There is much debate as to whether Science and Religion are compatible and in particular can Evolution and the Biblical creation account co-exist as valid worldviews or does one negate the other. As far as I am concerned the debate is only a bone of contention for religionists. Science is the study of the natural world. It does not look for supernatural outcomes to its investigations. Religion has for the last 400 years has been continually discounted as a reliable tool to discover anything new. It’s explanations of the working of the natural world are being proven incorrect and Science is filling the gaps it used to dwell in.
When I am referring to the Theory of Evolution I am talking about Modern Evolution Theory and not just “Darwinism”. Creation as used will mean the Bible story and Creationism in general.
If I posted this 400 years ago it would read “The theory of Heliocentricity and the idea that the Earth is at the middle of our Universe – are they compatible?” The religious did their utmost to thwart the advancement of scientific discovery. They did not “believe” it was true that the sun was at the center. It was “only a theory” and the scientists behind it were deemed to be heretics. Only as people became educated did they understand it. Now this once special knowledge is deemed almost to be common sense. The churches now accept the Theory of Heliocentricity as being true. That is mighty of them but irrelevant to me because like the Theory of Evolution it was never a matter of faith. It is only a matter of education. Knowledge is power. They controlled the flow of it for too long in schools and even Universities. Information takes away more power from religion so it will do whatever it takes to keep as much of it as it can. So religions come up with alternative “theories” to counter the modern day heretics.
Even today I still get told by apologists that the Bible knew the world was round. Many have become “Hebrew scholars” and love informing me about the meaning of the word “chug” to insist Isaiah know the world was round. He did not. He “knew” it to be flat as did everyone else at that time.
The same people will then try to argue with me that Intelligent Design is a credible scientific alternative to the Theory of Evolution and should be taught in schools. They “don’t believe in Evolution”. So they read more biblical science and come up with the idea that their god created every animal including man in his present “form”. I will not discuss I.D. any further but if anyone else thinks it a good idea and has any merit please fire ahead. Maybe the dinosaurs died because they fell over the edge of the planet. These theists are the same as they were 400 years ago. They still maintain their book is the one and only truth necessary and deny the validity of the Theory of Evolution just as they denied the fact the sun is at the center of the galaxy.
I am not a scientist and do not claim any academic qualifications in this area. Due to my lack of believe in any god or the veracity of written accounts I turned elsewhere for answers. I find that the Theory of Evolution is a fact because I understand it to be proven. It therefore reinforces my reasons for remaining an Atheist but in itself it did not make me an Atheist. I will reference my replies later to any questions I try to answer.
I consider it fair to say that most Theists deny the fact of Evolution because they do not know it. Those that think they do usually have only learnt it from the science section of the bible or from their local preacher. I have never met a Theist (I mean never) who could explain it to me correctly. I also consider it fair to claim that one does not need be an Atheist to see that the Theory of Evolution is a Fact.
The Theory of Evolution is the scientific study of how life of earth has evolved over time. To start with we need to get some concept of the time scale. It started about 3.5 billion years ago. You need to stop a minute and think about that. It is almost impossible to conceive of such a scale. Millions of species have lived and died out before man appeared a relatively short time ago. We are about as a modern species for the last 200,000 years. 40,000,000 years before us Mt. Everest rose up and yet 25,000,000 years before that the dinosaurs became extinct. A few billion years further back and our early ancestors were getting ready to crawl out of the sea. Sound as fantastic as other stories? Well yes but all of this can be and has been fully proven. When all the various fields of Science, geology, chemistry, anatomy, fossil studies and especially DNA are taken together we see that all life on Earth is connected. No matter what species we look at once we go back far enough we see a common ancestor is shared amongst us all.
I am not going to further explain the Theory here other than say that the word “Theory” in this case means a body of facts and not an hypothesis that is still in need of evidence to make it acceptable. It is because Evolution is a proven fact that it is deemed to be a Theory.
I fully acknowledge that the Theory of Evolution does not explain how life on Earth began but that is not what it is about. I also accept that the Theory of Evolution does not disprove the existence of any particular deity.
However if anyone accepts that the Theory of Evolution is a fact (which it is) then we humans are descended from other species and if we keep going back we are evolved from simple life forms that lived in the sea. Therefore we could not have been created in human form in one day. Therefore the Christian story of creation is not true. It is a myth like those of all other religions.
Feel free to tell me where you think I am wrong and show me how the bible is right or at least compatible with Evolution. We can discuss the Theory of Evolution in greater detail and clear up any misconceptions held about it if this discussion EVOLVES.
We haven't proved the big bang was the actual start of anything - we just don't have a way at this time of going beyond it as a starting date. The problem with attributing it to a god, is that that solution suggests we all sit back and stop investigating, because "God did it".
I'm sure I posted somewhere else that there is no evidence that there is or isn't a god. There is certainly no indication that one or several exist, but then that could be said of more or less anything not there. Can we prove there is no Pink Unicorn? No, but then we don't live as if there is one and follow rules that the Pink Unicorn's proponents tell us about.
At the moment, we could consider a "Schrodinger's God". But anything (such as "God did it") that discourages curiosity is not conducive to discovery.
If I'm wrong and the theists are right, I'm going to look pretty silly in your afterlife - whereas if you're wrong and I'm right, no-one will ever know. I really don't care. What I do care about with a passion, is this life. I'm going to live it with everything I've got. I'm going to glory in discoveries and marvel at the universe unfolding. I'm going to do all this hurting as few life forms as I possibly can. But I am not going to follow imaginary rules that conflict with my perceptions on how I choose to live my life, nor am I going to allow others to impose them on me, without a fight.
Jessica, if I don't know where my car keys are, which is the more logical scenario - that god took them, or that the answer lies somewhere right here in my house, and in time, I will resolve the mystery, get in my car and leave?
So why do you wander around saying, "Oh god, I can't find my keys again"?
(actually, I like your analogy)
My expletive deals far more with an excretory function, than with a religious icon!
Occam's razor. There's no need to make up a god just to cover up the fact that we don't know.
Came out just fine, Arch.... once I wiped the coffee off my screen
Thanks Arch - I was wondering where that had gotten to. Jessica I agree the Big Bang and Infinite Regression is for another day.
You posted this, Jess, regarding the image above, and apparently changed your mind and deleted it, but I want a chance to respond to it, so here it is again:
"That's really cute Arch, It still doesn't answer the tough questions though :)"
Like I said, I had to reduce the size of the image from 750 pixels to 640, to get it all on, and that makes it a little hard to read. Yes, the object was to demonstrate how incremental changes can, over the long haul, make a significant difference, and one can't point to a particular point and say, "There's there's the exact point at which a human's ancestor stopped being what we might call an ape, and began being a Human.
But you posted a long treatise accepting the principles of micro-evolution, while rejecting those of macro-evolution, and again, sorry the text is so small, but if you'll try to read it, that's exactly what the transitioning text is also addressing, so read the words, they're not just intended for illustrative purposes, he could have accomplished that with a single, repeating letter.
The punctuated reality of the fossil record is best exemplified by the "Cambrian explosion." Virtually every animal phyla (including chordates and many phyla now extinct) appeared during the short geological moment called the Cambrian explosion (13). This period of time is now known to have covered a period of time of less than 10 million years (14, 15). The diversity of life and the variety of body designs has led Stephen Jay Gould to make the following statement:
"We have reason to think that all major anatomical designs may have made their appearance at that time."16
Dr. Stephen Jay Gould
This is another gross misuse of Stephen Jay Gould’s work and once again his words are misquoted to suit the bad science of an apologist. Here is what he actually said:
STEPHEN J. GOULD, HARVARD, "The Cambrian Explosion occurred in a geological
moment, and we have reason to think that all major anatomical designs may
have made their evolutionary appearance at that time. ...not only the
phylum Chordata itself, but also all its major divisions, arose within the
Cambrian Explosion. So much for chordate uniqueness... Contrary to Darwin's
expectation that new data would reveal gradualistic continuity with slow
and steady expansion, all major discoveries of the past century have only
heightened the massiveness and geological abruptness of this formative
event..." Nature, Vol.377, 26 10/95, p.682
10 million years
Slowest.... explosion.... ever!
Why are we talking about it occurring in a geological "moment" when it is a biological event? 10 million years is a decent chunk of time when a generation is 2 or 3 years.
Ok I have just read this. It is excellent. This is how it's done. This is Science understood.