Re: Evolution's Imperative

Bodester (
Thu, 25 Mar 1999 02:13:09 -0500 (EST)

>Since you appeared to have chosen to defend Vernon, at least tangentially, I
>assumed you believed as he did. I was wrong and I apologize. However, that
>also means that you and I actually agree on most of these issues. That
>therefore raises the question: would you consider yourself to be TE? If
>you do, Vernon considers you to be evil as well.
I actually would place myself closer to YEC right now. I've considered it
a lot lately based on some of what's been presented on this list, and
still consider the issue unproven either way, so until I see what I
consider conclusive proof the other way, I'll stick with Genesis, no
matter how allegorical it happens to be. Now, don't you go blast me for
that, I'm open to other ways, just haven't been convinced.

>>>Fire away; at least you are more coherent than "Cummings".
>>Exactly the kind of personal attack I'm warning against! Please focus on
>>issues and not people.
>That was meant to be a compliment, not a personal attack.
I wasn't referring to the apparent compliment to me but the implied insult
to Cummings. Please argue issues here, not attack people. Doing the latter
is VERY unchristian, watch out. And personally I don't care who starts it,
that can be argued, but continuing it is just as bad.

>You seem to be suggesting that the evolution/creation debate is a matter of
>who has the best arguments. It's not. It's a fight between science and
>pseudoscience, between evidence and data on the one hand and dogmatic belief
>on the other. Ignoring evolutionism (which is a philosophy, not a science),
>the science of evolution has been verified over and over again through many
>experiments and observational studies, and even in those cases (like the
>peppered moth) where the specific results are shown to be incorrect, the
>general results still show the correctness of evolution. This evidence is
>well documented, so if you want to see it all you have to do is look for it.

I happen to see a lot of correct science on both sides. And which side is
the pseudoscience can be highly debated as well. And I think a
differentiation should be made between natural selection and
macroevolution. They really are different arguments altogether, despite
what definition goes where, I see both sides talking right past the other
all the time. Most or all YECs would agree with nat. sel. wholeheartedly.
That is one issue noone really can debate, seriously anyway.

>In contrast there is virtually no evidence in support of creationism.
>Creationists claim they have evidence, but most of it is evidence for
>evolution that has been distorted and reinterpreted to fit a creationist
>model. Or it consists of purely negative evidence, such as pointing out the
>supposed flaws of evolution.
At which point creationists can say exactly the same thing about
evolutionists, leading to yet another strawman argument. And don't respond
with "but they're wrong, I'm not" because that's a bit arrogant first of
all, and second of all doesn't convince anyone.

>Since you seem eager to learn both sides, my suggestion to you is that you
>expend a greater effort to learn the true scientific basis of evolution. To
>that end I would encourage you to read textbooks and reference books (NOT
>popularizations, but actual scientific texts) that describe and explain
>evolution, in addition to journal articles, or at least articles from
>_Scientific American_.
Unfortunately there is the slight limiting matter of time. This happens to
doom many college students to pleading ignorance for a couple years. I
joined this list to somewhat avoid that. Once I graduate I'll be able to
solve that a bit more.

>Genresis 1 was written some centuries after the Garden of Eden story, by
>priests who were trying to explain the origin of the universe in that way
>which made the most sense to them. As such, the account is more learned,
>more poetic, more complicated than GofE. The priests of YHWY were mystics
>as well as religious leaders, so we should expect Genesis 1 to contain
>symbolism, such as when they conclude their account by saying that it had
>been an account of the "generations" of creation. That word is normally
>in the Bible to describe the birth lineages of men; could its use in Genesis
>1 be even a slight hint that each "day" was in fact a stage that was derived
>from a previous stage and would in turn produce the next stage from itself,
>sort of a quasi-evolutionary doctrine?
I actually was not aware that any definite dates on authorship were fixed.
Where did you obtain that information? My religion prof said w/in the last
month or so that they aren't sure when exactly much of the Pentateuch was
written originally, only that there are about 5 different authors.

>Your attempts to interpret these passages allegorically, or based on the
>knowledge of the contemporary writers of the Bible is the same method I
>would use, but would be seen by Vernon as an attempt to judge God's word on
>the basis of human knowledge and understanding.
Except that I happen to agree with a little of what he does. Not at all
how he presents it (or how you present some of your points for that
matter) but that's a different issue.

>I had asked that question because I thought you supported Vernon and
>believed as he did. Now that I know otherwise, you gave me the answer I
>would have expected from you.
Now that you know what I believe, at least a little, does my answer to
"why can't God use ..." surprise you still? Oh, and the way you worded
that question shows you are being quite stereotypical of me and others,
especially since you now find out I somewhat agree with Vernon.

>That's fair enough. Again, I would encourage you to read the scientific
>literature for the evidence that establishes the fact of evolution.
Which I think hinges on what is considered evolution. Different levels of
evolution (don't go into this!) are at different levels of proof. I said
it before, and say again that many many things are yet unestablished about
macro evolution, so THAT cannot be considered fact. Possible or probable
maybe, but not fact.

>And we determine that by studying natural history for evidence of what
>methods were used. So far, the methodology appears to be 100% natural.
So far the methodology for much of it hasn't been established, so is
unknown, not natural for sure.

>>What if I think God being the source implies sometimes or
>>mostly using natural proxies?
>Now that I know you do not believe as Vernon does, I would consider that an
>extremely reasonable idea.
So does reasonability vary with background ideas? Why is it more
reasonable now that I appear to believe something different from Vernon?

>>>I arrived at my assessment with help from the Holy Spirit. If I am wrong,
>>>then the Holy Spirit is wrong as well.
>>Otherwise called "Name-Dropping" or "appeal to authority".
>Hardly. I did not say that I must be right because the Holy Spirit says I'm
>right (though what authority would you accept if not the Holy Spirit?); my
>point was that my assessment that those who claim that you cannot believe in
>both Christ and evolution are wrong is based in part on my religious
>beliefs, which I acquired through the counsel of the Holy Spirit. I would
>assume that the Holy Spirit has counseled you in the same way since you
>allow for the possbility that God could have worked through evolution.
So you're saying that how the Spirit works depends on what you believe?
Again, what if you happen to have interpreted the Holy Spirit incorrectly.
How have you tested the Spirit you're receiving counsel from? Don't
forget Satan's on the loose. I'm not accusing you of anything, but be
cautious about these 'divine' revelations.

>I know, in the same way you know that accepting evolution as a tool of God
>no different from gavity does not violate your Christian beliefs. I cannot
>convince others of that knowledge, but as Christians we should not demand
>proof from our Brothers and Sisters, just accept what they say until their
>actions prove otherwise. In my opinion, Vernon's actions have disproved the
>sincerity of words.
As rational beings we should indeed demand proof. Not of their salvation,
but of revelations or scientific issues, yes. We may need to be trusting,
but we also need to be cautious. Do you believe everything you read? If
so, why? If not, why not? What if the author's Christian?

>I did not say what I said as any kind of criticism towards you. It seems we
>have both jumped to conclusions here. Now that we understand each other
>better, perhaps we can avoid this problem in the future.

Again, I wasn't referring to criticism towards me, but to insincere
comments made by a number of people on this list about others, and not
issues. THERE is my problem.


Jason Bode