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Reconciling Faith with Evolution

Discussion of everything related to the Theory of Evolution.

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Postby genovese » Wed Sep 26, 2007 5:12 am

"As for wars fought in the name of atheism, that would include very war the Soviet Union ever fought."

I don't wish to appear to defend Stalin, but although he had become an atheist after first having tried the priesthood, he then converted to Marxist ideology and being the power-hungry person that he was, probably thought he would advance quicker in life, following Marxist ideology. This has more to do with socialism than atheism.

You don't find atheist sects, because there is no money in it. It would be very hard to convince people to follow such a negative idea as "There is no God". People want to be comforted, not left out there on their own.

"In the words of Pope Benedict XVI, Christianity is "the religion of logic and reason."

Of course, you reinforce your beliefs if you can confirm them with the addition of logic. This is obviously what you have been able to do. I, on the other hand have personally come to another conclusion, a very difficult conclusion because I had to argue against that inner drive of belief in the supernatural, that we all possess.

Here is a thought experiment: If we could take say 100 newborn babies and bring them up without mentioning that we believed in an after life, how many would grow up naturally believing in one anyway? I imagine that most would believe in something supernatural. That is why people are happy to join weird sects and give all their money away. They hardly need convincing.
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Postby alextemplet » Wed Sep 26, 2007 6:53 am

You present an interesting situation in your proposed experiment. Perhaps the children should be raised to adulthood without ever being exposed to any religion, and then allowed to study all the world's different religions and make up their minds for themselves what to believe. If they are raised to place a high value on verifiable evidence, I think many of them would become Catholic. But you probably knew that would be my opinion anyway. :wink:

The Soviet Union's theocracy of atheism cannot be easily dismissed; the Soviet government was extremely oppressive to all forms of religious belief, and atheism formed a core element in Marxist ideology. My point, however, is simply to show no group of people is ideal. You can talk about violent theists all day along, I can just as easily counter with tales of violent atheists. That would get us nowhere, and in my opinion the whole matter is best left untouched.

As for why people join weird cults, I don't think that as quite as much to do with an instinctive "need to believe" as it does with the simple fact that many people are stupid.
Generally speaking, the more people talk about "being saved," the further away they actually are from true salvation.

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Postby genovese » Wed Sep 26, 2007 8:50 am

I think that you have made some valid points Alex.

The interesting point about people joining weird cults because they are stupid; is, are they really stupid or is it because they just want to satisfy an "inner drive" and don't want to waste time giving it too much thought? I suppose by not giving it any thought you could say that they are behaving stupidly.

On the Stalin thing, you have to take into account that the established church in Russia would have anointed the Tsar and he, like any other King or Queen, is there in place with the approval of the church. The same thing happened in the French Revolution. They were all anti church and anti clerics, not because of the beliefs in a God, but because they were part of the oppressive establishment which they were trying to do away with. As soon as the revolution is over and done with, then the church usually comes back again, but the monarch doesn't. What I am saying in other words is that it is to do with the church being involved in Power/politics and nothing to do with a belief or not in the supernatural per se.javascript:emoticon(':roll:')
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Postby charles brough » Wed Sep 26, 2007 12:38 pm

greeneye55582 wrote:Uh-oh. Where's Charles?


Why slam humanity because social problems grow for centuries, then decline for centuries as they have with the rise and fall of civilizations? Life is cyclical. Nothing stays the same. Societies come and go and we humans, the human race survives because we are social animals and have a big repertoire of inheritated, genetic based social instincts (even if they have not yet been found by biologists!) We are like all other social animals in that the females love and care for their young while the alpha males care for and protect the group or in our case "society." Our religion and our secular ideologies condition these instincts in ways that now make them sometimes difficult to recognize, but to the austute, they are still visible. We assemble moral codes and legal systems to fine tune these instinctive proclivities. We adopt monogamy because the rationioning of women one to a man provides a stable foundation for society and enables the very existence of civilization.

charles, http://humanpurpose.simplenet.com
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Postby genovese » Wed Sep 26, 2007 1:05 pm

Charles, do I interpret your text correctly - are you agreeing with my suggestion that perhaps moral codes have been encoded into our genome through Natural Selection, as has the belief in the supernatural to reinforce these codes of behaviour? Or are you saying that this is a silly idea?
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Postby alextemplet » Thu Sep 27, 2007 4:29 am

You make some good points, genovese. A church is like any other human organization in that it is vulnerable to corruption within its leadership, just like a government. In fact, if you could find a way to prevent or eliminate corruption completely, you would probably be very close to a perfect society!

I personally believe that the human species as a whole is getting dumber. I think this has a lot to do with natural selection, or to put it better, the lack thereof. Because of our high level of technology, a lot of people who, if we still lived in the stone age, would've been removed from the gene pool, instead survive and reproduce. Now I'm not suggesting that we start killing everybody with a physical handicap or below a certain IQ, but the obvious consequence of this is that genes that would normally be removed are instead allowed to spread rapidly through the population. I know people always have had a tendency to believe weird things, and this probably does have a lot to do with satisfying an inner drive as you put it, but I also think that as a species we really are getting dumber. The weird things we believe in seem to be getting weirder, and our society seems to put much less emphasis on rational thought than it used to. I really do believe people are getting stupider.
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Postby genovese » Thu Sep 27, 2007 8:14 pm

When I put forward this topic I was trying to suggest that Belief In a God had been imprinted into the Genetic code through the action of Natural Selection.

I used Christianity (as that was the religion that I knew most) to demonstrate areas which I thought were illogical. Unfortunately this tends to focuss ideas and emotions on religion rather than on the supernatural in general.
I had to use religion because I also wanted to show that any illogical aspects of a religion did not prevent those strong beliefs that we all seem to be born with from emerging.

I am sure that all religions will have illogical aspects to them as well as logical aspects. If there is anything more to say about this subject perhaps we should speak about the Supernatural rather than individual beliefs then no one needs to feel threatened.

What I would really like know to know is:

Does anyone out there think that Faith or Belief could be encoded into our genes or do you think that it is unlikely and more to do with education and upbringing?
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Postby alextemplet » Thu Sep 27, 2007 8:30 pm

I think you're right that speaking about the supernatural in general might have been a bit more tactful, although I did enjoy our little discussion about the Old Testament.

I think it's possible that we have a genetic desire to believe in the supernatural. I'm not sure if that's the truth or not but it's certainly possible. Religion does seem to have a way of bonding societies that would've been useful in early human society. Also, it makes sense to me that God would make us want to know about Him. However, God could also have decided not to put that desire into us, and leave the matter completely up to free will. That makes sense to me as well, and without evidence to go either way, I don't see a point in taking sides on this issue.

I also think that education and up-bringing has a lot to do with it; most people tend to inherit the religious beliefs of their parents. Might it be possible that both genetics and education play roles in this issue?
Generally speaking, the more people talk about "being saved," the further away they actually are from true salvation.

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Postby cracked_doc » Thu Sep 27, 2007 10:59 pm

My point of view is slightly different...I think you are quite right about this faith being encoded in our genes part but the point where we part ways is that i beleive God encoded this in our genes but it was only a basis...as we grow older we definitely are effected by our environment and we search out different beliefs....we look around the wrld, we see our own selves and then WE by our own WILL decide which path to choose...in the end God leaves it to us to make the final decisin..else there would be no point of this life if God has ordained in us to believe in Him, there will be no point of this life...this way I see a huge incentive, a goal , a reason , to live and that is to search out God, to love God and to realize my own littleness ...thats why i was confused as to whom you were supporting cause the idea you presented was similar to mine at the first glance but now i see the interpretation is quite the opposite!
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Postby genovese » Fri Sep 28, 2007 5:30 am

Cracked_doc says "...thats why i was confused as to whom you were supporting cause the idea you presented was similar to mine at the first glance but now i see the interpretation is quite the opposite!"

I liked your interpretation very much and it is just as valid as mine, using the same mechanism that I suggested. I thought that it improves the theory, if two different points of view can make it work. I suppose that it works because I was trying to reconcile poor old Darwin's theory to his church which had been rather hard on him.
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Postby evointrigued » Sat Oct 06, 2007 3:34 am

alextemplet wrote:That makes sense to me as well, and without evidence to go either way, I don't see a point in taking sides on this issue.

If a child comes running scared to you at night, claiming there's a monster in his/her closet, should we entertain it as a 50/50 possibility and say "we can't prove nor disprove either side..."? (assuming the closet was locked or you couldn't open it to check reason)

We don't say we can't prove nor disprove a magical flying unicorn that abducted Elvis in a flying saucer and that means there's a 50/50 chance. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. By default, the rational position is to lack a belief in magical flying unicorns that abducted Elvis in a flying saucer until there's evidence. I'll call that lack of belief "asaucerism." Should we say "I don't see a point in taking sides on this issue..." if lives are based on the proposal? Asaucerism is not a belief. Asaucerism does not take faith. Atheism (especially lack of belief in the Biblical God) is not a belief. Atheism does not take faith.

Does Yahweh (Bible God) deserve this Elvis comparison? Are the Bible claims really that extreme? The Bible states that a staff instantly turned into a snake (Exodus 4:2-3).
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Postby alextemplet » Sat Oct 06, 2007 5:25 am

You misunderstand me, evointrigued. I was merely speaking of whether or not God would've interfered with the evolutionary process; not about whether or not God exists at all. We already know God exists; there's more than enough evidence for that. What we don't know is whether or not He interfered with evolution or just allowed it to run itself.
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