Creation v. Evolution

I don’t know why I feel as though I should share this, but it’s been a discovery that I probably should have realized while going into it.
I want to state this: I like science and I first became interested in evolution while reading Shermer’s book Why People Believe Strange Things, several years ago (The SD of course made me interested in learning). I found it fascinating that people would not accept evolution (among other topics).
In any event times goes by and I see an occasional thread or two on the SDMB that deals with the Cv.E debate, and I occasionally participate and gain more interest in the subject. A few months ago I got really involved into the debate, I found a few other boards (namely creationtalk and darwintalk, the latter of which I moderate).
Anyway, for the past two weeks or so I’ve found that the whole debate is exhausting (mentally), and just when you think you are making some headway, you find out you really aren’t.
Most recently I signed up for CreationWeb, and after a few discussions I flat out realized that some people don’t want to learn (BTW-it wasn’t because of this board in particular), they don’t want to let the truth in. I have between 8-12 MB devoted to Ev.C alone bookmarked.
I know that I sound as though I have it all figured out; I want to emphatically state that I don’t, the difference I’ve been seeing is I admit when I have something wrong, and I apologize if I’ve been overly aggressive or if I verbally lash out unprovoked.
In any event, I felt I had to get some of this off my chest. To see if other’s have had similar experiences (or who would like to share a story). Is it just my deluded fantasy, or do people actually change their views from messageboard banter? I like to think people do change their views, I know I have on several issues.

I think people can change their minds, but not in the course of a single thread. I know in my experience, I’ve pretty radically shifted my views about abortion, the death penatly, and drugs, just to give a few examples. But it wasn’t because of a single message board thread, it took a lot of independent thought as well.

If they are anything like me, (which I think there are very few people in the world that are like me), I wont comment in a debate unless I am 100% sure in what I am saying and believe every word of it. So chances are, if you are reading some stance about something I am commenting on, nothing anybody says will change my mind because I’ve already had a deep history with the subject and made up my mind in other areas. My debating isnt on the fly like some people do. So if anyone ever sees me talk about something in a debate, be aware, it’ll take a LOT to convince me otherwise cause chances are, I’ve had many more before it.

This sums it up nicely.

They are *afraid * of thinking of something *different * . It is almost like watching a stick being inserted up their backsides as you try to discuss in a reasonable manner something you beleive in in rational context. Even if it is just for the spirit of debate. *It is impossible. *

I find it best to move along and not bother with the hassle.

It is frightening to me.

There are people who change their minds. There are several who have changed simply from participating on the SDMB (although I will let them choose whether or not to identify themselves, here).

And there is always the undecided lurker who never joins in, but who is finally persuaded in their own life, even if you never hear about it. (We’ve had a few of them express that point, on occasion, as well.)

As my hero, Beowulf, pointed out: you have to assume you’re going to get clobbered, but trust in God and go forth to the battle, anyway.

What Tom~ said (and, to a lesser extent, what Elwood said as well.

One of the things I’ve found about Creationists with a capital C is that they seem to cling to the Bible as revealed Truth in literal form – they have a very strong need for certitude, and the conclusions of empirical science neither do nor claim to provide them with that degree of certitude. Armed with this conviction, they can then logically argue that whatever contradicts it in the literal way they read it must be wrong.

Insofar as I’ve ever been able to do anything with this problem, it’s been in convincing them to put their faith in God Himself and not in their human and hence fallible reading of His book. And those that I’ve been able to do that with are few and far between. But I offer it as one insight into the problem.

Thanks all. I agree with the comments that have been expressed here.

I think you are right on the mark here. My concern is that by clinging so hard they set themselves open to a deterimental blow to their faith. Granted I suppose it would take a tremendous amount of evidence to change their viewpoint. The thing is, if their viewpoint is changed, I don’t think it would be to a non-literal bible. My gut tells me that the change would be to atheism, a total rejection of the bible.

I like to think that by expressing that I am a Christian and I accept evolution, that other’s might not think it’s an impossibility.

This is another good point that I overlooked. I think it’s easy to forget that people do lurk on boards. Shoot, I lurked here a while before I started participating, so it’s a bit surprising that I would put the thought out of my head so quickly.

Ultimately I think two things are important when dealing with change: The proper attitude going in, and good source material in which to become informed.

I’ve noticed that the extremists on both sides refuse that the other side could have a valid point. I guess this is pretty obvoius, but it seems to be a point that doesn’t get made too often… maybe it’s because it’s so obvious.

The Creationists hold the Bible as TRUTH, and refuse to acknowledge the proof that other people offer. Similarly, the Darwinist extremists tend to consider the Bible as BULLSHIT. Personally, I take elements of both. You know, God kick-started the show and then the actors just improved it. I wonder if that’s blasphemous…

What I don’t get is how intelligent, educated, skeptical, cynical folks can state their beliefs with such certainty as though they were natural laws or undeniable facts. Where is the doubt? How can anyone be that sure of something that’s only a belief or a theory?

I am a Christian and after examining the evidence available to me, I believe in a universe created by God, but the Lord knows some days I have some doubts.

How can anyone be so sure of something that is no better than that person’s choice of the best available explanation among the plausible possibilities. All theories have disconfirming evidence. No theoretical set of equations explain 100% of the evidence–if it did there would be no debate.

I think there are some people out there who consider doubt dangerous. Also, keep in mind that chances are anyone who hangs around likes asking and answering questions, or at least doesn’t mind it. People around here strike me a very curious, who can’t resist a good puzzle. I know for myself, I stand even less chance of resisting a half done jigsaw puzzle than a bowl of potato chips, and I’d be willing to bet that if I had both in a room full of Dopers, the puzzle would be finished before we ran out of chips.

Life is complicated, and thinking isn’t easy for everyone. For such people, Creation provides a neat, tidy answer which they don’t have to think about, defend, or, in general do much of anything about. God knows; that’s enough. Also, despite the hours I’ve spent arguing in favor of evolution, I have to admit for most people, it doesn’t matter. Tell me, is it important if the guy assembling believes life evolved, was created by God in six days, or dripped from the tip of the horn of the Invisible Pink Unicorn? Of course, if they try to say that teachers must teach that life dripped from the tip of the horn of the IPU, then it does matter, but that’s a whole 'nother thread.


Well, what you say is true, but if you surveyed 1,000 people here in the states, the vast majority who may say they prefer the theory of evolution, I’m guessing an overwhelming percentage have no meaningful training in the theory of evolution at all. Perhaps a week or so in a high school biology class? How much personal thinking is required to believe evolution? It’s scientific, isn’t it? Many experts believe it is so. They teach it in the schools instead of other theories, so it must be true. I do not for a minute believe that believing the theory of evolution to be true requires much thinking. It seems plausible and so many others say they believe it. I’m afraid that’s enough for a lot of people.

OTOH, some really fine minds do believe in creation. Let’s not suggest that evolution has the market cornered on the critical thinkers among us. But I’m sure they have their doubts some days.

My wild guess is many thinkers are turned off by traditional religion, are more attracted to evolution and make up their minds before critically minded christians can explain creation to them in an intelligent manner.

Watching TechTV this weekend and an interesting tidbit came up. Evidently the Pope (yeah, the guy with the funny hat) says it’sokay to believe in Evolution. The only modification he makes is that the Human Soul is not the result of Evolution but comes from a certain {Dr. Evil}I don’t know what{/Dr. Evil}

I am no so much concerned with how we got here as I am with where we are going as the human race. What I personally feel God has in mind for us to do, is to continually improve ourselves. I grew up in the Episcopal faith and was taught to listen, learn and discern for myself God’s truth and teachings in my life. God gave me intellect and a mind to be open to what I can learn from scripture, prayer, meditation and other people. I was taught that scripture, tradition and wisdom all have equal parts in our individual understanding of God and the nature of our creation and being. I believe that the world was created, not necessarily the way Creationists believe it was created, but perhaps it did evolve over a period of time. Perhaps it is still evolving and we as humans are still evolving. Perhaps humanity is one step along the path to that being who will be as one with God.

Pehaps I should go to bed now. :slight_smile:

I find your courage in making your statement of faith in God before a potentially hostile crowd commendable. May His favor shine upon you.

I commend it as well swampbear, my faith is along similar lines-I think God used evolution. As a side note, I think that no matter how close science gets, there will always be countless layers of knowledge in the big onion of life.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again: I don’t have a problem with people believing whatever they like, my problem comes when they try to force their beliefs on others (such as in schools) and when they try to discredit scientists, based on religious reasons. I have read some message boards where Darwin is practically painted as Satan himself. I’m not an expert in religion, but I’m pretty sure that in most religions this sort of vilification is looked down upon.

True, I can see how doubt eats away at people. There have been times when I have doubted. It would be a lot easier if everything was just simple and beyond any doubt. I think though, that faith is of paramount importance to God. It’s always been a weird gut instinct that I’ve had. If God were 100% proven I think I would be going through the motions and life wouldn’t hold the mystery that it currently does.

Agreed. I believe that God reveals himself to us on his own timetable and gives us the choice of whether or not to believe, hence the importance of the rather ungrammatical “meeting people where they are at.”

You might like this site.

Lots of free info with more science than you may be used to for a creationist site. They sure would like to sell you their materials, though.

You might like this site.

Lots of free info with more science than you may be used to for a creationist site. They sure would like to sell you their materials, though.

I think a certain part of some people’s unwillingness to accept whatever belief/scientific principle is that they believe their religion is an all-or-nothing proposition: if you don’t accept everything, you aren’t welcome. This is further emphasized in places such as church services (at least the ones I’ve been to) where a regular recitation of various beliefs is emphasized as part of the whole thing. It was actually the realization that to be Catholic I had to “believe” some things I just couldn’t accept as fact (and also that I didn’t believe any G/god worth serving would make me believe something I just couldn’t accept) that showed me my truer calling is specifically to question. Specifically it was the Marian Doctrines that just don’t compute to me, if anyone really cared that much;)

And, in turn, some people who base enough of their lives on their religious beliefs must think it so important to them to maintain this belief in creationism (or whatever it is that others believe is lacking in logical or scientific proof). The only technique I have seen other than the one Poly suggested is to remind them that their relationship with God isn’t doomed just because they disagree with their local religious authority (and there’s where the bible quotes start pouring in when I discussed this very point with baptists at my old school). In fact, it serves a rather backward purpose to deliberately not educate one’s self on consistent matters of science vs. religion debate, IMHO.

No, I haven’t been involved in any 180 degree turns. However, I know of at least one person with whom I’ve had repeated, deliberate discussions on the whole issue of science and religion who has gone from a position of “The Bible is the only authority ever” to accepting that while it can be a good book to use for reference, it isn’t really meant as a Guide to Science.