My FB Conversation with a Biblical Literalist
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
27-02-2014, 08:20 PM
My FB Conversation with a Biblical Literalist
This began with a public FB debate with a former high school classmate on the topic of teaching creationism in public schools, which we subsequently took to private FB message. This is where we pick up:

FROM: FORMER HIGH SCHOOL CLASSMATE

Hello again, sorry for the extremely delayed discussion. My son is in basketball which has kept me very busy for the last several weekends. Hopefully you have not forgotten about continuing our discussion. I am now ready to continue our discussions around theory being taught in public schools. Based on your original post I am working from the following assumptions.
1. You believe the theory of evolution.
2. You do not believe in the theory of intelligent design.
3. You are opposed to public schools teaching theories you do not believe in.
4. You are not opposed to public schools teaching theories you do not believe in.

Please let me know if these statements are true or false and provide any other foundational statements you wish to add to clarify your position.

These are my assumptions.
1. I believe both macro evolution and intelligent design to be unprovable theories.
2. I define Atheism as a religion.
3. I believe that evolution is a foundational doctrine for atheism.
4. I do not believe that any religious doctrines should be taught as science in any setting.

I therefore assert that while we agree that intelligent design and creationism should not be taught in a “science” class I also assert that evolution should also be excluded on the same criteria.

If you agree that evolution should not be taught as science then we have no debate. If however you defend the teaching of evolution as science in public schools then feel free to present your arguments and/or counter any of my assumptions.

MY RESPONSE:

6 hours ago
No problem Howard. My world is generally pretty busy too. I'm actually very interested in this exchange of ideas and glad you followed up. To address your questions and assertions in order:

I am not at all opposed to theory being taught in public schools. There are so many important theories to which students should be exposed in the course of their education - atomic theory, the theory of plate tectonics, the theory of planetary motion, etc. I am only opposed to a theory being taught as science when it is not supported by substantial, peer-reviewed scientific evidence. We must be clear that there exists more than one definition of theory. The most common context is that of a hunch based on perceived correlations which may or may not be supported by varying degrees of evidence. Then there's a scientific theory which refers to a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence and can be used to make predictions.

1. You believe the theory of evolution - I believe that the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection is the best and most plausible available explanation for how all living things came to be as they are today.

2. You do not believe in the theory of intelligent design - Since my starting point is that I do not believe in the existence of a supreme intelligent being, you could suggest that my position is blinded by a pre-supposition. By the same token I might assume that you pre-suppose that a supreme intelligent being does indeed exist so it only makes sense that it would have a hand in the process of creation. But that aside, I've yet to see compelling, scientifically substantiated evidence from an ID theorist that explains a natural phenomenon more convincingly than it can be explained by evolution by natural selection. There are in fact some pretty easy ways to blow up the theory of evolution by natural selection even by the admission of most evolutionary biologists and they seem to welcome evidence to contradict it. In other words, they are open to having their minds changed by evidence.

3. You are opposed to public schools teaching theories you do not believe in - Not at all. I am opposed to public schools teaching something as science that requires "magic" (an extraordinary power or influence seemingly from a supernatural source ) as a component in what should be an entirely scientific process - a method of inquiry based on empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning. The existence of a supreme, intelligent being is an extraordinary claim and I contend that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

4. You are not opposed to public schools teaching theories you do not believe in - It has nothing to do with what I personally believe. I am not opposed to public schools teaching as science any theory provided we are talking about scientific theories in the strictest definition (testable, predictable, falsifiable). I am not convinced that ID meets that criteria.

1. I believe both macro evolution and intelligent design to be unprovable theories - First, there is no meaningful distinction between "macro" and "micro" evolution aside from the time scale, as they ultimately employ the same process of evolution by natural selection. I agree that scientific theories cannot be proven. They can, however stand up to intense scrutiny over long periods of time and are subject to evidence that can weaken the theory. The more evidence and scientific study conducted that fails to disprove the theory, the more the theory is strengthened. We must also draw a distinction between laws and theories. For instance there is a law of gravity that describes a gravitational force acting on the Earth which has yet to be violated at any time by any experiment. Laws describe a natural phenomenon. Theories attempt to explain why and how it is a law. Therefore, it is a fallacy to expect that a scientific theory should ever be 100% proved.

2. I define Atheism as a religion - I would agree if you use skip the primary definition of religion -
"an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods" and use a secondary or tertiary definition "an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group." By that definition, Stamp Collecting could be defined as a religion. But in its purest sense, the absence of a belief in god is not a religion just as my lack of belief in the Easter Bunny is not a religion. I'm guessing that you don't believe in Allah, or Thor, or Zeus. In that case you are also non-believer when it comes to all gods except, I presume, the Abrahamic god of the Christian bible, which I would also suggest is almost entirely a byproduct of the location and culture into which you were born. Had you been born in Kabul Afghanistan you would likely be just as ardently Muslim as you are today Christian.

3. I believe that evolution is a foundational doctrine for atheism - I don't think they are necessarily codependent. One can be an atheist who isn't convinced by the evidence for evolution or one can be convinced by the evidence for evolution but who also believes in a supreme being. To me, the theory of evolution by natural selection, in my lay understanding as I am not an evolutionary biologist, merely does the best job of explaining the world around me independent of divine intervention which as it happens also supports my position on the nonexistence of deities.

4. I do not believe that any religious doctrines should be taught as science in any setting - agreed, pursuant to my statements above. Let them be taught in a Comparative Religion course, or in Sociology, Psychology, or Social Studies. I have no problem with that as religion is a reality in our world and is a critical component of understanding cultures.

My assumptions about your position:

1. You consider yourself a Christian.
2. You believe elements of the bible but are not a biblical literalist (that the bible is the infallible word of god), lest you would consider yourself a Young-Earth Creationist.
3. You believe that there is an intelligent supreme being that designed life as we know it.
4. You agree with the commonly accepted geologic time scale (a 4.54 billion year old Earth) but that it was guided by an intelligent designer.
5. You believe that some elements of the natural world are irreducibly complex and that only an intelligent designer is capable of producing such complexity, order and beauty.
6. You define "chance" as random accident and that to believe in evolution is to believe that living things are as they are today only by random chance.

Sorry about the length. These are not simple subjects.

FROM: FORMER HIGH SCHOOL CLASSMATE

3 hours ago

Many of your comments will require a more lengthy study and absorption before I present a respond but I will correct a few assumptions for your contemplation and preparations..
1. Correct: I do consider myself a Christian, Independent Baptist if you require a more descriptive label.
2. Incorrect: I am a biblical literalist. I do not however believe that the King James Version or other translations are inspired as those are translations. The actual word used which is translated as inspired is theópneustos which means “God breathed” and God did not breathed in English. I therefore refer to the Greek and Hebrew texts for maters of authority.
3. Correct: I do believe in a single supernatural supreme being which created all things, is omnipotent and omnipresent and I call this being God; at least when using English. I also believe this being has been and remains involved with its creation. I believe we are not his only creation as I also believe in other intelligence beings such as angels and demons; I consider them to be a package deal which comes with biblical literalism.
4. Incorrect: I believe science evidence supports a biblical time line and sequence of events.
5. Incorrect: The idea of irreducible complexity is based on many assumptions which are founded on our perception of reality which is incomplete and to be honest on a misunderstanding of what evolutionist actually believes. It is an argument which sells well to mystics but I am not a mystic; I am a designer. I will however argue from the stance of a design engineer that our world contains complexity which I find improbable without a supreme designer at both the microscopic and macroscopic levels by a being far more intelligent than myself.
6A. Chance: As a math oriented person I am not really all that fond of the word “chance”. I prefer to use quantitative terms such as “probability”. For example someone could probably derive an equation which shows mathematically that I have a “chance” of winning the lottery even if I never bought a ticket; so there is virtually always a chance for just about anything. “Probability” however comes with a quantitative perspective that tells me while my probability of winning the lottery is slim it is dramatically improved by buying a ticket. Calculating probability accurately also gets considerably more difficult as the systems complexity increases.
6B. Evolution = Random Chances: I would consider reducing a “Evolution” down to this simplistic definition of random chance inaccurate and insulting to its followers. I would agree that for many evolutionists this definition is about as far as they can explain but I would also consider many Christians ability to defend their beliefs equally pathetic. Both sides of any argument have uneducated followers; I prefer to debate the belief not the believer. Most informed evolutionists I debate do not see evolution as random any more than they see a falling rock as random. I do not agree with many of their assumptions, reactions or results but they do not see their system as completely random and I do not feel that is what they believe.

I to can be long worded...

MY RESPONSE:

I very much agree in the sentiment about debating the belief not the believer. The approach I take is that is that I respect the person, and I respect their right to believe, but I am under no obligation to respect the belief itself. That doesn't mean that I will attack a belief in an uncivilized manner. It means I won't resort to ad hominem attacks but will focus on what I view to be a flawed epistemology. I'm actually not sure where to take the discussion from here. I'm actually quite surprised that you are a biblical literalist. I have been under the false impression that ID supporters generally can't accept the Genesis account of creation literally and, wanting to accept science but also retain a belief in god, insert god to explain the natural processes taking place around us. I'm not sure how to address the improbability of our world's complexity when, in order to be designed, the designer must be at least as complicated as his creation. So who designed the designer? "He's always been there" or "He exists outside of our notion of space and time" are unsatisfying answers. I really can't see how it's more probable that some 6,000 years ago God created Adam out of dust then proceeded to take out one of Adam's ribs to create Eve. What? How does that not come off as sounding like a parable or myth in the same vein as Prometheus stealing a lightning bolt from Zeus to give to mankind so that they may have fire?

FROM: FORMER HIGH SCHOOL CLASSMATE

2 minutes ago

It appears that my belief system is one you have never specifically encountered. Most likely you have encountered many if not all of its components but not in the specific structure I will present. I will therefore attempt to condense my belief system down to its most critical components. This will probably take a day or two but I am fine with assembling it since it quite frankly is something I always mean to do but never seem to get around to.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
27-02-2014, 09:34 PM
RE: My FB Conversation with a Biblical Literalist
Yeah, it seems like his next response will give you more to go on. I don't really understand what his beliefs are from this point either...

I think it's really important that you reiterate what a scientific theory means, probably a few times. This is a huge misconception and it takes a lot to pound the correct definition into people's' heads.

Also, the stupid micro vs macro evolution point, ugh. I've encountered that one before too. You handled it well, just say it again. And maybe a third time. Microevolution is the only evolution! Things change by tiiiiiny increments over a loooooong period of time. Longer than you can imagine since the human lifespan is so short.

And I'd go over the random chance thing. Specifically, mutations are random. Evolution is not. Evolution is when an organism has an adaptation (I.e. good mutation) that makes it more fit to live in its environment, giving it an advantage over its fellows. Mutations can be good, bad, or neutral. They are random and don't always have an effect on the organism.


Anyway that's all from me. Good luck going forward!

Atheism is the only way to truly be free from sin.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Colourcraze's post
06-03-2014, 12:42 AM
RE: My FB Conversation with a Biblical Literalist
I can't find out what the benefit is to pound science stuff into a religious fundamentalist's head, so I normally don't converse with them on such topics.

Is that view of value scientifically sound ?

Want something? Then do something.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
06-03-2014, 04:05 PM
RE: My FB Conversation with a Biblical Literalist
Open debates of creationism vs science or atheism are functionally useless... Both sides regardless of how civil have NO interest in actually agreeing with the others viewpoint and will use every trick they've developed over time to combat that.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
06-03-2014, 08:55 PM
RE: My FB Conversation with a Biblical Literalist
SecularATX, keep at it. I disagree that it is pointless to debate with your FB friend. It's all about planting seeds. You probably won't convince him now, but someday the bulb may turn on. If your friend starts attacking you or making snide remarks, then the walls are going up. But plant seeds while you can.

I grew up in a fundamentalist Christian environment which included creationism, and it took many, many years for me to realize how crazy and illogical it all was. Many Christians ARE NOT stupid. I have several conservative friends who have above-average IQ's. It's not about intelligence. "Believers" have been misled and brainwashed. Two thousand years of damage can't be undone overnight. Christians are like the rest of us in that they have busy lives. Families, jobs, homes, etc... They've lived their lives believing in something that's given them comfort (albeit false comfort). It's easier for them to go about their day and never question than it is to turn their ideological world upside down and take the time to research, learn and face scientific reality.

BTW, your responses to him are very well done.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Mohs13's post
07-03-2014, 12:44 AM
RE: My FB Conversation with a Biblical Literalist
Make the distinction between believing something because you want to and peer reviewed, tested theories. Keep at it. He will start to get angry soon. They always do Smile

A man blames his bad childhood on leprechauns. He claims they don't exist, but yet still says without a doubt that they stole all his money and then killed his parents. That's why he became Leprechaun-Man

Im_Ryan forum member
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Monster_Riffs's post
07-03-2014, 12:48 AM
RE: My FB Conversation with a Biblical Literalist
You have far more patience than I do with creatard fools.

[Image: reality.jpg?imgmax=800]
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
07-03-2014, 08:02 PM
RE: My FB Conversation with a Biblical Literalist
(06-03-2014 04:05 PM)Sceadwian Wrote:  Open debates of creationism vs science or atheism are functionally useless... Both sides regardless of how civil have NO interest in actually agreeing with the others viewpoint and will use every trick they've developed over time to combat that.

The difference is that atheists aren't using "tricks" STFU.

It's Special Pleadings all the way down!


Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77


You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: