly be mitigated by circumstance.

            It is obvious that the mugger is directly responsible, as is the rapist, and the murderer. God is also directly responsible for natural disasters.

          • Maxximiliann

            In your scenario you're the one responsible since you knew that you were in a dangerous neighborhood.

            I'm starting to get the idea that you're not a big believer in personal responsibility, yes?

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Yes, it would be imprudent to walk around in a dangerous neighborhood at night, however why do you absolve the muggers of the greater share of responsibility? What if the person who was mugged was leaving a soup kitchen - I suppose they are responsible, because one should know not to volunteer in the bad part of town.

            I'm starting to get the idea that you blame the person who is raped rather than the rapist, on the grounds that she was asking for it.

            I believe in personal responsibility, but I recognize the influence environment and nature has on our lives. I also recognize that most people don't have a choice as to were they live, so they aren't responsible for natural disasters that ruin the small livelihood that they have.

          • Maxximiliann

            I see what you're saying because no one ever emigrates ...

          • Maxximiliann

            Argumentum per falsam analogiam. Rape is about misogynistic violence. It has nothing to do with sex.

          • "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things." Isaiah 45:7 (KJB)

          • Maxximiliann

            For all ungodly ones, being justly immured, amerced or even executed for their evil is an evil.

            "‘“As I am alive,” is the utterance of the Sovereign Lord Jehovah, “I take delight, not in the death of the wicked one, but in that someone wicked turns back from his way and actually keeps living. Turn back, turn back from YOUR bad ways, for why is it that YOU should die?" -Ezekiel 33:18

            "If YOU keep walking in opposition to me [Jehovah God] and not wishing to listen to me, I shall then have to inflict seven times more blows upon YOU according to YOUR sins." -Leviticus 26:21 (Bracket mine.)

            "For the wages sin pays is death." -Romans 6:23

            "The soul that is sinning—it itself will die." -Ezekiel 18:4

            In summary, Jehovah "bring[s] to ruin those ruining the earth" with their evils. -Revelation 11:18 (Bracket mine.) For the godly, however, "it will go well for them; They will be rewarded for what they do." - Isaiah 3:10

          • Evil was created by god, don't deny it.

          • Maxximiliann

            The only "evil" All-Loving God has ever caused is to evildoers.

          • Nope. The Bible says god create evil. Period.

          • Maxximiliann

            How do you know with such absolute certainty that God does not nor cannot exist?

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Deductive logic.

          • Maxximiliann

            Present your premises then.

          • Maxximiliann

            And just how do you know All-Loving God does not have a very legitimate reason for temporarily allowing human suffering?

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Because any reason he had for temporarily allowing human suffering, could have been brought about in a way that excludes human suffering, because God is all-powerful. The state of the world that we live in, does not allow for a God that is both all-good and all-powerful.

          • Maxximiliann

            And just how exactly do you know this to be true? Who made you God Almighty?

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Deductive logic. I don't need to be a god to use reason, thankfully.

          • Maxximiliann

            But you do need to be God to know the precise future outcome of any and all decisions you make. Lacking that ability you don't know that God chose the wrong way to address the problems that arose from Adam's abuse of his free will.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            So this is the best of all possible worlds, given that Adam sinned?

          • Maxximiliann

            Exactly! Until the question of Jehovah God's sovereignty is resolved, humanity must continue to suffer human rule.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Why does Adam's sin necessitate disease?

          • Maxximiliann

            Disease, among other plagues of the human condition, was a byproduct of the degradation humanity began to experience when Adam sinned. That's why they couldn't produce physically perfect human offspring.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            You didn't answer the question. Why is the degradation necessary? Usually I am told that it is necessary for free will.

          • Maxximiliann

            The degradation is a consequence of the faulty genome we inherited from our original parents, Adam and Eve. It's the reason why all human beings necessarily grows old and dies.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            So it is hardwired in our genetics. Have you identified this genome?

            If God created the genetic code, then he is responsible for the genome becoming faulty, when Adam sinned. In other words, God could have coded our genetics, so no gene goes "faulty" when Adam sinned. Why did he not do this?

          • Maxximiliann

            A better question is, "Why did Adam choose to disobey his loving creator thereby condemning us to live with sin and death?"

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Nice dodge. You failed to answer the question.

          • Maxximiliann

            And you keep missing the point :)

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Adam's reason for disobeying God has nothing to do with what we are talking about. We are talking about God's reasons. You are trying to absolve God for creating the rules that we play by. He did not need to create genetic code that would go faulty upon the first sin, so why did he?

          • Maxximiliann

            He did so to test Adam, to see if he was worthy of immortality.

          • Logike

            Do you expect me to just take yours and Craig's word for it? I want to hear the situation from a neurologist's perspective.

            Even so, it wouldn't matter. We still experience suffering as a result of natural phenomena. So even if Craig were right, the problem of human suffering due to natural phenomena is still a problem.

          • Maxximiliann

            You can chalk it up to stupidity. The only reason why people die from natural disasters is because they've chosen to live in zones prone to powerful, destructive natural phenomena.

            Ex: If you build your house next to a volcano and it erupts and kills you whose fault is that?

          • Logike

            "The only reason why people die from natural disasters is because they've chosen to live in zones prone to powerful, destructive natural phenomena."

            --Is it? What about horrible death from cancer? Most cancer is simply unavoidable due to the aging process and is not a consequence of people's carelessness and failure to plan.

            Further, even if natural disasters happen as a result of carelessness, does this mean people's suffering is "deserved" according to some cruel cosmic justice? I don't think so. So this retort is irrelevant to the discussion anyway.

          • Maxximiliann

            Not deserved but consequential.

          • Logike

            Even if they lack 2nd-order awareness THAT they are in pain, they can still (1st-order awareness) feel pain. So self-awareness is irrelevant to their feeling pain.

          • Maxximiliann

            But it is absolutely necessary for them to actually suffer. Since they lack third order awareness they don't actually suffer.

          • Maxximiliann

            Are you hard of reading? The issue is the mental state of suffering not pain or even pain awareness.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            Because, since God is all-powerful, any reason he has for permitting suffering. could be brought out through other means. Therefore, God as defined does not exist. I consider this a deductive argument based on the "definition" of God. However, if you think that my argument fails, you would still have to deal with Logike's argument below.

          • Maxximiliann

            The issue is not resolved by invoking God's power for his ability is not what's in question. The question relates only to God's wisdom. You need to prove that that there is no good reason our Creator might have for temporarily allowing suffering. Can you?

          • Logike

            That he is all-powerful undercuts any "reason" for permitting suffering he may have, genius, because, ex hypothesi, he can bring about the good without permitting evil in the first place.

          • Maxximiliann

            Prove it.

          • Logike

            I just did. I can tell you're having trouble understanding how this argument works.

            Let's make this easy for you. What would you say about the moral character of a father who stood by and watched, but did nothing to stop his 4 year old daughter from drowning when he had the power to prevent it from happening? Let's suppose further that he tells you he has a "good reason" for permitting his daughter's death, but refuses to reveal what that reason is. In a Court of Law, any reasonable jury would impute moral reprehensibility to this man, regardless of what his reasons were, on the grounds that he failed to perform his duty as a father and protect his daughter from an evil he could have otherwise prevented but chose not to.

          • Maxximiliann

            But that's my point. The way matters played out after Adam and Eve rebelled against God necessarily brought about mankind's suffering. In other words, it was inevitable.

          • Logike

            But now you're begging the question that God exists.

            Further, you're flat out missing the point. Just as the human father would be culpable for failing to spare his daughter the suffering and death he could have otherwise prevented, so too would God be culpable. So the fact that people are NOT spared the suffering that a all-good and all-powerful God could and would have otherwise prevented, there is very likely no good reason for it, and God probably does not exist.

          • Maxximiliann

            Irrefutable Evidence for the Necessary Existence of God: http://bit.ly/1197U6R

          • Maxximiliann

            The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one. By allowing man to suffer the consequences of his poor decisions, All-Loving God settles the issue of the legitimacy of his sovereignty and authority once and for all.

          • Maxximiliann

            Various necessary and invasive medical procedures are painful and certainly do cause the patient to suffer. Does that mean the patient should elect death rather than endure the temporary suffering?

          • Ignatius Reilly

            I have already told you. Suppose the creator had reason X for allowing suffering. If X could not have been brought about without suffering than God is not all powerful. If it could then God is not all good.

          • Maxximiliann

            "People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the LORD." -Proverbs 19:3

            More often than not, the reason for man's suffering ... is man: http://bit.ly/11EyvgO

          • Ignatius Reilly

            The reason for our suffering is the nature of our universe. There are diseases, natural disasters, and mental anguish. This is not something that we caused or that we deserved - it is just the nature of the place that we live in.

          • Maxximiliann

            Really? A smoker, for instance, dying of lung cancer is simply "the nature of our universe"?

          • Logike

            Clearly, not everyone who gets cancer is to blame for it because not everyone who gets cancer smokes.

          • Maxximiliann

            When did I ever claim that?

          • Logike

            Don't backpedal now. You blame all natural suffering on the poor choices of human creatures. But not all natural suffering is a result of poor human choices. Some suffering is just inevitable as "the nature of our universe" as Ignatius said.

          • Logike

            Unfortunately, Maxximiliann doesn't comprehend one's replies very well.

    • Mike

      Plus how can a physicalist even begin to believe in Evil as it's only the movement of atoms and neural synapses not actual you know "eeeeevil"?

    • GCBill

      I am wondering why you simply didn't ask the person who brought it up, since they might not have stumbled upon your question otherwise, if you were really interested in understanding the reasoning.

      In any case, biology reveals facts about how the world operates. Those facts may not have any normative significance to biologists, but they can be classified as manifestations of evil within philosophical frameworks. And if you take the conception of evil as deficiency seriously, you'll notice that evolution produces lots of evil. Many creatures are born with traits that are unsuitable for their environment; they are deficient insofar as their characteristics prevent them from achieving the goal of reproduction. And if the philosopher insists that we're dealing with a goal that is not merely as-if teleology, then the failure to flourish that follows is not merely an instance of as-if evil. No further experimentation is needed; one just needs to take the implications of biology to certain philosophical ideas seriously.

  • Ye Olde Statistician

    Ran across this also here: http://www.scifiwright.com/2014/10/darwinian-blithering/
    although it is more of a lawyerly analysis of the logic of the argumentation.

    • Ignatius Reilly

      The author does not have a good grasp of the subject matter. See my response to Mary Biology Mom, for one easily disproven statement that he makes.

  • Mary Biology Mom

    Hi Stacy, It's Mary from MA. Check out John Wright's view
    http://www.scifiwright.com/2014/10/darwinian-blithering/comment-page-1/#comment-104756

    • Ignatius Reilly

      There is a ton wrong with that article (it is rather long), and I am not quite sure what is the most objectionable, but this might be a good start:

      Darwinism is not only correctly called a theory, it even more correctly called an unscientific theory, a philosophical theory, in that it is not open to disproof by normal scientific means of measurement, observation, experimentation; and it makes no testable predictions. There is no such thing as ‘Darwin’s Law’ parallel to ‘Newton’s Law’ because Darwin makes no predictions of outcomes.

      Counter-example below:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._coli_long-term_evolution_experiment

      • a_theist

        I think you missed the key requirement of a scientific theory "open to disproof" This requires that it provide specific predictions that can be tested. The E.coli experiment certainly proves that changes occur over time, but has not tested those changes against changes predicted by Darwinism or any evolution theory.

      • Jim Dailey

        I briefly scanned the article you referenced. I did not see where a scientific prediction was made or validated.
        Also, the experiment took place in a highly controlled environment using bacteria over 50,000 generations. I really fail to see how this experiment has any "real-world" application, or can be used to validate the many far-reaching conclusions asserted as "fact" by many of today's evolutionists. To use one of Wright's examples, the bacteria-in--a -petrie-dish experiment does not really explain why peacocks have huge tails.

        • Ignatius Reilly

          We would expect that beneficial mutations will be selected depending on the environment. That is a prediction. The experiment verifies the prediction.

          I really fail to see how this experiment has any "real-world" application,

          That is not relevant. All sorts of experiments lack real world relevance (although that is a rather subjective claim), but that does not make those experiments non-scientific. However, it does give us insights into medicine and drug research. How do we get bacterial strains that are resistant to antibodies?

          To use one of Wright's examples, the bacteria-in--a -petrie-dish experiment does not really explain why peacocks have huge tails.

          Peacocks chose their mates by size and shape of their tale. The more you reproduce the more likely your genes will continue into the next generation. Here are some experiments that suggest that tail size and coloration are important to females:

          http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/09/0909_peacock.html

      • stevegbrown

        Ignatius Reilly I wouldn't call the above wiki article a counter-example per se. As far as I can see, the article shows a long study using the empirical method limited to and supporting several pieces of Darwinian theory. I wouldn't call it unscientific since it is supporting a piece or pieces of a speculative science much like Geology. But since Darwinism falls under biology, you are dealing with life. And "what is life?" reaches into the realm of philosophy.

        "More generally, the authors (of the wiki article) suggest these results indicate (following the argument of Stephen Jay Gould) "that historical contingency can have a profound and lasting impact" on the course of evolution"

        Well, what is "historical contingency"? That is pretty huge because that is talking about a time frame. And if its an extremely short time frame in which mutations occur, it would seem to infer directed mutations of some sort. As you probably know, Neo-Darwinist theory (as opposed to Macro Evolution) holds that mutations are totally random in the sense that they cannot be directed for the good of the organism as good. According to the laws of neodarwinism, the environment, and only the environment, can select mutations; and the environment can never induce or direct mutations.
        I would be very interested in an article like this:
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1204544/pdf/ge1284695.pdf

        the famous adaptive mutation article by John Cairns and Patricia Foster.
        Another molecular biologist, Barry Hall, published results which not only confirmed Cairns’s claims but laid on the table startling additional evidence of direct mutation in nature. Hall found that his cultures of E. coli would produce needed mutations at a rate about 100 million times greater than would be statistically expected if they came by chance.

        I am currently interested in Bernard Lonergan's idea of "emergent probability"
        Cheers.

        • Logike

          "Hall found that his cultures of E. coli would produce needed mutations at a rate about 100 million times greater than would be statistically expected if they came by chance."

          --Wouldn't this example count as evidence against (disproof) of Neo-Darwinism? I thought Ignatius was trying to show that Darwinism is capable of counterexample. Well, assuming Neo-Darwinism predicted wrongly here, this would certainly count as a counterexample to it.

          • stevegbrown

            Hello Logike. Yes, I agree with you to me, "this example (would) count as evidence against (disproof) of Neo-Darwinism"

            But I thought Ignatius was citing this article against the notion that Darwinism was "unscientific". By unscientific, I thought that Wright meant as a strictly empirical science. Thanks.

          • Ignatius Reilly

            What is a strictly empirical science? Please define
            .
            Wright makes not such claim - he instead claims that evolution is unscientific (false), that it makes no predictions (false), and not open to disproof (also false).

        • Ignatius Reilly

          I'm confused. You tell me that it is not a counterexample to the claim that evolution is non-scientific, but then go on to give reasons why evolution is scientific.

          If you are talking about predictions, please see the link:

          http://chem.tufts.edu/AnswersInScience/evo_science.html

          • Logike

            That was my own confusion.

    • Jim Dailey

      Mary - that article is a truly stupendous dismantling of the smug rhetoric and logical fallacies employed by Barash in his "talk". I recommend that anyone who feels that Barash is indeed condescendingly forcing his opinion on his students (as well as on the impressionable minds that pay attention to NY Times op-eds) read Wrights view on the matter. Wright does an outstanding job of articulating the irritating tactics used by the current bunch of politicially correct mind police who have a death grip on the media as well as academia.
      Thank you!

      • Ignatius Reilly

        (as well as on the impressionable minds that pay attention to NY Times op-eds)

        That is a real nice thing to say.

        Wright does an outstanding job of articulating the irritating tactics used by the current bunch of politicially correct mind police who have a death grip on the media as well as academia.

        Mind police? Is that a productive way to dialogue?
        Wright does not have a good grasp of evolutionary biology, so his blog post should be taken with a grain of salt.

        • Jim Dailey

          You know Ignatius, I got lectured by David Nichol for making snide remarks about Barash, his academic credentials, and how low the NY Times has fallen in its search to find academics to provide fodder for their obviously anti-Christian/anti-Catholic editorial policy.

          Subsequently to lecturing me, Mike notes Peter is ridiculing Young Earth Creationists, and calls him on it. David Nichol writes to Mike

          " I don't know how often ridicule is an effective tool for fighting bad
          ideas, but when it is, I would have no objection to using it."
          I myself am ambivalent about the use of satire and ridicule. However, it seems that Barash and the NY Times "opened the door" to ridicule by either writing and publishing the piece. That is, the piece is full of condescending, snarky, unproductive observations and logical fallacies. I urge you to re-read the Wright piece for the examples of where the article is genuinely offensive to anyone who makes a good faith effort to pursue the truth. You may not agree with 100% of the Wright critique, but you should recognize that the vast majority of Wrights objections are legitimate.
          If you do not recognize this, any efforts I may make to reconcile our viewpoints will surely be in vain, and not worthy of either my time or yours.

  • Doug Shaver

    Never forget this either. The non-religious worldview is ultimately incoherent because science only gets you so far. Science points to greater realities beyond it. Even the scientific method demands a Christian worldview.

    You and Stanley Jaki say so, and I've seen many other Christian apologists say it, too. But I have never seen a cogent argument to support the claim.

    To do science, we all have to view the world as ordered, symmetrical, intelligible, and predictable, and we have to fundamentally believe that we are rational beings who can gain knowledge about our world.

    Right, and I get it that you can't hold such a view without the church's telling you that God said it's OK to hold it. The rest of us need no authority's permission to think along scientific lines.

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      To do science, we all have to view the world as ordered,
      symmetrical, intelligible, and predictable, and we have to fundamentally
      believe that we are rational beings who can gain knowledge about our
      world.

      Right, and I get it that you can't hold such a view without the church's telling you that God said it's OK to hold it.

      The problem with socialist-bureaucratic thinking, is that Late Moderns find it difficult to grasp the evolution of thought and fall back on the intelligent design "command" theory of history. Please present empirical data that the Church ever said any such thing.

      The notion that the universe was rationally ordered and accessible to human reason was simply a natural outgrowth of Christian beliefs. That God had "ordered all things by number, weight, and measure" meant that things could be grasped by numbering, weighing, and measuring. That he had "commanded the earth to bring forth the living kinds" implied that nature had immanent powers to act directly and therefore there were secondary causes and not merely a primary cause. That human beings had souls with conscience (synderesis) meant that human reason could reach true conclusions without being explicitly told by mandarins or imams. And so on.

      The history of thought can be traced in the writings of influential men. Certain ideas critical to the emergence of scientific methods can be traced to Plato's Timeaus, and thence to Aristotle, to the Antenicene Fathers, to Augustine, Aquinas, and so on.

      For the opposite case, the atheist historian Joseph Needham wrote:

      "It was not that there was no order in nature for the Chinese, but rather that it was not an order ordained by a rational personal being, and hence there was no conviction that rational personal beings would be able to spell out in their lesser earthly languages the divine code of laws which he had decreed aforetime. The Taoists, indeed, would have scorned such an idea as being too naïve for the subtlety and complexity of the universe as they intuited it."
      -- and Wang Ling. Science and Civilisation in China. Cambridge University Press (1954).

      It was not that the mandarinate withheld "permission" to think scientifically. It was that they did not grasp that way of thinking. Isolated individuals here and there did stumble on scientific facts, but the way of thinking was not embedded in the culture the way it was in Christendom. There, having invented the university, every medieval theologian had first to obtain a master's degree. This degree focused exclusively on logic, reason, mathematics, and natural philosophy. Hundreds of thousands of ordinary laymen passed through this curriculum as well, thus spreading the scientific way of thinking throughout the culture.

      The rest of us need no authority's permission to think along scientific lines.

      Nor do you need Daniel Boone's "permission" to visit Boonesboro. Once someone has blazed the trail, even the clueless may follow without knowing anything about Boone. But again, you are stuck on the notion of "permission" rather than on the natural fruition of certain ways of thinking.

      Hope this helps.

      • Doug Shaver

        The problem with socialist-bureaucratic thinking, is that Late Moderns find it difficult to grasp the evolution of thought and fall back on the intelligent design "command" theory of history.

        Not everyone who disagrees with you is a socialist. I'm actually pretty sympathetic toward capitalism, and I'm no fan of bureaucracy at all. I don't know which thinkers you classify as Late Moderns, but there are lots of people who regard my thinking as quite outdated. As for that "intelligent design 'command' theory of history," I haven't a clue what you're talking about.

        Please present empirical data that the Church ever said any such thing.

        That it's OK to "view the world as ordered, symmetrical, intelligible, and predictable"? That it's OK to "believe that we are rational beings who can gain knowledge about our world"? You're asking me to provide evidence for the church's having said those things?

        The notion that the universe was rationally ordered and accessible to human reason was simply a natural outgrowth of Christian beliefs.

        That was the assertion of the article that I was commenting on. I said I hadn't seen a cogent argument for it. To repeat a claim is not to argue for it.

        That God had "ordered all things by number, weight, and measure" meant that things could be grasped by numbering, weighing, and measuring. That he had "commanded the earth to bring forth the living kinds" implied that nature had immanent powers to act directly and therefore there were secondary causes and not merely a primary cause. That human beings had souls with conscience (synderesis) meant that human reason could reach true conclusions without being explicitly told by mandarins or imams. And so on.

        Now you're just giving me your interpretation of scripture. I've known plenty of Christians who think your interpretation is way wrong.

        The history of thought can be traced in the writings of influential men.

        Obviously.

        Certain ideas critical to the emergence of scientific methods can be traced to Plato's Timeaus, and thence to Aristotle, to the Antenicene Fathers, to Augustine, Aquinas, and so on.

        If you can find the antecedents of modern science in Plato or the antenicene fathers, you can find it anywhere you want to find it. They aren't there, except by some very creative exegesis.

        For the opposite case, the atheist historian Joseph Needham wrote

        One atheist historian did not represent atheist thinking in general 60 years ago, and he doesn't represent it today.

        Isolated individuals here and there did stumble on scientific facts, but the way of thinking was not embedded in the culture the way it was in Christendom.

        You say it was embedded in Christendom. I'm still waiting for a cogent argument to that conclusion.

        There, having invented the university, every medieval theologian had first to obtain a master's degree. This degree focused exclusively on logic, reason, mathematics, and natural philosophy.

        In medieval times, the subject matter of natural philosophy was what is now covered by the natural sciences. The method of studying that subject matter in medieval times was not that of the modern natural sciences.

        The rest of us need no authority's permission to think along scientific lines.

        Nor do you need Daniel Boone's "permission" to visit Boonesboro.

        The analogy is irrelevant. Boone himself isn't around to give anybody permission to do anything. But here is a relevant point: There are people living in some places today where they can't go to Boonesboro or anywhere else without somebody's approval, notwithstanding that they may know perfectly well how to get there.

        • Ye Olde Statistician

          Not everyone who disagrees with you is a socialist. I'm actually pretty sympathetic toward capitalism, and I'm no fan of bureaucracy at all.

          They don't have to be. It's in the Zeitgeist. Everyone pretty much assumes that you have to follow regulations and that pretty much everything ought to be regulated. Even those who struggle against that paradigm are thinking in terms of it. This is evidenced by your presumption that the Church had to "give permission" to think scientifically.

          I don't know which thinkers you classify as Late Moderns

          Pretty much all serious thinkers of the Late Modern Age, which ran from about 1880 to 1968, after which the tipping point was definitely reached. So, for example, Sartre, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Picasso, Cezanne, Proust, Pound, Eliot, Ionesco, Beckett, Schoenberg, Richard Strauss, Joyce, etc.

          As for that "intelligent design 'command' theory of history," I haven't a clue what you're talking about.

          The notion that things happen in history because someone "gave permission" or even deliberately instigated them.

          That it's OK to "view the world as ordered, symmetrical, intelligible, and predictable"? That it's OK to "believe that we are rational beings who can gain knowledge about our world"? You're asking me to provide evidence for the church's having said those things?

          Yes. You said she "gave permission".

          That [the universe was rationally ordered and accessible to human reason was simply a natural outgrowth of Christian beliefs] was the assertion of the article that I was commenting on. I said I hadn't seen a cogent argument for it. To repeat a claim is not to argue for it. .... Now you're just giving me your interpretation of scripture.

          Actually, I'm giving you the historical interpretations. The passage from Wisdom, for example, was the most frequently quoted passage in the Middle Ages, and was used precisely in the manner I described. If you want details, try Grant's Foundations of Modern Science or Huff's The Rise of Early Modern Science.

          I've known plenty of Christians who think your interpretation is way wrong.

          There are certainly plenty of idiosyncratic do-it-yourselfers in the Modern Age shouting in Bill and Ted's Excellent Bible Shack; but we are talking about the roots of scientific thinking and the majority consensus view. By the time Bill and Ted came along things were already well in motion.

          Certain ideas critical to the emergence of scientific methods can be traced to Plato's Timeaus, and thence to Aristotle, to the Antenicene Fathers, to Augustine, Aquinas, and so on.

          If you can find the antecedents of modern science in Plato or the antenicene fathers, you can find it anywhere you want to find it. They aren't there, except by some very creative exegesis[sic].

          That is why I wrote "certain ideas critical to the emergence of scientific methods." The Timeaus set out the idea of synderesis that was developed by Paul in Letter to the Romans, ch. 2. This blossomed into the notion that people were capable of reaching correct conclusions through human reason -- a concept missing in Islam and China and without which no natural science can progress beyond mere fact-gathering and rules of thumb. Perhaps you can take it up with historians of science.

          For the opposite case, the atheist historian Joseph Needham wrote...

          One atheist historian did not represent atheist thinking in general 60 years ago, and he doesn't represent it today.

          Since some people here are ever-so willing to ascribe arguments to "exigesis" or the Church's "permission," I find it useful to remind them that even thoughtful atheists have reached similar conclusions. Needham was the premier scholar of science and technology in China. His writings represent his historical analysis, not "atheist thinking." But you are right that the thoughtful atheist of sixty years ago do not represent post-modern atheism today.

          You say it was embedded in Christendom. I'm still waiting for a cogent argument to that conclusion.

          having invented the university, every medieval theologian had first to obtain a master's degree. This degree focused exclusively on logic, reason, mathematics, and natural philosophy.

          Why are you still waiting? They invented universities, structured their curricula (standard across Europe) exclusively to rationalistic subjects, and ran hundreds of thousands of students through them -- a quarter million in the German universities alone from 1350 on. Never before (or since!) has such a large proportion of a population been systematically educated in purely rational enquiry -- which is how it was embedded in the culture. There are further details in Huff's book, mentioned earlier.

          In medieval times, the subject matter of natural philosophy was what is now covered by the natural sciences. The method of studying that subject matter in medieval times was n ot that of the modern natural sciences.

          Recte: Some of the subject matter is covered. The Modern Ages re-imagined science as the servant of business and industry, and so scientific enquiry was restricted to those aspects of nature that were measurable and controllable. Once this concept was embedded in the culture everyone simply assumed that there were no other aspects. Of course, methods have changed. We now have a well-developed system of mathematical notation for framing laws of nature, and we have instrumentation for measuring things that could not be previously measured.

          But the medievals carefully argued on both sides of a question. Nowadays, scientists tend to gather supporting data only (and cherry pick at that), which is why so many replication studies in medicine and elsewhere fail to replicate -- and in the social "sciences" those conducting such replication studies have been attacked as meanies.

          • Doug Shaver

            It's in the Zeitgeist. Everyone pretty much assumes that you have to follow regulations and that pretty much everything ought to be regulated.

            You call it the Zeitgeist. I call it the fringe.

  • Graham Heine

    Where faith is certain, science—never forget this—is provisional.

    People may be certain of their faith, but they can not be certain of the knowledge claims of reality derived by faith.

  • Andrea T

    My husband wrote a blog post not too long ago how whether evolution exists or not has no bearing on our Faith and that the science of evolution needs to be separated from the Darwinist philosophy.
    http://sweetheartsseekingsanctity.blogspot.com/2014/05/evolution-it-doesnt-matter.html

    • Andrea, that is an excellent blog post. Thank you!

      • Andrea T

        Thanks! We were so happy to read your article as that needs to get out to the general Catholic population. I was a bioscience undergrad and I wish I would have been less intimidated by evolution and spent more time on debunking the philosophy behind it, not the science. Also, many Catholics and Protestants have not seen the movie "Noah" due to the evolution sequence portrayed. The clip is actually very well done as is the movie!

  • Maxximiliann

    Except for the reality that the myth “that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form"(this fiction: http://bit.ly/18b2Jxe http://bit.ly/12K0jnv) is shorn of any demonstrable , quantifiable , empirical , testable or replicable evidence . The reasoning here is this requires millions upon millions of years - which absolutely no one has actually observed since , well , it needs millions upon millions of years. Nevertheless the fossil record , which ought to demonstrate a string of infinitesimally progressive adjustments from one being to another over a course of millions of years , reveals the complete opposite . . . but it’s anticipated that ( one day , someday ) the “missing” fossils of those intermediate species are going to eventually be discovered . In short , the only evidence for evolution is the presumption of evolution . If that's not lunatic fringe circular thinking , just what is ?

    • Ignatius Reilly

      Are you Catholic?

      • Maxximiliann

        Thankfully, no :)

        • Ignatius Reilly

          I see you also deny the eternal nature of hell as incompatible with God. This I approve of.

          • Michael Murray

            Maxximillian is a Jehovah's Witness. He spent some time in the other place talking to us at one point.

          • Doug Shaver

            Maxximillian is a Jehovah's Witness.

            Aha. That explains a thing or two.

    • Michael Murray

      Nevertheless the fossil record , which ought to demonstrate a string of infinitesimally progressive adjustments from one being to another over a course of millions of years , reveals the complete opposite . . . but it’s anticipated that ( one day , someday ) the “missing” fossils of those intermediate species are going to eventually be discovered .

      No it is well understood that the conditions that lead to fossilisation are quite rare so what we see in the fossil record are just occasional snapshots of the continual process of evolution.

      • Maxximiliann

        How, then, are the conclusions drawn from such an incomplete picture not mere apophenia laced with confirmation bias?

        • Michael Murray

          The scientific acceptance of evolution by natural selection is not done on the basis of the fossil record only. If you really want to know go and read about it. I suspect you don't want to know as you reject it as a matter of faith.

          My reply was not made to convince you of evolution by natural selection but merely to point out that your claim that scientists think that the fossil record will one day be filled in is a complete straw man.

          • Maxximiliann

            But Macroevolution is absolutely dependent on the fossil record. That's the point.

          • Michael Murray

            How can macroevolution depend on the fossil record ? It either happened or it didn't. Whether is or is not a fossil record does not affect that.

          • Maxximiliann

            If you are to accept the teaching of molecules-to-man evolution as true, you must believe that agnostic or atheistic scientists will not let their personal beliefs influence their interpretations of scientific findings. But this is obviously wrongheaded considering the fact that , as Lewontin puts it , plenty of researchers are prepared to embrace doubtful scientific allegations as they quite simply “have a prior commitment , a commitment to materialism ." As he frankly admits , “we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door .” If that’s not noetical bigotry , exactly what is ?

            You must also believe that mutations and natural selection produced all complex life-forms, despite a century of research that shows that mutations have not transformed even one properly defined species into something entirely new. You must believe that all creatures gradually evolved from a common ancestor, despite a fossil record that strongly indicates that the major kinds of plants and animals appeared abruptly and did not evolve into other kinds, even over aeons of time. Does that type of belief sound as though it is based on facts or on myths?

          • Doug Shaver

            Does that type of belief sound as though it is based on facts or on myths?

            It sounds like your understanding of evolution is based on creationist myths.

          • Maxximiliann

            Absolutely since there is no demonstrable , quantifiable , empirical , testable or replicable evidence for molecules-to-man evolution.

          • Doug Shaver

            If it has to convince you in order to count as evidence, you're probably right.

          • Michael Murray

            As soon as I see the children and the copy of The Watchtower I just tell them I'm not interested politely and firmly, close the door and go back to bed!

          • Michael Murray

            We are regularly hearing on these boards that Catholicism is the foundation of science, that science couldn't have happened with out Catholicism and Catholics, and that Catholicism has no fear or opposition to evolution by natural selection. So I thought I'd leave this post one to give a Catholic a chance to leap in and defend the scientific consensus. But as I've noticed before no-one seems willing to put down their copy of Aquinas and leap to the defence of science.

          • Michael Murray

            OK I have to take it back. Here is a Catholic speaking up for evolution theory.

            http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/pope-francis-declares-evolution-and-big-bang-theory-are-right-and-god-isnt-a-magician-with-a-magic-wand-9822514.html

            Why doesn't he post on StrangeNotions ?

          • Peter

            "God isn't a magician with a magic wand"

            I've been saying that all along and I'm a Catholic. God magicked neither the earth into existence 6000 years ago nor the universe into existence at the big bang. Both came about through naturalistic processes, the former we know about and the latter we have yet to discover.

          • Doug Shaver

            But Macroevolution is absolutely dependent on the fossil record.

            No, it's not. If we had zero fossils, we would still have good reason to believe that all current species arose by descent with modification from a common ancestor.

          • Michael Murray

            I had a great example of this from a colleague who in a past life trained as a vet. I never thought about this until he explained it. When learning to be a vet you first learn a basic four legged mammal like a dog or sheep. Then you learn the various modifications necessary to make a larger mammal, cows stomaches etc. Then you have to do birds and reptiles and fish I guess. But you don't have to do each species as if it is an alien life form completely different to all the others. There is massive overlap. Where does that overlap come from ?

          • Garbanzo Bean

            The vet example is a good one. The overlap of course could be explained as easily by a "common divine maker" as by "shared evolutionary history". Or both.

            I thought you would enjoy this quote from STA re the continuum of being:
            "Thus are we able to contemplate the marvelous connection of things. For it is always found that the lowest in the higher genus touches the highest of the lower species. Some of the lowest members of the animal kingdom, for instance, enjoy a form of life scarcely superior to that of plants; oysters, which are motionless, have only the sense of touch and are fixed to the earth like plants... We have, therefore, to consider the existence of something supreme in the genus of bodies, namely, the human body harmoniously tempered, which is in contact with the lowest of the higher genus, namely, the human soul, which holds the lowest rank in the genus of intellectual substances, as can be seen from its mode of understanding; so that the intellectual soul is said to be on the horizon and confines of things corporeal and incorporeal, in that it is an incorporeal substance and yet the form of a body."

          • Michael Murray

            The vet example is a good one. The overlap of course could be explained as easily by a "common divine maker" as by "shared evolutionary history". Or both.

            Indeed. But a divine maker with an amazing lack of imagination.

            human body harmoniously tempered,

            Don't start me on the "Argument from poor design".

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

          • Garbanzo Bean

            "imagination" - but imagine for a moment that your imagination is not lacking in imagination
            "body harmoniously tempered" - my mom says i'm gorgeous

          • Michael Murray

            "body harmoniously tempered" - my mom says i'm gorgeous

            There's an idea. Mother's love for their children no matter what as proof of evolution !

          • Garbanzo Bean

            No no, she hates me, but loves my twin brother. She merely says I am the gorgeous one. Perhaps that demonstrates that my twin brother evolved, but I am a divine imagining.

          • Maxximiliann

            Except for the reality that the myth “that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form"(this fiction: http://bit.ly/18b2Jxe http://bit.ly/12K0jnv) is shorn of any demonstrable , quantifiable , empirical , testable or replicable evidence . The reasoning here is this requires millions upon millions of years - which absolutely no one has actually observed since , well , it needs millions upon millions of years. Nevertheless the fossil record , which ought to demonstrate a string of infinitesimally progressive adjustments from one being to another over a course of millions of years , reveals the complete opposite . . . but it’s anticipated that ( one day , someday ) the “missing” fossils of those intermediate species are going to eventually be discovered . In short , the only evidence for evolution is the presumption of evolution . If that's not lunatic fringe circular thinking , just what is ?

          • Doug Shaver

            The reasoning here is this requires millions upon millions of years - which absolutely no one has actually observed since , well , it needs millions upon millions of years.

            So, if we didn't see it happen, we should not believe it happened. Is that your argument?

            the fossil record . . . ought to demonstrate a string of infinitesimally progressive adjustments from one being to another

            Why? Who says so, and why do they say it?

          • Maxximiliann

            Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, of course. However, are you suggesting one should accept outlandish claims made without any evidence of the veracity of said claims?

          • Doug Shaver

            are you suggesting one should accept outlandish claims without any evidence of the veracity of said claims?

            No, but I don't regard evolution as an outlandish claim, and neither do I regard it as a claim (of any sort) that is without any evidence.

          • Maxximiliann

            It certainly is outlandish since it's never been observed. All you have is the presumption of evolution - "The theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form." - not a testable fact.

          • Doug Shaver

            It certainly is outlandish since it's never been observed

            You say so. I say otherwise. At this point, we're even.

          • Doug Shaver

            All you have is the presumption of evolution

            No, I don't have a presumption. I have an inference. I infer evolution from a ton of evidence.

          • Maxximiliann

            You certainly don't have any fossil evidence for "the theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form," i.e., evolution.

          • Doug Shaver

            Why do I need those fossils? Until you invented it, I never heard about "the theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form."

          • Maxximiliann

            Except that it's not my invention -

            General Theory of Evolution - "The theory that all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form." - Gerald Kerkut - ”Implications of Evolution" (Oxford: Pergamon)

          • Doug Shaver

            Except that it's not my invention

            It's still idiosyncratic. Gerald Kerkut is only one biologist. Most of his peers don't define evolution the way he defined it.

          • Maxximiliann

            And then there are those who do. Who should I believe?

          • Doug Shaver

            If you actually understood the theory, you wouldn't have to ask. Evolutionary theory proposes to explain the multitude of facts that lead most scientists to believe that all current life on this world is related by descent with modification from a common ancestral life form. How that ancestral life form came into existence is obviously not an unrelated question, but the theory of evolution per se does not propose to answer it. If anybody could prove that the origin of life required divine intervention, the evolutionary account of life's subsequent history would not be the least bit affected.

          • Maxximiliann

            “Instead of finding the gradual unfolding of life,” say evolutionary paleontologists like David M. Raup, “what geologists of Darwin’s time, and geologists of the present day actually find is a highly uneven or jerky record; that is, species appear in the sequence very suddenly, show little or no change during their existence in the record, then abruptly go out of the record.”

            "The fossil record - in defiance of Darwin's whole idea of gradual change - often makes great leaps from one form to the next. Far from the display of intermediates to be expected from slow advance through natural selection many species appear without warning, persist in fixed form and disappear, leaving no descendants. Geology assuredly does not reveal any finely graduated organic chain, and this is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against the theory of evolution.” (Almost Like a Whale, p. 252)

            “If life had evolved into its wondrous profusion of creatures little by little, Dr. Eldredge argues, then one would expect to find fossils of transitional creatures which were a bit like what went before them and a bit like what came after. But no one has yet found any evidence of such transitional creatures. This oddity has been attributed to gaps in the fossil record which gradualists expected to fill when rock strata of the proper age had been found. In the last decade, however, geologists have found rock layers of all divisions of the last 500 million years and ** no transitional forms ** were contained in them. If it is not the fossil record which is incomplete then it must be the theory.” (The Guardian Weekly)

          • Doug Shaver

            You've given me the who, but not the why yet. Your sources argue:

            Premise: If evolution is true, we would have found fossils of A, B, and C.

            Premise: We have found no fossils of A, B, or C.

            Conclusion: Evolution is false.

            The argument is valid, but there is no explanation of why we should believe the first premise, and so its soundness has not been demonstrated.

          • Maxximiliann

            We have hundreds of millions if not billions of unearthed fossils. That the predicted pattern described by Evolution is absent makes the first premise extremely plausible.

          • Caravelle

            Except that the predicted pattern described by Evolution is present in the fossil record. The problem is that you have no clue what pattern "Evolution" predicts, and you have no wish to learn. It is much more convenient for you to fixate on patterns that aren't expected, or to refuse to acknowledge the patterns that would be expected when they turn up (aka "there are no transitional forms... Archaeopteryx was 100% bird ! Tiktaalik was 100% fish ! These hominid fossils are 100% human ! ... or 100% ape depending on who we ask but it's nothing other than 100%, that's for sure !").

          • Maxximiliann

            “Instead of finding the gradual unfolding of life,” say evolutionary paleontologists like David M. Raup, “what geologists of Darwin’s time, and geologists of the present day actually find is a highly uneven or jerky record; that is, species appear in the sequence very suddenly, show little or no change during their existence in the record, then abruptly go out of the record.”

            "The fossil record - in defiance of Darwin's whole idea of gradual change - often makes great leaps from one form to the next. Far from the display of intermediates to be expected from slow advance through natural selection many species appear without warning, persist in fixed form and disappear, leaving no descendants. Geology assuredly does not reveal any finely graduated organic chain, and this is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against the theory of evolution.” (Almost Like a Whale, p. 252)

            “If life had evolved into its wondrous profusion of creatures little by little, Dr. Eldredge argues, then one would expect to find fossils of transitional creatures which were a bit like what went before them and a bit like what came after. But no one has yet found any evidence of such transitional creatures. This oddity has been attributed to gaps in the fossil record which gradualists expected to fill when rock strata of the proper age had been found. In the last decade, however, geologists have found rock layers of all divisions of the last 500 million years and ** no transitional forms ** were contained in them. If it is not the fossil record which is incomplete then it must be the theory.” (The Guardian Weekly)

          • Caravelle

            Oh, Punctuated Equilibrium quotemines ! Those never get old. Aside from that Eldredge one from 1978 that's pushing 40 by now, of course. But speaking of Eldredge Maxximiliann, Gould (you know, the other Punctuated Equilibrium guy?) has a message for you:

            "Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain
            trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by
            creationists -- whether through design or stupidity, I do
            not know -- as admitting that the fossil record includes no
            transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally
            lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups."
            - Gould, Stephen Jay 1983.
            "Evolution as Fact and Theory" in Hens Teeth and
            Horse's Toes: Further Reflections in Natural
            History
            . New York: W. W. Norton & Co., p.
            258-260.

            We don't need fossils to observe transitional forms between species. We've observed speciation in the lab and in nature.
            (standard Creationist reply: but they still belong to the same genus/family/other higher taxa!)

          • Maxximiliann

            Punctuated equilibrium is just a poor euphemism for creation.

          • Caravelle

            So in the Gould quote, would you fall in the "by design" group or the "by stupidity" one ?

          • Maxximiliann

            ???

          • Doug Shaver

            That the predicted pattern described by Evolution is absent makes the first premise extremely plausible.

            What predicted pattern? Explain what fossils the theory predicts we will find, and how the theory makes that prediction.

          • Maxximiliann

            “Instead of finding the gradual unfolding of life,” say evolutionary paleontologists like David M. Raup, “what geologists of Darwin’s time, and geologists of the present day actually find is a highly uneven or jerky record; that is, species appear in the sequence very suddenly, show little or no change during their existence in the record, then abruptly go out of the record.”

            "The fossil record - in defiance of Darwin's whole idea of gradual change - often makes great leaps from one form to the next. Far from the display of intermediates to be expected from slow advance through natural selection many species appear without warning, persist in fixed form and disappear, leaving no descendants. Geology assuredly does not reveal any finely graduated organic chain, and this is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against the theory of evolution.” (Almost Like a Whale, p. 252)

            “If life had evolved into its wondrous profusion of creatures little by little, Dr. Eldredge argues, then one would expect to find fossils of transitional creatures which were a bit like what went before them and a bit like what came after. But no one has yet found any evidence of such transitional creatures. This oddity has been attributed to gaps in the fossil record which gradualists expected to fill when rock strata of the proper age had been found. In the last decade, however, geologists have found rock layers of all divisions of the last 500 million years and ** no transitional forms ** were contained in them. If it is not the fossil record which is incomplete then it must be the theory.” (The Guardian Weekly)

            Evolutionist Loren Eiseley acknowledged: “After having chided the theologian for his reliance on myth and miracle, science found itself in the unenviable position of having to create a mythology of its own: namely, the assumption that what, after long effort, could not be proved to take place today had, in truth, taken place in the primeval past.”—The Immense Journey

          • Doug Shaver

            You're just repeating your claim. You are not defending it. Explain how evolution predicts what kind of fossils and how many of each kind we will find.

          • Maxximiliann

            If you can't see and admit how much you've already conceded then there's no point in wasting any more of my time.

          • Doug Shaver

            Explain how evolution predicts what kind of fossils and how many of each kind we will find.

            If you can't see and admit how much you've already conceded then there's no point in wasting any more of my time.

            It doesn't much matter what I can or can't see. I'm satisfied knowing what anyone else reading this discussion is going to see.

            If you wish to end this discussion now, I have no objection, but in that case, my concluding comment is: Evolution is a biological process, and as such it has nothing to say about fossils, because fossilization is a geological process.

          • Maxximiliann

            Molecules-to-Man evolution is a process purported to have taken place in the distant past. The only way we can know if this is fact is by examining fossil evidence. As it turns out, it supports the notion of special creation by All-Loving God, not blind chance and happy coincidence.

          • Doug Shaver

            The only way we can know if this is fact is by examining fossil evidence.

            No, it isn't. The fossil record is one fact. There are a couple of dozen others that imply descent with modification from a common ancestor.

            And the fossil record, as it exists, is not in any way inconsistent with the biological theory of evolution. It could have been, but it turned out not to be.The theory tells us what we should expect to observe in any fossils that we happen to find. It tells us nothing about which fossils or how many of them we should expect to find. For answers to those questions, you have to ask a geologist.

          • Maxximiliann

            "It could have been, but it turned out not to be."

            And yet, as many, many reputed scientists in many, many different fields have confirmed through evidence, gradualism is a canard. That it has no support in the fossil record is the fundamental reason why they had to invent PE (a really, really bad euphemism for special creation by God Almighty). It’s all merely apophenia inbred with confirmation bias.

          • Doug Shaver

            as many, many reputed scientists in many, many different fields have confirmed through evidence, gradualism is a canard.

            That depends entirely on how you define "gradual." For some changes that we used to think would take a million years, we now think 100,000 years would be plenty of time.

            It’s all merely apophenia inbred with confirmation bias.

            That's what many of us think religion is all about.

          • Maxximiliann

            Why do you think that about the Bible?

          • Doug Shaver

            I don't. I consider the Bible, in its current form, a product of religion, not an instantiation of religion.

          • Maxximiliann

            Why not?

          • Doug Shaver

            Religion is a category of human beliefs and behaviors. It is something people think or do.

          • Maxximiliann

            Are you suggesting, then, that the Bible is from All-Loving God and not of human origin?

          • Doug Shaver

            I intended to suggest nothing of the sort.

          • Michael Murray

            Nevertheless the fossil record , which ought to demonstrate a string of infinitesimally progressive adjustments from one being to another over a course of millions of years , reveals the complete opposite . . . but it’s anticipated that ( one day , someday ) the “missing” fossils of those intermediate species are going to eventually be discovered .

            Already answered here

            http://strangenotions.com/god-professors-and-evolutionary-biology-classes/#comment-1639768388

            Just up the page where you cut and paste the same remark.

            http://strangenotions.com/god-professors-and-evolutionary-biology-classes/#comment-1639306620

          • Maxximiliann

            Couldn't find it. Can you send me a copy?

          • Michael Murray

            Just follow the link in my post.

          • The same line of reasoning was in the statement of a nurse a few years ago in a time of glass fever thermometers. She laughed at a student nurse who read a fever of 98.7. She claimed that since the thermometer did not have a mark for odd decimal fractions, no such temperature was possible. The student nurse did what all lab people do when reading a meter for measurement of any kind. Even the meter reader for your electric bill does it. It is called interpolation. Math teacher now teach it in high school teach students to use their minds to fill in the missing mark.

            The only detectable genetic differences in humans is in identical twins who have the same DNA. Even in identical twins it is possible, but so rare that it is not even noticed in the general population, mutation at the division of a gene between identical twins from one stem cell zygote.

            Then there is the case of the DNA without an active function. It is carried in millions of generations and becomes well distributed in the general population of a species. A mutation occurs and then is carried inactive as a recessive gene over many more generations. The chance meeting of the gene in future generations bring the two genes together in a single individual who exhibits a trait never seen before. In the case of a dominant gene mutation, the trait can come up in the phenotype in the first generation of the mutation.

            Add these up over millions and millions of years and generation, mutations, and births; voila, evolution of a trait in a new species.

            The 'flat earth' theory was the first of mankind, presumed, when he stood up the first time and noticed a circular horizon and a flat earth. Stars were visible at night but not the day. The sun was visible in day but not at night. Moon could be seen dimly n the daylight but more prominently after dark. "In the beginning...God created..." At first the knowledge of night and day on a flat earth was passed down generation to generation orally and by hand gestures. It was remembered in the brains of early humanoids and then hominids, and finally modern man with a written languge. It was put into a set of 'books' called The Book. The Book became The Bible, and then a religion to support the myths found there. The religion under influence of uncertainty of thinking became schisms and then new religions, and finally astrology, and then science. Science gave rise to biology, physics, and mathematics. Evolution at work. Visible, understandable and true.

            A theory of relativity questioned the whole thing to cause some tweaking of the belief in falsifiable science and religion. Now we have another 'flat earth' theory, Big Bang. It, too, is beyond the horizon of some minds, including the ones who promote it and the ones who question it. Human evolution at work.

          • Maxximiliann

            As far as any supposed genetic evidence purportedly showing common descent, drawing dogmatic conclusions based on just 0.0025% of all available genetic evidence is a grossly fallacious Dicto Simpliciter. It's poor reasoning like this which led sooooo many scientists in the past to arrogantly proclaim canards as truth. (http://bit.ly/1dybLGl)

            Think Alchemy, Neptunism, the geocentric universe, Spontaneous Generation, Lamarckism, Emication, the existence of the planet Vulcan, Lysenkoism, Gradualism, Trepanation, Miasma theory of disease, Telegony, the expanding earth, the existence of Phlogiston, martian canals, Luminiferous Aether, the Steady State Theory, Cold Fusion, Hollow Earth Theory and Phrenology.

            Just another case of the blind leading the blind ...

  • It should not be about imposing a belief on anyone. Khalil Gibran said, "The teacher who is wise leads the student to the threshold of his own mind." For it is the student who learns and the teacher who leads. Memorizing a million facts could not make a student wise. It is the assimilation of reasonable consequences of all the facts that makes a mind.

    I like the analogy of the computer. It is input, process, and output. Garbage in, garbage out. Processor is the brain, input is conversion of data from one form of symbolic representation to a functioning electronic circuit in order to process it into a valid conclusion.

    Computers can do millions of flops in a tiny segment of total time. The human brain can only do a tiny fraction of that consciously. Yet the human brain can comprehend emotionally the output and can emotionally comprehend the input. When the output is on a color screen it conveys more value than a circuit billions of times more complex. Such a computer would not benefit a dolphin using echo sound to sense distance from an object and to process that into a decision to eat it or avoid running into a stone or an old ships hull. It would not benefit a bat flying in low light to catch a flying insect to eat or to find the entrance of the cave to return to its roost.

    The biology of the bat and the danger to the dolphin are more significant than the physics of the circuits of a computer. But, all benefit from the conclusions reached. Humans can understand the electronic gates of decision making, whether in the computer or in the human brain.

    Religion rose from mythology. Astrology rose from mythology, astronomy rose from astrology in the process of evolution of human mind. Astronomy gave us mathematics and mathematics gave us logic, physics, algebra, geology, and the calculus. Alchemy gave us chemistry and agriculture gave us biology. All those gave us computers and with mind we are doing space travel and speculation about deep space. We play our games on computers, see images from millions of light years distance, and with our minds explore quarks and the concept of void.

    God comes from the difference between Truth, that is conceptual only, not factual (Truth cannot be false) and matters of fact that are all physical and logical. It is true that any matter of fact is either true or false. It is true that truth cannot, itself, be false. No matter of truth is false. Every thing is true. Every thing exists. Every thing is reasonable. Every thing is subject to logic, but every possible thing does not exist, past, present, or future. Truth is possibility, not factuality. What is impossible cannot be. Such is the square circle and the cubic ball. God is a limit of possibility. So is infinity, infinitesimal, and the exact value of Pi. It is known that the ratio of the circumference of a perfect circle to its radius cannot be expressed exactly in decimal notation or any other digital notation useful to man. It is also known that given random acts of true and false facts have a central tendency. It can be estimated to any degree of precision or accuracy desired, but cannot be exactly expressed.

    Truth applies to the unproved, unobserved, and the improbable as well as to the probable, physical, and theoretical. Truth rules all facts true and false, but is never itself false. Approximate is about the undetermined or indeterminable, physically, mathematically, or logically. Assumption of a central tendency in statistics, an absolute value of Pi mathematically, validity logically, and God ecclesiastically. All are required for humans to derive a raison d'etre for their own existence and value. God is about truth, not matters of fact. Science is about probability of anything falsifiable, not about proving a theory or an hypothesis. Theory cannot be proved and neither can infinity, God, or the exact value of Pi in decimal or any other digital notation. Pi is analog, not digital. God is conceptual, not factual. Truth is one, not two or more. Truth is absolute, not approximate, digital, infinite, or total. There is no physical God, or mind. What we call the Universe is the body, not the mind of God, who is Truth. One Truth.

  • The question would be how would you counter what "Dr." Kent Hovind had done to Christians over the years -- I am not being snarky but when you have Christian who listened to Hovind's bullshit for years. There is a new meaning to apologetics now; literary and science apologetics meaning someone has to speak up for not only God but for science and literature because the King James Only Movement had screwed with these sectors for years.

  • Kevin Mark

    "We don’t know exactly how humans or anything else evolved, just that it all did."

    Wow, what arrogance. You KNOW that humans and [everything] else evolved? You may be a PhD but there are plenty of doctors who disagree with you, myself included. You THINK you know this, but you do not. You have been duped by the father of lies. It is true that you probably need to believe in evolution to have your brainwashed associates consider you enlightened, but you have not sincerely examined the evidence; if you did, you would not be an evolutionist, because "the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; his eternal power also, and divinity: so that they are inexcusable" (Romans 1:20).

    "For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths." - 2 Tim 4:3,4

    "That you may be mindful of those words which I told you before from the holy prophets, and of your apostles, of the precepts of the Lord and Saviour. Knowing this first, that in the last days there shall come deceitful scoffers, walking after their own lusts, Saying: Where is his promise or his coming? for since the time that the fathers slept, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they are wilfully ignorant of, that the heavens were before, and the earth out of water, and through water, consisting by the word of God. Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished. But the heavens and the earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of the ungodly men." -2 Peter 3:2-7

    I suggest you also look up James 3:1.

    • Will

      How do you know you haven't been duped by the father of lies?

      • Kevin Mark

        Because the Devil is the one who uses the line, "Did God really say...?" Questioning God's word is almost always the first domino that falls in any heresy, evolution included.

        • Will

          How are you certain Satan wasn't involved in writing the Bible? What if one of the authors claiming to be Paul was lying and wasn't actually Paul?

          For the other four letters, about 80% of scholars think they were not written by Paul himself, but by one of his followers after his death:
          Ephesians is almost definitely a later expansion of Colossians, since they are so similar in structure and theology, but quite different from Paul's earlier letters; Ephesians was probably written to serve as a “cover letter” for an early collection of Pauline letters.
          The Pastoral Epistles (1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus) were most likely written late in the first century by some member(s) of the “Pauline School” who wanted to adapt his teachings to changing circumstances.

          http://catholic-resources.org/Bible/Paul-Disputed.htm

          Why do 80% of scholars think Paul didn't write? The wiki article has a good summary...it's enough to bring legal forgery charges:
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorship_of_the_Pauline_epistles#Pastoral_epistles

          • Kevin Mark

            The reason we know the Bible has God as its author (though written by the inspired men he used) is because it is affirmed by 2000 years of Holy tradition which is unanimously affirmed by all of the Church Fathers, Doctors, Popes, and Councils. Your source is modernist and are the unreliable hypotheses of men who think themselves intelligent, but who do depart from what the earliest Church historians tell us. Of course, these early Church historians help to confirm Holy Tradition. But if you reject the reality of the Holy Spirit guiding the Church through the ages, then of course you would have to rely upon the speculations of modernist academics.

          • Will

            The Church fathers were all men. What I present is evidence which is above claims in any rational epistemology.

          • Kevin Mark

            The sources you cite are both Rationalist and modernist:
            http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10415a.htm
            http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/12652a.htm

            Thus they are to be rejected for embracing error.

          • Will

            This is a blatant case of the ad hominem logical fallacy. I suppose logical fallacies are rationalist too.
            https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

            Humans aren't naturally rational creatures so it's no surprise that irrational belief systems are so popular.

          • Kevin Mark

            Nothing is more irrational than believing that random, undirected, natural processes formed human beings and every other thing along with us. But if you refuses to believe in the Creator to whom you owe your life, then you must cling not only to this irrational belief, but also all the other irrational beliefs that are a consequence of your atheistic/agnostic faulty starting point. To attempt to explain music, beauty, love, consciousness, and free will from a materialistic perspective is to deny the plethora of intangibles that make us human. And to deny the uncreated, eternal One is to deny the only logical source of all these undeniable facets of our existence. While it is currently fashionable to act as though modern man has evolved beyond believing in a Supreme deity who created out of nothing, one should be careful not to hang his hat on current fads that do not actually explain fraction of what their God-hating devotees claim they do. God sent His son as payment for your sins and mine; Do not continue on denying your creator but instead, repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Christ, who is truth personified, will enter into your heart and change your life if you open the door to Him who knocks.

          • David Nickol

            Nothing is more irrational than believing that random, undirected, natural processes formed human beings and every other thing along with us.

            I'd agree that it is very hard to believe.

            But then, when you look at the empirical evidence for evolution—the only scientific explanation for the origins of human life—it is irrational not to believe that. To reject evolution is simply to reject science. The only "rational" choice for Catholics, it seems to me, is some kind of "theistically guided" evolution.

            What do you make of the very strong support from John Paul II for belief in evolution? Was he irrational? The religious opposition to evolution dating all the way back to Darwin was not from the Catholic Church.

          • Kevin Mark

            If you examine the scientific evidence for evolution in depth from the detractors as well as the supporters, like I have, you will come to very different conclusions and you will not be able to still say that believing in the traditional doctrine of creation is irrational and that believing in evolution is "the only 'rational' choice...." The so-called experts act as though evolution is a fact when they cannot point to an example of macro-evolution in action. They respond with the suggestion that evolution happens too slowly and thus one needs more time to observe such. Yet when given the entire fossil record, they respond that evolution happens too quickly (punctuated equilibrium) to observe such transitions! Of course this is only one of the countless ways in which evolutionists blindly accept the theory without seriously questioning or examining the numerous assumptions that have gone into building this towering evolutionary skyscraper that has no foundation. There are 2 kinds of science: operational science, which generally is undeniable; the second is historical science, which macro-evolution rests upon. No one disputes micro-evolution, which is just minor variation within a created kind. The observed science, however, shows that there are distinct limits to micro-evolution - limits that preclude changes which would cause a change of kind. Which is why animals of one kind (or type) remain of that type. Darwin's finches had changes of beak size but they were still finches. Bacterial changes still result in bacteria. After thousands upon thousands of generations of fruitflies being bombarded with evolution, all we have is mutated and less-functional fruitflies.

            Regarding Pope St. John Paul II, I blame his science advisers. Regrettably, the pontifical academy of sciences is composed of even agnostics. With advisers like this, it would be miraculous for one not to be given erroneous information regarding origins. The religious opposition to evolution did, in fact, include the Catholic Church. See:

            EARLY VATICAN RESPONSES TO EVOLUTIONIST THEOLOGY by Brian W. Harrison

            http://www.rtforum.org/lt/lt93.html

          • Will

            Nothing is more irrational than believing that random, undirected, natural processes formed human beings and every other thing along with us.

            Just claiming this doesn't make it true. Do you understand the difference between an argument and a claim? I think not. In your case, I pointed to a specific logical fallacy, but...whatever.
            I'm agnostic about the existence of God, but if such exists and has some kind of plan, it seems the universe is some type of search engine, perhaps with the purpose of maximizing being (bringing all possible things into existence). If the universe is infinite, who knows what is out there. If he does exist, he doesn't seem to care about humans. Out of curiosity, do you think the 1755 Lisbon earthquake that killed nearly 100,000 Catholics in Portugal was on purpose? If so, why on earth would God massacre so many good Catholics without so much as a warning? Do you think the black plague was on purpose or just random? How about ebola, or childhood leukemia? Nearly 2000 children die of cancer every year in the U.S. alone? Is that guided? How about Hurricanes and Typhoons which ruin so much infrastructure? Random doesn't necessarily apply (hurricanes, earthquakes, and disease have causes) but purposeless hopefully applies, or God is the greatest monster in existence if these things are on purpose (especially killing so many children).

            Do not continue on denying your creator but instead, repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

            Is it now? Mark 13:

            26 Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. 27 Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

            28 “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he[e] is near, at the very gates. 30 Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

            It was supposed to be in the generation of the Apostles, but here we are 2000 years later, and nothing. For fun, here is a list of Apocalyptic predictions, all failed (well at least the ones that have passed)
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_dates_predicted_for_apocalyptic_events

            You can save the preaching as my Dad is a protestant preacher who believes many of the same things you do. He offers just as little to back it up.
            In general evangelism requires interpersonal emotional appeals which depend on face to face interaction. I've been coming to this site for over a year, and I know of 2 Catholics who lost their faith (I won't name names without asking, and neither comment anymore, one was a lawyer from South Africa). A Catholic who still comments here lost their faith, but eventually recovered it. No one has converted to Catholicism. Creationist positions, specifically depend on a lack of education and an absence of critical thinking, which you exemplify. It doesn't have to be that way, critical thinking can be learned if one desires. There is a lot of interesting psychology to religious conversion, but I'd suspect you'd reject that too, so what the point of discussing it.

          • Kevin Mark

            Your questioning seems to boil down to the great question of evil in the world. Any answer is meaningless from a materialistic perspective, as there is no such thing as good or evil from such a perspective; so then why is it obvious that good and evil do, in fact, exist? Evolutionists, whether atheistic or the theistic multitudes on this site, cannot well address this issue. I agree that the theistic evolutionist God is a monster, because such a God, who would have intended to "create" through a process of death and survival of the fittest would indeed be monstrous. However, the Holy Scriptures do not speak of such a God. They describe one who created a perfect world free from death. It is through sin, that was freely chosen by man and woman, that death came into the world and corrupted all of nature. The wages of sin is death. The freedom of choice that was granted to mankind was true freedom - consequences included. The further answer to the question is that you are presupposing that this life on earth is all that there is, and if indeed this life is all there is, then I agree life, especially for those souls you mentioned, would be quite unjust. But Jesus Christ told us that this life is not all there is; Redemption awaits those who submit themselves to Him, and thus there will be perfect ultimate justice.

            Regarding Mark 13:30, this verse can be interpreted in at least two ways: 1. that He is speaking of the generation of the Church, which is to say that the Church age which will culminate with His coming. 2. It can also refer to the utter destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 which was within the lifetime of his contemporaries.

            No one comes to the truth through an arrogant attitude. As long as you harbor the sin of pride, which was the sin that caused Satan to be cast out of heaven, you will not be able to come to the truth. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. It is evident that you have been taught that evolutionist and materialist ideologies are intelligent, rational ways of thinking. These ideologies teach that man is his own god as he is the highest being that exists; as such, he is free to do as he wishes, 'sin' as he wishes, and make the rules for himself as he is his own master. Yet such ideologies rest on everything coming from nothing for no reason whatsoever. They cannot explain music, beauty, love, consciousness, and free will. And the fact that you describe yourself as agnostic, rather than atheistic, combined with the fact that you frequent a theistic website, shows that you are want answers, you want meaning, and you want purpose. And these are all natural things to want because all humans want them - it is intrinsic within humanity. Why should randomly-formed bags of flesh (which is what we would be if materialism was true) have intrinsic desires for answers, meaning, and purpose? Why can we think clearly and why can we trust our thoughts? Where does logic come from and why can we think consciously at all? The only truly rational answer is God.

            Why would someone like yourself want to convert others to your way of thinking? What is to be gained by doing this? If the materialists are correct, and all of creation is a giant cosmic accident (even though the statistical chances of this are null), then your father and I have lost nothing and you have gained nothing. If you keep living the way you are, and if your father and I are right, we have gained everything, and you have lost everything. There is no need to gamble with your soul; Since you obviously need further convincing - proof if you will - and if you will not consider the Christian creationist websites than I suggest you at least look into the discovery institute and see what they have to say. Also, Lee Spetner, a jew, wrote a book called "Not by Chance" that is highly recommended. Finally, if none of these are to your liking, please consider the secular work, "The Devil's Delusion" by David Berlinski... http://www.davidberlinski.org/devils-delusion/about.php

          • Will

            Any answer is meaningless from a materialistic perspective, as there is no such thing as good or evil from such a perspective; so then why is it obvious that good and evil do, in fact, exist?

            This is yet another indication of ignorance on your part, ignorance induced by your religion (which is the enemy of truth in my opinion, people like you continue to strengthen that opinion). If you'd actually like to know about all kinds of theories of evil, including a Christian ones, I recommend this course. Of course, you don't really care about learning (typically the dogmatic types don't because they think they have it all figured out), but here it is.

            http://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/why-evil-exists.html

            However, the Holy Scriptures do not speak of such a God. They describe one who created a perfect world free from death

            Show me where it says that in Genesis, it doesn't. Christians made this up later, starting with Paul. I'll quote Genesis for the record, as this is yet another case where you teach falsehood. Genesis 3
            4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not die; 5 for God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God,[a] knowing good and evil.” 6 So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. 7 Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.

            8 They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” 10 He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” 12 The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.” 14 The Lord God said to the serpent,

            “Because you have done this,
            cursed are you among all animals
            and among all wild creatures;
            upon your belly you shall go,
            and dust you shall eat
            all the days of your life.
            15 I will put enmity between you and the woman,
            and between your offspring and hers;
            he will strike your head,
            and you will strike his heel.”
            16 To the woman he said,

            “I will greatly increase your pangs in childbearing;
            in pain you shall bring forth children,
            yet your desire shall be for your husband,
            and he shall rule over you.”
            17 And to the man[b] he said,

            “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife,
            and have eaten of the tree
            about which I commanded you,
            ‘You shall not eat of it,’
            cursed is the ground because of you;
            in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
            18 thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
            and you shall eat the plants of the field.
            19 By the sweat of your face
            you shall eat bread
            until you return to the ground,
            for out of it you were taken;
            you are dust,
            and to dust you shall return.”
            20 The man named his wife Eve,[c] because she was the mother of all living. 21 And the Lord God made garments of skins for the man[d] and for his wife, and clothed them.

            22 Then the Lord God said, “See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever”— 23 therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life.

            Woman was only cursed with increased pain in childbirth, and man wasn't even cursed, the ground was cursed. Adam and Eve were removed from the garden so they wouldn't eat the fruit of the tree of life and become immortal, it never says or even indicates he was immortal before...Christians just made that up and the evidence to the contrary is right in the book. Even Jews know its not in there.

            The freedom of choice that was granted to mankind was true freedom - consequences included.

            So the consequences of 2 people making a choice was that babies would die horribly of cancer? Your version of God is still quite the monster. How on earth is it ever fair to punish children for the mistakes of their parents anyway, much less such a monstrous punishment?

            No one comes to the truth through an arrogant attitude. As long as you harbor the sin of pride, which was the sin that caused Satan to be cast out of heaven, you will not be able to come to the truth.

            I have an obligation to the truth, to defend it. That is precisely why I oppose you and Catholicism. So far, all I see is falsehood coming from you, as indicated above. Isn't that what we should expect from a servant of Satan? Of course, I don't think Satan exists, and some Catholics have gone to prison for harming people with epilepsy when they mistakenly thought they were possessed. There is reason to think God exists, not Satan and demons:

            Anneliese Michel [ˈanəˌliːzə ˈmɪçl̩] (21 September 1952 – 1 July 1976) was a German woman who underwent Catholic exorcism rites in 1975 and died the next year, in 1976. Later investigation determined that she was malnourished and dehydrated; her parents and the priests responsible were charged with negligent homicide. The case attracted media and public attention because of the Catholic Church's unusual decision to employ the 400-year-old ritual of exorcism, something that had been rarely seen since the 18th Century. The film The Exorcism of Emily Rose is loosely based on her story.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anneliese_Michel

            Jesus also mistakes epilepsy for demon possession in Mark 9:

            “Teacher, I brought you my son; he has a spirit that makes him unable to speak; 18 and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, but they could not do so.” 19 He answered them, “You faithless generation, how much longer must I be among you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.” 20 And they brought the boy[e] to him. When the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy,[f] and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 Jesus[g] asked the father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us.” 23 Jesus said to him, “If you are able!—All things can be done for the one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out,[h] “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 When Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You spirit that keeps this boy from speaking and hearing, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!” 26 After crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he was able to stand. 28 When he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 He said to them, “This kind can come out only through prayer.”[i]

            Epilepsy typically begins in childhood, and bad seizures cause convulsions and foaming at the mouth, followed by unconsciousness (exactly as described here). Note that Jesus and the apostles (assuming the story actually occurred) don't stay around to verify the epilepsy is really gone, it would take weeks to be sure, they just run off to the next town and never come back. If Jesus were God he should know better than that, and explain what was really going on...he was just a Rabbi from the 1st century, of course. His miracles were faith powered anyway, as demonstrated in Mark 6

            What deeds of power are being done by his hands! 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary[a] and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense[b] at him. 4 Then Jesus said to them, “Prophets are not without honor, except in their hometown, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” 5 And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. 6 And he was amazed at their unbelief.

            Jesus could do no deeds of power in Nazareth because people knew him there, and thought the idea he was special was ludicrous (so much for the virgin birth and notice the discussion of Jesus's brothers and sisters which make the perpetual virginity of Mary another lie). God doesn't need faith to power him, but magicians and tricksters do. Faith healers use this trick today. Jesus makes this more explicit in Mark 11

            22 Jesus answered them, “Have[b] faith in God. 23 Truly I tell you, if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ and if you do not doubt in your heart, but believe that what you say will come to pass, it will be done for you. 24 So I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received[c] it, and it will be yours.

            So you get your answer in prayer by believing you received it (not actually receiving it). That is exactly how faith works...it's placebo. So far, we have the actual words of the Bible, against you. Of course, you can find scriptures to contradict these, but I like to stick with Mark as the evidence is powerful that it's the first gospel. You can deny this with your logical fallacies, but don't expect anyone actually interested in the truth to be impressed by fallacious reasoning.

            Why would someone like yourself want to convert others to your way of thinking? What is to be gained by doing this? If the materialists are correct, and all of creation is a giant cosmic accident (even though the statistical chances of this are null), then your father and I have lost nothing and you have gained nothing.

            You spread ignorance and falsehood. If God exists, I'm certain that he thinks the truth is important, and my conscience tells me it is important (if God speaks to us it is through the conscience). My dad and I have a good relationship at this point, and both he and my Mom know my heart is in the right place. You can pretend I'm just "full of pride" if you want, but only God and I know that's really not the case. The truth matters, I suspect you at least agree with that. Presupposing you have the truth seems to disrespect the truth, and I know I don't have it all figured it...I'm also confident Christian worldview can't be true, and that's not a contradiction. Again I'm open to the existence of God, though I'm not certain of said existence, so I'm not really an atheist.

            f you keep living the way you are, and if your father and I are right, we have gained everything, and you have lost everything. There is no need to gamble with your soul; Since you obviously need further convincing - proof if you will - and if you will not consider the Christian creationist websites than I suggest you at least look into the discovery institute and see what they have to say.

            Look, I'm familiar with Pascal's wager and it has all kinds of issues. Besides, my primary issue with Christianity is that it paints God as a monster and my conscience won't allow me to believe that is true. I really believe that, if God exists, he is pleased that I don't think this, and trying to defend God from Christian charges makes me feel like I'm doing something right. No wager can overcome that, and I have excellent reason to think Christians have no special track on God or any possible afterlife. As usual you presuppose your belief system has some control over the afterlife and knowledge of how it will work...I could make up something too and claim all Christians will burn forever for embracing falsehood and not properly seeking after the truth. Of course, I don't think God is monstrous enough to create eternal torture like hell...that's Christians again. The religion is just morally repulsive and wrong in so many ways. Eternal torture if you don't agree with Christians? They deserve some kind of punishment for making up such a lie, but not eternal punishment, which is just ridiculous. Let me conclude with a quote from Tertullian:

            “At that greatest of all spectacles, that last and eternal judgment how shall I admire, how laugh, how rejoice, how exult, when I behold so many proud monarchs groaning in the lowest abyss of darkness; so many magistrates liquefying in fiercer flames than they ever kindled against the Christians; so many sages philosophers blushing in red-hot fires with their deluded pupils; so many tragedians more tuneful in the expression of their own sufferings; so many dancers tripping more nimbly from anguish then ever before from applause."

            “What a spectacle. . .when the world. . .and its many products, shall be consumed in one great flame! How vast a spectacle then bursts upon the eye! What there excites my admiration? What my derision? Which sight gives me joy? As I see. . .illustrious monarchs. . . groaning in the lowest darkness, Philosophers. . .as fire consumes them! Poets trembling before the judgment-seat of. . .Christ! I shall hear the tragedians, louder-voiced in their own calamity; view play-actors. . .in the dissolving flame; behold wrestlers, not in their gymnasia, but tossing in the fiery billows. . .What inquisitor or priest in his munificence will bestow on you the favor of seeing and exulting in such things as these? Yet even now we in a measure have them by faith in the picturings of imagination.” [De Spectaculis, Chapter XXX]
            http://www.tentmaker.org/Quotes/hell-fire.htm

            You expect me to believe this sadistic monster who enjoys the suffering of others is divine or part of some kind of divine succession? You can't be serious.

            Tertullian (/tərˈtʌliən/), full name Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, c. 155 – c. 240 AD,[1] was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa.[2] Of Berber origin,[3][4][5][6][7] he was the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and a polemicist against heresy, including contemporary Christian Gnosticism.[8] Tertullian has been called "the father of Latin Christianity"[9][10] and "the founder of Western theology."[11]

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tertullian

            Note I didn't quote "some guy" I quoted the father of Latin Christianity and the "founder of Western theology." If I decide to follow some religion, it won't be one founded by a sadistic monster and a religious that paints God as one. If God exists, he must have some reason he can't or won't intervene in the workings of reality to save people...that simple.
            You'll note that I have done my homework on Christianity because the truth is important. I have no interest in discussing evolution with you as you are so poorly educated when it comes to science, such a discussion would be impossible. I'm more than willing to discuss more and more reasons why Christianity can't be true. Later I can give plenty more quotes that show early Christians were confident Jesus would return while the apostles were alive (including Paul), even quote later attempts to cover it up, or downplay it. No doubt you will dismiss it all, but that just goes with the theme that you, and those like you, don't care about the truth, just your afterlife. That's what this is really about isn't it, believing that you aren't going to day, and that you are safe? It is one hell of a carrot, I have to admit, but I'm not a sellout and will follow the truth even if it means I will one day cease to exist. God doesn't owe me eternal life and perhaps wanting eternal life is some deep (though certainly excusable) form of selfishness.

          • Kevin Mark

            "...that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles. First of all you must understand this, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own passions and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of creation.” They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago, and an earth formed out of water and by means of water, through which the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist have been stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

            But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up.

            Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire! But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells." 2 Peter 3:2-13

            "Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse." Romans 1:20

            Please, friend, reject the ungodly teachings of the world. Like Pharaoh's heart, as yours grows harder and as you resist him He is allowing it to harden even more.

          • Will

            Way to fail to deal with anything in my post, including your error about specifics in Genesis. I'm glad you brought up 2 Peter. If the promise was that Jesus would return in the generation of the apostles, why would peter be concerned if he was still alive? He wouldn't be concerned. Since it's pointless to present you with an argument, I won't bother.

            Please, friend, reject the ungodly teachings of the world. Like Pharaoh's heart, as yours grows harder and as you resist him He is allowing it to harden even more.

            Isn't it sad that all you have is the ad hominem logical fallacy? Like everything else, you get this wrong too, Exodus 9:12

            12 But the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh, and he would not listen to them, just as the Lord had spoken to Moses.

            Pharoah didn't harden his own heart, is says specifically that Yahweh hardened it on purpose. It's a significant difference and it suggests that Yahweh wanted to make sure he could murder the Egyptian firstborn.
            To back up the idea that Paul expected to see the return, I'll quote some more verses, which I'm sure you'll ignore.

            1 Cor 15

            51 Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die,[m] but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

            1 Thess 4

            14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died.[i] 15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died.[j] 16 For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

            Paul clearly thinks some people who are alive at the time will never die, and will see the second coming. Jesus promises it in the gospels in more than one place as well, and 2 Peter explains it away.

            Add Romans 8
            8 I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us. 19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in[o] hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes[p] for what is seen? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

            "about to be revealed" is pretty imminent isn't it?

            And Mark 9: 1 Then Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God arrive with power.”

            It's no surprise that someone would come along in the second century and forge a letter in Peter's name.

            Most biblical scholars have concluded Peter is not the author, considering the epistle pseudepigraphical.[4][5] Reasons for this include its linguistic differences from 1 Peter, its apparent use of Jude, possible allusions to 2nd-century gnosticism, encouragement in the wake of a delayed parousia, and weak external support.[6]
            The questions of authorship and date are closely related. For Petrine authorship to be authentic, it must have been written prior to Peter's death in c AD 65–67. The letter refers to the Pauline epistles and so must post-date at least some of them, regardless of authorship, thus a date before 60 is improbable. Further, it goes as far to name the Pauline epistles as "scripture" — the only time a New Testament work refers to another New Testament work in this way — implying that it postdates them by some time.[7]
            Chester & Martin say scholars consider the epistle to be written between c AD 100–150[8] and so contend that it is pseudepigraphical. For an argument for a late date see Harris.[9] For a 'middle date' see Bauckham who opts for a date between AD 80–90 as most probable.[10] For an early date and (usually) for a defense of the Apostle Peter's authorship see Kruger,[11] Zahn,[12] Spitta,[13] Bigg,[14] and Green.[15] Jeremy Duff argues that the various strands of evidence "point towards the period 60–130 CE, with some reason to favour 80–90 CE."[16]

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Epistle_of_Peter#Content

          • Kevin Mark

            Regarding your previous comment about Genesis; it is clear that men and women were only given plants to eat. (Gen 1:29). This changed after the flood (Gen 9:3). In addition, I know of no one who does not see the tree of life as representing a means of eternal life (the opposite of death) and the expulsion from Eden as representing the curse of separation from the paradise God intended for the pinnacles of his creations.

            Regarding Pharaoh, the following is an informative article helping to explain your objection:
            https://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=11&article=1205

            There is no shortage of liberal scholars who are eager to apply higher criticism to texts they dismiss as the ramblings of religious zealots of antiquity. Yet an analysis of Church history affirms solid evidence for the authenticity of all of the canonical books, including 2 Peter:
            http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11752a.htm

            Of course the disciples were expecting the imminent return of Christ; all Christians do. Christ explicitly confirmed that the details of precisely when he will come are not known by man: "But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

            Matt 24:36
            "Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour." Matt 25:13
            But whether you die or Christ returns; the result is the same - salvation or damnation.
            Friend, you seem to like arguing... I suspect you could argue in circles for the rest of your life, convincing yourself of your own theories as you go. It is strange to have your own made-up religion, which is based solely on your own whims, but I suppose some like to be their own gods... you could call it the Church of Will. I prefer the Church whose history stretches back to Christ through the apostles.

            “We do not really want a religion that is right where we are right. What we want is a religion that is right where we are wrong.” -Chesterton, The Catholic Church and Conversion

            “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” – Chesterton, Chapter 5, What’s Wrong With The World, 1910

          • Will

            Of course the disciples were expecting the imminent return of Christ; all Christians do. Christ explicitly confirmed that the details of precisely when he will come are not known by man: "But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

            If I say: "I'll be there next month, but I don't know exactly what day", it doesn't invalidate the fact I gave a time frame. Jesus says clearly that some of the disciples will not taste death, and that "this generation will not pass". Not knowing the exact time does not change the fact that a specific time frame was given.

          • Kevin Mark

            Depends on your definition of "generation". Christ also said (in John chapter 2), “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he spoke of the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this; and they believed the scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken.
            Jesus gave prophecies which were not always clear to the recipients until their fulfillment was happening. It is evident that he intended it this way. Since Christ sometimes spoke with this type of mystical language, it is not sensible in such a prophecy to expect to be able to sense its meaning upon a cursory, literal reading. This is common in the Holy Scriptures; In Joel 2:31 and Acts 2:20 where it says, "...the moon will be turned to blood." Does anyone actually believe the moon will literally turn into blood? Thus it is completely reasonable to conclude that Christ didn't intend the word he used, "generation" to mean it in the sense of "lifespan". Alternatively, I already suggested that some commentators interpreted this prophecy as referring to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD which was an apocalyptic event for the Jews there.

          • David Nickol

            Regarding your previous comment about Genesis; it is clear that men and women were only given plants to eat.

            Human beings cannot survive on a purely plant-based diet.

          • Kevin Mark

            Tell that to the millions of vegans in the world.

          • David Nickol

            The vegans of the world either know that they must take Vitamin B12 supplements (as pills or in "fortified" food), or they find out when they begin to suffer the rather ghastly symptoms of hypocobalaminemia (B12 deficiency). Since there were no B12 pills or B12 supplemented foods prior to the 20th century, anyone who ate an all-plant diet would have suffered (and probably died) from a vitamin deficiency.

            Supposing for the sake of argument that there was a Garden of Eden and two people living in it named Adam and Eve. Who in the world can tell from Genesis what they ate? Cite some verses. Even if they didn't kill animals, they could have eaten eggs and milk. Why is Adam and Eve's diet the least bit important to Christianity?

          • Kevin Mark

            The fact that Adam and Eve were only given plants as food, and not animals, is consistent with a perfect original creation in which death was not a part.
            "Wherefore as by one man sin entered into this world, and by sin death; and so death passed upon all men, in whom all have sinned." Romans 5:12.

            "Because God did not make death,
            and he does not delight in the death of the living." Wisdom 1:13

            "For God created man incorruptible, and to the image of his own likeness he made him. "But by the envy of the devil, death came into the world" Wisdom 2:23,34
            (See also Romans 5:13-21; 6:23; 8:19-25; 1 Cor 15:21-22)
            Mankind and even animals were not given flesh to eat, but only plants:
            "God said, ‘See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. And to every beast of the earth, and to every bird of the air, and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day." Gen 1:29-31.

            Mankind was not given permission to eat flesh until after the flood:
            "The fear and dread of you shall rest on every animal of the earth, and on every bird of the air, on everything that creeps on the ground, and on all the fish of the sea; into your hand they are delivered. Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. Only, you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood." Gen 9:2-4

            When the redemption of the whole world occurs at Christ's return, animals will again not eat one another:
            See Isaiah 11:6-9 and 65:25

            Without death before the fall of man, evolution, as it is touted, is impossible. All theistic evolutionists insist on death before the fall of man, yet this is incompatible with Holy Scripture. Thus, to be a theistic evolutionist is to disregard the Scriptures and to cling to man-contrived theories that attempt to explain by natural means what was obviously a supernatural creation.

  • Kevin Mark

    Regarding the relevance of Adam and eve being vegetarians, it is evidence that there was no death of animals in the original creation.

    The following article deals with the question of why Adam didn't die immediately:
    https://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=13&article=797

    Must say, I hadn't heard of Adapa before. Very interesting. The following article contrasts him with Adam and suggests the two are the same person. This would make sense, that there would be corrupted legends floating around that still hold a kernel of truth in them:

    http://www.genesisproclaimed.org/Content/Detail/9#.WCOMEC0rLIU

    I am familiar with the epic of Gilgamesh. Regarding the idea that Sumerian/Mesopotamian legends are the source of the text in Genesis:
    https://answersingenesis.org/creationism/creation-myths/is-genesis-111-a-derivation-from-ancient-myths/
    Deals with the flood specifically:
    https://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=5194&topic=100

    The book (that I own), "The Authenticiity of Genesis" by Bill Cooper deals with this type of thing and also presents a lot of archaeological and textual evidence overlooked by those critical of Genesis:
    https://www.amazon.com/Authenticity-Book-Genesis-Study-Three/dp/0950209082

    Friend, Christianity is not merely a collection of arguments or a philosophy - it is the Holy Spirit dwelling within you, allowing you to participate with the risen Christ in the mission of His kingdom. What type of Church did you grow up in? Did you never get to intimately know the living Christ? Did you not witness or experience anything miraculous? Did you never experience an answer to prayer? I suppose if I thought that Christianity was a mere philosophy that had no real spiritual empowerment, I might be tempted to think the same as you, what with the hypocrisy of some Christians.

    "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." 1 Tim 3:1-5

    Will, from my personal experience with Jesus as the Lord of my life, I have been blessed with a peace that surpasses all understanding. Walking with Him as my guide has opened all sorts of opportunities to love others and to be blessed by Him. Life is an adventure where He is continually answering prayers and showing himself as I try to submit to Him in all things. To me, life without Him would be empty and meaningless; totally devoid of purpose. I don't know what kind of examples you were given, but true Christianity can only be compared to a resurrection from the dead; one's life goes from dead to alive; You participate with Christ as he breaks the hold of the sin and vices in your life that currently hold you hostage, and leads you on to righteousness; it is true freedom that results from submission to him, when adopts you as a son. You arguing that it is not possible to really know God, or that the Christian God is false, is like arguing that it is not possible to know my wife or children, or that they do not exist, when I'm telling you, I do, and they do.
    Friend, I do not believe that you can be truly joyful without him; you need him as much as I do. He can do for you what he has done for me. While I was raised protestant, like you, the Lord has led me to the Catholic Church, which can be described as the fullness of the faith. If I could give you one suggestion: Start looking up miracles of Saints throughout the ages. Also, Eucharistic miracles. While of course nothing prevents a skeptic from dismissing all miracles as impossible, miracles in the lives of the saints is exactly what we would expect since Christianity is true. While this does not take the place of miraculous experiences in your own life, it is a starting point.