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Why Are Some Hell-Bent On Teaching Intelligent Design?

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the just-the-facts-mam dept.

Education 1293

Funksaw writes "Here's an op-ed by first-time politician, long-time Slashdotter Brian Boyko, where he talks about his experiences testifying at the Texas Board of Education in favor of having real science in science textbooks. But beyond that, he also tries to examine, philosophically, why there is such hardened resistance to the idea of evolution in Texas. From the article: '[W]hat is true is that evolution tests faith. The fact of evolution is incontrovertible and supported by mounds of empirical evidence. Faith, on the other hand, is fragile. It is supported only by the strength of human will. And this is where it gets tricky. Because to many believers, faith, not works, is the only guarantee that one can pass God's litmus test and gain access to His divine kingdom. To lose one's faith is to literally damn oneself. So tests to that faith must be avoided at all costs. Better to be a philosophical coward than a theological failure.'"

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God of the Gaps (4, Insightful)

ksemlerK (610016) | about a year ago | (#44899913)

As scientific knowledge advances, god shrinks.

More importantly (5, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | about a year ago | (#44899939)

If God did create us, how bad an engineer do you have to be to put a sewage outlet right in the middle of a recreational area?

Re:More importantly (3, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#44899951)

Well, the fact that he couldn't make up his bloody mind at all in the Bible might have something to do with it—what with all the smiting and so forth. You'd think a perfect being would be a tad better at manufacturing and maintaining a harmonious world. (Maybe one without apple trees?)

Re:More importantly (5, Funny)

kh31d4r (2591021) | about a year ago | (#44900267)

Or at least one without Apple.

Re:More importantly (4, Funny)

neonmonk (467567) | about a year ago | (#44899967)

Sex is for procreation not recreation! Sinner!

Re:More importantly (2)

enoz (1181117) | about a year ago | (#44900015)

If you think humans were badly engineered then spare a thought for the birds. God gave them a cloaca.

Re:More importantly (4, Informative)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#44900045)

And he put the retinas in backwards too.

Also, what type of idiot wires up the larynx via the heart? I could maybe understand if there was a ganglion down there, but no - it's just a nerve that doubles back on itsself for no good reason.

Re:More importantly (5, Informative)

enoz (1181117) | about a year ago | (#44900119)

Backwards in humans, but an improved design in cephalopods [] .

Praise Cthulhu

Re:More importantly (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900155)

The problems is that users have also been finding recreation in that sewage outlet in ways said engineer had not intended.

Re:More importantly (5, Funny)

Capsaicin (412918) | about a year ago | (#44900211)

If God did create us, how bad an engineer do you have to be to put a sewage outlet right in the middle of a recreational area?

You can hardly blame God for that. God merely created us in his own image ... blame the engineer who designed God!

Re:More importantly (4, Interesting)

tlambert (566799) | about a year ago | (#44900249)

If God did create us, how bad an engineer do you have to be to put a sewage outlet right in the middle of a recreational area?

Assuming we were designed (a big assumption), it's a lot easier to credit engineering skill when you get a second degree burn, and you end up healing. Think about it; how would you handle a design requirement for an empty planet with no replacement parts readily available?

Re:God of the Gaps (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44899969)

Um, no. God only shrinks if you're explanation for every problem is "God did it". If that's why you believe in a deity, then you miss the point of faith.

To make the point differently, just because I know exactly how a chair was built, it doesn't mean that I stop believing that a carpenter built it.

Re:God of the Gaps (5, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#44900021)

The point of faith is to believe that God cares about you, or that at least there is some kind of meaning or justice in the universe. Otherwise it's just the cold, unfeeling place that science tells us it is.

The problem is that every time science figures out some natural process and shows that it is in fact governed by hard, unfeeling laws or simple randomness it detracts from the idea that God cares. People start to realize that instead of just having faith that he will make things work out they have to try to understand the world and control it as best they can.

Re:God of the Gaps (3, Insightful)

MrL0G1C (867445) | about a year ago | (#44900147)

This god allows those that don't believe in it to burn in some stinking hell for eternity, doesn't sound like it cares to me.

Re:God of the Gaps (4, Insightful)

twotailakitsune (1229480) | about a year ago | (#44900177)

The thing is we moved from a caring god being at the top of the food chain, to Ebenezer Scrooge being at the top. So no wonder people want God.

Re:God of the Gaps (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900305)

It's not a cold, unfeeling place though. It has us in it :)

Re:God of the Gaps (4, Interesting)

beelsebob (529313) | about a year ago | (#44900169)

Um, no. God only shrinks if you're explanation for every problem is "God did it". If that's why you believe in a deity, then you miss the point of faith.

Not at all, that was the exact purpose of faith in it's original form –to explain away thing we couldn't yet explain, and to explain things to people who couldn't understand them.

Why did this huge flood happen that ruined our crops? Dunno^W I mean... God did it!
Why do we celebrate $festival around the end of december? Because god told you to! (Or alternatively, because it's when you need to feast on the animals you don't need to survive the winter, because otherwise they'll eat all the grain stores and no animals at all will survive, including you)
Why do we have a 40 day fast at the end of winter? Because god told you to! (Or alternatively, because the village elder didn't want to tell you that the supplies were running out and that everyone needed to survive on fuck all until the harvest came in) ...

Re:God of the Gaps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900235)

Not at all, that was never the purpose of faith, it's just a popular misconception by "enlightened" atheists.

See, I can present unsubstantiated claims as facts too. Or could it be that there are many ideas about the origins of religion put forward by many quite smart people who had put lots of thought into them? Oh, if there only was a way to find those ideas, if there was a place where they are presented and explained, a place we could all reach, preferably from our own homes...

Re:God of the Gaps (5, Insightful)

anubi (640541) | about a year ago | (#44900221)

just because I know exactly how a chair was built, it doesn't mean that I stop believing that a carpenter built it.

The same paradigm was the first thing that popped into my mind when I saw this topic.

From since my childhood, I was raised religious ( Baptist, Pentecostal ), and I was of the observation that the whole purpose of the Church was to teach obedience to authority. We were supposed to be sheep and "turn the other cheek". As far as I was concerned, Christianity was something like a mental computer virus which was crafted to enrich the coffers of the church and religious leaders at the expense of anyone who they could convince to take their teaching seriously. The centerpiece of the whole thing seemed to be the great ceremony of the passing of the plate, as well as getting out there and converting others to the faith. It seemed to me that being a Christian meant: 1) I would not steal anyone else's stuff, 2) I would not fight back if someone else took my stuff, and 3) I would pay a 10% tithe on everything I make to the people who taught me to do this.

What got me was this faith thing.

From personal experience, "faith" seemed to have little correlation to reality. As far as I was concerned, "faith" was what I had if I went-a-gambling; and I was told gambling was sinful. I have had faith in a lot of things. Things that should have worked, and didn't because of some unforeseen element - which became apparent to me after the fact the thing did not work as intended. Due diligence seemed to have far more effect on a positive outcome than hope.

From what I can tell of religions, it appears the ones I have been influenced by seemed that God was some sort of another word for Statistics. Maybe I would get what I prayed for, maybe I would not. I still lack conclusive evidence that God is some sort of businessman who has accounts payable and a big bag of blessings and curses which he levies on those who pay up in Church and those that drank beer on Sunday. Maybe God is Statistics. More like "What goes around comes around."

From the Bible: "In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, the word was God." ( John 1:1 ). The Word in my understanding is the basic physical laws that runs this universe. The same stuff scientists study. It was science who convinced me that there is some sort of intelligence out there which resulted in the formation of me and everything I observe. The religious people call this God, Spirit, and all sorts of other names, but it seems to be a universal human observation that we are likely not the top in the chain of command in the Universe.

I would venture to say that every religion I have encountered is very destructive to my faith in God, as they seem to try in every conceivable way to lead me into some sort of belief system where creation is some sort of business, with all sorts of freeloaders needing to be paid off in order to keep the God they refer to happy. I try to think of myself as an ethical person - and there are things I have to know for sure, not faith, before I feel comfortable trying to influence anyone else with it. I do not give investment advice for the same reason. I am often wrong. I felt very uncomfortable counseling people in grief that some tooth fairy was going to swoop down and take care of their problems. Nor could I believe that God was a force I can bargain with. The Bible has God referring to himself as: "I am that I am" ( Exodus 3:14 ).

As far as I am concerned, science verifies God. For years I have had the tagline:."Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." [KJV: I Thessalonians 5:21].

That one line of scripture, taken right out of the Bible, summarizes my whole take on it. Incidentally, it was a preacher on "The Simpsons" that turned me onto it.

Re:God of the Gaps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900275)

the whole purpose of the Church was to teach obedience to authority. We were supposed to be sheep and "turn the other cheek".

Yes, you have it exactly.

Remember - the Funny Hat Guy of Rome once had the power to destroy nation.

The Catholic Church - and most churches that came out of it (hi, Church of England and even further offshoots!) are a sign of their times. They're all petty tyrants, playing at dominion.

As for me, one incompetent government is enough. Sadly, living in California, I have two incompetent governments to deal with. I don't need a third.

Re:God of the Gaps (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44899995)

It is a simplistic view. I feel Feynman puts it more maturely than I can... []

Re:God of the Gaps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900007)

...and so does the pockets of the Vatican.

Re:God of the Gaps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900065)

As scientific knowledge advances, superstitions shrink. God remains the same.

Re:God of the Gaps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900213)

Superstition... Isn't that how we call other people's religious believes?

Re:God of the Gaps (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900085)

How does God shrink? I use to be very anti-authority and coming from a religious family even threats of beating the fear of God into me just made me rebel more. I tried accepting philosophy and science instead but most of those advances of theory and knowledge were created by men who believed in (a) God(s).
Even if string theory gets a better groundwork and understanding it probably won't unify an answer about how the universe just happens to be from.

  We're talking monkeys on a floating rock (science) how is that any more sane/rational and explanatory to the existence of things than a God throwing out the ground work for it?

Some people like Dawkins are really doing themselves a disservice with the contempt they show to others faith, at least here in America people shouldn't get spoon fed beliefs from a specific religious sect in public education but mocking those people is just going to make them cling to their view and push it on others even more.
I suppose rational discourse from monkeys is a bit much to ask, apes gotta talk down to other apes. Angry grunting sounds more right than twerp grunts.

Re:God of the Gaps (-1, Flamebait)

leereyno (32197) | about a year ago | (#44900129)

As scientific knowledge advances, DOGMA shrinks.

Problem is, scientific knowledge doesn't advance the people who possess it. It does not make them better human beings. It does not impart wisdom or an understanding of human nature.

Religious belief, despite all of its many flaws and shortcomings, is the only thing that has consistently been able to do these things.

Re:God of the Gaps (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900163)

Religious belief, despite all of its many flaws and shortcomings, is the only thing that has consistently been able to do these things.

Impart wisdom or an understanding of human nature...? Religion does no such thing.

But I don't know the real answer! (1)

AlphaWoIf_HK (3042365) | about a year ago | (#44899929)

I don't know the real answer to a problem, so I'll just make something up and claim it solves it.

Re:But I don't know the real answer! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44899947)

Are we still talking about theists or did we switch over to business consultants?

Re:But I don't know the real answer! (2, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#44899981)

I don't think parroting that is productive. The majority of creationists simply believe what their leaders tell them, and the ones who forge their own paths and invent doctrine (dinosaur fossils are what?!) do so because they are trapped by their cultural assumptions and (when you get down to it) an unhealthy preoccupation with avoiding oblivion. You, um, did RTFS, right?

Re:But I don't know the real answer! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900035)

How about organized religion is a scam and macroevolution should not be taken to explain everything (not that a church would have a better explanation). The funny thing is when people talk about Darwin without knowing what he proposed (it was acquired inheritance). Most people supporting/teaching science these days are basing their opinions just as much on belief as the superstitious.

Re:But I don't know the real answer! (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | about a year ago | (#44900115)

Hey, disorganized religion is a scam, too—it just doesn't pay anyone. You're still pulling wool over your own eyes and believing in things you have no justification for. Remember, agnosticism is the only empirically sound position.

Saying both groups are just trusting experts, however, is a bad reduction to make. It's also relevant to ask questions about what a follower believes they are following. A supporter of science believes that their ontology has been meticulously combed over and interrogated by clever, studious people to ensure consistency; a supporter of religion simply trusts that their sacred texts have been transmitted honestly by people told not to question what they receive. And there's no checksum in the New Testament!

Re:But I don't know the real answer! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900081)

I don't think parroting that is productive.

Not much about this whole situation is productive, but the end result is that nonsensical explanations are thought up and believed.

Points to Ponder (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44899933)

"Better to be a philosophical coward than a theological failure"

Better to be a patriot than a commie.

Re: Points to Ponder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900023)

or be both, which these Texans seem to be.

If god exists, then he does, end of. Therefore what is there to fear from facts?

I therefore strongly suspect those objecting to teaching evolution don't believe in god at all, really. They have another agenda.

Re: Points to Ponder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900069)

Thats Correct! But What is it?

Re: Points to Ponder (2)

Chrisq (894406) | about a year ago | (#44900137)

or be both, which these Texans seem to be.

If god exists, then he does, end of. Therefore what is there to fear from facts?

I therefore strongly suspect those objecting to teaching evolution don't believe in god at all, really. They have another agenda.

I think you are misunderstanding their motivation. Their motivation is not to prove/disprove the existence of God in any rigorous way, but to go to heaven. The Christian belief system says that the only way to do that is through faith, which in modern times is interpreted as belief. This means that it is best for them (and their children) to avoid any attempt at rigorous proof if it could end up with them seeing the alternative as a viable possibility. To them this is losing faith, which their god will punish with eternal torture. (OK for Christian pedants their god will allow them to be eternally tortured by someone else despite having the power to stop it).

Some research about Authoritarians explains a lot (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44899935)

Check out Bob Altemeyer's - 'The Authoritarians' and his chapter about religious fundamentalist. It explains quite a bit about this strange ID movement - (and it is based on experiments and only theories) :

If evolution is true... (3, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | about a year ago | (#44899943)

The argument seems to go as follows:

If evolution is true, then Genesis is false

If Genesis is fals ethen the whole of the Bible is called into question.

If the Bible is called into question then it is no basis for morality.

If the Bible is no basis for morality then the ten commandments are invalid.

Therefore if evlution is true, there's no prohibition on murder.

Clearly we could play a game of spot the logical fallacy but this seems to be the issue creationists have with evolution.

Re: If evolution is true... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44899975)

In your hypothesis the commandments are unauthorative, not invalid.

Re: If evolution is true... (1)

91degrees (207121) | about a year ago | (#44900063)

True, but this is what I was gettign at why my comment about "spot the logical fallacy". In thuis case they're making the "Fallacay fallacy/Argument from fallacy" [] . They're wrong, but if you want to convince them, you need to be aware that people make this sort of logical error all the time, and tailor your argument to accommodate.

Re:If evolution is true... (2)

BeerCat (685972) | about a year ago | (#44900039)

That sums it up pretty well. And doesn't even touch upon the inherent contradictions in different parts of the Bible (particularly in different chapters of Genesis), which anyone could spot if they had actually read it, rather than going on the "edited highlights" of a preacher from one particular part of the established church.

Re:If evolution is true... (-1, Troll)

gd2shoe (747932) | about a year ago | (#44900199)

Curious about which apparent contradictions you see there. The ones I normally see pointed out aren't contradictions at all, but I'm always interested in a good theological puzzle.

(Gen 1 talks about the creation of the world, and mentions the creation of man as a blip. Gen 2 goes back and fills in details. That's an old tired, and frankly juvenile "proof" of contradiction. I hope you've got something more interesting.)

... the established church.

This bit confuses me. Are you lumping all Christians together into the same meta-church, are you specifically talking about Catholicism, or did you mean to say "their" instead of "the"? There are so many Christian churches out there with wildly differing beliefs that there are dozens of "official" interpretations of any given Bible passage.

Re:If evolution is true... (1)

BeerCat (685972) | about a year ago | (#44900247)

I probably did mean "their" church.

And yes, the dozens of "official" interpretations of any Bible passage means that, as the GP pointed out, the uber-creationist view stems from "Someone interpreted one aspect differently from my interpretation. They are attempting to invalidate my whole belief system", rather than "Someone interpreted one aspect differently from my interpretation. Interesting. While they maybe aren't right, maybe my view has been a bit too rigid."

Re:If evolution is true... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900077)

In the beginning, we were all fish. Okay? Swimming around in the water. And then one day a couple of fish had a retard baby, and the retard baby was different, so it got to live. So Retard Fish goes on to make more retard babies, and then one day, a retard baby fish crawled out of the ocean with its mutant fish hands and it had butt sex with a squirrel or something and a Retard frog sqirrel and then *that* had a retard baby which was a... monkey-fish-frog... And then this monkey-fish-frog had butt sex with that monkey, and that monkey had a mutant retard baby that screwed another monkey... and that made you!

So there you go! You're the retarded offspring of five monkeys having butt sex with a fish-squirrel! Congratulations!

Genesis (3, Interesting)

gd2shoe (747932) | about a year ago | (#44900151)

(Speaking as a Bible believing Christian)

You're ignoring the fundamental problem with Genesis 1 (and thus, creation: including animals). If Man did not exist yet, who was observing the creation? How did man come to know about it?

The obvious theological answer was that God and/or angels told someone about it between Adam and Moses (inclusive). The problem with many of Gods (OT) explanations is that they tend to be in dreams and visions, which aren't usually literal. If it was angels, then surely we got the simplified version. "Ooh, ooh! Tell me again about the divergence of Lorises and Pottos!" "Sigh. Listen, kid, he just made them, OK?"

All this arguing over evolution is silly. Faith does not need it, but that doesn't mean that it outright contradicts faith.

Re:If evolution is true... (3, Insightful)

uncle slacky (1125953) | about a year ago | (#44900201)

Almost right. The following explanation was (I think) originally posted on Slashdot a while back: If there was no Adam & Eve, there was no Fall, therefore no Original Sin, therefore no need for Jesus (assuming he existed) to die in order to "save" us from said Sin, therefore no "eternal life" - so it destroys the entire basis of their belief system. Or, as someone else pointed out downthread, it boils down to fear of death.

Re:If evolution is true... (0, Flamebait)

meerling (1487879) | about a year ago | (#44900237)

Yes, those types seem to think that without religion, mankind becomes evil rapacious monstrosities.
However, the studies that have been done clearly show that atheists are kinder and more compassionate on average than theists.

They haven't found an explanation of that yet, but maybe it has to do with the basic outlook.
The Theist has a higher power they can appeal to and be forgiven of their bad , inappropriate, or downright evil actions, sometimes even after death.
An Atheist on the other hand has to live in this world, having no afterlife to go to after death, and in this world, the only one that can forgive their transgressions are their fellow humans. No divine forgiveness.
Of course, that's just guesswork on my part, because as I said, the researchers haven't pinned down the why as of yet.

Those that find conflict between religion and science are usually those unbending fanatics and followers of the god of the gaps.Every new discovery means their is less that their limited god controls, or directly conflicts with what they believe since they want to take their religious documents as literal. I've heard some of them say it's divine and thus can't ever be wrong. To that argument, I have to ask, then why has it been changed? If it can't be wrong, then it can't have been altered.
On the other hand, more reasonable religious people and sects, understand that their religion is spiritual and their sacred texts are not literal recordings of history, but are rather things meant to teach and guide. These types rarely conflict with science, since in their view it is only revealing the wonders of the universe, the handiwork of god. It's kind of like an art expert examining and marveling over the brush strokes of the Mona Lisa.

Oh well, it doesn't really do any good to try and explain this to the close minded religious types, as they would rather deny reality than accept their viewpoint may be wrong.

Threatening The Emotional Crutch of Idiots (2)

neonmonk (467567) | about a year ago | (#44899955)

Fundamentalist Christians. Seriously, this is not in need of a deep philosophical examination. Those that follow stone age mysticism get upset when science threatens & exposes their religious insecurities. When there's a lot of them, they will use legal means to enforce their superstitions. Like Texas.

Re:Threatening The Emotional Crutch of Idiots (2)

Gavagai80 (1275204) | about a year ago | (#44900295)

Iron age mysticism, not stone age mysticism.

Re:Threatening The Emotional Crutch of Idiots (4, Informative)

Pseudonym (62607) | about a year ago | (#44900315)

That probably isn't the whole story.

There is some evidence that there is a loose confederation of well-funded lobbyists and influence-mongers [] who have a vested interest in casting doubt on science in general, the so-called "merchants of doubt". The same organisations tend to be behind denial of acid rain, anthropogenic climate change, and the danger of tobacco.

Denying evolution indirectly helps the bottom line of tobacco companies, fossil fuel companies and so on. Why wouldn't they help out the cause?

Polarising message (2, Insightful)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44899957)

Ummm... the way TFT(itle) is worded throws some gas over fire.

How's that for a believer: "If you believe in Inteligent Design, then you are bent by hell"?
How this way of framing the topic helps a civilized tone for a discussion?

Re:Polarising message (4, Insightful)

khellendros1984 (792761) | about a year ago | (#44899997)

"Hell-bent" was maybe an unfortunate choice of word when "fanatically determined" would be just as clear.

Re:Polarising message (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#44900309)

The literal meaning of "fanatic" is no less problematic than the literal meaning of "hell-bent".

Re:Polarising message (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900223)

It is somewhat ironic that the original story is framed as being about reactionary prejudice, and that the comments are then mostly a pile-on of reactionary prejudice from the other side of the fence.

David Anderson

Re:Polarising message (5, Insightful)

Sockatume (732728) | about a year ago | (#44900303)

"Hell-bent" doesn't mean "bent by hell", it means "bent to hell", as in "directed towards hell". The overall idiom means "fixated on achieving a goal to the extent that it causes one's ruin". This particular usage of the word "bent" has fallen out of favour, but the idiom "hell-bent" hasn't.

Because... (4, Insightful)

jawtheshark (198669) | about a year ago | (#44899973)

... it pretty much removes God from the whole picture. His place is then relegated to the creation of life in it's absolutely fundamental form, where evolution takes over. Personally, I think that abiogenesis is the better rational explanation. The people who want intelligent design (or, let's call it by name: "creationism") have a problem with God of the gaps [] , so they desperately try to cling to a gap that has been filled a long time ago. The remaining gaps (like the actual "first life" and the "big bang") seem too insignificant for their great Skydaddy's glory.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44899983)

Hell and theists in the same context. Oh the pun...

Surely that argument is backward (2)

goldcd (587052) | about a year ago | (#44899985)

If "God created everything in a week" was accurate and provable, then it would be knowledge. Fine, heaven might have an entrance quiz, but regurgitating facts isn't an exhibition of faith.
If there's nothing to test the view that you hold, it's simply not faith.

There should be more evolution taught to enhance the levels of faith that Christians can hold. Surely learning about evolution, picking up a PhD, topping it with a Nobel prize for presenting categoric evidence for evolution, chucking in the missing link, and proving Monkeys evolved from humans - and then turning around to say you never actually believed any of it. Surely that's got to get you high "faith marks".

Because they have an audience. (0)

MarkvW (1037596) | about a year ago | (#44899987)

People teach intelligent design because people want to learn it.


Re:Because they have an audience. (3, Insightful)

Eskarel (565631) | about a year ago | (#44900101)

People teach intelligent design because they're afraid that if their kids grow up to be less ignorant and blinkered than they are their kids will leave them either physically or emotionally. Lots of parents try to define small universes that keep their kids close, and not just right wing fundies either, this kind of crap transcends political divides.

It's a legitimate concern, if you let your kids break down the walls that hold you in they might go somewhere you can't follow, but it could probably be better dealt with by addressing your own problems rather than creating problems for your children.

kids occasionwear (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44899991)

Todays Organises A Website Of Babby Clothes For Online Shopping. Buy Easy And Very Cheap Give More Details Are In kids occasionwear []

It Also Doesn't Help... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900001)

It also doesn't help that the scientific community uses the word "theory". The typical religious person thinks this means their view is just as valid. It also means every argument about evolution starts with "It's just a theory right? I just want my theory to be taught as well..." (which makes me start to twitch with the urge to slap these people and scream at them).

We need to retire the use of the phrase "theory" when used in the context of a scientific theory. Terminology needs to change and evolve to combat the fact that the mainstream interpretation of the word "theory" flies directly in the face what the scientific community wishes to convey.

Science for science's sake is pointless unless it can be communicated to others after learning something. Choosing and adapting terminology can seem silly and trivial when faced with what the subject matter is about, but can be just as important in combating ignorance.

I disagree. (5, Interesting)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#44900011)

That's the creationist side as seen by someone on the side of science, but it is not at all how the creationists view themselves. They aren't afraid of their faith being tested, because they believe their arguments are unbeatable and their faith secure - though they may worry about their children being lead astray.

The key to understanding creationists is to realise that it isn't about creationism itsself. They have, as they would proudly call it, a 'God-centered worldview.' Everything comes down in some manner to their religious beliefs. Not just creationism, but their moral and political views, their attachment to national identity, their community, and their general vision of how things 'should be' in the world. They view Christianity not just as another religion among many, but as a defining aspect of western civilisation and that element which makes it great and has brought such prosperity through the ages.

They also believe that Christianity and morality are one and the same. God is the standard of morality, the definition, and the source. Only Christians, as followers of the true God, know how to be moral people. Others might perform a reasonable immitation by following some social norms, but they are just denying that Christianity is their source. This is why they insist upon placing the ten commandments on public buildings: For them, 'Thou Shalt Not Kill' is the very reason murder is illegal: Had God not proclaimed that, and the faithful not kept it, then there would be no way for people to realise murder is an immoral act. Likewise for the theft thing.

So that which threatens the doctrine of creation is far more concerning than a scientific debate: It is nothing less than an existential threat to civilisation itsself. Their concern is that if the population in general lose belief in the bible as inerrant - not belief in Christianity in general, but belief in the rock-solid beyond-debate 'truth' of the bible - then they will lose all spiritual direction. The bible will become fuzzy, a document where people can dismiss bits they don't like (The irony of this is quite lost on them as they happily tuck into their pork sausages). Before you know it, homosexuality will be accepted, prayer will be illegal, everyone will be having casual sex and marriage will be a thing of the past. Then people will start worshiping pagan idols, gangs of violent atheists will start roaming the streets killing people for fun, and eventually God will abandon the country and send the communists to take over and punish everyone.

That's why they are so insistant. They believe the bible is the foundation for America and western civilisation in general. Take away the foundation, and the whole structure collapses. Creationism and patriotism are intertwined, almost inseperable.

Re:I disagree. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900083)

So to sum up: They're stupid.

Re:I disagree. (1)

davide marney (231845) | about a year ago | (#44900297)

Very close! To correct one line of reasoning, however, it is a mistake to think that evolution "threatens" the doctrine of creation. The Bible can't become "fuzzy", it is the revealed truth, and people who don't believe are simply blinded to it. To rail against God isn't an "existential threat to civilization", it's simply a wrong path being taken. If society becomes less Christianized, it won't cause them to "lose all spiritual direction", it will cause society to lose that direction.

Religion as Placebo (1)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | about a year ago | (#44900017)

Derren Brown did a TV special on religion as an exponent of the placebo effect. This video is, in my opinion, one of the best smackdowns on religion that I have seen. Aside from demonstrating how to brainwash an athiest into having religious belief using neuro-linguistic programming along with auditory and spatial anchors, he mentioned that religious belief was not necessary. []

This is why, I think, that just about any kind of religious belief, or any crazy meme for that matter, if dressed up correctly can induce the Placebo Effect (yes, even Scientology).

Hanging on to faith, in absence of evidence, is the only thing that can keep the placebo effect going... but the truth is that religion need not be the placebo!

"Unevidently, this is how they think..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900029)

Given that Boyko is so intent on the value of evidence to support theories, it might be nice if he had just a teensy bit of of evidence to support his claims about how Texans think. Evidence matters. Unless you're navel-gazing to invent straw men and pet "how they really think" theories about religious Texans, of course, in which case Slashdot'll vote up any old tosh you come up with.

Nah, it's just pure stubbornness (5, Interesting)

greg_barton (5551) | about a year ago | (#44900047)

I grew up in Texas and have lived here all of my life. The resistance to evolution can be summed up in one sentence:

"You can't tell me what to fuckin' believe!"

If some long haired city boy told them their face was on fire the'd refuse to believe it, basically.

Re:Nah, it's just pure stubbornness (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900209)

As a ~30-ish year "Native Texan", I can say that the only people who I've seen take that attitude are being presented with an aggressive argument about evolution (e.g. "Where is your god now!?"). Totally subjective, one data point, people I know, etc.
I think the first step is to introduce the concept of an evolving world with a nod to possibly being part of "God's Plan"; a salesman won't get his foot in the door by opening with an insult.

its really incredibly simple. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900071)

You cannot teach religion in school.

Not every religion believes in creationism, nor in intelligent design. Both are mainly espoused by only 4 religions.

All scientists believe in evolution. The facts are there to present in unbiased form.

Now, given how most parents seem to feel about education in schools, AND how they feel about their own religion, perhaps it is best not to teach creationism or ID in schools, but to let the parents tell their kids about their religion, take them to their pastors and preachers and ministers and rabbi, and what have you and let them explain it.

But make no mistake. It is teaching religion in schools to try and teach ID or Creationism. Flat out. Try to pass it and your federal bucks go bye bye.

Why are we even having this conversation?

Re:its really incredibly simple. (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#44900205)

Re Why are we even having this conversation?
It turns science in to just another humanities subject and real environmental pollution into ~ "conversations with heavy industry".
The faster science is watered down the less you have to worry about "work" by epidemiologists, statisticians, and public health staff.
Most importantly the next generation will not even want to understand the word epidemiologists.
State govs can save on science teaching, pollution testing and any technical/professional expertise.
Heavy industry can go on without filters or site remediation.
People of faith vote for 'their' winning political team. Creationism is just the cover term for a lot of educational changes to defund expensive science.
Your down to one fixed text, a dry-erase board and some seating/desks. No more labs, chemicals, staffing costs, new computers, field trips, expensive new text books...

No relation to how Christians consider faith (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900075)

I have read accounts like this of how Christian consider faith many times from New Atheist sources. From them, I have come to the conclusion that most "new atheists" never read outside of their own circles, and avoid reading primary sources like the plague. Mr. Boyko's account of how Christians consider faith, and the relationship between faith and works is a vast distance from any account of faith I have ever heard from any Christians, or read in any Christian book. I say that as someone who has been a church-planter, pastor, missionary and writer.

The basic conception of faith as essentially a leap in the dark, which is the more virtuous the more dark it is, is found pretty much exclusively in the canons of New Atheist writings. It's like Mr. Boyko is stuck in some enormous echo chamber. Since everyone who is rational, like himself, says that this is what the Christian teaching about faith is, therefore it is. It wouldn't be hard, though, if Mr. Boyko is truly interested in critical thought, to read some basic Christian literature, at any level, on these questions. But that might challenge his own prejudices, and lead him to question why the people in the echo chamber are so ill-informed about the things they critique so stridently.

David Anderson

why do athiests love to hate belivers so much? (-1, Troll)

ZippyTheChicken (3134311) | about a year ago | (#44900105)

there is a basic concept in science that matter can not be lost or found. When God said let there be light and there was a big bang the universe was created from his energy which was converted to mass. The design of the universe from atomic structures to solar systems is a shared design concept. Atoms have huge amounts of space between a proton and electron and neighboring atoms as do solar systems ... Electrons move around a nuclei the same way planets move around suns. The idea of intelligent design or God Creating the Universe is not dependent on a book that was written by man and then altered by leaders over thousands of years. BELIEF is as in your face as looking how reality is and trying to understand where it all came from and how lucky we are to be here. However as this man and other atheists believe that Science is true at all times... that is a completely false idea because science is merely the reverse engineering of what is. There will be no time in history when we as humans could travel to another planet that is inhabited .. the distance is too grand and we could never survive the trip.. See... people who want to keep God out of Science believe that they are more intelligent then everyone who knows something else created this reality... In simpler terms .. the universe wasn't bought at walmart... Whatever the creator of this reality is.. I call them God and pray they forgive me for my sins... If you want to think you know more about everything then everyone else... and negate god from creation.. then go out and build another universe... or find a way to harvest all the water in the oceans and propel a rocket to another planet that MIGHT support life tens if not hundreds of light years away. I.. myself.. meeeeee ... I am smart enough to know I am not smart enough... and that no one ever will be smart enough and if so never powerful enough... to create what our reality is. I think if you are intelligent you might want to start thinking about what is going to happen with overpopulation because if you are a smartass who thinks they know it all and you are in your 20's by the time you are about to die or at least by the time your grand children are about to die... the world will be in a monumental world war over population and we will be subjected to a thinning of humanity back to the point the earth can support us... however at that point we won't have Oil to power our cars, ships, planes.. and coal will be fought for and not obtainable for most.. there will be wide starvation and reality will change for the worse... If you are so smart .. fix that problem before it happens.. convince a few generations to not have children.. convince people to submit to a lottery to procreate.. and then remember you don't have to convince the west... you have to convince the third world. Good Luck with that... I will keep my faith in God and realize that men altered his word or added or created a book ... where I can see God in everything from the smallest quark .. to the cry of a child.. to the amazing world we still have left.. and the universe that surrounds us.

Re:why do athiests love to hate belivers so much? (4, Informative)

GrahamCox (741991) | about a year ago | (#44900263)

Electrons move around a nuclei the same way planets move around suns

If you believe that you'll believe anything. This model of atomic structure hasn't been valid for almost a century. If you're going to talk about science, at least try to keep up with it.

Re:why do athiests love to hate belivers so much? (4, Insightful)

localman (111171) | about a year ago | (#44900285)

> Electrons move around a nuclei the same way planets move around suns

Not even remotely. This idea was proposed back when humans had no understanding of subatomic behavior, and they were drawing assumptions based things they did know, like the solar system. If you want to actually know how electrons and nuclei behave, try to wrap your mind around quantum mechanics. It's almost impossible as it bears little resemblance to anything else you might be familiar with.

It's an interesting example, though, because it illustrates how whenever humans don't know what they're talking about, they fill in the gaps with things that are familiar. Like chariots carrying fire through the sky and an anthropomorphic God creating the universe.

From there your comment just goes further off the rails. Nobody thinks they're "smarter than everyone else". But observation and reason let us learn about the world, and we've learned over and over that mankind's notion of God is always several steps behind our observational understanding. Everything that has improved in the past two centuries has been at the hands of man. We're slowly figuring out ways to improve our lot in life. God's word was around for thousands of years before the enlightenment and didn't improve anything.

The universe is amazing, and every facet fills me with awe. But that doesn't mean there needs to be a personality behind it. I can take it for what it is without having to project my ideas of meaning onto it.

Fools Arguement (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900109)

this is as one-sided as you claim the other side is.. It (should be) embarrassing to see science hubris, and being as dismissive and shallow as the other side is supposed to be.. The dog-pile of anti-religion is just as onerous or more, than non-science, IMO, when arrogance and lack of empathy are combined.. The practice of science does not make one wise. Science is not the only story. Science does not have all of the answers.

Biblical Creationists are Neurotic (5, Insightful)

leereyno (32197) | about a year ago | (#44900111)

Biblical creationists believe that evolution undermines the idea of divine creation, specifically the idea that man is created in God's image. This is a very important belief for them. Without it, their world crumbles.

When you present them with facts and evidence supporting evolution, they're not dispassionately evaluating the evidence, but desperately trying to avoid confronting it, to the point of profound intellectual dishonesty.

They are what used to be called neurotic, irrational and disturbed in one specific area or about one specific thing, but otherwise relatively functional human beings, able to work, raise families, etc, etc.

The answer to the question of why Biblical Creationists are like this is the same as the answer to the question of why some people are holocaust deniers, or Marxists, or followers of any other ideology or belief that is in obvious defiance of objective reality. They have invested their sense of self into this belief, and they cannot abandon that belief without sacrificing their sense of self along with it.

So they hold on to that belief, no matter what.

Human will. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900121)

If you are a philosophical coward and refuse to participate or even argue your position based on evidence based science in a open marketplace of ideas and instead unfairly suppress all other viewpoints, which includes intelligent and unintelligent causes for the universe, then you are well on your way to being some kind of tyrannical thought police, at the very least.

But the basic point of being salvation from faith, and not human will (see what I did there?) is correct. Basically Ill take God over Dawkins any day.

Evolution is faith AS WELL (-1, Troll)

Bruce66423 (1678196) | about a year ago | (#44900131)

The fallacy in this argument lies in the claim that evolution is a 'fact'; the truth is that it is a step of faith to accept evolution, a conclusion drawn from 'loads of evidence', but boosted by a desire NOT to invoke a creator because that's unfashionable, and the way to never get tenure; the fairly desperate step of faith required to believe that very complex coincidences in nature 'just happened' is really only possible because there is perceived to be no alternative. The creationist do ask some good questions see [] There may be answers - but the BELIEF that evolution is the right interpretation of the evidence is just that - it's a belief, not a fact.

Re:Evolution is faith AS WELL (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900185)

Evolution also relies in the belief in a big bang that magically created or collected energy in a system that seems to only dissipate energy.

All observed evidence shows energy dissipating.

All of it.

Yet the key required perquisite for evolution is a big bang.

Its like the believers in the magical voice of god are calling the other believers in the magical voice of god names because they are too ill informed to understand what they are claiming to believe.

Re:Evolution is faith AS WELL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900313)

Evolution also relies in the belief in a big bang

No, these are two entirely separate concepts.

Evolution would work fine in a universe that didn't originate from some sort of big bang. The only relation is that both are theories that best fit the available evidence. Separate evidence, that is. The theory of evolution is the theory that explain how the evolution we have observed in nature and in the lab works behind the scenes. The Big Bang theory, on the other hand, is based on the direction and speed of all the observable mass in the universe. Everything is moving away from a single point, and if you maintain the laws of physics, that an object that is moving will not change direction or speed unless acted on by an external force, you can work backwards to show that all observable matter must have come from this single point in space. How? We don't know. What caused it? We have no idea.

In this regard, the Big Bang theory is much further from complete than the theory of evolution. With the theory of evolution, we've mostly figured out how it works, and the causes of it working. We do however still lack knowledge about how evolution got started. Evolution needs something that grows and reproduces (for certain values of reproduces. E.g. something that grows, then splits in two, each of which will keep growing), and we still don't know a lot about how that happened.

Re:Evolution is faith AS WELL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900231)

The fallacy in this argument lies in the claim that evolution is a 'fact';

Do you feel the same way about, say, the theory of gravity?

We know more about how evolution works, than we know about how gravity works. How? Evolution is observable, gravity is invisible. And figuring out gravity is pretty hard, as it's a weak force, yet works over huge distances. Evolution, on the other hand, is simply the sum of two simple concepts: That children inherit some of each parent's traits without being true clones of their parents, plus survival of the fittest. Yet, we hear again and again how religious people refuse to acknowledge evolution, without ever arguing against either half.

Re:Evolution is faith AS WELL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900301)

You have hit on the point. THEORY of Gravity. Not Fact. THEORY of evolution. Not fact.

You may believe in both based on the evidence or feelings you experience. People believe in religion based on their experiences or feelings. So yes. this statement is correct : "the fairly desperate step of faith required to believe that very complex coincidences in nature 'just happened' is really only possible because there is perceived to be no alternative". The key difference here is a scientist will believe one thing until evidence shows that belief to be false. The same cannot easily be said about the deeply religious.

If an alien race turned up and said "WE MADE YOU" would you start flailing BUT NOOOOOO TEH FACTS SAY EVOLUTION as some Christians do? There's a infinitesimally slim chance of happening but it would test your faith in science as you have been taught it.

Re:Evolution is faith AS WELL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900241)

Only if you stretch the word "faith" so far that it becomes meaningless. I have faith that 2+2=4, I believe it's true, but by your reasoning I cannot say that it's a fact because it is possible that I and everyone else simply have a brain aneurism every time we look at that equation and that's the only reason why we do not realize that it is wrong. There is the slightest opening for doubt about 2+2=4 if you really want to insist on it, so it's faith to make the jump past those reasons for doubt. In the rest of the world, that's now how we use the word faith. It's not even how religious people usually use the word faith, so I don't even know where you are coming from.

To the non-religious, "faith" is seen as "the choice to believe without evidence". To the religious, "faith" is seen as "trusting in God's goodness" (as opposed to God being a dick) - because religious people tend not to even worry about whether their god exists or not, so they have no use for concepts related to evidence about whether or not he exists. You appear to be a religious person using a non-religious definition of faith, which is somewhat bizarre.

So.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900133)

How does one teach Intelligent Design? "Here we have this thing that we thought shows signs of irreducible complexity although this claim was later teared apart by this and that." What else?

It is very simple (1)

homb (82455) | about a year ago | (#44900141)

In the end, it all boils down to this basic issue:

Fear of Death

So people will do everything they can to maximize their chances against it. And if it means believing in something against all odds, and the greater the odds, the greater your belief, the greater your chances, then so be it.
There's nothing more to it.

Perverse incentives (4, Insightful)

antifoidulus (807088) | about a year ago | (#44900153)

The reason there are lots of politicians hell-bent on teaching Intelligent Design is really very similar to the reason the muslim world is currently the most fundamentalist on the planet: there is a perverse incentive in re-enforcing religious dogma. We will take Texas first because its easier, and for the most part, more familiar. Currently in large swaths of Texas "religious" is conflated with "good" and "moral". Therefore, anyone who wants power has to present themselves as being Christian, and thus "good" and "moral". Of course if you claim you are Gods warrior, anything you do in His name is justified, and thus you can plunder and steal as much as you want. Provided of course you are still rabidly defending "God". However if you start to weaken peoples fervent religious devotion and encourage them to think for themselves, well then they probably are a bit more likely to call you out for having your hand in the cookie jar, no matter how holy you claim to be.

The situation is very similar in the Islamic world as well, with the huge amount of oil money coming in perhaps even exacerbating it. A lot of people(chief among them hardcore Christians) point to Quranic verses etc as proof that Islam is unable to modernize, but in reality, with one important exception(which I will get to later), the rules between the Abrahamic religions are very similar. The only difference is that modern Muslims actually adhere to them, whereas very few Christians actually follow the bible with any sort of rigor.

The obvious question of course then is why? If the religions are fundamentally the same, why the discrepancy in how closely modern believers follow the rules? The answer again lies in perverse incentives. The fact that the industrial revolution was born in Europe gave Muslim leaders and interesting case study, what happens to religious leaders when society "modernizes"? The answer is that in most of the Western world(with the rural US pretty much being the only real exception) religious leaders went from the top of the social pyramid to near the bottom in a very short period of time. Muslim leaders like being at the top of the pyramid, especially since the aforementioned difference between the religions, the acceptance of polygamy by most Islamic societies, mean that being at the bottom of the social period means that you will have very few chances to get married(and in conservative societies, that often translates to very few opportunities to have sex). So you better believe that they will resist social modernization as much as possible.

Long story short, if someone is vilifying science and praising religion, they are doing it solely for the sake of their own pocket book(and perhaps marital bed)

ha. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900159)

If your faith cant stand a test. It wasn't very strong.

I still can't believe we don't treat religion as a mental illness. You go around tellin everyone an invisible guy watches you all the time and tells you what to do.... They lock you up. You call that invisible guy god... And that's just a ok fine. Here have some tax exempt status.

Religion is one of the major things holding back the human race. The faster we wise up the better.

Re:ha. (1)

John Allsup (987) | about a year ago | (#44900307)

The following of science by the masses who don't understand science is yet another example of this 'mental illness' that we call human nature.  It was well known in ancient times that blind religious following was a problem, and that you have to understand the original thinking at the centre of the the movement, not just toddle along like a groupie.  That our basic human nature draws us away from this is part of what was taught, whether you turn to Middle Eastern, Indian or Chinese traditions, this basic understanding is there.  Basic human nature as a mental illness you have to grow out of is the point of all proper spiritual traditions, and the lessons we have preserved for us from ancient times are the written accounts of attempts by people who 'get it' to explain things to those who do not.  In the modern world we have things like trying to explain why Ponzi schemes don't work to the average Joe, and explanations being repeated inaccurately until they lose their meaning, and bigwigs in powerful positions hammering down those erroneous explanations like they were holy law until someone who gets it comes along to explain what was originally meant.  Then they (the bigwigs) do their best to silence the opposition, like happens today, and happened in first century Palestine to a certain itinerant rabbi who taught against what the mainstream tradition insisted their scriptures meant.

Re:ha. (-1, Flamebait)

gottabeme (590848) | about a year ago | (#44900311)

But we think it's fine for people to think their brain is one sex and their body another, and we help them mutilate and chemically reprogram their bodies. We don't lock up those people and help them deal with reality, we help them hurt themselves. And that's just A-OK fine. Here have some pills.

God is not an "invisible guy." Who claimed that? He's the almighty creator of the universe. He exists outside of space and time. He gave you free will to do what you want and believe what you want.

You are right about one thing: untested faith isn't very strong. But not everyone's faith is strong--it takes time; it's not a switch.

Religion is not holding us back. Many, if not most, of the great minds of history were religious. They would think that you are the irrational one. What's holding us back is some people, some of which are religious and some of which are anti-religious.

Logical fallacies (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900175)

As someone who views herself as a fundamental christian (and at one time parroted the creationism agenda), let me state that if God did choose to create via evolution, great! (When studying genetic algorithms way back, I imagined a sufficiently advanced "candidate solution" (read: self-aware, thinking, communicating) belittling another for believing in a "Programmer".) There are a few issues with creationist's explanation of Genesis that gloss over some obvious points in the text. There are also some [] problems [] with evolutionist's view of the evolution of homo sapiens, which may better be explained by the roughly 6000 years timespan given for the existence of Adam. (However, these issues themselves have a bearing on both traditional christian and contemporary political dogma, which explains why discussing them in a religious context would be avoided.)

My view of the typical american evangelical movement and it's copious output of media, is that it's largely a money-making business, where control over the consumers increases profits. It's often a materialistic theology, far removed from the spiritual. Unfortunately on the other hand there are some vocal scientists too with an anti-religious agenda, that is not really born out by science, only by sophistry.

Religion and science do not stand in opposition to each other, nor should one "find some balance/tradeoff" between the two. Both the study of creation (science) and the study of the Creator (religion) should be taken to it's fullest - only then can one arrive at the same answer for both.

Re:Logical fallacies (1)

gottabeme (590848) | about a year ago | (#44900293)

Mod this up. Thank you for contributing reason to the discussion.

An objection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900191)

Although supported by a lot of empirical evidence, evolution is still far from being incontrovertible. In the strict sense I consider calling it a fact to be a fallacy. I respect people who believe evolution to be likely truth, but calling it an incontrovertible fact is often just a zealous logical fallacy to excuse oneself for not looking well into the subject matter. Just as "no God" is a good excuse for he free will to do sin.

What bothers me most, is that the arguments around evolution are no longer a real argument, but more like some people are trying to force their way of thinking onto others by unethically using such fallacies. This would not be a problem if fanatical intolerance (and also persecution) against persons disagreeing with their views would not ensue. But, of course, both sides of the argument are prone to such sins...

Re:An objection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900239)

Could you at least mention what you believe one of these unethically used fallacies to be? The theory of evolution has absolutely nothing to say about the existence or non-existence of any God, incidentally. It's not incompatible with belief in a deity or deities, although it may be incompatible with various dogmas surrounding sepcific religions.

Historically, "God wants me to do this" has been used far more frequently to justify bad behaviour than "there is no God." There's never a good excuse for bad behaviour, but people will cling to anything as an excuse, religious or not.

Have faith in memetheory; expand ur mynd (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year ago | (#44900257)

> "To lose one's faith is to literally damn oneself."

That is a memeplex defense mechanism. Adopt a meme into a larger group of memes that to even question anything in the group will lead to failure, and that contrary evidence, no matter how well-proven, is the work of a sinister agent actively attempting to deceive you.

The scientific validity is thus irrelevant when it is fraudulent; e'en honest scientists are being deceived.

These things, by the way, are rampant in political narratives on the left as well as the right.

False faith (0)

John Allsup (987) | about a year ago | (#44900283)

A false faith is fragile, but some will cling to it as if their lives depend upon it rather than moving on towards the unknown where a proper faith is to be found.  My gripe with 'evolution' is not the principle, but the take that many biologists put upon it.  The idea that evolution is something to do with biology rather than the necessary effect of feedback in a closed system (and as such follows from basic mathematical and physical principles that take effect way below the level of biological life).  Proper faith is founded on a kind of intuitive abstract truth that can't be captured with simple logic, yet just like well tested physical principles, doesn't give way no matter what you throw at it.  Proper spiritual faith looks like the faith a physicist has in the maths and physics that underlies their understanding of reality.  The problem is that religions are generally propagated from proper teachings by masses who don't properly understand those teachings (like 'cargo cult science' whereby the superficial surface details are copied, known experiments are reproduced, but real progress doesn't happen because genuine understanding is lacking).  For Christians, the gospel accounts should be sufficient to show that those who followed Jesus didn't really understand his teachings while Jesus was alive, hence one would expect the teachings of the church that followed to be less than exact when it came to continuing what the original Jesus taught.  Words like 'inspiration' and 'holy spirit' and 'divine guidance' get bandied around as excuses for not seeing this, but really people should get past such thinking by their early teens.  The problems like this that arose in the early church and persist to this day, however, are general problems due to human nature, and are beginning to happen with the understanding that modern science is giving to the world (in the sense that experts in one area tend to have a blind faith as to the correctness of other areas, and some do not even know their own area despite working in it).  I could go on, but really there is nothing to say on the matter than has not already been said countless times, and ignored countless times. 

Faith and evolution ARE compatible (5, Insightful)

gottabeme (590848) | about a year ago | (#44900289)

From the article: '[W]hat is true is that evolution tests faith. The fact of evolution is incontrovertible and supported by mounds of empirical evidence.

1. It is not a fact that human beings evolved from primordial goo. That would be an unsubstantiated assertion based on an extreme extrapolation of limited evidence of small-scale phenomena.

2. Therefore, "evolution" only tests misguided faith. In fact, even the idea that humans evolved from goo is not ultimately incompatible with faith in God or in intelligent design. This is because the point of ID/Creationism is not how God created, but that God created.

The idea that the Creation stories in Genesis are meant to literally describe how God created is another matter entirely, and it is the blind insistence upon this presupposition that results in so much hot air being expelled on both sides of the issue.

Faith, on the other hand, is fragile. It is supported only by the strength of human will. And this is where it gets tricky. Because to many believers, faith, not works, is the only guarantee that one can pass God's litmus test and gain access to His divine kingdom. To lose one's faith is to literally damn oneself.

That's because that's what Christ said. "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned." Mk 16:16

So tests to that faith must be avoided at all costs. Better to be a philosophical coward than a theological failure.

Many people's faith is, sadly, based on fragile ideas like Creation stories being literal, or every word written in the Bible being intended literally. To those people, their faith would be quite jeopardized by atheists yelling loudly that there is no God, that the Bible is wrong, that we evolved from goo, etc.

Other people's faith may be based on rational thinking, such as the ideas that the universe or living beings are too complex to have happened randomly, or that the evidence of Christ's resurrection is strong. Such faith can handle Creation stories not necessarily being literal, and the idea of evolution, and the idea of the Bible being inspired by God yet composed by humans and therefore not literally perfect (or always literal).

It is a popular--and recent--misconception that faith and reasoning are incompatible. Many, if not most, of the great minds of the ages were believers in God or in other forms of religion. The idea that religious people are necessarily irrational fools is simply a lie; there are plenty of both religious and atheistic people who are irrational fools.

The answer's in the question (1)

jandersen (462034) | about a year ago | (#44900291)

Why Are Some Hell-Bent On Teaching Intelligent Design?

Well, as you say, they are Hell-Bent. If you truly believe in God as the ultimate Truth, then you don't try to twist facts to fit your superstitions - because everything we can learn about the reality He has created will give us a greter understanding of Him.

The Bible, on the other hand, is just a collection of stories, told and retold by people to people and interpreted by people. How can it be anything but imperfect? Even if everything was directly inspired by God, it still had to be put into words of an imperfect language with a limited set of concepts. A person who really trusts God must by necessity see the Bible imperfect, even based on these simple considerations. Yes, it has its good points, and the stories about Jesus are inspirational, certainly; but to an open minded person, so is Harry Potter, to pick something at random.

So, the reason why some people chose to believe in the Bible rather than God, and try to twist reality to fit into a story about how the God of the Bible created everything in 7 days, must be because they are "Hell-Bent": they have bowed down to evil. What we call evil is so often about refusing to accept the plain truth in front of our eyes and the consequences of that refusal.

Anyway, that is my opinion, polished up and sprinkled with religion. Take the religion away and it is still true.

ID is not YEC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44900299)

Intelligent Design isn't Young Earth Creationism. It's more sane than that. It's about pointing at gaps in naturalistic explanations. There's nothing wrong with pointing to gaps. That's what science is all about.

And there's nothing wrong with suggesting God as one candidate theory to explain a gap. All theories are allowed. Science can't work with untestable theories, but unfortunately that's not the same as proving them false. We could be unlucky. The truth might be beyond our testing. There's no harm in facing that possibility.

Just mention a few other candidates besides God to explain the gaps. And show some examples of what used to be gaps, that have now been filled in. Now you've got a science course, that covers everything that ID supporters can ask to cover.

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