armed with a degree in theology, over the years i have come up with specific questions to ask of christians.
indeed i even attend "alpha courses" (introductory courses to becoming a christian) and put these questions to the hosts (usually under the guise of "well i'm thinking of becoming a christian but i have some questions...)
confrontation and causing offense gets you nowhere. also being impolite just reinforces their smug assertion that atheists are angry.
the question i have had most success with at putting people on the spot goes like this...
"a priest rapes a choirboy. the choirboy becomes depressed and traumatized, rejects jesus and the church (understandably), turns to drugs, dies young and spends an eternity in hell, unsaved and condemned by god.
the priest repents on his deathbed, embraces christ, is forgiven and spends forever in heaven.
by what measure can we consider this to be justice?"
i'm hoping that this question might one day become a meme, so that anyone who brings up the subject of christianity is immediately reminded of this question and has an answer demanded of them.
i have many other questions like this that cannot be simply swatted away with theology, mystery or dogma.
i'd be happy to share them with anyone who is interested.
thanks for reading, let me know if it has an impact on anyone you ask.
I'd like to add that evolution can also impact the species as a whole, so that a modification that may in fact be harmful to the individual member can benefit the species as a whole:
The widespread and common presence of homosexuality among species for example, the widespread and common herd/pack/school scenario where only the alpha members mate, and the rest of the members are there to provide support, without passing their individual genes forward, and so forth.
A member being poisonous if eaten, which doesn't provide it, or its genes, any advantage, but does discourage OTHER member's from being eaten, promoting pass-through of THEIR genes, with often bright coloration to advertise the species as potentially poisonous, makes the individual ALSO easier to see than if camouflaged...and the sacrificed "poisoned guinea pig" to whatever eats him.
So the bright colors work on the descendants of the SPECIES, but not the descendants of those eaten.
There are many examples of this sort of individual sacrifice to the species as a whole...so its the species genes that are passed along.
Just wanted to throw in that qualification on the individual fitness part.
I'm sure that's true in itself, alongside what I'm talking about.
"The widespread and common presence of homosexuality among species"
- I don't believe that this is necessarily evolved or selected for: it's just a reflection of the fact that sex is nice and animals enjoy it, and they don't have morality police breathing down their necks to stop them doing it any which way they can. Apart from that, there is a theory that homosexuality is a result of things going a bit skew-wiff in the womb, and homosexuality as a confirmed orientation is formed when a tipping point of individual "female" traits is collected by the foetus.
Individual female traits is collected. What the hell are you talking about. Whose theory is this ???
It was around last year.
I'd like to add that evolution can also impact the species as a whole
Not "can also".
Evolution only affects the species as a whole. Individual organisms do not evolve.
Well spotted Dr. Bob :-)
Quite right. Any individual is stuck with their DNA. All they can do is adapt to their environment (or BE adapted to it).
According to more recent research, there is genetic information that allows the individual organism to adapt as well, turning different mechanisms on/off as appropriate.
Some of these affect them (The individual organism), and, subsequent generations for differing numbers of generations, depending upon the mechanisms involved.
So, the old and now obsolete information is replaced by the new, at least less obsolete information.
We need to keep abreast of the science to be able to discuss these finer points.
And, to add a point, if no individual has the mutation - there would be no evolution. SOMEONE'S code changed to BE the mutation, and, that happened to an individual organism.
IF that mutation, that the individual organism experienced, perhaps when zapped with radiation or a chemical, or a simple copying error, etc, is passed on, that is evolution, but its the indivual that evolved.
"Evolution only affects the species as a whole. Individual organisms do not evolve."
- therefore, all organisms within that evolved species share approximately the same genome. The genomes of all organisms have been shaped in some way by evolution.
No offence Dr Bob, but this is starting to sound like Creationism all over again. You have to realise that in the future, these ideas will inevitably be the accepted mainstream, they're out there and there's no going back, what has been seen cannot be unseen. In the long term, the synthesis of religious and secular ideas will be to the benefit of everyone.
I didn't see Dr Bob as saying what you think he is...I think he's on board with evolution, he just had not yet heard about the new research regarding an individual actually adpapting, genetically, on the fly, with some of those changes being inheritable.
Mutations to the germ line can happen in an individual, certainly. That's one mechanism for how new traits can be introduced.
I think you're confusing things, however. Some environmental factors can trigger the activation of different genes. This is the process of genetic regulation, which determines in an individual that some cells grow more than others. In some cases, gene regulation behavior is heritable.
Gene regulation, however, is only a modification of the phenotype, not the genotype. The underlying DNA remains the same. There is no real "evolution" occurring here.
The field of epigenetics is emergent, and I'm certainly talking outside my field, but it's an error to equate this sort of regulatory behavior on the part of an individual organism with the concept of evolution.
This isn't it at all TJ - what I'm talking about is a fundamental property of all organisms more or less since life started on Earth.