Religion, blasphemy and evolution 2

29 12 2009

Part 2: Darwin, science and theories


The other side, the people who like scientific, tangible proof, are called, well anything really, ”realists”, ”scientists”, ”Darwinists”.
Or ”sane”.

They think that Darwin’s theory is, has been, and will be, proven to be the truth about the diversity of life on Earth.

Let’s put the two sides side by side, there’s creationism, very strict:

  • the bible is literally the TRUTH
  • God created everything from scratch, in exactly 6 days
  • all life was created exactly as it is now, fish, birds animals, and us (the ”crown of creation”)
    (according to: us)
    (oh, no: according to the bible)
    (written by us though)
  • it stops here because we are perfect, and in the image of God
    (according to us, and what we imagine God to be, eg an old bloke with a beard)
    (which seems silly as I am a beautiful youngish woman without a beard)
  • the earth is 6000 years old
    exactly
  • faith is all the proof we need

and Darwin’s theory of evolution:

  • the Earth is billions of years old, geological fact. This can be scientifically proven, I mean really proven. Has nothing to do with the theory of evolution but supports it.  The Earth is not 6000 years old.
  • life ”evolved” slowly, from the simplest of organisms into more and more advanced organisms, culminating in ultimate perfection: the horse
    (according to me)
  • life forms on earth evolve to fill a niche.
  • The theory of evolution explains the diversity of life forms on earth
  • this ”theory” is proven by… well the whole world really, animals, islands, fossils, genetics, carbon dating, and new science. True to a correct scientific theory, new discoveries in science affirm predictions made by the theory of evolution

Before I go on there is one very important problem I need to clear up before we go on. This is also symptomatic for the utter stupidity of creationists. I am very sorry to call it stupidity, but I have been going through the dictionary and it’s the only word which fits the bill.
The creationists stupidity for me is really represented by their stupid use of the word ”theory”

Theory:

–noun, plural -ries.

1. a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena: Einstein’s theory of relativity.
2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.
3. Mathematics. a body of principles, theorems, or the like, belonging to one subject: number theory.
4. the branch of a science or art that deals with its principles or methods, as distinguished from its practice: music theory.
5. a particular conception or view of something to be done or of the method of doing it; a system of rules or principles.
6. contemplation or speculation.
7. guess or conjecture.

So when we say: ”Darwin’s theory of evolution”  the word ”Theory” is meant in the truly scientific way. A scientific ”Theory’:  Theories are analytical tools for understanding, explaining, and making predictions about a given subject matter.

For example: the ”Theory” of gravity.
This ”theory” predicts, and that prediction can be proven by experiments and results. For example: if I throw a Creationist from the top of a church tower, he will drop, crash into the ground, and splatter the pavement. This experiment can be predicted, implemented, and verified.
Try it out!

Now the Creationists call ”intelligent design” a ”theory”, but in this case the word means ”guess or conjecture”. Because they don’t understand the nature of the scientific use of the concept of a ”Theory” they think that if they use the same word  for ”Creationism” or ”Intelligent Design” the concepts are therefore equal.
They are not. Darwin’s ”theory” of evolution is a verifiable scientific explanation, predicting events which are proven again and again to be correct. The Creationists ”theory” of Intelligent Design, is a conjecture based on ”faith” in a bronze age creation myth. It is demonstrably wrong in its conception, there is no scientific tangible proof for any of its claims, and it does not predict anything.

Moreover, Genesis, the book on which Creationists base their ”theory” of intelligent design actually gives us two creation myths, the other one is completely ignored by Creationists who claim to take the bible by the letter. The grammar of Genesis is ambiguous as well, it could either mean

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, and the earth was without form, and void…” (King James Version), or as “At the beginning of the making of heaven and earth, when the earth was unformed and void…”(Rashi, and with variations Ibn Ezra and Bereshith Rabba). The second reading supposes a pre-existing cosmos which God uses as the raw material for his work. The phrase “heaven and earth”, for example, is a set phrase in Hebrew denoting “everything,” and the word commonly translated as “created” (in “God created the Heavens and the earth”) is commonly associated with molding something from already-existing raw material.

So lets see, creation myth 1:
God created the Earth and the heavens and on successive days fish, birds, animals, culminating with us, created in God’s own image.

And then there is the other creation myth 2 from the very same book of Genesis:
It begins with God creating Adam and Eve who live with God in the garden of Eden until they gain knowledge of good and evil (in Hebrew it was ”knowledge of everything”) and are kicked out. No mention of 6 days.
Now the early church was not literalist and considered these as allegorical anyway.
Choosing one of the Genesis creation ”theories” literally is a recent development.

So what the creationists want is that American schools teach both ”Theories”, so the ”theory” of ”Intelligent Design” should be taught to schoolchildren as an equal to the scientific, proven, and accurately predicting theory of evolution. For the beginning, because the eventual goal is that the bronze age creation myth of faith  should replace the scientific proven and provable and predicting ”Theory” of evolution.

I’m not finished , there will be a part 2 of part 2.

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12 responses

29 12 2009
Lat

I’m trying to digest all of this! It’s like sitting thru a class 🙂
I’m waiting for pt 2 of 2.

29 12 2009
Abu Sinan

I dont like how both sides seem to promote an “all or nothing” attitude. I believe in God, believe that He created us, I believe in evolution has being part of His plan, his engineering.

As I have said before I dont think they have to contradict each other except when people from the religious end must force a literal viewpoint on their texts. They were written as such and shouldnt be taken that way.

I believe in evolution. I just believe the entire process was set up by God. So yeah……I have no issue with us being here 4 billion + years, no problems with dinosaurs, made descending from apes or the like. I actually think evolution makes the fact of creation MORE awe inspiring, not less.

The idea that we could start from the lowest, most simple organisms and end up where we are today? Now THAT is proof of God if I have ever seen it!

30 12 2009
MoQ

@Aafke, Love the article. It seems that you are taking time to provide a comprehensive coverage of the terms and concepts.

@Abu,
“I dont like how both sides seem to promote an “all or nothing” attitude.”

You are marginalizing others positions, because they do not believe in what you believe. I stated the position of science in the previous article, which will accept a God if it can be shown through methods of proof. Otherwise, the idea of a God falls into the area of faith, which is quite fine as a personal choice. However, it cannot be universal truth that everyone can agree on.

Other discussions we had before is not the fact that you believe in a God as you described above. If you like to make that leap of faith, it is something you are free to do and can be respected. The contention is that the description you provided does not fit with the God of the Islam as described through his method of creation identified in the Islamic holy book. I think you need to re-think about what faith you identify with and the title you acquire from that.

I want to add, I actually love your thinking much more than the God described in the Abrahamic religions as he/she does not contradict human scientific discovery.

30 12 2009
Abu Sinan

@MoQ,

I never stated that belief in God was a universal truth, far from it. Islam itself teaches that not everyone will be given the belief in God. That’s fine by me. It does nothing to shake my belief in Him, or in his creations.

The description I give certainly DOES fit into the method of creation in The Qur’an, at least mine. I am not bound to believe in or follow the mainstream thinking on this matter. I have found nothing in The Qur’an, as I read it and understand it, that goes against evolution. To do so you’d have to approach the subject matter with an already biased viewpoint on what YOU think it says based on what most Islamic scholars think, much of which is drawn from Jewish and Christian creation ideas.

Based on what you have said, one would not be able to me a Jew, Christian or Muslim because the mainstream thought in all of these religions is not in agreement with science and evolution. I do not lock myself into such a box or such a limited understanding.

I do not think that my understanding of God contradicts human scientific discovery nor do the Abrahamic texts, rather the prevailing understanding does. Two different things. One can take the same texts and have dozens and dozens of different understandings from the same words.

I am a Muslim, from top to bottom, I just think most scholars have the whole creation issue wrong. Then again, I think the scholars have A LOT of stuff wrong about the religion and science/evolution is just part of this.

I have thought this way since I was a child, when I was a Christian and none of this made sense………..along with the trinity and God having children.

Back to the universal truth thing……..if everyone could agree on God and the proper way to follow Him that would almost defeat the purpose wouldnt it?

30 12 2009
MoQ

@Abu Sinan,

Sorry my friend you are not talking about the Islam which is described in the book of Islam. Creation and Allah’s absolute control over his creation is an agreed on concept by the overwhelming majority of Muslims and it is Core to the faith. You are sitting on the fringe of the religion inventing concepts. Or you have bought into the intellectual acrobatics that some writers indulged in to make the religion more acceptable and seemingly wiser to outsiders. I do like that type of modernization of the religion, not because it is correct, but because it makes the religion more tolerant. However, this is still fringe and not even close to be accepted by even a minority.

You stated in the previous post that the Quran is absolutely the word of God and is complete and does not have any flaws.

In the Quran God described how he created Adam with his hands, how he shaped him from clay, then blew the the soul into him. Now how is that not contradictory to evolution. Note human evolution was and is a part of the theory of evolution and definitely does not allow for the creation of man in such a way.

Another example: the Quran actually puts a sequence for the creation of the universe in Sorat Fasalat, which states that god First created the earth in 2 days, then created its content to make it inhabitable in 4 days (plants, rivers, etc.), then he created the heavens in 2 days. Yes you counted right that is 8 days instead of 6 like stated in other parts of the same book. We will ignore that for now and focus on the order of creation. Earth is created first according to the quran. Does that match with your understanding of science?

Note these verses do not talk about natural processes creating the earth like you stated by god creating the laws of physics. They talk about direct creation by god.

More notes for you, the content of the earth which made it inhabitable was created before the heavens (no Sun yet). The Ecosystems did not develop naturally here, they had to be created as there was no sun to allow for photosynthesis processes to work for the first primitive life forms to evolve never mind plants and other complex organisms.

It seems no matter how much evidence you find of contradictions between the Quran and science you still think it is a perfect match. That argument does not hold under the simplest scrutiny. What you have here is faith, not logic. The latter requires more analysis than just throwing around some feel good ideas about what you like Islam to be.

Again, any faith is acceptable in my book. My argument is you cannot reconcile the teaching of these religions and science. Many scientists maintain their faith, but they also understand this separation.

30 12 2009
Abu Sinan

@MoQ,

I most certainly AM talking about Islam as described in The Qur’an, it just seems that you, as well as a sizable amount of Muslims do not agree with me. I most certainly DO believe that God has complete control over His creation. Evolution, is after all, His law. It is His creation, He set up how it works, hence He has complete control.

I am not inventing anything, I just have a better grasp than others of understanding what is really meant. Too bad more don’t share this understanding, but there isn’t much I can do about that. My views aren’t modernising at all, that would imply that it has changed. My religion hasn’t changed at all. What I believe has been there from the beginning, so it is actually the original understanding of it.

In The Qur’an God does say he created Adam from clay with His own hands, but I don’t take this literally. If I did that would mean that I accept that God has actually taken human form, ie the ability to do anything with “His hands”. This is a metaphoric description and you, like many Muslims, are wrong when you want to give this a literal meaning. If, as a Muslim, I deny the fact that God has come in human form (a Christian concept) why would I then take the rest of the story in a literal sense? God has never had any “hands” and therefore couldn’t have created anything with these “hands”. God most certainly DID set into play the creation that ended with Adam and what we know as modern man. So it is a process, with complete sets of rules, that He created, hence He has complete control over the whole process because He created it.

So of course God didn’t create Adam with His hands, He never had any! God most certainly did create Adam, as He created us all. But it wasn’t a single act of creation, rather He set the ball in motion that allowed us to be here as we are in our current form.

Again, when you talk about Surah Fasalat you are taking things literal again. Do you really think God is bound by our concepts of days and nights? Of course the term day is used in The Qur’an what other term would be readily understood by people, especially early Muslims? Should God have revealed a complete science text in The Qur’an? How about appendix with the laws of Physics? Ya think?

Of course The Qur’an doesn’t talk about the natural processes of our creation. If it did Islam would have been still born. What person in 600 CE would have comprehended such information? It would have been dismissed at day one as babble and gone into the dustbin of history. Your mistake is trying to look at the text outside of context and to what people it was given. What do you want? Dark matter in The Qur’an? How about a nice 100 page chapter on string theory? How well would that have gone over in 600 CE Mecca?

In thinking in such a manner you go on to make more mistakes, ie assuming that “the heavens” mean the sun, moon, stars and the like. Certainly you are aware that in Islam and Judaism there are seven heavens right? Your literalism really leads you astray, but it isn’t a big deal, it does the same to many Muslims as well, so you can be forgiven if as a non Muslim you make the same mistake.

Your evidence is flawed and you come at the subject with a flawed approach. It does not surprise me in the least. You are making the same mistake Muslim extremists make in looking at The Qur’an as a completely literal work. It isn’t. Until you change your approach and ideas you will continue to get it wrong.

I am not throwing around “feel good” ideas about anything. This is Islam as I understand it and I feel it is more than support by The Qur’an, as long as you don’t read things into it that you shouldn’t.

I don’t view The Qur’an as really teaching anything about creation, save for the fact that creation is HIS doing. Nothing in The Qur’an is meant to be a literal explanation as to how everything we know today was created. Until you figure that out you’ll remain lost. The Qur’an explains that all of what we have is His creation………….we are, as part of His creation, figuring out just how He set it all up. We are doing a rather good job of it…….but we have a lot of questions still to answer.

30 12 2009
MoQ

@AbuSInan,

That is the best piece of Intellectual acrobatics I have ever seen. I really do not want to go into all your logical fallacies and your claim that only you have superior understanding of the religion and interpretation of the book. It will take me days to highlight all of them.

What you are saying in essence is that you will read the Quran and say: “oh I do not agree with this piece so I will just choke it up to a metaphor”. By the way I read the book in Arabic and those words are specific. Actually, Allah promises punishment of the non believers in those specific words. The metaphore here is only in your mind.

Another issue you have is concept of the metaphor. It is a trick that all religions use to avoid scrutiny. However, it has a side effect that the book becomes worthless, because no one can depend on interpretations since there will be many of them. So you have a dilemma here, either the book is worthless or it is contradictory.
Also, no one raised the idea that god should have revealed every scientific discovery like the example of string theory you raised. The argument is that he chose to talk about the order of creation. He certainly could have said I created the starts then the earth. No need for metaphors here and no need to be contradictory. There is also evidence here that he was not talking in metaphoric sense since he was talking about actual work. That is highlighted by the fact that he sat on his throne after the work was completed. Oh but I really forgot, his words are so mysterious he wanted to confuse us on purpose for a reason only he knows?

You also mentioned that the book was talking in simplistic terms because of the simple audience it was addressed to. Could it be possible it has all of these issues not because there is an all knowing god who wanted to confuse his followers, but because it was written by those exact people who lived 1400 years ago and had a primitive understanding of the world? That is certainly a very valid possibility. However, this is exactly what faith is, it stops you from looking at other explanations.

Sorry to be blunt but you got your logic tied up in Knots. You reduced the Quran into nothing more than a puzzle book that serves only to confuse the followers.

30 12 2009
Abu Sinan

@MoQ,

Of course you wont sit here and go through what I’ve said. It is clear you dont understand it. Either way, it doesnt matter to me.

Everything can be taken in a million different ways, that is why there are so many religions, why we have a supreme court ect. You seem to have a problem with religion period, so talking to you about religion with you is like talking to a religious extremist about Darwin, a complete waste of time.

It is clear you dont understand, sadder, that you dont want to understand. You are the counterpoint to the religious extremists. No one can explain anything to you because you already know it all and are so certain YOUR way is the right way.

Religious extremists……pro science extremists. Birds of a feather. This is why I hate all extremists equally! {:>) Happy Holidays!

30 12 2009
MoQ

@AbuSinan,

Again with your strawman. I have explained my position a few times. I have no issue with separation of faith from Science (i.e. I have no issue with faith).

I have focused all my discussions on one topic and it is the idea that Islam is not compatible with Science and I had provided specific examples where it is not. Hence they both can co-exist, but they are not compatible.

Your defense so far is wherever you see evidence to the contrary, you throw the concept of a metaphor around. Then you claim that you are the only person knowledgeable about how to interpret the puzzles. There are no puzzles here these are direct words.

When words have no meaning there is no purpose for the book and its content.

The reason why i did not dig into your comments is you are introducing many new topics to divert from the simple fact is you do not have an argument. If something is written which is against what you say, you will still be right because there is hidden meaning there that only you understand for its intended purpose.

Regarding your last comment of pro science extremist, this is your typical way of attaching titles to people when you do not have the truth behind you. I am a pro evidence person. Science just happens to have good processes to present and evaluate evidence. When those processes are followed, I can believe in the results. I will take that over your metaphors any day. At the end I must be an extremist for questioning your interpretation, which so far has not been an interpretation at all, it is diversion.

1 01 2010
Abu Sinan

@MoQ,

I guess it was my mistake thinking I could have a decent conversation about this subject with a person who names themselves “Moqreligion”. From your very name you make it clear you view religion, and by extension anyone who is religious, as an object of ridicule.

Such a person, who feels from the outset, like they need to offend, is never going to be one that you can have a fair and reasonable back and forth with. Feel free to carry on your conversation by yourself. I think that is pretty much what you have been doing here anyways!

All the best.

1 01 2010
MoQ

@AbuSinan,

I do not think I can avoid offending you. Every debate you get into, ends with you calling the others radicals. Next time you decide to debate anyone save yourself the aggravation and skip it. You certainly cannot handle anyone scrutinizing your ideas no matter how objectively the other point of view is presented.

Good luck and have a Happy New Year.

27 06 2011
Monroe

Wow, what an intense discussion. Thanks for posting this, MoQ. People who believe without truly thinking about what they believe or realizing that they can manipulate that raspy voice of god in their heads are truly strange. Most are only trying to connect with something bigger than themselves, or perhaps they are only afraid of death. To assure us as children that there is something certain beyond this life puts our guard down. We are safe, snuggled in the womb of the world, when there is a god waiting for us on the other side. Maybe our consciousness survives this life (have you ever had an out-of-body experience?), but the rules and the energy of that consciousness have not yet been measured.

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