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Footprint Can Change The Evolution Theory


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#21 performedge

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 02:49 PM

A few more pieces of information that may interest you. I am a professional biologist, and view evolutionary theory as by far the best available explanation for the diversity of life, present and past. However, I have no personal self-worth attached to this assessment; if a better idea comes along, I'm there (though I do see wisdom in the dictum "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"). It's not a question of loyalty; well, maybe it is; I'm loyal to the concept of seeking the best possible answers, wherever they may lie, so I'm not loyal to evolutionary theory just because it is conventional wisdom. In fact, much of my professional career has involved taking a closer, critical look at "conventional wisdom" in biology. Thus I have been a bit baffled, and annoyed, at creationists who have never met me and nonetheless are absolutely certain that I worship evolution as much as they worship the Bible, that I am as absolutely certain and as dogmatically unyielding about its core tenets as they are about theirs, that they know what I really think about this even though I tell a very different, and detailed story. It's one of the many unfortunate consequences of confusing "I'm absolutely certain that this is the truth" with "This is the absolute truth."

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Hi Alan,

I realize you have this reoccurring theme of thinking that christians confuse "I'm absolutely certain that this is the truth" with "This is the absolute truth." However I think you are wrong.

We believe the scriptures on faith. No one is absolutely certain about anything they have faith in. I certainly have faith in what my wife tells me is true. That's trust (a synonym). But christians generally don't claim "we are absolutely certain that the bible is truth", we acknowledge that the scriptures claim that they are absolute truth and we accept that on faith. We trust that statement.

This approach is not intended to be scientific and based on any methodological reasoning process. It could be as simple as someone told us the gospel message an we trusted (had faith in) them. It often takes much more reasoning for many people. Over time, our faith strengthens as our knowledge and experience grows regarding this faith. Some of us have a more emotional strength in their faith, and some of us like myself require a more logical reasoned approach. Mature christians generally speak in more dogmatic terms with the scriptures, because their faith has grown to such an extent that distrust has been removed.

I hope you reconize that christians are people of faith first and foremost. This is defined as being religious. We understand that, and we appreciate that. We also easily recognize faith in other individuals. Scientific oriented or not.

What troubles many in this particular forum is when science goes beyond science and it becomes faith. When science textbooks become dogmatic about things that are untestable, then we become "testy". When scientists use stories we become "testy". When scientists deceive we become "testy". However, when a scientist says that the evidence leads him to believe that life descended from the first cell, then I can accept that, because that is a declaration of faith. I just don't want him or others teaching that to my kids at taxpayers expense.

It is my experience that evolutionists (especially those who like to go to dicussion forums) often are zealous about their beliefs. They go way beyond science, and they enter into dogmatism. This is especially true in the biological field. There are many definitions alone in biology as you know that are "fuzzy". Well if you can't lock down the definitions, then how can one justify being dogmatic about a theory that has at its foundation those definitions?

So, in summary, we are not absolutely certain that the bible is true. We are absolutely certain that it claims truth, and we accept that on faith. As we mature we learn more from the scriptures and we learn more truth. We change our understanding, but the bible hasn't changed, and the truth hasn't changed. I can and have been wrong about the bible, but the bible is not wrong. That is what we believe.

Todays definition of science eliminates the possibility of discovering biblical truth, because it eliminates the consideration of a Godly causal force. A creation scientist does not limit himself to that paradigm. They search for scientific evidence and data and scientific truth, just like regular scientists do. They just start with a different paradigm (a worldview). Where you start, has a major impact on where you finish.

So that's the philosophy lesson for today. I hope you didn't fall asleep from my sermon.

#22 rbarclay

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Posted 06 June 2008 - 06:36 PM

What was it that I "chided" and "lambasted" you about? Oh yes, because I asked you if your seeming non-sequitur question of me was in fact your answer to my previous series of question or not. Come on, you have to admit that as an answer, your question doesn't seem exactly relevant! A bit sensitive, are we? I am not a Creationist, so I do not pretend to be a mind-reader. I have to laugh at the irony of your accusation, though, as you seem to have drawn some pretty detailed conclusions from a 4-sentence, 70-word post! Although, hmm... when you say "Stop making assumptions about people you do not know", are you referring to that short post (which would be nonsensical), or to my earlier post starting with "I have no doubt you believe this to be true, by the way. After all, if you're absolutely certain..." This would make more sense, except that I didn't assume this to be true about you; I proposed it as a hypothesis, and asked you if it applied to you, and if not, what parts are wrong or missing? Do you see the difference between assuming that something is true of you and asking you if something is true of you? (And just to save someone the trouble, I will come clean and admit that "I have no doubt" was a poor choice of words in this particular forum, where people do indeed pride themselves on their lack of doubt; my intended use was only as that well-known hyperbolic figure of speech.)

And perhaps you've been a member long enough that you've simply forgotten why all of our "post identifiers" list "Atheist," "Young Earth Creationist," "Agnostic," etc., because you seem to have no idea what I'm talking about. You are listed as a "Young Earth Creationist" here not because you went out of your way to volunteer that information, but because when you joined there was a pop-up menu that listed a handful of choices, one of which you were required to choose as part of the registration process; you weren't allowed to skip it or insert your own choice. Sound familiar? If not, then perhaps others here who share your religious beliefs are better able to convince you that everyone here was required to choose a "position" from a canned list of choices.

So I'm sorry if you're not satisfied with my skimpy description of my beliefs regarding the supernatural, but the reason I'm listed as "Agnostic" is not because I had a burning desire to trumpet my ambiguous beliefs but because that was the best fit of the registration choices. If it were up to me I wouldn't list anything here because it is inappropriate to use my beliefs about the supernatural to help you assess the soundness of my argumentation, logic, or evidence concerning the natural world. That's the "genetic fallacy" (as a biologist I wish they'd come up with a better name!).

A few more pieces of information that may interest you. I am a professional biologist, and view evolutionary theory as by far the best available explanation for the diversity of life, present and past. However, I have no personal self-worth attached to this assessment; if a better idea comes along, I'm there (though I do see wisdom in the dictum "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"). It's not a question of loyalty; well, maybe it is; I'm loyal to the concept of seeking the best possible answers, wherever they may lie, so I'm not loyal to evolutionary theory just because it is conventional wisdom. In fact, much of my professional career has involved taking a closer, critical look at "conventional wisdom" in biology. Thus I have been a bit baffled, and annoyed, at creationists who have never met me and nonetheless are absolutely certain that I worship evolution as much as they worship the Bible, that I am as absolutely certain and as dogmatically unyielding about its core tenets as they are about theirs, that they know what I really think about this even though I tell a very different, and detailed story. It's one of the many unfortunate consequences of confusing "I'm absolutely certain that this is the truth" with "This is the absolute truth."

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Alan,

First I would like address your question of chiding and lambasting. I am not upset nor “a bit sensitive” I was stating what I thought were your intentions behind what you were saying. I do admit that lambasting is too strong a word here and that is not what you were doing or attempting to do. I apologize for using lambasting and ask you to forgive me for using it. When you asked “Do you mean all religious zealots except you” you used bold letters on the last two words. That I some how excluded myself from the being zealous in what I believe. Then you state I have to convince people I am a mind reader. Then you say you are not a Creationist so you do not pretend to read minds in another post. To me this was a chiding (to me chiding is to reprove mildly) twice if that is not what you meant I am sorry for taking it in that context.

As for the post identifiers are concerned and my reference to your skimpy description here are two descriptions of agnostics from two different websites. The first one is quote from Bertrand Russell site and the last one is from an agnostic church site:

“The Agnostic suspends judgment, saying that there are not sufficient grounds either for affirmation or for denial. At the same time, an Agnostic may hold that the existence of God, though not impossible, is very improbable; he may even hold it so improbable that it is not worth considering in practice. In that case, he is not far removed from atheism. His attitude may be that which a careful philosopher would have towards the gods of ancient Greece. If I were asked to prove that Zeus and Poseidon and Hera and the rest of the Olympians do not exist, I should be at a loss to find conclusive arguments. An Agnostic may think the Christian God as improbable as the Olympians; in that case, he is, for practical purposes, at one with the atheists.”

“Speaking as a highly “committed Agnostic” (a phrase which has caused me to laugh not a little at myself through the years), I do objectively accept the idea that Agnosticism can arguably be considered a religion. If religion can be acceptably defined as a system of spiritual belief, then it follows that Agnosticism must be a form of religion, in that it is a spiritual, or “faith-driven”, commitment to being unable to qualitatively and quantifiably identify, label or name the phenomena or force(s) that are responsible for the existence of (all of it).”

I use these qoutes just to show you why I asked you to define your meaning of agnostic. I have also read on others sites that there are atheistic agnostics and theistic agnostics. With so many different descriptions of agnosticism I wanted to know first hand where you were coming from. Your information did just that and it was not to “assess the soundness of my argumentation, logic, or evidence concerning the natural world.” I am not trying to convert you and I am not trying to convince you that you are wrong in believing in evolution. I am trying to communicate to you what I believe and why I do not believe evolution.

I do consider myself as a zealot and have never denied or tried to hide that fact. I believe that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God, I have received Him as my Lord and Savior 37 years ago, I believe the Bible is the Word of God, I believe the world is under 10,000 years old (the exact age I am not sure but I lean toward 6,000 years), and I believe that the Bible and science are compatible. I am a person of faith. This has been described as religious; however, I refer to it as a living relationship with a living God. The only thing I can be absolutely certain of is what I believe and I believe the Bible is the absolute truth. I can prove God exists no I can not. God is a Spirit and those who come to Him must come to Him by faith. Am I dogmatic about what I believe? Assuredly yes. Does this interfere with science? Not at all I see scientific evidence as lining up with the Bible.

I enjoy science and see no contradictions between the two (in 2003 I earned a B.S. in biology but not a professional biologist; I have earned my MBA in 2006). I like the observation evolutionist Ron Numbers made about creationists in a PBS interview:

“…the struggle in the late 20th Century between creationists and evolutionists does not represent another battle between science and religion because rarely do creationists display hostility towards science. If you read their literature, you'll rarely come across an anti-scientific notion. They love science. They love what science can do. They hate the fact that science has been hijacked by agnostics and atheists to offer such speculative theories as organic evolution.”

I believe this statement describes my view. I do not agree with evolution but if some one chooses to believe in evolution that is their choice and right to do so.

I do not want this post to be to long so I will finish answering you with another post later.

References:
http://humanum.arts....ll/agnostic.htm
http://uctaa.net/art...d03/med060.html
http://www.pbs.org/f...t/num-body.html

Bob Barclay

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Posted 07 June 2008 - 02:26 AM

The personal attacks in this thread are running too high.

The Forum has a private email system, and I encourage people to use it instead of creating long posts to argue about the personal beliefs of others.

I closing for Admin review.

Terry




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