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Long Beach Geeks Message Board › Creationisn vs. Evolution

Creationisn vs. Evolution

user 8251299
Long Beach, CA
Post #: 51
Hello folks,

The meetup to the San Diego creationism museum is generating a lot of talk. I am creating this thread to move the discussion from the event page to the forum, which I feel is a better format for discussion.

Play nice--I mean it. By all means defend your position and offer evidence, but do not resort to name calling or personal insults.
user 13952557
La Puente, CA
Post #: 82
Why do we even need to discuss this topic? We are not a religion or non religion blog site. It is a literature meetup. Lets talk about books such as by the great writers. We don't need bigots from both sides here debating. There is plenty of other sites for that. Beside not all religions believe in deity's. And Atheists and other religions and Atheism is a religion or belief system. They have their own rules forms and routines. They just have a religion the religion of science. In this country 1st amendment protects the beliefs of both parties. And frankly who cares what each side believes. So what if you believe that a day in creation means a over thousands of years versus millions. In the end we need to worry more about feeding our family's, paying bills and such. But to go there to be bigots and inslut them is wrong.
Group Organizer
Lakewood, CA
Post #: 6
This whole thing has become quite the bugaboo. I come not to argue, but to clarify some things. Because knowledge is power, excelsior and so forth.
First off, I think the only reason the event is posted in this particular Meetup is because a few people from the group expressed an interest in going to said museum, and it is easier to communicate with people via something that's been established versus a web of text messages and Facebook. It's not meant to be a statement of the group's affiliations.
The original intent of going was to get a bunch of people with a background in science to go to the museum and just sort of see what's up. Recent polls state that 46% of Americans believe in creationism and some people would like to know exactly what that entails, seeing as we all live here in America with that 46%. Yes, we could probably just google it and research it quietly online, but it's a museum! With big ol' dinosaur statues and everything! I don't know about you but I'd much rather have an excuse to look at stuff and hang out in San Diego than sit at a computer. It's not a "atheists are attacking believers" situation.
That said, I will admit that I am an agnostic atheist, and while there may be some anger in me after a decade of peer persecution back home, I don't plan on going there to yell, protest, or be obnoxious and make a scene. I'm going to wear a T-shirt, maybe discuss the exhibits with someone, donate some money to a good cause and then go out on the town. Because I live in America, and it's pretty damn cool that I can do that.
I don't believe anyone was attacking any form of deity. We may be upset that there are some major scientific and logical fallacies present, sure. If you spend 4-6 years of your life getting a degree in X and someone comes along and tells you that some building down the street is teaching people that X is completely wrong, you might go down there and take a look. And be upset at what you find, even.
I'm not going to debate religion with people here. There are much more appropriate venues for that elsewhere. However, as you said this is a venue for literature geeks, so I will take advantage of this to bring up some semantics issues.
*Please* take note that atheism is not a religion for a number of reasons.
There are no rules to atheism. There's the *definition* of atheism, which is a lack of belief in deities. There are no churches, no holidays (although one might observe holidays out of respect for religious family members in their presence),
no sacred/profane objects, no eschatology or set philosophy by which to live. We all go about our lives differently. A religion by definition requires faith, and atheism is defined by a lack of faith. The saying goes, "atheism is a religion like off is a TV channel".
-P.S. Nobody's made these next two errors, but while I'm bitching about semantics I'll also say now that one cannot "believe" in science (as science holds true no matter what anyone thinks-if you throw an apple straight up into the air and say "I don't believe in gravity" it'll still fall on your head), and that the phrase "evolutionism" can be seen as offensive (it’s a scientific theory, not a worldview).
user 8251299
Long Beach, CA
Post #: 52
Why do we even need to discuss this topic?
Doug, this thread was created to move the discussion away from the event listing and into the discussion boards.

We are not a religion or non religion blog site. It is a literature meetup.
This meetup is "General Geekery". There is a bookclub component currently run by Randy K, but our events and meetups are not limited to discussing literature. In fact, most of our events center around "geeky" games and outings. The trip to the Creation Science museum is one such outing.

Lets talk about books such as by the great writers.
To everyone, please remember that you're all free to suggest meetups or start discussion threads! :-D

We don't need bigots from both sides here debating.
First, I'm willing to believe that the ratio of bigots to people who want an honest discussion is low (but maybe I'm not cynical enough wink ). Second, this is apropos to one of our meetup events. As group organizer, I welcome any discussion surrounding a meetup. For instance, some sci-fi books such as Heinlein's Starship Troopers touch upon weighty social issues such as de facto vs "earned" citizenship rights, the anatomy of democracy, differing views about what actually constitutes a democracy, individualism, and the role of the military in a society. These would all be relevant topics to address when discussing Starship Troopers. In the same vein, a general thread of creationism and evolution is relevant given the trip to the creation museum.

And Atheists and other religions and Atheism is a religion or belief system. They have their own rules forms and routines. They just have a religion the religion of science.
Morganna has addressed this very eloquently, but since this is a discussion forum please feel free to elaborate on what you mean and offer evidence for your position.

So what if you believe that a day in creation means a over thousands of years versus millions. In the end we need to worry more about feeding our family's, paying bills and such.
The same argument can be made for every single meetup we've ever had. "Comic book convention? Who needs a comic book convention when the unemployment rate is above 8%!".

Doug, I try to make the meetups as open as possible. This means that anyone can suggest a meetup, and if enough people are interested it becomes an official meetup. The purpose of this group is to provide a place where people of a geeky bent can have conversation, find out about events, and attend meetings with other people who share their interest. Unless it is illegal or glaringly inappropriate (a strip club, for example), I prefer not to allow any member to suggest any meetup.

But to go there to be bigots and inslut them is wrong.
And I agree with you on that. But the intended purpose of this outing isn't to just go there and be a jerk, but to enjoy the kitsch factor of the place. I can't speak for anyone else, but to me it's tantamount to going to a museum dedicated the the 60s Batman TV series; you know it's going to be a little out there but in an ingratiatingly adorable way. tongue
A former member
Post #: 499
You can interpret Atheism as a religion of sorts. According to the Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy:

“Atheism is the position that affirms the non-existence of God. It proposes positive disbelief rather than mere suspension of belief.”1

Buddhism is atheistic in the sense of denying that there is any overarching deity such as the Creator-God of the Bible. Atheism in the western sense excludes Buddhism, and adherents claim that it is not a religion. One Atheist said:

“Calling Atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair colour”2

However, atheists make such claims so Atheism can avoid legal imperatives placed on religions in many countries, and can avoid some of the ideological hang-ups people have about “religion”. It also creates a false dichotomy between science (which they claim must be naturalistic and secular) and religion.Atheism3 will be defined in the contemporary western sense: not just the lack of belief in a god, but the assertion about the non-existence of any gods, spirits, or divine or supernatural beings. Atheists in this sense are metaphysical naturalists, and as will be shown, they DO follow a religion.
Religion is a difficult thing to define. Various definitions have been proposed, many of which emphasize a belief in the supernatural.4 But such definitions break down on closer inspection for several reasons. They fail to deal with religions which worship non-supernatural things in their own right (for example Jainism, which holds that every living thing is sacred because it is alive, or the Mayans who worshiped the sun as a deity in and of itself rather than a deity associated with the sun)5; they fail to include religions such as Confucianism and Taoism which focus almost exclusively on how adherents should live, and the little they do say about supernatural issues such as the existence of an afterlife is very vague; they also don’t deal with religious movements centred around UFOs—which believe that aliens are highly (evolutionarily) advanced (but not supernatural) beings.

A better way to determine whether a worldview is a religion is to look for certain characteristics that religions have in common. The framework set forth by Ninian Smart,6 commonly known as the Seven Dimensions of Religion, is widely accepted by anthropologists and researchers of religion as broadly covering the various aspects of religion, without focusing on things unique to specific religions. The seven dimensions proposed by Smart are narrative, experiential, social, ethical, doctrinal, ritual and material. Not every religion has every dimension, nor are they all equally important within an individual religion. Smart even argues that the “secularisation” of western society is actually a shift of focus from the doctrinal and ritual to the experiential. Every religion has its stories. Almost all religions have stories explaining where the universe came from and what humanity’s part in it is. Smart calls this Narrative.

Narrative is a particularly important aspect of western Atheism. As the prominent Atheist Richard Dawkins said, referring to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution:

“Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”7

Evolution is an explanation of where everything came from: the cosmos (came out of nothing at the big bang—nothing exploded and became everything); humans evolved from non-human creatures, hence humanity’s place in the cosmos is being just another species of animal. Some have gone so far as to say that humanity is a parasite on earth, and advocate killing up to 90% of humanity.8 There are some who attempt to combine belief in God with belief in evolution, not realizing the foundational nature of evolution’s connection to Atheism.9 The testimony of those who after learning about evolution in “science” reject Christianity should alert church leaders to the incompatibility between evolution and the Christian Religion.

The social dimension of religion looks at the hierarchies and power structures present within the religion, such the Hindu caste system. In missionary religions, it also includes how people get converted and how missionaries go about their work.

Contemporary Atheism has been fueled largely by authors promoting their Atheistic beliefs. In the preface to The God Delusion, Dawkins says,

“If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down.”

Dawkins is saying he hopes that his book converts “religious” people to his worldview – exactly what a missionary of any religion hopes to do.

Communist countries often made the state religion Atheism, often to the point of persecuting (other) religions.13 This followed from Karl Marx’ statement:

“It [religion] is the opiate of the masses. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness.”14

Marxists saw the removal of religion as a step toward true happiness for the common people, although in practice this did not occur, and contemporary critics see Marxism itself as a religion15. (I would contend that Marxism is a sect of a larger religion: Atheism).

Many scientists are high up on the social hierarchy of Atheism because their research enhances their understanding of the world. Particularly honoured are those scientists who write extensively about evolution. Because of this, many scientists include a little about evolution in their research papers, even when there is little or no relevance (one recent example concerns research into the chameleon’s catapult tongue and suction cap
A former member
Post #: 500
Continuing on topic Atheism is also taught to children in many schools in science classes as evolution. As atheistic philosopher Michael Ruse admits, “evolution is a religion”, and it could be considered the narrative dimension of Atheism. Thus teaching evolution is teaching Atheism. Several Atheists even support teaching lies, as long as the end result is more children believing evolution. Also like religious evangelist's many not all Atheist's get aggressive and try to convert to there non belief in a deity. There is so much more that can be said but just this much shows from a debate point of view Atheism can be interpreted as a religion in non deity.
Group Organizer
Lakewood, CA
Post #: 9
This is supposed to be about creationism vs. evolution, but why not. I'll bite. But where to even begin.

There appears to be this mindset that atheism is a 'one-size-fits-all' deal. It's not. There are many shades of atheism, which I will cover briefly.

'Gnostic' (aka strong, positive, hard)  Atheism. Since Dawkins was brought up, we'll refer to his scale from the God Delusion. Gnostic Atheism is the 7. "There is no god, I am certain of it." This right here can be construed as a religon, because it does not rely entirely on evidence. There's a bit of faith lurking in the corners.

'Agnostic'(aka weak, negative, soft) Atheism. A 6-6.9 on the Dawkins scale. "The probability of a god existing is extremely small, and there's no evidence for a god's existence. I'll live on the assumption that there is none until contradictory proof can be produced."

Then there's 'practical atheism' (The IDGAF of atheism) and antitheism (which maintains that not only are all of the world's religions wrong, they are also bad). These are just a few.

This is possible, because atheism is a philosophical theory. All religions are philosophical theories, but not all p.t.'s are religions. Hell, I'll argue that it's a descriptor, *not* a religion. You can slap 'atheistic' on anything. This chair I'm in? It's an atheistic chair. Doesn't mean atheists are chairs, though. That'd just be silly.

Let's start with a clear, concise definition of religion (any one will do, this works for all of the ones I've ever stumbled across). The dictionary gives us the following:

"A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs."

Sounds pretty reasonable, right? Let's start with the example of Jainism you set forth earlier.

It has a set of practices it's followers must adhere to (asceticism, no harm to living beings), prayers and rituals, sacred days, and a belief in the existance of an immortal soul (which can be considered supernatural, as they believe it exists above and beyond nature). It fits the definition of a religion. An atheistic religion, yes.

The Mayans worshipped a whole slew of deities. Earth gods, sun gods, death gods, they had them all. The sun was believed to be a deity, who transformed into the sun after his childhood (and often was depicted as a person). They also (very famously) have a very colorful eschatology and theory of creation/human origins. They also had a large number of rituals and sacred days.  Religion? Of course.

Confucianism: Philosophocal theory, not a religion. More on that
later. A theory of etiquette, really.

Taoism/Daoism: Full of ritual traditions, a code of ethics, abstract entities (Yin and Yang, Qi). Deities such as the Three Divine Teachers are sometimes present. Religion. Sometimes an atheistic religion.

The UFO religion: No proof of extraterrestrial beings, they are going purely on faith in alien life forms. And I think I can argue that Heaven's Gate was a bit involved in the supernatural. In fact a lot of those New Age faiths held common religious beliefs, such as the belief in the possibility of salvation. They typically have beliefs in how the world will end, too. The idea of a soul pops up a lot (Hello, Scientology!). Some even liken aliens to angels. Aliens also crop up here a lot as an origin story. I'll argue that these are religions. Or cults, sometimes.

Atheism:  Beliefs in the cause, nature and creation of the universe? No. Belief implies that you're just sort of taking something as true. There's evidence for evolution and the big bang- a whole lot of it! That's why they are scientific theories (see next giant post). In fact, see my previous post too. You can believe in gravity or not, it's still there. Atheists just acknowledge that it's there. Ritual observances? None. Maybe an atheist will celebrate Christmas or other holiday to avoid an awkward time with families (I myself observe the date as the Winter Solstice). There is nothing set in stone. We don't take a random Wednesday off to sit around and not believe in stuff. People do what they do. Moral code? Nothing. Atheists live as they see fit, and suprisingly enough, live pretty typical, murder/mayhem free lives. It's a personal moral code, not one someone had to write down. Death and the afterlife? Again, no set beliefs here. There are no idols or religious entities. Yes, you'll probably argue Dawkins or Hitchens or other atheistic writers here, but nobody worships them. In fact, a lot of atheists consider Dawkins to be a massive douchebag of a person*. They just got really loud about being atheists.

But seriously, seeing them as missionaries? It's not a matter of conversion. It's a matter of education.  Atheists are one of the most hated groups in America right now, because people simply do not understand what being an atheist is about. We don't go around knocking on doors asking if they've thrown out the Good News yet. In a lot of places, doing that would get you hospitalized. Or worse.

Also, the belief that atheism (and that bit on lies) is being taught to children in schools is VERY questionable. Can you support that claim with sources?

Teaching evolution is teaching atheism? Will you inform all of the religious scientists who subscribe to evolutionary theory of this so that they can join us for our annual baby eating contest and Dawkins worship? I jest, but seriously. Any support for that?
Suddenly I see why the 'atheism' thing was relevant...

~Knowledge is Power!

Up Next: Ganna's big ol' guide to theories!

*His quote, "If this book works as I intend, religious leaders who open it will be atheists when they put it down." ^ This is why atheists see him as a huge tool. He's arrogant. Makes some great points in his book, but is way too smug about it sometimes. Sagan makes just as many good points but is way chiller on the whole.
Group Organizer
Lakewood, CA
Post #: 10
This next bit is also a wall of text, but it's informative! The best kind of wall of text. Not really a rebuttal to anything that's been said, but perhaps a good thing to keep in mind given the thread purpose.

(aka. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.)

Theory. It's one of those hinky words in the English language that can mean so many things depending on the context. Key word: CONTEXT. Seriously. Write that down.

There's theory in the academic context, which is ideas formed by speculation, and abstract thought.
     For a college student taking a theory class, it refers to the non-practial aspect of the subject. An example: Art Theory 101 would probably talk about the questions and cultural implications of art (What is art? How is some art defined as 'great'?) , not how to paint.

There's theory in the philosophocal aspect, which is a doctrine accepted by adherents to a philosophy. Examples include nativism, formalism, Confucianism, and empiricism. It's often marked by the suffix "-ism". Religions, ideologies, and worldviews also fall into this category of theory. Typically, a philosophocal theory is composed
of statements that are believed to be true by the people who accept the theory. These theories may or may not be based on primary experience.

^^^ Typically, these two are the culprits of making the word 'theory' an
undefinable mess, and producing a statement that will infuriate the
majority of the scientific community: "It's just  theory, it's not
proven." Hoo boy.

In the sciences, theory has a much more concrete definition. It's often set aside from these other, hazy definitions by being referred to as a scientific theory. According to the National Academy of Sciences, a scientific theory is "a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment." Notice the word facts in there? It's totally in there.

There appears to be some idea going around the states that scientific theories do some pokemon-style evolving (how fitting :3) into facts after a certain amount of evidence is gained. This is not the case. When something becomes a scientific theory, it's hit the big leagues, baby. Any evidence found after the fact to support it is just gravy*. Theories *contain* facts, along with tons and tons of experimental
data, tested hypotheses and observations. Let's be real here. Pretty much everything we know about ourselves and the world around us? Scientific theories.
We've got:
       Cell theory: Living things are composed of cells.
       Atomic theory: Matter is composed of atoms.
       Gravitational theory: Gravity exists.
       Heliocentric theory: Earth orbits the sun. Partly due to the
above theory.
       Oblate spheroid theory: Earth isn't perfectly spherical. It's
an oblate spheroid.
       Theory of relativity: Time isn't absolute, motion is relative
and all sorts of other nifty stuff.

All of these are pretty much uncontested.

This isn't to say that scientific theories cannot be contested. Remember that snag we hit with the whole speed of light deal? That would have turned science on it's ear! After years of confirmation and study, of course. Once a scientific theory is in place, a single observation can't come and take it all down. You need overwhelming proof that the orignal theory is now wrong to really get the scientific community behind the change. Otherwise, the whole system would be based on erroneous 'facts'.

A small, final bit about laws. Scientific laws. A scientific law states how something behaves under certain conditions, based on repeated experimental observation.
       Newton's law works for weak gravity fields.
       The Bernoulli principle works for imcompressible, subsonic fluid flow.
       The law of conservation of energy works for isolated systems.
Take away the conditions, and they stop working.

A scientific law states how an aspect of nature works under certain conditions. A scientific theory states how nature works. They are mutually exclusive concepts. Theories do not become laws, and vice versa.
Joe B.
user 63221732
Long Beach, CA
Post #: 1
Awww... discussion finished? I had a bucketful of popcorn and a liter of coke at the ready... harumph... I have hope though... someone mentioned there are other sites with this type of back and forth goes on? care to share?
Group Organizer
Lakewood, CA
Post #: 11
There's always something to discuss! And these debates rage on across tons of sites. Reddit has some really active subreddits that are always talking about this stuff, off the top of my head.
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