CFI Portland Meetup Group Message Board Announcements › Questions about the evolution debate scheduled for Mon. 9-12-11

Questions about the evolution debate scheduled for Mon. 9-12-11

Bernie D.
BernieDehler
Hillsboro, OR
Post #: 1,025
David said:
"Unfortunately, further conversations with Bernie have revealed that it is very much about the science, as well.

Bernie, would you like to share here what you have stated about evolution beginning with "energy evolving into matter after the big bang"? How about your statements that "humans evolved [from animal]", and "we have been bred with instincts from other animals"? Can you describe to us your understanding of the difference between physical cosmology, evolution and abiogenesis? I apologize with the inconvenience of using this forum to get these clarifications, but I assume you would rather discuss this here than in front of an audience in the Q&A session during the debate on Monday?"


Evolution is a grand overarching explanation for all of creation. It is more than just biological evolution. There is also cosmological evolution, which explains things like the origin of the solar system.

Yes, energy evolved into matter after the big-bang, as the radiation cooled down. Read this for an overview:
http://en.wikipedia.o...­

Yes- humans evolved from other animals. Yes, we inherited many instincts, such as the survival instinct and sex drive, etc. There's even a moral instinct, which we can see by studies with animals. Example book:
"Primates and Philosophers: How Morality Evolved"
http://www.amazon.com...­

"Can you describe to us your understanding of the difference between physical cosmology, evolution and abiogenesis?"

Cosmology is the study of space, evolution (biological) is the study of life (plants/animals) and their relationships according to descent, and abiogenesis is the study of how the first life could arise from non-life (just theory at this point, mystery).

There's no problem asking these things at the debate, either.


A former member
Post #: 4
Bernie, I recommend you read the entire page of talk:origins that you linked to. Carefully, from the first paragraph through to the last. It addresses some of the fallacies in your own definition above, and puts Futuyama's quote in context, along with several other quotes, in order to a) arrive at a simple, concise, accessible and accurate definition:

"Evolution is a process that results in heritable changes in a population spread over many generations."

That is also the definition used in Wikipedia and in many textbooks (it is usually credited to Futuyama circa 2005. I don't know if it is correctly credited, nor why attribution of that particular quote is missing from the talk:origins page, but it would make sense that over twenty years one would get better and providing a more concise and publicly accessible definition).

Rather than address the various, common misconceptions implied in your poetic description, I would, again, strongly recommend reading the talk:origins page in full.

After doing so, if would be great if you could come back here and let us know if that is the definition you will be using in your debate with the young-earth creationist.

I look forward to your answers to my other questions, and thank you for your time.
Bernie D.
BernieDehler
Hillsboro, OR
Post #: 1,026
Hi David- I don't think I wrote any fallacies, and I don't think a definition needs to be memorized and quoted as if it is a Bible verse.
A former member
Post #: 5
Anyone here want to take this round of confusion on in the name of actual science--or do I get to have all the fun :-)

(Little note for general observation: not a good idea to cite Wikipedia as a primary source (particularly when the page linked to does not even support your assertion, but nevermind that).

Wikipedia is a wonderful place to start exploration, because of the numerous, linked footnotes to primary sources that are at the bottom of a well-formed Wikipedia page.)
A former member
Post #: 6
Hi David- I don't think I wrote any fallacies, and I don't think a definition needs to be memorized and quoted as if it is a Bible verse.

I can appreciate that someone publicly debating a creationist in the name of science about whether whale fossils prove evolution should not be expected to be able to articulate a coherent definition of evolution, let alone memorize one sentence with so many words, or provide some reasonable variation thereof. Clearly, I have set my expectations too high.

Perhaps you would be willing to explain whether you believe that defining evolution as:

a process that results in heritable changes in a population spread over many generations

is complete, sufficient and accurate?

If not, what would you add to it, or how would you revise it, so that it more accurately and completely reflects your understanding of the definition of evolution--particularly in the context of the upcoming debate?
Bernie D.
BernieDehler
Hillsboro, OR
Post #: 1,027
About Wikipedia, whether it is a good source or not, depends on the subject. I don't just recommend any wikipedia article. I suggested the one I did because I thought it would be a good tutorial for you since you were asking questions. I can give you another source, more scientific, if you want.
A former member
Post #: 7
Nevermind, folks, Bernie finally "came out" in another forum advocating the woo-woo Michael Dowd/Brian Swimme/mystical cherry "Epic of Evolution and Emergence", aka "The Big Story", aka "theological evolution", aka "Religious Naturalism". He's even started a new Meetup promoting it.

That was the point of my persistent questions. To get to the truth about this debate series and Bernie's agenda.

This is not a debate about evolution vs creationism.

This is a debate between scientific-sounding New Age woo-woo, on the one hand, and scientific-sounding Old Testament woo-woo, on the other hand.

Just FYI. Don't expect to learn any legitimate science at this debate.

Will I.
spblat
Portland, OR
Post #: 3
Nevermind, folks, Bernie finally "came out" in another forum advocating the woo-woo Michael Dowd/Brian Swimme/mystical cherry "Epic of Evolution and Emergence", aka "The Big Story", aka "theological evolution", aka "Religious Naturalism". He's even started a new Meetup promoting it.

That was the point of my persistent questions. To get to the truth about this debate series and Bernie's agenda.

This is not a debate about evolution vs creationism.

This is a debate between scientific-sounding New Age woo-woo, on the one hand, and scientific-sounding Old Testament woo-woo, on the other hand.

Just FYI. Don't expect to learn any legitimate science at this debate.

Time for you to answer a question David. :-)

How would you plan and structure an event whose purpose is to demystify and educate about evolution, which would be likely to attract theists and Christians as well as Humanists and atheists, and which would present the subject of evolution in a manner consistent with your (our) priorities?
Dave D.
dcdinucci
Portland, OR
Post #: 44
Nevermind, folks, Bernie finally "came out" in another forum advocating the woo-woo Michael Dowd/Brian Swimme/mystical cherry "Epic of Evolution and Emergence", aka "The Big Story", aka "theological evolution", aka "Religious Naturalism". He's even started a new Meetup promoting it.

That was the point of my persistent questions. To get to the truth about this debate series and Bernie's agenda.

This all has a shade of flashback, which may have some people scratching their heads that I have (this time around) tried to stay away from any accusations. But in the interest of full disclosure...

A little over a year ago (June 2010), Bernie sent this email to a dozen plus HGP members (addressed to me specifically). Since it was anything but private when it was originally sent, I don't feel I'm violating any confidences by revealing it here:


After I left Christianity and became an atheist, I thought it would be good to invent a new religion, one based on science and rejected the notion of God. I then found out that others had the same idea way before me, and created humanism, as can seen by the humanist manifestos. This has evolved into 'secular humanism' for our current state of affairs.

If I still wanted to invent a new godless religion, it would look exactly (100%) like secular humanism does today. So why should I re-invent the wheel?

This godless religion can take it's place next to religious people in interfaith debates, 'comparative religions' textbooks, and just generally be present everywhere religion is (such as helping people in natural disasters, etc). Dawkins, in the TED talk, seemed to say it was important to speak up and address those other religions, so my idea of interfaith participation should be directly inline to meet those requests.

...

My point is that if one can answer a religious question, then we are dealing with a religious outlook. One could also call this a philosophical question, since religion is categorized under a branch of philosophy. If secular humanism were 'areligious,' akin to something like feminism, then there would be no answer for the religious question. As it is, secular humanism has an answer to ALL of the deep questions of religion (is there a god, what is death, what is the meaning of life, etc.).

Perhaps it is needless to say that many of us took exception to his characterizations, and specifically to statements like "secular humanism has an answer to ALL of the deep questions", some countering that it had answers to NONE of them, and challenged him on this. The similarities to that era don't end there -- e.g. questions arose (not by me) regarding his use of HGP's name to help promote his talks without specific HGP Board knowledge or approval. (In that case, it led the HGP Board to institute new policy to prevent such, but for all I know, the circumstances were completely different than those here at CFI.)

As for equating Bernie's brand of "religious naturalism" to some of the others you (David) have mentioned, it looks (from my brief research) that there is at least some difference -- e.g. Bernie calls himself an atheist, whereas it appears some of those others don't. And I am not ready to claim, as you have, that Bernie's views on these issues disqualify him from trying to inform and/or convince some segment of the population of the principles and overwhelming evidence for evolution. But I would agree with you that his stances, on evolution and humanism and other things, are tinged with a religious flavor that many of us find troubling. (Who knows -- maybe they too have "evolved" since the email above.) I take no stance on whether Bernie could/would use a forum like this to advance personal views (beliefs?) that might differ with those of CFI in general.
Bernie D.
BernieDehler
Hillsboro, OR
Post #: 1,028
David Galiel said:
"Nevermind, folks, Bernie finally "came out" in another forum advocating the woo-woo Michael Dowd/Brian Swimme/mystical cherry "Epic of Evolution and Emergence", aka "The Big Story", aka "theological evolution", aka "Religious Naturalism"."

Even worse, David, is that CFI national has interviewed Michael Dowd on their point of Inquiry and gave him a friendly reception (listen online free):
http://tinyurl.com/3h...­

Are you going to complain to CFI headquarters about that?

Dave D. (not David G.) said:
"But I would agree with you that his stances, on evolution and humanism and other things, are tinged with a religious flavor that many of us find troubling."

And do we agree that every atheist spokesman has their atheist critics? Every one. Even Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens, etc.

I don't speak for all atheists, just like my Christian opponents don't speak for all theists. I do help advertise for CFI in my meetups.

And Dave D., the excerpt you gave from my previous mail, I like it and stand by it. I thought it was well-written, so I'm glad I'm the one who wrote it. ;-)
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