Discussion in 'Religion and Lighthearted Discussion' started by IcyPatriot, Sep 19, 2008.
Evolution fine but no apology to Darwin: Vatican | Science | Reuters
I am so pleased the Vatican has decided to take this stance.
The complete misconception fuelled by both The Church through Creationists and their historical stance, and scientists through atheist evolutionary scientists, that God and science cannot co-exist has gone on for far too long. I hope and pray that this statement is just the beginning and will lead to the wholehearted support and development of all the sciences which honour God and this world, of which there are many.
Evolution and creation can co-exist easily within kingdom of God. In fact I can think of no better scientific proof of Godâs Grace, Love and Power than evolution. The possibility that throughout time there has been a force assisting the extraordinary and mathematically unlikely evolution from atoms, to molecules, to naked complex molecules, to cells, to multi-cellular organisms, to vegetation, to animals, to an organism that is actually aware of God simply amazes me.
I sometimes question whether this harmonious order of life could have been developed from apparent chaos by random chance?
My own very personal opinion is that we are not the final version of this evolving life, and we are in reality are rather limited in mind, body and soul, both individually and collectively. As a result our race requires much growth and development in many areas. I think the pursuit and acknowledgment of God gives our species the greatest chance of eternal survival and glory.
P.s. The Church of England apologised to Darwin in 2008, they also honoured his work by burying him in Westminster Abbey after his death in 1882.
I agree wholeheartedly we are far from the "glory" of evolution. I highly doubt our species will see the end of this planet...whenever that is. We are on a dangerous course of over-consumption, just look at the fisheries. The planet and microscopic life will survive beyond us, and the world will continue. What major players (animal kingdom, plants should be ok) will continue beyond us is anyones guess, but I wouldnt put any money on land organisms beyond insects.
Theres no argument, IMO, that God and Science can not exist together. The argument is that God is not a scientific explanation.
If you can't design an experiment to test whether God exists, then God is not a part of science.
Its kind of a self fulfilling prophecy though. For the trillions of planets that life didn't happen, there's no one asking "why didn't it happen here?". Is it so mathematically unlikely that it couldn't have happened on one of trillions+ planets?
The only point of observation for us is heavily tainted.
Youâve touched upon an extremely interesting and valid point. Great post. Iâd like to offer a counter opinion for you to consider. I'll apologise in advance for touching the co-existence argument briefly again.
Just because we as a species donât have the mental capacity, intelligence or technology to design a scientifically viable experiment to prove something, does that immediately lead to the conclusion that the said something therefore doesnât exist, and thereby cannot be an explanation?
What if billions of people experienced the said something ever since we became consciously aware as a species? Is that evidence in itself?
A very crude analogy would be gravity. It is a force. It has always existed. People (in fact everything that has ever existed in this universe) have always experienced it, everyday. The theory and evidence for gravity was only complied by Galileo and Newton in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. But I think we can safely conclude that gravity existed before we had the mental capacity and intelligence to design an experiment to prove it.
Therefore I suppose you could rationalise that science and gravity didnât and couldnât co-exist before the late 16th century. Therefore gravity wasnât a scientific explanation before that time of things falling to Earth. But nevertheless, the potential for discovery has always existed. It was just our limited intellectual capacity and awareness of our environment and scientific methodology and understanding that prevented this union.
Lack of human scientific method and evidence at a specified point in time is irrelevant to the continuing and ever-present existence of a natural law or phenomenon.
This rationale in the argument that âGod is not part of scienceâ maybe technically correct at this point in time, but it has serious flaws when the potential for future discoveries/revelations is considered.
Does the fact that people claim to have experienced this/a God for over 3 millennia place it in the realms of natural theory? Isnât the job of sciences to investigate natural theories, even in the face of stubborn opinions guided by a Holy book?
The theory that a God exists is the oldest theory in human history. But donât get me wrong, I am quite aware that science is the only legitimate way to investigate the natural world.
The question I put to you is how do you explain the quite often dramatic changes in personality and lifestyle upon finding and believing in this God? How do you explain the proposed healings at some Christian events? What about the proposed affects of prayer?
What about more popular mysterious natural occurrences often attributed to God? Such as the creation of the universe, abiogenesis (which has everything to do with evolution imho), evolution (of everything individual and collective), and the complexities of DNA?
What about human experiences, altruism for example. The pure, un-selfless love and kindness of a complete stranger who asks for nothing in return (think Good Samaritan), this has no place within the boundaries of evolution. Why is it built into us?
What about the theory that God drives everything in the universe, and therefore scientific progress itself?
Let us not forget that current scientific thinking and methodology is only just at the tip of the iceberg of understanding these above phenomenons. Do you think it is wise to just eliminate God from the argument as a proposed cause just because we are completely unable to grasp how to evaluate and measure His proposed contribution at this time?
I agree I would love to see qualitative evidence by questionnaire or population studies of the personality and lifestyle changes produced by finding God. Or to see quantitative scientific research examining brain biochemistry, physiology and electrical activity before during or after finding God, or during moments when people state they experience Godâs presence or moments of altruism. Perhaps even medically viable research and valid and reliable measurement of the âhealingsâ that are so often proposed to occur at some Christian gatherings. Or evidence from the realm of physics that a guiding universal force exists or from biology that ours and the universes evolution has been guided since time began.
At this moment in time, the only evidence we have is the subjective evidence of humanâs communicating their experience of God (and all the scientifically viable weaknesses that come along with it).
Conclusion: I think more evidence and understanding is required before completely eliminating God as a factor. God is currently an unknown and un-measurable contribution. Maybe we should spend some time investigating whether scientifically viable models including God can be found.
You maybe partly correct, maybe in the rationalising minds of many people at this present snapshot in time God and science cannot co-exist together. Maybe they never will, maybe we will never have the ability to join these two disciplines, or maybe we are all kidding ourselves and we are truly alone with no majestic all-powerful and knowing force that guides life for good.
I personally believe (have faith with no real evidence) that the majestic force we call God has wonders completely unimaginable to us. All I know for a fact through personal experience is the amazing grace and love that can be felt and experienced from just accepting His gift of awareness taught to us by men who walked the earth, and it completely and unexpectedly changed my life for the better. Thus since I have experienced that side of Godâs grace, I feel compelled to seek Him further in other areas He has been proposed to exist in. But everyone is perfectly entitled to justify their lives, experiences and opinions however they want. Thatâs freedom of choice, and the spice of life, and their own personal journey of life, this of course should always be treated with respect.
For the very little it is worth my journey includes a scientific research education in biochemistry and physiology, followed by a healthcare background in the medical profession. I have conducted recognised scientific research involving human subjects and am aware of the restrictions in this realm of scientific evidence. Hence my interest in these sciences vs. God threads, I simply would like to understand more. I found and experienced God after I had these qualifications, and I believe that if God wanted to reveal himself or his works in a manner that is scientifically acceptable, that there are many ways he could do it in the future.
Or of course, He could just do it in a way that makes scientific evidence completely irrelevant. Making the creationists very happy and leaving the rest of us completely mystified.
I also think given the highly controversial advances science will probably make in the next century. Including stem cells, nanotechnology (possibly into humans), robotics and genetic manipulation to name just a few. That considering the guidance of a force that only does the "highest" and "purest" choice in guiding the evolution of our race may not be a bad idea.
To atheists and agnostics the existence of God is a theory. A theory can be proved or disproved by sciences. The proposed existence of God is the ultimate question for science. Therefore God and Science are on an inevitable collision course. Unfortunately they seemed to have offended each other in the past to the extent they appear sometimes to be two incompatible disciplines.
There are potential ways that scientific methods could possibly provide insight into the works of God in the future, or more explicitly the affects of God on workings of humans or nature. Of course these results may or may not prove anything in either direction, possibly even eliminating God as a factor in some areas.
Maybe you are right. I should rephrase my argument to âScience and God can potentially co-exist for our species if and when scientific methods are refined enough to test for the works of God humans are said to experience. And/or/depending upon God wanting to be discoveredâ.
As Science develops in complexity it will need moral guidance for us to continue to evolve in most advanced way following a pure scientific path and prevent our own destruction and that of our planet. Considering guidance from a "higher" power may not be a bad idea if it exists. Ironically I think Science and God need each more than at any other time in history
Slightly off topic but this reminded me of the British geneticist and evolutionary scientist J.B.S Haldane, when asked what evidence might contradict evolution he answered.
âRabbit fossils in the Precambrianâ
He is also famous for the response he gave when some theologians asked him what could be inferred about the mind of the Creator from the works of His Creation:
"An inordinate fondness for beetles"
There is no logic in this statement. It is proposterous to say that the existence of God is a theory, and therefore on a "collision course" with science, because no science was ever used to construct this "theory" to begin with. Science deals with scientific theory, not myths or sceintifically unbased proposals. "Proposed existence of God" is the proper statement to make, but this has nothing to do with science. The "inevitable collision course" exists only in the minds of believers.
Is science actually required to construct a theory? Iâm not so sure I agree with you.
Letâs take old wives tales as an example. They are based on circumstantial evidence and experience, not science as you seem to defining it.
If we take a common one e.g. âEating carrots help you see in the darkâ. Do you consider this belief or theory of the old wives to be originally based on science? We now know that carrots contain the photosynthetic pigment molecule B carotene, which is a precursor of vitamin A, a molecule involved in vision. Incidentally it actually doesnât help you see in the dark, but the element of truth is there.
Science wasnât involved in the construction of this theory as such, but the application of scientific methods and reasoning goes a long way to proving and disproving it. Even if science took hundreds of years to catch up to the theory, the "collision" of hearsay and science eventually occurred allowing a scientifically justifiable conclusion to be reached.
I am suggesting the experience and circumstantial evidence of billions of people across every culture which has ever existed constitutes a fair amount of evidence in which to justify my use of the word theory for this purpose.
Before I answer this, I am curious what myths and scientifically unbased proposals are you thinking of in particular?
Anyway doesn't science debunk myths? Just because a theory isn't a journal quality hypothesis based on peer reviewed evidence and research doesn't mean science can't answer it, although it certainly would provide better quality conclusions.
Eh? Scientists have discussed the possibility of God for centuries. You would have to close your mind to even the remotest possibility of a God to make the statement you make above.
Even Richard Dawkins, a De Facto atheist and very strong critic of religion acknowledges (There is a) âvery low probability, but short of zero. I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption he is not there.â
Here is an atheist evolutionary scientist talking about God, and trying to justify his beliefs in scientific terms. I respect anyone who attempts to justify themselves in the God/Science debate in this way. Although I hope he researches evolutionary biology in a more unbiased and open way than he researches and makes conclusions about religion, the way he cherry picks some evidence and ignores so much which contradicts his personal opinion is very disappointing for a scientist (although God Delusion is definitely an interesting perspective by a clever man, raises some valid points, and is very funny in places). I would point out that even he admits the moral guidance and genius of Jesus.
Some groundbreaking geniuses including Newton, Darwin, Einstein and Hawking came to some conclusions there must be a God of some description, although they often deviated on the human aspects of his personality as described by the Bible.
That's before you even start including the opinions of brilliant Christian scientists such as Francis Collins (pioneer in the human genome project) and Alister McGrath to name just two.
The attitude of some people that we have no business investigating this said phenomenon because âitâs none of our business, or itâs too hard, itâs too unlikely, itâs just a myth, we might offend someone, it doesnât fit with our existing knowledge or it just doesnât exist anywayâ is very weak in my opinion and is frankly a copout, and potentially limits future scientific progress.
Only if you truly want to completely close your mind to even the remotest possibility of the existence of a God can you justify using your argument.
It makes me glad some people believe.
I quite agree on that point.
I presume that, at some point, science jumped in and conducted controlled experiments, whether directly by administering carrots to subjects, or else determing in the same fashion whether any of the contents of a carrot provide such a benefit.
Regardless, said theory is not a scientific theory. I have lots of my own theories, but non are scientifc. To be scientific, a controlled experiment must be designed per the premise of the theory to determine whether in fact there's is any truth to it. "Circumstantial evidence" is the complete opposite of this.
Well, let me think... how about, the existence of God?
Yes it does, as I described above.
I agree, and concede on that point. It's not so important how scientific or well thought out a theory is, the point is using science to prove or debunk it. But in many cases, a theory is stated so vaguely as to defy scientific experimentation. The existence of God is one such "theory."
There was a time when the vast majority of people on this Earth believed that it was flat. Yes it was a theory, but it was based on entirely deficient perceptions (that the horizon at a human scale appeared flat) and information.
Yes indeed, scientists have discussed the possibility of God for centuries. And how far have they gone in proving any of it? Nada.
While there is always cetainly a chance that God does exist, it is believers who keep redefining God so as to make it impossible to disprove it. Many of the faith choose to declare their blind faith as prove enough for them. Such blind faith simply cannot be refuted by science, because in fact there is nothing scientific about this. And Dawkins is doing nothing but simply acknowledging this.
Really? Any references? I believe they were referring to "a god of some description", not to "a God of some description" as you put it. And a "god of some description" is not necessarily inclusive of a biblical god. Thus no inconsistency can be applied to these great men of science.
This is simply wrong. There is no copout. There have been plenty of opportunities taken in the investigation of the existence of God, with narry a concrete conclusion ever. It's not that no one has tried because it's too hard, but rather because there is simply nothing there to latch onto. And it is always the faithful pushing the issue. therefore it is up to the faithful to try to prove there is a God. Science cannot prove that something does not exist, particularly in the case where its nature is always being redefined to defy reasonable scentific investigation.
I have never closed to mind to this. Rather, I have never seen any shred of reasonable evidence to back it up. Show me some compelling evidence that is within the power of science to prove or debunk, then I will open my mind to it. But until then, there is no collision course between scince and religion, except that which is pressed without substance by teh faithful.
That is your privelege.
No, its not. Its a hypothesis. In science, the word theory has a specific meaning.
In order for something to be a Theory, it must be tested, and verified to be true. A theory must have conditions in which it can be proved false. There are no conditions in which God can be proved false, hence, the existance of God is stuck at the hypothesis stage.
Actually it wouldn't even qualify as a scientific hypothesis since there's no evidence to support it whatsoever. It's more just like a wild guess that people delude themselves with.
You are of course both absolutely right, I deserve and welcome the correction and to be honest I should know better. My use of the word âtheoryâ was in a very causal and off-hand manner in the proposed context here.
But I am not interested in discussion over the meaning of words. This has been done for centuries in regards to religion and can sidetrack us from more important issues.
In the future I will refer to âa proposal, or idea, or beliefâ when making such statements regarding ideas without appropriate defined scientific evidence to avoid confusion (and further correction).
I think it was obvious was not using the word âtheoryâ in the context of âscientific theoryâ for the statements referred to. My use of the word âtheoryâ in an example of old wives tales should have illustrated I was trying to refer to a much more generalised and casual proposal without much scientific construct merely as a starting point to my rationale, mainly due to the lack of a better word.
What I am interested in is how would you even begin to CONSTRUCT a scientific hypothesis involving God in the equation? Wild delusional guesses included Wildo.
This has been exactly my point. Until someone figures out how this can be done, particularly when the faithful continue to redefine God in a way that makes it impossible, there is no way you can say there is a "collision course" between God and science.
Firstly Iâd like to say I thoroughly enjoyed reading your response. Excellent post.
Well âThe existence of Godâ as a hypothesis is not worded in a manner that would allow us to construct a scientific case at this time. But remember you are talking about finding scientific data that would prove the entirety of God! Thatâs a pretty big ask, and well beyond our capabilities at this time.
The conception of God has been discussed for millennia, and attributes usually include omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence and omnibenevolence. The creator of the universe. Christians may also assign several more human characteristics as described in the Bible.
How would science even start to prove a pure energy that possesses the following characteristics?
That is everywhere connecting everything
That knows everything
That has a supreme power
That is a power of pure grace, love and perfection
I have no idea, as you rightly state these definitions of God change over time. But I do not see this as a negative. As discussed in another thread, God (if He exists) has most likely been a constant since the beginning of time. We as a species would evolve around this constant force. As we evolve I would expect our perceptions of God to change as our intellect and awareness of our environment increases. I prefer this to rigidly sticking to my perception of God in the face of overwhelming external evidence.
I find so many intelligent people get caught up with the perception of how clever and advanced our race and our science is, they forget or do not realise how limited our science is as a method for finding out information about ourselves and our environment is in the early 21st century.
We are firstly restricted by the fact we cannot SEE clearly many things that we know are there, which in turn directly affects our understanding of how they work. Examples include; Electrons, protons, quarks, photons and frameworks of interstitial matrices within cells to name a few. We can only crudely determine the structure of proteins, enzymes and receptor molecules and their mechanisms. We are in infancy regarding the function of genes. We have no idea as to the function of âjunk DNAâ which comprises of 95% of our genetic construct. Our pharmacological drugs are often non specific in targeting cells. Our knowledge of the brain is rudimentary in terms of micro-anatomy, physiological mechanisms, neuroplasticity and treatment of neurological conditions.
Then remember that microorganisms were not established to cause disease until the late 19th century, and we have only just realised that inhaling smoke 20 times a day is a bad idea for the health of your lungs.
How clever are we as a species again? Yet you expect direct evidence of the entity of God?
If you want grand answers to the ultimate question our best hope for an answer may be the mysteries of the miniscule in quantum mechanics, the mysteries of the massive in the universe and its origins, or the force that seems to guide evolution and âlifeâ. Unfortunately we seem to have relatively limited understanding of the mechanisms and workings of all of these.
In reality, the FACT that science is not even remotely capable of finding any scientific evidence either for or against God at this time, is due to sciences limitations (and therefore our own as science is merely a tool for us to find out about our world).
This should not be forgotten, and is quite frankly not really surprising.
Therefore we would have to start much smaller and simpler. what CAN we see, what CAN we measure. This is why i asked for specific "myths and scientifically unbased proposals". So the fundamental question is how are people proposed to interact with this âGodâ? and what mechanisms do we have at our disposal now to measure it? Then we can begin to form a scientific hypothesis.
You can apply the basic logic that we DO know to get the idea that a personal God is extremely unlikely and not really worth believing in over Unicorns, leprechauns or the flying spaghetti monster.
For you that is true.
no, it's just true.
how is that different than the arrogance you accuse others of?
Because I don't pretend to have an answer to things we can't answer yet.
Separate names with a comma.