REPLY #49 TO
"EVOLUTION VS. CREATIONISM"
are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.
My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text
and are prefaced by my initials (MB)
(R) Only a pure evolutionist could say that they won.
(MB) Sorry, but any qualified debate judge would have ruled in favor of the evolutionists in this debate. You must remember that a debate is judged on the basis on which side more successfully defends or refutes their side of the debate proposition. In this debate, the proposition was:
"Resolved: That Evolutionists Should Acknowledge Creation"
Notice that the Creationists are the affirmants of this proposition and, therefore, bear the burden of proof. In order to satisfy this burden, it is incumbent upon them to present a positive case in favor of Creationism that is based upon facts and evidence in support of their position. They cannot make a positive case solely by attacking evolution. In logic, no positive position can gain credibility solely through the failure of its denial. The total failure to understand this basic tenet is one of the biggest problems with the Creationist side. Notice that none of the Creationists presented so much as a single fact in support of their views. All they did was to deny science's ability to explain certain scenarios. Their best (and, often, their only) argument in favor of their own position was "God could have done it" or "it can be interpreted as evidence of intelligent design". Sorry, but with no facts to back up this wishful thinking, there is no basis upon which to support the proposition that evolutionists should acknowledge creation. That being the case, the Creationists have utterly failed to defend the debate proposition and the evolutionists have clearly won this round. This judgment does not require that one be an evolutionist himself.
(R) Neither side made any argument that could withstand scrutiny.
(MB) If so, that is an admission that the Creationists failed to support the debate proposition and, therefore, were on the losing side.
(R) The evolutionist did not refute a single accusation made by the creationist.
(MB) If so, it would have had no bearing upon any determination of whether or not the debate proposition was successfully defended. Even abject failure of all current evolution theories is not an indication that Creationism is true. The question is not a dichotomy. Consider, for example, that Creationists have yet to demonstrate that their view is the superior religious viewpoint, much less the right answer from all viewpoints. Even if one limits the discussion to the Xian realm, there are major problems for them to resolve. Creationists do not come in only one version. For example, there is "old Earth" vs. "young Earth" Creationism. It should be clear that it is not possible for both to be correct -- even from a purely theological viewpoint. So, Creationists should first decide which of their own ideas they wish to support. Then, they need to win the battle concerning which religion's creation tale(s) is/are correct. Then, and only then, can they hope to tackle science with any credibility.
(R) I will agree with your evaluation that Buckley was a total non-factor. He was more of a politician saying nothing but required several paragraphs to do so.
(MB) Which would be typical for him -- even when he's right! Buckley's weak performance here is evidence that religion stifles intellectualism.
(R) But your evaluation was so one-sided that it is impossible to believe that you are truly objective. Your just an attorney before a jury making an emotional case and you hope you have the more impressive suit.
(MB) How's that? The Creationists couldn't even agree between themselves what they wanted to support or even how they wanted to define "Creationism". Their arguments were disjointed and many effective counters were presented. They presented no facts in favor of their views (whatever they were) and presented nothing but old and thoroughly refuted quibbles against evolution. They stumbled and gagged and had to evade many of the evolutionist's points. They don't even seem to understand that belief in God and the facts of evolution are not incompatible! If you disagree with this, you will need to offer some specific examples of where you think the Creationists presented effective arguments in support of the debate proposition.
(R) The problem with evolution is that all its assumptions from dating methods to leaps from one fossil record to another are ridiculous. And are believed because they are preached from the science room pulpit 180 days a year from elementary through college.
(MB) Funny that you would use such an analogy to attempt to put down scientists when that is exactly how organized religion operates. What specific objections do you have to the dating methods used to determine the age of fossils and the strata in which they are found? If you trot out the standard C-14 argument, I'll know you haven't done your homework.
(R) This is not the first time that scientific beliefs(yes beliefs not facts) have been proven untrue, but the dogma was so entrenched that the fundamentalist refuse to honestly look at another possibility.
(MB) Science looks at all possibilities and evaluates them all by the same standards of facts and evidence. That's why Creationism fails as a viable alternative to evolution. Creationism fails every single test of facts and evidence. Science is not perfect, but its methods do provide for testing and correction. Religion does not do this. At this point, evolution proving to be untrue would be just as shocking as discovering that 2+2 does not equal 4.
(R) Evolutionary theory is just that theory, but it is taught as fact.
(MB) Ah, yes. The old "it's just a theory" argument. Do you understand that a scientific "theory" is not a "hypothesis" or a "speculation" or even a "wild-ass guess"? A scientific "theory" is an explanation for observations and data that is supported so strongly by facts and evidence that it is worthy of gaining general acceptance and adherence. Consider that Newtonian gravity is also "just a theory" and is, in fact, demonstrably inaccurate under quantum and relativistic conditions. However, I doubt that any sane person will argue that he can justifiably refuse to believe that his face is in danger of a rather violent collision with the ground should he trip while running.
(R) Creationism should be taught as an equal theory. There are enough solid facts to back up Creationism to justify it as a valid theory.
(MB) Evolution and Creationism will only be "equal" when they have the same amount of facts and evidence to support them. Creationism's support consists solely of a few words in one book. Evolution's support fills libraries, museums, and research labs all over the world. Creationism can't make one single definitive and specific factual claim in its own support that is not demonstrably wrong. This hardly qualifies it as being something that is worthy of equal time in any classroom where learning is supposed to be taking place.
If you are truly interested in fairness and equal treatment of competing views, would you be in favor of granting evolution equal time in Sunday Schools, church services, and Bible study programs? If not, why not? If Creationism and evolution are "equal theories" and you demand that Creationism should be forced on academia, why shouldn't you be required to support those same standards in churches?
(R) As you know neither can be reproduced in a lab so they will always be theories.
(MB) Many parts of evolution theory *have* been reproduced in labs and untold numbers of its predictions have been verified by observation and experiment. By definition, no part of Creationism could possibly be reproduced or observed since Man cannot make an omnimax God. Of course, Man can always invent stories of such entities.
(R) Many Christians believe that evolution is a fact and therefore say the Bible is not literal but symbolic in those areas. And there is no doubt that some of the Bible is to be taken literally and some as symbolic.
(MB) Quite correct. In fact, it is only a small minority of Christians who believe in the Fundamentalist version of literal Creationism. Most Christians have little or no problem accepting both God and evolution. In fact, most see evolution as the method used by God to further his plan for life on Earth. This is why it is dead wrong to claim that evolution and God are diametrically-opposite and mutually-exclusive ideas.
(R) The Pope is not a scientist, he believes the bible and he knows that even he does not
have all the answers.
(MB) The majority of Creationists are not scientists, either. For example, three of the four Creationists on the panel during the debate we are discussing (Buckley, Johnson, and Berlinskey) are not scientists. The Pope has a large amount of authority here since, when he speaks, hundreds of millions of Catholics (and many non-Catholics, as well) blindly follow along. Of course, it should be mentioned that the overwhelming majority of Xian Fundamentalists are Protestant.
(R) The New Testament writer Paul tells us that we see through a glass darkly now, but after we die and go to Heaven we will see clearly.
(MB) Needless to say, this assumes that there is actually such a thing as life after death and that, if there is, it will be in "Heaven" instead of some other place.
(R) The Pope nor do any Christians know for sure that the Bible is literal on the Genesis account, but all indications are that it is a literal account.
(MB) Are you saying that Fundamentalist Creationists are not Christians? Certainly, they believe in the absolute literal truth of the creation account in Genesis. Or, more properly, they believe in the *first* creation account in Genesis. They seemingly ignore the fact that there is a second, and contradictory, account in the second chapter of that same book. Even without that, there is enough nonsense in the first account to effectively remove it from serious consideration as fact.
(R) The Bible is not meant to be an all inclusive historical record. It is a book about the history of man and God's relationship and how that relationship must be maintained.
(MB) The Bible can't be any sort of "history of Man" since it is only concerned with one particular nomadic tribe. This "relationship" stuff is not in the Bible, either. That is the invention of 20th century Xian apologists and preachers. The notion that an omnimax God is even remotely interested in a "relationship" with a puny creature who inhabits a mind-boggingly vast Universe and that such a God has anything whatsoever to gain from any such "relationship" is the purest piffle.
(R) There is history, instruction, laws, philosophy, compassion, mercy, judgement etc in the Bible.
(MB) There is also perversion, atrocity, hatred, bigotry, sexism, racism, wrath, vengeance, vulgarity, erotica, intolerance, etc. in the Bible. Of course, this is all carefully glossed over or blatantly ignored in sermons, tracts, and Sunday School. Do you think that the Bible is the only work in which the qualities you listed can be found?
(R) Did you know that approximately 45% of scientist surveyed are Creationist.
(MB) No, I didn't. But this is because there are exactly *0* actual surveys that have even been done which indicate that any more than 40% of scientists even believe in the Xian version of "God". Such a belief is an absolute prerequisite for accepting Creationism. What is the source of your statistic?
(R) It is my opinion that those that consider themselves elitist through power, education or intellect are usually atheist. So the fact that your quote a particular scientific community and not the whole scientific community as being 7% believers in God is not surprising. You have to consider the source.
(MB) Of course. When one actually asks the scientists, you get the answers I quoted. Atheism is not a view arrived at through blind faith. It requires the application of intellect. Blind faith is better served by an absence (or, at least, a dormancy) of intellect. If you're going to suggest that intellect leads to atheism, then you can't also claim that Creationism is an intellectual position.
(R) There are just as many intelligent people and educated people in fact more that believe in God than don't.
(MB) This is simply not true. In fact, there are a plethora of studies which have conclusively shown a positive correllation between increased intellect and decreased belief in God. There are no studies which dispute this correllation.
(R) Its just that those that believe in God usually are not Elitist and do not associate with them.
(MB) An "elitist" is somebody who sets themselves above most others for some particular reason. Certainly, devout believers set themselves above non-believers for the very reason (albeit, a circular reason) that they *are* believers. Therefore, for your statement to be true, you must not associate with yourself. Either that, or you are inferring that those who believe in God are a separate group from those who are intellectual.
Indeed, your argument would seem to be supported by Paul in Romans 16:17-18 (RSV), where he writes:
17. I appeal to you, brethren, to take note of those who create dissensions and difficulties, in opposition to the doctrine which you have been taught; avoid them.
18. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by fair and flattering words they deceive the hearts of the simple-minded.
(R) So that would naturally polarize the results of those kinds of surveys.
(MB) Why would asking scientists what they believe polarize the results of a survey that was designed to find out what scientists believe? This makes no sense.
(R) It is a bit like asking a Southerner about the Civil war and his response may be
"You mean the war of Northern Aggression".
(MB) Such a response would only indicate a disagreement with the common name used to refer to that war. It's similar to the different names given to famous battles by the Union and the Confederacy. For example, while the Union refers to the 1st and 2nd Battles of Bull Run and the Battle of Antietam, the Confederacy refers to them, respectively, as 1st and 2nd Manassas and Sharpsburg.
(R) Statistics can be very misleading if designed to do so or if other relevant information is left out.
(MB) Exactly. Creationists take full advantage of the ability to mislead through selective statistics, too. It works for them because they preach to a scientifically-illiterate audience. Their tactics don't work so well with educated folks.
(R) I do like your site though, because it does help me understand your side. But I do not think you realize how prejudice you are. I'm not saying I'm not but I do admit it. How can you have a site like yours and not be prejudice?
(MB) Prejudice is when one judges or has opinions without proper examination of the facts. I don't do that, so there is no reason for me to admit that I'm prejudiced in any way. On the other hand, Creationists have the much larger prejudice of an absolute need to defend their belief in God. This far outweighs any statement or tactic used in that belief's defense. The whole purpose of my site is to give all sides the opportunity to express and defend their beliefs and I'm glad that you like what I've done even though we disagree on this particular issue. If I am shown to be wrong, I'll admit to it and will change my beliefs since the pursuit of truth -- no matter where it may lead me -- is my ultimat goal. I have no sacred cows to preserve. All of my beliefs are subject to examination and replacement. Such is the methodology of science.
(R) God loves you and his ways truly are better.
(MB) Which God? How does he love me? Which "ways" are you referring to and how are they "better" than any other ways?
(R) Are you and Evolutionist Christian, Evolutionist Atheist or Evolutionist Agnostic?
(MB) I am an agnostic and an evolutionist. I do not believe in the existence of the Xian version of "God", but am open to the possibility that some other version might exist.
(R) If you are not Christian and my guess is that you are not and you are probably Atheist then:
Do you have an axe to grind with the Christian God? What was the factor that made you a non-believer in God?
(MB) I have no more of an axe to grind with the Xian God than I do with any other idea that makes no sense to me. I simply require that this idea stands up to the same standards of evidence and proof that I require of any other idea. So far, it has failed miserably. The factor that brought me to non-belief was an active interest in reading and studying the Bible. The more I read and studied, the less sense it made. Eventually, I came to realize that there was no more basis for believing in the protagonist of the Biblical accounts any more than there was for me to believe in the gods of Greek or Norse or any other ancient mythology or in the central characters of any other work of fiction. I still continue my active interest in Biblical scholarship and debate to this day and my non-belief only grows stronger.
That said, it should be reemphasized that neither belief nor non-belief in God is required either to accept or dismiss evolution. They are separate issues even though they do become intertwined at points. If you wish to discuss the (non-)existence of God or any other Biblical issue, I'd be very happy to do so at great length in my Religion forum.