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View Poll Results: Creationism vs Evolution

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  • Creationism

    1 4.76%
  • Evolution

    20 95.24%
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  1. #61
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    If reality is democratically elected and these were my only choices, I suppose I'd go for creationism, because:
    1. For god to be a sneaky bastard who keeps planting evidence to throw us off, probably while chuckling, is hilarious.
    2. I recently finished reading Man after man, and I've got to tell you, our evolutionary prospects do not look good.
    3. We will one day travel to meet naturally evolved aliens throughout the universe and proudly say, "NA NA NANANA NA!"

    But I voted evolution, because I think you meant= which kind of reality we live in, not which one would be cooler to live in.

  2. #62
    Senior Member Passacaglia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty6226 View Post
    My friend and I were talking about religion the other day and she brought up that she doesn't believe in evolution. I asked her why she didn't since there was so much evidence to support it and she told me that she wasn't alone in her beliefs and that in fact creationism is the more popular opinion, and that in order to be a christian you had to reject evolution. I argued that you could believe in both, God created evolution, and that things are not so black and white. Anyways, I'd like to create a poll and see if in fact she was right, or if I am right in what the majority of the population truly believes. For the purpose of the survey, im going to limit it to the two answers below, but feel free to respond and explain in the comments.
    Your friend is wrong on both counts. According to Gallup polling, creationism is the minority view in the U.S. of A., though the margin between that minority and the majority is certainly concerning. Most Americans know that evolution is a real thing, with religious Americans tending to believe that God guides evolution. (Or that God set it up at the beginning of time, depending on how active they believe He is.) I certainly know a lot more people with basic scientific common knowledge than creationists.

    And rejecting evolution is absolutely not necessary to being a Christian. Your friend probably has a much narrower definition of 'Christian' than most Christians, which is why she made this claim...but it's an absolutely absurd claim all the same. There are all kinds of Christians, and the only thing they all share is professing Jesus Christ as their savior. Heck, even the Roman Catholic Church has accepted evolution since...the '50s, I want to say?

    (Any Christians present are welcome to correct me.)

  3. #63
    Senior Member Frosty's Avatar
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    Thats what I sort of thought, I mean there are so many people out there that consider themselves extreme christians or whatever but they do not believe/follow every single thing the bible says.

    First of all society wouldnt let them follow some of the darker passages, there are some that talk about killing people who go against your beliefs and do you wrong.

    Secondly the bible is very open to interpretation at some points, you can derive different meanings from the same passage. I feel like most of the most extreme viewpoints in the bible have either been phased out, softened, or the original meaning has been altered. Why can't that happen with creationism?

  4. #64
    Senior Member Passacaglia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty6226 View Post
    Thats what I sort of thought, I mean there are so many people out there that consider themselves extreme christians or whatever but they do not believe/follow every single thing the bible says.
    Yes, just so. There are also things in scripture, such as the Genesis story, which have been interpreted metaphorically since the earliest days of the church, and even before the advent of Christianity. Heck, a lot of those Old Testament 'prophecies' that Christian fundies like to cite as proof that Jesus was the Messiah are just poetry that has to be interpreted very metaphorically to be used as 'proof.'

    (Don't ask me how the different sects decide which parts gets interpreted literally and which metaphorically, though. No clue on that one!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty6226 View Post
    First of all society wouldnt let them follow some of the darker passages, there are some that talk about killing people who go against your beliefs and do you wrong.
    This too. I'd wager your friend hasn't even heard of the passages about dashing babies upon rocks and other nasty bits.

    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty6226 View Post
    Secondly the bible is very open to interpretation at some points, you can derive different meanings from the same passage. I feel like most of the most extreme viewpoints in the bible have either been phased out, softened, or the original meaning has been altered. Why can't that happen with creationism?
    It mostly has, except for this persistent culture of Christian fundamentalists which your friend seems to belong to. She's probably been raised in a culture of fear that's trained her to think in terms of Christian Fundies vs. Everyone Else, and so she likely sees evolution as a weapon of the Enemy meant to rob her of her faith. So if you'd like her to reform, it's best to avoid being confrontational -- which it sounds like you're already [not] doing! The next time it comes up though, you could mention that many Christians who come from her creationist background have embraced secular knowledge like evolution without losing their faith. If anything, these Christians attain an even deeper understanding of their faith after reading the Bible on their own, without the 'guidance' of their parents/pastor/bible study group.

    It just so happens that I noticed a thread on this general topic in a gaming forum I frequent, though not about creationism specifically: Link. Posts #5 and #9 are the thread's first two testimonials from Christians who used to be wrapped up in the culture of fear. I'm sure there are Christian-sponsored forums, blogs, and articles on the net with similar testimonials if your friend is interested.

  5. #65
    Senior Member Rambling's Avatar
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    I think the question here is perhaps more about what 'believe' means.

    If believe means 'give intellectual assent to' and then get on with your life independent from that assent, then the theory of evolution falls into that frame quite well, and a lot of people 'believe evolution' in that way. Probably the majority of those people have never thoroughly looked into the evidence themselves but have accepted what professional scientists have said on the matter.

    Along with the intellectual assent to evolution goes a satisfying sense of certainty that thus 'God as creator' can be rejected, and this is convenient, since it allows morals and foundational values to be chosen by each individual and there is space for each one to be selfish in this way. This linking of moral values to scientific observation is an altering of the meaning of the word 'belief'. This is the second meaning of the word 'belief' and in this case 'belief' implies 'I will take action upon the basis of that belief'. This is the kind of belief which operates between humans; I believe she is telling me the truth, therefore I will trust her. It is not merely an intellectual assent.

    So believing an intellectual theory about evolution does not allow a human being to escape from the question of what beliefs they use to interrelate to other human beings, but many people think that it does exonerate them in this way.

    Between all humans there are common values, shared fundamentals of not harming others, of self sacrifice and love for family and children, of truth and justice and wrong and right. I tend to think that every human being was created with that inner knowledge of those values, which we generally describe as conscience; we often describe as 'inhuman' the behaviours which cross those boundaries.

    Now I tend to think that God is the 'deepest common ground' between humans in this way; off the back of this I consider that Genesis is aimed at telling us that the myths of the beginning of time tell us that part of being human is to have an inner sense of being formed by God, of having a part of oneself which knows and relates to God, of having conscience and relationship with others...and the common paths by which the inner connection from a human soul to God got broken, the common rebellions and rebuttals of the human soul away from the demands of conscience, the common excuses for these failures and the common consequences of those refusals, the pain which ensues within the inner self.

    For me, to say I believe in Creationism would mean that I considered that the Genesis stories contained truth of *that* kind, which truth I do actually find useful in my daily life in dealings with humans who do universally seem to me to fit that simple model of formation / conscience / failure / hiding; I find a common ground there and I find a meaning in considering God as Creator to have a meaning in terms of creating creatures who are capable of spiritual interaction, having a dual nature (both body and spirit). That makes sense to me.

    The writings of Genesis are not intended as scientific writings; that style of writing was only developed in the last 200 years. That said, the order in which the items are created accords with scientific observations, and the word 'day' actually means only 'period of time'. It is remarkable to me that the ancients had so much science figured out, but I do not think they wrote in order that I might 'intellectually assent' to their 'scientific explanation'. I consider that they wrote in order that I might understand my own construction in relation to being both a body and a spirit, and that I might also understand how that construction can break down and what the consequences of that for a human being are in real life. And I find that helpful to my understanding and I also find it very practical advice in relating to people. I also find it helpful in relating to 'God' and it shapes the view of the God whom I believe in; not an authoritarian old man in the sky but a potter forming clay with feeling...something of that flavour is added to my understanding of God.

    I do not think the two ideas of Evolution and Creationism are in competition, when considered carefully and giving the best possible light to each one. Further the implications of the comparison are shallow and tend to make people feel able to ignore moral demands. In that sense evolution has damaged people by becoming an excuse for rejection of God and thus of morality.

    Believing in a Creator places moral demands on me which I find consistent with being a human being and I find that belief impels me to act, which is what a belief ought to do.

    As a scientist I have looked at the Fossil Record and considered the blank patches. I have noted accurately the difficulties of time scales for experiments. I have looked briefly at the effects of altering DNA. The theory of evolution tries to put all these together. However I heard Dawkins speak a few years ago and he could not explain the formation of the first DNA nor the problem of consciousness. I accept evolution as the best theory that we have as scientists, a theory which is constantly being developed and modified and which is outside my field of expertise. I note that my belief here is intellectual, does not impact upon my life in any way and is only an assumption of the professionalism of others; to believe them is a courtesy to them as humans who have integrity. That, and no more than that.

    I believe in evolution intellectually, without action, and from courtesy.
    I believe in a God who created me and redeems me and with whom I walk in fellowship. This belief impels action. It is not the same *kind* of belief at all.

    I have not voted in the poll. Either both or neither, in the way the question is phrased.

  6. #66
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    What is the cross section between theists and evolutionists? In what direction is that trend moving? At what rate? I always kind of assumed that it was a pretty small marginal group, usually the more academics among religious people, but seen this thread, I am starting to wonder if this is a wider phenomena then I've given it credit for.

  7. #67

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarlaxle View Post
    What is the cross section between theists and evolutionists? In what direction is that trend moving? At what rate? I always kind of assumed that it was a pretty small marginal group, usually the more academics among religious people, but seen this thread, I am starting to wonder if this is a wider phenomena then I've given it credit for.
    I always assumed it was a quite large group. I grew up with religion and went to religious school for grades 1-12, and I never met anyone who didn't believe in evolution (unless they kept it to themselves) until I was in my late 20s. I always thought it was a crazy fringe bit of evangelicals who took the creation myth literally, but I've come to learn in the last 10-15 years that it's actually a concerningly large minority among Christians.

    Also, I want to make clear that in this post and in my earlier posts, I took the OP's use of "creationism" to mean belief in Adam & Eve and explicit rejection of evolution in favor of the Genesis creation myth. A lot of posters are taking "creationism" to include belief that evolution is true, but guided by God in some way. I think that's far too liberal a definition of what "creationism" means in common usage.
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  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by EffEmDoubleyou View Post
    Also, I want to make clear that in this post and in my earlier posts, I took the OP's use of "creationism" to mean belief in Adam & Eve and explicit rejection of evolution in favor of the Genesis creation myth. A lot of posters are taking "creationism" to include belief that evolution is true, but guided by God in some way. I think that's far too liberal a definition of what "creationism" means in common usage.
    Ideally I would agree with that, but I am not sure were to draw the line: I've seen quite a few grey areas that are a lot harder to place as one or the other, like trying to retrofit the big bang theory into genesis creation myth. I don't know how common those are, but I remember a a kid seen them told as fact in planetariums & museums in both the US & the UK.

    Quote Originally Posted by EffEmDoubleyou View Post
    I always assumed it was a quite large group. I grew up with religion and went to religious school for grades 1-12, and I never met anyone who didn't believe in evolution (unless they kept it to themselves) until I was in my late 20s. I always thought it was a crazy fringe bit of evangelicals who took the creation myth literally, but I've come to learn in the last 10-15 years that it's actually a concerningly large minority among Christians.
    Interesting - I am curious what's the actual statistics.

  9. #69
    Senior Member Frosty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarlaxle View Post
    Ideally I would agree with that, but I am not sure were to draw the line: I've seen quite a few grey areas that are a lot harder to place as one or the other, like trying to retrofit the big bang theory into genesis creation myth. I don't know how common those are, but I remember a a kid seen them told as fact in planetariums & museums in both the US & the UK.



    Interesting - I am curious what's the actual statistics.
    Right, yeah I always thought that the belief that God was completely responsible for every life form was a more outdated philosophy than it seems to be. I thought that people, even those who identified as being strongly Christian, still had been pushed enough towards the evolutionary camp to accept evolution somewhat into their understanding.

    Apparently one of the main problems creationists have with the theory of evolution, is that they believe that the theory of evolution is becoming accepted as fact that people refuse to even question. I could see where that would arise from, evolution and natural selection and everything related to that theory, has become a large section of the science cirriculum in many schools. Sometimes alternative theories are not even touched upon. I suppose that since public schools attract such a diverse array of students, many school districts do not feel comfortable elaborating on a belief system that a good population of students do not even associate themselves with.

    So, should more emphasis be placed on creationism as a theory? Should the basic principles of it be taught in public schools? Private schools? Is creationism falling by the wayside?

  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frosty6226 View Post
    Right, yeah I always thought that the belief that God was completely responsible for every life form was a more outdated philosophy than it seems to be. I thought that people, even those who identified as being strongly Christian, still had been pushed enough towards the evolutionary camp to accept evolution somewhat into their understanding.

    Apparently one of the main problems creationists have with the theory of evolution, is that they believe that the theory of evolution is becoming accepted as fact that people refuse to even question. I could see where that would arise from, evolution and natural selection and everything related to that theory, has become a large section of the science cirriculum in many schools.

    Here's the thing - evolution made a gamble. Evolution predicted we'll find bones in various stages linking various animals today on a tree of common ancestors, and we keep finding them. It predicted we'd find some sort of mutation mechanism before anyone knew what DNA was, and we found just that in how DNA replicates, and now we can trace our lineages with them. It predicted we'll see fast adaptations in short lived fast replicating life such as bacteria and disease, and we did.
    Darwin couldn't have known any of this for sure, he took a gamble and what we might find, giving us a way to verify it, to disprove it if we see evidence that it's wrong or to support it if we see evidence that its right. This allows us to test it against reality. The ability to test it made it into a scientific hypothesis, and the it was those evidence that made it count as a scientific theory.

    If it wasn't verifiable, it would have been a natural philosophy, a possible explanation but in no way a scientific one. If it was verifiable but we would have looked and found none of those, or found things that worked contrary to how evolution predicted they would, the scientific community would have disposed of that ridicules monkeypeople idea and thrown it in the big box of failed scientific hypothesis. It wouldn't matter how well it explains things or how elegant it might be, or even the fact that it might still be in someway possible - it made a gamble and what kind of thing we should find, and it was wrong. Instead of schools, it would have best counted as material for an episode of Fringe or X-Files.

    Until creationism makes such a gamble, it's just a loose possibility hanging in the air without any way to verify it one way or another. As nothing more then a possibility, it exists not just alongside creationism but alongside an endless number of possibilities, not just every other theology or mythology in human history that includes some idea about the origin of the world and it's nature, but all the possibilities the human mind isn't even able of conceiving. Without the ability to verify, it stands among them as an equal, having no more points then any other.

    That's said, teaching theology for kids isn't a bad thing IMO, I'd love it if more kids went to school and learned about various religions and mythologies - current and historical. Its an enriching experience that can really inspire the imagination of a child, and would teach them that there's more then the belief system they came with from home. But.. I do think it should be clear that it is theology.

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