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Recently, a television show has returned to our viewing screens. The original Cosmos was before my time and I can't speak to the quality of the Neil deGrasse Tyson version - though if his time on the Daily Show is any indication he's fun to watch. Whatever the quality of that show, I can't help but be happy that in this day and age where people in positions of power deny reality when it doesn't agree with their preconceptions of how the world works, that a show attempts to glorify fact-based science. You could do an entire diary on its own about such people. Fox News and Obamacare. Darrel Issa and Benghazi. Scott Walker and unions. Senator Inhofe and his never-ending crusader against climate change.

But today I want to talk about one facet of denialism, one that reaches back to the return of Cosmos. Evolution, and how people freak out when you talk about it.

Over at the pro-"intelligent design" Discovery Institute, they're not happy. Senior fellow David Klinghoffer writes that the latest Cosmos episode "[extrapolated] shamelessly, promiscuously from artificial selection (dogs from wolves) to minor stuff like the color of a polar bear's fur to the development of the human eye." In a much more elaborate attempted takedown, meanwhile, the institute's Casey Luskin accuses Tyson and Cosmos of engaging in "attempts to persuade people of both evolutionary scientific views and larger materialistic evolutionary beliefs, not just by the force of the evidence, but by rhetoric and emotion, and especially by leaving out important contrary arguments and evidence." Luskin goes on to contend that there is something wrong with the idea of the "tree of life." Tell that to the scientists involved in the Open Tree of Life project, which plans to produce "the first online, comprehensive first-draft tree of all 1.8 million named species, accessible to both the public and scientific communities." Precisely how to reconstruct every last evolutionary relationship may still be an open scientific question, but the idea of common ancestry, the core of evolution (represented conceptually by a tree of life), is not.
Join me below the undulating orange ouroboros of life.

It's been in vogue to 'teach the controversy' over evolution in the United States these days because evolution has always been an odd issue. Maybe it's because the United States - while not officially a religious nation - is filled with people who overall are more religious than our European brethren. Or maybe it's connected to the erroneous belief that we were split from the British Empire by devout Christians and not deists.

Whatever their reasons, I assume evolution is a direct challenge to the most espoused interpretations of the Bible, a challenge to the 30% of people that claim to interpret it literally. I assume it directly challenges the idea that God created the Earth in seven days. That the Earth and the universe are far older than a few thousand years.

Creationism has many flavors and forms. Intelligent design seems to be the one favored today, and while 'standard' creationism is also popular (that animals are the same as they were when God created them) other versions exist as well. Versions where the seven 'days' are actually the eons of time accepted by scientists, or where life just popped into being on a whim. Whatever the type of theory, it relies on the following:

>I believe in a higher power for whatever reason.
>I believe that the world is so complex that I cannot imagine a world where it was not created by someone with a plan.
>Because I cannot imagine such a world, God exists.

Science relies on theories being observable or at least provable. I could claim that fairies exist, that they're invisible, and that if I clap my hands loud enough they come to life but that doesn't make it science. A lack of evidence does not prove a scientific theory, it just allows the ones currently accepted to remain in place.

Creationists ask evolutionists where their proof is that evolution is 'the answer'. They look at the bones in the ground and charts and say that it's a lie from the pit of hell. Then when the evolutionists ask for the creationists' proof, they pull out a Bible and claim that their faith is being attacked. Faith can do wonderful things for our motivation, and can help some people make sense of a great many crazy things.

But as a guy who grew up going to Sunday School, let me say this. I thought of the idea behind gap creationism when I was in elementary school and thought I was clever!. I had to come to terms with the inherent conflict between what the Bible says the world is and what scientific proof shows it to be.

I still continue to struggle with my faith and its place in the world, and trying to force it upon scientific progress doesn't help. So please, let religion be religion and science be science.

Originally posted to VTHokie011 on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 04:16 PM PDT.

Also republished by Street Prophets and Progressive Atheists.


Does evolution disprove the existence of God?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (13+ / 0-)

    If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does that mean Bigfoot did it?

    by VTHokie011 on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 04:16:29 PM PDT

  •  These Same People Issue the Death Penalty Every (4+ / 0-)

    year to accused whose evidence records are full of gaps.

    When has there ever been a 5 camera seamless record of a complete murder?

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 04:22:50 PM PDT

  •  So called "scientists" who are creationists... (5+ / 0-)

    never deal with the actual facts.  Evolution is a theory like gravitation is a theory PERIOD, as Neil Degrasse Tyson clearly delineated in his second show.  Read the court's decision in Kitsmiller v. Dover School District.  If I remember correctly, a Raygun appointee found that the THEORY of intelligent design was just a facade for religion.  Beautifully reasoned and clear decision.  Total dismantlement of creationism. So-called scientists who refuse to see science is a blasphemy.  HA!

    "Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine." -- Patti Smith

    by followyourbliss on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 04:37:22 PM PDT

  •  Look at the GMO story today (5+ / 0-)

    People that don't belieive in evolution have no buisness doing science.

  •  In our daily discourse, I agree, this needs to be (4+ / 0-)

    the rule:

    So please, let religion be religion and science be science.
    However, ultimately, "religion" is supposed to tell us what is, and why. For the believer, supposedly, God is a factual omnipotent being behind all things.

    So, ultimately "religion" has to be updated to include scientific fact.
    I see the Bible as being the story of the evolution of Man's relationship with "God" , from the paleolithic on.

    Creationists have this nutty theory that this evolving relationship ended 2000 years ago and we're "on hold" until Jesus returns. Wedged into this gap is of course the nutty "Revelations"...which has caused more mischief in recorded history than any other chapter of any book. Ever.

    For some, science eliminates God altogether. For myself, I have eliminated the narrow Biblical definition of "God".
    Maybe God is a useful psychological phenomenon, but nothing more.

    For Creationists, this idea that they are going to wall themselves and their children off from the facts of life is not sustainable. I don't think they've faced that fact yet.
    I feel sorry for them. If God does exist, he obviously wants us to be in doubt about that, or he would be manifest in the world. If he exists, he's obviously given us the tools to understand the world through doubt and questioning and testing. It's actually the scientists who are the Prophets of this age. It's the creationists who are living in darkness.

    You can't make this stuff up.

    by David54 on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 05:07:21 PM PDT

    •  This turns out not to be the case (0+ / 0-)

      for most of the religions of the world. In particular, Buddhism has nothing to say about why anything is, and denies omnipotence vehemently. Buddhism teaches the existence of suffering, the nature of suffering, the existence of a cure for suffering, and the cure itself, known as the Noble Eightfold Path. It explicitly rejects metaphysics in scripture, and denies, also in scripture, any religious significance to cosmology. Buddhism does not care how many Gods you may believe in, whether 0 (atheism and perhaps agnosticism), 1 (monotheism, pantheism, deism, and more), 2 (dualism), 3 that are also 1 (trinitarianism), or more, and denies that any of them can help you with suffering.

      Hinduism, Greek religion, Norse religion, and some others that I know of also deny any origin story. Their scriptures and myths begin with a world already in existence when the Gods appear. Only Judaism, Christianity, and Islam care about Creation ex nihilo as described in Genesis. Daoism is supremely uninterested in the question of a temporal origin.

      The One is the mother of the ten thousand things. The Dao is the mother of the One.

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 11:59:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I should have qualified that. There are Buddhists (0+ / 0-)

        who deny Buddhism is a religion, even.

        You can't make this stuff up.

        by David54 on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 07:02:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Even Buddhism makes a claim to explain what is (0+ / 0-)

        and is not maya, samsara, karma, Nirvana, Dharma, etc. These are not considered fictions. Even accounting for the subjectivity of the individual, it separates into "illusion" and "beyond illusion".
        I'm not just talking about what is or is not in the physical sense.

        You can't make this stuff up.

        by David54 on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 07:08:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Before a person studies Zen, (0+ / 0-)
          mountains are mountains and rivers are rivers; after a first glimpse into the truth of Zen, mountains are no longer mountains and rivers are no longer rivers; after enlightenment, mountains are once again mountains and rivers once again rivers.
          This is not metaphysics. It is experience. But it still has nothing to do with where the mountains and rivers came from.

          In Hinduism, Vishnu's maya is indeed considered by many to be entirely a fiction. That is not a Buddhist idea. The reality of samsara is not in question in Buddhism, even in the Consciousness-Only teaching. It doesn't matter either way. It is the aspect of suffering in samsara that is unreal.

          Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

          by Mokurai on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 07:13:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  they would really regret if they got the (0+ / 0-)

    time - NdGT would just destroy them with logic, then laugh & walk away. It would be a popcorn worthy moment, but granting them the time would give the wrong message, they their belief is worthy o debate with facts. Between Tyson & McFarlane, I don't see that happening.

  •  Depends on the definition of God (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice

    With the God of Nature favored by our Deistic Founders with evolution and a lot of time I can understand how things like mosquitoes, bed bugs, polio and TB came into being. If the world was created as is 6000 years ago then that god was way too nasty to believe in or worship.

    Never promote men who seek after a state-established religion; it is spiritual tyranny--the worst of despotism. It is turnpiking the way to heaven by human law, in order to establish ministerial gates to collect toll. John Leland

    by J Edward on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 05:31:18 PM PDT

  •  I saw an interview last summer (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VTHokie011, whl, skohayes

    on The Daily Show.  John Oliver with talking to Reza Aslan, who wrote a book about historical Jesus.  One of the things they discussed was that literalism was a new thing in the history of Christianity, and was a reaction to the dominance of science in the nineteen century.  Aslan made a good case that the Bible was never meant to be taken literally, and it's authors certainly didn't intend that.  The bible is supposed to be about larger, spiritual things and not hum-drum reality.

    •  It's true (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      whl, skohayes

      Amazes me how we lost that message ages ago.

      If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does that mean Bigfoot did it?

      by VTHokie011 on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 06:29:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Honestly, I'm an atheist, (0+ / 0-)

        but I recognize the philosophy and ethics underpinning the Bible (not to mention its value as archetypal literature).  In my opinion, that's where its value lies for both believers and nonbelievers, and I also think that was the intention of the people who wrote it.  Its was never intended as biology textbook.

    •  Biblical literalism became an issue more than (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      skohayes, anon004

      four hundred years ago, in the period between Copernicus and Galileo. Catholics and many Protestants alike rejected the heliocentric model of Copernicus after the Catholic Church initially welcomed it as a method for calculating more accurate navigation tables and the date of Easter, but treated it as a mathematical model, not the reality. Galileo, however, was required to abjure even the model after he published observational proof of the reality.

      Scientists more and more accepted the heliocentric idea after Galileo's observations with his telescope, Kepler working out the elliptical orbit of Mars, Newton working out inverse square gravity, and Halley showing that comets in highly elliptical orbits going in every direction at every distance would have to pass through the previously supposed crystal spheres at every point. Protestant churches came around fairly quickly, and the Catholic church in the next 50 years.

      Literalism arose again when Darwin published The Origin of Species, which explained that White Supremacist slave owners were all descended from Black Africans just like the rest of us. He has never been forgiven. It was mostly Old Earth Creationism until the rise of Flood Geology during the Civil Rights era. Coincidence? I think not.

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 12:13:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Did the Catholic Church (0+ / 0-)

        do a number on Galileo?  Sure.  did they refuse to admit their mistake until twenty years after the moon landings in the 1980s (almost four hundred years after the fact)?  Also true.

        However, to the best of my knowledge, the Church has never taken the Bible literally.  Their terrible treatment of Galileo was based upon many things, but it wasn't a belief in bible literalism.

        •  The Church admitted the truth of heliocentrism (0+ / 0-)

          in the 18th century, but did not forgive Galileo for being correct about the theology of faith and science until just recently. For example, we have

          Letter to the Grand Duchess Christina

          Letter to Madame Christina of Lorraine, Grand Duchess of Tuscany

          Showing a greater fondness for their own opinions than for truth, they sought to deny and disprove the new things which, if they had cared to look for themselves, their own senses would have demonstrated to them. To this end they hurled various charges and published numerous writings filled with vain arguments, and they made the grave mistake of sprinkling these with passages taken from places in the Bible which they had failed to understand properly, and which were ill suited to their purposes. These men would perhaps not have fallen into such error had they but paid attention to a most useful doctrine of St. Augustine's, relative to our making positive statements about things which are obscure and hard to understand by means of reason alone. Speaking of a certain physical conclusion about the heavenly bodies, he wrote:
          Now keeping always our respect for moderation in grave piety, we ought not to believe anything inadvisedly on a dubious point, lest in favor to our error we conceive a prejudice against something that truth hereafter may reveal to be not contrary in any way to the sacred books of either the Old or the New Testament.
          [Copernicus] did not ignore the Bible, but he knew very well that if his doctrine were proved, then it could not contradict the Scriptures when they were rightly understood. And thus at the end of his letter of dedication, addressing the pope, he said: “If there should chance to be any exegetes ignorant of mathematics who pretend to skill in that discipline, and dare to condemn and censure this hypothesis of mine upon the authority of some scriptural passage twisted to their purpose, I value them not, but disdain their unconsidered judgment.
          The Church, following Augustine, never took the whole Bible literally, but it did at that time decide to take the Sun going around the Earth literally, in large part because of the notion that some put about that Galileo had insulted the Pope by making a caricature of him in his Dialogues Concerning the Two New Sciences, with the excuse of passages such as this that Galileo alluded to.
          Joshua 10:12

          Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.

          The Catholic Church accepted the Copernican theory as a mathematical model, as long as Copernicans claimed not to argue for its reality, which Galileo did in the early 17th century, leading to his heresy trials and eventual sentence of house arrest for life.

          Martin Luther weighed in in 1539.

          There is talk of a new astrologer who wants to prove that the earth moves and goes around instead of the sky, the sun, the moon, just as if somebody were moving in a carriage or ship might hold that he was sitting still and at rest while the earth and the trees walked and moved. But that is how things are nowadays: when a man wishes to be clever he must . . . invent something special, and the way he does it must needs be the best! The fool wants to turn the whole art of astronomy upside-down. However, as Holy Scripture tells us, so did Joshua bid the sun to stand still and not the earth.
          John Calvin denounced those who "pervert the course of nature" by saying that
          the sun does not move and that it is the earth that revolves and that it turns.
          Of course, if we wanted to pretend to take both myth and science seriously at the same time, we could have God stop the Earth's rotation and start it up again so smoothly that there would be no sloshing of the oceans, no untoward wind effects, and so on. But that would be silly.

          In any case that doesn't matter, because there are also these.

          First Chronicles 16:30

          …the world also shall be stable, that it be not moved.

          Psalm 104:5

          …[the Lord] Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.

          Ecclesiastes 1:5

          The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.

          Even Tycho Brahe wrote about the Copernican
          opposition to the authority of Sacred Scripture in more than one place…

          Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

          by Mokurai on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 11:52:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Here is an interesting point. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Luskin's specific accusation:

    ". . . by leaving out important contrary arguments and evidence."
    Implies two lies; that evolution and the theory of natural selection is disputable as if it were only one of many competing opinions, and that contrary arguments are sufficient to deny a theory rather than having a better model that explains observations.

    Such is a fragile and brittle religiousity with quite a bit of projection.  Believing that anything that would cast doubt on a literal reading of their "holy" texts would demonstrate their falsity, these people think that science is also susceptible to such incorrect use of syllogism.  So, of course they want to "teach the controversy" because they have no explanation for what is observable in the natural world except "god did it."  So, is it any wonder that such religious cowards resort to lies and deliberate ignorance when it comes to denial of science?

  •  Is there any data? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    about what the rest of the world believes? There may be 100 million or so people in the US that don't believe in evolution, but even among Christians here, they are a minority. Catholics don't have a problem with it. Has anyone ever studied what the rest of the 6 billion other people on the planet think?

    •  it doesn't matter (0+ / 0-)

      what people think.  Evolution does not exist because people believe it.  It existed for eons before Darwin- and will continue to exist long after we are all dead.

      Regardless of whether or not people believe, the principles of evolutoin will continue.
      (This contrasts to various gods, who cease to exist when people no longer believe.  Why elese are they so determined that rule nubmer one is to believe in them, abd them only.?)

      As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

      by BPARTR on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 08:43:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That wasn't my question (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I'm interested if other nations have large numbers of people who believe in it or not because it does matter. If people who don't believe in science control the government and education system, read money, then science won't get funded. For instance, I imagine the Taliban wouldn't be too interested in funding education and science, so there won't be any scientific advancement coming out of Afghanistan if they get back in control. It would be the same here if the fundies got control. Government grants and funding for science would disappear and scientists would flee to more welcoming countries.  

        •  ah, now I understand you (0+ / 0-)

          and I completely agree. I was a basic scientist in animal behavior and neurophysiology during the Reagan years. (My doctoral supervisor was Richard Dawkins...)  It was so hard to get funding for basic research that I went back to medical school, and left basic science, even tho' I had published more than 60 articles including cover stories in Science, Nature and Scientific American.

          I am happily doing medicine, but I miss basic science.

          As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

          by BPARTR on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 05:32:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Yes. It's a topic of interest. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jakedog42, skohayes, pvasileff, rduran

      Scientific American has an interesting article here.

      Furthermore, the National Center for Science Education has some polling data here.

      Irtiqa offers a Muslim perspective by an author involved with the Scientific American article.

      The Pew Research Center summarizes an American overview.

      A Hindu website summarizes a broad, general outline of the dominant characteristics in their faith. And this blog describes the "hands off" attitude of teaching evolution in the schools of India.

      Finally, it may be that over 70% of 1.2 billion Chinese students accept evolution as basic science although it may have taken place in an unusual sequence.

      We're all just working for Pharoah.

      by whl on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 08:57:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, although I haven't seen numbers (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      There are Creationist Jews and Muslims. Some Muslim countries are officially Creationist, outlawing the teaching of evolution.

      Jewish views on evolution

      Islamic views on evolution

      The rest of the religions of the world that I have specific knowledge of don't start their mythologies with creation ex nihilo, or don't have any sort of beginning at all, and have no actual chronology in any way comparable to the six days of creation in Genesis or the numerous begats and reign lengths that add up to a timeline for an entire presumed history from Adam to the Kings of Israel and Judah. Many so-called creation myths start with creation of a world and life out of chaos, an infinite sea, or some other primordial condition without gods, animals, or humans.

      Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

      by Mokurai on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 12:32:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The most forceful case for Creationism that I... (0+ / 0-)

    ...have yet come across is presented here.

    "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal bread." -- Anatole France

    by terremoto on Fri Mar 21, 2014 at 09:54:29 PM PDT

  •  There are two motivations for Creationism (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that I am aware of.

    One is White Supremacy, in the form of the notion that Blacks split off from Whites in Biblical historical times due to an action of Noah's son Ham, and that God made them essentially subhuman in intelligence and moral capacity, so that they were fit only to be slaves of Whites, and that slavery was good for them. The Southern Baptist Convention and some, but not all, formerly racist churches have abandoned and condemned this theory, officially.

    The other, stated for example by Ken Ham at Answers in Genesis, is that if Adam is not historical then Jesus cannot Redeem us through His Crucifixion and Resurrection, and we are all going to Hell.

    They can be highly motivating to those who accept their premises, and who fear losing their social positions on Earth or spending eternity in Hell, or both, and are both obviously sufficient reasons for rejecting any pesky facts that contradict them.

    Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

    by Mokurai on Sat Mar 22, 2014 at 12:42:44 AM PDT

    •  That's a bit of a stretch (0+ / 0-)

      Wouldn't simplest explanation of creationism's origins and history be a plain reading and naive acceptance of creation myths in the absence of a scientific alternative?

      •  I have the documents to support my claims (0+ / 0-)

        While there were, of course, many who naively assumed that the Earth is motionless because we cannot feel its motion, and because the Bible appeared to say, so, Creationism as a virulent anti-science movement is only about 450 years old.

        From Augustine until Galileo the Catholic Church held that the Bible was not to be taken literally when there was good reason to suppose that it had a spiritual rather than scientific meaning. The Catholic Church, Luther, and Calvin all denounced Copernicanism at different times in the 16th and 17th centuries, and all three traditions and almost all other Christians got over it in the 17th and 18th centuries, leaving only the Flat Earthers and other such cranks in denial.

        Creationism did not become significant in the US until Curse of Ham theology was made the foundation of support for slavery in the 18th century. It remained the support for segregation until well into the period of the Civil Rights Movement, when overt White Supremacism became impossible for politicians to maintain in public.

        I don't know when the argument began to be made that the Fall must be history in order that Redemption be possible, but I do know that it is made today. Certainly the doctrine of Original Sin appeared centuries after the story of the Resurrection.

        Supposition that one explanation is simpler than another is never a substitute for the evidence of what people have written and what they say today, much less a reason to reject evidence, in history any more than in science.

        Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

        by Mokurai on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 12:31:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oh, I don't doubt that (0+ / 0-)

          various allegorical modes of interpretation abounded in the past.   However, it wasn't scientific meaning but rationalism medieval and Renaissance Christian theologians, were attempting reconcile with Biblical interpretation.  The arguments weren't over a young Earth or God's hand in creation, but over the economy of that creation, but why God took six days rather than an instant.  Or why God created a world that was or eventually became imperfect and tolerant of evil.  The response to objections on the basis of creation myth was to generate additional creation myth--theodicies.  Looking across time to Aquinas' words about abandoning untenable positions may sound comforting (especially considering AIG's ridiculously persistent pushback against thermodynamic objections.  That will only last until you realize that the complement is not adopt the critiquing point of view.  

          That said, allegorical interpretation certainly faced a vehement backlash during the revelation.  I can't speak to Luther, but Calvin certainly did away with it in his hermeneutics, and I don't see how you can say Calvin didn't have a significant impact on theology in colonial America and later.

          If the Curse of Ham was so central to slavery that it required motivated theological revolution from an position allegedly open minded about creation to doctrinaire six day creationism, then how do you explain clearly irreligious 18th century slave holders like, I don't know, two of our first three Presidents?

          To my knowledge, neither Augustine or Aquinas (or any other serious church leader up until the modern day), questioned the historical existence of Eden, Adam and Eve or the Fall.  The argument was over the creation preceding.  

          Spotty evidence is insufficient to abandon parsimony in history as well as science.  You've made an extraordinary claim here: that creationism's origins lie in white supremacism and concern over the historical Fall.  That requires some extraordinary evidence, but I do not believe you have it.

          •  You seem to be confused about historical causation (0+ / 0-)

            I do not have time today for a full discussion. I will make only two points.


            Please show me where Calvin discussed the Curse of Ham as a justification for slavery. Quite to the contrary, I see this.

            Original Dishonor: Noah’s Curse and the Southern Defense of Slavery

            The conviction that Ham’s transgression was failure to honor his father – and nothing more – was first advanced by John Calvin in the sixteenth century. This interpretation was favored by a few European Protestant commentators writing between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, men who may have been influenced by Calvin’s own gloss on the story. It is also possible that this interpretive trajectory influenced American defenders of slavery – perhaps through their familiarity with the works of William Newton, Adam Clarke, Matthew Henry, and Calvin himself. However, none of these exegetes invoked Genesis 9 to justify the enslavement of human beings; nor did they use Ham’s identity as a dishonorable son to explain the character of his descendants.
            The Curse of Ham in the Early Modern Era: The Bible and the Justifications for Slavery (review)

            The Founders

            Washington and Jefferson, two slaveowning founders, despised slavery, and greatly regretted being economically bound to it. They also despised the religious doctrines used to justify slavery, both being Deists. Both freed their slaves in their wills. When Jefferson and Sally Hemings were in Paris, she was legally free. Jefferson offered to set her up financially in freedom there, but she preferred to return with him to Virginia and slavery under his protection. It appears that he would have married her, had it been legal, but we didn't get there until Loving v. Virginia.

            This article has a bit more on which founders owned slaves, and what they thought about it.

            The Founding Fathers and Slavery

            Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

            by Mokurai on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 12:28:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I didn't argue that John Calvin (0+ / 0-)

              advanced Curse of Ham theology.  He's mid to late 16th century clergy operating out of Switzerland.  Why would anyone expect he had much to say about the still infant New World slave trade?  I'm not certain when the Curse of Ham began to be viewed popularly as applying to enslaved Africans, but Robert Boyle's critique didn't come until a century after Calvin's death.

              It's a stretch to say Washington and Jefferson despised slavery, and then point to manumission--an integral part of slaveholding culture--as evidence to the contrary.  Jefferson certainly took issue the cruelty of the slave trade itself, but that doesn't tell us much.  That simply tells us he perceived himself a gentleman who had contempt for people who did the increasingly unnecessary dirty work of supplying bodies.  And I don't think you can do anything more than speculate about Jefferson's relationship with Hemings beyond the established fact that they had intercourse.

              •  Again, you ignore facts in evidence (0+ / 0-)

                I'm done here.

                Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

                by Mokurai on Sun Mar 23, 2014 at 03:22:48 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  You forgot a marble (0+ / 0-)

                  Be nice if you presented said evidence before you accuse me of ignoring it.  So far you've presented:

                  1. a second-hand account of Calvin's view on the nature of Ham's sin (a non-sequitur when it comes to the question of the origins of creationism) and

                  2. additional second hand evidence that actual refutes your position that Jefferson despised slavery:

                  In his initial draft of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson condemned the injustice of the slave trade and, by implication, slavery, but he also blamed the presence of enslaved Africans in North America on avaricious British colonial policies. Jefferson thus acknowledged that slavery violated the natural rights of the enslaved, while at the same time he absolved Americans of any responsibility for owning slaves themselves. The Continental Congress apparently rejected the tortured logic of this passage by deleting it from the final document, but this decision also signaled the Founders’ commitment to subordinating the controversial issue of slavery to the larger goal of securing the unity and independence of the United States.
                  And recall that my initial point was that there were Deists--including one notoriously who by all evidence held slaves quite comfortably.
        •  One other point (0+ / 0-)

          We're discussing the views of Christian elites, and until the relatively recent rise of printing and literacy I think it unlikely that the Church spent much time transmitting hermeneutics to the masses.  

  •  This (0+ / 0-)
    1. I believe in a higher power for whatever reason.
    2. I believe that the world is so complex that I cannot imagine a world where it was not created by someone with a plan.
    C. Because I cannot imagine such a world, God exists.
    I've yet to see anyone--creationist or otherwise--adhere to an argument like this.  It certainly isn't Ken Ham's argument.  To him, God's existence is a first principle.

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