Christian vs. Atheist debate
This is a debate I had over about ten days between a christian creationalist and myself. It's long, I know, but I felt at least some of you would enjoy it.
Jake said: What is the origin of energy? There is no explanation in science for this question. Why do people have notions of morality? There is no explanation in evolution for this question.
Hey, saw your message on one of your groups, and thought I would respond if I may. I think you might be a little behind on your evolution research, as there is an explanation for morality from evolution. It's simple really, a group of animals, say proto-human or before, survived better than the group that murdered each other, or were isolated. Goodwill helped a commuity better than raping and stealing. So, in turn, that group, through generations and generations, develpoed the instinct to treat each other with good 'morals'. Yes, there are some that don't quite fit that setting, but they are banished from the group, ie. jails, etc. As far as energy goes, science has several hypothesis, but you are correct in saying that science does not have a true factual reason behind where it came from, but that is science, the scientific way of thinking strives on what we don't know, and hence, try to figure it out, which is exactly what we are doing. We don't simply say, "Oh, we don't know where this energy came from, God must have done it." And on top of that, physics breaks down for singularities, as well as the Big Bang, so the laws of thermodynamics don't apply anyway. I have confidence we will determine another theory for these events. And then, who says the energy came from something, and isn't eternal like so many christians claim God to be. Anyway, cheers mate.
"It's simple really, a group of animals, say proto-human or before, survived better than the group that murdered each other, or were isolated. Goodwill helped a commuity better than raping and stealing. So, in turn, that group, through generations and generations, develpoed the instinct to treat each other with good 'morals'."
Morals are metaphysical, so you can BELIEVE that they evolved, but that belief cannot be tested in a lab, and evolution is a hard science, requiring physical material in order to be tested. Metaphysical notions are excluded from the science of evolution from the outset, because they don't exist physically. If you have a philosophy of morality, then that is wonderful, I have my own philosophy, but don't pass off the metaphysical evolution of morality as a hard scientific proof.
"We don't simply say, "Oh, we don't know where this energy came from, God must have done it."
But what you certainly do say is "Oh, we don't know where this came from, but it couldn't have been from God." If there is a gap in knowledge, then whatever you BELIEVE IN that fills the gap, is by definition a belief. You have a scientific bias to fill that gap, I have a religious one, what is the difference?
Yes, I believe morals evolved this way, based on evidence. There are a ton of things I believe based on what I term as other people doing the study and giving the results.....there have been quite a few studies in the field of socio-biology that show how animal behavior is effected by their local environment, and how this behavior becomes inherited, and how this adaptative ability, through survival of the fittest, leads to animals who act in this dominate behavior. Behaviors in question include social status through not only fighting, but also being kind to one another, taking care of the young, etc. I have yet to see any evidence for God creating our moral system. And no, I am not saying this has been established as fact, or scientific proof, but you questioned where morals came from, and so I suggested that this is a possibility to consider. The second point, I can see where you might take that path, that we automatically assume that God can't of done it. But that isn't it at all. We just don't even consider God in the equation. No more than we consider Zues or Allah when trying to determine the natural universe. A lot of us postulate things about the universe, like what was there before the Big Bang...but we don't assume we are absolutely right like those of religious faith that know that God created everything. I truly admit I have no idea what happens in the afterlife, if there is such a thing.....there is no evidence for it, so you can say, I am agnostic about it. I can postulate what might be, but just because I do that, doesn't mean I am filling in the gap of my knowledge with something that I know absolutely to be true, like those who believe in heaven or hell, that know they are correct without actual substantiated proof. That's the difference. By the way, I have to mention, from what I got so far, you are a very good debator, and I respect that. Not too many people know why they believe what they believe. Cheers
Sorry, I forgot to mention that evolutionary psychology also deals with how human behavior evolved.
Wonderful, but evolution is a hard science, psychology is a soft science, the two can only mix in the interpretation of the scientist, not in reality of the lab. In other words, studying how animals behave in certain conditions, could or could not lead someone into the notion that they are evolving "morally" in a highly subjective way. If the "evolution of morality" is tied to "intelligence" of the creature, then there should be a specific gradation of morality correlated to the creatures IQ; as the IQ increases, the creature becomes more moral. Therefore, if morality were a result oif intelligence, then the most intelligent humans should also be the most moral, but this doesn't correspond to anything even remotely close to our human condition, and, not to mention, humans may be the most immoral creatures on the planet, which flies in the face of an evolution of morality culminating at it's pinnacle with humans.
If the "evolution of morality" is tied to "intelligence" of the creature, then there should be a specific gradation of morality correlated to the creatures IQ;
I would agree with you IF morality was directly tied to intelligencebut what kind, IQ?. There are many versions of intelligence, not just IQ (which does not measure all types of intelligence, such as wisdom, and is only relative ) or cognative ability, or retrieval ability, critical thinking, etc. But in general, yes, I would say that the higher the intelligence of a species as a whole, the more moral they are. But there are so many other factors besides intelligence that come into this, like then entire range of human emotion to give one example. Again, this is something that is explained in infinitely more detail in the study of evolutionary psychology. And not all science needs to be done in a lab. "Hard and soft science" is still science. Psychology has many, many different branches, and no, they can mix by observing repetitive behaviors, in this case, animals. Study a bit into the sciences of evolutionary psychology and socio-biology. It isn't some interpretations by a couple scientists. I don't claim to know for certain that this is where morals came from, but this is by far the best explanation science has given us, and by far, is better than God did it. If God did create morals, how did he do it? What were the mechanics behind it? Science concentrates on the mechanics of how things are done. The main problem I have with creation is that it attacks evolution (and cosmology, and chemisty etc) but never gives a mechanic of what happened instead. Evolution has many complicated, very complex explanations to why we are what we are, and bio-chemisty gives even more complicated examples of the primodial soup and the origins of life. Creationalists just give us that god created Adam, and you know the rest. But how? Did God bend the laws of physics to do this? What kind of clay was Adam formed from? What materials did God use, is this repeatable, are they materials of this universe? If not, then where did they come from? You see, creation offers nothing but attacks on evolution. And that stems from people taking the bible story of creation literally. To me, the bible wasn't meant to be proven, it completely ruins the beauty of religion, which is based on faith. When you start trying to prove God created world and man, you take away the very thing you claim you have, that is faith. This is why you can believe the Earth is round and not flat, that the Earth circles the sun, and why you believe that God created the man, and not aliens. It's faith. If you really want to disprove a theory that has been worked on for 150 years, and has been proven over, and over again, then study it. Take courses in Biology, Evolutionary Biology, Anthropology, even some cosmology and geology, all of which contribute to the evolutionary theory, old earth theory, and the cosmic beginnings. Don't let some minister or 'creation scientist' tell you about that the Big Bang was an explosion, or that evolution happened by random chance just to prove the bible is real and factual.
Why do you assume that I have not taken those courses you mention? If you know what I've taken and what I haven't, then I would like you to provide a list of what I have taken and what I haven't taken and what you think I should take. You assume that I listen to a minister for my info, and that I haven't taken any relevant classes, thus I am ignorant of the science? You have a lot of built-in assumptions about me Matthew. I'm not really sure which ones to dispell first.
Yes, perhaps I did indeed make some assumptions that could be untrue. I didn't mean to imply you didn't know about these topics, and I should have put, 'if you haven't already, you should look into taking....." Many, many people dispel the theory of evolution because they haven't even looked at it. Or had someone else from a religious standpoint tell them about it. So I am sorry if that was not true with you. I am very curious though, if you have taken these courses and studied the mechanics of evolution, why there is such disbelief. I mean, does every part of human existance have to be proven in order for you to believe it? Is the reason you don't think it's real because the bible says so, or because there are a few holes that haven't been filled. You questioned where energy came from, where morals came from, shown you how we can be intelligent and yet, still immoral, and asked some questions of my own which you haven't answered yet. Namely, "Creationalists just give us that god created Adam, and you know the rest. But how? Did God bend the laws of physics to do this? What kind of clay was Adam formed from? What materials did God use, is this repeatable, are they materials of this universe? If not, then where did they come from?", and basically shown to the best of my ability, that creation doesn't offer anything as to explain these events. But really, I am sorry if I insulted you. YOu have no idea how many creationalists I have debated with, and most of them, well, say things like, we couldn't have come from rocks, if we are from apes, why are there apes here, and we couldn't have come here by chance, it's like blowing up a printing press to get a dictionary. But please, do redress my other arguements, let me know if I answered the questions of morality and origins of energy for you, and that science isn't assuming God didn't do it. But most of all, I am curious as to why you still don't think evolution happened. Where is this belief coming from? What evidence have you seen that negates it completely?
And I hoped you had a good thanksgiving.
I have looked at the theory of evolution. It should have never reached the level of theory in the scientific method, because theories require evidence prior to the theory stage, and the evidence is lacking for macroevolution from the primordial soup to humans.
You said "I mean, does every part of human existance have to be proven in order for you to believe it?" Science shouldn't require belief. There is quite a bit I believe in, but I don't call my belief "science". Science has the burden of proof by its very methodology. And there are more holes than there are fills.
I only know that God formed Adam froim the dust of the ground, persumably as a full grown man, then breathed life (soul) into Adam's body. How this happened other than that, I can't say. But I shouldn't assume that it didn't happen that way because there is no exhaustive explanation of it. Yes, Adam was literally made from the earth, and which turned into his body, and then the Fall happened, at which point our bodies were no longer infallible, and could succumb to death. Death as a result of the Fall. But the original body made from the dust wasn't going to die prior to the Fall, so what kind of body that was--I could only speculate. And yes, he was created out of materials from this universe. God doesn't have to spell it out for us, He gave us a sense of suriousity and a brain which rationalizes, so eventually we can figure out how He did it, whether we recognize God's handywork after we discover the particulars--is another story. If we don't credit God, then that isn't His fault. So to fail to recognize God's design upon the knowledge of the design, is not God's fault, but rather it would be the human not being alert.
Abiogenesis is not even remotely proven. I can't stress enough how science literally has the burden of proof, and a repeatable and demonstratable protocoil before it can be considered science. Abiogenesis is an idea only, not a scientific proof.
Not only that, but there was no observation of abiogenesis, and it can't be recreated--even with intelligent intervention of scientists, much less by blind and random happenstance.
I hope you had a good thanksgiving too bro.
What holes are you talking about that scientists haven't addressed yet? As far as I can see, there aren't many. And besides, the few that haven't been explained yet, scientists are currently working on those explanations. See, I think there is a disagreement with the evidence between us. There is lots of evidence for macroevolution, thousands of fossils, pre-human and many others, including transitional fossils. The evidence was presented before the theory, and it is still being collected.
Oh, and the belief thing.....I don't mean belief without evidence, I mean, know, as far as a human can. I addressed this earlier. As well as it's a sign of respect when I use it. Like, for instance, I know there is no god. But when I talk to christians, I don't like the presumptiousness of it. So I say, I don't believe in the existance of any god. Same sort of thing. I can refrain from using that term however if you like though.
So, how do you know that God created Adam like you said? Why so critical of a science that collects evidence of something that occurs over millions of years, but can believe something that has no proof whatsoever? Not one shred. My logic leads me to accepting evolution as fact, rather than god creating man. It's that simple, evidence.
And lets say, if evolution isn't the know-all of the origins of life, now what? What evidence is given to god creating life? Since I have yet to see any, I still wouldn't accept the adam story. What I don't understand is why do you give this story so much credence?
Anyway, gotta study for chem exam. Tell me what you think.
If all the millions of creatures all have the exact same origin and ancestry, that would produce transitional fossils at every step as a continuous progression. Instead what we have as evidence is what appears to be a few transitional models at best, and in the context of the whole diversity of life, amounts to an amount of evidence so meager it doesn't "prove" common ancestry or macroevolution on the scale that would be expected. There should be transitional fossils galore. Not a few from a few species. I know the argument--"Well, the rest of the fossils got destroyed, we should only expect to find a few transitional fossils." First of all,the notion that all of the transitional fossils were destroyed and none of the fully developed fossils were destroyed is absurd. Secondly, that is only a speculative belief of the scientist, he has no positive evidence that there was mass disappearance or destruction of all of the transitionary fossils. That is only a belief. There is no evidence for abiogenesis either. I just want positive evidence, not assumptions where evidence is nonexistant.
" The Bergsonian critique of orthodox Darwinism is not easy to answer. More disquieting still is Professor D. M. S. Watson's defence. "Evolution itself," he wrote, "is accepted by zoologists not because it has been observed to occur or... can be proved by logically coherent evidence to be true, but because the only alternative, special creation, is clearly incredible." Has it come to that? Does the whole vast structure of modern naturalism depend not on positive evidence but simply on an a priori metaphysical prejudice. Was it devised not to get in facts but to keep out God?" C.S. Lewis, They Asked For A Paper.
For one, in my opinion, even a few transitional fossils would prove evolution, or at the very least, go against the arguement for creation.You said a few at best, well, actually, the number is a bit higher than that. This is a common misconception among creationalists that I have heard for years. It's similiar to the 'fact' that Darwin repented on his death bed. Kent Hovine likes to use this arguement, and has been corrected, but still uses the arguement anyway. We have millions of transitional fossils. We can trace the lienage of a horse for instance, with many dead ends. Here is a small list of the sequences of early equin. I know that you aren't interested in the long list, but I wanted to provide examples so that you are assured I am not just blowing stuff out my arse, heh. Hyracotherium, which is the earliest species that bears a resemblance to a horse, Orohippus, Epihippus, Mesohippus, Miohippus, Kalobatippus........I skipped a bunch to get to the point....all the way to the Equus stenonis, our oldest modern day horse. You can even visit the American Museum of Natural History to see all these fossils and the transitions from one to the next. That is just horses. Kent Hovine put forth that they are still horses though, so it's microevolution. Not so....these are not the same species and could not mate with modern day horses....also, we have fossils that are a little less like a horse than the hyracotherium, but I didn't bother putting here since is bears so little resemblance anymore, it's irrelevant to the conversation at hand.
Secondly, yes, the arguement that all the transitional fossils are destroyed and all the 'complete' (I will tell you in a sec why that is in quotes) were preserved is indeed ludicrous, and I would ask you to tell me where you heard that, and if that person had any real credentials. I feel sorry for the person that put that arguement forth. What you might have heard or what should have been argued, is that due to the special circumstances required for preservation of living beings, only a very small percentage of all life-forms that ever have existed can be expected to be discovered, not just transitional. Let me ask you, what is complete as you say? Most evolutionists would argue we are all transitional from one thing to the next. The platapus is a wonderful example of a mammal that has characterists of a reptile. This position is based on a misunderstanding of the nature of what represents a transitional feature or fossil. They assume there is always a missing link, since every species found is a complete species. It's counter-intuitive to argue that way.
And you are right, there is no physical evidence for angiogenesis, as we ourselves have yet to create living matter from nonliving matter. Ok, does that prove creation? Nope, nor does it really have anything to do with the theory of evolution, which is the process of one species to another, not life from nonlife. But even so, I would still give more credit to anbiogenesis than creation. Miller-Urey experiment is a good example of why. A recent study done by the University of Waterloo and University of Colorado conducted simulations in 2005 that indicated that the early atmosphere of Earth could have contained up to 40 percent hydrogen---implying a much more hospitable environment for the formation of prebiotic organic molecules. Prof. Owen Toon notes: "In this new scenario, organics can be produced efficiently in the early atmosphere, leading us back to the organic-rich soup-in-the-ocean concept... I think this study makes the experiments by Miller and others relevant again." Outgassing calculations using a chondritic model for the early earth, (Washington University, September 2005)
Scientists haven't proven Abiogenesis....like how fifteen years ago, they hadn't proven singularities, they just had ideas and experiments. But again, not evolution.
1943..........sixty two years ago. Let me ask you, how was medical science back then? Would you argue with a quote about the causes of schizophrenia or the effects of lupus from 1943? I know C.S Lewis is a man that many people look up to, but this was written in 1943 about a fairly young scientific field, in a country where science was for the first time, being taken a little more serious than previous years, namely due to america's rush to keep ahead of Nazi germany's scientific advances. I mean, really, you could quote a critique on Einstiens theory of relativity and how he was wrong because he tried to disprove Quantum mechanics.....that doesn't mean the theory of relativity is to be thrown out now 63 years later. Like relativity, evolution has grown in knowledge and scale since then.
I am still curious though as to my previous questions. But, if you don't mind, I shall ask again. Why do you give more credit to a story that has to proof of ever happening than to a scientific theory that has way, way more evidence to supporting it? Again, why are you so critical of evolution but can believe that God created man. There is not one shred of evidence for this event. The only thing you, and many other creationalists have argued, are what you percieve to be errors in evolution. I feel that many creationalists believe that if some parts of the bible aren't true, then you have to throw the whole thing out (as God is perfect, the bible must be perfect, etc), and that mentality is applied to science as well, and it just isn't so. I am not saying you do so, but it is the feeling I get. Evolution isn't trying to disprove creation by a god, scientists are merely trying to explain the natural world around them with evidence. Where is the evidence for creation? Again, where are the creation scienctific explanations to creation of man, how god made it appear the Earth is older than it is, how Noah fit all the animals in one ship, and so on. Just because something isn't green, in no way, does it make it red. Prove to me it's red, rather than disproving it's green. That is the challenge creationalists have yet to do.
Here is why. The fossil record actually shows animal's fossil remains in fully developed independent body types. It certainly appears that spontaneous Creation occured. Since there is no fossil evidence to support common ancestry or macroevolution from the primordial soup to present, I am not wiling to believe in macroevolution. So, instead of interpreting the evidence with a naturalistic affinity, I consider the evidence as it stands, which supports creation.
There are not millions of transitional fossils, there are only enough to fill two tables in one room.
Ok, site where you got that information please about the transitional fossils fill only two tables. I stated where you can see more than a two tables worth of fossils, and what you would see.
The terms 'transitional' and 'intermediate' are for the most part used as synonyms to each other. However, a distinction between the two can be made:
* "Transitional" can be used for those forms that do not have a significant amount of unique derived traits that the derived relative does not possess as well. In other words, a transitional is morphologically close (if not identical) to the actual common ancestor of itself and the derived relative.
* "Intermediate" can be used for those forms that do have a large number of uniquely derived traits not connected to its derived relative.
According to this definition, Archaeopteryx, which does not show any derived traits that more derived birds do not possess as well, is transitional. In contrast, the Duck-billed Platypus is intermediate because it retains certain reptilian traits no longer found in modern mammals and at the same time possesses a lot of derived traits of its own, as a highly specialized aquatic animal.
Following this definition, all living organisms are in fact to be regarded as intermediate forms to some other related life-form. Indeed there are many species alive today that can be considered to be transitional between two or more groups.
You can confrim these definitions if you like in any encyclopedia.
I know you aren't willing to believe in macroevolution, but that still doesn't prove spontaneous creation according to the bible. You say there are no transition fossils, and if I can't convince you there are, then there you go, it's supports creation. But, ummm, it also supports Panspermia (Wainwright, M. (2003) A microbiologist looks at panspermia. Astrophysics and Space Science, 285(2):563 -- 570), Clay theory (Cairns-Smith, A. G. Evolving the Mind. On the Nature of Matter and the Origin of Consciousness: Cambridge University Press (1996) ISBN 0-521-40220-4), among others. So again, no proof of the Adam story, why choose that one?
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Where is the proof that God created Adam, and that is where mankind came from?
Again, disproving something is green (evolution) does not mean it is red (creation).
it confirms the Word of scripture as being Divinely inspired. Also, our notions of right and wrong, good and evil, are consistent with the story of Adam and the Fall. Any explanation outside of that isn't satisfactory to me.
Matthew: Unfortunatly, those are not proofs of creation, nor do they disprove evolution. One possibility that the Old testament had it's prophecies fulfilled by the birth of your savior because it is divinly inspired is one possibility, the other being that the New Testament story didn't happen, and the story was based on what the readers of the Old testament wanted it to be (which is based on the prophecies). Simple as that. Also, there are many religious texts out there that have prophesies that were fulfilled, not the least being the Koran as well. When faced with two possibilities though, one needing a lot of belief, and the other being simplier, I am taking the more practical possibility, that doesn't have the necessary belief of a god. I actually debated a pastor once about this very topic, and I mentioned the other possibility. He said that that was true, that could have happened, but that is why it is important to have faith. For the science realm, that's not good enough.
Honestly though, I was hoping for some evidence that has been presented by the creationists....but there isn't any. There is theology (written by C.S. Lewis) and a site that is, to be honest, quite biased. I respect your religious beliefs, but it saddens me when people attack evolution because they take their beliefs for fact rather than faith, and it ends up conflicting. So, to sum up, I haven't seen any evidence for creation, and evolution seems to have much, much more evidence for it than against it. I also hope I answered all of your questions. I really hope you check out what I have said, for instance, looking into the species I mentioned, as well as the studies I cited. But yes, I do have a kind of self made rule, that once science it out of the debate, I discontinue it, since it no longer applies to what I am defending, which is science and evolution. I am always happy to debate religious theology with you as well some time if you would like though. It's not entirely my field, so you just might kick my ass, heh.
Jake, this has been one of the best debates of evolution I have had in a while. I truly congradulate on a job well done, and personally, think we could be friends if we got to know one another. You are polite and a very good debator. But alas, all good things.