Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Creationism and Evolution

I am currently enrolled in an online "Creation Studies" class, since it is required of me in order to complete my degree at the school and I am attending.

The class is suppose to be a "science" class, but since it is arguing for a strict understanding of "creationism" (i take classes from a VERY conservative school), science goes out the window and it is much more like an "anti-science" class than anything else.

The entire first week of lectures was geared toward showing how scientific evidence can't be trusted, Scientist lie, and of course every secular scientist is out to disprove God and therefore distort the truth. I wish I could say that I am exaggerating a little bit.

Instead of science, the greatest evidence we have for how everything was created is the Bible. As you can imagine, some of our discussions are pretty interesting and i have already received a 2 page response from the professor with attached documents for me to read up on in my spare time.

One of our first assignments was to interview someone and find out their view on "origins" and where their views are based... Scientific evidence or the Bible.

So, I'll ask you the same question...

What is your view on the origins of everything? And on what do you base your views...

Science, the bible, or both? ("both" seems to be an option the class curriculum has forgotten about)

What do you think?


JustinGaynor said...

The creation poem is not at all interested in scientific method, rather the 'Who' that desired to be revealed and the 'These' that he created to do that...what grandeur and beauty...what a pity that its been reduced to just another conservative/liberal controversy...

Aaron said...

My thoughts on origins revolve around ontology rather than science or any religious book. While the study of metaphysics has taken a back seat since the scientific revolution, I think that there are many valid axioms that can be posited from studying the principles of being qua being.
Everyone has metaphysical assumptions that govern the way they think, even the normal 5 year old. The ideas that a stove top is hot, and that ice is cold presupposes certain characteristics about distinctions in reality as well as cause and effect relationships. Obviously, we all assume that all of reality is not univocal. We know that that particular "thing" is distinct from this particular "thing." Further, we also suppose that this particular "thing" is caused by another particular "thing." In short, we all have a basic assumption that governs everything that we do throughout each day, namely that we interact with various types of beings, assign names to those beings, and distinguish between them with our thoughts and words.
We can make statements like "Jacob is a human and not a dog" because we have observed the basic differences between human and dog over a period of time. In particular, we have empirical knowledge of the effects that result from the actions of humans and dogs so that we can quickly determine the differences between two distinct beings without very much observation. This empirical data is a store house that we have as adults that allows us to make distinctions in reality, and we actually form axioms that correspond to reality. We really never consider this paradigm as adults, but what about a one year old child?
A one year old, unlike an adult, is still framing in their minds basic truths about reality. It would be comparable to me making a phone call to Jacob's wife. As we are having a conversation, she says, "Oh no! Jacob just ran through the back yard." Now, in my mind, I am thinking that Jacob, her husband, just ran through the back yard. In reality, Jacob and his wife have a neighbor with a dog named Jacob. It was the dog Jacob and not the human Jacob. Because I am on the phone and unable to observe the phenomenon occurring in the back yard at Jacob's (the human) wife's house, I have to rely on new information in order to determine what's happening in reality. In this case, Jacob is a dog.

Anonymous said...

oh well it deleted the rest of my post and i do not feel like writing it again.

Jkub said...

Aaron, the rest of your comment...

A one year old is interacting with reality and relying on new information in a similar fashion building new empirical datum based on such interaction. As we grow into adulthood we learn to make more precise distinctions in reality based on direct experience over time. These distinctions and experiences allow us to make basic assumptions (axioms per se) that directly correspond to the real world. Some of these axioms are reflected in various ways in both science and religious literature. For instance, in religious books they are manifested by the statement, "God created." This statement reflects a basic metaphysical assumption that two distinct realities exist (God and Creation). It assumes that cause and effect relationships exist and that the cause and effect have distinct qualities.
In science, similar basic assumptions are at work. The foundations of science are based on axioms like, "An effect cannot be greater than its cause," or "An object in motion will remain in motion unless acted upon by another object." These assumptions are also based in metaphysics and these basic paradigms formed from experience with reality.
My question is why does there really have to be a debate between science and religion? If existence or reality is indeed a tangible existence outside of my mind, and my mind is indeed distinct from that reality, then there are only two choices for origins. Either mind created matter or matter created mind. If we assume that our experience with reality is reliable, then we can also assume with the scientist that "An effect is never greater than its cause." One problem with religious people that I have always considered is that they assume that their knowledge of religious books and God is derived from some other mystical source than the plain old experience that we have with normal reality. In short, they gained knowledge of their doctrines by using the five senses, namely using their eyes to read words and their ears to listen to their teachers. Then, they tested the causal relationships stipulated in those doctrines against their own experience. How is that any different than the scientist who formulates a certain doctrine based on what other scientists have written in a book, and then conducts experiments to test the validity of the causal relationships contained in those doctrines?
The only difference between religious men and scientists is that religious men write songs about their findings and have a long history of persecuting those who refuse to sing. Scientists would be guilty of the same crime if it were not for democracy, and religious men anticipate that day and call it the end of times. Indeed, it would be the end of their time.
In my opinion, the origin of reality is based in a simple understanding of reality. Things come into being and pass away. In all my experience, those things that come into existence always have a cause. An infinite regress is impossible, but an infinite progress is not. It makes sense that there has to be a primary cause that does not have a cause, and does not need one since it had no beginning. In my thinking, this is a solid case for what many religions call God, and what they mean by that term is an ultimate creator. Personally, I think that any more knowledge about the nature of such a being is a result of speculation based on the mystical experiences of individual people who flock together in the same social sphere in order to preserve their knowledge. This goes for scientists and Bible Thumpers as well as any other of the fundamentalists.
Peaceful men do not speak from rostrums, and the religious as well as the schooled men of universities would do well to learn from the greatest minds of their traditions who would probably not even be welcome or feel comfortable in the greatest of churches and schools of our day.
Its common sense for all that there is something ancient and bigger than us, whether that be Mind or Matter. If you don't mind, then it don't matter