General Question

RareDenver's avatar

Are you a young earth creationist and can you support your stance without referencing any holy texts?

Asked by RareDenver (13089 points ) May 20th, 2009
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

91 Answers

RedPowerLady's avatar

Why would someone want to do that? It’s like asking a scientist to support their claims without citing any journal articles. No?

robmandu's avatar

I’ve attempted this before.

The counter-argument is that it’s not scientific as it’s not disprovable.

And my argument is that creationism is not science. Nor is science itself a religion (well, it shouldn’t be… but for some folks in certain cases, it seems that it is).

Science is about what can be hypothesized, tested, and proven… to a point. When new evidence comes along that changes the understanding of what was previously “known” then science is supposed to take it up and run with it. Usually that happens. Sometimes it doesn’t… or it’s delayed.

I don’t know that science and creationism will ever come together. It very well might not be possible. But I don’t think that either one can disprove the other without some sort of major paradigm shift of our working knowledge of the universe.

RareDenver's avatar

@RedPowerLady but there are many who believe it should be taken seriously as a scientific theory, I’m just asking them to show me the science.

Facade's avatar

No. Then again, evolutionists need their science books.

brettvdb's avatar

No, I don’t see how a creationist could support their stance without referencing holy texts, and the same goes for scientists talking about evolution and science textbooks.

The difference is that science textbooks and articles are filled with hypothesis that have been tested and analyzed and turned into theories after many trials. Holy texts are filled with stories that cannot be tested or proven.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@RareDenver Are you sure they just don’t mean that they want their Religious Theory to be as equally valid as the Scientific Theory? That is a bit different.

Do you have any evidence against it? If so why hide it, just put it out there. I really know little about this issue from either side and would like to see what you’ve got up your sleeve.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

no, I’m not
and I don’t think there’s credible evidence supporting young earth creationism
passing it off as science is criminal in my mind

RareDenver's avatar

@RedPowerLady then why do so many want it taught in a science class if it’s a religious theory? Should we not keep science for the science class and religion for the religious studies class?

I’m asking the YEC’s to show me some science that supports the theory.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@RareDenver then why do so many want it taught in a science class if it’s a religious theory? Should we not keep science for the science class and religion for the religious studies class?

I think the problem would be that there is no Religion class. From my, outsider, perspective.
And that when presenting a scientific theory you should be presenting it as a whole, limitations included as well as alternate viewpoints

I’m asking the YEC’s to show me some science that supports the theory.
Yes but I think perhaps it is a futile question. Because religion is religion, it is not science. And science cannot disprove a negative. So where does that leave us?
They remain separate entities and both possibilities are still wide open.

ccatron's avatar

@raredenver – what hurt does it cause to present all possible theories of how the universe was created? if this part of a science class is taught correctly, the teacher wouldn’t be forcing any theory onto any student. theories are simply possibilities of what happened or what might happen.

Fyrius's avatar

@RedPowerLady: Did you mention being interested in evidence against Creationism? :)

This site was linked to a while ago, giving an overview of all the things in natural life that make no sense from a Creationist point of view, unless the creator liked putting useless and potentially lethal quirks in his animals.

Beyond that, the most devastating objections to Creationism are on methodological grounds; as has been said, it makes no testable predictions, it’s bizarrely far-fetched, and it fails to explain anything while actually creating a lot more problems, to mention a few such things.

And then there’s the fact that the idea of common descent – i.e. every life form derives from a single common ancestor in such and such family trees – is considered proven beyond reasonable doubt by now; the fossil record and the method of comparing anatomy even come to the same conclusions about the details of which life forms split off when.

brettvdb's avatar

@ccatron They should teach scientology in class as well, since it’s a possibility too.

spresto's avatar

There are lots of possibilities. None of have been physically proven.

robmandu's avatar

@Fyrius, the problem with statements like “the creator liked putting useless and potentially lethal quirks in his animals” is that it makes no account whatsoever for the explanations provided. From a Christian’s point of view, such problems would likely be the result of the introduction of sin in the world.

So, from a creationist’s perspective, sites such as the one you mention are immediately discredited as they don’t appear to take the argument seriously.

gambitking's avatar

I’m a creationist, and moreso I believe in a divine initiative to evolution. Much of my beliefs, including Creation as our origin of existence, stem from the Holy Texts, more particularly the Bible.

There is plenty of ‘scientific’ evidence (flaws in carbon dating, laws of genetic mutation, time-differentials in adaptation trends of species, etc. etc.) that straddle the Evolutionary Theory fence…. But I’d rather rely on God and the Bible for answers… and if that resource is omitted from context in a debate, there’s no reason to even argue.

ccatron's avatar

@brettvdb – where, in my comment, did I say that only creationism and evolution are the only theories that should be taught? you’re just reaching for something to offend me or something. what does scientology believe about the earth’s beginnings?

Fyrius's avatar

@ccatron: It can do harm.

For one thing, we’re not talking about two equally credible sides in a controversy here. Among the people who know what they’re talking about (the biologists), there is no controversy. Evolution has established itself as the only feasible option, by withstanding a century and a half of scientific criticism and scrutiny.

And even if it were a veritable controversy, it would be bizarre to expect school children to be able to make up their minds about things the experts don’t even agree on. It would take some five dedicated years to teach the children enough basics in genetics and comparative biology to enable then to form an acceptably educated opinion.
Complicated scientific disagreements are settled by specialists who have studied the phenomenon in question for their entire lives. They are the only ones knowledgeable enough to do so.

brettvdb's avatar

@ccatron Sorry I wasn’t meaning to offend you, simply pointing out that just because something is a possibility doesn’t mean that it should be taught in class. Standard education should provide empirical knowledge and offer substantiated theories on how to view the world. It should provide the GROUNDWORK to then assess NON-substantiated theories like creationism.

robmandu's avatar

@Fyrius, I know of several microbiologists with advanced degrees that would argue on behalf of non-evolutionary creationism.

Be careful whose mouths you put your words in.

brettvdb's avatar

@robmandu thankfully those microbiologists don’t make up the majority.

robmandu's avatar

@brettvdb… oh, so by the rationale you infer, only popular mainstream science should be pursued. Right?

Good thing Galileo didn’t adhere to such philosophy.

RareDenver's avatar

@ccatron I’m asking science teachers to teach science, is that too much to ask? Creationism is not science and neither is Intelligent Design, they belong in a theology class.

Fyrius's avatar

@robmandu: The Creationist point of view holds that all the animals were created before Adam and Eve ate that apple. That means the quirks were there before sin was.
Moreover, many of these things are just weird, but not cumbersomely so. It would make little sense to give non-functional eyes to fish who live their lives in absolute darkness as a punishment for sin.
It also goes to show something that evolution through common descent provides a perfect explanation for every single one of these phenomena.

And I’d like a reference on your advanced degree biologist Creationists, please.

brettvdb's avatar

@robmandu I think now you’re falling victim to your own criticism. I didn’t say that.

It’s always important to have counterpoints, I’m just thankful that individuals who believe in non-evolutionary creationism don’t make up the majority of the biology field.

RareDenver's avatar

@RedPowerLady

“And that when presenting a scientific theory you should be presenting it as a whole, limitations included as well as alternate viewpoints”

So long as those alternate viewpoints are scientific ones, otherwise it has no place in a science class

Fyrius's avatar

As a side note, I did mention a few very good methodological reasons not to take the Creationist argument seriously.

robmandu's avatar

@Fyrius, again you oversimplify.

The Bible also says it didn’t rain until Noah’s flood. It was more of a high humidity greenhouse going on. Point is, what was once ideal before sin became flawed after.

And no, it was not to “punish the animals.” That’s just inane and argumentative.

The problem here is that you refuse to acknowledge there is a significant and logical framework behind much of Christianity and creationism.

You need not agree with it. I’m not trying to convince you. But I exhort you to investigate better the underlying tenets of your opposition’s arguments, else you’ll come off as a blind zealot who has chosen what to believe without educating himself to the available information.

brettvdb's avatar

I believe that the universe was created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster. If you want to have a debate with me, you have to fully investigate the underlying tenets of my argument, otherwise you’re a blind zealot…

robmandu's avatar

@brettvdb, present a library of supporting canon documented over millenia and we’ll talk.

brettvdb's avatar

@robmandu oh, so by the rationale you infer, only popular mainstream religion should be pursued. Right?

robmandu's avatar

@brettvdb… hah! Touché.

I do distinguish a difference though. Science – even unpopular, non-mainstream science – is founded upon a large basis of underlying principals, evidence, and fact.

Creating a new flying spaghetti monster religion out of whole cloth – with no supporting rationale, no documented provenance, no eyewitness accounts, and really, no corroborating evidence of any kind – is not making an apples-to-apples comparison.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Fyrius Thanx for the information. I will check it out. I think the flaws pointed out in it are also worth checking out so I will do that as well.

For one thing, we’re not talking about two equally credible sides in a controversy here.
But that is where the edge is. You see they are both equally credible within their own fields. Religion is not science.

@RareDenver
So long as those alternate viewpoints are scientific ones, otherwise it has no place in a science class
I think that point is very logical.

Fyrius's avatar

@robmandu: So if it wasn’t a punishment, what was it for, then? How did the introduction of sin cause whales and snakes to have pelvises, how did it cause blind fish to have useless eyes, how did it cause humans to have muscles that twitch their fixed ears?

You encourage me to hear my opponents out. Very well, I’m all for that. So start explaining.

@RedPowerLady: That’s the problem. Religion is not science, but Creationism is a religious view trespassing on the domain of science. And when in Rome, it’s judged by the standards the Romans are judged by.

spresto's avatar

@brettvdb I don;t find it necessary for you to include a pointless character created by somebody else. Get your own damn material.

spresto's avatar

Personally, I don’t know why you a@# holes are wasting your time having this debate. Nobodies going to gain any ground. What’s the point. If you really wanted to understand the other side you would do some studying. You are all just wanting to be right, right?

brettvdb's avatar

I thought that we were having an interesting debate…Apparently we’re just assholes though.

spresto's avatar

Of course you are. Have you seen the list of past debates on the same thing. It never ends. Be a bigger man. End it.

brettvdb's avatar

You’re in luck – you’re more than entitled to ignore similar threads to this one the next time they pop up on here. Now you don’t have to worry anymore!

RareDenver's avatar

@spresto and @robmandu

Would it be acceptable if bretvdb were to want a serious debate surrounding the Norse Creation Theory?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creation_myth#Norse_.26_Germanic

spresto's avatar

Hell anything new would be nice. Go for it. Add a twist to it.

spresto's avatar

Thats a great idea.

Fyrius's avatar

@spresto: There are benefits to debating besides the nice feeling of being right. Having your views examined by someone on the opposite side can help you form a more educated opinion, much like a fencing match can help you perfect your skill with the rapier, allowing you to test which parades and ripostes work.
But unlike swordsmanship, an educated opinion is a fine end in itself even if you’re not interested in winning debates.

Let’s not digress too far.

shilolo's avatar

@robmandu Perhaps you could put me in touch with these so-called creationist PhD microbiologists? I would be happy to engage any and all of them in a debate about evolution (seeing as I am also trained in microbiology).

spresto's avatar

Hey, I kind of like the Norse & Germanic perspective. Sound a bit like evolution. Nice.

spresto's avatar

Seriously. Read it. Its pretty scientific.

robmandu's avatar

[Off topic, point of clarification]

@Fyrius and @shilolo, in Fyrius’ quip, s/he intimated that there “is no controversy” among “the biologists”.

That sounded like a stereotypical statement moreso than a factual one… especially since I’m sure you’ll stipulate that there are plenty of scientists (biologists, medical doctors, physicists, what have you) who attend the churches of various religions. Of those, I’m sure you’ll also stipulate that there is a subset of that buys wholly and completely into their religion’s perspective… and are able to do so reasonably while excelling in their fields of expertise.

That was the point of my response. Go make your own friends if you want to have a debate… I see no reason to drag mine onto the forum here.

spresto's avatar

Either, those scientist really do buy into their religious faith or they are two-faced liars that live a lie. If you don’t believe why would you go to church?

crisw's avatar

@ccatron
“what hurt does it cause to present all possible theories of how the universe was created?”

Well, you’d be in class for years…

Seriously, it’s science class, not mythology class. Should we also teach astrology while teaching astronomy, phrenology while teaching psychology, dowsing with earth science, homeopathy with medicine? Hey, they are all possible viewpoints, right? Why single out evolution?

crisw's avatar

@gambitking
“There is plenty of ‘scientific’ evidence (flaws in carbon dating, laws of genetic mutation, time-differentials in adaptation trends of species, etc. etc.) that straddle the Evolutionary Theory fence….”

Please be specific here.

What flaws in carbon dating?

What “laws” of genetic mutation?

What time differentials in adaptation?

It’s impossible to adequately address such nebulous claims.

crisw's avatar

@ccatron
Oh- PS- there is a huge difference between a layman’s definition of theory and the scientific definition of theory. Few if any creation myths meet the latter definition.

Fyrius's avatar

@robmandu:
I intended it to be a factual one. I’ve read publications. The entire field of biology is now based on the theory of evolution. Everything is explained with reference to common descent. That wouldn’t happen if it weren’t properly established.
I’ve also heard an evolutionary biologist teacher explicitly mention so in class.

And the biologists are right to do so. Every seemingly random fact falls into place in light of common descent. Anatomical similarities are perfectly explained, dozens of new fossils all fit neatly into the phylogenic tree, the quirks in organisms are suddenly explicable, and we can finally understand why medicines against viruses stop working.

I’d also like to mention again that Creationism is a fundamentally unscientific idea that defies the basic principles of science, as I mentioned above.

I’ve also talked to many a Creationist, and come to the conclusion that their conviction almost invariably stems from A) a lack of understanding of the theory of evolution, B) a wrong understanding of the theory of evolution, C) a lack of education in the basic scientific principles with which their view is fundamentally at odds, D) an utter refusal to accept the facts, or indeed E) all of the above. This alone is enough to give the impression the bulk of Creationism’s support is outside the scientific community, if not all of it.

Fyrius is a he, by the way.

robmandu's avatar

[ Tangential ]

Oh, in case it wasn’t clear: I’m fully in favor of teaching evolution – and any other science-based theory – in science class.

Christian creationism, or norse-germanic, or any other hypothesis based solely on religious texts and which are not dis-/provable by scientific means are, by definition, Not Science.

It doesn’t matter if 99% of the world’s population got on the same bandwagon and picked the flying spaghetti monster theory as The One and Only Explanation. That’s still not science. That’s social studies, or religious studies, or philosophy, or whatever.

spresto's avatar

I love the spaghetti monster. But I don’t believe in Richard Dawkins. I think he is a figment of everybodies collective imagination.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Fyrius Creationism is a religious view trespassing on the domain of science.

I think I would argue that creationism is a religious view. (period).

robmandu's avatar

Originally envisioned someone else upon reading the name of Richard Dawkins.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@robmandu
Oh, in case it wasn’t clear: I’m fully in favor of teaching evolution – and any other science-based theory – in science class.

Christian creationism, or norse-germanic, or any other hypothesis based solely on religious texts and which are not dis-/provable by scientific means are, by definition, Not Science.

It doesn’t matter if 99% of the world’s population got on the same bandwagon and picked the flying spaghetti monster theory as The One and Only Explanation. That’s still not science. That’s social studies, or religious studies, or philosophy, or whatever.

Good Answer!

RedPowerLady's avatar

@RareDenver Thanx for the link. Did you provide it for a reason?

RareDenver's avatar

@RedPowerLady

No real reason, it’s just an interesting case.

robmandu's avatar

All this reminds me of a good F. Scott Fitzgerald quote:

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.

ccatron's avatar

i guess i see the point about there being no scientific evidence to Creationism and that it is not “science”. but, i think it is absurd to teach students that evolution is the only answer to how the universe came about and dismiss creationism or other ideas. why? none of us were there in the beginning of time, so we can’t 100% prove which theory or belief is correct. sure, we have evidence of evolution that many things formed from organisms before them, i get it. and organisms adapt to their surroundings, etc. so, why can’t creationism and evolution coexist? why couldn’t the universe have been created and then allowed to evolve?

Fyrius's avatar

@RedPowerLady: The view of Creationism is of course religious in origin, but it makes a clear real world assertion about the history of life. That makes it a scientific matter too.
And the Intelligent Design movement is quite explicitly masquerading as a scientific one, presumably in an attempt to give less educated people the false impression that this bit of Christian mythology is a scientifically supported view. This charade is their basis for pressing schools to teach it.

There are people who say the bible is the most accurate science textbook in the world, and that science just keeps confirming what it says the more they discover. There are people who say the model of evolution is a pseudoscience and all real scientists say god did it. There are even people who say evolution is a religious view that stubbornly stays alive despite science disproving it.

Personally, the hypocrisy drives me mad.

@ccatron: This “none of us were there so we can’t know” argument is very common. It’s also bunk.
Have you ever read a detective novel? It’s quite possible to deduce from clues that exist in the now what has happened in the past.
Not to 100% certainty, but to demand that is unrealistic. We can’t be 100% certain of anything, besides the existence of our own thoughts. With that said, evolution (or at least common descent) is certain to a sufficient extent to stop doubting it, and to teach it as what really happened.

Of course, as long as we don’t know the details of how the whole thing started there will be a gap in our knowledge left for god to occupy.

As a side note: how the universe came about is outside the scope of the model of evolution. You’re thinking of the Big Bang theory. Evolution is only about how natural selection shaped life from its first forms to the varieties we see now.

crisw's avatar

@ccatron

”‘it is absurd to teach students that evolution is the only answer to how the universe came about”

The theory of evolution has absolutely nothing to do with how the universe came about. I respectfully submit that you don’t really understand what the theory is, or what it really attempts to explain.

ccatron's avatar

@Fyrius & @crisw – why the crap are we comparing it to creationism, then? if evolution says that stuff forms from other stuff, where does that stuff come from?

crisw's avatar

@ccatron
Creationism is a bigger worldview than evolution. Evolution only explains the diversification of species once life got here, through whatever method. Creationism (and by this I mean young-earth creationism) defies scientific theories in many disciplines; evolution being just one of them. It’s also incompatible with geology, astronomy, astrophysics, etc.

BTW, any chance I can get the clarification that I asked you for above regarding your claims of purported weaknesses of evolution?

Fyrius's avatar

@ccatron: Because Creationism too is considered to explain where all the animals and plants came from. Plus the origin of the first life forms, plus the origin of the universe.

It’s the proponents of that view who explicitly put it up as an alternative to evolution. Specifically the ones who want it to be taught in high school science classes.

As for where the material that evolution works with comes from, that what abiogenesis is concerned with.

crisw's avatar

@ccatron

Advance apologies- I see that request was actually to gambitking.

ccatron's avatar

@criswnot sure i follow you…which quip? i don’t remember where i said that evolution was weak. all i have said is that schools should consider all possibilities. ok, thanks, i was a little confused.

at any rate, it’s time to go to the house for the day…i think i’ve said all i can about this issue…you guys and gals seem to have a lot more knowledge and insight than i can compete with

crisw's avatar

@ccatron just have to say that the Gunhaver avatar is cute.

Fyrius's avatar

@ccatron: Lurve for your modesty.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Fyrius

The view of Creationism is of course religious in origin, but it makes a clear real world assertion about the history of life. That makes it a scientific matter too.

But you cannot take the religion out of it therefore you can’t require someone make a religious argument without using their religious texts (getting back to the question at-hand). It is still a religious argument even if it hinders somewhere in science.

In addition, if you acknowledge it being of religious origin, then you must hold yourself to the same standards you are holding them. Meaning you have got to know your religious history.

If you can find a way to make a religious argument scientific or visa versa I’m sure a lot of people would be interested in your methods. ;) They are two separate fields for a very clear reason. If you are coming from a scientific viewpoint and are listening to a religious argument then you will obviously find fault in it (and visa versa). There really is no middle ground at this point and thus it is a fruitless argument. What we should be working on is a way to find that middle ground. Or be accepting of other people’s beliefs even if we don’t agree with them (or think they are ludicrous).

I mean let’s think of it this way. How ridiculous would it be to hold the scientific community up to religious standards?? (because you are holding the religious community up to scientific standards). See what I mean? Too separate fields that just don’t have a way of adequately overlapping at this time.

As to the second comment: There are people who will say anything. There is still a group of people who believe the earth is flat. Come on. You just seem to be frustrated with the people who do not have the same beliefs as you. Which is notably human but not always helpful.

RareDenver's avatar

@RedPowerLady
But you cannot take the religion out of it therefore you can’t require someone make a religious argument without using their religious texts (getting back to the question at-hand).

But the reason for my initial question is that there are those that try to take the religion out of it and pose it as science, it was those people I was aiming my question at. Evidently there are not many of them that frequent fluther

Fyrius's avatar

@RedPowerLady:
Oh, it’s quite possible to take the religion out of it and make it a veritable scientific proposal. It would suffice to stop thinking of the creator as a god, and leave it open who did it. It would still not meet the demands of a feasible proposal, but at least the real world assertion part would be separated from the religious tradition part.
Besides that, people put it forward as a scientific proposal (unseparated even), therefore this proposal has to stand up to the criteria that scientific proposals are judged by. If you break your way into the kitchen, you better be able to take the heat.

As for the creationists who do not insist that their beliefs be taught and revered by everyone as the final answer, them I can tolerate.

I can’t agree however with your view of science and religion as two separate fields. Religion often makes assertions about the physical world – we’re discussing a particularly explicit specimen here – and assertions about the physical world are what science is about. Scientists are specialists about the physical world.

Personally I think it’s only in the interest of religion to spread the idea of science and religion as separate and incompatible fields. I think it’s a defence strategy to keep the dogmas safe from the mean people who want to put them to the test.
Richard Dawkins presents the following thought experiment. Suppose that one day, historians find conclusive evidence that Jesus Christ really existed, was really born of a virgin and really had the ability to literally turn water into wine, and heal the lame and the blind. Could you imagine even a single Christian saying “oh, whatever, that’s not interesting, science and religion are separate fields that do not bear on each other”?
I think we both know that if there were any scientific evidence for religious assertions about the real world, the religious would be right on top of it. But since the assertions of religion that science has access to only keep being proven wrong, the religious stay away from it instead.

I don’t think it would be in our best interest as a species to look for a middle ground between science and religion. I think it would be better to actually implement the separation that is said to exist.
Religion will need to delimit itself to what people call the spiritual if it wants to survive. It will need to stop encouraging beliefs about the physical world – leave that domain to science – and focus on the good things it does, like encouraging forgiveness and kindness and comforting people in need of solace.

And I plead guilty on being terribly frustrated with these people, but not just because I disagree with them. I’m not nearly as frustrated about what they say as I am about the crimes against reason that make them say it and honestly believe they are right. It makes my skin crawl.
And what worries me more is that it makes me vulnerable to trolls. I’m working on it.

It’s ”vice versa”, by the way. :)

RedPowerLady's avatar

@RareDenver I guess not. And since I don’t have a background in this argument I really can’t say much about those people. if they exist ;)

RedPowerLady's avatar

Religion will need to delimit itself to what people call the spiritual if it wants to survive. It will need to stop encouraging beliefs about the physical world

This is interesting and I enjoyed it because it made me pause and think. But the line becomes a bit sticky don’t you think? I mean really how can someone stick to the spiritual when creationism is a fundamental principle in religious belief systems?

Really I have not stake in this argument personally, but I get tired of seeing religion & religious beliefs trampled on by the scientific community. I rarely see questions or comments that go the opposite direction. That is what frustrates me. I hate to see anyone trampled on.

RareDenver's avatar

if they exist ;)

Oh trust me, they exist.

http://www.discovery.org/

Fyrius's avatar

@RedPowerLady: “I mean really how can someone stick to the spiritual when creationism is a fundamental principle in religious belief systems?”
Why do you so insistently think of religions as irreducible wholes? A religion is a set of beliefs, some of which cohere, others of which are independent of the rest, on their own or in a cluster. It’s not at all impossible to reject one belief or practice and keep another.

Throwing out the creation story would be a big step, certainly, but it wouldn’t immediately make the entire religion come tumbling down. It’s quite possible to believe that god did not create the world and everything on it, but that he still watches over us and wants us to be nice to each other.

And I for one see questions and comments in the opposite direction all the time. It’s not exactly true that the religious are always the victim and the atheists always the aggressor.
Atheism is an oppressed minority in many situations, for example in American politics. If they find out you don’t believe in god, your political career is over, while anyone running for president proudly brags about how Christian they are. That’s in a multicultural nation built on separation of church and state.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@RareDenver I was just being a smart*ass. But that is an interesting link. They are using science though to promote their argument which is what you were looking for. Now, like I said, I don’t claim to know any of the arguments either direction so i’m not sure if their scientific argument is exactly what you were looking for but I’m reading one right now, so far no mention of the Bible either ;).

RedPowerLady's avatar

@Fyrius Well I doubt we are going to get much farther on this because I do believe that Religions are, in part, irreducible wholes. Of course I am not part of an organized religion so I can’t argue that any farther. But it seems to me similar to a culture. And that is a topic I do know. I know that many people have not agreed with bits and pieces of cultures. They have taken out a bit here and a piece there and the entire culture has struggled to survive. I know that is not “right”. So I think that would be true on a religious level as well. Of course I don’t expect you to agree with that but that is my line of thought. But as I said if we don’t agree on that point our discussion won’t go any further because it is such a fundamental difference in opinion.

It’s not exactly true that the religious are always the victim and the atheists always the aggressor.

Oh I agree. I do not mean always. I am just discussing the predominant arguments I see in daily life. And that is science dogging religion and not visa versa (perhaps rarely). Now, of course, I do see organized religion (or rather people who use it that way) dominating non-religious cultures (even to the extent of cultural genocide) but that is an argument for another discussion ;)

Atheism is an oppressed minority in many situations, for example in American politics. If they find out you don’t believe in god, your political career is over, while anyone running for president proudly brags about how Christian they are. That’s in a multicultural nation built on separation of church and state.

Now that I will stand behind.

RareDenver's avatar

@RedPowerLady

Exactly, it was these types I was after speaking with.

Fyrius's avatar

@RedPowerLady: I’m still going to try taking it a bit further. :P
I would like to share a somewhat different take on the matter.

It’s been a thought of mine lately that religions are not actually fixed systems that stay exactly the same for millennia, but are living cultural constructs that evolve over time, just like language changes. In the middle ages people said “thou art possess’d by daemons, thou needest and exorcism”, nowadays we say “your faith is shaken, but don’t forget god loves you”, to give an example of both at the same time.
Of course there is scripture, but even that is only a record of oral traditions that grew in whatever direction the circumstances favoured around that time, and most religious people don’t actually follow it to the letter at all (and the ones who do are scary as heck).

And just like a language is more encumbered by purist villains who try to shackle it with prescriptive rules than it is by the natural changes that inevitably occur in every generation, so too is a religion less threatened by those who adhere to some tenets and discard others than by those who would rather keep everything the way it was so many centuries ago altogether. Clinging to the past does more harm than reaching for the future. This goes for these two aspects of culture, and I think it goes for many others, if not all.

I mention this because you express worry about cultures going to waste when people pick and choose what to follow and what not to. I think the present form of any religion (or language, or scientific field, or so many other things) is doomed to fall prey to oblivion before long, as a slightly different form will take its place. And it’s always been like that.
We’re a species that develops. We constantly move on and leave our old things behind. That’s the way we live.
Lament what is lost if you want to, but don’t forget to rejoice in what new things are created instead.

That’s the point of view I wanted to share. Maybe it can give you some more optimism about the future.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I mention this because you express worry about cultures going to waste when people pick and choose what to follow and what not to. I think the present form of any religion (or language, or scientific field, or so many other things) is doomed to fall prey to oblivion before long, as a slightly different form will take its place. And it’s always been like that.

I like your argument. It makes clear sense. But we are talking about different changes here. You are talking about the natural ‘evolution’ of religion or culture. Which is undeniable. But when you take something fundamental away from a culture it can fall apart. That is not inevitable. That is often called cultural genocide or persecution. Is that not the same with religion? When you talk about taking creationism away isn’t that so fundamental that it would in fact create a new religion and not allow the current ones to exist? Now really I wouldn’t mind that (personally) in reference to organized religion, but if someone did that to my culture I would mind. In fact I am from a culture where this has happened numerous times. It then seems unjust. And if I can feel outrage for my own culture then I feel obligated to stand up for the rights of others’ belief systems as well.

Maybe it can give you some more optimism about the future.
Hey I’m optimistic about future possibilities. In fact I would like to see a spiritually based world (vs. religiously based) and I think it is possible. But at the same time I do not feel it is right to trample on people’s belief systems.

RareDenver's avatar

@RedPowerLady and @Fyrius

Keep going, I’m enjoying being a voyeur on this conversation.

Fyrius always could articulate himself well (I’ve known him for a while online) and so can you RedPowerLady. Glad I was directed to fluther for this exact reason, but I miss AiROW when is it coming back? I’ll still fluther, I can whore myself about a bit online (not IRL) ;-)

Ooops too many glasses of wine!

Fyrius's avatar

@RedPowerLady: Yes.
It’s important to distinguish natural evolution from conscious intervention, which is just as harmful as clinging to the past. I agree there. Given that, I only hope religion will come to a point where it stops making real world assertions through its natural development.
Still, I’m fairly confident that as science continues to advance and the gaps in our knowledge continue to shrink, religion will eventually need to retreat to the spiritual, or die out altogether. Either is fine with me.
In the worst case, a culture will be created that blatantly denies scientific knowledge and substitutes its own made-up facts. I think Young Earth Creationism is a preview sample of this, pushing the idea that Christianity is science and evolution is a myth.
But in the rest of the world, Young Earth Creationism as a scientific proposal has to my knowledge always been covered in tar and feathers and chased away with torches and pitch forks. And that gives me hope again.

@RareDenver: I already had the impression I heard a drunk man talking. :P
But thank you.

RedPowerLady's avatar

In the worst case, a culture will be created that blatantly denies scientific knowledge and substitutes its own made-up facts.

You know what? I bet that will happen. If the suggested scenario did come to be.

BTW thanx for the discussion. You had me thinking all day about different points of this argument. Good for the Mind :)

Fyrius's avatar

“You know what? I bet that will happen.”
Good grief, I hope not. Just think of the children growing up in a secluded world of ignorance purposely induced by their parents, while they could be getting the proper education they deserve.
Well, on the bright side, or the less grim side if you will, I predict a culture like that wouldn’t last long enough to harm many generations. And it would only ascertain the demise of religion by showing how badly it can go wrong.

“BTW thanx for the discussion. You had me thinking all day about different points of this argument. Good for the Mind :)”
Haha, that’s great. It’s not every day I actually manage to be thought-provoking. :P
You are quite welcome.

I wonder if there’s any chance @RareDenver is still going to get a Creationist to an answer his question, by the way.

RedPowerLady's avatar

Good grief, I hope not. Just think of the children growing up in a secluded world of ignorance purposely induced by their parents

Ahh Yes but as history (our own and the worlds) has taught us, kids have a way of rebelling. ;)

I don’t think so

Shuttle128's avatar

I must say that was a very enjoyable debate/conversation. I need to find more of these…..I’ll slip back into the shadows now….

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