Part 2 - Churches urged to back evolution

From: Janice Matchett <janmatch@earthlink.net>
Date: Tue Feb 21 2006 - 12:20:15 EST

Con't....
Churches urged to back evolution
British Broadcasting Corporation ^ | 20 February 2006 | Paul Rincon
<http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4731360.stm>http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4731360.stm

[Click link to read article]

Part 2 of "replies" to this request: "Intelligent explanations of the
real issue here would be appreciated!"

Posted on 02/20/2006 8:33:50 AM EST on Free Republic by ToryHeartland
http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1582069/posts (Refresh
browser for latest comments) So far: 1,005 replies and 7,112+
readers (as of 11:45 AM on 2/21/06)

I've been lurking long enough on FR to have seen a number of threads
on this topic (often generating far more heat than light), but remain
puzzled about the problems this topic seems to generate. Like other
British Conservatives, I look to the United States as our one great
ally and the world's greatest defender of liberty, but I do not
understand why such an enlightened nation is embroiled in a senseless
science vs. religion turmoil--and even more puzzled that some whom on
other issues I recognise as fellow conservatives are, on this topic,
so vehement in their assault on science. I, and many, many others
here are staunch defenders and admirers of America, but when it comes
to this controversy over Darwin, we just don't get it. Intelligent
explanations of the real issue here would be appreciated!

1 posted on 02/20/2006 8:33:51 AM EST by ToryHeartland

To: ToryHeartland

As a fellow countrymen who has a strange fascination with these crevo
threads I find a lot of these arguments are really just a kind of
proxy battlefield for deeper cultural and political issues. Whereas
to you and I and (I would think) most people in this UK evolution is
just a technical, scientific issue to be debated the same as we would
debate relativity or quantum mechanics, it seems that on here it is
bound up with a whole seres of other areas of concern/grievance such
as the role of secularism (for many, read atheism) in public life,
political impartiality and partisanship in public schools, the
influence of perceived elites in education and academia, and the
status and interpretation of the Bible.

Much of it seems to boil down to these so-called 'Culture Wars'.
Sometimes you see debates about detail of Darwinian theory and the
evidence for and against, but often you get the impression that those
kind of technical details barely come into consideration and that
people have seen that the people on one side of the argument are
predominantly conservative and religious and the other side are
largely liberal and secular and picked their side accordingly.

I guess what I conclude from it all is that the US political
landscape is quite polarized (as opposed to our side of the Atlantic
where everyone is chasing after the middle ground) and that much of
American conservatism is heavily ideological and values driven (in
contrast to UK conservatism which is much more based on pragmatism).

159 posted on 02/20/2006 12:38:27 PM EST by moatilliatta

To: ToryHeartland

First of all, welcome to FR. The Brits and Yanks are best of allies
and we appreciate being side-by-side with you as we fight for Western
civilization and culture.

To answer your question, this issue is not at all a new one. In the
19th century, Edgar Allen Poe and William Wordsworth both wrote
sonnets regarding the tension between science a non-scientific view
of looking at the world.

The debate goes back even further to the pre-Socratic philosophers
(termed "physios" that would be the phonetic spelling, sorry, can't
type the actual Greek term). Essentially, the early Greek
philosophers were termed what we'd call physics-thinkers because of
their attempt to understand the origin and construct of all things
that exist. This led them into some trouble as it brought up the
question of whether things existed for all times (and thus perhaps
there were no gods) or if they had their origin in somethings.
Heraclitus is said by some to have been the first to elicit the
theory of evolution with his "all things are in constant flux."

Much of the hostility in these arguments arises from a
misunderstanding of the terms. The term "evolution" is thrown about
recklessly as well as "creationism." When these debates start, I
believe that those who support ID and believe that a god began life
and the universe read the term "evolution" and think "Darwinian
origin." Evolution is one thing, the origin of species quite another.
Even those who support the most fundamentally Biblical view of
creation can not deny such a seemingly minor change as the average
height of mankind over the last two millennia. Is this not a form of
evolution within mankind? Yet their hostilities arise because when
they hear the term "evolution" they are mistaking this for the
argument that all life started accidentally in a form of primordial
soup. Thus it becomes not so much an argument of ID vs. evolution,
but a worldview of whether or not God exists.

The debate has been a heated one for two reasons: 1. both sides
believe they are 99% correct, and 2. both sides feel threatened by
their 1% of uncertainty.

Regardless of what both the most devoutly religious and the most
strictly scientific claim, neither side knows for certain how
everything around us began. If the religious could know this 100%,
there would be no need of faith, which is essential to the religious
view that God wants us to make a free-will decision to believe in
him. If the scientific claimed to know with 100% certainty on any
topic, it would be undermining the objective and investigative
perspective and the view of potentiality that is supposed to under
gird their studies.

In America, the debate is hotly contested for manifold reasons. The
religious feel that faith per se has been under harsh attack for a
long time as part of a European export of cynicism and nihilism
(their sentiment is illustrated in Blake's "Mock on, Mock on,
Voltaire, Rousseau"). The religious in America, especially since 9/11
have begun to find not only their voice, but the platform from which
to shout it to prevent the type of European hyper-tolerance of a
bloodthirsty enemy from reaching our shores. The evolution/ID debate
is one such platform.

The teacher's unions in this country combined with the Left have a
death grip on public education (what you'd call state education).
Their agenda is extremely hostile toward American tradition and
especially the Judeo-Christian principles that most believe serve as
the foundation to this great structure that is our country and
culture. The argument that there is no religious underpinnings to our
origin and growth is just a flat-out absurdity. Those who support ID
not for religious reasons believe that the purpose of education is to
open minds through exposure to competing ideas. Many evolutionists
ridicule ID as not being scientific. The IDers similarly point out
the weak scientific aspects of Darwin's theory of origin as rendering
the two ideas of equal scientific validity. The religious and those
who support ID want both to be taught in public schools in order to
break the singularity of the public-school curriculum.

The religious in this sense are defending the forced funding of what
they view as an education system pushing a secular worldview on each
generation. They don't want religion taught in school, but they do
figure that if some schools in California can force their students to
wear head scarves, adopt temporary Muslim names, and 'live as Muslims
would' as part of a class project, then there's little contradiction
in teaching the possibility that all life may not be an accident,
that there may be some'thing' out there that set everything in motion
and designed it to perpetuate.

While the debate from the anti-religious liberal vs. the religious
conservative perspective is no surprise, what is surprising is to see
so many conservatives engaged in vicious arguments. From my
experience reading these threads (I've stopped posting because of the
vitriol) is that the contention among conservatives breaks down to two types:

1. the same type as listed above, the science vs. non-science view of
the world and the 99-1% factor, and 2. libertarian vs. conservative ideologies.

Of the first, there are those who are conservative who either do not
believe in God or, if they claim to, claim that he either did not
start the world or, if he did, somehow started something that has
grown beyond his control (a view I find contradictory). Personally, I
believe in God, believe he created the universe and that he did
design life with the ability to evolve, but to evolve each within its
specified genetic code (to evolve within its species, not from one
species to another). I believe my view is not only not incompatible
but fits in with both my scientific and religious understanding of
what Aristotle termed potentiality and actuality. Those who do not
believe in any God, are simply at odds with any view of religious
origin and perpetuation.

Of the second, there is a critical difference between libertarians
and conservatives. While we are generally aligned on most current
socio-political issues, there is an ideological difference that I
believe will prove to be an eventual divide between the two
ideologies. The difference is this: conservatives believe that a
people should be free but that their freedom is not license, that if
they do not voluntary check their actions and behavior, their freedom
will be forcefully checked by the iron fist of government or by
outright anarchy.

In other words, we believe that we must voluntarily restrain
ourselves so as not to encroach upon not only the rights of others
but upon their peaceful existence. There's a reason why the police
are known as officers of the peace. Their objective is to keep
society peaceful, not only by enforcing the laws our representatives
have allegedly enacted for that cause, but also by settling disputes
and preventing encroachments.

Libertarians on the other hand tend to believe in unrestricted
behavior, regardless what it may cost society. A good example of this
is the war on drugs. Many Libertarians believe there should be little
or no constraints on recreational drug usage. Conservatives believe
if that were allowed, the resultant spike in drug addiction and the
potentially devastating effect that would have on individuals and
society-at-large render it a behavior that should not be legal.

This critical difference is intensified when religious conservatives
find their source of guidance, the prohibition of their actions
rooted in Biblical principles. They become defensive not only because
their view of a safe and peaceful America is threatened to wander
like a ship with a broken rudder, but because they believe it is
another assault on the religious element of American culture.
Libertarians tend to see the religious influence -- God -- as another
source of authority that ought not be restricting their freedoms.

So what we have, as far as I have been able to tell, is one of those
rare arguments that become bitterly contested because each side sees
in the argument elements of many other debates that have been coming
to a head for decades. The issue is either the canary in the mine
shaft or the tip of the iceberg, if you will. Folks, please do not
reply to this post contesting points of the evo/ID debate. This post
is about the debate itself, not either side. And in that regard, it
is a generalization of many aspects of the argument and therefore it
is not comprehensive.

140 posted on 02/20/2006 11:57:06 AM EST by Ghost of Philip Marlowe

To: ToryHeartland

That is an excellent question. It really shouldn't be science vs.
religeion, although there are those on both sides that see the two as
mutually exclusive. In my mind it is the battle of philosophies,
materialism vs. spirituralism. For better or worse, science is the
battleground.

"The indestructible foundation of the whole edifice of Atheism is its
philosophy, materialism, or naturalism, as it is also known. That
philosophy regards the world as it actually is, views it in the light
of the data provided by progressive science and social experience.
Atheistic materialism is the logical outcome of scientific knowledge
gained over the centuries. " Source:
http://www.atheists.org/Atheism/atheism.html

Where we hit a snag is the assumption that the separation of Church
and State means non-religeous/materialist. IMO, governemnt and
science should treat Athiesm/Materialsm the same as religion (all)
/Spirituralism. That would solve the problem.

240 posted on 02/20/2006 2:06:26 PM EST by Dead Dog

To: ToryHeartland

Here, I'll give it a shot. The root of the cultural divide in
America, from the conservative perspective, is our federal court
system. It began quite a while ago but hit a local max when it pulled
the holding in Roe v Wade out of the penumbral emanations.

In effect, federal courts repealed the Tenth Amendment in the latter
part of the 20th Century. The federal courts, by removing "the
people" from the decision making process, fanned the flames of the
culture wars and they've been flaming ever since.

Every time a federal court or the SCOTUS makes another extra
constitutional decision it fans those flames.

Evolution/ID/Religion is just another battle in those wars. There is
no assault on science in America but there is an assault on America's
Constitution and that assault comes from secularists who can not win
in the court of public opinion so they take their case to the courts.
Witness the Dover, Pa. case.

Prior to any holding in Dover the citizens of Dover, Pa. decided that
they didn't want ID even mentioned in their school. They demonstrated
that at the ballot box by electing new school board members
reflecting that view. And yet Judge Jones wrote a "steroid laced
opinion" (credit to Torie) that went well beyond what he needed to do.

The result? More fuel on the culture war fire because in this
constitutional republic of ours the federal court should have no say
in any local school matter where the rights of the individual are not
being violated.

When ostensibly conservative scientists favor such federal
intervention in state matters, conservatives like me naturally look
askance at that and tension builds.

In closing I'll leave you with this thought. No academies have been
burned down in the past 5 years in America but 100's of churches have
been burned to the ground. Who did the burning is irrelevant, be they
anti religionists, racists or whackjobs, the fact is that the academy
is not be assaulted but the Constitution and religion are.

262 posted on 02/20/2006 2:35:45 PM EST by jwalsh07

To: ToryHeartland

re: "..explanations of the real issue here would be appreciated!)))"

..The real issues are turf, egos, status, money, academic tenure and
franchise--

The real issue is a way for the left to "pretend" a great alarm at
the attack on the Temple of Science to try to make the GOP alienate a
formidable constituency--the religious right. The Democrats would
just love to chip off enough votes to turn the majority to the left.

It is important to pay attn to a character named Soros--who finances
a lot of leftist filmmaking. The guy who made SuperSize Me is in
process of making "The Republican War on Science".

There are those here on FR trying to help Soros in his endeavor. Many
pretend to be conservatives.

668 posted on 02/20/2006 9:19:39 PM EST by Mamzelle

To: ToryHeartland

....Science and religion are not in conflict. Intelligent Design or
as Grandma called it "Divine Design" was never meant to be taught as
science, but as theology. We all knew what she meant and believed it
and knew it to be true. Denying the theory of evolution doesn't make
it any less true, just as denying God's divine plan doesn't make it
any less true. And, as Grandma always said "God can do evolution, He
can do anything"

841 posted on 02/21/2006 6:21:44 AM EST by Cincinna

To: ToryHeartland

Tory - There are a number of things underlying the controversy with
the main issue being the absolute refusal to allow anyone to question
the "theory" of evolution in a science classroom without being
subject to the type of name calling and ridicule that are so
prevalent from the evo's on this website. Plus, these are the
civilized evo's - most of the evo's are rabid liberals and supporters
of the leftist establishment on most issues. Those people are even
more vitriolic in the hatred of any mention of a Creator. Then comes
an even bigger rub - the monopolistic, government controlled
educational system which is one of the major wings of the leftist
propaganda machine on almost every issue imaginable. Conservative
Christians are not only asked to fund this machine that opposes what
we believe and then imposes this opposition on our children and
others, we are told to shut up and quit being "irrational." This is
true of not just biology class but the other disciplines as well.
Many of us argue that the last 5,000 years of human history - which
is really the period for which we have any type of accurate account -
does much more to support the Bible's version of the origin and
nature of man than the evolutionist's version. Post Christian Europe
is a great example of where all of western civilization is headed.
The rejection of the God of the Bible as Creator has many more
consequences than what is or is not said in a high school biology class.

By the way, most Biblical Christians are not afraid to defend their
beliefs in the marketplace of ideas. If evolution is just a slam
dunk, let both sides present their evidence and then laugh the
Christians out of the class room. The problem with the evo's is that
they only want one side presented and then they want to laugh the
unbelievers out of the classroom. And if you don't like it, they'll
take you to court - like the leftists do on every other issue that
they can't win on when ideas are freely exchanged. I hope this sheds
some light. This doesn't cover everything but I hope it gives you
some insight.

I will match my education, rationality and, more importantly, the
"fruit" of 53 years of living with just about anyone on this sight
and I find the whole idea of man coming into existence through chance
over how ever many years the evo's deem to be required at any given
point in their argument to be absolutely preposterous. And there are
millions like me. And no, I can't list their names. You'll see in a
few minutes that this qualifies me as a liar.

877 posted on 02/21/2006 8:30:47 AM EST by Snowbelt Man

[end excerpts]

To read the whole thread, click link at the top. ~ Janice
Received on Tue Feb 21 12:20:28 2006

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