'God Is Not Threatened by Our Scientific Adventures'

A genome researcher explains how he reconciles science with his deep Christian faith.

kpelley

06/20/2010 04:55:43 PM

This article is what my belief in God meant to me when I was a teenager. I have yet to change my attitude. I deeply respect the wisdom of scientists because I think that when they are serving,God, they are being scientists. The Bible is what the Bible is and you can be a committed Christian and follow the wisdom of science and evolution. There are many nuggets of wisdom in the Bible, but many committed and religious Christians miss those ideas because they were hidden for those advanced believers and knowers. However, I was raised as a Catholic Christian, so my beliefs are pretty radical to Evangelical Christians.

natureboy_the0

07/23/2007 08:40:08 AM

With faith (having substance and evidence to support unseen beliefs) science proves creation. Believers do not use dictionary or reasoned word definitions to interpret scripture but see the words as facts without meanings man can grasp although John 1:1-4 suggest everything is made with “verbal means of explaining”. Since man use words we are suppose to comprehend everything supported by Roman 1:20’s “the made things reveals the godhead”. Believers separate the made from the written or can’t understand seen things is the reason for this religion vs. science discussion. Most scriptures are allegories and metaphors believed as facts man would alter (more than they have) if they were until the revelation could not be obtained. Being written as is, they are allowed to remain without much molestation and the wise (Dan. 12:10) can brings forth the intended vision to those who are truly seekers of truth. Elijah, the prophet like unto Moses.

ruvain

06/20/2007 12:34:52 AM

For example, the first verse of the Torah is false. "In the beginning G-d create the Heavens and Earth." We know that the Heavens and the Earth were not created at the same time. Ha-Shamayim predate Ha-aretz by about 12 billion years. Thus, the heaven and earth were not both created "in the beginning." Anyone who has FAITH that the Torah is literally true is following ha-yetzer hara as he is following a path he knows is factually false. Maimonides said the Torah was not factually correct and that was 1,000 years ago. Oh, how we have regressed in 1,000 years!

ruvain

06/20/2007 12:26:00 AM

Dear HLouKizer, Quoting scripture does not prove that the scriptures were not written by men for other men. Historical research proves that the Torah was written by Jews for political and sociological reasons and the Torah definitely was NOT written down by Moses. Similarly, we have proof that the added Christian books were written and rewritten by men and that the modifications in the teachings corresponded to the changes in the political climate. The crucial step in being a man of FAITH is to believe to be true something you know to be false. (continued)

HLouKizer

06/12/2007 06:14:02 PM

cont. Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man:but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit." II Peter 1,20-21

HLouKizer

06/12/2007 06:06:35 PM

For anyone who says the bible and the scriptures are just stories written by men of olden times and does not apply to modern times, please read. "Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance." "For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty." "For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." "And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount." "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: II Peter , 1,15-19 cont.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

10/21/2006 12:06:51 PM

Veritas, Why believe in the Death and resurection at all? Why not believe in the life and teachings that can be used to teach others? I wrote to Gnosys on this subject about the age of the universe and knowing that even scientists lie. How can you know the age of the universe with out knowing the over all size of the universe? We might be able to see another galaxy with millions of stars in it, and those stars might while forming a galaxy be so far apart from each other that space travel from one star to another is impossible, a reality that we must consider. The result is that there very well could be other life in the universe evolved from a source unknown but the life is from an event and time allows change. Life evolves, so should religion. If you were to teach of the good of man would you curse those that are learning?

jacknky

10/18/2006 02:37:30 PM

Steppen, I find your posts interesting and edifying. Please keep it up.

jacknky

10/18/2006 02:36:03 PM

Getting back to this interview, I found it amazing that this reputable scientist relies so much on sheer belief in his personal life. It seems so contradictory.

steppen0410e

09/18/2006 09:17:03 PM

Why consider the Bible at all? It's cosmology is wrong; it's full of contradictions and untold inconsistencies; many of its prophecies have failed utterly; it's morality borders on the nasty; and on goes the list of nullities. On top of the many transitional fossils that undeniably testify to the truth of evolution, there is the converging evidence from any other number of independent scientific disciplines that vouchsafe the reality of evoultion. And, quite frankly, there is no good reading about creation. Just plain old wishful thinking.

Veritas61

09/18/2006 05:18:13 PM

The Bible says(paraphrasing) the world was created in 6 days. How do you reconcile this fact w/ evolution? If one argues that these weren't literal 24hr days, then was Christ in the grave for 3 days or was it millions of years? If one says that "all living things were descended from a common ancestor", where is the fossil record of all these transitional organisms? And what of Eve? How was she evolved, considering the biblical account? The greatest miracle in the Bible is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Acceptance of this is the prerequisite to being a Christian. How does one accept the greatest miracle but not accept the lesser miracles (like creation)? Logically, does this make sense? For some good reading about creation, go to www.answersingenesis.com

steppen0410e

09/09/2006 11:29:28 PM

I didn't 'miss' the point 'about where to find this Spirit of God in ALL that exists', TheGreatWhiteBuffalo, I just don't see that it has any value, other than, perhaps, providing for those who demand from a universe that is patently indifferent to our existence a little comfort and consolation. I can, and do, respond with awe and wonder to the universe, and that on a daily basis, it is just that I do not make any demands upon it (the cosmos) to render me anything. I'm just happy to have the rare opportunity to be here to experience it. And I can genuinely feel at one with all life upon this world simply by understanding the fact of our common descent without indulging in all kinds of spurious stuff about 'God's Spirit' and the like.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

09/09/2006 06:15:29 PM

Steppen, I think you missed the point about where to find this Spirit of GOD in ALL that exists, to see the wonder and awe, in creation. To look at life from the side or point of view that because you live in you lives the ability to attune with the highest power, GOD. Now to identify GOD one thing in the Bible is true, not any one human is GOD alone. We all need helpers. The unified generation, in truth.

steppen0410e

09/05/2006 10:47:34 PM

It would be rather a shame to shy away from human potential to the extent of 'getting off the bus' simply because a few might conflate it with visions of grandeur, or in deference to some supposed 'higher power' that, if it exists at all, appears utterly indifferent to human concerns and to life generally on this planet.

Ocams_Razor

09/05/2006 04:57:16 PM

Heretic - You're not talking to me because I have said none of what you seem to imply: I am well aware of humanity's superstars and the goodness people are capable of. Nor did I suggest that humanity is a 'piece of crap' or that we should feel shame about who we are. My point is to assert there is a danger in enthroning ourselves without acknowledging our falliability.

Heretic_for_Christ

09/05/2006 03:05:05 PM

Ocam, Pride and arrogance are different things. It is fitting and proper for us to take pride in our accomplishments. (What? Should we be ashamed of them?) Arrogance is something else entirely. As for our character outside of scientific and technological achievement, let's see. How do such non-technologic types as Shakespeare and Dostoyevsky, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky, Rembrandt and Rubens reflect the human character? How about the courage of police and firefighters and soldiers and even passers-by at a disaster scene? Any cause for shame there? We can take potshots at politicians, but Washington, Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt were all great men whose legacy was immensely positive. It is a conceit of dogmatic religion that humanity is basically a piece of crap. I sincerely believe that those religious leaders who have promoted this vile blasphemy were actually looking into mirrors when they made such pronouncements about humanity.

Ocams_Razor

09/05/2006 02:44:53 PM

Stepp - this is where I leave the bus because it is my belief in a higher power that gives me caution about pride and arrogance in human ability and achievement. It is also what keeps me holding my faith very carefully and being vigilant for arrogance there. We are an ingenious species if we look at our scientific achievements but if we include other measures of our character we will quickly find our humilty.

steppen0410e

09/04/2006 11:28:00 PM

(continued) And let us keep in mind that, for a species that - by cosmic timescales - has only just learned to walk upright, the challenges are staggering. Yet, over the last three hundred years or so, as we've progressed from classical to relativistic and then to quantum reality, and have now moved on to explorations of unified reality, our minds and instruments have swept across the stupendous expanse of space and time, bringing us closer than ever to a world that is a deft master of disguise. This itself is part of our spiritual story.

steppen0410e

09/04/2006 11:18:24 PM

I don't think the 'scientific explanations' of spirituality are as 'vastly inadequate' as you suggest, Ocams_Razor. One thing is for sure, science would not have remained mute on spiritual questions for long. Even now we see the first stirrings among psychologists and neuroscientists of what may one day become a rational approach to these matters - one that will bring the most rarified mystical experience within the purview of open, scientific enquiry. While,perhaps, certain questions may forever remain outside the purview of science, the paradigm of meritocratic rational enquiry will undeniably provide us the means of giving it our best shot.

Ocams_Razor

09/04/2006 10:59:36 PM

And what of the 'spiritual'? The scientific explainations of this that I've studied seem vastly inadequate - as though science is grasping at straws. How do we explain the psychic phenomenon of the Stanford studies? The statistically significant effects of a human on "chaotic" or "random" events? The Non-local Effects of Quantum Physics? Bumblebees that fly even though they should not be able to according to all known laws of aerodynamics? Are we waiting in faith for science to find answers to these bizzare scientific findings? Yes, answers that we are able to comprehend may be found one day, but what of those questions that will arise from those findings? Do you believe that we will ever "know it all"?

steppen0410e

09/04/2006 10:18:54 PM

I think we are all agreed that there is a huge difference between religion and spirituality. The religious prepensity is to couple an embrace of untestable propositions with an insufficient taste for evidence.

steppen0410e

09/04/2006 10:12:01 PM

Yes, and as Dawkin's points out, 'If I am in the witness box, and prosecuting counsel wags his stern finger and demands, "Is it or is it not true that you were in Chicago on the night of the murder?", I should get short shrift if I said, What do you mean by true? The hypothesis that I was in Chicago has not so far been falsified, but it is only a matter of time befoe we see it is a mere approximation.' Science boosts its claim to have a grasp on reality by its spectacular ability to make matter and energy jump through hoops on command, and to predict what will happen and when.

Ocams_Razor

09/04/2006 09:27:30 PM

Yes, I've heard the car story too and yes, it has merit. But as any lawyer knows - a person's perception of any event can be torn apart with a series of good questions = reality is questionable.

Ocams_Razor

09/04/2006 09:25:09 PM

I think where we continually get confused in these discussions is in the trap that religion is spirituality. I think religion and its writings understood metaphorically are an expression of spirituality, a vehicle or a language to talk about spirituality - an imperfect language. Doctrine is something else altogether - it is a dumbed down version designed to enforce consensus. Can science be spiritual? Absolutely, I believe.

steppen0410e

09/04/2006 09:19:39 PM

The best response I have ever come across to those who doubt the existence of an objective and verifiable reality is that given by Bertrand Russell, who said that he wished the people questioning reality would get into a car and drive straight into a wall at a speed proportional to their belief that the wall is not real.

Ocams_Razor

09/04/2006 09:12:26 PM

(2) And while I remain open to a different perspective I try to hold all these 'stories' laterally - the stories are all equally valuable but how they're weilded by the subscriber is where assessment is necessary.

steppen0410e

09/04/2006 09:11:18 PM

(continued) Speaking personally, I see the scientific enterprise as a quest to discover order in the external world of space, time, energy and matter, while, at the same time, perceiving the spiritual quest as an attempt to discover order in our consciousness. Since the whole of reality is built both of matter and consciousness, no antagonism should exist between the two quests. Many of the great spiritual traditions suggest a stronger connection between ourselves and the rest of the cosmos than is suggested by the ordinary confines of our subjectivity. A truly rational investigation of this dimension of out lives would allow us to explore the heights of our subjectivity with a truly open mind, whle shedding the provincialism and dogmatism of our religious traditions in favor of free and rigorous enquiry.

Ocams_Razor

09/04/2006 09:02:28 PM

I've never heard the expression of "binary" understanding/perception - I'll use it often. Thanks. However, I continue to struggle with this idea of there being an objective and verifiable reality - I simply don't believe in it and despite an exhaustive search I have never found proof of its existence. What my experience has led me to believe in, with ample support, is that all we have are stories - personal, religious, spiritual, scientific - all stories we use to explain the world and our experience of it.

steppen0410e

09/04/2006 09:00:23 PM

In addition to what H4C has said (although he did touch upon it), and another distinguishing feature that illuminates a significant difference between science (emipirical faith, if you like), and religious faith, is that science is the only human activity with a built-in-system of self correction when tested against the vagaries of the world. We don't know what truth is. We can only approximate it. The scientific method(s) remain by far the best means to achieve that approximation.

Heretic_for_Christ

09/04/2006 05:58:54 PM

PS to previous: Looking further at this idea that nondelusional people can make accurate indepedent observations, and the fact that those observations are not perfect does not invalidate them: This is because true and false are not simple binary opposites. Of interest, religious fundamentalists tend to think in stark binary terms, saying things like, "You can't pick and choose from the Bible - you either have to accept it as the inerrant word of God or toss it out entirely as a lie." On the subject of this board, God and science, fundamentalists binary attitudes are seen when hey sneer at science for constantly revising its understanding and point to faith as superior because it never changes. But this is like saying that science would have done better to stop learning and just accept ancient notions of science without question. They demand absolute proof in science (see item 3 of previous post), yet dogmatically assert that the Bible is, itself, absolute proof of their beliefs.

Heretic_for_Christ

09/04/2006 05:47:29 PM

Ocam, I can think of 3 separate ways in which reality might be "questioned." 1. In modern physics, our notions of existence and reality break down at the ultramicroscopic quantum level; yet physicists accept and deal with reality as we perceive it on the macroscopic level. 2, The example you cite. But overtly distorted or delusional perceptions are NOT just as valid as the perceptions of nondelusional people. Nondelusional people can make independent observations that agree with each other, and these perceptions need not be perfect: Saying "The Earth is a sphere" is not precisely true (it is an oblate spheroid). Saying "The Earth is flat" is also not true. But describing the Earth as a sphere is approximately true whereas describing the Earth as flat is totally wrong. 3. Obsessive cynicism can question anything with an indefinite chain of challenges, "How do you know that?" It is a sterile perspective.

Ocams_Razor

09/04/2006 03:00:52 PM

I might be off base with this one but I'm operating on half my cylinders today anyway - but I'm hearing some asumptions in all this, such as verifiability being synomynous with objective reality which has never been proven to exist. I've worked with mentally handicapped and psychiatric patients for many years and I have witnessed the power of subjectivity and how a shared perception can be mistaken for 'reality' which is not shared by all. How do we navigate this while maintaining a semblance of what we call sanity, or "collective experience" and how does this change our understanding of science 'fact' and faith?

steppen0410e

09/04/2006 05:03:34 AM

Fair enough, and explained with eloquence. Thanks, H4C.

Heretic_for_Christ

09/04/2006 01:09:30 AM

I don't see it as a question of avoiding a label, and I don't think it is a function of vagueness so much as verifiability. Whether we are talking about religion or anything else, faith can exist only for those beliefs that lie in the realm between what has been proven true or shown to be very likely true (in which case faith is irrelevant) and what has been proven false or shown to be very likely false (and it is in this latter case that faith is irrational). I can construct a made-up but physiologically plausible description of life on some planet orbiting a different star than our sun. It can be as detailed as you like; and there is not an iota of evidence to support or refute the existence of such a creature. Therefore, it is not irrational to believe in it, and that description is not at all vague. But if I posit alien beings of completely vague description, who are firing death rays at us from the moon, then such a belief is irrational because no such death rays have struck the Earth.

steppen0410e

09/04/2006 12:40:27 AM

On reflection, though, H4C, are you not simply suggesting that, as long as we keep our definitions suitably vague we can avoid having them labeled irrational?

steppen0410e

09/04/2006 12:20:42 AM

Heretic_for_Christ: It is only in the context of the 'doctrinal belief in a god described in specific terms. that I utilised the term 'irrational faith'. Any other concept of 'God' is typically too vague and diaphanous to warrant any kind of terminology or description, or much discussion. Denisemac: I think that was probably the longest unpunctuated sentence that have ever read! By the way, I had a religious upbringing where I do not think evolution was mentioned even once. It was much later during the middle years of my education that I began to perceive the strength of evidence for evolution. It is now, of course, a theory which is as sound as any in science. In contrast, there is a complete absence of evidence for the concept of God that you have embraced. But I do acknowledge that it is a concept for which many people draw comfort and consolation.

Heretic_for_Christ

09/03/2006 10:32:50 PM

steppen, You commend my distinction between rational and irrational faith, yet you do not seem to understand me. It is NOT irrational to believe in God. There is no evidence FOR the existence of God (if there were, we would have no need to talk of faith) or AGAINST God (the fact that scientific models do not require God is not an argument that there is no God). In the absence of evidence for or against the existence of God, belief in God is a matter of faith. And such faith is NOT irrational. Faith is not irrational merely because there is no evidence to support the belief; it is irrational if there IS evidence AGAINST that belief. Nor does rational faith imply logical probability; it merely indicates possibility, defined as that for which there is no evidence either way. When we move from a deistic belief in God to a doctrinal belief in a god described in specific terms, THEN faith is irrational, for there we find massive self-contradiction.

denisemac

09/03/2006 10:18:17 PM

let me put it this way I do not have proof how I think nor does science have proof of it or how we all are capable of such a thing but as I know that I do so also I know there is God for when I connected with him years ago I knew him and he knew me and I know those who also know him and know that God is good and it is beyond a shadow of a doubt but science will never prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that evolution does exist except in the minds of those who have been taught it from the time they were little till now and believe it for it makes them feel comfortable that there is not a God out there judgeing them. As a matter of fact he is not out there judging anyone. We are all his children and he is within is all.

steppen0410e

09/03/2006 09:46:06 PM

I think Namchuck makes a valid point. All objects of irrational faith fall into, so to speak, the same field. Irrational faith can be additionally defined as belief without sensory evidence or rational proof, so this places such notions as that of God, leprechauns, tooth-fairies, goblins, etc, all into the same category. They all lack any support from sensory evidence and rational proof.

Ocams_Razor

09/03/2006 07:36:42 PM

Grasping at straws? Nope - been there, done that and don't need to go there again. Do you have something more to offer on this? I'm, honestly, not sure what you hope to gain from this post.

namchuck

09/03/2006 06:38:01 PM

Ocams_Razor continues to grasp at straws (his gravity argument) in an attempt to prop up his promiscuous faith. I think steppen put it best when he said, 'God is simply epistemologically unnecessary.' Since when most talk about God they never use logic (as in mathematics) nor utilize the usual senses (as in science), talk of 'God' seems little more than a discussion of something akin to a debate about a bladeless knife that has no handle.

steppen0410e

09/03/2006 06:13:03 PM

(continued) Science encompases more than just simple observations, or as you would have it, Ocam's_Razor, on simple beliefs and faith. Science incorporates the construction of theories, or models, of the world and the vigorous testing of these theories against the observations. But you are right, the findings of science are 'always arguable'. This is because science always leaves itself open to new information. In fact, this is the litmus test for reasonableness: anyone who wants to know how the world is, whether in physical or spirtual terms, will be open to new evidence. People seem generally to conform to this principle in most circumstances, the exception being in the realm of religious and irrational belief.

steppen0410e

09/03/2006 06:02:07 PM

Ocams_Razor: Heretic_for_Christ has beautifully identified the essential difference between rational and irrational faith. All religions are based on irrational faith (i.e., they lack any compelling evidence). Even opposing religions are based on irrational faith. If irrational faith can lead to false beliefs, what value can there be in it? You might want to suggest that even scientific 'faith' get's it wrong sometimes, and you'd be right. Science is littered by theories that have been discarded, but that is the nature of science and - seeing we are using such terms in this discussion - its saving grace. Science is both evidence-based and self-correcting. Show me a religion that is either?

steppen0410e

09/03/2006 05:47:37 PM

That is exorbitantly strange of you, Denisemac, to say that you will never 'get' following something that doesn't have proof. Now, while evolutionary theory has any ammount of data and evidence that identifies that it is true, in fact, overwhelmingly so, your religious faith doesn't rest on an iota of evidence or data! What a weird inversion that you should make such a statement and then simply continue to adhere to your baseless beliefs.

Heretic_for_Christ

09/03/2006 05:09:37 PM

Part 3 of 3: I disagree with the statement that science aims to keep itself mainstream; one might as well say that rational people believe in rationality. And indeed, from the beginning of the 20th century, science moved into realms of understanding so strange - relativity, quantum mechanics and uncertainty - that it had to leave the comfortable mainstream perspectives of Newtonian physics. There was no choice, for that was where the evidence led. Yes, indeed, faith (in God, presumably) can grow. There is nothing irrational about that. Irrationality comes in when one's faith is not in God but in the Bible as the inerrant word of God, for that type of faith (techically, bibliolatry) requires ignoring factual evidence and logical analysis.

Heretic_for_Christ

09/03/2006 05:09:27 PM

Part 2 of 3: Thus, the difference between faith in science and faith in God is that the former is based on evidence that cannot be reasonably denied, and the latter is based on nothing. That doesn't mean faith in God is false, but that it IS faith, whereas "faith" in science is not really about faith at all. Alternative explanations in science certainly do exist; but most often, as knowledge grows, some interpretations become less and less plausible. When astronomers noticed retrograde planetary motion, some realized that the church-approved geocentric model of the solar system was wrong; defenders of the geocentric model came up with an alternate explanation for retrograde motion: planetary "epicycles." Yes, it was an alternate explanation - but it was false, and eventually the heliocentric model supplanted the false geocentric model. Continued

Heretic_for_Christ

09/03/2006 05:09:06 PM

Part 1 of 3: Ocam (btw, usually spelled with double-c). Thanks for your note. Science is a "belief system" only in the sense that we accept almost everything we see on faith - but whereas religious faith offers no evidence for the existence of God, the faith we display in everyday life is based on constant experience. To the ultimate cynic, I can't PROVE that I even exist, or that the sun has not exploded within the past 8 minutes, or that the ruler I use to measure a line isn't miscalibrated, or that the US Congress has not been taken over by alien imposters. Yet these things are self-evidently preposterous. Conversely, the 5 postulates upon which Euclid based hundreds of proven geometric theorems are self-evidently true even though they cannot be proven through simpler principles. Continued

Ocams_Razor

09/03/2006 04:12:34 PM

Heretic ! THERE you are. You always teach me something and I'm glad you're back (Last I heard you were taking a vacation from the site). However - I have two points for further discussion: 1/ I beleive Science is a belief system - it involves faith in the instrumenrt, calculations, replication process etc. While it isn't based on faith, the 'proof' of science is always arguable and there is always another interpretation - we are just exposed to mainstream science which has a process in place to keep itself mainstream. 2/ Can 'faith' not develop and grow?

Heretic_for_Christ

09/03/2006 01:09:11 PM

Arrgghhh! 4. "...but keeps growing...."

Heretic_for_Christ

09/03/2006 01:07:20 PM

A lot of heated comments about "proof" and "rationality" and "faith." So I'll add my own. 1. Where there is proof, there is no need for faith. 2. The absence of proof that something is true does not mean it is false. 3. Rationality is not at all incompatible with faith, for rationality does not dictate what we must believe but sets the limits to what we can believe, by excluding that which has been proven factually false or logically self-contradictory. 4. Scientific knowledge is never complete but keeps grows, and new knowledge forces adjustments in how we understand the universe; the intrinsic limits of science in no way invalidate it and absolutely do NOT turn science into "just another belief system." 5. Those who deny the validity of evolution demand absolute proof where proof is never absolute, yet accept scripture as truth not only in the absence of proof but in the face of its logical self-contradictions.

Ocams_Razor

09/03/2006 11:25:48 AM

Rational Faith seems to me to be an oxymoron. The faith that one has in science to explain the world is just as rational as a belief in a diety - both are emotionally based irrationalities. Your use of gravity as a fact doesn't hold up when you look at the science "beliefs" about it - nobody knows how it works as we continue to seek the elusive graviton. There is faith that it will be found by science.

denisemac

09/03/2006 03:09:21 AM

no step I will never get following something that does not have proof about evolution or the proof that creation happened without him, never in a million years. I also find it hard to believe that one would believe in science that does not prove anything but demand that someone proof that God exists. Sounds like a double standard to me.

steppen0410e

09/03/2006 12:15:03 AM

Apologies, that should have read: 'God is simply epistemologically unnecessary.'

steppen0410e

09/03/2006 12:11:45 AM

Denisemac: You just don't seem to get it, do you? Science is not about 'proving' or 'disproving' the existence of God (although science would suggest the possibility grows incresingly remote for such an entity). The accumulative evidence for evolution renders the probability that it is as true as the theory of gravity, or the first law of thermodynamics. Science has explained the formation of the Earth and the evolution of the life that is upon it with enormous success, and it has done so without the need to invoke any kind of god. Gos is simply epistemologically unnecessary. People once invoked the gods to explain a whole lot of things that we can now explain in completely naturalistic ways. The gods' utility function is now pratically nil.

steppen0410e

09/03/2006 12:03:36 AM

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo: Science deals in evidence and data while religious belief rests entirely on assumption for which it cannot, as said below, advance the least evidence. And science is not about 'proving' anything, but about constructing models of reality. Those models just happen to be stunningly and overwhelmingly good, with immense explanatory and predictive power. There is no evidence at all for your suggestion of 'multiple origins even at different time periods'. But if such evidence were to surface, then there wouldn't be any folk more excited about it than the scientists.

steppen0410e

09/02/2006 11:54:37 PM

Ocams_Razor: If science invokes faith, then it is of the rational variety, like the faith I have, say, that New York actually exists even though I have not seen it with my own two eyes. I have seen all kinds of data and evidence that would strongly suggest that New York is a reality, so my rational faith reast on that. Also, there is no emotional investment in rational faith. Religious faith, on the other hand, because it cannot advance a shred of evidence for its grand and baroque assumptions, is, consequently, completely irrational. But it has been good discussing with you.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

09/02/2006 11:08:44 PM

Consider that Science cannot determine if the origin of life started at one point or several. Let's say that we can find a really old fossil, the question that I have is how does this early fossil prove that life, (Human Life) hasn't been fashioned or created any where else on the planet, worst of all scenarios is that if life started at another point where there was a harsher climate or other conditions that precluded fossilization then all we know is a fragment of the true history. Science is dabbling in history much like the Bible dabbles in the origin myth of man. On some level both are wrong and both are correct. Imagine multiple origins even at different time periods, a Long, long time ago... Looking back in time it would take more information than we have today to make a final conclusion.

denisemac

09/02/2006 10:06:36 PM

and I repeat science has proven no such thing. Where is your sciencetific proof that there is no hand of God in the "creation of the Earth, not in the evolution of the life that is upon it" in his own creation? It hasn't even proven evolution let alone how life began.

Ocams_Razor

09/02/2006 09:00:23 PM

Stepp - this has been a good discussion and you've made some excellent points. We've touched that impasse that exists between science and faith - except to suggest that faith is the common denominator in both our perspectives. Maybe that's where the discussion needs to end or reside - how do we explain "faith" without discussing that which we put it in?

steppen0410e

09/02/2006 06:59:47 PM

You ought to learn to read, Denisemac. I said that science has shown that God is not to found either in the 'creation of the Earth, not in the evolution of the life that is upon it'. In other words, science has successfully explained both without the need to invoke the God hypothesis. So, when you suppose that I have taken a 'big step over the cliff', you have really only identified your own benightedness in respect to science.

denisemac

09/02/2006 12:59:46 AM

wow step that was a big step over the cliff! Where is your proof that science has proven there is no God in his creation?

steppen0410e

09/02/2006 12:11:36 AM

(continued) Actually, and on reflection, I am going to have to revise my previous statement about 'how could science discover something that's not there?' Of course it can! For instance, while science can neither prove or disprove the existence of God, science can tell us where God isn't, so it is capable of discovering something that is not there. God isn't to be found in the creation of the Earth, nor in the evolution of the life that is upon it.

steppen0410e

09/01/2006 11:57:00 PM

(continued) And the fashioning of imaginary space by science is decorated, unlike religion, by real concrete discoveries, discoveries like Einstein's general theory of relativity or Hooke's law of elasticity, etc. Realities that, if superceded by future discoveries, will have to include the successes of these theories within themselves just as Einstein's general theory included Newton's theory of gravity within itself.

steppen0410e

09/01/2006 11:06:04 PM

We've found agreement, Ocams_Razor! Science and religion don't need one another. Are there assumptions in science? Indeed, but not baroque one's of the kind that characterize religion. Scientific assumptions are only ever minimal one's, but even they are, again unlike religious assumptions, never immune from criticism, revision, or rejection. And it is nonsense to suggest that in accepting the scientific method one accepts some kind of God. While it goes without saying that 'Science cannot discover anything that is not already there' (how does one discover something that is not there?), religion is preoccupied wholly with things that were probably never there.

Ocams_Razor

09/01/2006 09:14:16 PM

...and, by the way, what is science but a fashioning or itemizing of imaginary space? Science cannot discover anyting that is not already there.

Ocams_Razor

09/01/2006 09:11:06 PM

Okay - so science and religion don't need one another. They are perfectly capable of standing alone and we are free to choose which we will follow - the baroque and insupportable assumption or the science of our five senses which is equally unsupportable philosophically. In accepting either we accept a God into our lives - a god in the sense that we beleive in it, follow it and 'worship' it. You've chosen science, I've chosen both.

steppen0410e

09/01/2006 07:53:20 PM

Double *sigh*. 'My' science is not threatened by God anymore than it is threatened by any other Baroque and insupportable assumption of theism. While it doesn't interest me at all how many scientist's believe or do not belief in the existence of a deity (the stats suggest that fewer and fewer believe in such), science itself can do without the hypothesis completely. It is just epistemologically unnecessary. And I would suggest that it the value of science lies both in the answers it provides and generates. Religion is just the fashioning of imaginary space.

Ocams_Razor

09/01/2006 05:05:40 PM

*sigh* Why is it that your understanding of science is so threatened by God? I'm not sure what science you're studying but the science I read and the scientists I know have become a little less sure in their denial of a diety's existence - which is a result of their studies. The value of science comes from the questions and mysteries it provides, not from any answers it has generated.

steppen0410e

09/01/2006 01:07:20 AM

God may not be threatened by our 'scientific adventures', but science does not require the hypothesis of God in order to explain how the world works and is.

steppen0410e

09/01/2006 01:03:32 AM

Bypassing the inane business about science's supposed 'failure...to adequately describe the world', yes, I have 'experienced science in the real world'. I have seen its predictive power borne out time and time again. I have also seen a patient cured by an advanced scientific medical procedure under circumstances where they were totally incapacitated and unable to exercise anything remotely resembling faith.

Ocams_Razor

08/31/2006 10:07:01 PM

Hi Stepp: I belive we're having problems finding a point of agreement and that's not an uncommon problem. However, I believe it is a failure of yours to acknowledge the failure of science to adequately describe the world and, therefore, your incredible faith in it. I must ask: Have you ever directly experienced science in the real world? Have you ever seen a patient be cured by a proceedure that the patient did not have faith in? Those ancient supersitiions have been replaced by modern superstitions - you will see this if you look deep enough. All things are, as a Doctor I know says, "placebo" - if you don't believe in it, it doesn't effect you. If you only believe in science then you miss the spirit and you will never be whole. If you believe in spirit and not science the same will be true. We need to blend them - not ignore them.

steppen0410e

08/31/2006 08:57:49 PM

Oh, come on, Ocams_Razor, even Capra has backed off from playing that game any more. I could show some dazzling examples of religious writers and thinkers, many of them from differing and even contradictory religious positions, who have indulged in that kind of sordid nonsense. And science does not require faith, or, at least, not the kind of faith demanded by religious belief. While science may entail stories, they are increasingly accurate stories. Science remains by far the single most succesful set of tools to learn about the natural world and to predict its behavior. Furthermore, it is the only human activity with a built-in system of self-correction when tested against the vagaries of the real world.

Ocams_Razor

08/31/2006 02:40:02 PM

Stepp: Maybe we shouldn't be so arrogant about our licence on truth and recognize that the ancient writings of religions have a perspective we can learn from. Frijitof Cappra's, "The Tao of Physics" reveals many parallels between Hindu art and beliefs and current Quantum Physical knowledge. These books, as metaphorically understood, might contain wisdom we can no longer access. Science is not FACT anymore than any other perspective - without faith it wouldn't even qualify as a good story.

steppen0410e

08/30/2006 09:57:17 PM

RichardAMarch: Unlike you, I do think that the processes of 'creation/evolution' will probably, and eventually, be fully answered. And, again, unlike you, I see no compelling evidence at all supporting your claim that 'God is good', 'God is sovereign'. On the contrary, in fact. I see no evidence for either of your assumptions. While, undoubtedly, there is much we have yet to learn, and maybe some things will remain forever outside the reach of our science (and maybe not), there is no need to invoke benign sky-beings in a cosmos that is overtly indifferent to our existence.

steppen0410e

08/30/2006 09:50:11 PM

I didn't say that the 'books' were without cultural significance, but the worldviews they represent, which were, in their day, now long past, valid attempts to provide a theory of the nature of man, man's place in the universe, etc, the fact is that we now have far better explanations for these things. And I do not believe for a moment that science is incapable of 'bring(ing) us to understand existence in a factual way'. It seems to me that you misunderstand science.

RichardAMarch

08/30/2006 01:41:11 PM

The details of how we got to be here are continuing to be beter understood. However, I am convinced that certain questions about the processes of creation/evolution will never fully be answered. Or as one question is answered, new, more basic, questions will arise. I don't know how far one has to go from a literal reading of the Genesis account(s) of creation to be compatible with today's understanding of evolution. It is enough to know that God is good, God is sovereign, and "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I was also fully known.(1 Corinthians 13:12)"

Ocams_Razor

08/30/2006 10:11:10 AM

The idea that any of our ancient writings are 'passe' sounds a little ethnocentric - what we have in these books are ties to our past as a people and a race of beings. It seems unfair to me to discount their experience of the world in a way outside of our scientific perspective. We need to understand that our science is just another story - a way of understanding the world in a different way from our ancestors. That science can bring us to understand existence in a factual way is as erroneous as the idea that there is an absolute reality that is self existent and beyond our perspectives. All we have are stories - science is just one rendition that requires faith to give it life.

steppen0410e

08/29/2006 10:15:33 PM

Taken overall, there are few scientists today worth their salt that would deny the fact of evolution. There may be a few - a minuscule number - who debate the mechanisms of evolution, but hardly a one that would challenge its fact. As to the compatibility of the Bible and evolution? Hardly a problem as long as one doesn't hold to a literal interpretation of its two contradictory creation accounts. While the Bible still offers some great poetry, great stories, and some good morality, its worldview is now passe and little more than a museum piece. And it is only by dint of the luck of birth and cultural that we are even discussing this issue. Had we been born in New Delhi, Saudi Arabia, or Papua New Guinea, while the science would remain essentially the same, we might be trying to reconcile it with other and different old books and creation myths.

denisemac

08/29/2006 07:38:15 PM

I would be excited if UFO showed up for it would be something new to learn about

windbender

08/29/2006 06:55:54 PM

freddieo - Haven't a clue about the UFO incident in DC in '52. I'll Google it though. Thanks. And, of course, you are correct. The presence of other life hardly makes the case for, or against, a supreme being. Doubtless, there are verses which, when viewed under just the right light, will make it clear that they were there all along, should little green men pop up one day.

freddieo

08/29/2006 12:40:14 PM

windbender are you old enough to remember the Washington UFO incident of 1952?? Also: what difference will it make if we are not alone? To me,it has no influence on how I see God;God is explainable even if aliens land tomorrow and"prove"they started this colony,x-number of years ago. have a nice day,, jw

jb1knobe

08/29/2006 12:45:55 AM

Great read! He does a great job conveying ideas I have thought a lot about. This book has increased my faith in God, and that is cool.

arbico1

08/28/2006 11:16:40 PM

All theories, speculations and hypotheses, just may not be. If at first you don't succeed...

denisemac

08/28/2006 11:08:44 PM

we have proven how we are, how old the universe is, how old the earth is, how clouds are formed, that the same amount of water exists now as it was in the beginning, that life needs the sun water and air to live, that diseases are caused by a virus, that we can mend broken bones, that when we get cut we bleed, electricity can be control through wire, that there is a negative and a positive of a majority of things in life, how faast light can travel and what direction, how sound spreads and can made louder, how to keep time using a clock, to project on our tv and radios, do you wish I go on?

windbender

08/28/2006 09:40:09 PM

Our planet just may not be the only inhabited one in the universe. What then?

windbender

08/28/2006 09:39:17 PM

How do you prove that someting - anything - just may not be?

denisemac

08/28/2006 07:41:28 PM

and by the way there are scientist who are proving that evolution just may not be the truth just like there are those who are still fighting to keep pluto a planet.

denisemac

08/28/2006 06:57:44 PM

brightmoon: I am not a creationist I am a thinker who searches for truth and I do not see the truth that they have proven anything. It is all conjecture. When you read science it is full of, we think, the odds are, there is no evidence that states the "fact is". No where does it states exactly what we came from. show me a statement that proves we came from. The bible stating that not all flesh is the same that each is made unto its own uniqueness makes more sense. It is all flesh and blood so yes of course our DNA would be the same but our make up unique to each species.

brightmoon

08/28/2006 06:41:44 PM

Dr collins who knows huge amounts of details about genes and how they work (much, much more than laymen do)isnt afraid to state the truth God ISN'T threatened by our scientific adventures

brightmoon

08/28/2006 06:38:21 PM

actually denise ..biologists and paleontologists can "prove" that we evolved from other organisms the theories of evolution(yes, it's actually theories) only say that every organism that has ever lived on this planet are all kin ........why do you creationists feel so threatened by the FACT that rosebushes are your cousins? to me that fear of evolution (and science in general) just seems bizarre and counterproductive

denisemac

08/28/2006 01:44:14 PM

can they prove that we did come from them? No it is nothing more then speculation. so we are left to believe bible scripture or science.

arbico1

08/28/2006 12:20:45 PM

Can you disprove the possibilty that the Earth evolved as science speculate, but corruption and chaos resulted in mass destruction, followed by Gods miraculous restoration of life along with the introduction of "modern man"; created in the image of God; not evolved from primates?

yes50

08/28/2006 11:05:10 AM

Genesis 1:1 God created the heavens and the earth, God created mankind. No the bible does not go into the primitive man, or animal. It is kind of interesting though. To think that there were these people and animals here and how they evolved into what they are today. And to think about the people in the bible and how many people there were on this earth before me. But I do not at all believe that we evolved from primitive man.

freddieo

08/27/2006 04:58:03 PM

Look to the books for guidance,and concepts to be followed,look to the spirit for truth and understanding. the old man says that you can percieve as much of the truth(proportionately)about the world,as you can be be of the truth while in it;maybe he is right. Have a nice day,,jw

windbender

08/27/2006 04:33:10 PM

Though, of course, the Book of John contradicts this.

windbender

08/27/2006 04:32:23 PM

Elijah, Enoch and Moses all were promoted sans the Grim Reaper.

denisemac

08/27/2006 03:21:44 PM

fred: for scripture tells us that only Jesus has risen and gone to heaven. No one else has. The dead will not rise again until Jesus returns. What would be the point of the resurrection if it has already happened? God knows his creation for he forplanned it. "The dead know nothing" says the psalmist "dust you are dust you shall return? Only the lord will not see corruption.

freddieo

08/27/2006 03:05:19 PM

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo: Perhaps God does provide inspiration periodically, to help understanding evolve as technology changes.Giving the complete explanation initially would have been pointless because we couldn;t have understood it;and I agree,it needs to brought to a point where we can all "see" and worship the same way;true understanging though is the key.Unfortunately,most religous people do not seek true understanding,since they have found enough to believe,they only want to push those beliefs onto others. Have a nice day,,jw

freddieo

08/27/2006 02:53:43 PM

sballew: if you can believe Jesus lived with god before being turned into human form;what makes it difficult to believe we all lived there before being sent here(especially if you believe you can go back there when you die).The principle is the same.Remember,he said to Jeremiah (in 1:5)something about,before I formed you in the womb,I knew you. Think about it. Have a nice day,, jw

LivingEZ123

08/27/2006 02:00:35 PM

People have been reconciling faith and reason since the two were created. Great leaders have always used reason to manipulate the faith of the many. Faith isn't really the problem. It is the lack of reason among many of the faithful. On TV I saw a women who really believed the Virgin Mary appeared in the underside pattern of her turtle. I would have thought her a bit "off" but she had many others who also saw this manifestation of the Virgin Mary. I doubt the Pope believes the Virgin shows up in Turtle shells.

denisemac

08/27/2006 12:00:08 PM

gen 1:20 let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, (a soul). 21 after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind. We are shown that animals are living souls just as us. As in another scripture ecclesiastes 3:18-19 they themselves are beast, for that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts. they all have one breath, man hath no preeminence above a beast for all is vanity 20 all go on onto one place all are of the dust and all turn to dust again

sballew

08/27/2006 11:37:19 AM

quote "And the word (message, expression) BECAME flesh. It wasn't flesh, the word wasn't Jesus before his physical body existed, but NOW it is." I believe in Catholicism, we believe Jesus has always existed with the Father, he just wasn't in human form until God the Father had Jesus begotten of a mother and the spirit. The Holy Spirit, too, has always existed with the Father. The three persons in one God always existed, they never had a beginning, and will not have an end.

sballew

08/27/2006 11:34:14 AM

As regards the idea of Evolution being incapible with Christian view, I disagree. But to be clear, I don't think human evolved from a lower species of animal (ie like from an ape or something). Humans were created in God's image, all perfect and so forth. But man sinned in the Garden, disobeying God, and that brought death, pain and suffering to humans and the world. I don't believe the Bible goes into any explanation of animals having souls and their death and so forth. So I think it is possible even before the Fall that animals were not meant to live as immortal beings. They were given to man to be under his care, under his dominion. There is not way to prove or disprove that animals were not meant to Evolve.

sballew

08/27/2006 11:30:39 AM

Ah, you implying man in the Garden of Eden as perfect and immortal. I see now. The Bible teaches humans WERE immortal, but they are not anymore, not since the Fall in the Garden.

sballew

08/27/2006 11:28:27 AM

The Bible does not teach that humans are "immortal". Who told you that? Only the Trinity and the angels are the only immortal beings mentioned in the Bible per se. The Saints are immortal too as they live in Eternal Heaven with the Lord, but they didn't start out that way when they lived on Earth as normal humans.

TheGreatWhiteBuffalo

08/27/2006 08:42:55 AM

The Evolution of Religion is the next thing to evolve. The Judeo-Christian-Muslim world view needs to change or evolve. If we remove the Devil because belief in Satan is a deception, we could then understand that the Garden seems to have some weeds; the Wilderness knows the beauty of GOD. Cain entered the Wilderness. D'evil should not have Live'd Cain should not have killed Abel. Why did Cain kill Abel? How would you create a story to be convincing to control others? Creating fear and commanding tithes. Gifts come from the heart, how do we learn to give from the heart? Only GOD can make you a giver of Love and Life. Blessings to All that Bless...

helena13

08/27/2006 07:53:13 AM

Evolution is a belief system that says death and decay is necessary for biological progress and advancement. However, the Bible teaches that mankind was created immortal and perfect. Since all life on earth was like mankind, there was no need for change, or evolution. All life was already perfect, and ideally suited for eternal life. But when mankind sinned, death was the sad result of their rebellion against God. Therefore, evolution, which is driven by death and change, can only be a product of sin, and is therefore a punishment, not a blessing. Evolution invalidates the need for a Savior, and the reality of sin. It is therefore totally incompatible with a Christian worldview.

Henrietta22

08/26/2006 12:16:32 PM

Great perspectives about God, the Bible, evolution, plus the interview with Francis Collins. Where else can you hear conversation like this? Thank you beliefnet.

denisemac

08/26/2006 12:11:28 PM

God says his proof is in his creation so therefore he is not afraid of science and anyone who believes in God is not afraid what science will come up with it only makes one stand in awe at how it was all put together and seeing just how intelligent our creator is. None of this happened by chance. Of coures our on going breeding may look like it for it is a continuation of his creation. We did not just pop into existence we were created. mod: I like the way you put the word of God to show how God works with his creation.

Heretic_for_Christ

08/26/2006 10:53:50 AM

modicum. Really interesting perspectives!

modicum

08/26/2006 10:07:43 AM

1. Everything started when BEing expressed Itself, Expression "interacts with" BEing (came from BEing, and leads back to BEing or shows us what BEing is), and BEing is expression. 2. And It was BEing with in the beginning. 3. Everything is with It Nothing is without It 4. Life was in It, and the life was the people’s light. 5. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness doesn’t get It. And the word (message, expression) BECAME flesh. It wasn't flesh, the word wasn't Jesus before his physical body existed, but NOW it is.

modicum

08/26/2006 09:52:18 AM

It's all "built in." When the Bible was written, they used to think that God "made" lightning happen, like, stuck out his "hand" or something and "did" it. Now we know that lightning happens through a buildup and release of electrical charges. But that doesn't mean that God didn't "create" (whatever that means) the charges themselves, or the principles on which they work. Or the causes of them which were originally the results of other causes. Even the big bang could have been part of reactions that were already taking place in some pre-universe situation. None of us knows a darn thing. That is why we are not supposed to judge because only God knows the whole truth. YHWH is related to the word "BEing," and Elohiym is a plural word that comes from roots that mean "strengths" so GOD= "The powers that BE." If we just collectively call them GOD, or whether God is actually a separate "BEing" doesn't discount any of Jesus' life, teachings or actions.

modicum

08/26/2006 09:39:27 AM

Good and evil are not separate things, they are two sides of one coin, two ends of one shoelace, like tall and short, light and dark. Take a piece of paper, it has a left half and a right half (even this is purely a human division, we could never divide it exactly in half because the electrons are always moving). Rip off the left half and throw it away. Guess what, the piece you have left STILL has a left and right half. Genesis tells us that God said it's ALL GOOD. We humans are the ones that try to be God and through our "knowledge" (really "experience," Adam "knew" Eve) decide that half of his creation is good and half bad. This separates us from him because if smart is good and stupid bad, ugly bad, etc., then since we are all part of each, i am rejecting myself as part of God's perfect creation. And Jesus came to show us that we ARE perfect, and since "the Word" has existed since the beginning, we ALWAYS HAVE BEEN.

Heretic_for_Christ

08/26/2006 09:27:10 AM

Fea, Who told you that evolution has ANYTHING to say about good and evil? I'll answer my own question: Creationists said it, as an accusation - an utterly false accusation - against evolution. I have heard it repeated endlessly: "Those evolutionists don't believe in good and evil... To believe in evolution is to excuse any evil...." No serious scientist would EVER say the things that creationists accuse them of saying.

Fea_Istra

08/25/2006 11:52:59 PM

I'm really glad that Beliefnet has decided to include this interview, and I really agree with it. I'm going into science and I'm a Christian, and it's encouraging for me to read about a believing scientist and that evolution and creationism can coexist. I've always thought of evolution as God's tool. While I agree with evolution, I don't agree with people making a kind of a religion of it: yes, it gives us information about our world, but it doesn't tell us that right and wrong and good and evil are merely evolved responses to environment. There is a difference between evolution and evolutionism. Knowledge is a tool, and it's important to use it in the right way.

natureboy_the0

08/25/2006 05:48:01 PM

2 overlooked statements in the Bible are “the KNOWLEDGE of good and evil” and “teach them to observe all things”. Knowledge of a thing doesn’t make it exist; it gives belief in its existence although it’s not real. Add “teach them to observe all things” to “judge not” and open our mind to exploring science, myths, religion, nature, and anything else we encounter. Then add “all things are relative” and search for a means of uniting all things into the ball of truth. Balls have 260 x 180 degrees of surface with room for knowledge. Take the stories, shave off parts and see how they unite in the ball I call Zeroverse. 2 words united looses part of each in forming a single word, therefore shave large portions off some and small portions off others to fit into the truth. I am saying, no scripture, science, nature nor myth is outside of the Intelligent Designed Zeroverse. THE BIBLE UNSEALED (site on my profile) puts it together, but read DICTIONARY OF MY TERMS also. Elijah, the prophet like unto Moses.

arbico1

08/25/2006 04:26:14 PM

Many Christian fundamentalist's refuse to sway from the 6-day story for fear it would cause debate concerning other Church doctrine. I say, bring it on. If it is truth we truly seek, we need not fear debate. Reason and principle, science and matters of faith should all coincide.

denisemac

08/25/2006 03:05:07 PM

heretic: again just because I do not speak as a scientist it does not mean I do not understand but I have read the big bang theory over and over again and it is my interpretation of what they say it was. I do not need to be a rocket scientist to understand the basics and I speak on my terms if you think that shows my ingnorance I would have to conclude that is the problem of those who read my posts for I will not try to speak on their terms for it really doesn't matter.

Heretic_for_Christ

08/25/2006 02:16:22 PM

Denisemac, I mean this very sincerely: You seem to be an exceptionally decent person, and you like to find things out for yourself, and those are both admirable qualities. But although you claim to study and understand science, you don't. When you say, "...the whole universe started from tons of explosions simutaneously..." it is clear that you have no idea what you are talking about. It is not a moral or even an intellectual failing to be uninformed about a subject. I could create a dismayingly long list of academic topics about which I know little or nothing. But I try to limit my more assertive statements to those topics that I know well. And I know enough science to be able to distinguish between someone who speaks knowledgeably about science and someone who does not. If someone said, "Moses was elected pharaoh but then he gave up his throne when he had a vision of Christ preaching," how seriously would you take that person's scriptural assertions?

denisemac

08/25/2006 01:47:58 PM

take for example the case where a scientest was able to us radiaiton to make a mutation in, I think it was rats, at a record speed. Do you not think that God has the capability to have done this and made things happen faster then they do now? Science is proving daily things that God used to create nothing more.

denisemac

08/25/2006 01:40:56 PM

genesis was not the beginning of time no but the beginning of creation itself. do you not find it fasinating that how the whole universe started from tons of explosions simutaneously at once? I find it hard to believe that anyone believes this happend by chance. But I do understand scripture and I do understand the things of God more clearly then most. Like Einstein has shown that moving at a certain speed makes time move slower and God is capable of moving way faster then the speed of light so therefore yes a day could be millions of of years that have past. Scripture tells us this also that a day is like a thousand years to God no mystery there when read right.

arbico1

08/25/2006 12:57:44 PM

denisemac, I agree, one cannot understand scripture by reading one verse. But scripture is limited by content and mysteries abound throughout it's pages. We shouldn't limit God to our understanding of God. When science discovers a truth, it discovers a certain knowledge of God. God is Truth. The problem is, science has it's limits as well and definitions change as more facts are compiled, just as the case in understanding scipture. Today, Pluto is no longer defined as a planet. Perhaps Genesis wasn't THE beginning.

Allronix1

08/25/2006 12:39:33 PM

Seven days to the Almighty and seven days to a mortal are likely entirely different

denisemac

08/25/2006 11:42:30 AM

no we must look to other scripture to help us fully understand the full story of the beginning of creation. For if you do not put all of scripture together you will never understand the full story.

arbico1

08/25/2006 11:08:52 AM

The Bible begins with the introduction of "modern" life on Earth, and the connection between the physical and spiritual world. Literal interpretation suggests the total absence of physical matter anywhere prior to Genesis 1:1. There is a tendency to believe that even matters of the spirit began at the time of Adam. But the Bible doesn't give account of life pior to "modern" man. That doesn't necessarily suggest there was no prehistoric man or life. We don't know how many millions/billions of years may have elapsed between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 based on scripture. We simply cannot prove or disprove that the Creation Story is not a Re-Creation Story in which God breathed into his nostrils, and man became a living soul.

LOD1959

08/25/2006 09:15:59 AM

I was fascinated by your article. I believe in the integrity of God's Word. Evolution within species does not fly in the face of the Bible at all. But God's Word declares that God made every living creature "after his kind", Genesis 1:24&25. This would limit evolution within each species. Scientifically we can prove that species evolve to meet the needs of their environment through the ages. God only had to create DNA once, then he could use it over and over altering what was needed for each species. If cell structure, DNA, etc. works in one species, why couldn't we believe that God, being wise as He is, would utilize the same structures adapted with necessary variations to make another species. We have to take our learning in science back to the Bible itself and keep God's Word as the standard attempting to understand science from God's revealed Word. Thank you for your article, I trust this little bit of input will be a blessing to you.

Bradofthenortheast

08/25/2006 04:47:07 AM

The boot is on the other foot. The question is not whether theism and Darwinism can co-exist. This is a no-brainer and has been for some time. I firmly believe that Christianity/Islam/Judaism or whatever (but it's normally the Abrahamic faiths that get steamed up about this one) is incompatible with creationism. It's wrong, stupid, heretical; it's dead but it won't lie down, and I'm writing a book to help give it a decent burial.

Richard-ELCA

08/24/2006 11:41:07 PM

Well, I see it all in rather simple terms. If God was clever enough to give us brains, then me must have assumed we'd use them. In fact, as far as I'm concerned, scientific inquiry has much to do with our search for the nature of God and what the so-called Life Force is all about. As to evolution vs. creationism, if you put them side by side you'll find that there is no contradiction. Evolution traces the "baby steps" while the Creation myth speaks in quantum leaps, as is common with all mythologies of this kind.

windbender

08/24/2006 08:56:39 PM

"Just because the smarter animals eat meat doesn't mean that the actual ingestion of meat made them smarter." Fair point, rnjt2. Come to think of it, you don't generally have to sneak up on vegetables.

sly6x9

08/24/2006 07:01:18 PM

I think that God should not be included in a highschool classroom on evolution and creationism. It does not tie in together. If students question their faith and God, then they should learn about God's creations on their own time. While I do believe in the biblical stories of Adam and Eve, I think that there is more to learn about the world. It cannot be taught in a Bible.

sly6x9

08/24/2006 06:30:51 PM

I think that God did create the universe. I am a Catholic. I believe He supports science. There is a close comparison between apes and human beings. There is nothing wrong to support evolution. God created our minds to explore and ask questions.

sly6x9

08/24/2006 06:24:15 PM

I believe that God supports science. He blessed us with gifts, such as intelligence. I am a Catholic and I believe that God created Adam and Eve. As an adult, I still believe that. I do not think that is childish. However, science has to expand and develop new theories. It could be possible we did evolve from apes. It might be coincidental. I believe in God. I have to believe he did create the universe. I believe in the Darwin theory.

gorillagurl

08/24/2006 04:02:43 PM

Had to comment on the statement trying to say the most intelligent species eat meat. That isn't correct by any means. Great apes are concidered very intelligent as well as elephants. Neither are big meat eaters. Chimps occationally will eat a monkey and bugs, Gorillas eat bugs and elephants don't eat any animal protein. Studies have just come out proving some birds are as intelligent as chimps! Carnivores eat mainly meat and they aren't concidered the smartest of animals, though they too are probably more intelligent than we humans would give them credit for! That's my 2 cents!

grasshopper46

08/24/2006 03:18:02 PM

"References to the Bible" That is the rub, your assuming that their is a belief in a book that has been constantly 'reworked' til it supposedly made sense, and we know it doesn't and is full of interpertation. All seems to hinge on this book that appears to me, to be a work of fiction, with some good moral lessons thrown in. But to base everything you believe in on a "re-worked" classic, is foolhardly. As an agnostic, I will continue to look inward thru meditation to "see things as they really are"...

kkawohl1

08/24/2006 01:43:23 PM

Transcendology and religious rationality assert that truthfulness and rationality in religions are truths that can be substantiated by science or those that can not be proven to be incorrect. It is a doctrine and proclamation that spiritual transcendence and spiritual interaction, if one believes this to be an actuality, could only be possible between the spiritual existence and the "spirit" of man. Supernatural acts performed by physical or spiritual beings in the physical universe are not capable of existing or transpiring. Transcendology would benefit ALL religions and eliminate superstitions within them. It could unify them and it would eliminate religious related terrorism and brainwashing.

denisemac

08/24/2006 11:30:15 AM

poor wind nutritionists have proven what the bible teaches that eating potato and steak together is not healthy.... lol

rnjt2

08/24/2006 08:30:18 AM

My 2 cents: Just because the smarter animals eat meat doesn't mean that the actual ingestion of meat made them smarter. I think its the hunt that does it. In order to actually get the animal to eat you need to be smart. Your prey would then get smarter, then you would have to as well & so on. It does not take much brain power to reach up & eat some leaves off a tree that does not move.

windbender

08/23/2006 10:37:52 PM

I must confess, when I discovered that you could actually get a steak to go with you baked potato, I felt smarter.

denisemac

08/23/2006 07:44:24 PM

fromoz; from what scientific studies did you get this information? there is no such evidence that all humans in the world began to eat at this particuler time.

fromoz

08/23/2006 07:03:50 PM

Denisemac wrote, "Humans have been here 100,000 years and 50,000 years ago we received simultameous intelligence and there is no biological explanation for it" There is an explanation, that being a diet rich in meat was adopted. Look at all the animals at the tops of food chains, they are all the smartest and they all have meat as a large part of their diets.

denisemac

08/23/2006 05:41:39 PM

there is a way to test ID if one so wishes to. They can test the theory that all flesh is made from the same stuff, dust, but yet yield their own DNA to make them what they are. Humans have been here 100,000 years and 50,000 years ago we received simultameous intelligence and there is no biological explanation for it and to top it off we have not received any further intelligence increase. How could this happen world wide wide without a outside interference? How can the universe go on for eternity without no end but science can say there is no God? the more science learns the more questions it has to answer the more they think they know the more they find they don't know. Genesis is accurate but it is mans intelligence that has misinterpreted it.

NightLad

08/23/2006 05:36:41 PM

Heretic_for_Christ Quite true. However, proponents of ID insist that there is a way to “test” it (in a manner of speaking) by the very fact that existence exists… therefore God *cough* sorry, an “intelligent designer” must have created it and is still at work, creating. Basically, I was being generous with my classification of ID, that’s all. ;-) Thanks for posing those more precise definitions.

Heretic_for_Christ

08/23/2006 05:17:42 PM

NightLad, The way I understand the terms, a theory in science is a model based on available evidence - a model that best fits the available evidence and is not refuted by any evidence. A hypothesis is model proposed to explain certain phenomena - a model that is amenable to testing that may verify or refute the model. A speculation or conjecture is a model proposed to explain certain phenomena - but unlike a hypothesis, there is no conceivable way of testing the model to verify or refute it. Thus, I classify ID as a speculation, not a hypothesis, because there is no conceivable way to test ID.

NightLad

08/23/2006 05:08:51 PM

miklostj Alot of evolution theory is an atheistic agenda masquerading as science. A Theory is what a Hypothesis becomes when it is found to have empirical evidence backed up by physical proof. Hence the “Theory of Evolution.” (Shared genetic traits with every species on the planet, fossils, carbon dating, shared ancestry with certain animals like the Chimp, etc.) A Hypothesis is a statement of conjecture without any verifiable evidence beyond what its proponents insist on believing… like ID. That's why alot creationists are skeptical. Scientists are skeptical, too. The Theory of Evolution is forever being tested and redefined within the scientific community. Any good Theory is always being improved upon as new information becomes available. Unlike with ID. ID is religion wearing a cheap mask of science. I have no problem with ID being debated in schools, but it should be restricted to Comparative Religion classes.

reddopto

08/23/2006 04:54:35 PM

This piece really brought out a variety of beliefs. I was disappointed that the interviewer didn't ask Collins about his opinion of the anthropic principle. Collins did comment on the fact that science can't tell us much about issues of human transcendence. As Karl Jaspers said, science can assess worldly things objectively, but it cannot lead us to a grasp of the essence of that reality.

mbstruss

08/23/2006 03:17:59 PM

I agree with frgough's point! The subject of original sin, redemption, and necessary atonement runs too deep through the bible such that you have a problem with the whole thing if you don't take the original literally. Therefore, because it causes me to have to put my brain on the shelf to accept it literally, I am left simpley as a follower of the moral teachings of Christ. However, the atonement, original sin, etc. causes me logic problems which I cannot reconcile - because it is all built on the foundation of Genesis literalism!

miklostj

08/23/2006 03:11:44 PM

Some of these people (such as those in the 'who's who of atheism' article and Dawkins) shouldn't even be called atheists. They're more 'anti'-theists than 'a'-theists. Why should we listen to people like that? Their intellectual arrogance and their smug belittling of people of faith discredits their vain arguments.

miklostj

08/23/2006 03:05:13 PM

Alot of evolution theory is an atheistic agenda masquerading as science. That's why alot creationists are skeptical. If you don't believe me read some of Richard Dawkins writings (if we should even call him a scientist). He's the science communities equivalent of Jerry Falwell

Heretic_for_Christ

08/23/2006 01:16:17 PM

filalicia asks: "Why, then are creationists so threatened by science?" Because their primary faith is not in God but in the Bible. And whereas science is no threat to faith in God, it IS a threat to their simplistically literalist approach to the Bible.

filmalicia

08/23/2006 01:02:30 PM

I sometimes think that the creationists and ID advocates are fighting a battle that belongs in past centuries -- right around the time of the Enlightenment and the Age of Reason. Of course, no Darwin back then, but... From my understanding, the ideas of the "Logical Positivists" like Bertrand Russell, who believed that science would one day answer every question worth answering (except for trivial questions) were shown to be naive back in the 1930's or so. Many of the great Physicists of the 20th Century don't have a problem with the idea of God's existence, including, I believe, Stephen Hawking. Why, then are creationists so threatened by science?

Mongo777

08/23/2006 11:33:49 AM

Dr. Collins is right. Not all scientists are atheists. Some of us are even Christian. Mongo, Ph.D.

Landers

08/23/2006 11:20:10 AM

I see God as the Author of the Laws of Nature (or the Laws of Physics). Since evolution is a natural process and God is Author of Natural Law, there is no conflict for me whatsoever.

WillSea

08/23/2006 10:27:14 AM

frgough, the definition of a myth is "something that never happened, but is always happening." Not that the Adam/Eve thing is fiction, or that it's historical truth, but that it refers to each of us when we leave the womb and become aware of the self, our nakedness in the world and learn to cover ourselves. This is being "kicked out of the garden" of oneness w/God. In that light, the redemption is necessary to set aside the self in order to reclaim oneness w/God. And in this, there is no conflict with physical evolution.

frgough

08/23/2006 09:51:12 AM

Certain religions may be able to co-exist with the concept of evolution, but there are doctrinal issues that are fundamental to Christianity. First of all, Christianity teaches that death is a result of a specific Act of Adam; there was no death in the world prior to that. This means to reconcile evolution, you need to assume the account of Adam and Eve is fictional. The problem is Paul preaches Christianity from the perspective that the Adam and Eve account is factual. Thus there is a fundamental contradiction, doctrinally between the Christian ideas of the fall, atonement and redemption, and Darwinian thought that man is nothing more than a series of accidental genetic mutations directed by survival and reproduction.

mike2000

08/23/2006 09:27:23 AM

Many, many years ago, man asked God "How was I made?". God went on to explain in very detailed, technical terms how a God goes about creating man. The man, unable to fathom all this, sat there with a blank, confused look. God attempted to dumb down the explanation, and the man was still unable to grasp it. Finally God said: "Dust, alright, I made you out of dust!". God didn't lie when he said dust, because as Moby sings, "We are all made of stars" (stardust).

WillSea

08/23/2006 09:10:58 AM

Cknuck, We ARE evolving. The fact that you observe the tribal, war-making aspects of humanity is PROOF that at least one person can step outside of the pattern to observe it. An unevolved person stuck in that mindset wouldn't have been able to see it. Stepping outside of the pattern is the first step in the next stage of our evolution.

NightLad

08/23/2006 08:07:17 AM

cknuck 2000 years is a blink of an eye compared to humanities existence. Look back 200,000 years… then you will start to see some notable changes. That being said; I do believe that even in the span of 2000 years, some strains of human have evolved beyond the “tribal, war-like” people that seemed to dominate the past you speak of. But make no mistake; these “crude humans” still rule the world today with "might makes right" attitudes. But slowly (ever so painfully slowly) things are changing for the better. Maybe in a few thousand years (providing the “tribal war-like people” don’t blow us all up first!) the descendants of humanities next step in evolution can create a utopia free of violence, hatred, bigotry, prejudice, and injustice. Until then I’m going to invest in a bullet-proof vest.

cknuck

08/23/2006 07:12:59 AM

If evolution is true why are we no smarter? Sure we have discovered a few things but we are still tribal, war-like, mean to each other and still have the values of cave men. There is really no difference in the first man of the Bible and man today.

Godfactor

08/23/2006 01:07:42 AM

We have a Lead pastor and a Teaching Pastor at my Church and they don't agree with each other in this area. One believe the literal 6 day creation and one believes God caused evolution in his creation. I haven't seen them punching each other yet....but I am waiting.

Godfactor

08/23/2006 01:02:42 AM

It appears that most here believe the Bible and evolution are compatable. I, as a Christian, believe that Genesis it way to simple to be literal. I believe God gave us all the curiosity to find out all sorts of things. Bahaula of the Bahai faith put it pretty well in my opinion. He said, "Science and Religion are like a bird's wings and we are the body. Without one or the other the bird cannot fly." This is paraphrased of course, but I believe it is pretty much true.

godisaheretic

08/22/2006 11:28:55 PM

good way to express it, HfC... my take... "religion and science can coexist"... yes... if religion is considered to be a mythical mismatch with reality... while still retaining the spiritual value that science lacks... "reconcile evolution and the Bible?" sure... if the Bible is considered to be a mythical mismatch with reality... while still having a few parts that have great spiritual value... ... I suspect God is more in line with science and evolution than with religion and the Bible... ... faith hope love joy peace patience...

Heretic_for_Christ

08/22/2006 11:20:57 PM

I think we are missing a vital point here. Science is NOT incompatible with the Bible, but only with a particular approach to the Bible - literalism. Yet the passages of concern are from the Hebrew scriptures, and Jews do not automatically interpret their scriptures literally. To me, Genesis is a beautiful metaphor for - of all things - evolution! Evolution is about change, transformation; Genesis is about the change whereby the light of reason and love and creativity emerged from the darkness of superstition and hatred and destructiveness. From that perspective, the Bible and evolution go hand in hand. Christians, apparently not trusting Jews to understand their own scriptures, adopted a literalist approach to questionable translations of the written Hebrew scriptures without the vital oral commentary that must accompany it. It is that literalist approach that is incompatible with science.

mbstruss

08/22/2006 10:12:54 PM

I used to be a bible literalist and was a staunch defender of the Genesis account. Then, as I became a science student, my faith (as a literalist) slowly eroded. If you allow yourself to really study science and evolution, the Genesis account becomes nonsense (except as an allegorical lesson). However, science may explain part of the "how" but it can never explain the "why."

NightLad

08/22/2006 08:31:13 PM

As a Pagan I find that my faith and science go hand in hand. Existence/creation as we know it was started by the Divine, and are of the Divine, but the process in becoming what it is now from what it started as can be explained via science to a degree. In a nut shell. (I’m speaking only for myself, not all pagans.) My mother and Grandmother, both ex-Sunday School teachers and leaders of the Woman’s Prayer Circle at their Churches, also believe that faith and science can co-exist. I think that problems arise when Bible literalists mistake Science as an attempt to disprove the existence of the Divine, and thus feel personally attacked. Therefore they go on the offensive and attack Science and those who follow its ever-growing discoveries, without understanding the premise to begin with.

Merlock

08/22/2006 08:24:27 PM

While I do believe in miracles---God just popping in to cure the sick or whatever---I think he normally works through simple, everyday things; in fact, I think God is basically in control of everything that happens, whether there's a big flash of light or not. In this way, evolution seems perfectly practical: whether or not He popped in to create this animal out of nothing, He can still work behind the scenes, making this mutation instead of that until you have whatever He was working on. I don't know how literal the Genesis story was (though I think it at least teaches morals and spiritual truths), but I see God and evolution as coexisting. God bless!

fromoz

08/22/2006 07:19:08 PM

To my mind it is clear that Genesis is at odds with modern science that I appreciate for its honesty and rationality. Science is always being tested with rigor, while to my mind the Bible fails every time. There is so much that is unknown to science, but in that regard science puts its cards on the table. I trust science while I definitely don't trust those Christians who come banging on my door with what to me is hocus-pocus. Their dishonesty to me is their claiming to have the absolute truth, while science makes no such claims. I must confess to having my doubts about a scientist who claims to be Christian. I can't help but wonder if he makes as many allowances in his scientific work as he would have to make with the Bible that is so full of errors and contradictions.

Adam107

08/22/2006 07:10:43 PM

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- If you believe in the Bible, you CANNOT accept evolution. First, the Bible states all living creatures were created SEPARATELY. Evolution states that all living organisms have a common ancestor. Second, the Bible states that earth and the rest of the universe were created 6,000 years ago and that Earth and all its vegetation were created BEFORE the rest of the universe. Scientific evidence states that the universe formed roughly 13-15 billion years ago and that Earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old. Evidence also shows that there's no way that all vegetation (that's around today) was there BEFORE the universe (e.g., the sun, the stars, etc.) because plants can't grow, survive, or reproduce without sunlight. I could name many other things, but I'll keep it at that for now. Word of the wise: STOP trying to reconcile religion and science (especially Christianity) because you just can't do it!

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