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View Diary: Know Your Creationists: Glenn Morton (195 comments)

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  •  Morton's position contains a huge contradiction (none)
    You wrote,

    Glenn is an evangelical Christian who embraces a view called Theistic Evolution (TE). This is the faith based position that the universe, the solar system, the earth, and the history of life up to and including the evolution of anatomically modern humans from earlier primates, were created by God using processes created by same which humans can understand and explain to some degree through careful scientific investigation.

    The contradiction is that Theistic Evolution is not itself a scientific theory, because, as you state, it is based on faith rather than on evidence.

    It is important to realize that every human world view necessarily contains some sort of germ or nucleus of unproveable belief. Perhaps the simplest example is the belief that a "real world" (or universe) exists outside my own imagination. If I can bring myself to accept that the world is real and that I can physically interact with it, then I can proceed to do experiments ("try stuff") in that world using what we call a scientific view of the universe.

    Beyond such bedrock tenets as the existence of a real world, though, the scientific view tries to assume as little as possible. For example, I do not have to assume that three-dimensional space exists. I can actually test this, for example by building a model containing three mutually perpendicular rods. If each pair of rods (say, X-Y, Y-Z and X-Z) in this assemblage can simultaneously pass tests for (approximate) perpendicularity, then I have excellent reason to believe that the rods exist in a three-dimensional space. Since I can interact physically with the rods, it is reasonable to further conclude that my own body is embedded in that same three-dimensional space.

    If, instead, we decide to take it on faith that God created three-dimensional space and put the rod assemblage and my body and the sun and the earth and the stars into that space, we have lost the ability to reason about basic facts concerning these entities. For example, under those assumptions we would clearly have missed the possiblity of incorporating Minkowski's four-dimensional space-time interpretation of the 1905 Einstein theory now known as Special Relativity.

    For an alleged scientist to extend faith based belief in supposed historic events all the way up to the evolutionary divergence of "anatomically modern humans" is completely arbitrary and unjustifiable either as science or (in my unschooled opinion) theology.

    I personally consider that such a world view is false, and that the teaching of anything similar as fact would be outrageous.

    The fact that such a theory might placate some people who wish to call themselves both fundamentalist Christians and scientists is irrelevant. I believe the whole idea is a distraction. The question is not whether science can be made compatible with religion. The question is, which are we teaching?

    •  I (none)
      didn't say it was a scientific theory. I'm sorry if I gave the impression I thought it was. TE is a faith based position that is consistent with biology, physics, geology, and so forth. Omnipotent beings cannot be tested, because an ominpotent being can do anything and therefore cannot be falsified. Thus, any faith based on the idea of an omnipotent being is by definition not scientific, it could still be valid, it could be wrong. I don't know any Thiestic evolutionist or scientist who is also religious who would argue otherwise; It's not a matter science can ever resolve for there is no possibility to reliably test the underlying conjecture of an omnipotent being.

      Read UTI, your free thought forum

      by DarkSyde on Sat Jan 21, 2006 at 11:01:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There sure is a test! (none)
        DS,
        Again this links the point I have been trying to make.  Sure, you cant falsify an unspecified, amoral, trancendental, omnipitant, creator.  However, its really easy to falsify an omnipitant Christian creator.  That is because the CXhristians say that not only is the creator omnipitant, he is also loving, answers prayer, grants free will, knows us in the womb, etc etc.  Thats easy to falsify, scientifically, historically, or philosophically.  Can't do that for a creator that has no other rules other than 'omnipitant'.

        Well, Christian God has more rules, and is therefore, falsifiable.  Creationism has no rules and is not falsifiable.  Christian Creationism has rules, and is falsifiable.  Do you see where I am going?

        •  Again (none)
          I'm not the one to be opining on this so take anything I say as simpliastic and likley innacurate. What they'd probably say to the Free Will thing is some long apologetic written centuries ago, God works in mysertious ways, or that if there is indeed an afterlife of ultimate paradise, then any cruelty experienced here is explainable, etc. I don't buy that stuff, but you cannot test the motives and existence of an omnipotent being becuase theyc an do anything, including things that would seem to us mutually exclusive. Thats a fine question for debate in apologetics or philosophy, but my udnerstanding is there is littrle science can do there. Science can falsify a claim like "The earth is flat". It can't falsify the existence of an ominpotent deity nor test the motives of such an entity, unless, perhaps, said deity was  fully available and willfully cooperating in that process. Maybe then we could get somewhere.

          Read UTI, your free thought forum

          by DarkSyde on Sat Jan 21, 2006 at 11:23:40 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I'm with Arsenic (but not as eloquent) (none)
          Science doesn't have to explain the existence of God; magical thinking is the antithesis of science.  Every time science has conflicted with religion, religion has lost.  It has come to the point where God resides only in the darkest shadows, afraid of venturing out lest He be beat down again by reality.  The God described by many of you is meaningless, a vague construct that predicts nothing, explains nothing, but may have "started it all".  Just because science hasn't explained certain things yet, does not mean we have to fill in the gaps with fantasy.  Science explains very well what happens after we die: we decompose and are recycled into the biosphere.  Why isn't that enough?  It is true that science cannot disprove the concept of a magical `soul' floating up into the sky to live in Dinseyland.  But neither can science disprove the existence of Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.  Some things DESERVE to be dismissed out of hand.
      •  No, you did not say it was a scientific theory... (none)
        Oh, you clearly stated that it was a faith-based system. No apologies needed on that score.

        The belief system you are discussing attempts to account for some facts by religious tales, and other facts through scientific investigation. And yes, in an extremely abstract sense, as you write, "it could still be valid, it could be wrong." But this particular division of reality is surely a most peculiar one, and, in my opinion, is by any reasonable standard absurd.

        For one person or a group to hold such an opinion, is, of course, their right, and is presumably harmless. But to teach such material as fact would be deceptive and thus, in my opinion, very wrong.

        •  I (none)
          don't recommend teaching it as fact in public schools or in science calsses anywhere for that matter. Bit if parents want to teach it as fact, or direct their kids or others to private places that do so, that's not my call. And it would probably be unconstitutional to try and prevent them from doing so in any way.

          Read UTI, your free thought forum

          by DarkSyde on Sat Jan 21, 2006 at 11:26:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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