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March 28, 2007


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*sigh* the poor creationist would probably have a coronary if he learned anything about the RNA SELEX experiments my lab does. We produce new enzymes from chemically modified RNAs using a selective pressure experiment. Given, it's all biotech, in vitro and on human timescales, but it is evolution. With how life works, I honestly don't see why the idea that things can change is so offensive to some people.

As I understand it, evolution as a principle doesn't say "there is no God." All it really tells you is that organisms change over time and it suggests a mechanism as to how. Maybe I'm over simplifying, but I just don't see what it is that they think they're fighting against.

Great post, definitely saving that link.

Viggen: it's easy to understand why they are offended. They've been brainwashed all their lives into thinking that their religion is the absolute truth and they are the chosen people. Anything that goes against that is therefore "evil".


I can understand that. Truly, I think asking "why" may have been rhetorical and spoken in frustration. How can you argue with them if they immediately label you as "evil?" No matter how you support yourself, you will always be "wrong" and "evil" unless you completely recant all your ways and jump on the side of "right" and "good." And compromise isn't even possible if you are speaking a truth. How do you compromise on what is true? I mean, how do I get my point across if the truth I offer is only ever taken as a lie. How do I speak my viewpoint if I'm immediately a close-minded liar who is practicing witchcraft and eating babies?

I've followed the ID debates and interactions between science and "faith" for a long time. From my perspective, people are arguing that the sky is blue. There doesn't need to be any strife or friction, and yet there is. Does evolution disturb the ideas of heaven and hell or God? I don't think so; evolution says nothing about any of these things. In addition, those religious books are written so generally that they are almost entirely metaphor. Scriptures are routinely used in discussion purely for their metaphorical value. How can you interpret them as metaphor in one frame of reference, then take them as bold-fact in another? Heck, I've got scientist friends in whom devoted religion and hard science reside together amicably. There is no reason at all why an interpretation of any holy book can't be both true to the essential spirit of the religion and accepting of scientific insights.

I've had a few (too many) of those religion/science discussions and I don't like them. It's like getting mired in a tar pit. No matter what you do, you cannot be right or persuassive. I can't argue scripture because I can't just whip it out and apparently that makes me wrong. And, any demonstrable fact like, "I do this in a lab," gets whittled down to, "Oh, that's micro-evolution, we accept that small things change, but it's never produced another species." And then I'm fighting with labels rather than general concepts, which is like trying to squish a swarm of fire ants. And I get called "narrow-minded" or "afraid of being wrong" because I don't want to fight with labels. How many different ways can you name a thing in order to keep the facts from interrelating? It's like getting declawed, defanged and neutered and then being told I'm still too dangerous to keep in the house.

*sigh* please forgive me. That was a burp of pure frustration. I've been appalled too many times by what really doesn't need to be a conflict. Last you'll hear from me;-)

@viggen: Evolution requires vast time scales. The most literal interpretation of the Bible specify a very short history. Evolution doesn't give humans a special place at the center of the Universe (and god's attentions), and most religions do.

Evolution doesn't require a god.

What you're misunderstanding is this isn't about just any interpretation of scripture. It's about the fact that scripture itself provides no mechanism to prove that one interpretation is better than any other. With the intellectual vacuum provided by religion absolutely anything goes- _anything_ can be true because there's no way to prove it not true. Once you enter that realm, there's no room for anything that contradicts your dogma.

Do all religious adherents fall into that trap? No- obviously not. But I credit their reason- the antithesis of faith.

One of the other things of theirs: They've got an (ineffective) answer to the problem of evil, and without Adam, Eve, and one cookie jar, er, forbidden apple, they can't exactly have their bad excuse for all the nastiness in the world.

Who stole the apple from the knowledge tree? Was it you?

Who, me?

Yes, you!

Couldn't be!

Then who?

My impression is that what gets to creationists is the 'made in his image' problem.
Even if you would accept an idea of divine underpinnings of evolution, that destroys the ego satisfying made in his image idea. Whether by design or natural occurrence, Humans did not just poof into existence.
And if one tenet of the bible is wrong then others may be as well. They are just protecting their house of cards.

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