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29915Re: Has Evolution Really Been a Help?

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  • gluadys
    Oct 30, 2012
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      --- In OriginsTalk@yahoogroups.com, "khunsinger33" <khunsinger33@...> wrote:
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      > gluadys: I agree to a point.
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      > Kurt: Once again it will take me a bit to digest your response. But I will likely respond independent of the point I've been making. I've hit a wall on offering anything more of substance on this thread. You've given me a chance to voice my observation though and you've heard it pretty close to the way I mean it. You've also helped with giving me plenty to build on. So, hey, I think that's pretty cool! Thank you! If you have more comment to make on it I'd be glad to hear it but I'm thinking it might be good to retire my concept for a bit while I improve my overall knowledge and return to it again when I have something more to add.
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      Good call. & you're welcome. Hope you enjoy the research.


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      >Meanwhile I'd like to continue to chime in when I have something to contribute to other threads.
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      Sure. Welcome aboard.



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      > --- In OriginsTalk@yahoogroups.com, "gluadys" <g_turner@> wrote:
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      > > --- In OriginsTalk@yahoogroups.com, "khunsinger33" <khunsinger33@> wrote:
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      > > > Gluadys: So, it is not evolution you wish to speak of, but the "impact of.." well, what—the fact of evolution, the theory of evolution, the controversy about evolution? And how will you judge the impact if you don't know the science? How can you even know what the impacts are and what is mere hogwash asserted without evidence by those with an agenda?
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      > > > Kurt: Point taken. However, so far I haven't atemped to dispute any facts or theories regarding evolution. Except for calling the "early humans invented a creator to cope with the environment" idea guess work. And I hope you don't mind taking a look at that once more. It feels important to me to address why we were pursuing the question in the first place. Because whether you know the science or not, even if there were no such thing as science, if we don't know why we're asking, how can we identify what answers will satisfy the inquiry? If we can't discern the reason for the question, how can we be certain that science is even addressing it? Just saying humans have an urge for knowledge doesn't really cut it.
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      > > I agree to a point. Humans, in general, don't have an abstract thirst for knowledge. Behind the quest for knowledge is the need to survive in a world that is, in many ways, threatening. And awesome, in the full sense of that term. (Such a tragedy that this word has become weakened and trivialized to the point of being meaningless.) Think of the effect on early people of the sort of storm that is about to hit New York this week. From all reports it will be stunning even with a week or more warning. Can you imagine how it would impress hunter-gatherers without a weather forecasting system? What of the northern lights? How would one tell one's children what they are? Imagine the effect on early agriculturalists of a plague of locusts or a hailstorm destroying their crops? Or at nightime, hearing the wind roar through the pine trees as you huddled by a campfire?
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      > > People were very much aware of the great powers of nature: the heat of the sun, the force of the wind, the explosive power of a volcano, the mystery of plant, animal and human reproduction. And they were not merely curious about them. They were also fearful of them and seeking protection from them. The quest for protection took several forms. One obvious recourse for protection from a great power of nature would be to propitiate it through gifts of prayer and sacrifice. Or to appeal to a still greater power who could control the lesser. So, in times of drought one seeks to gain the favour of the power that sends rain. A second avenue is to seek some sort of control over the threatening power. Hence the use of sympathetic magic, such as sacred prostitution to support the fertility of field and flock. It helps as well to develop ways to discern why a power has been angered and how that anger can be appeased. So systems of reading omens develop. Best of all is being able to predict the course of events and know ahead of time the best action to take. One of the earliest of sciences to develop was astronomy—but not out of simple curiosity about the night sky, wondrous though it is. The point of ancient astronomy, whether Chaldean, Egyptian, Hindu, Chinese or Mayan, was to discern the future via astrological interpretations of the movements of celestial bodies. (Indeed, almost all astronomers included astrological research among their activities until the nineteenth century when it was reclassified as superstitious nonsense.)
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      > > So the "urge for knowledge" does have motivation: fear of dangerous powers, desire for protection from those powers, and, where possible, the desire to bring those powers under human control. And it is not in the least surprising that in the absence of scientific knowledge, the powers themselves were personified as deities.
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      > > The move toward a more "scientific" view began with the trend toward belief in a single high power who controlled all the others. Monotheism desacralized nature and made it possible to investigate natural forces as impersonal, created forces rather than as personal, divine forces in themselves. And out of that, eventually, one gets modern science.
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      > > >Isn't stewarts proposition, which is a common view, really confirming that evolutionary theory is indeed addressing the same creator related questions they did?
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      > > It seems that a lot of people are confused enough about evolution to think so. But from a scientific perspective, evolution is an impersonal, natural force (or better: process), just like the processes that generate geological strata, weather systems, etc. So from a theological perspective, it is an impersonal, created dynamic, like the hydrological cycle, the decay of radioactive particles, etc. Something God instituted within creation. It certainly gives us a profound insight into the natural/created world, but it doesn't really address creator-related questions. Not even the question of whether the universe of nature is a creation.
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      > > >it's not the fact of evolution or the theory of evolution or the controversy about evolution that is at issue for me. The issue I'm trying to fetter out, in my painfully layman language, is that if evolutionary theory is, at any level, common to the practice of creator-belief, then continuing to deny that commonality is to deny its fundamental, underlying purpose.
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      > > Yes, obviously, you are trying to articulate an issue I have never run across before, so it is difficult to understand where you are coming from. Personally I see no relationship between "the practice of creator-belief" and evolutionary theory. Not only is evolutionary theory common to theists and atheists, but also to practitioners of various non-theistic faiths such as Buddhism (agnostic about gods), Hinduism (something of a combination of pantheism and polytheism) Wiccan/Pagan/indigenous (mostly animistic) which, whatever their attitude toward deity/ies, do not believe in a creator-god.
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      > > > Gluadys: Do you believe one impact of evolution is to encourage sexual promiscuity or do you find that notion absurd?
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      > > > Kurt: It's common for folks to assign blame to anyone or anything but themselves. I'd say this unfortunate practice is unrelated to the theory of evolution.
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      > > Thanks for that. Those of us who defend science against evolution denialists tend to raise our hackles when someone speaks of the impacts or implications of evolution, because, usually, it is exactly this sort of silliness that is meant. The most common silliness, of course, is that evolution theory eliminates God & therefore creation. If there is one thing evolution-denying creationists and religion-hating atheists agree on, it is this false dichotomy: that God and evolution cannot fit in the same world-view.
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      > > > > My intention is not to compare or contrast theories but to examine the impact evolutionary theory has on existing beliefs. So for salient qualities of creationism I have none. Creator-belief, however, is quite a different thing all together and its overwhelming persistence for millennia is indeed a defining quality.
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      > > Well, in America, at least, the best known options are the two ends of the false dichotomy named above. The political ascendence of the religious right has been accompanied by a dearth of media attention to the more historic, and still more mainstream, theological view that evolution does not replace the creator, but is simply an aspect of the created world. It is almost as if mainstream astronomy were being continually contrasted with religiously-motivated flat-earthism while the majority view of believers who reject flat-earthism is passed by in silence as if it didn't exist.
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      > > So, if you really want to look at the impact of evolutionary theory on existing beliefs, you really must not neglect the views of Christians and other theists who accept evolutionary science. Start by exploring the BioLogos site. You might also look at a group called Celebrating Creation by Natural Selection. In print, besides the authors I already named, let me also recommend "Darwin's Forgotten Defenders" by David N. Livingstone, who outlines the 19th century impact, pro and con evolution. (It may surprise you to learn that the most influential opponent of evolution was not a Christian, while one of the best known defenders of Darwin was.) Another worthwhile read is "Perspectives on an Evolving Creation" a collection of essays edited by an evangelical geologist, Kenneth Miller. (Not the same Kenneth Miller who wrote "Finding Darwin's God". The latter is a Catholic and a cell biologist.)
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      > > > gluadys: Indeed it is a different thing, so why compare it with evolution? Does creator belief rule out evolution as a facet of the created world?
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      > > > Kurt: I'm looking at evolution-belief in the same light at creator-belief. Comparing their commonalities does not contradict their differences.
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      > > The first idea to ditch is the notion of "evolution belief". At best one "believes" in evolution as one "believes" in electricity. It is empirical, not philosophical.
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      > > > Kurt: I've not suggested that one "demands" anything of the other or that one demands the rejection of the other. I know it seems an unlikely view, but I see them more as two peas in the same pod.
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      > > And I reject that idea. That is what generates the needless religious hostility to evolution. Properly understood, evolution is a totally different category. Better to see an apple beside an orange.
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      > > > Kurt: I'm hoping I addressed this above. it may be my best explanation of what I'm trying to say. If it still makes no sense at all to you, it hasn't to most folks i've talked to, I may have abandon it or find a better path to express the point.
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      > > A bit, but I still think you are hung up on the idea that evolution is a belief, not a science, and that skews your thinking in the wrong direction
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      > > > Kurt: Both. Raised Catholic, just after first communion my mother was "saved" then attended Baptist church. Never did answer an alter call, and refused to be baptized, none of it made sense to me. Always felt I was among "actors". You said in a previous post that theres no sense in spending time on the mis-perceptions of evolution held by those who don't try to understand it. But just as Baptist and Catholic churches are packed with believers who don't understand their own religion or why they believe it, so does evolutionary theory fill a similar sort of pew. I realize that that says something about the believer, not the theory. but it does speak to another commonality between them.
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      > > Point taken. What we have to remember is that those pews overlap a fair bit, such that many people sit in both at once. Only at the one end do we have religious believers who reject evolution and while at the other sit atheists or agnostics who accept evolution while rejecting religion.
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      > > But certainly, in all three groups, there are those who have little understanding of either science or their professed faith. They are simply relating to other people who are important in their lives, not reflecting on these ideas.
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      > > >gluadys: Possibly. I lean more toward the concept of inter-subjectivity myself. I have a fair bit of respect for post-modern deconstruction of traditionally accepted "facts". Certainly a view that came out of Euro-centric assumptions of what it is to be "rational" and "civilised" can hardly be called objective.
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      > > > Kurt: Can't comment on Euro-centric assumptions or post-modern deconstruction but if by inter-subjectivity you mean, to thine own self be true, then, yeh, I'm with you.
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      > > No, that would just be subjectivity. Inter-subjectivity implies sharing subjective perceptions with other people and taking note of commonalities which may point to a shared experience of the same reality.
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      > > > > gluadys: IOW, you are not willing to judge the theory on the basis of a) understanding its propositions, and b) testing them against the evidence of nature. Instead, you buttress your rejection of this science with unsupported armchair psychoanalysis… Do you understand the following line of logic?
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      > > > Kurt: That is correct. I am overwhelmingly unwilling to judge the theory or it's evidence, and I haven't compared any pieces of evidence from the theory to creationism at all. Propositions from either side that show the other to be incorrect are largely unrelated to what I have to say. It is propositions that show their commonality that interest me. *** I know that must seem kinda kooky. When I read other threads I realize that it's specific points and bits of evidence and ist's and ism's that make up the lions share of the banter. Sheesh. Don't ya get a little weary of that? I feel there is a broader picture here, neither side seems willing to consider that they're both painting on the same canvas, I beleive that that is worth some discousre.
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      > > It is definitely refreshing to encounter a different point-of-view instead of the usual PRATTs.
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      > > (Points Refuted A Thousand Times)
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      > > > > gluadys: Can you provide a better way of coming to understand the reality of the created world?
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      > > > Kurt: But is it really reality that evoltuionary theory represents?
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      > > If it is not, virtually nothing we think of as reality is real. Evolution is supported across so many different scientific disciplines that its unreality would imply the non-reality of all the rest as well.
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      > > >Is there any method to confirm that what we observe is as it appears independent of our observation of it?
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      > > No. Have you studied philosophy at all? You may have heard of Descartes' dilemma or of Kant's categories of the mind.
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      > > Because there is no way to disprove solipsism, one of the unproven axioms on which science is based is that we are not brains in a vat, but actually existing people in an actually existing physical universe which is open to our sense and reason.
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      > > >If not, what meaning does "understanding the reality of the created world" have? I dunno, if evolutionary theory is staking a claim on what "reality" is, then, yes, that is claiming philosophical ground.
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      > > Logically, a created world is one that is the same for all its inhabitants; the rules of order are the same for everyone. Everyone experiences water as wet, fire as hot. No one is exempted from the law of gravity or the speed of light and no living thing is exempted from evolution. The philosophical/theological ground here is set by understanding the implication of creation. Evolution is simply a natural process we observe within that and take for real because we have already decided that the natural/created world is real. Evolution is no more staking out a claim on reality than rain is. An evoltionary creationist accepts the reality of evolution for the same reason he or she accepts the reality of rain.
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      > > Still waiting for comments on these questions.
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      > > > > > > gluadys: Meanwhile,would you like to summarize for us "the most basic understanding of Darwinian theory" as you see it. What basics would you like these average folk to understand?
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      > > > > > > Kurt: Evolutionary scientists create philosophical conclusions,. . ."
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      > > > > > > gluadys: Do they? Examples?
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