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DEBATE: Evolution VS Intelligent Design

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Evolution Or Intelligent Design

God said to Abraham...
6
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It's evolution, baby!
117
83%
Two sides of the same coin
18
13%
 
Total votes : 141

Postby Gramsci on Tue Dec 13, 2005 6:03 pm

Are you, or have you ever been a member of the Christian church?

All of your replies rely on the concept of the Christian God to back them up. Can't you see why this is a flawed position?
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Postby galanter on Tue Dec 13, 2005 6:28 pm

Gramsci wrote:All of your replies rely on the concept of the Christian God to back them up. Can't you see why this is a flawed position?


I'll just say "no they don't" until you can be more specific. I mean *I don't believe in a Christian God* so it would be very odd indeed if my replies had such a dependency built in.

For example, in my last long post...the one ending with "grounds for a truce" ...I challenge you to find a single proposition I've put forth that turns out to be false if God doesn't exist.

(I'll be back tomorrow lest my silence be mistaken for consent...)
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Postby Gramsci on Wed Dec 14, 2005 3:45 am

Ok, from what I can gather you’re pushing the whole argument into fairly shaky epistemological ground. At the core you seem to be say that proving anything is impossible, and that religion and science should be looked at exclusively, that we are talking about apples and oranges. In other words science can’t prove that there isn’t a god and religion shouldn't be looked at in terms of the scientific method. If this is what you are saying, I’d agree. However, this isn’t what people like Matty are saying. Matty is saying that the Bible’s story has scientific evidence to back it up. Strangely this only applies to specific aspects of the Bible’s myths and not to others. This approach is dishonest.

Your frequent reference to Aquinas is all very well and good. As a theologian and moral philosopher of the Christian myth I’m sure he was a fine thinker that applied his reason and intelligence effectively within the confines of the Catholic faith. But just because someone thinks really, really hard about something doesn’t make them right. As I said, Aristotle was a great thinker, but he was wrong about what the constituted the universe. For all of Aquinas’ good intentions, the foundation of his thought was at the best unintentionally wrong.

You seem to be a smart guy, however you have tried to divert this debate back to purely epistemological and semiotic grounds every time a question of the validity of Christian cosmology is taken to task; that because it can be said that rational thought can be applied to Christian philosophy that this undermines the sceptics/atheist/agnostic argument that the myths of the Bible are nothing more than that, myths. This apologist approach is bankrupt at the best.

Your approach seems to be founded in the idea that religion and “people of faith” deserve respect pure based on what they claim they are, opposed to what they do. I do not share this view.

I doubt we can go any further with this.
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Postby galanter on Wed Dec 14, 2005 9:16 am

Thanks for responding with due consideration to what I was actually saying.

First, I'm not pushing the discussion to shaky epistemological ground...I am pointing out the shaky ground the discussion is ultimately on of it's own accord. And indeed I am not saying the same thing Matty is saying.

The epistemological point, the point that different disciplines end up being incommensurable, is *exactly* on point in this discussion. It's why bringing ID into the science classroom is a mistake. Because it's an attempt to tunnel from (a specific) religion into the realm of science. The solution, to force the ID folks to make a good scientific case, will ultimately push them back into the regime where they belong, Christian theology *not* science.

But if this move is legitimate the symmetric move must also be legitimate. Trying to tunnel into the realm of theology from science is also a boundry violation. Because the findings of science are valid only within the enclosed world of the scientific method.

The reason I keep mentioning Aquinas is not to make the point that he worked really hard therefore he must be right. I mention him merely to refute the notion that all things religious must be irrational and primitive. Right or wrong, you can't say this guy was irrational or unsophisticated. And he makes a particularly good touchstone as one of the problems he worked on (if memory serves) is the question of whether one could come to know God *purely* by rational means.

In the end this is all to make a simple point. That religion should stay out of science, and science should stay out of religion. What I've tried to show is that this is not only good social policy, but there are also good theoretical reasons to think that crossing over in either direction is bound to fail.
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Postby matthew on Wed Dec 14, 2005 12:54 pm

Gramsci wrote:However, this isn’t what people like Matty are saying. Matty is saying that the Bible’s story has scientific evidence to back it up. Strangely this only applies to specific aspects of the Bible’s myths and not to others. This approach is dishonest.


I have not implied such a thing re the bible & scientific evidence nor do I think such ipsum factum. However, it is perfectly reasonable to be at least open to the notion that stories in the bible, especially the flood story, have evidence elsewhere to substantiate it. My whole point with the hydroplate theory/plate tectonics thing awhile back is that (1) the tectonic theory is very flawed (2) there is another theory or paradigm which allows for a much better, much more elegant explanation of certain aspects of the earth's geological history which unfortunately is ensconced in a creationist framework. I for one have no biblical fundamentalist axe to grind as to whether or not there was a flood or not because it is not a prerequisite of faith that such a flood occurred, and this precisely is where the creationist and/or fundamentalist Xtian and myself differ. However, this hydroplate theory incidentially seems to jibe with the fact that there is a wealth of stories the world over about a catastrophic flood in antiquity. So intellectual honesty is the issue here.

It is also worth mentioning that the canonical bible is also the inspired word of God, which places it on an different exegetical level than most other texts. Now of course you might be thinking that I am saying that God himself wrote the bible. Of course not. However, he did inspired those who wrote it.........the best way to put this is that "God speaks to men in a human fashion". I am sure such a thing is completely antithetical to any notion of God that you might have, Gramsci, and I believe that you have even said it in so many words. Therefore, I cannot and will not try to debate with you since we hold incommensurably different stances re this.........in fact you are an atheist and I don't think a webforum is a good place to have a serious frank discussion about the existence of God. However if God is more than just simply a distant Designer and Intelligence and instead an active, loving and just Father, to think that Scripture is the inspired word of God is perfectly reasonable......really what I am trying to say is that to truly understand the inspired word of God in Scripture requires faith and a prayerful state of mind. Therefore trying understand Scripture solely through the meatgrinder of scientific induction and post-Enlightenment rationality is always going to lead nowhere fast.

To apply such a blanket statement- "The bible is myth" to a text with such a rich, complex history as the Jewish/Christian scriptures is a little hasty and quite frankly a sign of naivety. You have to be specific as to which parts of the bible you consider to be myth by virtue of the fact that the text has such a history.

Your approach seems to be founded in the idea that religion and “people of faith” deserve respect pure based on what they claim they are, opposed to what they do. I do not share this view.

I doubt we can go any further with this.


I think Christ addressed this himself in several instances. Remember the Pharisees? Perhaps you remember "the salt of the earth", or "If you love me, keep my commandments" or "You shall know them by the fruit of their works". I think that faith is a two way street in that it both defines a person and also gives a person an internal disposition of the will to act accordingly. with that in mind, the whole issue of faith and works is something that has torn followers of Christ apart from each other for a long time. Luther said essentially "faith, not works" but this is absurd when taken to it's logical end. The reality is, to rephrase Luther " faith works".......it's a reciprocity that begins initially with a change of heart and subsequent acceptance of God's own Life in the Person of Jesus Christ by way of the sacraments of His Church. When you have God's Life within you, His Life will overflow from you in the form of good deeds, and these good deeds in turn increase God's Life within you because they participate in God's Life through Christ. It's neither faith or works, but rather "faith works". The point I am getting to is that the more united to Christ you are, the more it will show through deeds, and in turn the more it will define truly who you are. After, we are defined more by what we DO more than what we THINK - I think that you can agree with me on that, Gramsci.
Last edited by matthew on Wed Dec 14, 2005 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Andrew L. on Wed Dec 14, 2005 1:08 pm

matthew wrote:there is another theory or paradigm which allows for a much better, much more elegant explanation of certain aspects of the earth's geological history. . .


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Postby Gramsci on Wed Dec 14, 2005 1:11 pm

matthew wrote:...The point I am getting to is that the more united to Christ you are, the more it will show through deeds, and in turn the more it will define truly who you are. After, we are defined more by what we DO more than what we THINK - I think that you can agree with me on that, Gramsci.


Indeed, the Inquisition is great testament to how people united to Christ behave, 500 years of slaughter and torture in the name of Christ. To be honest I believe that they were being far more honest to teachings of the Bible than today's moderate or even fundamentists like yourself.

I am getting sick of repeating myself on this but:

Why should Christianity be treated any differently than any other cult or religious belief system?

Riddle me this and we can move on.
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Postby matthew on Wed Dec 14, 2005 1:15 pm

galanter wrote:In the end this is all to make a simple point. That religion should stay out of science, and science should stay out of religion. What I've tried to show is that this is not only good social policy, but there are also good theoretical reasons to think that crossing over in either direction is bound to fail.


This is good social policy. However I would rephrase it to state that a person ought not assert pure science to answer a question when the answer can only be provided by reference to sacred tradition and divine revelation, and in turn not assert thinking based on a notion of divine revelation when science can provide a reasonable answer. This is not to say that one must go with one or the other and ne'er the twain shall meet, but rather one should respect the complementary aspect of divine revelation and human reason......and on that note Thomas was the theologian par excellance when it came to understanding the relationship between human reason and divine revelation.
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Postby DrAwkward on Wed Dec 14, 2005 1:30 pm

matthew wrote:It is also worth mentioning that the canonical bible is also the inspired word of God, which places it on an different exegetical level than most other texts.


Uh...for the record, i think people on this forum may take you a little more seriously if you said that Christians believe that the Bible is the Word of God, rather than stating that this is objectively so. I mean, it's perfectly acceptable to point that out in an attempt to get people to understand where you're coming from, but when you say, "no, it's the truth; it's the Word of God," as if it's some sort of empirical truth that needs not be proven, you points are kinda lost on those that like to, you know, prove things. With evidence and stuff. Where's the evidence that the authors of the Bible were Divinely Inspired?
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Postby matthew on Wed Dec 14, 2005 1:44 pm

Gramsci wrote:
matthew wrote:...The point I am getting to is that the more united to Christ you are, the more it will show through deeds, and in turn the more it will define truly who you are. After, we are defined more by what we DO more than what we THINK - I think that you can agree with me on that, Gramsci.


Indeed, the Inquisition is great testament to how people united to Christ behave, 500 years of slaughter and torture in the name of Christ. To be honest I believe that they were being far more honest to teachings of the Bible than today's moderate or even fundamentists like yourself.

I am getting sick of repeating myself on this but:

Why should Christianity be treated any differently than any other cult or religious belief system?

Riddle me this and we can move on.


The answer to your question is that Christianity was founded by a man who claimed to be God. He was able to back this statement up and it is well documented. That is what makes it different from other faiths. Furthermore, I don't think it is even accurate to posit faith in Christ as a "belief-system". The person of Christ, being both Almighty God and man, is infinitely more than a teacher of truth. He IS Truth, and he told his disciples as much in no uncertain langauge......you'll notice that Christ never minces words in the gospel....he illustrates with parables but when He makes a point he doesn't dance around. Unlike say Socrates or Confucius or Mohammed or Buddha, Christ explicitly said to look to Him not simply because He SPEAKS the truth, but because He IS Truth.

The point is that the person of Jesus Christ, particularly in the Mass, is the center, the focus, the hub whathaveyou of faith.......not morals and dogmas and institutional persons and rubrics. Those serve their purpose, but only as much as they have their source in Him.

Growing in faith in Jesus Christ through the church He founded is simply a process of slowly opening ones eyes to the real shape of things in the world rather than subscribing to some "belief-system". It's a lifelong process though and not without pitfalls. That too is what makes it different and in fact OTHER than a mere "belief system".
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Postby Gramsci on Wed Dec 14, 2005 1:48 pm

matthew wrote:The answer to your question is that Christianity was founded by a man who claimed to be God. He was able to back this statement up and it is well documented. That is what makes it different from other faiths.


Good grief. I stopped reading here.*

Sorry, but you're totally brainwashed. One day, maybe you will open your eyes. You don't even know the history of your own religion.

Can someone else step in here, it's like talking to a scientologist.

* I read the rest.
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Postby Andrew L. on Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:44 pm

matthew wrote:
The answer to your question is that Christianity was founded by a man who claimed to be God. He was able to back this statement up and it is well documented. That is what makes it different from other faiths. Furthermore, I don't think it is even accurate to posit faith in Christ as a "belief-system". The person of Christ, being both Almighty God and man, is infinitely more than a teacher of truth. He IS Truth, and he told his disciples as much in no uncertain langauge......you'll notice that Christ never minces words in the gospel....he illustrates with parables but when He makes a point he doesn't dance around. Unlike say Socrates or Confucius or Mohammed or Buddha, Christ explicitly said to look to Him not simply because He SPEAKS the truth, but because He IS Truth.

The point is that the person of Jesus Christ, particularly in the Mass, is the center, the focus, the hub whathaveyou of faith.......not morals and dogmas and institutional persons and rubrics. Those serve their purpose, but only as much as they have their source in Him.

Growing in faith in Jesus Christ through the church He founded is simply a process of slowly opening ones eyes to the real shape of things in the world rather than subscribing to some "belief-system". It's a lifelong process though and not without pitfalls. That too is what makes it different and in fact OTHER than a mere "belief system".



Sun Nov 20, 2005 11:56 am:
Andrew L. wrote:
matthew wrote:
I have no weltanschauung to speak of



This, you of course cannot possibly realize, is the ideological position, par excellence.
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Postby DrAwkward on Wed Dec 14, 2005 3:00 pm

matthew wrote:The answer to your question is that Christianity was founded by a man who claimed to be God. He was able to back this statement up and it is well documented.


Pfffffff!

Hahahahahahahahaha! Oh, hahahahahaha...

ha...

hahaha...


hooo boy.......hahahahahaha...

*sniffle*

Heeheehee...

Oh man. It hurts.

Haha...
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Postby full point on Wed Dec 14, 2005 3:37 pm

Little did any of you realize that Joe Rogan, host of TeeVee's "Fear Factor" is Li'l Ol' Earth's newest prophet. Don't believe me?

Listen here: http://www.breuerunleashed.com/Clips/Jo ... s_Life.mp3


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Postby Gramsci on Thu Dec 15, 2005 4:41 am

I think one of the most interesting things about the Christian religion is the cyclical nature of the believe system and the ability of the believer to perform some serious mental gymnastics to overcome the massive contradictions and historical inconstancies of the text. Bizarre as it seems to the rest of us, the more we try and convince Matty that he is living in a dream world the more this will reaffirm his beliefs. From a psychological point-of-view this is very interesting and something I’m sure that would be worth and has been studied.

As a life long atheist without a single second of doubt in 30 years I find Matty's double-think amazing, in a way. To be presented with evidence, even on a first-hand level, that so clearly and logically contradict the mythology of the Christian cult, but somehow managing to twist this, divert and assimilate it into his reality is a true “leap of faith”. It shows how amazing that the evolution of the human brain is, Bravo Matty.

Here are some interesting sites from former Christians.

The Infidel Guy. This one has a great podcast, which has guest such as former church Ministers, scientists and authors

Ex Christian is very interesting as well.
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Postby sunlore on Thu Dec 15, 2005 1:45 pm

matthew wrote:I have no weltanschauung to speak of


Did this guy really say "weltanschauung"?

I cringe, Mattheus!
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Postby Gramsci on Thu Dec 15, 2005 2:10 pm

sunlore wrote:
matthew wrote:I have no weltanschauung to speak of


Did this guy really say "weltanschauung"?

I cringe, Mattheus!


He sure did, and I'm not in the least bit surprised... and you were?
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Postby endofanera on Thu Dec 15, 2005 4:17 pm

Gramsci wrote:I think one of the most interesting things about the Christian religion is the cyclical nature of the believe system and the ability of the believer to perform some serious mental gymnastics to overcome the massive contradictions and historical inconstancies of the text. Bizarre as it seems to the rest of us, the more we try and convince Matty that he is living in a dream world the more this will reaffirm his beliefs. From a psychological point-of-view this is very interesting and something I’m sure that would be worth and has been studied.

I've heard this referred to as a "closed" belief system, although I'm certain that there is a more technical term for it. Such systems are marked by circular beliefs that force major assumptions be taken before the whole worldview makes sense. In the Christian case these are known collectively as "faith."

These systems also usually have a means of explaining away any and all criticisms of the system, usually through a categorical dismissal of the viewpoints and motivations (conscious or not) of those making the criticism, rather than bothering to address the meat of the criticism or argument itself (they're unbelievers, they're bourgeois, etc), which would often be impossible. As is often the case, hijacking humans' natural suspiscion of the threat posed by the unnamed "other" is an easy thing for these systems to do.

Christianity shares these traits with most other modern religions and all cults. Freudian theory and Marxism also share many of these traits; whether they are actually "belief systems" is another subject entirely. I would contend it depends on the individual "believer" in question.
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Postby sunlore on Thu Dec 15, 2005 4:53 pm

Gramsci wrote:
sunlore wrote:
matthew wrote:
I have no weltanschauung to speak of


Did this guy really say "weltanschauung"?

I cringe, Mattheus!


He sure did, and I'm not in the least bit surprised... and you were?


It was more like... You know when you have a really bad toothache or something and you can't stop rubbing your tongue against the painful spot? It was more like that.
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Postby Gramsci on Thu Dec 15, 2005 5:57 pm

Nice post Endo!

Great to have some reasoned view points.

One of greatest escapes for the theist seems to be the sudden shift from "fact" when it fits with the text's -in this case the Bible's- cosmology, to the "unknowable" when faced with situations like, for example, the painful slow death of a very small child. All of a sudden this becomes "God's will" and part of some greater plan we cannot understand. But when its a Gay man dying painfully of AIDS this is "knowable" it is God's will because the God of the Christian Bible hates gay people.

Interesting stuff Endo.

Keep them coming people.
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