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Author Topic: Theistic Evolution -- or the "Old Earth Creation Model"  (Read 30562 times)
Linda
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« Reply #40 on: December 13, 2012, 09:35:55 am »

Having fun with dogmatic statements on that last post.

I was referring to a scientific theory developed through the scientific method.

Creation/evolution cannot be proven through the scientific method because it can't be repeated by scientists.

A hypothesis involving gravity can be tested using the scientific method.

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FeministRebel
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« Reply #41 on: December 13, 2012, 09:50:39 am »

Again, a theory is an explanation of well documented facts. It takes all the facts -- the ones that can be observed, and measured through the scientific method, etc. -- and shapes them into a well formed explanation.

Evolution is nothing more than natural selection -- and evolution and natural selection happen constantly, and are the reason why we develop new vaccines every year for highly evolving viri, such as the flu. That is well documented and cataloged. There is also the process of selective breeding, which is nothing more than artificial 'natural selection.' It is the process by which we have domesticated dogs, and created many breeds.

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TheAtheist
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« Reply #42 on: December 13, 2012, 02:23:38 pm »

Again the semantics. You have purported to answer "my question" though none was posed other than the founding questions in the philosophical field of logic. No direct answer. I stated as a challenge:
Quote
Please correct me if I have overlooked some helpful contribution the bible has made to the field of biology in making useful predictions.
You accused me of offering a strawman - though I begged correction. If I understand the literal interpretation of the Bible correctly, animals were named within the walking distance of a man named Adam, and were sequestered at one time and place in history by a man named Noah. You may accuse me if you will of having an inelegant interpretation of the Bible. You have stated so much of others. So use your superior understanding of the bible to orient your thought (abductive reasoning) and create biological predictions based on its precepts, and we can test them.

You also offered a non-sequitur to my specific challenge that the bible has been useful in providing predictions in matters of religion. A very worthy and lofty aspiration considering the complexity of sociological interactions. I daresay that I am a skeptic of many purported social scientists who have forgone empirical method, saying that the power of language is suggestive enough in itself to create a symbology that rules our interactions. But they do have their points. One I am willing to concede is the notion of self-fulfilling prophecies. The difference between self-fulfilling prophecy and accurate prediction is that a self-fulfilling prophecy does not indicate a specific time for anticipation of future events, and is often hit-or-miss. So if you could provide a specific accurate prediction with regards to say, the future activities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in the year 2013, based on orienting your thoughts using the Bible (abductive reasoning), then I would certainly concede the point. However, I would insist on the integrity of not publicizing the prediction to Mormons themselves so as not to taint our research. But I think if we are both honest about the sheer complexity of human behavior, we will agree that neither of us are able to make any useful, accurate, specific predictions about them.

On the matter of biology, however, I have indeed just proven how hypotheses related to the emergence of species have, through providing a model which accelerates our understanding, has elevated the entire body of work to the level of Theory - settled science. This is not to say that further observation will not refine our understanding of biology. But we are headed in the right direction, and you are not. See also: Nicolaus Copernicus -> Johannes Kepler -> Sir Isaac Newton -> Albert Einstein Where would we be if we'd settled on "On the Truth of Sacred Scripture" as a refutation to Copernicus? We'd still be in the dark ages. Without: William Gilbert -> Benjamin Franklin -> Michael Faraday -> Thomas Edison we'd just plain be in the dark. Francis Bacon was a detractor of both Copernicus and Gilbert, but at least had a method for empirical inquiry, the Bacon method. which was cast aside in favor of a better system which did not rely on inductive reasoning alone. But if I use inductive reasoning combined with what is shown to be a superior method of abductive reasoning, the work in all of these fields shows that an overarching philosophy of knowledge is better advanced by science than anything else. You might also argue that the bible is at least useful for the advancement of ethics. I'd be happy to destroy that notion as well.
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TheAtheist
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« Reply #43 on: December 13, 2012, 02:31:07 pm »

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Creation/evolution cannot be proven through the scientific method because it can't be repeated by scientists.

That's like saying Relativity can't be proven because we haven't yet built a warp speed ship. Do you know how that was done? I'm assuming you're not attempting to refute Einstein as well.
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TheAtheist
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« Reply #44 on: December 13, 2012, 02:37:40 pm »

Why is this man happy?

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Linda
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« Reply #45 on: December 13, 2012, 04:40:24 pm »

Equivocation is happening here with the word theory.

Evolution cannot be proven based on the scientific method.
Creationism cannot be proven based on the scientific.

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FeministRebel
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« Reply #46 on: December 13, 2012, 05:24:27 pm »

Here, this should help... http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html
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Innerlight
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« Reply #47 on: December 13, 2012, 05:54:22 pm »

Feminist rebel and Atheist...

You guys always amaze me, as there have been many like you who have come and gone on this website.  I rarely post here, but still read, as I have connections to the GCC movement and like to read the posts to stay current.

Before I get dismissed as a religous hillbilly, like many who post here, we all have advanced degrees, mine happens to be in Biblical theology.  I would probably disagree with some of the finer points of eschatology written about here, but I agree with all the basics of religion, in particular, Orthodox Christianity as posited by numerous writers on this blog. 

In a nutshell:  God created the heavens and the earth, man, and all life on earth, and whether it happened over 6,000 years or 600,000 years makes no difference to me.    The Bible for the most part is concerned with theological history (in particular Israel and the NT Church), as such it is not empirical history.  God concentrated sin in the law, further concentrated in the nation Israel, and further in the Messiah Jesus, crucified and risen, breaking the power of death, and the stranglehold of sin once and for all.  He was the perfect atoning sacrifice, with a twist, he was raised from the dead.    The Kingdom of God is "now and not yet" and will continue to advance through this age, culminating in Christ's return.   

So you don;t believe any of it.  That saddens me, but why do you want to mix it up on a website ostensibly devoted to critiquing the GCC movement.  Pardon me, but don't you have better things to do?   Go on and try to prove your points.  Doubtful you'll find any converts here. 

my two cents....
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Linda
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« Reply #48 on: December 13, 2012, 06:58:33 pm »

Quote from: Innerlight
So you don;t believe any of it.  That saddens me, but why do you want to mix it up on a website ostensibly devoted to critiquing the GCC movement.  Pardon me, but don't you have better things to do?   Go on and try to prove your points.  Doubtful you'll find any converts here. 
Great answer.

EverAStudent picked up on this topic after a comment was made about one of the Faithwalker's sessions. We moved it to the "Off Topic" area of the board and continued the discussion here, but it's getting old. I will bow out now because you just summed up what I would like to say. So thanks! Smiley
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FeministRebel
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« Reply #49 on: December 13, 2012, 07:02:01 pm »

Innerlight,

All of us came to this forum, not because we all remained believers in a deity -- but because we were all past victims of a GCx abusive cult mentality and culture.

There are many folks in here from all walks of life, and even belief systems. I don't come here for 'church' or 'believer' support and guidance. I come here because it is where I can relate to others who were similarly held in spiritual abusive circumstances -- and it helps me come to terms with that.

This particular thread was off topic, and about a topic I found interesting. I merely shared my input, and perspectives... and yes, I do question, provide input and evidence, and push back, sometimes hard. That doesn't mean I'm trying to 'convert' anyone into anything. It means I like a good debate, and I like science... and yes, I like being open minded to solid evidence, and challenging others to the same. It might seem like I'm not open to the other side's view... but I was a solid believer for 7 years, fundamentalist/creationist, and raised in a Christian home. I'm not a stranger to belief. ("You were likely not very solid, cus you are now an atheist," or "you were most likely never saved," are common deflecting arguments to take away any weight or credibility from the experience of a former believer. I know all those.)

Again, I didn't join here with the 'mission' of converting anyone. I was just sharing in on a thread. So... the bulking us into this category of 'you guys amaze me,' as though we were all organized, and canvasing the streets with atheistic tracts, or asking you to call Charles Darwin into your heart,' is quite silly. You might be saddened that I no longer accept "the message" (and I can see and understand that perspective. I really do.) I know the things I say come off as offensive to believers -- and rattle their cages. But they are not meant as offenses, or insults. Science, and fact, and evidence, are not insults. They just come off that way when we're so focused on not letting go of belief, or at least, trying to reconcile some of that belief with grounded science.  

Should I have better things to do than commenting on a forum board? Sure. But then again, you're in here commenting with me... Smiley I haven't called anyone any names -- and I'd never do so.  I don't need to do such a thing. It adds as much to the argument as starting out with 'you guys.'
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Innerlight
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« Reply #50 on: December 13, 2012, 09:08:45 pm »

Well, now you're putting words in my mouth, condescending as well....

The bulking us into this category of 'you guys amaze me,' as though we were all organized, and canvasing the streets with atheistic tracts, or asking you to call Charles Darwin into your heart,' is quite silly. You might be saddened that I no longer accept "the message" (and I can see and understand that perspective. I really do.) I know the things I say come off as offensive to believers -- and rattle their cages.

Go back through the logs, you'll see my last post was maybe a year ago?  In addition, you will detect the "atheist" pattern numerous times on this site, and quite frankly I find it all very unprofitable, but I see your point, it was a sidebar to another conversation.   

I'm not insulted, I'm way too old, and seen too much to be insulted by something like this.  I genuinely care, and I mean this with all my heart, that people were caught up in an abusive "church" system".  I witness it all the time, along with the dubious, if not outright bad theology of GCC and the new kid on the block, IHOP in KC, and the fallout that is very evident by hurt people on this site.  I applaud the efforts of individuals who are trying to heal some of that pain.  I mean that with all my heart as well.  I am at odds with some of the way it is done, but I don't want to rehash that here...nobody does Smiley

I can only tell you, I love Jesus very deeply.  I held the hand of a dying man not long ago, prayed with him and his family.  I visit the elderly and the sick, give what I can and try my best to advance the Kingdom of God in a fallen world, and sometimes, all alone, praying by the lake, the wind blows across my face, all is quiet, and I feel the presence of God.  Those who seek God will find him....I wish you well on your spirtual explorations. 

that's it for another year...

Best!   



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EverAStudent
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« Reply #51 on: December 15, 2012, 09:53:06 am »

Hi Innerlight,

I have been gone a few days, but wow, what I missed! 

Most of the time I do not mind having genuine talks and exchanges of challenging ideas with people about difficult or controversial topics, topics like Lewis' theology or theistic evolution v. six day creation.  But when the other person inidcates that their goal is pontificate while not actually interacting with or listening to a free exchange of ideas because they long ago made up their mind and have closed it down to new input, then there is nothing productive to be gained...it has simply become someone looking for an argument instead of a discussion.

Like you, I am old enough that arguments just do not interest me.  Very much like bar fights, I do not see the attraction of going to a bar just to intentionally aggravate a fist fight.  Does not float my boat. 

Have a good set of holidays and a meaningful Christmas celebration (of course, if you want to open a discussion on why we celebrate Christmas on the Dec. 25 and Easter around March 21, dates with no  Christian roots, let me know... LOL !!!  JK ). 
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EverAStudent
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« Reply #52 on: December 15, 2012, 11:23:39 am »

Hi Linda,

This is just a post script to one of your postings.  

Language theory is one of the subjects I studied at the Master’s level.  When used of a field of study, like art, music, biology, etc. the word theory encompasses multiple shades of usage.  

Applied to music, for example, the phrase “music theory” does not cast into doubt that music exists.  The presence of music is not theoretical.  It is called a theory even though there are a plentitude of scientific principles and factual observations about real world phenomena.  The unsettled theoretical element emerges because there are as-yet not well understood mechanisms to produce lengthy pleasing amalgamated sounds, music, from out out of the noise generating sounds.

Music theory is a combination field of study.  It has a component  of repeatable and concrete principles regarding physics and calculus applied to wave forms, vibration, and air movement to produce sound.  Yet, a key element of music theory is why some sounds and groupings of sounds are pleasing as music while others are not.  So the mechanism that transforms sound into true music is still not entirely known and continues to undergo study and experimentation.  

This same thing can be said of art, biology, and other fields.  With regard to the varied branches of evolutionary theory, the mechanisms of organism transformation are often not understood or not well understood, and are constantly being revised or replaced.  That variations occur is observable and obvious.  The reasons or mechanisms that drive such changes are not sufficiently understood.  

For example, how much of the variations that occur in a species in response to changing environmental conditions are due to preprogrammed DNA in an organism (i.e. when prolonged cold settles in grow thicker fur, or when prolonged darkness is encountered discontinue producing light receptors) or are due to die-off of the weakest, or are the result of genetic mutations?  Such questions are far from being concretely answered.  

So, evolutionary theory is a combination field of study.  That variation (some dogmatically call all variations “evolution”) does occur is not in doubt.  The mechanisms of change are very much unresolved.  Even the degree of changes and the time frames needed for variations to arise are hotly debated.  Not even something as blatant as human consciousness and how it “arose” is at all understood.  

Consequently it is nothing but hyperbole and bluster to claim that evolutionary theory is a set of settled scientific principles or “facts.”  For most certainly it is not.  

It is my best understanding that what such people mean when they inaccurately state, “Evolution is a fact and not a theory,” is more of this reasoning, “Today, if one must cast aside all supernatural causes (due to cultural peer pressure) there is no other set of hypotheses or postulations that cogently explores how the Earth appears to be billions of years old and how life has developed so abundantly on it except for the general framework of evolutionary theory; for that reason evolutionary theory will remain a fact until it can be disproved by some other better competing non-supernatural theory.”  

In other words, to say, “Evolution is a fact and not a theory,” is to akin to saying, “We don’t know how or why it happened, but we firmly believe that all life on Earth arose from one or more single cell animals which themselves were composed of lifeless materials and then suddenly became alive--that is settled fact.”

So, yes, for those who cannot tolerate the interjection of anything supernatural into the investigation or dialogue, evolutionary theory as a descriptive framework that defines possible progressions from lifelessness to abundant life is a settled fact.  However, even for them the mechanisms, timing, and species-specific familial progressions are still largely hypothetical and subject to ongoing replacement and revision.  

No cogent theory or hypothesis exists in that field of study called evolutionary theory by which to explain how prior to the Bing Bang the first primitive energy or matter came to be from the infinite void.  To think of the tagline (“Evolution is a fact and not a theory”) as being something of an overstatement is decidedly itself a comical understatement.  

« Last Edit: December 15, 2012, 11:29:37 am by EverAStudent » Logged
Innerlight
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« Reply #53 on: December 15, 2012, 01:21:30 pm »

Thanks EAS...You as well

Nope, no interest, trying to write something for my group on the shootings in CT.  Tough subject and very sad. 

Best
DK
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TheAtheist
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« Reply #54 on: December 20, 2012, 04:14:51 am »

Feminist rebel and Atheist...

You guys always amaze me, as there have been many like you who have come and gone on this website.  I rarely post here, but still read, as I have connections to the GCC movement and like to read the posts to stay current.

Before I get dismissed as a religous hillbilly, like many who post here, we all have advanced degrees, mine happens to be in Biblical theology.  I would probably disagree with some of the finer points of eschatology written about here, but I agree with all the basics of religion, in particular, Orthodox Christianity as posited by numerous writers on this blog.  

In a nutshell:  God created the heavens and the earth, man, and all life on earth, and whether it happened over 6,000 years or 600,000 years makes no difference to me.    The Bible for the most part is concerned with theological history (in particular Israel and the NT Church), as such it is not empirical history.  God concentrated sin in the law, further concentrated in the nation Israel, and further in the Messiah Jesus, crucified and risen, breaking the power of death, and the stranglehold of sin once and for all.  He was the perfect atoning sacrifice, with a twist, he was raised from the dead.    The Kingdom of God is "now and not yet" and will continue to advance through this age, culminating in Christ's return.  

So you don;t believe any of it.  That saddens me, but why do you want to mix it up on a website ostensibly devoted to critiquing the GCC movement.  Pardon me, but don't you have better things to do?   Go on and try to prove your points.  Doubtful you'll find any converts here.  

my two cents....

Your two cents are off-topic - a topic which I did not bring up. Should I be unwelcome? Never in my line of reasoning did I make theism itself a contention about the validity of a 6,000 year old earth model of our origins. I did confront the source of that view, namely, the bible. I consider the 6,000 year old earth creation model to have lost its side of the debate in this forum, and would be happy to challenge your notions in the proper forum if you continue to proselytize in my direction. In my view, since you brought it up, there is nothing better that we can do than cast off our superstitions and - viewing the way things really are - reach out to one another to make a better world for the present and for posterity. The humanist does see cause for optimism in his fellow man - and so I would be most interested in seeing if the reason we all possess will "win me any converts" despite your doubts.
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EverAStudent
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« Reply #55 on: December 20, 2012, 01:27:03 pm »

Quote from: TheAtheist
...validity of a 6,000 year old earth model of our origins. I did confront the source of that view, namely, the bible. I consider the 6,000 year old earth creation model to have lost its side of the debate...

Some clarifications:

1) The Bible does NOT teach or proffer a 6000 year old earth creation model, and so is not the "source" of that theory.
2) A once famous preacher (Ussher, circa 1625) postulated the 6000 year old earth theory based on his misunderstanding of the family lines recorded in the Bible; many people latched onto his theory from all sides of the issue giving rise to the popular misconception that all Christians who believe in creation believe his 6000 year theory.
3) The 6000 year old creation model long ago lost the debate among the majority of educated Christian conservatives and was discarded by serious Bible scholars for its inaccurate and improper use of the family trees in the Bible.  Bad interpretation of Scripture often leads to bad doctrine and bad practices.

Though only the hermeneutically uninformed Christian today still adheres to a 6000 year age theory, the 6000 year theory is often raised as a straw man for no better purpose than shaming Christians.  So be it.  It had been the popular theory for several hundred years.  But it is hard to shame me with the academic mistakes of the past generation of Christians, just as it is hard to shame today's scientists by refering to the mistaken and outmoded theories of the past generation of scientists.  

4) It is academically dishonest to state or intimate that all Christians do (or that they all ever once did) hold to the 6000 year creation theory when in fact they do not and did not, and today only a very few do.  

How old is the created universe?  Most Christians will tell you the Bible does not address that question and that they personally do not know.  If the red-shift doppler measurements of the past 10 years are to be believed then the universe has the apparent age of 17.3 billion years.  Of course what the Christians learned via the mistake of the 6000 year theory (that appearances are not proof) perhaps is a lesson we will be able to apply some day to the age of the universe.

What does it mean to be a "young earth creationist" today?  It is not uncommon to recognize that humanity has a rich history on earth going back many thousands of years...8,000? 10,000? 20,000?  40,000?  60,000?  200,000?  It depends on one's personal belief system and is not ubiquitous among Christians.  Young earth creationists, at least many of us, assume the world (and the surrounding universe) was created for the purpose of being inhabited by and sustaining human life and is for that reason necessarily a functional system of older appearance than it may in fact be.  Of course, we are always open to learning more accurate understandings as such findings become available.

---

Update: Here is a link to an interesting article on the problem with using family tables in the manner in which Ussher used them:  http://www.biblicalstudies.com/bstudy/miscstudies/chronology.htm
I do not know anything about the author's theology in general but this one specific article is quite good.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2012, 02:09:00 pm by EverAStudent » Logged
TheAtheist
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« Reply #56 on: December 22, 2012, 03:28:45 pm »

So, at what point did an idea contrasting Ussher's present itself? Having read your source analyzing Ussher, it did answer a question I had concerning how one might find discontinuity in the genealogies the bible presents (in begat indicating ancestorship, not necessarily parenthood).
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EverAStudent
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« Reply #57 on: December 24, 2012, 11:36:14 pm »

So, at what point did an idea contrasting Ussher's present itself?

I don't think it was so much an idea in contrast to Ussher's chronology as it is a refutation of his use of Scripture and a denial of his methodology; so far as I know no alternative chronology was proposed against which to apply a contrast.  This refutation happened some decades ago, even before I was born! LOL 

Having read your source analyzing Ussher, it did answer a question I had concerning how one might find discontinuity in the genealogies the bible presents (in begat indicating ancestorship, not necessarily parenthood).

More compelling than the obvious discontinuities was the attempt to make the ancestor tables serve as a calendar for the creation event; they were not written to do that purpose and to press them into that role is to use them outside their intended purpose.  Using Scriptures to achieve purposes for which it was not written often leads to mistakes, big and small.  How many people have tried to predict the end of time based on "clues" they think they see in Scripture, only to fall flat on their faces because, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone." (Matthew 24:35-36)
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