The theories of evolution and the Big Bang are real and God is not “a magician with a magic wand”, Pope Francis has declared.
Speaking at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Pope made comments which experts said put an end to the “pseudo theories” of creationism and intelligent design that some argue were encouraged by his predecessor, Benedict XVI.Yup, the winds of change are blowing through Catholicism, hallelujah.
But those wacky Southern Baptists, Missouri Lutherans and assorted "bah-bull" sects just zip their fleece-lined wind-breakers all the way to the neck and pretend it's just a bit of a breeze that will pass quickly.
“When we read about Creation in Genesis, we run the risk of imagining God was a magician, with a magic wand able to do everything. But that is not so,” Francis said.You likely won't hear misanthropic old Franklin Graham saying that.
Giovanni Bignami, a professor and president of Italy’s National Institute for Astrophysics, told the Italian news agency Adnkronos: “The pope’s statement is significant. We are the direct descendents from the Big Bang that created the universe. Evolution came from creation.”Earth calling Vic Kubik and the gang at UCG; listen up dudes.
(Quoted passages from The Independent.)
What a mess. I am not sure what the pope said and what the journalist said. What is a "pseudo-theory"? I scanned the article and the pope does not deny creationism at all. He states that God created and then evolution took over. Rorschach would have been proud of the evoking ambiguity of this article - project what meaning you want onto it. Moreover, intelligent design has never been adequately answered by non-believers without resort to rank speculation.ReplyDelete
"The Big Bang that created the universe"? Give me a break. The Big Bang is not a creator. The Big Bang is a narration of what physicists believe happened to initiate the expansion of the universe. It is an explanation of a physical process.
The Vatican needs to get its act together or get better publicists.
I agree with Gavin on this one. Christians would do well to follow the Pope's lead on this one! Science is not the enemy folks - really!ReplyDelete
Yeah, but it's not easy for Christians to accept evolution; the Popes had to mull it over for 100 years!Delete
And Tkach, despite many agonizing boardroom meetings with his high-salary execs, has yet to pull the trigger!
There are big trade-offs once they tell the peasants that parts of the Bible are fable.
It took Popes 100 years to adopt evolution!ReplyDelete
Joe Tkach still believes in Genesis myth - or so he says to the simple folk who send him money -
.. and who will stop sending him money the moment he rejects the Bible!
As far as I'm aware Joey is not a Genesis literalist or creationist. There are positions between the two extremes (literalism and rejection).Delete
Would be interesting to know the most recent utterances of the Glendale Prophet on this.Delete
I've now seen Tkach's hidden acceptance of evolution (not in, and contradicting, his more visible Statement of Beliefs)Delete
It's in the Tkach DNA to crave approval of authorities, like his father caving in to orthodox Christian critics.
Son of Tkach takes it even further, pandering to Liberals and Evangelicals!
@Neo "Intelligent design" does not propose any mechanisms or testable theories. All it offers is incredulity and skepticism about scientific advancements that continue to explain more about the evolution of species, and those it refuses to publish in peer-reviewed or mainstream journals, so I'm not sure what you could say hasn't been "adequately answered" that should have been.ReplyDelete
Paul D: I simply mean that the universe through its physical constants is precisely configured for human existence. These constants and their effects have been extensively written about by physicists and the status of the universe as an environment for biological development is incontrovertible. The untestable mechanism proposed by the non-believing community is the anthropic principle which states that our universe is only one in a large number of universes that just happens to be favorable to human existence. They see a stochastic distribution of universes of all types and we live in just one happy instance. The rejoinder from the non-believing community that "we recognize the engineering design but there is, nevertheless, no possibility of a god" in my mind is not an adequate answer. It is just a dodge.ReplyDelete
There are different versions of the teleological argument and intelligent design is one of them. Some propose intelligent design as an opposing argument to evolution. I do not agree with that. The teleological argument need not be in conflict with evolution as you suggest. Future developments in evolutionary studies do not, therefore, make intelligent design less tenable.
On the other hand, can we through the scientific method, which relies on observation of the physical, prove absolutely that there is a god? The answer is no. But believers can reasonably assert from this evidence that there is a god. But, alas, there is no answer to a person who will say "It just all happened that way." For those people, nothing short of the appearance of God Himself will do.
What about Romans 1:20-21?Delete
"Future developments in evolutionary studies do not, therefore, make intelligent design less tenable."Delete
Good to see Neotherm and the trendy Dr Tkach following the Pope [albeit with a 60 year lag] and opening the door to the exciting, cognitively dissonant world of Christian Evolution!
This is what theologians refer to as General Revelation. It is the idea that some people recognize intuitively that there is a god. This leads to a natural belief in right and wrong. For people who respond to general revelation, the universe is understood to be a creation of god. This part of Romans is a description of what happens to some people when they reject general revelation.Delete
And, of course, there are exceptions to this model for every imaginable reason.
Theologians make politicians look like pikers when it comes to putting spin on an explanation! General revelation indeed! Notice how they word it in their own favor: people "recognize" intuitively that there is a god. Real life interpretation: people IMAGINE that there is a god.Delete
The rest of that "explanation" is even sillier. Among their own incestuous feedback loop of ideas, I suppose somehow these explanations make sense to Theologians. All I can say, boys, is you'd better do as the Catholics used to say and "get 'em while they're young and impressionable". Or follow WCG's example and go after the ignorant and uneducated. Because I can tell you, you're not going to win over any person who wasn't raised in religion and has critical thinking skills with that absurd kind of convoluted "reasoning".
Skeptic: "Real life interpretation" differs among people. I don't see that you have a corner on that market. Your argument begs the question: you assume there is no god, so the response must be "imagined", and this means there is no god and my statement is political spin. In fact if you are an agnostic and you don't know whether or not there is god, you also don't know whether or not there is general revelation.Delete
"The ignorant and uneducated" - spoken like a model, compassionless WCG minister. In fact, they were people who hoped against hope, overlooked much and, thus, made themselves vulnerable to a corrupt and predatory ministry that multiplied deception. Many of those people were greatly harmed by the WCG ministry and still at this time live in a pathetic state of delusion. They are a horrific, flesh-and-blood monument to the work of the AC-trained ministry.
Neotherm writes, "I simply mean that the universe through its physical constants is precisely configured for human existence."Delete
This argument has many variations, and I have considered it before.
I am aware that cosmologists can raise valid objections; it is not clear that these constants are "random" variables that could have been anything at all, but luckily (for us) ended up at their present values. They might be reliant on some deeper mechanism.
But the theological aspect also interests me. What does it mean that some feature of earth, the solar system, or the universe is "configured for human existence"? I understand this claim to imply several corollaries: (1) That physical conditions not compatible with human life are more common or more likely. (2) That the Creator had to configure the earth/solar system/universe in just such a precise way in order to create humans. Surely (2) implies that the Creator is not omnipotent, but working within the constraints of a pre-built system. A truly omnipotent creator working from scratch and creating his own physical laws could create sentient life under any condition.
The word "surely" has no valid use in a speculative argument. The "corollaries" you mention are not corollaries and are not implied. They are speculative propositions. We are not in a position to formulate propositions about god's omnipotence with the limited knowledge base that we have as inhabitants inside a highly configured universe. For non-believers such propositions are unproveable and for believers they are a matter of faith. The logical counterpoint is that if you are talking about a being who is not omnipotent then you are talking about some being who is not god.Delete
Neo, I agree "Real life interpretation" differs among people and I do not see have a corner on that market. Nor do you. But you seem to act as if you do. As part of a large, self-contained community of theologians/apologists (really pseudo-intellectuals), you have a whole litany of beliefs and a lot of fancy words and "explanations" for your beliefs. That's fine, but why do you keep serving them up to u as if they're established fact?Delete
Most of the commenters on this blog see right through your silly labels and your assertions. We've been there, done that and now realize it makes no sense. This blog contains lots of thought-provoking ideas and concepts and many excellent replies. I'd prefer to have a real discussion than to respond to your incessant assertions of traditional religion.
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Paul, this is a classic case of Christian reverse-thinking. Plus (again as usual) choosing words which assume the conclusion. After all, what does "precisely configured" imply but that someone did the configuring.Delete
The truth is just the reverse. The universe wasn't "precisely configured" for us. We resulted because of the way the universe happened to be configured. Because these constants are at their precise amounts, ours is the type of universe that resulted. If the constants were different, a different type of universe would exist. It's inhabitants would then probably think a "God" configured it that way just for them!
Skeptic: That was quite a rant. You might cite something concrete. I know my conclusion are already greeted coolly so the real issue is do they see through your "silly labels and assertions."Delete
"Precisely configured" means that there are a set of constants that, if they varied in slightly, would make biological life in the universe impossible. This is old news. You can find this stuff all over the web - I am not citing it here for the first time, neither am I a good spokesman for this - the physicists and cosmologists are. Did someone do the configuration - well that's the point.
You might surf the web and have a look at what scientists believe to be the probability that this collection of constants would be as they are. The probability is so small that you cannot imagine it.
"The truth is just the reverse." Once again you have a "real life interpretation" for us. But we are looking at the observable universe for our truth. We cannot find evidence that God either exists or does not exist. We have only probabilities. I cannot prove to you that god exists - neither can anyone else. Just like you cannot prove that god does not exist - just like anyone else, including Mr. Dawkins who claims not to be an atheist but an agnostic for this reason. What I can state is that the probability that there is a god is much, much greater than the opposite. But most believers will discount such odds when it comes to theology. But they wouldn't at the gaming tables of Las Vegas.
The issue of probability taken further: National Geographic just published the research of a biochemist named Douglas Theobald. His findings support the idea that all life came from a "universal common ancestor". This concept was already supported by the presence of 23 universal proteins making up DNA. So the idea is that 3.5 billion years ago there was a single-celled organism (with organized DNA) that gave rise to everything living. Through the process of evolution, starting with this single cell, we have the flora and fauna we see today.Delete
The problem is that evolution likes large numbers and diversity. This means that the reasonable scenario is that life would have descended from multiple sources in large numbers and be quite diverse (as it in fact has occurred subsequent to its single source origin). After all, if life can just happen under the right conditions and conditions were conducive to life sometime in this planet's early history, why would it not come into existence many, many times? Why would there not be a many modern life forms whose DNA indicated separate and unique lines of development?
Instead, we have a genetic bottleneck of the most extreme and inexplicable sort. So extreme, we have no similar bottlenecks in the history of life to compare it to. We have all of life being developed from that single type of cell - whether hominid or earthworm or whatever. Genetics has demonstrated this shared ancestry (consult Francis Collin's books). So once again we have to look at the probabilities: What are the chances that one single cell would be produced by evolutionary processes that would give rise to all life: infinitesimal - a nano-probability. What are the chances that the cell was here as a result of special conditions of some sort: Much greater, a better explanation.
This does not prove there is a god. But when someone states they believe in god, probability is on their side. (The probability does not favor the god scenario specifically because another scenario is that aliens from another planet created the cell and planted it here. The probability favors the alien scenario over evolutionary processes just as much. But then it gets complicated when we naturally have to ask where the aliens came from and why are they no longer around.)
Neo, you're right, this is old news. And you're right, scientists already know the arguments you're presenting. So my question is this: why don't these scientists agree with your conclusion? You conclude the probability there is a god is much, much greater than the opposite. The majority of scientists do not share this view. Are you better at analyzing the scientists' data than they themselves?Delete
And by the way, not being able to prove something exists is NOT equal to not being able to prove something does not exist. If that's what you need to fall back on, your position is weak indeed.Delete
The majority of scientist do believe there is something that transcends the observable universe. You need to look at some of the polls. In addition, I am talking probabilities of natural events not a poll of scientists. I am not better at analyzing the data but I can read what scientists have written after they have analyzed it for me. I shouldn't have to tell you that.Delete
I am not sure how you are denying the equality between these two statements. Given an X that is inobvious and requires proof of existence: I may not be able to prove that X exists. So X may or may not exist. I may not be able to prove that X does not exist. So X may or may not exist. In both cases there is something that I cannot prove.
Both propositions lead to the same outcome. This implies a truth functional equivalence. Beyond this, you will have to elaborate on your statement for me to understand what you are talking about.
The diversion into logic aside, what I am saying is that the pompous claim that atheists make that they have science on their side and theists do not is a fiction. Based on what physics tells us right now, it is easy to conclude that there is a greater probability of a creator than not. But one can always look at this evidence and flatly deny it. Deniers can always resort to the "its always been that way" argument not matter how improbable.
"The majority of scientist do believe there is something that transcends the observable universe" Wow you sure can twist words. Yes scientists admit there is much we don't yet know or can't observe but it a BIG leap of false logic to say that implies its the god of the bible.Delete
"The majority of scientist do believe there is something that transcends the observable universe" what a hoot! There is NO reasonable way to estimate these probabilities. None. The vast numbers of stars (and probably earth-like planets) blows away your argument that the current state of affairs is extremely improbable.
Listen, I can't give you a lesson in logic. There are millions of things that you cannot prove do not exist. That doesn't make them equally likely to be true. I really do recommend that you improve your understand of logic and probability.
And by the way, I'm not an atheist; I agree we can't be 100% sure there is no god. But if there is a god he sure hasn't shown himself. All the stuff we read about god has clearly come from man's imagination - nothing more. I am 100% sure the god of the bible is not true. THAT we can prove.
Right. If you review, I was not setting atheism in opposition to Christian theism. I was considering only theism. Hence, the idea that there is something transcendental does map fairly well to theism - monotheism, pantheism or whatever.Delete
While it is not possible to quantify the probabilities, it is possible to know what is more or less probable.
You couldn't give anyone a less on in logic.
No, all you can prove is that you don't understand the Bible.
OK. I think Otagosh may have purged my last comment.Delete
I have not been arguing on behalf of Christian Theism, just theism in general. And that "leap" would not be an error, if it were one, of "false logic" but misinterpretation. It does not make any difference whether a scientist uses the term "god", if a scientist says there is something transcendental it is a counter to the idea that supports atheism/agnosticism that the material universe is all that there is and there is no numinous. I happen to think they mean god but it doesn't really make any difference to this debate.
One does not have to quantify probabilities to know that something is more probable than something else. It is more probable that Bigfoot exists than a square circle but I have no quantification and none is needed.
Yes, there are many things that we cannot prove that do not exist. And, yes, that does not make them equally likely to exist. But what differentiates propositions as to likelihood? It is plausibility based on our accumulated knowledge. That is why it is more likely that Bigfoot exists than a square circle. We know a priori that the latter does not exist. But the existence of God is not only plausible but probable. And to claim that it is implausible at the outset (misclassifying the proposition as a violation of a priori knowledge such as a square circle) simply begs the question.
Regarding the latter statement, really all you can prove is that you don't understand the Bible. "All the stuff we read about god has clearly come from man's imagination" is a proposition you will have to substantiate otherwise it will live forever in the realm of off-the-cuff opinion. Since you claim that it is something that is true "clearly", it shouldn't be hard to validate for us.
Nope; nothing purged. I picked up both your comments at the same time.Delete
Otagosh: I thought you might have regarded it to be a little "rough and tumble"Delete
Well, if my corollaries are incorrect, then I guess I fail to understand the fine-tuning argument.ReplyDelete
My question then would be, if our universe is configured for human existence, what would a universe *not* configured for human existence look like?
"So the idea is that 3.5 billion years ago there was a single-celled organism"ReplyDelete
Yes, agree, because that kind of luck could only happen once?
Probably only happened here, nowhere else. Odds too long.
One problem though... between 3.5 billion years ago and today, there have been no fewer than 5 mass extinctions and depending upon who you would want to believe, in at least one or two of them ALL life was wiped out and there had to be a total reboot -- which, if true, there would be no single cell ancestor from 3.5 billion years ago.ReplyDelete
Not to worry though, there are organisms which can 'live' (more like hibernate) in outer space and maybe they came from somewhere else, landed on earth and started the whole 'life' thing.
Of course, the latest scientific theory is that the universe has always existed -- and the math seems to check out better than some other, more established, theories. If it has always existed (and this is one of the most logical assumptions), then there was no creation. If that were true, one wonders where God fits in the picture: Was He a genesis produced by the eternal universe?
I'm certain that there those here who know enough of absolutely everything to definitively give an objective answer about the theory of everything that we won't need to worry our little heads about any of it, since they will have the truth of the Bible as a reliable guide.
Here's a graphic of where denominations stand on evolution I noticed on Exploring Our Matrix.ReplyDelete
Note some Protestants are depicted all or partially in gray, indicating they plead agnosticism
on the topic [very convenient] like the tricky Dr Tkach!