Author Topic: Conflict With Evolution and Theism?  (Read 1754 times)

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Offline Prometheus

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Conflict With Evolution and Theism?
« on: September 02, 2012, 03:25:27 PM »
What say you? Is there deep conflict with the scientific theory of evolution and theism, or are there no logical inconsistencies between the two? Or perhaps there are inconsistencies with them but not of a scientific reason but rather for metaphysical reasons? Or perhaps there are inconsistencies with evolution and naturalism in such a way that it would be logically troublesome to hold to a conjunction of both evolution and naturalism?
« Last Edit: September 02, 2012, 03:38:21 PM by Prometheus »

Offline eric42434224

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Re: Conflict With Evolution and Theism?
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2012, 04:01:08 PM »
I don't think there is a conflict.  Evolution doesn't say how things "began". 
Also, evolution has shown it doesn't need a god in the equation, but it also doesn't show there isn't a god in the equation.
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Offline Jaffa

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Re: Conflict With Evolution and Theism?
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2012, 04:17:40 PM »
I would say there doesn't necessarily have to be a conflict between evolution and theism.  If a religious story contradicts the idea of evolution, then obviously that particular religion conflicts with evolution.  But in general, there's nothing to say that the chain of evolution couldn't have been started by a creator. 
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Offline theseoafs

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Re: Conflict With Evolution and Theism?
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2012, 09:22:08 PM »
I would say there doesn't necessarily have to be a conflict between evolution and theism.  If a religious story contradicts the idea of evolution, then obviously that particular religion conflicts with evolution.  But in general, there's nothing to say that the chain of evolution couldn't have been started by a creator. 

This basically.

Offline Rathma

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Re: Conflict With Evolution and Theism?
« Reply #4 on: September 03, 2012, 03:08:01 AM »
The biggest conflict perhaps is with the image of God. In most western theistic traditions God is like man. This used to make sense because man was created by God in his image. But now with evolution, man is just a stage in a process. Why should God mirror a certain developmental stage? The image of God shifts to a cosmic benevolent force.

Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Conflict With Evolution and Theism?
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2012, 06:10:23 AM »
There is no inherent conflict that I can see between evolution and theism.
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Offline GuineaPig

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Re: Conflict With Evolution and Theism?
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2012, 09:54:57 AM »
With theism in particular, no.  With most mainstream brands of Christianity?  Yes, I think, regardless whether some would admit it.
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Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Conflict With Evolution and Theism?
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2012, 10:59:52 AM »
With theism in particular, no.  With most mainstream brands of Christianity?  Yes, I think, regardless whether some would admit it.
With the fundamentalism that has become the mainstream, yes.
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Offline GuineaPig

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Re: Conflict With Evolution and Theism?
« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2012, 11:42:42 AM »
With theism in particular, no.  With most mainstream brands of Christianity?  Yes, I think, regardless whether some would admit it.
With the fundamentalism that has become the mainstream, yes.

I was more talking about stuff like believing in the existence of a soul, the difference between homo sapiens and other hominids (including our late, extinct, closest family), and a couple of other conflict points.
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Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: Conflict With Evolution and Theism?
« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2012, 05:06:26 PM »
Most of the stuff that would find conflicting are elements of the fundamentalist viewpoint.
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Offline Dr. DTVT

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Re: Conflict With Evolution and Theism?
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2012, 10:05:10 PM »
From what I've seen, it is a very vocal minority of Christians who completely disregard evolution.  Most have rationalized a co-existance of the two, much like how many Christians have rationalized out the various other laws of the OT that are no longer followed.  Like I said, it's a very vocal minority, and since they can't defend against sound scientific findings, they scream at the top of their lungs like a child to make their numbers look bigger than they actually are.
     

Offline Prometheus

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Re: Conflict With Evolution and Theism?
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2012, 07:27:33 AM »
I don't think there is a conflict.  Evolution doesn't say how things "began". 
Also, evolution has shown it doesn't need a god in the equation, but it also doesn't show there isn't a god in the equation.

I'd say this is more or less the most reasonable answer. Dawkins in his The Blind Watchmaker, for example, argues that the complexity of living organisms we observe today could have arisen through natural selection winnowing down on maladaptive mutations. But then Dawkins oversteps and goes on to claim that because the organisms we observe today could have arisen through such natural means entails that the process of evolution is unguided. And here is where, I think, there is a conflict with evolution and theism, or at least some forms of theism. But, even if we are to grant that a completely natural process could have given rise to the biological complexity we observe today, I don't think that Dawkins is justified in claiming that the process of evolution is unguided. At best he could only say that the evolutionary process needn't be guided. But Dawkins is, I think, making a fallacious logical (illogical?) leap by claiming that the evolutionary process is unguided. An analogy: I call my parents and I tell them that I am going to get a huge raise. They congratulate me and then ask me why it is that I am getting a raise. I then tell them that the reason I believe that I am getting a raise is because my boss hasn't said that I am not going to get a raise.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2012, 07:42:38 AM by Prometheus »

Offline Prometheus

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Re: Conflict With Evolution and Theism?
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2012, 07:36:01 AM »
The biggest conflict perhaps is with the image of God. In most western theistic traditions God is like man. This used to make sense because man was created by God in his image. But now with evolution, man is just a stage in a process. Why should God mirror a certain developmental stage? The image of God shifts to a cosmic benevolent force.

I think that what theists mean when they say that humans are created in the image of God is that they, like God, have the capacity to reason and to come to know of his existence. I don't think that the phrase "we are made in God's image" is meant to be understood that humans are created to literally physically resemble God, as God, understood correctly, is immaterial and non-physical. Many forms of theism, certainly Christianity, hold that God wanted to create life and wanted to create specifically beings that resembled him in a way in which they were endowed with reason (us, I take it). And here I do think that there is some superficial conflict with theism and evolution. Where the conflict lies, I think, is with the claim that the evolutionary process was unguided and unsupervised. But such a claim is not scientific of nature; it is an added metaphysical assertion and not one which I think we have good reason to believe. If God does exist, then I don't think it would be unreasonable to think that he intervened periodically in the evolutionary process, perhaps causing the right mutations to occur in certain organisms knowing that they would eventually lead to man.

Offline theseoafs

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Re: Conflict With Evolution and Theism?
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2012, 08:07:10 AM »
But, even if we are to grant that a completely natural process could have given rise to the biological complexity we observe today, I don't think that Dawkins is justified in claiming that the process of evolution is unguided.

To be fair, Dawkins (as well as all the other New Atheists) makes a point of being extremely clear that God's existence or role in evolution isn't an impossibility, but he does deny that God's role is necessary or likely. 

I'm sure you're familiar with the many examples of "unintelligent design", my favorite of which being the rabbit's utterly ridiculous digestive system.  Dawkins would say, going back to The Blind Watchmaker, that God's existence raises far more questions than it answers, so we shouldn't accept that hypothesis when evolution, by nothing other than random mutation and nonrandom natural selection, can readily explain variation amongst species.
« Last Edit: September 04, 2012, 08:12:49 AM by theseoafs »

Offline rumborak

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Re: Conflict With Evolution and Theism?
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2012, 04:31:11 PM »
I thought the giraffe's nervous system was pretty much a smack-down in terms of "nope, no intelligence to be found".

And, as I have before, I feel the need to pimp the book "Your Inner Fish". Amazing, amazing book. The section about the mammalian inner ear is mind-blowing.
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Offline Rathma

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Re: Conflict With Evolution and Theism?
« Reply #15 on: September 06, 2012, 09:20:19 PM »
The biggest conflict perhaps is with the image of God. In most western theistic traditions God is like man. This used to make sense because man was created by God in his image. But now with evolution, man is just a stage in a process. Why should God mirror a certain developmental stage? The image of God shifts to a cosmic benevolent force.

I think that what theists mean when they say that humans are created in the image of God is that they, like God, have the capacity to reason and to come to know of his existence. I don't think that the phrase "we are made in God's image" is meant to be understood that humans are created to literally physically resemble God, as God, understood correctly, is immaterial and non-physical.

That's not exactly what I was talking about when I said God is like man. I was thinking like how in the Bible God starts out with numerous qualities resembling man, such as moving through space (walking in Eden, coming down to see Babel), being overly emotional, and talking.

But anyways, I think the theory of evolution by natural selection did in fact instigate a change in the image of God for everybody that is still in progression. Depicting God as a bearded man in the clouds seems silly today, but that clearly wasn't the case when Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.


Offline Implode

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Re: Conflict With Evolution and Theism?
« Reply #16 on: September 06, 2012, 10:09:27 PM »
Also it's a brain.



I wonder if that's relevant at all.

Offline Rathma

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Re: Conflict With Evolution and Theism?
« Reply #17 on: September 06, 2012, 10:35:46 PM »
Oh sweet, I never saw that before.

Offline rumborak

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Re: Conflict With Evolution and Theism?
« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2012, 10:51:34 PM »
I think one reality to not forget is that there isn't one god. There's as many gods as there are believers. They might say to each other that it's the same god, but that's more an exercise in group thinking. They're all creating their personal god, and their personal Jesus (woot, Depeche Mode).
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Offline Rathma

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Re: Conflict With Evolution and Theism?
« Reply #19 on: September 06, 2012, 11:20:54 PM »
So? Who cares? I create my own personal rumborak.