Friday, August 05, 2005

Questions

Here are a couple of questions that I've been curious about people opinion on.

1) What do you consider more likely?

Creation - ie The world is approximately 4,000 old Genesis is a complete and accurate account of creation.

Evolution - ie All life on the world is formed from evolutionary processes

Intelligent Design - A mix of both Creation and Evolution, an Intelligent Designer/Creator was involved in some role or another. More info


2) Does it actually matter?
Yes or No

3) Why? With regards to either or both

18 comments:

Matt said...

I'd go for some mix of both, but I don't have a lot of time for the Intelligent Design or Creationist movements. I can't see *anything* happening outside of God's indirect doing, but I'm not sure how much *direct* influence she exerted once she'd set the ball rolling.

I believe God had a pretty major role in the origins of life (the 'genesis', if you will), but I think the Intelligent Design/Creationist attempt to call that science is misplaced.

Jared said...

1) The extremist creationist view ie the young earthers I have very little time for. I don't have a problem with evolution that some fundamentalists do. If God is big enough then it shouldn't be impossible for Him. Also the young earth position could be used as an argument for deism that God created then took His hands off. Intelligent Design has its merits and it is quite hard to refute (like the Ideal Agers) but then again it could lead to complancency in not seeking to understand the world that God has given to us.

2) No way if my whole faith resided on one of these positions to such an extent that if they were proven wrong then I would cease to believe then my life would be in pretty dire straits. I think that when we get to heaven we'll get our eyes opened to a lot of truths that are current points of conversation.

Nato said...

Interesting - I've recently been discussing this with some peeps. Anyway...

1) God created the world, and evolution may have at some point occured. (Possibly only in the last 6000 years??) In short, I don't know.

2) Luckly, it doesn't really matter how God created the world. What matters is not how God created the world, but that God did create the world, and hence is worthy of our devotion to him.

Andrew said...

I'm not sure I fully understand what intelligent design means. Is ID a broader term of which theistic evolution and creationism both fall under? ie ID = that there was intelligence involved in the origin of life? Or is ID limited specifically in meaning to the pseudo-science movement which attempts to make the idea of an intelligence involved in the origin of life a scientifically testable and investigatable thesis?

1) Theistic evolutionist. Why? The idea that we ought to not believe in evolution because of the bible is a load of rubbish. Scientists propose evolution and I have no real reason to disagree.

2) No and yes. In terms of whether evolution is true or not it matters zilch... who gives a damn what happened 6000 or 3 billion years ago??
However, it matters an awful lot how we present Christianity to people. If you try to convince people that evolution isn't true then people are going to think that they have to dis-believe in evolution to be Christians, and so less people are going to become Christians and people are going to be more hostile toward "unscientific Christianity". To advocate creationism is to simply throw unnecessary barriers in the path of the gospel, which is unbiblical.

Jim said...

1.
Evolution happens...it is a process defined by scientists to describe an observation of a process in nature...

However, I and quite happy with the idea of a 6000 year old earth... to me 200 years is a flipping long time... 2000 years is barely comprehensible... It's sort of so far ago that it seems irrelevant..

2. a little

3. the issue is not so much the age of the earth but when human history began/ when beings with souls appeared (by soul, I mean the sternal part of us that I think christians beleive we have and animals don't)

I've heard one person once say stuff along the lines of God breathed life into a bunch of semi evolved apes and then they became humans with spirits and souls and stuff...

to me.. that's kinda wierder and more pointless than God starting it all 6000 years ago... I mean why would he create 6 billion odd years of universe history if the goal is to create beings which can have a relationship with him.. (admittally that's quite a humano-centric view of creation) if they don't show up until the last millionth of it.....?

EONsim said...

ID's kind of broad. At least how I see it is.

It ranges from God setting off the big bang (or creating a system that would cause the big bang or something similar) and creating a universe that the laws of physics would allow the evolution of life then observing the universe or watching TV or something. While life forms and evolves to the point were either it is able to sustain intelligence, at which point he steps in and provides the soul and intelligence, or to a point where intelligence evolves and he steps into provide a soul and reveal him self.

To

He Creates the universe then looks after life as it forms providing the inital spark then guiding, moving, protecting and altering it to the point were it reaches a level where he provides a soul and or Intelligence and reveals him self.

EONsim said...

Jim I'd agree with it being more about when souls first show up, than how old the earth is.

One possible thing you might not have considered with regards to the

"to me.. that's kinda wierder and more pointless than God starting it all 6000 years ago... I mean why would he create 6 billion odd years of universe history..."

Is aren't you kind of assuming that we are near the end of things that the second coming is going to happen soon? It's the trap people have been falling into since pretty much the day Christ acsended. What if we consider the possibility that we aren't in the end times and that human kind may continue on for many thousands and poteintially millions of years (though probably not on this rock). It is somewhat far fetched but its not something we can completely ignore.



On a seperate note I've sometimes heard people say that evolution makes God less, that accepting evolution undermines and weakens gods power and that why would God use evolution when he could create it all instead out of nothing?
One thing I've thought about with regards to that argument is does evolution really make God lesser? Which is more all mighty or all powerful? The being who creates stuff stuff with a thought or the being who creates a system that creates what he wanted with a thought?
What do people think on that question?

Jim said...

God point Chad, you're right.. my statement does asssume we are closeish to the end.... I was aware of that when writing it, and didn't know how to work that in...

I also struggle to grasp the idea of another 6 billion years of humanity.. but then I also struggle with the concept of eternity...

although... a 6 billion year old earth does make sense I suppose...
Jesus saying he will return soon....
in the context of only 4000 odd years of history at that point, another 2000 years is not soon...

but if the earth was 6 billion years old.... another million or 2 before the second coming would be fairly soon.

Andrew said...

That reminds me of an interesting philosophical argument that the end of the world is nigh:
There are more people living now than lived in the last 40,000 years combined. So, if you imagine yourself being born at random sometime between the start of the world and now, the chances of you living now rather than earlier are > 50%. But if you consider the idea that humans will continue for millions of years and the population will continue to increase, then the chances of you being born now rather than later tend toward 0%. If you feed those facts into an standard statistical comparison of the two hypotheses that (A) the world is about to end, and (B) the world will continue for millions of years and heaps more people be born in the future, then hypothesis A receives a great deal of confirmation and B receives a great deal of disconfirmation. Conclusion: In all likihood the world ought to end comparatively shortly (or revert to having a comparatively low population indefinately). This is known as the Doomsday Argument

Matt said...

The 6,000 year old earth thing always seemed a little unlikely to me… to say that is to make the assumption that the bible records essentially all of history. I have problems with this given the apparent wide spread of dinosaur fossils, yet the only erratic, largely ambiguous biblical mentions (the behemoth etc.).

That the bible spans around 6,000 years doesn't seem that unlikely, but that it spans all of history seems to be a difficulty for those who believe in evolution. How does a people without language record history?

Also, I note there has been some talk about at what point "God gave people souls." Personally, I'm unconvinced that we actually have "souls" - there is something unique about us, but I'm not sure that it needs to be metaphysical. I'm more inclined to say that we evolved to the point where our brains could handle language, and from some point nearby we were able to have relationships that involved choice rather than instinct, and from there a concept of relationship with God.

Jared said...

Intelligent Design as I understand it is along Paley's argument of the watch. It is more an argument for the existence of God rather than an explanation for the creation of the universe. It basically says that because everything about us is so intelligently designed then there must be a designer; teleologically. This means that it encompasses both creationisma nd evolutionism. If taken as a creation myth then it is probably God created full stop.

I would probably disagree with you Matt I'm unconvinced that we actually have "souls". In my understanding the biblical writers did believe that there is a soul as distinct from our mind and body. However the problem is that western society has tended to claim that it is distinct from the body and mind. The Hebraic concept of heart seems to be an encompassing statement of our body mind and soul and that these things are united and constitute ourselves.

Matt said...

Jared, I was under the impression that mind/body/soul was a hellenist/greek construct. The Hebrews, from what I can tell, held that humans were a single "whole." I don't see biblical evidence for body, mind and soul -- and the more I learn about the physiology of our bodies, the more I'm inclined to see humans as a single whole.

I think the idea of an soul is a pretty arbitrary construct, largely spawned from a false understanding of the afterlife (i.e. "our souls go to heaven," as opposed to the more biblical bodily resurrection.)

Nato said...

So Matt, do parrots have a soul?

EONsim said...

Souls are interesting, more of a concept than a reality to a degree. So many people Christian and non seem to think we have them but no one seems to know what they are except they're eternal (unless your an annihilationist or one of the other groups).



The 6,000 year old earth seems to get weaker and weaker these days as Fossil records, geological patterns, Isotope ratios, genetic divergences, and many other things appear to disagree with that figure of 6,000 years. I've yet to see a decent argument about if the world is 6,000 years old why does it appear to be 4 billion years old.

Any one heard one that holds any weight?



Jared I've mainly been using ID here to describe any mix of evolution and creation theres probably correct and specific names for most of the senarios I'm sticking under that label but it saves time so...


The Doomsday argument seems a nice little arguement, however (seeing the link doesn't work for me) the way it's presented there seems not to take make account of biology and ecological theory.

Jared said...

Chad there is the most ingenious theory to give a young earth but explain away the fossil record. Its called the Ideal Age theory. This theory comes down to the question which came first: the chicken or the egg? Basically it states that God created trees but since trees have rings to state how old they are he created the first trees with the appropriate number of rings. Likewise he created the earth with fossils and fossil fuels in it since that is what the earth would have in it. When God created Adam he gave him a belly button etc.

Matt said...

Nato: might point was that I don't see humans having "souls," let alone parrots.

I assume you're referring to the fact that they apparently have language; I don't know what the exact nature of the relationship between language and "sentience" is, although I imagine sentience depends on language. It doesn't necessarily follow that language depends on sentience, and I would argue sentience as the foundation for relationship, (not language in itself). There has to be a "me" before there can be a "we."

Just what sentience is, and whether we could observe it in a species whose language we don't understand, I don't know. It's possible that yes, parrots are self-aware and able to "relate" to God. However, the evidence indicates otherwise.

This argument gets pretty trippy when you hypothesise artificial intelligences which are self-aware, but according to many Christians would not have a "soul."

EONsim said...

The AI questions always a fun one :). I'd personally say they did have a soul as long as I was convinced that it was sentient. As you say though what is sentience exactly...

Jared I've heard variations of that arguement before some bits of it seem fine while other bits are loony. Sure making fossil fuels makes sence. But why on earth make rocks with a ratio of radioactive elements and rare isotopes that is nearly identical to what your'd get if the Uranium had decayed for ~4 billion years? Or species that show common gene with variation in nonfunctional mutation levels that suggest they came from a common ancestor X million years ago?

To me that sort of argument always seemed to suggest god designing a planet that lied to us about it'd own age which I personally don't think fits with the character of god at all.

Jared said...

That is the chief flaw with the argument. It makes God into a deceiver. Since this does not align with the nature of God then it probably isn't true.

I think most people are afraid of evolution because it seems to disprove God as per scientism. However, to have an all powerful and all knowing God who could not use evolution to develop his earth the way he wants it seems to me to be limiting God more than having a young earth.