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  #1  
Old 12-21-2004, 04:59 PM
GomiBoy GomiBoy is offline
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What if the Big Bang and Genesis are compatible explanations?

OK, so this is my theory. I figured I would post it here so all you smart people can poke lots and lots of holes in it, and we'll all get a better theory in the end.

Hard-core Biblical scholars believe that the Earth was created 6000-some years ago in 7 days by God.

Hard-core scientists believe that the Earth was greated gradually, over the course of something like 4 billion years, starting from leftover matter formed during the Big Bang.

So here's my theory - the Big Bang was God, forming the Universe. A "Let There Be Light" kind of thing. In his / her eyes, 7 days equates to 3.9999 billion years, forming the Earth and all the creatures on it, as well as all the other junk s/he saw fit to toss around the sky. The rest of the Bible fits pretty neatly into the 150,000 year timeframe that humans have existed on Earth if you just stretch the timeframes a bit - after all, some of the dudes in the early books of the Bible lived for hundreds and hundreds of years, right? So who's to say that the two are incompatible?

Another way of looking at it, is that God is just a simpler way of looking at the whole chaotic idea of big bang, followed by millions of years of evolution.

Thoughts?
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  #2  
Old 12-21-2004, 05:15 PM
Avenger Avenger is offline
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Hard-core Biblical scholars believe that the Earth was created 6000-some years ago in 7 days by God.
Do they really? What about all the stuff that contradicts all the other stuff in the bible?
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  #3  
Old 12-21-2004, 05:28 PM
Apos Apos is offline
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This is actually an extremely common idea (and I don't mean that to be insulting: all of us have theories and realizations that we later find are incredibly common). In fact, I would guess that it is the way a large number of Christians reconcile disparities between Genesis and science: and not in any sort of really impassioned way either (by that, I mean most of the people that assume this solution are not particularly worked up about Genesis needing to be literal or science being right: they just feel that both probably should reflect some basic conception of the truth of things that is neither misinformed nor wrong and aren't really interested in looking into potential controversies much deeper than that).
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  #4  
Old 12-21-2004, 05:54 PM
David Simmons David Simmons is offline
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Originally Posted by Apos
This is actually an extremely common idea (and I don't mean that to be insulting: all of us have theories and realizations that we later find are incredibly common). In fact, I would guess that it is the way a large number of Christians reconcile disparities between Genesis and science: and not in any sort of really impassioned way either (by that, I mean most of the people that assume this solution are not particularly worked up about Genesis needing to be literal or science being right: they just feel that both probably should reflect some basic conception of the truth of things that is neither misinformed nor wrong and aren't really interested in looking into potential controversies much deeper than that).
In fact several Christians that I know were happy when the Big Bang theory became accepted. They considered it confirmation of "let there be light" in Genesis.
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  #5  
Old 12-21-2004, 06:14 PM
glee glee is online now
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Originally Posted by GomiBoy
OK, so this is my theory. I figured I would post it here so all you smart people can poke lots and lots of holes in it, and we'll all get a better theory in the end.

Hard-core Biblical scholars believe that the Earth was created 6000-some years ago in 7 days by God.

Hard-core scientists believe that the Earth was greated gradually, over the course of something like 4 billion years, starting from leftover matter formed during the Big Bang.

So here's my theory - the Big Bang was God, forming the Universe. A "Let There Be Light" kind of thing. In his / her eyes, 7 days equates to 3.9999 billion years, forming the Earth and all the creatures on it, as well as all the other junk s/he saw fit to toss around the sky. The rest of the Bible fits pretty neatly into the 150,000 year timeframe that humans have existed on Earth if you just stretch the timeframes a bit - after all, some of the dudes in the early books of the Bible lived for hundreds and hundreds of years, right? So who's to say that the two are incompatible?

Another way of looking at it, is that God is just a simpler way of looking at the whole chaotic idea of big bang, followed by millions of years of evolution.

Thoughts?
I think that you will have to stretch too far to reconcile any religion with science.
Hard core Biblical scholars know that evolution is wrong - do you need any more examples of incompatibility?

Why should 7 days equal a billion years, when other parts of the Bible need to be literally true?

What happened to the flood water?
Why are dinosaurs not in the Bible?
Why do you assume the Christian God is the only correct model?
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  #6  
Old 12-21-2004, 06:53 PM
Apos Apos is offline
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I think that you will have to stretch too far to reconcile any religion with science. Hard core Biblical scholars know that evolution is wrong - do you need any more examples of incompatibility?
To be fair, the idea that Genesis must be a factual, almost clinically historical text is not exactly a majority view among Christians. Most see it as a tale that gets many of the basic ideas and moral messages right, but is a story filtered through the limited understanding of early, non-scientific phrophets who perhaps saw these things in a vision and then wrote what they could understand of them without knowing the specifics of measurement and mechanics behind what they had been told/seen.

Interesting side note: in some ways fundamentalist literalism is more a product and a reaction to evolution and science than it is something that was supplanted or threatened by it. Prior to the major fundamentalist movements, the idea of a wholly literal and infaliable scripture was not a common or even well-known idea. In many ways, these movements emerged in response to the revolution that science brought about: the drive for factual accuracy and testability and skeptical criticism and so forth. They needed a Bible that could compete in some way with scientific texts, and for that they needed something that was held to be perfect and superior to all others. Prior to that, the Bible was simply safely taken as the superior cultural text period, and only fringe people actually questioned the authenticity of the Bible's major messages based on the stories it told, so there was little need or thought to defend it as litteral AND infaliable as if it was deeply important to the defense of the religion.
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  #7  
Old 12-21-2004, 07:25 PM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
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Hard core Biblical scholars know that evolution is wrong - do you need any more examples of incompatibility?
Unless you are using "hard core" in a special (as yet undefined) sense, this is silly. Biblical literalists make up a minority of Christians and very few of them are widely recognized as "biblical scholars." The majority of people who would be considered biblical scholars in a review of the people performing actual studies on the bible probably have a wide range of views regarding Creation--most tending to the notion of (anthropological) mythology and only a tiny fraction actually supporting YEC. (The Moody Bible Institute is simply not a good source for "biblical scholars.")
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  #8  
Old 12-21-2004, 07:27 PM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
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BTW
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I think that you will have to stretch too far to reconcile any religion with science.
Mendel was a Catholic priest and Dozhansky, who rescued Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection by applying Mendel's studies in genetics was a devout Orthodox Christian. No reconciliation necessary, at all.
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  #9  
Old 12-21-2004, 07:29 PM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
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Dobzhansky
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  #10  
Old 12-21-2004, 07:58 PM
rfgdxm rfgdxm is offline
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Originally Posted by Apos
Interesting side note: in some ways fundamentalist literalism is more a product and a reaction to evolution and science than it is something that was supplanted or threatened by it. Prior to the major fundamentalist movements, the idea of a wholly literal and infaliable scripture was not a common or even well-known idea. In many ways, these movements emerged in response to the revolution that science brought about: the drive for factual accuracy and testability and skeptical criticism and so forth. They needed a Bible that could compete in some way with scientific texts, and for that they needed something that was held to be perfect and superior to all others. Prior to that, the Bible was simply safely taken as the superior cultural text period, and only fringe people actually questioned the authenticity of the Bible's major messages based on the stories it told, so there was little need or thought to defend it as litteral AND infaliable as if it was deeply important to the defense of the religion.
This makes sense from a Christian perspective. Traditionally, NONE of the New Testament could be called wholly literal and infallible scripture. It wasn't thought that any of these books were directly dictated by God. They were just written (or, compiled later by editors) by mere humans, who at best just witnessed miraculous things. And all a Christian needs to believe is that they got the basic idea right. As in Jesus was the Son of God, who died for our sins. And anyone who sincerely repents all sins and accepts Jesus as their savior will make it to heaven. So what if an editor got a quote of Jesus wrong ages ago? I can still get to heaven so long as I accept Jesus as my personal savior.

Plus, why in Christianity are the nitty, gritty details of creation important? So long as I accept Christ as my personal savior, what is the importance of whether or not evolution was God's method of creation? "Evolution didn't happen" isn't a Christian commandment. I seem to recall even the Roman Catholic Church decided that evolution wasn't incompatible with the faith. Merely that mankind was somehow imbued with a special divine spark. (Anyone have a citation on this?) Since science can't disprove that God has specially done this with man, Catholicism can get along with science. Science can't prove that God wasn't responsible for the Big Bang. From what I have read scientists generally hold that what happened before the Big Bang is unknowable.

This might be a minor thread hijack, but I had been thinking of starting a thread aimed at Jewish posters about how literally they take the scriptural texts? I seem to have a recollection that it was part of the Jewish faith the first 5 books of the Bible *were* literally dictated by God to Moses. If so, then Jews (and Christians) should take these as being infallible. In the same sense that in Islam holds the Koran was directly given to Mohammed by God.
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  #11  
Old 12-21-2004, 08:00 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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The problem I see with this explanation is that God is an add on, completely unnecessary for any of the events to have happened. If you define "God" as some initiating force that got things going and then stayed out of the way, where does that leave all the other spiritual aspects of Christianity-- the soul, the afterlife, grace, etc.?

It appears to me to be simply an inability to let go of a belief in God, and a willingness to transform Him into whatever He needs to be to maintain some kind of compatibility with science. I guess that, in the end, I don't see the point. Keep God if you feel it is necessary to do so, but once you strip away all the spirituality I really don't see that anything is actually left.
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  #12  
Old 12-21-2004, 08:10 PM
rfgdxm rfgdxm is offline
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Originally Posted by glee
Hard core Biblical scholars know that evolution is wrong - do you need any more examples of incompatibility.
None at all? This violates rfgdxm's prime rule. That is "Any statement that characterizes human beliefs in the universal affirmative or negative is wrong." All it would take here to keep my prime rule correct is someone to post a link where a serious Biblical scholar claims evolution is not wrong, and compatible with the Bible. I'm sure someone here can provide such a link. Surely some devout Christian somewhere thinks evolution happened.
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  #13  
Old 12-21-2004, 08:16 PM
rfgdxm rfgdxm is offline
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Originally Posted by John Mace
The problem I see with this explanation is that God is an add on, completely unnecessary for any of the events to have happened. If you define "God" as some initiating force that got things going and then stayed out of the way, where does that leave all the other spiritual aspects of Christianity-- the soul, the afterlife, grace, etc.?
What if God didn't just get out of the way? Maybe he created the universe with evolution, and then when creatures became intelligent enough sent his son to whack us with a cluestick? This seems logically possible to me.
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  #14  
Old 12-21-2004, 08:23 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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What cluestick was that?
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  #15  
Old 12-21-2004, 08:29 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Originally Posted by rfgdxm
What if God didn't just get out of the way? Maybe he created the universe with evolution, and then when creatures became intelligent enough sent his son to whack us with a cluestick? This seems logically possible to me.
Possible, but again completely unnecessary to explain anything we actually know.
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  #16  
Old 12-21-2004, 08:36 PM
rfgdxm rfgdxm is offline
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Originally Posted by John Mace
Possible, but again completely unnecessary to explain anything we actually know.
Surely. But believers don't limit themselves to just science.
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  #17  
Old 12-21-2004, 08:38 PM
rfgdxm rfgdxm is offline
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Originally Posted by Marley23
What cluestick was that?
Read the New Testament.
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  #18  
Old 12-21-2004, 08:43 PM
UDS UDS is offline
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Originally Posted by rfgdxm
I seem to recall even the Roman Catholic Church decided that evolution wasn't incompatible with the faith. Merely that mankind was somehow imbued with a special divine spark. (Anyone have a citation on this?)
You want Humani Generis, and encyclical of Pius XII issued in about 1950. No link, sorry, but I dare say that a Google search will get you to the text of the encyclical, and plenty of commentary on it, without too much difficulty.

I don't think that "even the Roman Catholic Church" is entirely fair. I think the Catholics learned their lesson on this fairly early on. The church made a complete fool of itself over Galileo, and everyone - including later generations of churchmen - knew this. So when the science versus religion debate raises its head in a big way in the 19th Century, the Catholic church has a very low profile in the ensuing debate. It is mostly conducted by fairly fundamentalist protestants (as it still is). Catholics had already learned that treating the bible as a science textbook - or, by extension, a literal newspaper of human history - leads you into very embarrassing positions.
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  #19  
Old 12-21-2004, 08:57 PM
Marley23 Marley23 is offline
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Originally Posted by rfgdxm
Read the New Testament.
I'm busy, and you can answer that question without directing me to read hundreds of pages. What was the cluestick? What's in there that absolutely nobody had thought of before?
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  #20  
Old 12-21-2004, 09:01 PM
rfgdxm rfgdxm is offline
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Originally Posted by UDS
You want Humani Generis, and encyclical of Pius XII issued in about 1950. No link, sorry, but I dare say that a Google search will get you to the text of the encyclical, and plenty of commentary on it, without too much difficulty.

I don't think that "even the Roman Catholic Church" is entirely fair. I think the Catholics learned their lesson on this fairly early on. The church made a complete fool of itself over Galileo, and everyone - including later generations of churchmen - knew this. So when the science versus religion debate raises its head in a big way in the 19th Century, the Catholic church has a very low profile in the ensuing debate. It is mostly conducted by fairly fundamentalist protestants (as it still is). Catholics had already learned that treating the bible as a science textbook - or, by extension, a literal newspaper of human history - leads you into very embarrassing positions.
Thanks for the cite.

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pi...eneris_en.html
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  #21  
Old 12-21-2004, 09:08 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Originally Posted by rfgdxm
Read the New Testament.
Which is fine. I just don't understand this constant effort to show that belief in God is "compatible" with science. It isn't. For most believers, there is no scientific discovery that would make them stop believing in God. What is the point, then, of claiming some kind of "compatibility" with science? There is no scientific phenomenon that REQUIRES there to be a God, or even indicates that there might be a God. A diety is, as I said above, an add-on.

I'm not claiming you have ever done this. Maybe you haven't. I'm just using your post as jumping off point to state what I see a lot of religious folks do.
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  #22  
Old 12-21-2004, 09:42 PM
rfgdxm rfgdxm is offline
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Originally Posted by John Mace
\I'm not claiming you have ever done this. Maybe you haven't. I'm just using your post as jumping off point to state what I see a lot of religious folks do.
I'm either an agnostic or a soft atheist. I've even prayed in a mosque. Barefoot. The religous leaders just had no objection. As I was led there by a Muslim woman, I could pray to her god at my discretion. I just can't understand the anti-Muslim bias of many Americans. At least around here.
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Old 12-21-2004, 09:46 PM
rfgdxm rfgdxm is offline
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Originally Posted by rfgdxm
I'm either an agnostic or a soft atheist. I've even prayed in a mosque. Barefoot. The religous leaders just had no objection. As I was led there by a Muslim woman, I could pray to her god at my discretion. I just can't understand the anti-Muslim bias of many Americans. At least around here.
My apalogies in advance for this post here. Wrong thread, and please just delete it, as I can't.
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  #24  
Old 12-21-2004, 10:52 PM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
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I just don't understand this constant effort to show that belief in God is "compatible" with science. It isn't. For most believers, there is no scientific discovery that would make them stop believing in God. What is the point, then, of claiming some kind of "compatibility" with science? There is no scientific phenomenon that REQUIRES there to be a God, or even indicates that there might be a God. A diety is, as I said above, an add-on.
I'm curious as to how you are using the word "compatible." Usually when people claim that relgion and science are not compatible, they are claiming that religion or science interferes with an understanding of the other. From that I would say that religion and science [i]are[i] "compatible" when they do not interfere with each other. I have never found a scientific fact that challenged my basic belief on God (or even the manner in which I worship God). There have been a few aspects of my belief that have been given particular understanding because of scientific information, but I have never found science to be incompatible with religion.
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  #25  
Old 12-21-2004, 10:56 PM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
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(vB coding occasionally challenges my belief in a just God.)
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  #26  
Old 12-21-2004, 11:45 PM
JohnClay JohnClay is offline
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Originally Posted by GomiBoy
....The rest of the Bible fits pretty neatly into the 150,000 year timeframe that humans have existed on Earth if you just stretch the timeframes a bit - after all, some of the dudes in the early books of the Bible lived for hundreds and hundreds of years, right?....
(a lot of stuff I'm going to say is also in the If the long lifespans in the Bible aren't literal, what do they mean? thread)

In Luke 3, there is a complete genealogy from Jesus to Noah and finally to Adam, with no gaps. I mean it even matches up almost perfectly with the genealogies in Genesis:
http://www.bibletime.com/bt/theory/history/adam/
A reason for the difference between Luke and Genesis's genealogies is given here:
http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs/3748.asp

For the people who have long lifespans in Genesis, it says when they had their son who is next on the list... they usually have their sons when they're about 100, even though they lived to about 900. Using this information people can work out that Adam lived about 6000 years ago.
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  #27  
Old 12-22-2004, 12:03 AM
Apos Apos is offline
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Originally Posted by tomndebb
I'm curious as to how you are using the word "compatible." Usually when people claim that relgion and science are not compatible, they are claiming that religion or science interferes with an understanding of the other. From that I would say that religion and science [i]are[i] "compatible" when they do not interfere with each other. I have never found a scientific fact that challenged my basic belief on God (or even the manner in which I worship God). There have been a few aspects of my belief that have been given particular understanding because of scientific information, but I have never found science to be incompatible with religion.
In this case the compatibility isn't methodological or philosophical: it's simply factual. Bible says A, science says not A. That's the incompatibility. And of course, there is sloppy use of language here, because it isn't religion per se that's the incompatible side, but rather a very particular interpretation of one of many religions.
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  #28  
Old 12-22-2004, 12:27 AM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Originally Posted by rfgdxm
My apalogies in advance for this post here. Wrong thread, and please just delete it, as I can't.
No apology necessary. That post gave me a good laugh as I was trying to figure out how it was a response to mine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomndebb
I'm curious as to how you are using the word "compatible."...
Maybe "compatible" isn't the right word. But let's look at evolution. Time and again we here on this board that Christian beliefs are not underminded (ie, "not incompatible with") by Dariwn's theory of evolution by natural selection. I just don't understand what that means, since science is not in the business of either proving or disproving the existence of God and religion is not in the business of descerning laws of nature. As Lib likes to say, they use different epistimologies.

So it seems to me that the concept of God is neither compatible nor incompatible with science-- it is completely outside the realm of science. What bothers me is when people try to insert God as an add-on to scientific theories. For example, claiming that God could have set everything in motion or that God could have ordained evolution by natural selection. Sure, God could have done those things, but there is absolutely no evidence that God did. So why tack it on to a scientific theory at all? The only reason I can think of is that people think science is a threat to religion and they have some need to shield themselves against that threat.

If you want to believe in God, that's fine-- believe in Him. But if you (the generic you) have the need to reconcile your religious beliefs with science, then you're in trouble. It can't be done except by a lot of meaningless hand waving.
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  #29  
Old 12-22-2004, 12:51 AM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
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Time and again we here on this board that Christian beliefs are not underminded (ie, "not incompatible with") by Dariwn's theory of evolution by natural selection. I just don't understand what that means, since science is not in the business of either proving or disproving the existence of God and religion is not in the business of descerning laws of nature.
I'm sorry, but that seems obvious to me. If the two ways of seeing the world do not contradict each other (since they are using different language to address different issues), then religion is not undermined by science. Only people who attempt to treat the two "languages" as the same are threatened by the different statements by science and religion (hence Creationists). It is not a matter of "tacking God on" to scientific statements so much as noting that where the two ways of looking at the world tend to converge (i.e., there is a physical reality that we belive God created), then the physical nature of that reality is best explained by science.

I do not go into a GQ discussion of some technical point of evolutionary theory and then tack on "because that is how God wanted it." References to God only show up in biological or cosmological discussions when a biblical literalist (whether a religious person or an atheist) attempts to pit the two ways of seeing the world against each other.
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  #30  
Old 12-22-2004, 01:04 AM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Originally Posted by tomndebb
I do not go into a GQ discussion of some technical point of evolutionary theory and then tack on "because that is how God wanted it." References to God only show up in biological or cosmological discussions when a biblical literalist (whether a religious person or an atheist) attempts to pit the two ways of seeing the world against each other.
True, you don't. And maybe evolution wasn't a good example. But most (all?) Christians DO accept some interaction of God into the physical realm-- miracles, the birth of Christ, or His resurrection from the dead to name a few examples. Once you do, then you open your beliefs to the scrutiny of science, and science has never provided any collaborative evidence concerning the interaction of God with the physical world.

The conundrum for beilevers, as I see it, is this: If you propose that God has some interraction with the physical world, then you open up your beliefs to being debunked by science (which has never validated any such interaction). If you propose there is no interraction with the physical world, then in what way does the concept of God have any meaning to us, who are, after all, creaturs of the physical world?
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  #31  
Old 12-22-2004, 04:06 AM
GomiBoy GomiBoy is offline
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I'm rushing off to a customer meeting and don't have time to write a proper response, but I just wanted to say two things:

1. I am not religious. I am not trying to find a way to shoe-horn God into science, as I agree that probably won't work.

2. I don't know enough about biblical studies to understand why the timeframes in the first 5 books equate to 6,000 years

3. I don't know where the waters went, or why there are no dinosaurs, in the bible, but I have a theory that I will post here later today.

But most of all, thank you all for your input.
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  #32  
Old 12-22-2004, 06:40 AM
JohnClay JohnClay is offline
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Originally Posted by GomiBoy
....2. I don't know enough about biblical studies to understand why the timeframes in the first 5 books equate to 6,000 years....
It's a combination of adding up some "age at fatherhood"s:
http://www.bibletime.com/bt/theory/history/adam/
and archeology:
http://www.answersingenesis.org/crea...oahs_flood.asp

Quote:
3. I don't know where the waters went,
See the last half of this:
http://www.answersingenesis.org/Home...ok/flood12.asp

Quote:
or why there are no dinosaurs, in the bible,
http://www.answersingenesis.org/home.../dinosaurs.asp

So anyway, the creationists already have answers to that stuff plus even more complex evolution/geology type issues on their website, or in their books and magazines.
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  #33  
Old 12-22-2004, 06:46 AM
JohnClay JohnClay is offline
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A possible dinosaur in the Bible (according to creationists) is the Behemoth:
http://www.answersingenesis.org/tj/v15/i2/behemoth.asp
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  #34  
Old 12-22-2004, 07:22 AM
Rashak Mani Rashak Mani is offline
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I think the Big Bang and Genesis are quite compatible... the difference is that I would call it a theory and some religious people would call it the "truth". Maybe the Big Bang was when Zeus killed his father or banged Hera into a massive orgasm thus creating our world... or some other Diety sneezed.

In the end the problem is the Bible. Beleiving in God is fine... beleiving in some Genesis is fine... we can't prove or argue logically about that. But beleiving that the Bible is a sacred text straight from God or inspired by him is a mighty weak link in anyone's faith. Maybe in fact it is... but there is quite a good chance that its a big pamphlet and mythology compilation. (full of other cultures myths as it is.) That is one reason I don't take "Bible" embracing zealots of any religion seriously... and I do respect people who have a "personal" faith or religion.

If I presented to you toilet paper with golden shit and said it was God that wiped his ass with it... would you worship it ? Not unless God handed it directly to you I hope.
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  #35  
Old 12-22-2004, 08:01 AM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
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Once you do, then you open your beliefs to the scrutiny of science, and science has never provided any collaborative evidence concerning the interaction of God with the physical world.
Nor has science provided definitive evidence to contradict every miraculous event. I'm pretty sure that the sun did not stop to let Joshua wage a longer battle and I am fully persuaded that The Flood never occurred as described. Neither interferes with my faith. On the other hand, there are medical remissions that (so far) remain unexplained which may or may not have anything to do with God, but as long as they remain a mystery to science they provide no way to refute religious beliefs. Beyond that, even events such as the Resurrection of Jesus can be understood in ways that do not preclude science. (Such interpretations are clearly not mainstream in Christian thought at this time, but a recognition that The Flood was not an historical event is less than two hundred years old.)
As long as the believer does not attempt to impose religious doctrine in place of scientific knowledge, I do not see a conflict between the two. Perhaps God involves Himself (or herself) on the physical plane only on those occasions where science will never have a definitive voice or perhaps the Divine simply works on people's hearts in ways that they project physical interactions based on a limited understanding of God. Either way, I do not see a conflict (except between the theistic and atheistic literalists).

Certainly, there is little room for discussion between a person who accepts only the rational physical world and a person involved in religious discourse. We begin our acceptance of what we will understand of the world based in our experience. Even attempts to argue from First Principles are simply accepted or rejected based on one's world view before attempting to discern those First Principles (otherwise the philosophers would have wrapped up the definition of reality by now).
If your world view sees the chaos, destruction, and pain that pervades the world, you may perceive no god behind the creation or ordering of the world (or, I suppose, you might perceive Cthulhu).
If your world view sees the order, creation, and altruism that pervades the world, you may perceive a god behind the creation or ordering of the world, (or you may think that we are simply making the best of a bad hand).
Either way, that internal perception will affect every argument one hears regarding Truth and we can only look at the other side and say "Why don't they see the obvious reality?"
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  #36  
Old 12-22-2004, 08:31 AM
JohnClay JohnClay is offline
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Originally Posted by tomndebb
....If your world view sees the chaos, destruction, and pain that pervades the world, you may perceive no god behind the creation or ordering of the world (or, I suppose, you might perceive Cthulhu).
If your world view sees the order, creation, and altruism that pervades the world, you may perceive a god behind the creation or ordering of the world, (or you may think that we are simply making the best of a bad hand).
Creationists can see a mixture... the original beauty of creation, which has become cursed (thorns, carnivores, disease, etc) containing inherently sinful people who are often wicked, but who are capable of loving others.
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  #37  
Old 12-22-2004, 09:35 AM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
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True.
I was simply throwing out contrasting views to show how different world views might form, not attempting to exhaustively define the possible world views.
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  #38  
Old 12-22-2004, 12:06 PM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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Originally Posted by tomndebb
Nor has science provided definitive evidence to contradict every miraculous event. I'm pretty sure that the sun did not stop to let Joshua wage a longer battle and I am fully persuaded that The Flood never occurred as described. Neither interferes with my faith. On the other hand, there are medical remissions that (so far) remain unexplained which may or may not have anything to do with God, but as long as they remain a mystery to science they provide no way to refute religious beliefs.
But science CANNOT prove that "God didn't do it", so I don't know see where things like medical remissions make any differeonce one way or the other. My point is that if you are going to claim some physical phenomenon as being devine in origin, then you need to subject that phenomenon to scrutiny with the tool we use to understand the physical world-- science. If not, then you have to claim that science cannot be used to understand certain aspects of the physical world, which then begs the question: why can it be used to to verify ANY aspects of the physical world, and how are we supposed to draw the line?
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  #39  
Old 12-22-2004, 01:02 PM
tomndebb tomndebb is offline
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My point is that if you are going to claim some physical phenomenon as being devine in origin, then you need to subject that phenomenon to scrutiny with the tool we use to understand the physical world-- science.
Well, we seem to be safe, then, as I (and most people I know) am (are) unlikely to go around claiming Divine intervention in the physical world and the one clearly Divine intervention in which I believe is not available for scientific testing.

Since I rarely encounter people claiming constant Divine intervention, (aside from people who escape terrible accidents thanking God for having--in their minds--led them to safety), I guess I am not sure of the point of this discussion.

On the other hand, if you are simply addressing the specific beliefs of some other religious groups, then I should probably just back out of this thread since we may be posting past each other.
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  #40  
Old 12-22-2004, 01:21 PM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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The Big Bang proper, as opposed to issues of inflationary cosmology, anisotropy, etc., is absolutely compatible with Genesis 1:1-4 or so, the only part of the Bible which directly addresses it. At the instant of the Big Bang, the universe was extremely small, extremely dense, and of an extremely high temperature -- on the order of six billion degrees (at this point and with that generality, the temperature scale used makes no effective difference). The only particle which can exist at six billion degrees is the photon (along with the neutrino and hypothetically the graviton, issues not relevant).

Yom, the noun describing what God worked during six of in Genesis 1, is translated "day," but like English "day," has the three meanings of "period from sunrise to sundown," "period between a given time of day (midnight, sunset, noon, etc.) and the recurrence of said time of day," and "indefinite period of time during which someone or something flourished," as in "In Abraham's day...."

But as suggested elsewhere, understanding Genesis 1 as story makes sense both in terms of writing style and in terms of divine intent. If God had wanted to provide scientific treatises, He would have called Democritus, not Abraham, and Aristotle, not Moses. What He's intent on conveying is that (1) He did it all, not some demiurge or deus otiosus, (2) He did it by His Word calling things into existence (cf. John 1:1-18), (3) He did it in an orderly sequence, not all at once, (4) He made human beings an integral part of His creation, (5) He called everything He created good, and (6) He made a time of rest, refreshment, and union with Him an integral part of His creation. Thrown into the mix are snide comments constrasting the Israelite creation story with the Babylonian and Ugaritic creation stories: their creators work with chaos; He creates the chaos and then shapes it; Marduk wrestles with Tiamat, the monster of the deep; He creates the monsters of the deep; Ea creates and then chills out, leaving the running of the world to his offspring; He not only creates but takes an active interest in His creation and His creatures.

And the whole thing is told in a memorable repetitive style: "On the nth day God said, 'Let there be X.' And X came into existence, with appropriate details for X. And God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the nth day." I've read that "evening" and "morning" need not be literal, any more than "day" is, to conform to the Hebrew terminology: they're words for "downfalling" and "uprising," not the specific English terms that mean only particular times of day. But without better knowledge of Hebrew than I have, I cannot confirm that as accurate.

However, that formula is reminiscent of children's stories. Take Goldilocks and the Three Bears, for example. Any three-year-old will tell you with glee that Poppa Bear's whatever is bad one way, Momma Bear's same thing is bad the opposite way, and the same object for Baby Bear is just right. That repetitiveness makes for a memorable story that carries a point.

Likewise, the master prose craftsman who put together the Genesis story made sure that people of whatever age or literacy level would be able to grasp the points he was making by the same formulaic repetitiveness, bringing home the message that God made everything, made it intrinsically good, that the same God who created it all is the one who is involved with the individual person....

For the Bible-literalist, the idea that there are other meanings to "truth" than literal narrative account is difficult. Often he is best able to grasp it by looking at Jesus's parables -- which contain subtle and important truths clad in fictional anecdote.

But, for me at least, the idea that God in some way inspired Scripture is important -- it's not the manufactured ravings of a bunch of desert nomads, but their best understanding of who He is and what He is like -- evolving over time. Just as a small child is unable to grasp parental guidance as opposed to discipline, and therefore needs to be told what not to do, while an older child or teen may be guided to make wise decisions for him/herself, so the concept of God evolved from absolute potentate to loving Father. (Note carefully that that says nothing about the nature of God, but about human concepts regarding Him.)
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  #41  
Old 12-22-2004, 01:54 PM
Voyager Voyager is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polycarp
The Big Bang proper, as opposed to issues of inflationary cosmology, anisotropy, etc., is absolutely compatible with Genesis 1:1-4 or so, the only part of the Bible which directly addresses it. At the instant of the Big Bang, the universe was extremely small, extremely dense, and of an extremely high temperature -- on the order of six billion degrees (at this point and with that generality, the temperature scale used makes no effective difference). The only particle which can exist at six billion degrees is the photon (along with the neutrino and hypothetically the graviton, issues not relevant).
Sorry, Poly, but it says "God created the heavens and the earth," not created the heavens and created the Earth 7 billion years or so later. Saying that Genesis accurately describes the Big Bang is really pushing it.
Quote:
Yom, the noun describing what God worked during six of in Genesis 1, is translated "day," but like English "day," has the three meanings of "period from sunrise to sundown," "period between a given time of day (midnight, sunset, noon, etc.) and the recurrence of said time of day," and "indefinite period of time during which someone or something flourished," as in "In Abraham's day...."
Well, when I read it in Hebrew School, in Hebrew, it did not stress my rather pitiful vocabulary. My Hebrew teachers also never tried to justify the words as literal truth. We also don't speak of the evening and the morning of Abraham's day. This, added to the crucial observation that God's resting on the Sabbath meant that we should rest on the Sabbath, shows that the authors almost certainly were referring to literal days. Yeah, we can explain away things, but we can similarly explain away all evidence that Sherlock Holmes didn't really exist. Fun, but just that.

As for the OP, dividing several billion year by 7 gets you some very funky dates for the origins of various plant and animal species - not to mention the order is all wrong.

You can jump through all sorts of hoops, but the simplest explanation for Genesis is that those who wrote it were going on the legends of the time, and had no divine inspiration. This says nothing about whether any sort of a god exists or not.
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  #42  
Old 12-22-2004, 02:04 PM
Voyager Voyager is offline
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Originally Posted by John Mace
Maybe "compatible" isn't the right word. But let's look at evolution. Time and again we here on this board that Christian beliefs are not underminded (ie, "not incompatible with") by Dariwn's theory of evolution by natural selection. I just don't understand what that means, since science is not in the business of either proving or disproving the existence of God and religion is not in the business of descerning laws of nature. As Lib likes to say, they use different epistimologies.
I read an interesting book on the growth of unbelief in the US in the 19th century. The reason that Darwin made such a stir, according to the book, was that religious leaders had jumped on the science bandwagon at the beginning of the century. Science had become very popular, and they truly believed that science would confirm the truth of the Bible. (Not really an unreasonable belief.) So, when Darwin showed that something so crucual as the origin of man was not a result of special creation, this whole movement got undercut, and the religious leaders who were more literalist (and thus never really trusted science) gained in popularity. Thus the split we see today, between those who say that the Bible, with the proper interpretation, confirms or even predicts whatever science finds, and those who flat out say that science is wrong.

The closest thing to this I can think of today would be to find the body of Jesus. I'm sure that there would be a split between those who'd deny it was really the body, and those who'd reinterpret the NT to mean that the resurrection was spiritual and not physical. I'm sure Christianity would survive such a discovery.
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  #43  
Old 12-22-2004, 03:05 PM
RaftPeople RaftPeople is offline
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If, for arguments sake, we agree that the two are compatible, isn't the next step to incorporate the following:

http://www.earthbow.com/native/maidu/creation.htm
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  #44  
Old 12-22-2004, 03:07 PM
RaftPeople RaftPeople is offline
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...and I think we can start by interpreting "water" to mean "energy" or "matter"...
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  #45  
Old 12-22-2004, 03:50 PM
GomiBoy GomiBoy is offline
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So, Voyager, what if the 'dates' and times in Genesis are totally arbitrary?

I agree, 7 / 4 billion comes up with some funky dates that don't gibe with either Biblical studies or carbon dating of stuff. But why does our definition of 'day' have to coincide with God's (or Yahweh's or Allah's or Cthulu's)?

And just cause the Bible doesn't specifically speak of Dinosaurs doesn't to my mind mean it is untrue either way; lots of other species of animals, even those alive today, aren't mentioned in the Bible.
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  #46  
Old 12-22-2004, 03:51 PM
rfgdxm rfgdxm is offline
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Originally Posted by Voyager
I read an interesting book on the growth of unbelief in the US in the 19th century. The reason that Darwin made such a stir, according to the book, was that religious leaders had jumped on the science bandwagon at the beginning of the century. Science had become very popular, and they truly believed that science would confirm the truth of the Bible. (Not really an unreasonable belief.) So, when Darwin showed that something so crucual as the origin of man was not a result of special creation, this whole movement got undercut, and the religious leaders who were more literalist (and thus never really trusted science) gained in popularity. Thus the split we see today, between those who say that the Bible, with the proper interpretation, confirms or even predicts whatever science finds, and those who flat out say that science is wrong.
I'm not so sure this is true.

http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/gen/1.html

Note how this points out that there are 2 different, and conflicting creation accounts in the first 2 chapters of Genesis. In particular, humans in Gen 1 are created after the lower animals, but in Gen. 2 humans are created before the lower animals. Science could not possibly prove the Genesis account of creation, because Genesis is internally contradictory. I am doubtful many religious leaders were looking for science to prove the Genesis creation myth. (Although, I can imagine they'd have hoped science could prove a great flood that destroyed almost all of humanity long ago. And if Noah's Ark existed, scientists might possibly have been able to find it somewhere.)
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  #47  
Old 12-22-2004, 04:05 PM
glee glee is online now
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Originally Posted by tomndebb
Unless you are using "hard core" in a special (as yet undefined) sense, this is silly. Biblical literalists make up a minority of Christians and very few of them are widely recognized as "biblical scholars." The majority of people who would be considered biblical scholars in a review of the people performing actual studies on the bible probably have a wide range of views regarding Creation--most tending to the notion of (anthropological) mythology and only a tiny fraction actually supporting YEC. (The Moody Bible Institute is simply not a good source for "biblical scholars.")
I'm using the OP's definition:

GomiBoy said "Hard-core Biblical scholars believe that the Earth was created 6000-some years ago in 7 days by God."

You can call him silly if you like!
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  #48  
Old 12-22-2004, 04:10 PM
glee glee is online now
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Originally Posted by tomndebb
BTW Mendel was a Catholic priest and Dozhansky, who rescued Darwin's Theory of Natural Selection by applying Mendel's studies in genetics was a devout Orthodox Christian. No reconciliation necessary, at all.
Indded. And these guys would not have taken the Bible literally. If you're going to say that every time your religion and science come into conflict, then science is correct, there will be no need for reconciliation.

As you have posted:

'I'm pretty sure that the sun did not stop to let Joshua wage a longer battle and I am fully persuaded that The Flood never occurred as described."

"As long as the believer does not attempt to impose religious doctrine in place of scientific knowledge, I do not see a conflict between the two."

It depends what limits you place on religion. Can it teach us anything scientific?
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  #49  
Old 12-22-2004, 04:17 PM
glee glee is online now
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Originally Posted by rfgdxm
None at all? This violates rfgdxm's prime rule. That is "Any statement that characterizes human beliefs in the universal affirmative or negative is wrong." All it would take here to keep my prime rule correct is someone to post a link where a serious Biblical scholar claims evolution is not wrong, and compatible with the Bible. I'm sure someone here can provide such a link. Surely some devout Christian somewhere thinks evolution happened.
Just a misunderstanding!
You are confusing the thread definition of 'hard core' with 'serious' or 'devout'.
As I said, I'm using the OP definition that "Hard-core Biblical scholars believe that the Earth was created 6000-some years ago in 7 days by God." You will not find any exception to this.

Incidentally your prime rule is an example of a human belief, isn't it? And it's universal.
Therefore it's wrong.
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  #50  
Old 12-22-2004, 04:19 PM
glee glee is online now
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Originally Posted by Rashak Mani
If I presented to you toilet paper with golden shit and said it was God that wiped his ass with it... would you worship it ? Not unless God handed it directly to you I hope.
I wouldn't worship it in any case.
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