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Why some evangelicals changed their minds about evolution

The evolution of man

(RNS) Creationist Christian tourists may soon flock to the Ark Encounter, a literal vision of Noah’s story in Genesis come to life in July as a theology-packed tourist attraction in Williamstown, Ky.

“How I Changed My Mind About Evolution” by Kathryn Applegate and J.B. Stump

“How I Changed My Mind About Evolution,” edited by Kathryn Applegate and J.B. Stump

But this month, another group of evangelicals is making a very different case – minus any animatronic critters — in a new book, “How I Changed My Mind About Evolution.”

It promotes the idea that one can be serious about Christian faith and still accept a scientific Darwinian account of human origins. BioLogos, the organization of pro-evolution Christians in the sciences founded by famed geneticist Francis Collins, teamed with InterVarsity Press to publish a collection of 25 personal essays from clergy, scholars and scientists.

Astrophysicist Deborah Haarsma, president of BioLogos, said the goal of the book was “just to tell stories. Storytelling has a power. It engages heart and soul as well as the mind.”


RELATED STORY: God knows, evangelicals are more science-friendly than you think


One of those stories is her slow, thoughtful shift from the teachings of her childhood church that God created the world, microbes to mankind’s Adam to Eve, less than 10,000 years ago.

BioLogos president Deborah Haarsma lectures on Christianity and evolution. - Image courtesy of the Biologos Foundation

BioLogos president Deborah Haarsma lectures on Christianity and evolution. — Image courtesy of the BioLogos Foundation

But Haarsma, like most of the essay writers, is neither an atheist acolyte of godless science nor a “young-Earth creationist” like backers of the Ark Encounter or its sister attraction, the Creation Museum.

The more science she studied, Haarsma wrote, the more she was driven back into her Bible, asking herself, “What was Genesis really teaching?”

Her childhood church “never taught me the cultural context of the Bible and how the Hebrews navigated the ancient Near Eastern world,” she said. She came to see the Bible as  delivering a unique theological message while using the language of the times.

She treasures Genesis, she said, because she reads in it the message that “God is continually sustaining the universe he created with intention and for a purpose.” Science, she wrote, doesn’t replace God, “it gives us a human description of how God is creating and sustaining.”


RELATED STORY: What’s your ‘cosmic identity’? Philosopher says you have one


However, BioLogos is not relying only on the book to get its message out. This fall the organization will send scientists and theologians on the road to speak to churches, seminaries and universities.

“There’s a lot of room for conversation in our culture,” Haarsma said.

Belief in evolution by religious tradition. Graphic courtesy of Pew Research Center

Belief in evolution by religious tradition. Graphic courtesy of Pew Research Center

Many surveys, like a Pew Research study released in 2015, show a typical three-way split among U.S. adults:

  • 34 percent reject evolution, saying humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.
  • 33 percent say all living things evolved solely due to natural processes.
  • 25 percent say evolution was guided by a supreme being.

However, a study commissioned by BioLogos, the National Study of Religion & Human Origins, found there are more openings to change minds than many realize.

Sociologist Jonathan P. Hill of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., found the same three major groupings:

— “Creationists,” who often said accepting scientific evolution would have “dire religious consequences.”

— “Atheistic evolution” supporters, who take an anti-religious stand for facts, including the scientific view of evolution, as “superior to superstition and irrational beliefs.”

— “Theistic evolution” followers, like Haarsma, who do not see contradictions in the lessons of Genesis and Darwin.

However, Hill’s major finding — one that explains the target audience of the new book — was that in open-ended questions “well over half the population are at least somewhat uncertain about what they believe.”

They could not articulate their basic views on human origins, they held beliefs that didn’t fit the usual categories, or the whole question of human origins wasn’t particularly important to them, Hill wrote.


RELATED STORY: Darwin Day notwithstanding, evolution debate keeps, well, evolving


That question is very important to megachurch pastor and author John Ortberg of Menlo Church outside San Francisco, who adapted a sermon for this book.

Like Haarsma, he moved inch by inch over time from a childhood that didn’t emphasize science to learning more about “the nature of Genesis and the questions it tried to answer in its time.”

He came to see that the Bible is “written for us but not to us. The more we are able to see the Bible through ancient eyes, the more we are able to see science through contemporary eyes,” said Ortberg.

He contributed to the book because, he said, “We are losing too many bright young people who are getting misinformation about science or faith or both. It’s a tragedy for many young people who think they have to choose.”

About the author

Cathy Lynn Grossman

Cathy Lynn Grossman specializes in stories drawn from research and statistics on religion, spirituality and ethics. She also writes frequently on biomedical ethics and end-of-life-issues

119 Comments

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  • The belief in evolution is an interpretation of the scientific evidence, not the evidence itself. It is also not the same as science. The word science means “to know.” Both creation and evolution are philosophical worldview beliefs. The universe and life itself had a beginning. Was it a natural beginning, or a supernatural one? Your answer to that question will be based on your philosophical worldview, and will have little to do with real science. Whatever your philosophical answer is will involve a certain amount of storytelling.

  • we are very close to having the answers to where did we come from. we have fossil evidence of our evolution for the last 450 million years. we have some for single cell life. we can say chemical reactions from elements that were already here could have become living things. we just cant duplicate the conditions of 500 million years ago.

    the writers of genesis were guessing from what they knew then. they created carvings of what genesis was describing and it looks nothing like what we have now.

  • This is another major defeat for evangelicals, comparable to their defeat regarding gay marriage. The term “evangelical”, like the term “Christian”, is no longer a guarantee of anything.

    For Biologos, the only solution is to abandon the Scriptures in a foundational and important area, and surrender to the religion of evolution.

    But intelligent design supporters and young-earth / old – earth creationists have done an excellent job of showing the weaknesses of evolution and the strengths of intelligent design. Biologos is wrong.

  • To the degree that “the Scriptures” contradict the findings of science, they deserve to be abandoned. Why would any reasonable person believe the stories of bronze age mystics instead of demonstrable, provable facts?! Sounds like YOU should read the book!
    “Intelligent design supporters and creationists” haven’t even made a small dent in the edifice that is modern biology which is informed by evolution. All new evidence confirms and supports evolution, be it fossil finds, genetic studies, etc. Sad to see your mind sprung shut like a steel trap….

  • “Creation” is a “philosophical worldview belief” that is based on ancient myths. Evolution, by contrast, is a falsifiable theory that explains a whole universe of observations with great accuracy based on all available evidence. To compare “creation” with evolution is a glaring false equivalence. Evolution, for those unfamiliar with the theory, does not concern itself directly with how the universe and life began, so the assumption that it does do so is a major part of the false equivalence. We will probably eventually find out HOW life started on the planet; but whatever that mechanism turns out to be does not invalidate evolution AT ALL. Evolution is very much science; if you know any biologists, ask them to explain it to you…
    Tree Party Law #1: In real life, there is no such thing as a talking snake.

  • 66 percent don’t reject evolution, saying humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.

    67 percent say all living things evolved solely due to Jesus

    75 percent say creation was done by a supreme being.

  • In addition to what TreeParty said about evolution, please see Wikipedia’s article and references on the “Scientific method”. It will explain the rigorous standards and procedures to which scientific theories such as evolution are continually subjected.

    Meanwhile, as an admittedly quick-and-dirty summary, science tests beliefs, and subjects those beliefs to modification or rejection. In contrast, religion tests believers, and subjects those believers to modification or rejection.

  • I love the summary; brilliant!
    I noticed that aedgeworth has posted 1,079 comments with ZERO “upvotes”. You gotta admire someone who does not condition their sense of self esteem on social acceptance…

  • Thank you, TreeParty.
    Yes, that is an admirable record. (LMAO at our vain exchange of upvotes!)

  • > the weaknesses of evolution and the strengths of intelligent design.

    Why don’t all the brothers in a family have the same DNA?

    Same father. Same mother. Different DNA. Why?

    Identical twins prove it isn’t a problem. So why?

    Why can you never find two people on the planet with the same DNA?

    6 billion of us, but it never happens. Why?

  • All they have shown so far is that they are frauds that are notorious for mine quoting.

    I’ve been hoodwinked by sites under the guise of being scientific academic institutes like creationist and ID sites especially those not open to comments and questioning.

    So far, on forums, when I give these frauds the contacts and email addresses of faculty members they have mine quoted, all came up with some lame excuse not to contact them except for one, but none of them ever get back to me in regards to the quotes and info they misused in order to confirm what the authors meant. I now go with institutions be it affiliated with a religious organization or not where discoveries/breakthroughs have been made in technology, medicine, and cosmology instead of institutions and sites that appeal to sheeple that mostly want their theologically based beliefs “confirmed”.

    Always evaluate sources for bias and credibility.

  • Hasn’t it struck people that the two creation stories weren’t meant to be taken literally?

    * In the first creation story the world was created in six days (Genesis 1:31). The second creation story is about the day of creation. Genesis 2:4b says, “… the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens…”

    * The first creation story is about “God” creating heaven and earth. However, the word for God, “Elohim” is plural in form, and can be both singular or plural depending on context. In the second creation story, “The LORD God” or Yahweh God (The god Yahweh?) is the creator.

    In the first creation story, light was created on the first day, a dome to separate the waters came on the second day and then came the seas and dry land and vegetation on the third day. On the fourth day came the sun, the moon the stars and on the fifth day came sea creatures and birds and then came land animals. Finally, on the sixth day, God (or the gods) created human beings, both male and female, blessing them and telling them to rule over the world.

    In the second creation story, Yahweh God created the man. He then planted a garden which contained every good plant for eating as well as the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. In contrast to the first creation story, which gave the humans open slather and dominion over the plants and animals, Yahweh told the man not to eat the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. At that point, Yahweh created all the animals. After all this was completed, Yahweh created the woman out of Adam’s rib.

    So in one account, God (or gods) created men and women after the plants and animals and in the second account, Yahweh created the first man before he created the plants and the animals.

    You cannot take these two stories literally without doing violence to them. The only thing to do is to take them as creation stories that might have moral lessons to impart but that cannot be taken literally.

    Many of these facts about Genesis have been known to Bible students for well over a thousand years, so it should not come as a surprise to Christians in 2016.

  • You speak of “demonstable, proven facts”, but the reality is that there are a lot of “demonstrable, proven PROBLEMS” when it comes to evolution:

    http://www.discovery.org/a/24041

    Obviously the dutiful devotees of the Church of Darwin haven’t been keeping up, but some of us Christians HAVE been monitoring the current problematic situation regarding the theory of evolution.

    There are problems, weak spots, blank spots, even evidences that tend to counteract instead of confirm evolution (which is why, in your response to Aedgeworth, you’re apparently in such a hurry to separate pre-biotic evolution from post-biotic evolution. )

  • Why are all brothers not the same because half you dna comes from you mum the other half from dad. Baby girls have about 200 000 eggs when they are born, from baby age to reproductive age the eggs can mutate to change the characteristics of the dna in the eggs, plus your dad has millions of sperm, and each sperm is not made identical to your dads dna some or all mutate, fold differently, or environmental conditions alter the dna. Twins have identical dna because I guess the egg splits in two in the uterus. If we could live forever and populate the universe the is a chance that more than one person would have the same dna. Dna has about 3 billion base pairs. And the base pairs are divided into codons meaning three base pairs make a codon. So 3 billion base pairs divided by three would be 1 billion codons, now if you permutate these one billion codons with repetitions that would be 1 billion to the power 1billion that would be the sets of all the dna sequences that there ever will be. So in theory we can already create all the dna that there will ever be. 6 billion is a small number if you compare it to 1 billion to the power of one billion and the age of the universes age does not compare also. Evolution happens every day some people do not see it because it happens in different forms, like resistant bacteria, how the economy changes over the centuries, ideas evolve also imagine the cars of the 1950s and the cars of today evolution happens everywhere.

  • The best way to deal with issues of “quote mining” is for you to have an actual copy of whatever book or article is being quoted from.

    Whenever evolutionists accuse me of quote-mining, I just remind them that I have the book, textbook, or complete article with me. I then invite them to compare THEIR actual book, textbook, or complete article with what I’ve got, and to see if I have quoted anything out of context.

    That tends to silence the accusation of quote-mining, pretty quick.

    (Added in edit: TreeParty’s response has also been posted; waiting on approval).

  • I have nothing against with “I believe evolution was an act of God” belief. At no point does it even come near scientific knowledge. Plus at no point does it demand to be taken seriously outside of one’s faith. You can choose to believe that or not. It does not attack scientific knowledge and methods like Young Earth Creationism or intelligent design.

  • “But ntelligent design supporters and young-earth / old – earth creationists have done an excellent job of showing the weaknesses of evolution and the strengths of intelligent design”

    No they didn’t. They did an excellent job of 1ying about such things and appealing to the more cretinous elements of fundamentalist Christianity. But both ideas are based on dishonesty. To be a creationist/ID supporter is to acknowledge being dishonest.

    Creationism posits that Genesis 1 can be proven to be true by objective methodology and evidence. However no Creationist will accept evidence and arguments which would disprove Genesis 1. So they do not really trust those methods at all. The claim to respect science is a sham. Merely a means to a pre-determined end of accepting fundamentalist Christianity. a creationist claims to have evidence of their belief but really rely entirely on faith. Thus they are being dishonest about the very nature of their belief. The minute a Creationist admits their belief is based on faith, they have refuted creationism.

  • Creationism is dishonest even at a conceptual level. It posits that faith is unnecessary for accepting fundamentalist christianity. But the reality is faith is entirely the reason for doing so.

  • Like the worlds largest Christian sect? The Catholic Church does not accept creationism. At best they go with the ‘separate magisteria” stance or “God used evolution”.

  • Nice to have a civil conversation with you Spuddie. 🙂
    Nothing comes from nothing, and the world with nothing is not going to suddenly have something in it. The Genesis revelation gives a much better understanding of what the Lord did when He created us. Science just hasn’t caught up with Him yet. Blessings.

  • You speak of “demonstrable, provable facts”, but what you’re leaving out are the “demonstrable, provable PROBLEMS” that continually interfere with your religion of evolution. Problems like:

    • Problem 1: No Viable Mechanism to Generate a Primordial Soup
    • Problem 2: Unguided Chemical Processes Cannot Explain the Origin of the Genetic Code
    • Problem 3: Random Mutations Cannot Generate the Genetic Information Required for Irreducibly Complex Structures
    • Problem 8: Differences between Vertebrate Embryos Contradict the Predictions of Common Ancestry
    •Problem 10: Neo-Darwinism has a Long History of Inaccurate Darwinian Predictions about Vestigial Organs and “Junk DNA”

    — examples from “The Top Ten Scientific Problems with Biological and Chemical Evolution” by Casey Luskin, Discovery Institute February 20, 2015.

  • “The Genesis revelation gives a much better understanding of what the Lord did when He created us. Science just hasn’t caught up with Him yet. Blessings.”

    And there you go and mess things up. Rather than simply accept science and religion as separate areas of study with their own strengths and weaknesses, you had to mess things up with such a silly remark to mix the two. You want a sane Christian take on the subject, look no further than Pope John Paul II. In his encyclical “Truth Cannot Displace Truth”. Therein he states the truth is revealed in science cannot be displaced by religious belief. He also states that science cannot displace the truth revealed about the soul or divine. To respect the truth of both, one would not make the claim that Genesis is more true than Evolution. One would say they both have their own truths but not in the same ways. The Bible is not a science textbook. Science books are not scriptures. Confusing the two can only be done through rank dishonesty.

  • This book is wrong headed, for simple reason that it argues from design, or at least from foreknowledge.
    Both are unsupported by the evidence, and further, they miss the gist of evolutionary thinking altogether. it’s not for nothing that Dawkins’ Book is called “The Blind Watchmaker”. And yes, one does have to choose between incompatible views. The statement “The universe and life itself had a beginning.” is not supported by the evidence. It is only supported by logical thinking – which the universe ignores, and in any event, is not bound to follow. I will grant anyone that it is not an idea that comes easily to we mere products of evolution, because it forces us to become introspective and judge our own thought processes.
    A little modesty helps.

  • You seem to be in a hurry to quarantine pre-biotic (origin-of-life) evolution from post-biotic evolution, TreeParty. Why is that, we ask?

    But of course, we already know why. You evolutionists gotta cut your losses, don’cha?

    Indeed, Problems 1 and 2, briefly mentioned above, are but two examples of why pre-biotic evolution is no longer working for you guys. You remember what SciAm editor/blogger John Horgan wrote in February of 2011? “Pssst! Don’t tell the creationists, but scientists don’t have a clue how life began.” Heh!

    There is no need for Bible-believing Christians to be intimidated by the evolutionists any more. If Christians are okay with learning how to fight back, (and it does take a willingness to work hard), they can stand up against Biologos and all such like.

  • Except those are fake problems borne of deliberate misunderstanding of evolution, omission of current knowledge. Quoting the Discovery Institute as a source for scientific information is on par with citing David Irving as a historian. As I stated before Creationism requires fibbing as part of its primary argument.

    In fact when there was a chance to show ID was something other than word substitution of Biblical Creationist text, they came up empty. Kitzmiller v. Dover decision is rife with examples and reasons why Intelligent Design is not science and poor religion as well.

  • “Why is that, we ask?”

    They are different areas of study.

    It is objectively honest to do so. When one is just going to say “God did it” there is no need for objective assessment of facts. If you are intimidated by evolution you are intimidated by facts, rational thought and objective evidence. It speaks badly of your religious beliefs.

    If you want to be taken seriously, don’t quote the Creation Institute. Creationists are seldom actually scientists qualified in the field of biology (ID was conceived by an Engineer with no professional knowledge of biology). Therefore, they are not in a position to pose serious challenges to current accepted scientific ideas in the field of biology.

  • I don’t follow the Pope. He has no influence or authority in my life. I follow Jesus.

  • What you are referring to as a “sane Christian take”, is actually an atheistic concept popularized by a famous evolutionist (Stephen Jay Gould). It’s called “Non-Overlapping Magisteria”, or “NOMA”, and it relegates Christian belief to the back of the bus in terms of history and rationality.

    Gould wrote: “The first commandment for all versions of NOMA might be summarized by stating, ‘Thou shalt not mix the magisteria (of science and faith) by claiming that God directly ordains important events in the history of nature by special interference knowable only through revelation and not accessible to science.’ In common parlance, we refer to such special interference as **miracle**…”

    And so the exact price for your “sane approach”, is that Christians must abandon ALL belief in supernatural miracles as actual history. But as you’ll remember, Pope John Paul II directly wrote: “The spiritual soul is immediately created by God” and openly REFUSED to concede this key part of the origin of humanity to evolutionary theory. So even Pope JPII refused to submit to your evolutionist NOMA.

  • People who use the world “evolutionist” are trying desperately to pretend the scientific theory of evolution is some kind of irrational religious belief. It beseaks a motivation unlikely to deal with the subject in an honest manner.

    ‘it relegates Christian belief to the back of the bus in terms of history and rationality.”

    Any claims that religious belief of any type is base on rationality are entirely bereft of evidence and typically dishonest. Christians, as with any other religious believer, accepts beliefs based on faith. If you really accepted rational and objective proof in order to continue Christian belief, you would have left the faith long ago. There would be no Creationists if it were the case. As a century of research and evidence within the field of biology and several related fields have clearly demonstrated Evolution”s efficacy as a framework for interpretation. Creationism on the other hand recycles 19th Century philosophical points, is impossible to objectively implement to interpret research and requires deliberately irrational conclusions.

    The exact price for my sane approach is the continued development of science and science education in an honest and objective fashion unimpeded by sectarian religious based dishonesty.

    “John Paul II directly wrote: “the spiritual soul is immediately created by God” and openly REFUSED to concede this key part of the origin of humanity to evolutionary theory.”

    Which is fine, since the soul is not an element of scientific study. To claim it refutes “NOMA” would be to deliberately misstate and misrepresent John Paul II’s statements, intent and context.

  • That’s a good habit to have the textbook or complete article. I usually go one step further if there is a disagreement or if a clarification is required amongst those debating. I contact the author or give out the author’s contact info or site where the contact info is available. On forums it’s better to give the site rather than the personal contacts of scientists and faculty staff.

  • Refuted them? They never rose to the point where they had to be taken seriously yet. The Discovery Institute is not a scientific journal accepted in the field or even an accredited scientific organization. They are not qualified to even pose the threat to evolution as a scientific theory.

    How many scientific journals in the field of biology even bothered to address these allegedly clear problems with Evolution? None. Any scientist who could objectively refute evolution would become world famous and praised in the field as an innovator in the field. Yet none have come forward with the credentials, evidence or work with the proper methodology to do so in over a century. Yet there is nothing even coming close to addressing the alleged issues you cite.

    Btw where is your Doctorate in Biology? If you consider yourself capable of refuting it on a scientific level, you would need to have the requisite knowledge and education necessary to do so. Lacking such personal expertise, you would have to go what is generally accepted in the scientific field by its professional apparatus. Otherwise you are just engaging in nutballery.

  • Jesus is no kind of authority on any scientific topic at all. Neither is the Pope, but at least John Paul was a rational being with the benefit of modern knowledge of biology, genetics, etc.
    Meanwhile, as a “sane Christian take” on evolution, you might consider reading The Language of God by Francis Collins, who actually IS a genetic scientist and devout Christian, and who, it appears, has an essay in the book “How I Changed My Mind About Evolution.” He makes a very compelling case for the truth of evolution, even while making a case for his religious faith.

  • Thank you for your thoughtfulness Tree. I’m quite satisfied with the Genesis event.

  • The theory of evolution, properly understood, does not address how life came to be; so “pre-biotic evolution” is a contradiction in terms and does not exist, per se. How life came to be is a great mystery that people are surely working on; but, again, it is only germane to evolution in terms of a larger explanation for the unfolding of life on the planet. Evolution explains how species descend from other species, and how new species arise from older species. And it is exactly true in that explanation.

  • “Problem 1”, as noted below, is not germane to the theory of evolution. Same with “problem 2”; remember that Darwin and Wallace propounded the theory of evolution, still known to be true, about a hundred years before the genetic code was understood!
    “Problem 3” is simply a canard. If anyone could “prove” this claim, they could become very famous; but of course, they cannot prove this claim. Indeed, there is a newly published study in PLOS 1 that says that bioluminescence in marine fish evolved independently at least 27 times!
    “Irreducible complexity” is a construct (with a poor track record in biology), not a fact of nature.
    “Problem 8” is another canard. Can you cite any examples of the truth of this statement?! Ah, I didn’t think so..
    “Problem 10”; yet another canard. Of course, all scientific theories are subject to ongoing elaboration, refinement, etc. But to suggest that these “problems” mean that evolution is not an extremely robust basis for understanding of much of biology is fundamentally dishonest.
    Speaking of which, are you aware that Casey Luskin is a lawyer who is not a biologist?! You should be…

  • “Upvotes” in a forum have no evidentiary value. I’m not naturally inclined to the scientific method, I prefer the Humanities, however, everything I’ve read, for and against evolution has tended to reinforce my own “logical” conclusion that Creation makes more sense than Evolution. The scientific method is subject to error and bias, as is any other discipline, and testability in this instance is presently beyond us. Philosophically, purposeful Creation trumps undirected Evolution in the minds of most people…it’s more comforting. Ultimately, the proof of either proposition will be determined for each individual when they reach the “other side.” If Creation is the basis for life, one will surely discover it, if not, it won’t really matter will it. I’m willing to bet based on “Pascal’s Wager.” You could look it up.

  • Right you are planning to go to the Last Judgment as an opportunist! Seems risky to me. “Would that you were hot or cold…..”

  • “Upvotes in a forum have no evidentiary value”
    But then, “Philosophically, purposeful Creation trumps undirected Evolution in the minds of most people…”
    Nothing makes more sense than evolution. Consider that chimpanzees have 32 teeth just like you, have a belly button just like you, have hair under their arms just like you, have the same genome as you within 98%, etc. etc. To argue that chimps and humans do not have a common ancestor is to apply no “logical” reasoning at all. To the extent that there IS evidence for evolution or creation, ALL the evidence favors evolution…
    Despite your distaste for science and logic, I challenge you to read the book being commented on here instead of merely sharing your ill-informed prejudices.
    And Pascal’s Wager is a VERY weak argument for the existence of God, never mind for Creation. You can look THAT up! The “other side” is the wrong side of the grass, man!

  • We are told that God created the universe ex nihil, from nothing. There is no reason to think that God had a supply of materials that it used to create the universe.

  • Yes, you are your own pope. You know everything? Only you possess the truth? Other human beings, especially scientists are stupid and inferior to you?

  • Biblical authority is a cozy way of saying I can ignore 2000 years of science while using my computer after I get my vaccinations.

  • When you put it in those terms, It’s a guarantee that no one sane or educated will take you seriously.

  • That’s why it’s called ex nihil. From nothing. The big bang theory also says that the universe was born ex nihil.
    How can you have a supply of nothing?

  • Huh? I didn’t know that a spirit without vocal chords, a tongue of mouth could speak. You’re using a figure of speech, right?

  • No, they have not. They failed miserably in the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial. They had every opportunity to present evidence and could not.

  • I also find personal attacks to be distasteful as well. Further, it is unlikely that this latest text, which I did not refer to in my remarks, has anything new to add to the argument. There are a sufficient number of PhD’s in many scientific/mathematical/statistical disciplines who are doubtful of evolution to persuade me that it is not the slam dunk evolutionists’ claim.

  • I appeal to Pascal’s Wager primarily as a lark, I actually have a very defined framework of belief based on the bible. I was once a skeptic, but over thirty years of study, and the working out of biblical truths in the world I observe around me only reinforce the stand I have taken. I love it when people like TreeParty, who have no knowledge of my background, or the texts I have read for and against this issue, have to resort to invective to buttress their argument, howsoever otherwise worth consideration.

  • [“…a new book, “How I Changed My Mind About Evolution” . . . promotes the idea that one can be serious about Christian faith and still accept a scientific Darwinian account of human origins.]

    The science of evolution sheds light on the genesis of the human body in time and space, to be sure–but it tells us nothing about the origin of life (Spirit) which remains a mystery. It is that mystery which the world’s wisdom traditions speak to:

    “The Virgin today brings into the world the Eternal
    And the earth offers a cave to the Inaccessible.
    The angels and shepherds praise him
    And the magi advance with the star,
    For you are born for us,
    Little Child, God eternal!” ~ Roman Catholic Catechism

    https://jeshua21.wordpress.com/2012/12/26/the-word-made-flesh/

  • “Upvotes in a forum have no evidentiary value.”
    But then, “There are a sufficient number of PhD’s in many scientific disciplines who are doubtful of evolution to persuade me that it is not the slam dunk evolutionists claim.”
    So; whose votes do you pay attention to? I sense someone who is very conflicted on the issue of “the votes”. And since you are clearly not open to the evidence, and have no interest in considering the testimonies of people of faith who have been persuaded that evolution is true, I have to count you as a lost soul. Pity..

  • “I actually have a very defined framework of belief based on the bible.”
    Belief is not evidence, nor is it reasoning. Belief is certainty born of desire.
    It is putting one’s finger on the scale.

  • Not conflicted at all. “Upvotes in a forum” are merely a cross-section of agitated opinion, hardly to be compared to “Upvotes,” (Your term) by scholars with legitimate academic credentials. Such individuals may indeed be in the minority relative to the balance of the scientific community, but that doesn’t mean their arguments aren’t worth considering. Few of us are purely objective, we tend to be convinced by those whose arguments most closely reflect our particular “point of view” (read: bias). I have read fairly widely on this subject (for a Layperson) from both sides of the argument, it is merely my sense that arguments from Creation make greater logical sense than undirected Evolution. Peace.

  • Bafflegab!
    “We all think in the same unchanging way” (Kant)
    This means that we are all born with logical reasoning, which is why 2+2=4 for all humans. It has nothing to do with belief. The 66 little booklets of the “Bible” were written by men, not by gods. They wander and are inconsistent, violating the medieval consensus that “God can do anything but contradict himself.”

  • Yes, I know; you are partial to a good story more than actual knowledge. In scientific matters, it is better to have your conclusions dictated by the evidence than by your “feelings”.
    For example, you should be aware from your “wide reading” that evolution explains very satisfactorily why koalas and kangaroos live, only, in Australia; why polar bears live, only, in the Arctic; why humans were not around when dinosaurs roamed the earth. “Creation”, by contrast explains none of these things. So how is it that “Creation makes greater logical sense than undirected Evolution” considering the facts of the planet as we find them? Don’t you see the manifest weakness of “Creation” as any kind of explanation for the observed facts of the world? Fish have gills and get their oxygen from the water. But marine mammals, who also swim around in the ocean, have lungs and get their oxygen from the air above the water. Evolution explains that observable fact extremely satisfactorily; “creation” doesn’t explain it at all! Are you just that deliberately uncurious?!

  • “The universe and life itself had a beginning.” And you “know” this how? Don’t tell me- it just seems logical, and human logic is enforced on the non human how?

  • anyone heard of the missing link? if evolution were true there would be fossil evidence proving it

  • Whassamatta; can’t find the shift key on your keyboard?
    Yeah, we’ve all heard of the oldest canard in the denier book, the “missing link”. No such thing!! ALL the fossil evidence supports evolution, in every conceivable particular. If you do an internet search for “list of transitional fossils”, you will find lists that are literally longer than your arm of “missing links” that ARE NOT MISSING! See, as always; to dispel ignorance, you have to put out a little effort to learn the facts. It is always better to remain silent and RISK being thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

  • shift key on key board ? are we back in school ? are you a teacher grading papers? im talking about fossels that are half fish half animal, half animal half bird knucklehead. not small variations to a skull like your pictures show. until you can come up with real evolution fossils like i mentioned shut your mouth goofus

  • Half fish half animal?! You don’t realize that a fish is an animal? Yeah, dude; you NEED to be back in school! A bird is also an animal, and so are you! An oak tree, not so much.
    Here’s your homework, and don’t let the dog eat it: actually DO an internet search for “list of transitional fossils”, and write a paragraph on the meaning of Tiktaalik, Archaeopteryx, Ambulocetus, and Australopithecus Afarensis. Due Monday..

  • oh look there goes a flock of animals flying south for winter..show me the pics of anything becoming something else in all stages.

  • On second thought, sending you to school would just be a waste of perfectly good pencils and notebooks, not to mention the teacher’s time.
    The first thing anyone learns about evolution is that it is a gradual process that takes many generations to produce distinct new species. No one claims, for example, that evolution means that a monkey has a human offspring. If you are not willing to take the first baby step in understanding evolution, then YOU ought to shut your mouth because you are just spouting cartoonish ignorance.

  • Kant, I think is a poor authority to reference. Kant was a mere philosopher, and Philosophy is the art of answering questions that do not need to be asked. Belief is a point of view, but it has to be undergirded by a foundation, facts are usually best, but not everyone will agree on what constitutes a fact; Where does that leave us? At loggerheads. Your snapshot analysis of the bible seems insufficient to me, consisting primarily of an unsupported assertion.

  • Evolutionary explanations for the conditions you describe are merely surmises, they do not constitute proof. And, yes, I am not at all curious about what I consider to be subjectively biased, unsupported guesses on the part of scientists who, in an amazing spirit of hubris, think they have divined the answers to the origins of both our world and our universe. Design is much the logical choice, especially when measured against the astronomical odds weighted against spontaneous generation in the formation and development of life by chance.

  • if its a slow process” tree hugger” then there will be plenty transitional fossils all over the place. i never said a monkey birthing a human, i said fossils showing a fish slowly becoming a snake or a bird becoming a cow or a dog becoming a monkey. i’ll save you some time you’ll never find it. and this simple truth is what really tears you atheists apart

  • Evolutionary explanations for the isolation of Australian marsupials, the isolation of polar bears to Arctic regions, etc., are NOT “mere surmises”; they are conclusions supported by multiple convergent lines of evidence – fossil records, biogeography, comparative anatomy, ecology, genetic analysis, etc. They constitute “proof” about as strongly as anything in science can be “proven”; they are highly predictive, and falsifiable but unfalsified. And as compared to “creation”, or “design”, (or whatever you want to call this religion based, unscientific charade) that offers no disproof of evolution, and really no explanation AT ALL for all the observed facts about the world; well, let’s just admit that you can’t beat something with nothing!
    One more time, again, for the very hard of learning: evolution does not explain how life began. What is so hard for you to understand about that?! Evolution is about the origin of species, not the origin of life. We do not yet have a satisfactory scientific explanation for how life started on the planet. But we can be certain of at least two things: 1) how life started on Earth is not explained at all in the bible, and 2) however life did start is not inconsistent AT ALL with the subsequent evolution of life forms on the planet.
    Yeah, fancy the “amazing spirit of hubris” of those impertinent scientists who believe that it is actually possible to know things about the world, and how the world works. Scandalous! But where would we be without them? Answer: the dark ages. Ugh.

  • 1) There are plenty of transitional fossils all over the place. As previously pointed out, your intellectual laziness has prevented you from acquainting yourself with them. Shame on YOU.
    2) You did NOT “say fossils showing a fish slowly becoming a snake or a bird becoming a cow or a dog becoming a monkey.” But now that you have suggested these cartoonish misrepresentations of evolution, I feel obliged, in the spirit of charity, to point out to the hopelessly ignorant that evolution DOES NOT predict fish becoming snakes or birds becoming cows or dogs becoming monkeys. Why don’t you just “man up” and actually read something about evolution to see how wrong you are? You lied about what “you said”. Shame on YOU.
    3) You have literally NO IDEA of what evolutionary theory is all about, yet you presume to dismiss the theory that is regarded as scientific truth by the vast majority of scientists; the near unanimous majority of biological scientists; and billions of educated people around the planet. Please; ask a friend about the shift key!

  • i lied ? you said there’s trans pics all over the place, show me the pics present your case don’t make me find your pics and present your case for you. i’d hate to have you as my attorney

  • Please; ask a friend about the shift key. Until you can evince a basic understanding of English grammar, and how to effectuate that with a computer keyboard, you do not deserve to be taken seriously as an adult..

  • Unfortunately, there are a number of problems with the fossil record, but apart from that, why have there been several instances where the record has been deliberately falsified by evolutionary enthusiasts; peppered moths, Peking man, Piltdown man, Haeckels’ embryos. Or the shifting of the goalposts when it comes to homology? It won’t wash. Further discussion on this topic is pointless. Go in Peace.

  • Unfortunately for you, “further discussion on this topic” is your future, since evolution is true and is only becoming a larger part of the edifice of human understanding as all new evidence supports and confirms it. Practical jokes notwithstanding…I understand that you are frustrated that your profoundly weak arguments against evolution have no effect on the edifice of human knowledge. Maybe you could go live in a cave and not have to deal with this aspect of reality in the future (even though many of the animals that live in caves have reduced or nonexistent vision, for reasons explained by evolution!) The “scientific method” is here to stay, as is the theory of evolution. You will have to make your peace with it.

  • that’s right try to divert attention away from fossil evidence and towards grammar like a delusional atheist.

  • Evolution isn’t really all that complicated, but it is more complicated than knowing how and when to use the shift key to capitalize the first word of a sentence, proper names, etc. If you don’t understand the latter, you are certain not to understand the former. To sum up, you are:
    1) Apparently unable to form a coherent sentence in the English language, and too dim to understand why that inability weakens any argument you might have.
    2) Woefully ignorant, and too intellectually lazy to educate yourself.
    3) Rude.

    I will stop wasting my time trying to explain to you what hundreds of millions of educated people are capable of understanding. If you really want “a picture” of a link that is not missing (and are not just trying to get me to do your work for you..) just look up the Wikipedia article on ambulocetus; there is a picture of the creature (obviously not a photograph, you do understand?), and a photo of the fossil skeleton. Ambulocetus. One of many; I have already listed some names for you. Good luck trying to understand the article!

  • Enough. O.K. Try to retain some sort of courtesy and dignity along with your zeal. This is my last word to you on the subject. If you reply, you will be striving against the wind. Go in Peace.

  • I seriously doubt you can tell me anything that I don’t already know, but if you have any questions I am more than willing to fill you in..

  • There is nothing new about the claim that JudeoChristianity is not REALLY at odds with science and rationality, though there may well now be more evangelicals (as opposed to historically “liberal” religions) breaking ranks with their fundamentalist brethren: the last half-century’s advancements in paleontology, geology and genetics are ever harder to wish away. But this “compatibleism” has always come at the same price: intellectual dishonesty. The Bible is clearly an all-too-human product of a pre-scientific time, and attempts to evade the parts revealing this to be so–from all the passages showing what an evil being Yahweh was to the great masses of false history and anti-science–can only continue to encourage such dishonesty. –Professor Emeritus F. M. Christensen

  • First of all there are two creation stories, and different lessons can be drawn from them.
    * The most obvious one is that God (or gods) created the world (or the universe.
    * The next one is that humans were created by God (or gods) and are made in their image.
    * In the second creation story there was the order not to eat the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. I guess the moral of this story is to do as you’re told. (This moral also appears to be presented in the story of Pandora’s Box). Others could take these stories to suggest that we are not supposed to search for knowledge or that seemingly innocent actions can lead to disastrous consequences. (Ask any Australian about the introduction of rabbits, prickly pear and cane toads to this continent!)
    * One moral that has been taken from the story is that the animals were created for our use.
    * These and other morals may or may not be useful in a modern context. For instance, the order to “increase and multiply” may need to be rethought now that the planet is becoming overcrowded.

  • I wonder how appropriate it ever is to not seek knowledge and not to question authority. It sounds like a recipe for oppression.

  • If you take these creation stories that way then they will certainly be oppressive. However, we can take moral stories more critically than that. It is possible, for instance to agree that many hands make light work while also accepting that too many cooks spoil the broth.

    The story of Pandora, for instance, can be taken in many ways, including as a warning not to be too curious. However, when scientists introduced cane toads to control the cane beetle. Instead we got a plague of cane toads! You could truly say we opened a Pandora’s box of trouble by bringing that pest to Australia!

  • I’ve seen the garden story used for years to blame women for “sin” and as an excuse to keep them subservient to men.

  • The problem here is that if evolution explains our origins and I think it does, then there is no need for God. Occam’s razor.

    Also there is the problem of a god who uses evolution as his tool is not a god who cares for individual suffering. This was the cause of Darwin’s crisis of faith and his atheism. He cited the example of the Ichneumonidae, a family of parasitic wasps who lay their eggs inside live prey. The prey are paralysed so they cannot move, but there is no anaesthesia; the prey can feel themselves being eaten from the inside out.
    If you don’t care about caterpillars, we can use the examples of the tsetse fly, rabies and numerous species of botfly which infest humans and many other high mammals, causing incalculable suffering.
    Whenever there is a meeting between evolution and God, He doesn’t come out at all well.

  • True. However, the creation stories can be used for all sorts of purposes, from the “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve” to “Adam was a first draft,” Bible stories are a happy hunting ground for a wide range of opinions.

  • “Kant was a mere philosopher, and Philosophy is the art of answering questions that do not need to be asked.”
    “do not need to be asked?” (“need”)
    Well there you have it- the finger on the scale, born of desire!

  • Clearly, you would agree that philosophers’ often going chasing butterflies, would you not? Even as a conservative Christian, I am often exasperated by the tendency of classic Christian philosophers to spend their time, in effect, on determining how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. As to the bible authors being inconsistent wanderers merely demonstrates that you have not delved deeply or thoughtfully enough in the texts.

  • As a scientist and engineer, information is a key. And information does not spontaneously arise, nor does it evolve. Given what we know of information theory, biological evolution is nonsense, and abiogenesis is impossible. Furthermore, the death and mayhem which sorts out “evolutionary” strengths is hardly sound doctrine.

  • I would not argue about there being one creation, but the two creation stories contain irreconcilable differences if they are taken literally. I do not believe that this is a defect to be concealed or a fault to be gloated over but a key that can open a whole new world of insight and enlightenment.

  • This, as opposed to, “the burning bush nailed itself to a cross and removed its own rib to make itself a companion and then there was light.” Seriously, bruh, our faith doesn’t mean attacking the scientific process. It means accepting the Gospel, and spreading the good Word!

  • Only in as much as none of it should be taken literally.

    Don’t want to start a flame war but picking and choosing which bits are literal is just a way of excusing the bits that have been proven false.

  • That’s the problem with religion as a whole… Far too easy to pick the parts that _you_ think are important and then decide that’s what should be important to everyone else.

    Of course, taking it all literally is impossible as there are so many inaccuracies and errors. Taking the whole thing as allegorical is somewhat better but results in morality no more or less significant than Aesop’s Fables.

    I’ve never understood why intelligent people who accept some of the Bible can’t be literal still accept other bits as literal. Seems utterly irrational to me.

  • “Information does not evolve”?

    Well, I suppose it depends on how you’re using evolve but in the everyday sense, of course it does. Ever edited a document?

    Now if you’re arguing “doesn’t evolve without interaction from an intelligent being” then we need to discuss what you mean by “information”. If we’re using the word in the same way Physicists would (eg the black hole information paradox) then you’re also clearly wrong. Information in that sense is changing continuously throughout the universe (to the best of our knowledge).

    So… What point were you actually trying to make?

  • What a close-minded approach. You’ve been told something that resonates with you so you won’t question it any further in case you don’t like the answers.

    If we all did that, we’d still be living in caves.

  • Why do you insist on trying to insult people who think logically by accusing them of following a religion?

    Nobody here is calling Christians “dutiful devotees of the magical zombie”.

    Grow up, use proper words and act like you’ve actually got an opinion that isn’t copying/pasting the religious literature you’ve been brainwashed into believing.

    If you don’t understand the arguments yourself, that’s fine (we’ve all been there at some point or other), but take the time to learn so you can respond intelligently.

  • By definition _everything_ is transitional. People a few centuries ago were shorter on average. We’re the transitional state between nthem and people in the future who (presumably) will be taller.

    Those people in the future will be the transitional state between us and whoever comes after them.

    How is this is a difficult concept?

  • If only we lived in a universe where the correct answer to every question was the most comforting one.

    Unfortunately, we don’t so there’s no reason to believe the comforting answer is the correct one.

    Unless, of course, you don’t care about correctness and are really looking for a (false) sense of security, irrespective of the facts.

    Thus… Religion.

  • Your intellectual stubbornness aside, I think most (of us) would appreciate your using proper capitalization (hence, the shift key). That, and maybe less resort to calling people names!
    Thanks in advance. Carry on!

  • You misunderstand evolution in a quite aggressive sense. That’s why people grow frustrated with what you ask: half-fish, half animal? What does that even mean? Half animal, half bird? Your terms are so general they are scientifically meaningless. Categories of living things and their lines of development are formed around descent or ancestry. We can trace similarities in form and function back through reptiles, for example, to find commonalities at stages in evolutionary history. As a form of ape, human beings have ancestors in the evolutionary line that shared many features. We have common ancestors with species of apes that developed with entirely different sets of environmental, and thus evolutionary pressures. Evolution radiates. As a result, many species of animals that once existed, some scientists estimate as many as 99%__are thus now extinct. This is the natural progression of a grand experiment in life. If you are seeking spiritual meaning from all this, that’s a different question. And here’s the answer: Human beings are supposed to treasure and respect life in a different fashion from less sentient beings. We are called, if you must have a label for it, to use our awareness in that fashion. Some call that Godlike. Others call it practical reality. In either case, the fact of evolution is true. Those who deny are just missing out on the real origins of life rather than ascribing them to a presumption.

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