Evolution

Belief in Creationism Doesn't Necessarily Mean You Don't Understand How Science Works

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Jesus on a dinosaur

Dan Kahan over at the invaluable Yale Cultural Cognition Project has conducted an interesting poll of 2,000 Americans inquiring into what they know and believe about creationism and evolutionary biology. Based on his results, Kahan concludes that "belief" in evolution is more of a measure of who people are and not what they know.

Specifically, Kahan contrasts the responses to versions of survey questions about the origin of human beings as asked by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the General Social Science (GSS) survey. The NSF asks: "Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals. True or false? 55 percent selected true.

The GSS asks: "According to the theory of evolution, human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals. True or false? 81 percent selected true. Kahan observes:

By adding the introductory clause, "According to the theory of evolution," the GSS question disentangles ("unconfounds" in psychology-speak) the "science knowledge" component and the "identity expressive" components of the item.

In other words, the NSF question comes off as asking people about their religious beliefs, not their understanding of what science says. Evidently many religious Americans can understand the scientists' explanation for how evolutionary biology works while still believing in the special divine creation of Adam and Eve.

In any case, the new results of the Values and Beliefs poll by Gallup were just reported. Since 1982, Gallup folks have every so often asked:

Which of the following statements come closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings? (1) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided the process; (2) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had not part in this process; (3) God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.

In this latest iteration, 42 percent of Americans believe that humans were created by God in their present form within the last 10,000 years; 31 percent believe that a Celestial hand helped guide the process of evolution; and 19 percent believe that humans evolved without Divine intervention.

The Gallup poll researchers further observe:

Sixty-four percent of those who are very familiar with the theory of evolution choose one of the two evolutionary explanations for the origin of humans, compared with 28% among the smaller group of Americans who report being not too or not at all familiar with it. The majority [57 percent] of those not familiar with evolution choose the creationist viewpoint.

These relationships do not necessarily prove that if Americans were to learn more about evolution they would be more likely to believe in it. Those with less education are most likely to espouse the creationist view and to be least familiar with evolution, but it's not clear that gaining more education per se would shift their perspectives. Many religious Americans accept creationism mostly on the basis of their religious convictions. Whether their beliefs would change if they became more familiar with evolution is an open question.

Kahan's point is that it is possible for people to understand the workings of evolutionary biology without changing their religious beliefs.

Nevertheless, and with due respect, I can't quite bring myself to think that such a position is an example of F. Scott Fitzgerald's observation:

The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.

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  1. Roy Spencer.

    1. The fewer CAGW skeptics and critics who are creationists the better. It’s pretty sad that this guy is a creationist, actually. Creationists are very easily dismissed as morons. I, myself, dismiss them as morons. So it hurts the cause against the global warming scare to even associate with creationists.

    1. Jesus tap dancing Christ Ron, you needed a study to confirm this? Do you not understand the difference between metaphysics and science and the limits of science’s claim to absolute truth if there is such a thing?

      1. It’s not like naturalism has steered science in some of the crazy directions that theological leanings have in history.

        1. and Natural Theology or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity

  2. “”””The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.””””

    It does not have to be contradictory

    “And God said, Let there be evolution: and there was evolution.”

    1. In the long run it is always easier to create a self-regulating autonomous sytem than to micromanage the transactions the system controls. Thus God Implies Evolution because God is not an idiot.

  3. Somehow, there seems to be this conflict in a lot of atheists’ heads, where they imagine that being Christian means you want fundamentalists teaching your children about science, yet they also want to take their case against fundamentalism in public schools to the mainstream–somehow not realizing that the mainstream is largely…ahem…Christian.

    Yeah, there are lots of self-identifying Christians who don’t want fundamentalists teaching their children science.

    There are lots of Christians who support things like gay marriage, too.

    No, really.

    1. Most atheists are profoundly ignorant about philosophy and religion and the limits of science and observation. Atheism has sadly become a brand that allows stupid people to feel smart. It doesn’t have to be that way, there always has been and continue to be plenty of very smart atheists, but that is what it has become for a lot of people.

      1. 42 percent of Americans believe that humans were created by God in their present form within the last 10,000 years

        Dude, this is not about the limits of science and observation.

        This is simply a moral issue. To reach this number, there has to be a large number of people who understand all the reasons (in geology, cosmology, and biology) why this can’t be true, but choose to declare it to be true anyway. That’s incredible intellectual dishonesty and mendacity.

        It’s as if I had some stubborn reason why I wanted to deny quantum mechanics, and persisted in doing so while talking on a cell phone. Stubbornness that rises to that level simply means you’re a dishonest person.

        1. It’s as if I had some stubborn reason why I wanted to deny quantum mechanics, and persisted in doing so while talking on a cell phone.

          ??? Do cell phones use quantum mechanics to work? Honest question.

          1. Not that I’m aware of…

            I would have used the example: Someone continues to use GPS navigation while denying relativity.

          2. Computer chips in their current form would not work if the quantum model was false.

            1. Yeah, I see what you’re saying. Modern transistors and whatall.

            2. Technically you are correct, because of semiconductors.

              But when most people think of quantum mechanics, they are thinking about quarks and bosons and shit, not eletron excitation states and such.

              1. But when most people think of quantum mechanics, they are thinking about quarks and bosons and shit, not eletron excitation states and such.

                Correct. I was thinking more along the lines of Schrodinger and Heisenberg. Learn something new every day.

              2. But guess what? Band theory is quantum mechanics; there’s no classical analog. Photonics is quantum mechanics; ditto.

                Transistors/diodes/ICs/LEDs are all absolutely dependent on QM phenomena to work.

                John is profoundly ignorant about the limits of science and observation, but he doesn’t have the advantage of dealing with lots of professional scientists on a daily basis, nor of actual training and experience in a scientific field.

          3. If they have tunnel diodes, which rely on the uncertainty of energy vs. time.

            For the most part, however, tunneling is a limitation on the capabilities of semiconductor devices.

        2. That’s incredible intellectual dishonesty and mendacity.

          Time t=0 could have been 5 minutes ago.

          There is nothing intellectual dishonest about believing that.

          I dont believe it, but I see no theoretical problem with it.

          1. Damnit, now I wanna go home and watch dark city.

          2. It’s intellectual dishonesty if you don’t apply that same standard of doubt in every area of life and for every decision.

            If you believe “There’s no evidence that Man existed before 10,000 years ago, because we can’t prove that the whole universe didn’t spring into existence in its current form in the last five minutes!” then you necessarily would have to concede, “There’s no evidence I owe robc that $20 he thinks I owe him, because we can’t prove that the whole universe didn’t spring into existence in its current form in the last five minutes!”

            If you want these people to waive all their rights under contracts, be barred from serving on juries, or anything else that requires us to assert that we can properly identify events from the past, hey – knock yourself out.

            1. All of that assumes that you and your observations are the ultimate judge of things. And it is a fine assumption, it is just not anything but an assumption and really nothing but an act of faith.

              1. The difference is that I can share my scientific observations with other people and other people can reproduce them. The same is not true of my metaphysical “observations”.

                  1. Oh come on Ron. You are surely smarter than that. BFD that you can reproduce this or that. That doesn’t mean you understand what is really going on or that your observations of it are complete; that whole unknown unknown. And beyond that, it assumes that there is some reason or mechanism that will make that observation to be true going forward. And what is that other than faith?

                    1. Right, because an evil Genie might be tricking us into accepting the reproductions.

                      Sheesh John.

                1. Just because they reproduced them in the past doesn’t mean that they will in the future. Moreover, even if they are reproduced, that doesn’t mean you perception of them is true.

                  1. Yes, John anything which is non-falsifiable could be true. They are also meaningless to reality.

                    1. John anything which is non-falsifiable could be true. They are also meaningless to reality.

                      Thats not even remotely true. Plenty of non-falsifiable things are meaningful.

                      Ive already referenced Goedel, so I will make a reference to Turing this time.

            2. You owe me that $20 from t=-20 days and you know it!

        3. o reach this number, there has to be a large number of people who understand all the reasons (in geology, cosmology, and biology) why this can’t be true, but choose to declare it to be true anyway. That’s incredible intellectual dishonesty and mendacity.

          And you choose to declare human observation and perception to be so infallible that you can declare it to be absolute truth. Maybe everything we see is true. Maybe we have through our eyes and our primitive rationality the ability to understand ultimate truth. That is, however, a huge assumption. You can point me to all of the scientific evidence you want, but every bit of that is the result of human observation and thought and thus presumes the primacy of that.

          You just spent three paragraphs giving a picture perfect example of someone who doesn’t understand the difference between science and metaphysics.

          1. And you’re giving the perfect example of someone who mendaciously applies Hume-style doubt to situations ONLY when there’s some valued idea to be defended.

            1. Hume style doubt is true. It doesn’t mean that I can’t rely on the laws of science. I can and certainly do. But I can’t make claims about them beyond “they seem to work”.

              These questions are hard and can be quite humbling and frustrating to contemplate. If you wish to avoid that by pretending they don’t exist, whatever gets you through the night. But as I said, atheism is mostly a way for stupid people to feel smart.

              1. What would be wrong with saying ‘I’m only going to stick those things that ‘seem to work’ (laws of science) and not worry about those not in that category (supernatural claims)’?

                1. What would be wrong with saying ‘I’m only going to stick those things that ‘seem to work’ (laws of science) and not worry about those not in that category (supernatural claims)’?

                  Nothing at all.

                  Nothing wrong with worrying about the metaphysical too.

              2. Hume style doubt is true.

                You don’t live your life as if it’s true.

                I don’t know you personally – but I know that.

                I know that because you sat at a computer long enough to type words into it to post to this page.

                If you really, really believed that Hume was right, you wouldn’t have done that. Because the fact that the last time you sat at a computer and typed words appeared on the screen would tell you nothing about whether that would happen this time.

                “Human beings did not exist before 7000 BC” is a prosaic fact, and not a metaphysical one. It can only be transformed into a metaphysical question by espousing absurd standards of doubt that nobody actually lives by in even the smallest way.

                Anyone who honestly judges the truth value of the statement “Human beings did not exist before 7000 BC” the same way they evaluate the truth value of the statement “Abraham Lincoln was elected President in 1860”, using the same standard of proof, will conclude that both statements are true.

                That means that you’re perversely applying a different standard of proof to the first prosaic fact than you’d apply to the second one. Than you DO apply to the second one.

                “I’m only being intellectually dishonest because if I’m not you mean atheists will say mean things about some of my co-religionists” is not an adequate defense. Sorry.

          2. If you try to live in a reality that doesn’t depend on the primacy of human observation and perception, you’re going to have a bad time.

          3. Where are you getting this ‘ultimate truth’ stuff? Science assumes naturalistic forces and explanations because everyone agrees they are going on. Some theistic people add that there are supernatural things going on on top of those, but until those are shown it’s just common sense to stick with what we know to be the case.

            1. Where are you getting this ‘ultimate truth’ stuff? Science assumes naturalistic forces and explanations because everyone agrees they are going on.

              And our agreement says nothing about what is actually going on. It just says something about our agreement. That is the entire point. If you like pretending that it does, good for you. There is nothing to say that you can’t.

              1. John, that’s like saying ‘I think that mountain is the way it is because of these forces of erosion at work, which you and I can see on a smaller time scale at work, which over time would cause that exact result’ and you saying ‘yeah, but you can’t say whether a magical, invisible leprechaun guided the entire process or not.’ Until we see some evidence of the magical elf the logical thing to do is stick with the naturalistic explanation.

                1. It’s called Occam’s Razor

                2. All of that assumes that reality as you observe it is all there is. It also assumes that the way things work now will be the way things work in the future. You logically cannot make that jump. Hume was right. You cannot go from A = B in the past to A = B forever in the future. You just can’t get there.

                  1. You’re misunderstanding. Yes, I cannot definitively disprove that a magical, invisible elf is actually behind something that can be explained naturally, but it would be a silly way to go through life to do otherwise. We know this explains that, we don’t need to speculate about how we may be tricked in ways that have, in other contexts or in this one, had no evidence to support them. A person relying on and countenancing only reliable evidence and not wasting time on metaphysical speculations that could be true but for which there is no evidence is perfectly rational, the reverse is not.

                3. Which doesn’t necessarily mean that the currently proposed naturalistic explanation is the correct explanation. Or the comprehensive explanation, or the only explanation which should be considered. It just means that it’s a useful working hypothesis, right up until it isn’t anymore.

                  Provisional acceptance isn’t the same thing as religious faith. When people start acting like it is, they’re not really doing science anymore.

                  1. It’s perfectly rational, you might say required to be rational, to accept only what seems to be the case until proven otherwise, and not to accept anything that is not until also proven otherwise.

        4. It is also the result of people not understanding the book they claims of the religion they believe in. The old Testament is not the Quoran. It was not God dictating the words to someone like the Koran claims to be. It was written by human beings who put things into the language and concepts they had. You think you are smarter than someone five thousand years ago because you can prattle on about big bangs and billions of years and such. You are not. You just have a lot of concepts that you have been taught that they haven’t. Try to express all of that using only the language and thought and knowledge of someone living five thousand years ago. Imagine a world where there were no clocks or calendars beyond the seasons, where you had no idea what stars or space was. How do you put the truth of creation into words when you don’t have those concepts?

          1. Another thing to point out: the way people read the Bible now is not the same as the way it was read then. “Biblical fundamentalism” in the sense adhered to today is utterly foreign from how Scripture was read a mere 100-200 years after the time of Christ, and plenty of figures pivotal to Christianity (St Ambrose and St Augustine, for instance) would have been utterly baffled by and opposed to a literal reading of the Genesis account.

            Assuming uncharitable things about the ability of ancients to interpret their own texts is a form of chronological snobbery. The rational world did not come into being in the 19th century, but to hear atheists tell it we were little removed from retards until Voltaire came along.

            1. One might think it is retarded to waste a lot of intellectual time trying to come up with theological theories and readings to make Scripture make sense with areas where science seems to contradict it, just because faith + tradition!

              1. Not really, though. Skepticism, even if it’s misplaced, is far more healthy for society than blind acceptance.

                Anyway, what western religions encouraged was an assumption that the universe was an ordered place that existed to be understood by the mind of man. God might help you out, and once in a great while he might intervene with a true miracle here or there. But there wasn’t a demon behind every headache or a capricious woodgod behind every successful hunt.

                1. Skepticism, even if it’s misplaced, is far more healthy for society than blind acceptance.

                  I wouldn’t be too sure about that. I, for one, would not want the jaundiced eye of skepticism to turn towards the issue of, say, infanticide or property rights in a way that would compromise the current standing of both. Skepticism has its uses, but it is not the cure-all that “rational skeptics” seem to think it is (nor is it considered a virtue when it comes to “settled” moral issues).

            2. Another thing that always makes me laugh about many modern atheists is how primitive and stupid their attacks on theism are. If you want to take down Christianity, don’t read some nitwit like Richard Dawkins, read Julian the Apostate sometime. They all act like no one ever had these sorts of debates before they showed us.

              1. Modern atheism is all about hating religion. Rational arguments take a back seat to ridicule and rant. It’s a big club where everyone can get together and pat themselves on the back about how non-religious they are.

                I’m not saying all atheists are like this. Only a few are. But like 9/11 Troofers in the libertarian movement, the assholes always manage to be in front of the mic when the press is around.

            3. Some Augustine quotes show he may have had a different understanding than Jesus Christ, who referred to the Genesis account as a literal one, including Adam and Eve. There are many other passages the same.

              That’s besides the corroborating science, that brought many scientists from atheism to young-Earth creationism.

      2. Atheism has sadly become a brand that allows stupid people to feel smart.

        very well said.

        1. Forrest the amateur scientist writer brought down the brightest of NASA with a $300 home-built interferometer.

          NASA scientists made predictions of the strength of the magnetic fields of the outer giant planets, magnitudes of order off. Russ Humphrey hit it on the nose.

          The NASA guys kept their mouths after that from predicting Mercury’s. Humphreys hit it again.

          So watch them. Instead of arguing the merits of the science, they can’t without arguing with the base for his predictions, they will attack the person.

  4. These relationships do not necessarily prove that if Americans were to learn more about evolution they would be more likely to believe in it.

    I call BS. It’s fine if you think God’s hand guided evolution. That’s non-falsifiable at present. But if you think humans were created in present form in the last 10,000 years then you do not yet know enough about the theory of evolution and the science behind it. You need to learn more.

    1. It’s fine if you think God’s hand guided evolution. That’s non-falsifiable at present.

      This is an odd statement. How would you construct a test to falsify that claim, and how could you possibly do so within the bounds of an understanding based on cause-effect?

  5. Doubt about the current theory of macro evolution does not necessarily have to be based on religion. Science is going destroy current Darwinist beliefs all by itself (just like most other theories we currently believe). The Left, however, places belief in Darwin right up there with “climate change” so changes to the theory are going to face political opposition, not just peer reviews.

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/category/evolution/

    1. Pretty much. The current debate is not about Creationism versus Evolution, it’s about Creationism versus watered down Darwinism.

      Not only have Darwin’s theories have pretty much been replaced, but the Darwinism that gets taught in school is an oversimplified caricature.

    2. Please don’t non-ironically link to uncommondescent and expect to be taken seriously.

  6. Fitzgerald understood G?del better than Rand.

  7. There are some nuances being missed here.
    The theory of evolution is about more than just *human* evolution.
    There are plenty of Christians who accept everything about evolution *except* human evolution.
    They need to be distinguished from biblical literalists and other creationists who believe that god specifically created each species.

    1. And plenty of Christians look at “evolution” such as it is, as a divine tool. There is no real answer to any of this. But to admit that is to give up being smug, and what fun is that?

      1. J: So smugness is its own reward? 😉

      2. I have no problem with people seeing evolution as a tool. My problem is with people denying the observtions indicating that humans are subject to this tool, just like all other living things.

        1. So you don’t think anything is special about humans? If we are just another animal, why is eugenics and utilitarianism wrong? And if they are wrong, why are they not equally wrong when applied to animals?

          The problem with “evolution” is that it makes man just another animal. If man is just another animal, then where do things like natural rights and personal autonomy come from? And if man has them, why doesn’t every other living thing?

          1. If Hume is your foundation you know that applies to religion too, so the theist can’t be any more secure in the foundation for their ethics than the naturalist

            1. He’s saying that a moralistic, humanistic atheism is incompatible with a purely materialist understanding of evolution. There is no reason to consider humans any differently from other animals from a purely naturalistic point of view and a moral call for different treatment thus contradicts a natural understanding, at least insofar as that different treatment is universally proscribed rather than emerging from personal preference. This sounds great for libertarianism until one realize it also applies to universal prohibitions on, say, murder or theft.

              1. Of course there are purely natural properties humans have at levels far above any other known beings that could serve as the basis for morality giving special place to humans.

                1. Of course there are purely natural properties humans have at levels far above any other known beings that could serve as the basis for morality giving special place to humans.

                  …such as?

                  1. Capacity to reason for one.

                    I mean really, surely you are aware that many quite notable ethical theories, including rights theories, do not rest on a supernatural foundation at all.

                    1. Animals have the capacity to reason at a higher level than young children in some cases. Indeed, this is why Singer argues that infanticide is okay.

                    2. Capacity to reason for one.

                      To reason *what*? Many mammals seem to be able to use their resources and fashion judgements based on their situation. Besides, what kind of non-sequitur is it to say that, because I have a big brain, I must be treated kindly? Does this not have any implications beyond the universalist, and can it not be applied particularly (i.e., some humans deserve better treatment than others because of their intelligence)? There is nothing within a capacity to reason which would imply a binary (Human — Yes moral treatment, non-human — No moral treatment) or which for that matter would define morality.

                      I don’t really care about the mere existence of moral theories if they can be deconstructed by using the same rationality which was used to construct it in the first place.

          2. seems rather hard to be “mendacious” in an economy without natural rights.

          3. Hume also has a pretty satisfactory answer to this question: rights are conventions that make it easier to live together.

            What’s special about humans is that we are humans, and pigs and cows are not.

            1. Hume’s answer is pretty thin gruel. Who is to say it is true? The progs and all of the rest of the Utopians claim rights just get in the way of building a better world. Without the sanctity of man, it is pretty hard to argue against them.

              1. Yet they’re stronger arguments than simply repeating, “but the sanctity of man!” Economics, Humean moral philosophy, and logical discourse may not be perfectly persuasive, but I’d say they’re more effective than trying to get someone to share your religious belief.

                Of course, if a Utopian already believes in the sanctity of man, feel free to try to reason them with their own premises towards a libertarian conclusion. It seems like your concern now is with persuasion, not “truth.” Truth is truth, even when it’s inconvenient.

                1. Economics, Humean moral philosophy, and logical discourse may not be perfectly persuasive, but I’d say they’re more effective than trying to get someone to share your religious belief.

                  Let’s stack up the number of people converted to another person’s beliefs by Humean moral philosophy and logical discourse, and compare them to the number of people converted to some religion (say, Christianity or Buddhism). I’d bet that the latter pile would be larger than the former, and it wouldn’t even be close.

                  1. Right, sorry, but John established that the target was a prog or Utopian. Someone who has presumably already rejected religious arguments and has some other basis for their anti-libertarian philosophy. “Yes, but St. Aquinas said…” is probably not going to be effective. That’s what I meant.

    2. There are no creationists who believe that “God specifically created each species”. I capitalized God because you’re talking about the one most creationists believe in.

      You know, creationists like Isaac Newton, Roger Bacon, Michael Faraday, Lord Kelvin, Francis Bacon, Blaise Pascal, Robert Boyle, the formulator of the five-step scientific method, William Herschel.

      Yessiree, they didn’t know anything about science. 🙂

  8. 1: I hate when science documentaries say “scientists believe…”

    2: Accepting animal breeding for traits and pedigree but denying evolution is the definition of idiocy.

    1. There is a big difference between creating a breed of livestock and a new species. Dogs can still breed with wolves, cows with buffalo, etc…

      Call it specialization or micro evolution vs. macro evolution.

      1. So you don’t think we’ll ever be able to breed a dog that can’t breed with wolves? Even given a million years?

        1. Nope – That is one place the current theory of macro evolution seriously breaks down. If a dog or wolf doesn’t have 78 chromosomes that fit nicely together with his or her mate’s, how will it reproduce?

          Something else happened to separate the evolving canines from their Red Fox cousins who now have 34 chromosomes.

          1. If a dog or wolf doesn’t have 78 chromosomes that fit nicely together with his or her mate’s, how will it reproduce?

            It’s very gradual within a population. Individual mutations that are too drastic are filtered out, so it takes a long long time. Horses and donkeys have different numbers of chromosomes, but they breed to produce mules. It’s very rare but some female mules are fertile when mated with a horse or donkey. Given enough time, you might see further mutations leading to interbreeding “mules” which would be a population of a new species.

            1. Viable offspring – mules are a dead-end.

        2. I once witnessed a Chihuahua “servicing” a Great Dane. As Malcom said, life finds a way.

          1. I’d like to see a chihuahua give birth to a great dane’s puppies.

      2. There is a big difference between creating a breed of livestock and a new species.

        It’s merely a difference in time. Separate the two populations for long enough and you’ll see the ability to interbreed diminish and go away.

  9. Is anyone (perhaps Ron Bailey) from Reason, going to review Nicholas Wade’s new book?

  10. Oh boy a religion thread. I think I have a pack of white cheddar popcorn left.

    1. White cheddar on popped corn? Heretic!!! Unbeliever!! Let’s sacrifice him to our god!

  11. This issue is the photo negative of fundies who obsess over ‘immoral’ sub-cultures which they have no contact with. There is no threat to the state of evolutionary biology research in this country, and this has never been the case ever since Darwin’s research found American supporters in the field of biology. Very few people need a working understanding of evolutionary biology to lead successful lives; so long as they are happy and are not trying to force their views onto others who the fuck cares?

    1. The problem is that evolution affects a lot of other things. I asked above, if humans are just another animal, where do we get off claiming we have natural rights?

      It is fun to kick around Peter Singer, the “ethicist” at Princeton. I think he is appalling. But if you take evolution at its word, I don’t see how he is wrong. I don’t like what he has to say, but I can’t tell you he is wrong if man is just another animal and out abilities an accident of evolution. Singer’s first principle is “what is so special about man?”. He answers that question in the negative and proceeds from there. I have yet to hear any atheist evolution believer give a compelling reason why he is wrong.

      1. Well, that is true but it is also outside the scope of modern science to answer such questions. I just don’t see how CS Lewis the evolutionist was substantially different or less genuine in his faith than your average literal creation-affirming American Christian, or how the truth of evolution contradicts a truth about the inherent dignity of humanity or existence of God. The Catholic church seems to have made its peace with evolution without incident.

        1. If evolution is a tool used by God, then the problem is solved. Man is special because God man him that way. If there is no God, then man is just like every other animal and Singer has a point.

      2. Even if humans are special, where do you get off with this “natural rights” bullshit?

        1. If you don’t believe in God, you make a great point Robert. A good number of atheists are just theists who have substituted “natural rights” for God.

      3. My first principle is, “Who cares what an ethicist has to say?”

    2. Of all the nutty beliefs out there, belief in Creationism is one of the most harmless. Anti-vaccine and anti-GMO beliefs, on the hand, will kill. Guess which side of the political spectrum the latter two tend to fall on?

      1. True. Beliefs about the past are trivia; it’s the future you need to concern yourself about.

    3. Agreed. Getting upset that some kid out there is being taught creationism is as petty as fretting over two dudes fucking or smoking dope or playing video games all day.

  12. Fair questions:

    Assumption, I am an omnipotent being.

    Ergo, I can make what I want out of nothing.

    1. Can I make a human that consists of more than one cell?

    2. Can I make a human that appears to be 10 years old?

    3. Can I make a human that has a scar?

    4. Can I make a planet without having made the gasses that would have otherwise had to converge into the planet?

    5. Can I make a planet with a molten core and a cool surface… without having to make it cool?

    Why did I ask all these questions? Because the answer to “When did the universe come to be?” is quite a useless question. I can observe the universe and predict what will happen, even give you a very well developed theory as to how it came to be. But that doesn’t really matter unless I have a time machine of some sort.

    If you want prediction, then observation is what you need. It doesn’t matter to the observation or prediction if the universe is 5 years old or 1 trillion years old.

    My last question to those still wanting an answer to my belief is “Why do you care?”

  13. How to design a poll to prove that you’re smarter and more logical than Isaac Newton, even if you’re dumber than a rock…

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