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Thread: Theistic evolution makes no sense

  1. #1

    Default Theistic evolution makes no sense

    The mainstream Catholic Church and mainstream Protestants typically have no problem accepting the scientific theory of evolution. The creationists are like their loud and embarrassing younger siblings.

    The Christians who accept evolution typically are of the view that evolution was God's way of creating the world and humanity. In other words, God guided evolution. If I am not mistaken, the Catholics believe that God at some point put souls into the hominid line that became Homo sapiens.

    I think a major reason creationists oppose the theory of evolution is that it essentially undermines the argument from design. Natural forces are sufficient to explain the diversity of life, no god is necessary. The Christians who accept evolution point out that evolution does not disprove the existence of God.

    While it is true that the theory of evolution does not disprove the existence of God, and it is politically and strategically a good thing that there are Christians who accept evolution and can help counter creationism, I think the creationists are actually correct in observing that it makes God superfluous. It doesn't add anything to posit the existence of God, there is no explanatory value. The theory of evolution doesn't need God to explain anything, hence we should not add a non-explanatory entity to explain the diversity of life.

    Further, if God designed life through evolution, and humanity is the center of creation, it was an awfully inefficient process, taking literally billions of years to get to humans, and resulting in massive suffering along the way, even today. The argument from poor design is a problem for all kinds of theism, but not at all for evolution without any "guide" involved.

    Adding a god as a guider in the theory of evolution is like positing that there are small invisible elves living inside your switches, making them function. Like God and evolution (or souls being added at some point), it doesn't add anything. You don't need to add the elves to understand how the switches work.

    (Why only addressing Christians in this thread? I think the situation among Jews is very similar to that among Christians in that the more educated and modern accept evolution, whereas the more fundamentalist who are prone to Biblical literalism do not. Among Muslims, I would suspect that creationism is much more widespread than among either Christians or Jews. Muslim creationism is usually a rip-off of Christian creationism. As for other religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, I am not aware of there ever being a major controversy with the theory of evolution, but I suspect that at least Hindus who accept evolution are possibly committing the same fallacies in their thinking as monotheists who accept evolution.)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Theistic evolution makes no sense

    When it comes to faith, it is a bonus to "not need" solid proof, like when Jesus after his return from the dead said to Thomas. "μακαριοι οι μη ιδοντες και πιστευσαντες" in the original Greek. I don't know the English translation of the bible, but it is in John, 20, 29 in our (Orthodox Christian) bible.

    What I take from that and the whole approach of the Orthodox Church on Genesis is that God doesn't want to convince you, He wants you to believe in Him by yourself. The question as you pose it, could be rephrased like "Why God doesn't show up every year?" Or even "why does God gave us free belief instead of making us believe in Him like the angels"?
    Free will is free will. If God made the world in a way that proved His existence, then you wouldn't have the free will to believe in Him or not.

    Genesis for example tells us who created the world, not how or why. When I brought up to a priest that genesis aligns well with current explanations of the creation of the universe (Light=energy, then the celestial bodies etc and finally life) he told me that I shouldn't base my belief on that theory, that religion's purpose is not to compete the natural world (but guide us spiritually) etc. and that perhaps in 50 years or 100 years another theory will diverge from genesis and that I shouldn't take the Old Testament as a scientific text whose job is to show us how the world was made, that's for science. The job of Genesis is to tell us Who created the world.
    You are also talking about the "efficiency" of the process... Why? God was not in a hurry. For Him, the billions of years were nothing. The whole universe, all planets, suns, galaxies and the space in between is nothing fancy; He can make and unmake it as many times as He wishes. Simply put "efficiency" in God's plan is neither necessary nor needed and we're too ignorant and small to see the big picture.

    My point, in short, is that we're not supposed to be made to believe but to make the choice to believe. The Apostles had their moments of doubt too.
    The world is made in a way that you don't have to believe in God unless you choose to. We have been with a yearning to believe in something greater than ourselves (because I believe God stacked the deck in our favor) but we don't have to. Even if the theory of evolution is at some point over-ruled by something else, it won't be creationism.

    Also, another thing although I haven't discussed it with many theologists: Nowhere in the Bible it says that we are the only sentient beings in the universe. It doesn't say we are not, but I didn't see anywhere that we are and we will be the only ones. I.e. the existence of alien life is not dispoved in the Bible nor contradicts it, if we ever find any.
    I.e. I don't agree that bible tells us Humanity is the center of Creation.
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    Default Re: Theistic evolution makes no sense

    Quote Originally Posted by Calypze View Post
    I think the situation among Jews is very similar to that among Christians in that the more educated and modern accept evolution, whereas the more fundamentalist who are prone to Biblical literalism do not.
    The issue is not particularly relevant to Judaism. For the most part, Jewish religion isn’t concerned with what people believe, but rather with what they do. There is no Jewish movement that considers the literal meaning of the Torah to be the only meaning. When reading the texts in Hebrew, they often don’t appear to be intended to be taken literally in the first place. For example, the literal meanings of people’s names in the stories are indications of the role they play in the story. Within fundamentalist (Haredi) Jewish movements, literalism is applied to adherence to the biblical law codes rather than to prescribed beliefs. Nevertheless, the Talmud, the interpretive lens through which traditional Rabbinic Jews view the Torah, is a collection of multiple conflicting arguments on each issue.

    The traditional Jewish conception of God is often panentheist. All aspects of God save one (the infinite) are said to exist within, and be synonymous with, the Universe. Yahweh, the name of God in Hebrew is a verb, past tense continuous causative of “to be”. It carries both the sense of “caused to exist” and “causes to exist”. Though a verb, God’s name can be understood as synonymous with causality. Elohim, the Hebrew word for God in the monotheistic sense is plural, it can mean “gods”, “powers” or “forces”. The two versions of the creation story in Genesis have different characters. In one, God is Elohim, distant and abstract. This is traditionally seen as the aspect of God synonymous with the forces of nature. In the other, God is Yahweh, depicted with anthropomorphic metaphors. This is seen as the aspect of God with intent. These understandings almost certainly are not accurate historical explanations for the two versions of the story, but they have nonetheless affected Jewish theology.

    Spinoza is usually misunderstood by academics unfamiliar with the Jewish context of his ideas. Spinoza didn’t consider himself an atheist. He wasn’t kicked out of the local Jewish community for arguing that God and the Universe are synonymous, that was a mainstream Jewish view at the time. He was excommunicated for arguing that God doesn’t want anything, God just is. What was offensive to the community, was not simply a matter of belief, but that it was an argument against adherence to the law (more accurately translated as “the way”). In this same light, Einstein’s comments can likewise be understood, since in his day the idea of God as a philosophical abstract was common within several Jewish movements.

    Since this notion has such deep roots in Jewish history, even the Haredim (so-called Ultra-Orthodox) are unlikely to have reflexively hostile reactions to scientific explanations. In the Tenth Century Saadia Gaon argued that no passage in the Torah should be understood literally if the meaning is contrary to the senses or reason. In the Twelfth Century, Maimonides applied this logic to the biblical creation stories, concluding that for “speculative matters” everyone should understand them according to “his own study” and accept “that which appears to him established by proof”.

    Contrasting the aforementioned medieval Jewish rationalists were the Kabbalists who developed their own mystical understandings of creation. Both were influential, but Kabbalist metaphors seem to be easily adapted to scientific explanations, or rather scientific explanations are easily framed in such a way as they seem to reinforce preexisting Kabbalistic beliefs. For example, the first Haredi Chief Rabbi of Israel argued that evolution is consonant with the Kabbalistic idea of the unity of all life and that the inflationary universe theory reinforces the Kabbalistic idea that the Universe is progressively unfolding.

    Nevertheless, many Haredim have no belief in evolution simply due to lack of knowledge on the topic. If you make an attempt to explain it to them in strictly scientific terms, they usually seem interested in asking questions for a bit before saying something like “Hmm… we believe something different”. If you use Kabbalistic metaphors to describe it, they usually seem to see at as just another way to describe what they believe they already know.
    Last edited by sumskilz; March 16, 2020 at 10:18 AM.
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    Default Re: Theistic evolution makes no sense

    Theistic anything doesn't make sense to an outsider.
    That's simply the nature of faith. It is incorrect to judge religious beliefs in the realm of reason, logic and science and it is inappropriate to judge science in the realm of religion.
    Like what Alhoon said: Religion isn't about convincing you with arguments, proof or mathematical models, rather you are supposed to believe by yourself, often in spite of these phenomena.

    The wise Christian will not sully his faith with theories like theistic evolution. A wise Christian might be a biologist, but he won't be putting forward the model of there being like elves in the mechanisms of evolution. In his belief, God is everywhere, it's not an addition, it's just the condition of the world.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Theistic evolution makes no sense

    Quote Originally Posted by Calypze View Post
    The mainstream Catholic Church and mainstream Protestants typically have no problem accepting the scientific theory of evolution. The creationists are like their loud and embarrassing younger siblings.

    The Christians who accept evolution typically are of the view that evolution was God's way of creating the world and humanity. In other words, God guided evolution. If I am not mistaken, the Catholics believe that God at some point put souls into the hominid line that became Homo sapiens.

    I think a major reason creationists oppose the theory of evolution is that it essentially undermines the argument from design. Natural forces are sufficient to explain the diversity of life, no god is necessary. The Christians who accept evolution point out that evolution does not disprove the existence of God.

    While it is true that the theory of evolution does not disprove the existence of God, and it is politically and strategically a good thing that there are Christians who accept evolution and can help counter creationism, I think the creationists are actually correct in observing that it makes God superfluous. It doesn't add anything to posit the existence of God, there is no explanatory value. The theory of evolution doesn't need God to explain anything, hence we should not add a non-explanatory entity to explain the diversity of life.

    Further, if God designed life through evolution, and humanity is the center of creation, it was an awfully inefficient process, taking literally billions of years to get to humans, and resulting in massive suffering along the way, even today. The argument from poor design is a problem for all kinds of theism, but not at all for evolution without any "guide" involved.

    Adding a god as a guider in the theory of evolution is like positing that there are small invisible elves living inside your switches, making them function. Like God and evolution (or souls being added at some point), it doesn't add anything. You don't need to add the elves to understand how the switches work.

    (Why only addressing Christians in this thread? I think the situation among Jews is very similar to that among Christians in that the more educated and modern accept evolution, whereas the more fundamentalist who are prone to Biblical literalism do not. Among Muslims, I would suspect that creationism is much more widespread than among either Christians or Jews. Muslim creationism is usually a rip-off of Christian creationism. As for other religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, I am not aware of there ever being a major controversy with the theory of evolution, but I suspect that at least Hindus who accept evolution are possibly committing the same fallacies in their thinking as monotheists who accept evolution.)
    How is it that Islamic idea of theistic evolition a rip-off of Christian creationism? Muslim theologian al-Jahiz wrote one of the first observation based books on evolution. Anyways, what I see here is you finding something as nonsense mostly due to it not living up to your standards. A lot of what you say is an attempt to ridicule for the sake of ridicule which is nonsensical in itself.

    The main idea of guided evolution is basically god pushing things the right way. It revolves around the claim that development of highly complex biological structures, such as the eye, can not develop by itself due to mere luck or environmental factors.

    I don't really see what's nonsensical about that.
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    Default Re: Theistic evolution makes no sense

    It's a rip-off because it is an almost verbatim copy-paste of what the eastern church fathers were writing about creation in the 4th and 5th centuries.
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    Default Re: Theistic evolution makes no sense

    Quote Originally Posted by Settra View Post
    It's a rip-off because it is an almost verbatim copy-paste of what the eastern church fathers were writing about creation in the 4th and 5th centuries.
    Citation needed.
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    Default Re: Theistic evolution makes no sense

    You do realize that Islamic Scholars and Islamic thinking was indeed heavily influenced by Eastern Christianity Scholars since... they were in the same area, don't you?
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    Default Re: Theistic evolution makes no sense

    Evolution is the daftest theory why? Because it's a case of the chicken or egg coming first. Where did seed come from? God tells us from all the vegetation He made as well as the rest of life in those six days of creation. So, the idea of seed suddenly appearing from the pond of so-called soup is just ridiculous. Any man who doesn't take God's word as being God's word is no Christian and never was.

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    Default Re: Theistic evolution makes no sense

    Quote Originally Posted by basics View Post
    Any man who doesn't take God's word as being God's word is no Christian and never was.
    Respectfully, I would think that God should be the judge of that, not you.
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    Default Re: Theistic evolution makes no sense

    Quote Originally Posted by alhoon View Post
    You do realize that Islamic Scholars and Islamic thinking was indeed heavily influenced by Eastern Christianity Scholars since... they were in the same area, don't you?
    There are worlds apart between being influenced and ripping things off. It's natural that Muslim scholars got influenced by Christian scholars, and in turn Christian scholars got influenced by Greek scholars. However, they did not live in an age of internet. Not every scholar had access to works of others. al-Jahiz didn't exactly live in a Christian are as well. He lived in Basra, a city that started as an Arab garrison under the Rashidun Caliphate. He observed his surroundings and wrote the Book of Animals talking about how distinct attributes of animals/insects were shaped by their environment.


    Quote Originally Posted by basics View Post
    Evolution is the daftest theory why? Because it's a case of the chicken or egg coming first. Where did seed come from? God tells us from all the vegetation He made as well as the rest of life in those six days of creation. So, the idea of seed suddenly appearing from the pond of so-called soup is just ridiculous. Any man who doesn't take God's word as being God's word is no Christian and never was.
    Interesting to see how your statement on "No True Christian" fallacy sits well with your earlier attempts to put words in god's mouth. Perhaps we need to see this as a confession... Anyways, no, evolution is a proven theory. You might question where the seed came from but to call it daft in its entirety is daft in itself.
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    Default Re: Theistic evolution makes no sense

    Quote Originally Posted by basics View Post
    Evolution is the daftest theory why? Because it's a case of the chicken or egg coming first. Where did seed come from? God tells us from all the vegetation He made as well as the rest of life in those six days of creation. So, the idea of seed suddenly appearing from the pond of so-called soup is just ridiculous. Any man who doesn't take God's word as being God's word is no Christian and never was.
    That's a hilariously awful idea of what evolution is. I don't think any scientists really take the "primordial soup" theory very seriously, especially not as you've attempted to describe it. Nucleic acids forming near geothermal vents due to the introduction of needed chemicals from a number of different sources ranging from UV radiation to asteroid impacts. Eventually this leads to the evolution of simple life forms. Which is a bit different than seeds sprouting from a primordial pond as you say.

    Denying the facts of evolution because you don't understand or choose not to understand the science behind them is foolish.

    Any man who thinks he can definitively speak for god is no christian and never was.

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    Default Re: Theistic evolution makes no sense

    Quote Originally Posted by Akar View Post
    Any man who thinks he can definitively speak for god is no christian and never was.
    Let's not turn this to who is the best Christian.
    I agree that one should not presume to understand God 100%, such discussions are really... against the spirit of the religion.
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    Default Re: Theistic evolution makes no sense

    Akar,

    God's word beginning in Genesis tells us quite clearly how everything got here and got here in a logical way unlike all the supposing and guessing that generates from Darwi's theory. But then as one who is an enemy of God one expects the mystery of the theory to be grasped and held on to regardless of how stupid it is. For example why is it that no other planet that we know of has any vegitation? I mean with all these chemicals floating around why are we the exception? Anyone with a sound mind has to ask these things whether a good Christian, a bad Christian or no Christian at all.

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    Default Re: Theistic evolution makes no sense

    Are you asking why we haven't discovered a planet with vegetation in our solar system?

    Well obviously the temperature and makeup of Mercury is incompatible with life, reaching upwards of 800f during the day and lows of -280f at night. The same with Venus, which has an atmosphere consisting of 96% carbon dioxide and an atmospheric pressure almost 100x that of Earth. Venus is covered with dust and volcanic rock. Sulfuric acid rains are common. Earth is in the "Goldilocks zone" around the sun, which is why we have a temperature and environment that is supportive of life as we know it (it's worth noting that Carbon Chauvinism is a real possibility and other lifeforms could exist out of different materials than carbon, like silicon). There are an estimated 40 billion Earth-sized planets.

    On November 4, 2013, astronomers reported, based on Kepler data, that there could be as many as 40 billion Earth-sized planets orbiting in the habitable zones of Sun-like stars and red dwarfs in the Milky Way.11 billion of these may be orbiting Sun-like stars. Proxima Centauri b, located about 4.2 light-years (1.3 parsecs) from Earth in the constellation of Centaurus, is the nearest known exoplanet, and is orbiting in the habitable zone of its star. The CHZ is also of particular interest to the emerging field of habitability of natural satellites, because planetary-mass moons in the CHZ might outnumber planets.
    So what about Mars? Well, Mars very well might have had vegetation at some point. We've found evidence of flowing water as well as organic compounds on the surface of Mars. Not to mention we know for a fact that Mars has large ice caps that if melted could cover the entirety of the planet with 10m of liquid water. Unfortunately, Mars is far too dry and dusty in it's current state to support life. It also has almost no atmosphere, meaning that required nutrient filled gas is unable to remain in the planet. Because of Mars having an atmospheric pressure that is less than 1% of the Earth's pressure (literally the opposite issue as Venus has, if you'll recall) liquid water is unable to exist on Mars outside of the extremes elevations for limited periods. Liquid water has also been discovered under the surface of Mars, which means that it is entirely possible that millions or billions of years ago Mars was a planet pocketed with oceans and rivers.

    Jupiter is a gas giant. So is Saturn. Uranus and Neptune have similar make-ups to one another, both being primarily composed of "ices" made from ammonia and methane. Uranus is the coldest planet in the solar system, with a minimum temperature of -371f. Neptune is a close second, with temperatures as low as -361f. For reference, Pluto (which is not a planet anymore RIP) has low temperatures of -400f.

    We are the exception in our Solar system because no other planet we can directly observe is even remotely compatible with life as we know it. There could be life under the oceans of Europa or Titan but we have no way of observing that with our current technology. Same with Proxima Centauri B. The planet itself is totally capable of supporting life as we know it, but we have no way of directly seeing if there is or isn't life, just measuring the possibility.

    If you're describing myself as an "enemy of god" I would wear that badge proudly. Your posts clearly show a strong lack of scientific knowledge and I would encourage you to further educate yourself. Knowledge is the only antidote to ignorance.

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    God's word beginning in Genesis tells us quite clearly how everything got here and got here in a logical way
    Please explain what parts of the story of Genesis are logical. "God did X then god did Y" is not logical.
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    Quote Originally Posted by basics View Post
    God's word beginning in Genesis tells us quite clearly how everything got here and got here in a logical way
    And Genesis is not to be taken literally. Jesus wants us to think, God didn't just give us the answers. We are not smart and wise enough to understand them anyway. Would the Prophets of the Old Testament have even understood the process that the world was created? The Big Bang and all is ... just a theory that we expect to develop further and further. Even now, with all our scientific understanding we continuously find more and more things about how the world was made. Same with life.

    Check Matthew 13:9 to 13:13. What Jesus says can also apply to taking Genesis literally.

    Quote Originally Posted by Akar View Post
    Please explain what parts of the story of Genesis are logical. "God did X then god did Y" is not logical.
    Genesis is not supposed to be logical, it's a matter of faith. The purpose of Genesis is, according to Orthodox Christianity, to tell us who made the world, not the exact process.
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    Default Re: Theistic evolution makes no sense

    alhoon,

    Moses was given the task of putting in writing how we got here and in what time, why? Because many in the tribes wanted to go back to Egypt and carry on worshipping the Egyptian gods. Therefore since God more or less dictated what was to be written and as He was the only witness to creation the account had to be accurate and true if this people were to obey, worship and follow Him. So, Genesis is as logical and truthful because it comes from the mouth of God our Creator. The very first words give us time, space and matter is that not scientific enough?

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    Default Re: Theistic evolution makes no sense

    Quote Originally Posted by basics View Post
    Evolution is the daftest theory why?
    Well it doesn;t really talk about chickens and eggs so to do so would be daft.

    Quote Originally Posted by basics View Post
    Because it's a case of the chicken or egg coming first.




    The current Palaeontological consensus is chickens are descended from egg laying reptiles (because there's evidence of very old eggs predating any evidence of chickens), so while the theory of evolution does ot address the point there is a scientific discipline that supplies an answer. The egg existed before the chicken. It makes sense if you manage not simplify to the point of abject stupidity.

    Quote Originally Posted by basics View Post
    Where did seed come from?


    Once again there's some ideas, there's some plants like algaes (which can be soupy, if thats what you mean?) which simply undergo celld vision, some of which then evolved specialised cells that divide ito spores for sexual reproduction (I think mosses use this method) and various kinds of seeds evolve from that into the amazing variety of plant seed we see today.

    Quote Originally Posted by basics View Post
    So, the idea of seed suddenly appearing from the pond of so-called soup is just ridiculous.


    Well your mischaracterisation of it certainly is ridiculous. It didn't happen suddenly, it took many millions of years. It wasn't soup per se, just a bit soupy.

    Its like you have no idea about the subject and reject it as silly because you don't understand it old chap.


    Quote Originally Posted by basics View Post
    Any man who doesn't take God's word as being God's word is no Christian and never was.
    Romans 10:9 "If you declare with your mouth "Jesus is Lord" and believe in your heart God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" Nothing there about accepting The Torah (or the Law as it was known in his day) or any of the seperate books of the Old testament. Indeed Paul goes to some lengths to distance the followers of Christ from the Law.

    Mark 15:16 "Go into the world and proclaim the Gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned". Now this was said before the Bible was compiled and definitely before the Gospels were written.

    No belief in the OT is specified by Jesus or Paul, and indeed there are hints they both consider it finished with. Belief in the Gospel (in Jesus' time the news that the Kingdom is coming, by Paul's day the news that Jesus died and was resurrected and is returning) and baptism is all Jesus and Paul say you need to be saved.

    I have to ask on what authority you correct them?
    Last edited by Cyclops; March 21, 2020 at 08:26 AM.
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    Default Re: Theistic evolution makes no sense

    Quote Originally Posted by basics View Post
    alhoon,

    Moses was given the task of putting in writing how we got here and in what time, why? Because many in the tribes wanted to go back to Egypt and carry on worshipping the Egyptian gods. Therefore since God more or less dictated what was to be written and as He was the only witness to creation the account had to be accurate and true if this people were to obey, worship and follow Him. So, Genesis is as logical and truthful because it comes from the mouth of God our Creator. The very first words give us time, space and matter is that not scientific enough?
    Nope. Science is exploring the unknown, asking questions and finding answers through logical connections. Abandoning asking questions and trying to explain everything through the idea of an omnipotent entity unconstrained by logic, even if it means ignoring incredible amount of evidence and progress made with it, despite being dependent on said progress as you do, is the antithesis of science.

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    Default Re: Theistic evolution makes no sense

    Quote Originally Posted by basics View Post
    God's word beginning in Genesis tells us quite clearly how everything got here and got here in a logical way unlike all the supposing and guessing that generates from Darwi's theory.
    Incorrect. Genesis is a vague piece of prose that is almost universally accepted as metaphorical. While science is based on observation and verified predictions based on those observations.
    If God is the creator of the universe then his will revealed is objectively revealed in the universe, not in a book written by men who had a specific political agenda in the early iron age.

    But then as one who is an enemy of God one expects the mystery of the theory to be grasped and held on to regardless of how stupid it is.
    The vast majority of people who worship God accept evolution as the best explanation of speciation. So, you're talking . Accepting evolution or rejecting evolution has nothing to do with being a Christian. I'm sorry to inform you but: it is about having either a good education or a poor education.

    For example why is it that no other planet that we know of has any vegitation? I mean with all these chemicals floating around why are we the exception? Anyone with a sound mind has to ask these things whether a good Christian, a bad Christian or no Christian at all.
    See, you should have been taught the answer to this when you were around 12 years old.
    So, the idea of seed suddenly appearing from the pond of so-called soup is just ridiculous.


    That has nothing to do with evolution, that is abiogenesis.

    Any man who doesn't take God's word as being God's word is no Christian and never was.
    Any man who thinks that they know God's mind is not a Christian and never was.
    The vast majority of Christians accept science. Creationist cults are a shrinking phenomenon and will likely disappear in a generation or two. In the future Christians will look back and see these sorts of ideas you espouse and laugh.
    The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are so certain of themselves, but wiser people are full of doubts.
    -Betrand Russell

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