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The “conflict lies in perception”: Evolution and Creationism
IT Wire ^ | 08/22/2008 | William Atkins

Posted on 08/23/2008 6:42:59 PM PDT by Soliton

The introduction of the article states, “Having moved to the United States in 1961, he [Francisco Ayala] was shocked when, in the mid-1970s, California sought to introduce an antievolution curriculum into its public schools. How could this be, in the most scientifically advanced country in the world? His bewilderment led Ayala to a lifelong study of how evolution is, or is not, taught in public schools.”

In The New York Times article, “Roving Defender of Evolution, and of Room for God,” it is said, “Dr. Ayala, a former Dominican priest, said he told his audiences not just that evolution is a well-corroborated scientific theory, but also that belief in evolution does not rule out belief in God. In fact, he said, evolution ‘is more consistent with belief in a personal god than intelligent design. If God has designed organisms, he has a lot to account for.’”

(Excerpt) Read more at itwire.com ...


TOPICS: Religion; Science
KEYWORDS: creationism; crevo; evolution; id

1 posted on 08/23/2008 6:43:00 PM PDT by Soliton
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To: Soliton
I'm not a fan of evolution. But I recognize that it could be true. If, at some point, I were to decide that evolution had created all of the lifeforms we see around us, it would not alter may faith in God.

That's how I feel about "evolution".

How do I feel about evolutionists? With all the contempt, derision, "flying spaghetti monster" ridicule? I think goal #1 for most evolutionists is to attack religion and to diminish the importance of God in modern society. Goal #2 is probably to support biological research and buttress the theory of evolution.

In short: Evolutionists would get a lot less grief from believers, if the evolutionists cut back on their (very obvious) opposition to God. They don't need to oppose God in order to support evolution. But their opposition to God seems like the central mission for them.

2 posted on 08/23/2008 6:57:27 PM PDT by ClearCase_guy (Et si omnes ego non)
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To: Soliton
From the article:

Materialism is a philosophical position, affirming that nothing exists beyond “matter,” that which we can experience with our senses. I would say that science is methodologically materialist: it can deal only with the world of matter. But it is not philosophically materialist; it does not imply that nothing can exist beyond what we experience with our senses, as religion requires. One can accept scientific principles and also hold religious beliefs. But, many people are ignorant of science and just assume it is contrary to their religion. Of course, the proponents of intelligent design and creationism are also spreading a lot of propaganda. The only way to deal with the problem is education and specifically science education, which is unfortunately lacking, by and large, and not only in this country.
Some of this will come as news to many posters here.

And did you note the fellow's credentials?

Today, Dr. Francisco J. Ayala is a university professor and Donald Bren professor of biological sciences, ecology and evolutionary biology in the School of Biological Sciences; a professor of philosophy in the School of Humanities; and a professor of logic and the philosophy of science in the School of Social Sciences at the University of California, Irvine.

3 posted on 08/23/2008 7:01:41 PM PDT by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)
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To: ClearCase_guy
In short: Evolutionists would get a lot less grief from believers, if the evolutionists cut back on their (very obvious) opposition to God.

I think you'll find the most of the (few) supporters of evolution still posting here are reacting to the efforts of creationists to teach their religious beliefs in schools in place of, or as the equal to, science, and doing so by falsely disguising creationism as science (first as creation "science" and next as intelligent design).

4 posted on 08/23/2008 7:07:35 PM PDT by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)
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To: ClearCase_guy
I think goal #1 for most evolutionists is to attack religion and to diminish the importance of God in modern society.

Until very recently, biologists simply did their work and reported their findings. I suppose they were arrogant to expect solid work to be accepted as it is in other fields of science.

The interesting thing is that the war on science has escalated. It may have started with evolution, but it now encompasses geology and physics. Not to mention medicine.

Medicine is the one area of science where conservatives and liberals have an equal number of moonbats, mostly in agreement with other.

Liberals seem to have the majority of pseudoscientists in the areas of environmentalism, energy, GM foods, and such.

It's equal time for all with parapsychology, UFOs, ghosts, religious relics and such.

5 posted on 08/23/2008 7:08:48 PM PDT by js1138
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To: Coyoteman
"Science" has been defined in a certain way. If something is physical, if something can be measured, then it is science. Some sort of Intelligent Designer cannot be considered science. Therefore, any science class becomes unacceptably "weird" if it discusses Intelligent Design.

This is a stacked deck. Look at what you posted (from the original article):

I would say that science is methodologically materialist: it can deal only with the world of matter. But it is not philosophically materialist; it does not imply that nothing can exist beyond what we experience with our senses, as religion requires. One can accept scientific principles and also hold religious beliefs.

In my opinion, a science class would be justified in discussing things which "can exist beyond what we experience with our senses". A science class could discuss how people could hold true to "scientific principles and also hold religious beliefs".

But that handy-dandy definition of "science" pretty much says that science class is for material stuff only.

Stacked deck. Done for a reason.

6 posted on 08/23/2008 7:18:58 PM PDT by ClearCase_guy (Et si omnes ego non)
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To: ClearCase_guy

Their atheistic faith does not allow them to put God in the picture. It’s ironic how Darwin was a Deist, who in all practicality was an atheist, but he still had to admit that a creator was the best explanation for the origin of time.


7 posted on 08/23/2008 7:18:58 PM PDT by Force of Truth (Legalize the Constitution::::The power to tax is the power to kill.)
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To: ClearCase_guy
"Science" has been defined in a certain way. If something is physical, if something can be measured, then it is science. Some sort of Intelligent Designer cannot be considered science. Therefore, any science class becomes unacceptably "weird" if it discusses Intelligent Design.

This is a stacked deck. Look at what you posted (from the original article):

I would say that science is methodologically materialist: it can deal only with the world of matter. But it is not philosophically materialist; it does not imply that nothing can exist beyond what we experience with our senses, as religion requires. One can accept scientific principles and also hold religious beliefs.

Science works from a specific assumption, that of methodological naturalism. Those who have religious beliefs are operating under a different assumption.

The problem we are seeing lately is that believers want their beliefs to be taught as science, or at least to be given equal consideration with science.

Because they operate with different assumptions, and using a completely different method, this does not work. Science relies on evidence and the testing of that evidence. Religion relies on some form of revealed knowledge, which is not readily tested. And in those cases where it can be tested (for example, belief in a global flood some 4,350 years ago), the findings of science are often rejected in favor of revealed knowledge.

In my opinion, a science class would be justified in discussing things which "can exist beyond what we experience with our senses". A science class could discuss how people could hold true to "scientific principles and also hold religious beliefs".

But that handy-dandy definition of "science" pretty much says that science class is for material stuff only.

Stacked deck. Done for a reason.

Science can study things which "can exist beyond what we experience with our senses" (parapsychology and other similar subjects). What science can't readily test is the supernatural. And this is where the problem really lies.

So what would you have science do? Accept the supernatural claims of anyone who passes by with no evidence or testing? What if the claims of several people conflict? What would happen then?

In actuality there are some 4,300 world religions (source). Should all of their claims be accepted at face value, or just some of them?

If you prefer only Christian sects to be included, there are tens of thousands of different Christian denominations worldwide (source). Do we include some of these or all of them? And what do we do when they conflict? (Conflicts are why there are so many different groups in the first place.)

I think by now you might be willing to concede that science has to deal with evidence and verifiable claims. If you let any and all claims stand as truth, or TRVTH, with no way to differentiate between them, you will get nowhere.

8 posted on 08/23/2008 7:47:39 PM PDT by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)
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To: Coyoteman
And did you note the fellow's credentials?

Yeah, pretty thin, huh? :)

9 posted on 08/23/2008 7:51:42 PM PDT by Soliton (> 100)
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To: ClearCase_guy
In short: Evolutionists would get a lot less grief from believers, if the evolutionists cut back on their (very obvious) opposition to God.

Please define what you mean by "God".

10 posted on 08/23/2008 7:53:21 PM PDT by Soliton (> 100)
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To: Coyoteman

Your post #8 was beautiful. Just beautiful!


11 posted on 08/23/2008 7:58:33 PM PDT by Soliton (> 100)
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To: Coyoteman

Your post #8 was beautiful. Just beautiful!


12 posted on 08/23/2008 7:58:37 PM PDT by Soliton (> 100)
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To: Soliton

This priest is theologically confused. If... “God has a lot to account for?” That is stupid 12 ways not worth explaining.


13 posted on 08/23/2008 8:19:22 PM PDT by Rippin
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To: Coyoteman

The great discussion begins at the point you wish to have us all grant a priori that your existence is certain and that your intellect is reliable without subjecting those “givens” to science. Why should your “assumption” that a self-recognizing protoplasm, randomly thrown up by the unthinking universe now be deemed a reliable thinker be given a pass and other “assumptions” be held to a different standard?


14 posted on 08/23/2008 8:20:27 PM PDT by Dutchboy88
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To: Soliton

YEC INTREP


15 posted on 08/23/2008 8:21:00 PM PDT by LiteKeeper (Beware the secularization of America; the Islamization of Eurabia)
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To: Rippin
That is stupid 12 ways not worth explaining.

Try

16 posted on 08/23/2008 8:41:15 PM PDT by Soliton (> 100)
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To: Dutchboy88
The great discussion begins at the point you wish to have us all grant a priori that your existence is certain and that your intellect is reliable without subjecting those “givens” to science. Why should your “assumption” that a self-recognizing protoplasm, randomly thrown up by the unthinking universe now be deemed a reliable thinker be given a pass and other “assumptions” be held to a different standard?

The assumption made by science is a working assumption; if better information comes along it can be changed.

It is retained because it produces usable results.

An assumption that "a self-recognizing protoplasm, randomly thrown up by the unthinking universe" can't do anything leads nowhere.

Religious believers are free to operate under any other assumptions that they choose. Have at it! Conduct any research you want in any manner you want. Nobody is stopping you.

But just don't call it science, and don't expect to exercise a veto power over science unless you can produce scientific evidence.

17 posted on 08/23/2008 8:45:31 PM PDT by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)
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To: ClearCase_guy

I think ther are a lot of evolutionists who are atheists. But if the theory didn;pt exist, they still would be atheists.

I know there are evolutionists who are not atheists and I am one. Trying to convince atheists who believe in evolution that they should use it to advnace thier personal philosophies is a waste of time.

Evolution describes the materialistic “how”. It doesn;t address the “why” or the philosophical “how”. Many atheist evolutionists maintain that evolution is the result of random, chnace mutations and hence God couldn;t have a hand in evolution. I think they are drawing a false conclusion, one which is not justified by logic.

God, as the prime cause, created the laws of evolution. Since He is defined as all-knowing, its is impossible that He would not be aware the result of so-called “chance” mutations.

Both believers who state you can’t believe in Evolution and be a believer and non-believers who state the opposite are not thinking logically.


18 posted on 08/23/2008 8:46:47 PM PDT by ZULU (Non nobis, non nobis Domine, sed nomini tuo da gloriam. God, guts and guns made America great.)
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To: Soliton
Science “is not philosophically materialist; it does not imply that nothing can exist beyond what we experience with our senses.”

Some things I believe in that are beyond the five senses: my mind, self-consciousness, free will, truth, reason, logic, mathematical relations, beauty, right and wrong, and the effect music has upon me. I suspect that if all but one of us had four senses, the additional findings of the one person with five senses would be rejected. How many things do we not know for lack of a sixth sense?

There has been a lot of junk science that has been largely accepted. This includes Marxism, Malthusianism, Freudian psychology, anthropogenic global warming, and a host of environmentalist claims. Metaphysics, junk science, and real science - how can one tell the difference? It’s not credentials, or consensus, or any other arguments from authority. One has to buckle down and investigate claims, counter claims, reason and evidence. There has been a lot in the history of evolutionary theory that has not stood the sniff test. This includes Darwin’s candid admission that the fossil evidence did not support his theory (but have faith - it will!), the Piltdown man hoax, and the attitude that goes way beyond the requirements of science. Efforts to impress, control, and intimidate rub the wrong way. They are only necessary if you don’t have reason and evidence on your side.

19 posted on 08/23/2008 8:49:36 PM PDT by ChessExpert (Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant. It is a trace gas that is necessary for life on earth.)
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To: Coyoteman

Oh yeah? Would you care to point out to us, precisely where any school board in the nation has adopted language that states *anywhere* that "religious beliefs must be given equal consideration"? Oh, wait, you said the problem is what some people want to be taught. Wow. How about focusing for some moments on what IS taught?

Here's a link (found using google) which contains information concerning various States official proclamations concerning "science", what they say it is, and in some cases, touching upon what it isn't.

Found anything like you here claim "is the problem"?
Let's examine one, say from Minnesota

Now let's skip over to touching upon some other pertinent info concerning science, evolution, and unproven assumptions masquerading as science;

(underlining and font color emphasis mine own)

Yet, speaking of assumptions, isn't the one about life "poofing" itself in to existence, one of the biggest underlying, unproven assumptions one which a great many of the most vociferous evolutionists, have no problem at all --- taking as an article of "faith"?

Yet that is the one, that is crammed down students' throats!
You (or should I say evolutionists whom delight in bashing "religion", in general) seem to suggest, that the merest mention of some other possibility, including a religious or supernatural one, be verboten? And then there's the issue of your tagline...wow. Religious belief? talk about the pointing hand having even more fingers pointing BACK, towards the accuser!

Here's some skeptical "science deniers", for you (but then, you've seen it before, I'd be)]

Literally HUNDREDs of Ph.d's, tenured professors, doctoral candidates, etc. Signing on to the rather bland statement;

You seem to cling to such ideas as you state here;

How to sort out, and keep track of the various assumptions, differentiating them from the "methodological"? I say, some branches of science might not have such stellar, completely trustworthy record, though we do have some science practitioners well informed and honest enough, to share things such as;


20 posted on 08/23/2008 9:14:37 PM PDT by BlueDragon
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To: ChessExpert
There has been a lot of junk science that has been largely accepted

Yes! like creation science, Intelligent Design, Validation of the Shroud of Turin, Noah's Ark on a mountain in Turkey.

21 posted on 08/23/2008 9:17:48 PM PDT by Soliton (> 100)
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To: Force of Truth
Their atheistic faith does not allow them to put God in the picture. It’s ironic how Darwin was a Deist, who in all practicality was an atheist, but he still had to admit that a creator was the best explanation for the origin of time.

Actually, Darwin was an apostate Christian according to this: Charles Darwin had a non-conformist background, but attended a Church of England school. He studied Anglican theology with the aim of becoming a clergyman, before joining the Voyage of the Beagle. On return, he developed his theory of natural selection in full awareness that it conflicted with the teleological argument. Darwin deliberated about the Christian meaning of mortality and came to think that the religious instinct had evolved with society. With the death of his daughter Annie, Darwin lost all faith in a beneficent God and saw Christianity as futile. He continued to give support to the local church and help with parish work, but on Sundays would go for a walk while his family attended church. However, at the time of writing On the Origin of Species he remained a theist, convinced of the existence of God as a First Cause.

22 posted on 08/24/2008 12:24:21 AM PDT by Mogollon ($5/gal Gas....Kick the Jacka$$es Out!)
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To: ClearCase_guy

Agreed.

Copernicus, Newton, and Einstein believed in God and intelligent design. It didn’t reduce their scientific output, it motivated it!


23 posted on 08/24/2008 4:39:53 AM PDT by ChessExpert (Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant. It is a trace gas that is necessary for life on earth.)
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To: js1138

“The interesting thing is that the war on science has escalated.”

Sheer paranoia.


24 posted on 08/24/2008 4:42:39 AM PDT by ChessExpert (Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant. It is a trace gas that is necessary for life on earth.)
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To: BlueDragon

Thanks for the post.

As for the scientists signing Dissent from Darwin. By definition, they must not be scientists (sarcasm).


25 posted on 08/24/2008 4:52:04 AM PDT by ChessExpert (Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant. It is a trace gas that is necessary for life on earth.)
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To: ChessExpert

I’ve always wondered how many of the scientists who signed the dissent from Darwin petition have lost their jobs as a result. Perhaps someone should check up on them and see if they’re on welfare.


26 posted on 08/24/2008 5:53:14 AM PDT by js1138
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To: js1138

Science through intimidation. What have you come to?


27 posted on 08/24/2008 6:28:21 AM PDT by ChessExpert (Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant. It is a trace gas that is necessary for life on earth.)
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To: Coyoteman
Science works from a specific assumption, that of methodological naturalism. Those who have religious beliefs are operating under a different assumption.

The problem we are seeing lately is that believers want their beliefs to be taught as science, or at least to be given equal consideration with science.

Because they operate with different assumptions, and using a completely different method, this does not work. Science relies on evidence and the testing of that evidence. Religion relies on some form of revealed knowledge, which is not readily tested. And in those cases where it can be tested (for example, belief in a global flood some 4,350 years ago), the findings of science are often rejected in favor of revealed knowledge.

Science can study things which "can exist beyond what we experience with our senses" (parapsychology and other similar subjects). What science can't readily test is the supernatural. And this is where the problem really lies.

So what would you have science do? Accept the supernatural claims of anyone who passes by with no evidence or testing? What if the claims of several people conflict? What would happen then?

I think by now you might be willing to concede that science has to deal with evidence and verifiable claims. If you let any and all claims stand as truth, or TRVTH, with no way to differentiate between them, you will get nowhere.

I say to you again, well DONE, sir.

Consider yourself *highly* commended!

Only two or three other points need to be added to what you wrote there.

1) If you allow the supernatural, and therefore the possibility of arbitrary interference in your studies and experiments, then it makes it harder to state your results with any confidence. Science is based on observation under *controlled* conditions. And if a sprite, or devil, or angel, or any other principality or power, or God, can interfere at any point...there's no use experimenting.(*)

2) Science tends to work on the "null hypothesis": assume the existence of no effect or agent until you can prove it. This tends to minimize the number of "false positives" -- tho' at the risk of "false negatives". Combine this with the "do not put the Lord your God to the test" stuff, and the inability to reconcile multiple competing claims of gods and demigods and whatnot [*by scientific means*, not the Christian "test every spirit"] -- and the scientist runs shrieking away, saying, "I can't differentiate any of these! And so to be logically consistent, if I accept any one of them, I have to accept them ALL, no matter how ludicrous! I'm NOT GONNA DO THAT!" [+]

3) Revelation is inherently individual: "Eureka, I had an insight!" And while it can be described in words, a vision or revelation will not be immediately applicable or transferable in the same way a mathematical description can be. It can be applied, but not *believed*. And of course, there are religious statements which are *wrong*, since religions disagree. (When was the last time you saw a crucifix with a Buddha on it?) Which brings back the scientists's necessity of distinguishing the claims.

(*) The exception is if the interference is either a) small or b) rare, and so can be neglected for the purposes experiment. As the physicists say when describing a model or formalism, "WLOG" (without loss of generality...)

[+] The reason Christians, or other religious people, don't have to do this is that the ansatz of religion is faith: even if you use Reagan's "trust but verify" method, you are explicitly allowed to play favorites up front--since with most religions as such, we are dealing with an anthropomorphic deity [actually, with Judaism/Christianity, God is God, and we were created as "theomorphic" creatures ;-)], and so the relationship is personal, therefore *about* trust. The scientific ansatz is strict neutrality ("equal a priori probabilities"), and any distinction must be on the basis of evidence alone, rather than character or trust of the supernatural agent involved.



Cheers!

28 posted on 08/24/2008 6:45:39 AM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: grey_whiskers

Nice post. We don’t always agree, but then who does?

Since I became aware of the acrimonious debate over evolution, I’ve narrowed down the source of conflict to roughly two issues.

The first is the age of the earth. Simple question, completely settled from the standpoint of science (not biology). Before the age of the earth was questioned by science, there was no disharmony between science and religion. In fact, and many people point out, science was the servant of religion, and scientists thought themselves to be revealing God manifest. So the first sinner in the arena of science was geology. It is not a coincidence that geology is the only science that Darwin had anything like formal training in.

The second great source of contention is man’s place in common descent. I’ve been in these discussions for half a decade, and I read creationist and ID sites. If science merely asserted that plants and animals (but not humans) evolved and that it all happened in the last ten thousand years, there would be little opposition to evolution, and little attempt at mathematical disproofs. I know this because that is almost exactly the position of Ken Ham and the Creation Museum.


29 posted on 08/24/2008 8:45:58 AM PDT by js1138
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To: grey_whiskers; Coyoteman

I see no difference between investigating claims of the paranormal and claims of the supernatural.

But, as Grey whiskers pointed out, science can, at best, provide a limited kind of investigation. If controlled experiments are allowed, as with ESP, science can report that no phenomena is observed. That’s pretty much the limit of what science can do.

There’s another thing science can do, and that is provide a a naturalistic explanation. There’s a rather famous video of Randi confronting a guy who can turn pages in a book without touching the book. Randi simply pointed out that pages can be turned by blowing on them, and that when you remove this option, the pages don’t turn.

This is mostly what science does: ask if there can be a natural explanation and then seek to replicate the phenomenon under controlled conditions. When replication of a large or slow phenomenon is impossible, science seeks to break it down into pieces that can be managed.


30 posted on 08/24/2008 8:55:51 AM PDT by js1138
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To: js1138; Coyoteman
Nice post. We don’t always agree, but then who does?

An olive branch? (!!!) This is practically the first time I haven't been the target of fire from both sides in a crevo thread.

Thanks! I *greatly* appreciate the compliment coming from a veteran of the threads.

Since I became aware of the acrimonious debate over evolution, I’ve narrowed down the source of conflict to roughly two issues.

Keep reading below the remainder of your post. ;-)

The first is the age of the earth. Simple question, completely settled from the standpoint of science (not biology). Before the age of the earth was questioned by science, there was no disharmony between science and religion. In fact, and many people point out, science was the servant of religion, and scientists thought themselves to be revealing God manifest. So the first sinner in the arena of science was geology. It is not a coincidence that geology is the only science that Darwin had anything like formal training in.

The key thing here is your (most excellent!) line
"In fact, and many people point out, science was the servant of religion, and scientists thought themselves to be revealing God manifest."

Once such a discrepancy was pointed out, and the inevitable *shoot the messenger* ensued, it opened the floodgates in many people's minds to (almost by definition)
a) question the Bible as revealed truth
b) question the notion of revealed truth in the first place
c) categorically deny any alleged instance of revealed truth.

d) categorically deny even the philosophical possibility of the supernatural, or of miracle -- since 'scientific" methods do a *much* better job of explanation of the complex and frightening world around us.

Jumping from the first of these to the last ends up being a logical fallacy -- but too many of the defenses of traditional faith end up being poorly-done ex post facto special pleading, or simple denial. Both of which end up digging the hole deeper, and reinforcing the attitudes of skeptics that religion is the attempt of people not intelligent enough, or open-minded enough, to succeed at science, to nonetheless attempt an explanation of the world within the reach of their own limited mental capacity.

The second great source of contention is man’s place in common descent. I’ve been in these discussions for half a decade, and I read creationist and ID sites. If science merely asserted that plants and animals (but not humans) evolved and that it all happened in the last ten thousand years, there would be little opposition to evolution, and little attempt at mathematical disproofs. I know this because that is almost exactly the position of Ken Ham and the Creation Museum.

You have the advantage of me here. I haven't read any creationist stuff since high school.

But I might suggest that there are a couple of other sources for the conflict.

1) The assumption (often taught in college, and on what basis I have not yet seen spelled out) that religion is a primitive vehicle for attempting to explain the world : and the concomitant feeling that religion has been "rightfully" superceded by science, and especially empirical naturalism.

2) In a related vein, the debris left behind by the practice of "higher criticism" in the 1800's. This led in some circles to the conviction that if there is anything seemingly incongruent between a Biblical account or a secular account, that the Biblical one *must* be in error, the more so as Biblical references were scattered about with so many things like Creation, the flood, and miracles, none of which could have any basis in fact or relation to reality *whatsoever*.

3) From the religious side, certain other phrases in Genesis e.g. "according to their kind" seeming to imply that species are invariant: and thereby excluding by definition the phenomenon of "The Origin of Species".

Cheers!

31 posted on 08/24/2008 9:37:59 AM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: js1138; Coyoteman
I see no difference between investigating claims of the paranormal and claims of the supernatural.

I've never been a 'skeptic' even though I am rather cynical and jaded.

Still less have I been an intellectual whore who opens my mind up to anything mystical provided it violates convention or offers an escape from the humdrum conformity of modern Western life...

So I've never had the same fascination with Uri Geller, Bigfoot, Area 51, yada yada as some others, either to believe or to disprove them.

How are you using the word 'paranormal' and how do you distinguish it from 'supernatural'...?

Cheers!

32 posted on 08/24/2008 9:44:21 AM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: grey_whiskers

Just as individual scientists liek Dawkins or PZ Myers jump from the observation that there was no global flood to the conclusion that all the claims of all religions are false, so do a class of believers jump to the conclusion that because PZ is an asshole, there must have been a global flood.


33 posted on 08/24/2008 9:45:58 AM PDT by js1138
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To: grey_whiskers

I would say the word paranormal implies that the natural world contains phenomena that mainstream science denies or, for which, finds no plausible evidence.

The word supernatural implies that there are phenomena in the world caused by God, gods, spirits, demiurges and such.

Paranormalism is an extension of naturalism to phenomena that mainstream science says don’t exist. Supernaturalism is the claim that unseen intelligent entities are the cause of phenomena that everyone agrees happen. (Obviously there are historical miracles that are denied by skeptics, but in general, the supernatural is invoked as a cause of events like storms, disease and recovery, rise and fall of nations, etc.)


34 posted on 08/24/2008 9:55:19 AM PDT by js1138
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To: js1138
Mulling it over; but my wife is calling me for "honeydew day".

Guess that's all for right now... :-(

35 posted on 08/24/2008 9:57:27 AM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: js1138; grey_whiskers; Coyoteman
That's an interesting way to slice the paranormal-supernatural distinction. Another way, which is the way I read Coyoteman's initial use of the term (more accurately, he used "parapsychology"), is that the former refers to phenomena that are repeatable and so can be subject to scientific measurement, if not explanation. For example, science can perform a controlled experiment on someone's ability to guess the next card, or run double-blind tests on the effectiveness of homeopathy. But supernatural phenomena, since they're the result of actions of individual sentient beings who aren't subject to control, can't really be tested scientifically.

These aren't mutually exclusive--I guess poltergeists would be both paranormal and supernatural.

36 posted on 08/25/2008 3:40:04 PM PDT by Ha Ha Thats Very Logical
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To: Ha Ha Thats Very Logical

http://mindfulhack.blogspot.com/2008/08/prayer-are-studies-of-intercessory.html


37 posted on 08/25/2008 3:58:05 PM PDT by js1138
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