The Rise of Evolution (Part 3): Evolutionary Metaphysics

This series of articles will consider how evolution got to the place of prominence that it now enjoys.  The story goes that Darwin “discovered” evolution on the isles of Galapagos.   While this is popular, it is also untrue.  Darwin’s path to evolution was not governed by scientific discovery, but by his own brand of theology; using the definition of God handed down to him by the modernists and Victorians to reconcile the problem of natural evil.

As expressed in the previous article, it isn’t whether or not Darwin was right or wrong, only that he used such presuppositions about God to formulate evolution.  Similarly, since Darwin, this definition of God has been used to further the metaphysical argument for evolution. 

These articles were inspired by Darwin’s God: Evolution and the Problem of Evil by Cornelius Hunter. 

The purpose of these articles will be to show that, “at it’s core, evolution is about God, not science” (Cornelius Hunter, Darwin’s God).

What is Metaphysics?

There are many different ways to describe metaphysics.  However, I find the simplest to be that metaphysics is merely a method of thought that ponders the state of being of certain things, be it the universe, the world, ourselves or God.  For instance, the modernist definition of God is a metaphysic because it ponders the state of being of God (what God does and does not do). 

For our purposes here, the main point is that since science is only concerned with giving empirical evidence and does not make statements about the state of being, metaphysics are outside the bounds of science.  Put another way, metaphysical ideas and arguments are unscientific. 

The Inherited Modern God

Again the point must be made that Darwin, and the evolutionary thinkers after him, inherited a certain definition of God. 

Goodness is more fundamental than power . . . There is nothing worthy of worship in power as such . . . After all, the object of religious worship is a perfect ideal rather than a perfect power (Edgar Sheffield Brightman).

A less domineering God is not only distanced from evil, but is also more worthy of worship. 

Robert Chamber wrote in Vestiges:

How can we suppose an immediate exertion of this creative power at one time to produce the zoophytes, another time to add a few marine mollusks, another to bring in one or two crustecea . . . This would surely be to take a very mean view of the Creative Power.

In other words, because God would have been forced to be involved in the dirty, mucky trenches of creation, He must not have acted this way.  When considering the issue of God’s divine intervention, the co-founder of evolution, Alfred Wallace, wrote:

As a matter of feeling and religion.  I hold this to be a fair higher conception of the Creator of the Universe, than that which may be called the ‘continual interference hypothesis’

This kind of thinking led to . . .

Religion and Science Are Separate

This is one of the most powerful metaphysical arguments for evolution out there.  Since God doesn’t dabble in nature, and science only studies nature, and religion only studies God, therefore religion and science are of two separate camps.  Though it may be pointless, it’s OK to consider God in religion, but it would never do to insert Him into science.

The Reverend Baden Powell wrote in 1838 (The Connexion of Natural and Divine Truth):

Scientific and revealed truth are of essentially different natures . . . The mistake consists in confounding these two distinct objects together, and imagining that we are persuing science when we introduce the authority of revelation.  They cannot be combined without losing the distinctive character of both

The famous evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould mirrored this sentiment in Rock of Ages:

I do not see, how science and religion could be unified, or even synthesized, under any common scheme of explanation or analysis.

Religion and science are to be kept separate.  Bruce Alberts, when writing for the National Academy of Sciences (Science and Creationism), says:

Scientists, like many others, are touched with awe at the order and complexity of nature.  Indeed, many scientists are deeply religious.  But science and religion occupy two separate realms of human experience.  Demanding that they be combined detracts from the glory of each.

The question becomes, where did Powell get the idea that combining science and religion would lose the distinctive character of both?  Where did Gould get that the combination of science and religion is not unifiable? And how does Alberts know that doing so detracts from the glory of each?  Certainly not from a scientific experiment as such an experiment would be impossible.

So where did they get it?  From their preconcieved idea that God and nature are separate.  Another metaphysical belief untestable by science.  And yet, this argument is used all the time in defense of evolution isn’t it?  Especially when attacking the likes of the Intelligent Design movement.

The Intellectual Necessity of Evolution

Since God was not actively controlling creation, and nature governed by predictable natural laws, scientific inquiry is possible.  If God was constantly changing His creation, how would we be able to tell the difference between the natural law and God’s actions? 

This uniformitarianism that science depends upon is just as presuppositional as religion, and yet, why is it preferred?  For William H. Harvey, it isn’t that evolutionary theory is more true, it’s just that it has more room for advancement.

but . . . they do give you room to reason and reflect at present, and hopes for the future, wheas the old stick-in-the-mud doctrines . . . are all used up.  They are so many stops to further inquiry; if they are admitted as truths, why there is an end of the whole matter, and it is no use hoping ever to get any rational explanation of origin or dispersion of species – so I hate them (quoted in Gillespie, Charles Darwin, emphasis added).

In other words, since evolutionary theory gives us room for further inquiry, it is preferred.  Darwin echoed this sentiment in Origin:

The hopelessness of the attempt has been expressly admitted by Owen in his most interesting work on the “Nature of Limbs.”  On the ordinary view of the independent creation of each being, we can only say that so it is; –that is has please the Creator to construct all the animals and plants in each great class on a uniform plan; but this is not a scientific explanation.

Darwin’s metaphysical extrapolation led him to his ultimate proof against creation.  His main point, that nature fails to show divine design, was now protected from any counter-argument, because any such arguments would be unscientific.  Here, Darwin is able to ignore that he also uses metaphysical arguments to prop-up evolution, just as the design argument does. 

Evolutionists today correctly observe that creation and it’s supporting arguments hinge on one’s concept of God, but conveniently forgot that arguments against creation equally hinge on one’s concept of God.  They find it fair to argue against creation, but not for it.

Since creation cannot be a scientific argument, evolution is the correct scientific theory.  Thus, evolution isn’t proved on it’s scientific merits alone, but by default.

For Niles Eldredge (The Monkey Business.  A Scientist Looks at Creationism) the key responsibility of science is to predict.  This cannot be possible with a capricious God:

But the Creator obviously could have fashioned each species in any way imaginable.  There is no basis for us to make predictions about what we should find when we study animals and plants if we accept the basic creationist position.

Paul Moody also expresses this idea:

Most modern biologists do not find this explanation [that God created the species] satisfying.  For one thing, it is not an explanation at all; it amounts to saying, “Things are this way because they are this way.”  Furthermore, it removes the subject from scientific inquiry (Introduction to Evolution).

Tim Berra (Evolution and the Myth of Creationism) is much more direct in his warning about creation:

Creationism has no explanatory powers, no application for future investigation, no way to advance knowledge, no way to lead to new discoveries.  As far as science is concerned, creationism is a sterile concept

What the evolutionists are saying here, is not so much that creationism is wrong, as it is improper.  Evolution is intellectually necessary because divine creation cannot be investigated and analyzed.  In contrast, Isaac Newton and many of the scientists of his day found the prospect that God created the universe a stimulus to scientific inquiry.  The opposite view it taken by today’s evolutionists.

An Uncritical View of Science

Since creation is seen as being the opposite of science, any attempt to explain phenomena with God is relegated to being a “God-of-the-gaps” type argument.  We are only inserting God where science has yet to find the answer.  The implication here, is that one day science will find the answer.

To hold to the position that one day scientists will find the natural explanation for what we are now filling God with, is to take an uncritical view of science.  The question becomes, how are scientific theories proved, especially to the exclusion of God?  How is such a thing possible?  Where perhaps previous naturalists have been cautious in subscribing to theories that may be true today, and wrong tomorrow, the modern evolutionist has unbridled optimism.

We are told that evolution is fact and this unguarded confidence has simply bolstered the rejection of the God-of-the-gaps argument.  We used to believe that God created life, but now we know that natural phenomena will suffice.  This conclusion hinges on the success of evolution, which in turn hinges on one’s concept of God.  A God who must be distanced from the world and it’s evils was assumed so now we conclude with a God who must not stand in the way of naturalistic explanation.  The original assumption feeds right through and becomes the final conclusion (Hunter, Darwin’s God). 

We may not have all the answers now, but if we just give science time, we will provide a naturalistic story.  Surely, if we look hard enough, we could find a plausible naturalistic explanation for anything.  But that doesn’t make it scientific.

Conclusion

Two powerful metaphysical beliefs are being used to support evolution:  That religion and science are separate and intellectual necessity.  God is properly distanced from creation, and humans are properly motivated to explore creation.  Evolution is true, not because of it’s science, but because the opposing view point isn’t scientific at all.

Evolutionists are blind to their own hypocrisy regarding this:  they are able to use metaphysics to argue against creation, but no one can argue for it.

The point isn’t wether they are right or wrong, the point is that they are using unscientific, metaphysical beliefs to support evolution.

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20 Comments on “The Rise of Evolution (Part 3): Evolutionary Metaphysics”

  1. Matt Says:

    Hi Eric,

    Two quick points about this post:

    Religion and science being separate isn’t a metaphysical belief. The definition of metaphysics that you’ve used necessarily separates religion and science. You said this youself:

    “For our purposes here, the main point is that since science is only concerned with giving empirical evidence and does not make statements about the state of being, metaphysics are outside the bounds of science.”

    Secondly, evolution is not simply taken as the default setting given that we reject creationism. That would imply that it’s only a choice between creation and evolution and no other possible scenario exists.

    That’s just nonsense.

    There are any number of possibilities that could form the basis of a scientific explanation of the origins of life. Evolution is but one of many.

    We might have arrived here on a spaceship from another planet. We might have grown and hatched in pods from a particular species of plant. We might have evolved from simpler life forms. We might have devolved from more complex life forms. And yes, we might have been zapped into existence by a multi-dimensional alien being that certain tribes of people on our planet choose to call “God”.

    Any of these explanations could be the case.

    The reason evolution is selected out of the literally thousands of possibilities is not by the simple of expedient of it being “not creation”.

    It’s chosen because it’s the one that all the available evidence points towards.

  2. dwilli58 Says:

    Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. (Albert Einstein)

    Matt, your comment above only adds to the validity of Eric’s article!

  3. Eric Kemp Says:

    Matt

    “Religion and science being separate isn’t a metaphysical belief. The definition of metaphysics that you’ve used necessarily separates religion and science. You said this youself:”

    Two points.
    1. It isn’t that science and religion aren’t two separate things. Of course they are. The metaphysical belief is that the two cannot mesh at all. This idea is expressed by Gould and every other evolutionist I’ve ever read. That is, science cannot give evidence for religious ideas, cannot give evidence for God. It’s an absolute negative metaphysical statement.
    2. Look at the definition of metaphysics that you accurately quoted me as saying and let me ask you something: Can a scientific test be done that proves/shows evidence that religion and science are separate? That’s the question I asked in the article. Where did you get your knowledge that religion and science can’t be intertwined? Cause it ain’t from a scientific experiment.

    Another thing. You’re still buying into the delusion. The delusion that you don’t make metaphysical arguments in support of evolution, that religion is the only system that makes metaphysical arguments or has metaphysical beliefs. As I’ve shown (and it really hasn’t been me, I’m just quoting evolutionists), this isn’t the case. You have a certain set of metaphysical beliefs, including that modernist definition of God, and theists have a different set. That’s the point.

    I will begin to get into the individual evidences for evolution and I’ll show how the science just isn’t taken by itself when evolutionists argue for their worldview, they use metaphysical beliefs to give scientific evidence the power it doesn’t have on it’s own.

    “Secondly, evolution is not simply taken as the default setting given that we reject creationism. That would imply that it’s only a choice between creation and evolution and no other possible scenario exists.”

    That’s not the point. The point isn’t that there aren’t any other options, the point is that evolutionsists argue like their aren’t any other options. I didn’t get this conclusion out of the blue, I got it from reading the arguments of evolutionists, Darwin included. I’ll quote Niles Eldridge again, “But the Creator obviously could have fashioned each species in any way imaginable. There is no basis for us to make predictions about what we should find when we study animals and plants if we accept the basic creationist position.” Eldridge is exactly saying that since we can make predictions with evolution, and none with creation, therefore evolution is correct. It has nothing to do with the scientific evidence, but evolution is right by default because creation can’t be predicted. This is a metaphysical argument that makes evolution the default position.

    “There are any number of possibilities that could form the basis of a scientific explanation of the origins of life. Evolution is but one of many.”
    Of course, but the point is that none are considered based on the metaphysical position that evolution is pure science, that religion CAN’T BE scientific, and that since evolution leads to further inquiry, therefore everything else is wrong.

    “It’s chosen because it’s the one that all the available evidence points towards.”

    But see, right there, you are so steeped in your metaphysical presupposition that you’re blind to it. That statement, that “all the availabe evidence points towards evolution” is the opposite of a scientific statement. Science makes no such absolute statements, only human beings with their metaphysical presuppositions in hand make such statements. The other problem with this statement is that “all the available evidence” only points to evolution if you first except the definition of God that evolution requires and the metaphysical arguments made right along side, and inseparably from, the evidence. This leads me to the questions I was going to ask you anyway.

    The main point of my first article was that evolution is only possible with a certain definition of God. You didn’t argue this point. Why not?

    The second article showed that evolution was a theodicy. You also didn’t argue this point. Why not?

    You also haven’t tackled the main point of this article. That metaphysical arguments are made in support of evolution. Exactly how can you disagree with this point? Or do you agree?

  4. Eric Kemp Says:

    I know David

    It’s amazing how evolutionists make metaphysical arguments and yet literally fool themselves into thinking they aren’t doing so. I mean, if you think your metaphysics are superior, then just say so and we can discuss. But to ignore them altogether, at the same time you are making the unscientific, metaphysical statements, is just willfull ignorance.

  5. Gstudent Says:

    TL;DR

  6. Eric Kemp Says:

    Gstudent

    Is that supposed to mean something?

  7. Matt Says:

    “Can a scientific test be done that proves/shows evidence that religion and science are separate?”

    That’s like asking: “can a scientific test be done to show that a square has 4 sides?”.

    The way you’ve defined metaphysics, of which religion is a subset, necessarily puts it beyond the scope of scientific enquiry. You’ve used this argument repeatedly yourself in our earlier discussion on empiricism.

    “Eldridge is exactly saying that since we can make predictions with evolution, and none with creation, therefore evolution is correct.”

    Not really. Eldridge is saying that the creationist position is not subject to scientific enquiry because it makes no predictions that can be observed or tested. This is consistent with the idea above that metaphysics is beyond the scope of scientific enquiry.

    Evolutionary theory does make predictions that can be observed and tested. But it goes even further than that: the predictions of evolutionary theory are actually borne out by observation.

    For example, Darwin’s original ideas predicted the existence of some mechanism that would provide lossless copying of hereditary information from one generation to the next. Darwin had no idea what that might be, but a century later we discovered genes and DNA. Prediction confirmed. The commonalities between birds and dinosaurs predicted the existence of a common ancestor. We later we found the fossils of Archaeopteryx at just the right point in the fossil record. Prediction confirmed.

    This is why evolution is accepted out of the myriad of possibilities. It’s the one with all the supporting evidence.

    “Of course, but the point is that none are considered based on the metaphysical position that evolution is pure science . . .”

    Wrong. The other possibilities are not considered because unlike evolution, there’s no evidence to support them.

    All the examples I gave were predictive too, so to suggest that evolution is accepted solely because it’s predictive is nonsense. Why then reject all the other predictive ideas?

    “That statement, that “all the available evidence points towards evolution” is the opposite of a scientific statement.”

    I have no idea what you’re talking about here.

    “The main point of my first article was that evolution is only possible with a certain definition of God. You didn’t argue this point. Why not?”

    Let me reiterate my earlier argument:

    Your first article showed that Darwin’s original conception of evolution was based on a metaphysical idea. In my comments I simply argued that this is irrelevant to the modern theory of evolution, which is based on the growing mountain of observed evidence confirming the predictions of the theory.

    “The second article showed that evolution was a theodicy. You also didn’t argue this point. Why not?”

    I argued that your article showed no such thing.

    The negative theological arguments that often accompany discussions of evolution are purely incidental. They’re not offered in support of evolutionary theory. You won’t see them, for example, in a college biology syllabus.

    The only argument that happens in this space is what I’ve said repeatedly: that science can say nothing about the existence of God. That hardly supports the idea that evolution is a theodicy.

    “You also haven’t tackled the main point of this article. That metaphysical arguments are made in support of evolution.”

    Is it a “metaphysical argument” to say that metaphysics is beyond the scope of science?

  8. Matt Says:

    To expand upon my argument in the first article, here’s a good summary of the modern scientific establishment’s view of Darwin:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/02/darwin_is_already_dead_and_we.php

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  9. Eric Kemp Says:

    Matt

    “The way you’ve defined metaphysics, of which religion is a subset, necessarily puts it beyond the scope of scientific enquiry. You’ve used this argument repeatedly yourself in our earlier discussion on empiricism.”

    You’re misunderstanding my point on two levels.
    1: The argument made by evolutionists isn’t that the two are separate things (I’ve already conceded that they are and you’ve correctly pointed out that I’ve argued that they are, and the general philosophical consensus is that they are); it’s that the two cannot be reconciled on any level. They are inseparably separate, one unable to give evidence or creedence to the other. This is an absolute metaphysical assumption.

    My question of, “Can a scientific experiment show that religion and science cannot be reconciled?” is merely to point out that since such an experiment is impossible, therefore the evolutionary proponents knowledge of such separation did not come from science. It came from some where else, therefore it is merely an opinion.

    2: I’m not trying to argue against the evolutionary worldview, nor for the Christian one persay. My only point is to show that these metaphysical arguments are being made in support of evolution. That evolution isn’t “pure science” and is steeped in it’s own brand of metaphysics that are merely different than religious metaphysics.

    Eldridge is saying that the creationist position is not subject to scientific enquiry because it makes no predictions that can be observed or tested. This is consistent with the idea above that metaphysics is beyond the scope of scientific enquiry.

    His metaphysical argument is that since evolution makes predictions, and is scientific, therefore evolution is the correct way to go. I think we can agree on that, right? There are a few different counter points to this position.
    1. So the truth value of a theory isn’t based on it’s evidence, but based on wether or not it can make predictions?
    2. So what if creationism can’t make predictions? If it’s true, then it’s true, why is “prediction making” put higher than truth?
    3. Again, what scientific experiment tells you that a belief that God created the universe 6k years ago stops all scientific prediction? If none, than this is a belief.

    Remember, I’m not necessarily arguing for one of these points. I’m just saying that the evolutionary position regarding predictive power is a metaphysical one, not scientific, and that there are opposing, equally valid, metaphysical positions out there.

    “All the examples I gave were predictive too, so to suggest that evolution is accepted solely because it’s predictive is nonsense. Why then reject all the other predictive ideas?”

    Wait, what “other predictive ideas”? I thought evolution was the only one that could predict?

    But, yet again, you are subscribing to the metaphysical presupposition that the ability of evolution to predict makes it more true, more correct, and more proper. Prediction is being portrayed as some unassailable, unquestioned good. Why? My point isn’t that this presupposition is wrong or right, only that it is a metaphysical one used to support evolution. How can you argue with that?

    I said: “That statement, that “all the available evidence points towards evolution” is the opposite of a scientific statement.”

    You replied: “I have no idea what you’re talking about here.”

    Ok, let me attempt to explain. What is science? Is not science the systematic, methodical, exploration of nature by observation and experimentation? Can we agree on this?

    I will assume that we can. Ok, so that definition limits science to what can be observed and tested in the natural world. Right?

    Ok, so again, you made the statement “all evidence points to evolution”. Can “all” of nature be observed and tested? More importantly, can the entirety of even a single subject be tested by science? Meaning, could science ever say, “We’ve found ‘all’ we can about the origin of the life and the world?” Similarly, could science ever make any sort of conclusive statement like, “This is the truth”? Science cannot make “all” type statements. Cannot make conclusive type statements. Science is observation and experiment, not truth or conclusion.

    So, making conclusive, absolute statements is the opposite of a scientific statement.

    “In my comments I simply argued that this is irrelevant to the modern theory of evolution, which is based on the growing mountain of observed evidence confirming the predictions of the theory.”

    Fair enough. As the series continues through the individual evidences for evolution, I will show this to not be the case.

    “The negative theological arguments that often accompany discussions of evolution are purely incidental. They’re not offered in support of evolutionary theory. You won’t see them, for example, in a college biology syllabus.”

    Darwin’s own words contradict you. All I did in that article to support my position that evolution is a theodicy, was to show what he was influenced by and then to quote him. Darwin is literally saying that since the world doesn’t look like the Creator created it, therefore evolution is correct.

    Let’s quote Darwin again: Suffering is quite compatible with the belief in Natural Selection, which is not perfect in its action . . . A being so powerful and so full of knowledge as a God who could create the universe is to our finite minds omnipotent and omniscient. It revolts our understanding to suppose that his benevolence is not unbounded, for what advantage can there be in the suffering of millions of lower animals throughout almost endless time?

    Suffering is compatible with the belief in Natural Selection because it is not compatible with a belief in Creation because the world isn’t perfect and Creation would be perfect if God had created it. This is based on Darwin’s Victorian view of an “all-nice” God. There is just no way around that this is what Darwin was saying. He concludes: I am inclined to look at everything as resulting from designed laws, with the details, whether good or bad, left to the working out of what we may call chance.

    You won’t find it in biological textbooks, but you will find this theodicy in the writings of nearly every evolutionary thinker. Believe me, I left out alot of quotes just for the sake of space.

    But what is funny is that I know you’ve heard, and made, this argument a hundred times. Yet you’re going to deny it’s used as evidence for evolution? C’mon man.

    ” that science can say nothing about the existence of God. That hardly supports the idea that evolution is a theodicy.”

    Did a scientific experiment show you that “science can say nothing about the existence of God?” Don’t you see how metaphysical your statements continue to be?

    But even if you’re right, evolutionary proponents use negative theology all the time. I have shown this in part, and will continue to show this.

    “Is it a “metaphysical argument” to say that metaphysics is beyond the scope of science?”

    That religion and science cannot be reconciled is something that a scientific experiment can’t tell you. Therefore it’s metaphysical. That the predictive power of a theory makes the theory more true, or more valuable, is also something that science can’t test. That these metaphysical positions are true or false is not the point. The point is that they are used to support/defend a theory that is supposed to be “pure science”. All I’ve done is quoted evolutionary thinkers making these arguments, how then can you argue that the arguments haven’t been made?

  10. Eric Kemp Says:

    Matt

    I’ve got an exam today, I’ll review that link when I have the chance.

    Thanks

  11. Matt Says:

    Eric,

    I’m making a genuine effort to understand your point of view and accommodate your arguments, but I suspect you’re not giving what I have to say the same level of thought.

    For example:

    “Wait, what “other predictive ideas”? I thought evolution was the only one that could predict?”

    I listed a whole bunch of other ideas in my previous comment. Go back and read it again. There are any number of other perfectly acceptable scientific ideas that would be equally as predictive as evolution. Evolution just happens to be the one that all the available evidence supports.

    This idea that it’s only a choice between creation and evolution and no other possible option exists is a figment of your imagination.

    And you’re even resorting to blatant misquoting, for example:

    “you made the statement “all evidence points to evolution”. Can “all” of nature be observed and tested?”

    I said “all avilable evidence”, not “all evidence”. And even then you twisted it again by morphing it into “all of nature”.
    Of course all of nature can’t be observed and tested. But “all available evidence” can be.

    And you’re contradicting yourself in the space of a single comment! One of your final observations was this:

    “. . . that definition limits science to what can be observed and tested in the natural world.”

    Yes, it does. And it is this precise definition which separates science and religion. Religion is concerned with statements about the supernatural world. Ergo, it’s out of scope for science.

    Your statement that it’s an “absolute metaphysical assumption” that science and religion are “inseparably separate” is therefore patently false.

    This definition, which you yourself have stated, makes them inseparably separate. Unless you change the definitions (of either science or religion) then they cannot be reconciled.

    No experiment can show this, but it’s not an experimental question. Like I said before, it’s a question of the definitions. No experiment can show that a square has 4 sides either, but we obviously don’t need an experiment to show that. It’s defined that way.

    Science and religion could only be reconciled if religion were shown to be something completely natural. And then it wouldn’t be religion anymore, would it?

    For example, if religion were shown to be purely a human construct (which I have to say, based on all the available evidence appears to be the case – note the word “available” there). Or maybe the creature you call “God” is a perfectly natural multi-dimensional alien being. Then we’re talking about ideas that we can examine scientifically.

    Eric, I’m happy to keep debating you on this but please, if you’re finding that you’re having to stretch your own (usually very picky) logical rules to win points, please consider the possibility that you might be wrong.

  12. Eric Kemp Says:

    Matt

    “I’m making a genuine effort to understand your point of view and accommodate your arguments, but I suspect you’re not giving what I have to say the same level of thought.”

    I will do my best to fix any kind of obstruction to discussion that I’m causing.

    “I listed a whole bunch of other ideas in my previous comment. Go back and read it again. There are any number of other perfectly acceptable scientific ideas that would be equally as predictive as evolution. Evolution just happens to be the one that all the available evidence supports.”

    Ok, I went back and looked and I found this: “We might have arrived here on a spaceship from another planet. We might have grown and hatched in pods from a particular species of plant. We might have evolved from simpler life forms. We might have devolved from more complex life forms. And yes, we might have been zapped into existence by a multi-dimensional alien being that certain tribes of people on our planet choose to call “God”.”

    Is this what you mean? If so, I’m still confused. No one is saying that there aren’t other theories that are predictive. I don’t know if there are, I honestly haven’t given that much thought. I’m not the only one making the evolution vs. creation distinction. The evolutionists I’m quoting are. In fact, it seems that your entire argument is based upon some scientific utopian ideal.

    Let me explain: Does science itself “subscribe” to a theory or worldview? Of course not, science, by itself, is blind to any biases or “either/or” propositions. I get that. However, is this how scientists act? Is this how human beings think and act? Matt, seriously, all I’ve done in my articles is quote the arguments of evolutionists and point out what they are saying. I’m not manufacturing a creation or evolution dichotomy. This is born out by the words of Darwin, Gould, and the others I’ve quoted (including theologians, so I’m not biased towards only quoting the non-religious here). You asked me to read back on one of your comments, and I did so. Now, I’ll ask you to read the quotes in my article again. How can you say that evolutionists aren’t making the “either/or” dichotomy regarding science and religion/ creation and evolution?

    So, it seems you are arguing from an ideal, purely scientific stance that is absent of any negative theological or metaphysical argument. A stance that does not exist in the minds of any scientist, as is evidence by their words.

    “I said “all avilable evidence”, not “all evidence”. And even then you twisted it again by morphing it into “all of nature”.
    Of course all of nature can’t be observed and tested. But “all available evidence” can be.”

    My point is that you’d have to first assume that you have “all” available evidence (an unscientific assumption) and that all of that evidence points in the exact same direction, and only in that direction. Both positions are unsupported by the scientific method, since the method is designed not to, and can’t by it’s own definition, make such absolute statements.

    “This definition, which you yourself have stated, makes them inseparably separate. Unless you change the definitions (of either science or religion) then they cannot be reconciled.”

    Ah yes, I see where our misunderstanding is coming from now.

    Let me explain: You made a statement about religion, “Religion is concerned with statements about the supernatural world.” Unfortunately, this is a misconception. Christianity is just as concerned with the actual events of history and nature as any other worldview. Sure, we believe that the God exists and created the world and therefore has power over it, but the natural world is just as important to us. In fact, the attempt to separate the supernatural world from the natural world is a Gnostic idea. Not a Christian one.

    What you are basically doing is restating the metaphysical position that I pointed out in my article.

    In my article, I asked a question. “How do these thinkers know that religion and science are irreconciably separate?”

    Your answer is: “Because they are”.

    This is begging the question.

    Let me explain further: One of your most basic positions, as an atheist, is that since religion can’t be verified by observed, repeatable, and predictable science, therefore we can’t rely upon religion (and it’s probably a man-made construction). The question that I’ve asked you before, is this: “What verifiable, observable, repeatable, predictable scientific test told you that religion and science are irreconcilable?” You can say, “Because that’s the definition of the words” all you want but I’ve pointed out to you that 1: Your notion of religion is incorrect and 2: You’re begging the question.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not attempting to say that science could, concievably, verify God Himself. The whole point of Christianity isn’t merely that God exists, that would be an empty religion indeed. Christianity exists because of the proposition that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. My point is that the Christian position of a Resurrection is just as metaphysical as the evolutionary position that science CANNOT (absolute negative statement) verify religious claims. A scientific experiment cannot tell us the truth of either of those claims.

    You kind of admitted this one when you said, “No experiment can show this, but it’s not an experimental question.” If it’s not a experimental (empirical) question than it is a metaphysical one. A metaphysical question of definitions. That’s my only point.

    Remember that Christianity is based upon an event that occured in the natural world, an event in history. Christianity is not a solely supernatural proposition, as you have supposed.

    “This definition, which you yourself have stated, makes them inseparably separate. Unless you change the definitions (of either science or religion) then they cannot be reconciled.”

    Don’t you see how you are defining religion to be that which can’t be reconciled with science to give proof that it can’t be reconciled by science?

    “Like I said before, it’s a question of the definitions. No experiment can show that a square has 4 sides either, but we obviously don’t need an experiment to show that. It’s defined that way”

    Right, I thought our disagreement was over the definition of science, when it was actually about the definition of religion.

    “Eric, I’m happy to keep debating you on this but please, if you’re finding that you’re having to stretch your own (usually very picky) logical rules to win points, please consider the possibility that you might be wrong.”

    You misundertand my purpose here. I’m not debating wrong or right. That would be an exhausting, and pointless task indeed! I’m merely trying to show that the evolutionary position of being purely scientific is a farce. I’m not arguing whether or not evolution’s metaphysical positions are right or wrong, I’m merely pointing out that they exist. If I stick to logical rules, it’s because that’s what makes conversation possible, not out of a desire to nitpick them in order to secure some semblance of victory.

    Thank you for pointing out what you saw as a contradiction in my words. It helped me to understand our point of disagreement.

  13. Troll Says:

    ““Wait, what “other predictive ideas”? I thought evolution was the only one that could predict?”

    I listed a whole bunch of other ideas in my previous comment. Go back and read it again. There are any number of other perfectly acceptable scientific ideas that would be equally as predictive as evolution. Evolution just happens to be the one that all the available evidence supports.

    This idea that it’s only a choice between creation and evolution and no other possible option exists is a figment of your imagination.

    And you’re even resorting to blatant misquoting, for example:

    “you made the statement “all evidence points to evolution”. Can “all” of nature be observed and tested?”

    I said “all avilable evidence”, not “all evidence”. And even then you twisted it again by morphing it into “all of nature”.
    Of course all of nature can’t be observed and tested. But “all available evidence” can be.

    And you’re contradicting yourself in the space of a single comment! One of your final observations was this: ”

    This is normal operating procedure for Eric.
    Because Eric is so honest, its obvious that you didn’t write those things that you did. You must be lying because Eric wouldn’t do what you accuse of him. Contradicting himself, mis-quoting, (talking about people not living as long instead of average lifespan ect…) Eric wouldn’t do that!

    Or at least he won’t admit to it, then he’ll quietly leave and hope nobody notices. Just like he’s done before. He’ll just delete it like the others.

  14. Troll Says:

    “Is that supposed to mean something?”

    You Fail @ google.

  15. Eric Kemp Says:

    Troll

    You assume that I give a crap what you mean. Also, when I googled it, you assume that I care if you didn’t read because it was too long. Clearly, more than a paragraph is too long for you.

  16. Troll Says:

    More of Eric’s honesty, pretending that he knew what it meant all along.

  17. Eric Kemp Says:

    Troll

    You know, you’re right. I’m running away. I’m scared of conversation over at UF. I have all the time in the world to argue on the blogosphere, and I pick and choose what conversations I want to get in. And the only conversations I want to get in are the ones where I can berate my opponents into submission, and if I can’t, I run away to appear at a different time. In other words, I act just like you. So can you begrudge me my tactics?

  18. Eric Kemp Says:

    Troll

    Actually, if you knew how to read, you’d see that I said “when I googled it”, but you don’t want to see that. You only want to see what you’ve already decided is true. All this talk about honestly is hilarious and hypocritical coming from someone who hasn’t once engaged in rational discussion on this blog, or at . You’ve run away every time Troll. So hey, at least I try.

    But let me ask you a question: Why is honesty such a big deal? Who cares if I lie, swindle and cheat? Who are you to tell me that I’m doing wrong. Morality is relative after all, right Troll? So how dare you force your morality on me.

  19. Troll Says:

    Lets see, Deleting Posts, Changing Names, you might as well go for the Honesty Trifecta and just start changing the contents of postings.

    Come on you cute little creationist scumbag, you know you want to.

    Or have you already done it? Who would know?

  20. Eric Kemp Says:

    Troll

    I change names so everyone will know it’s the same person, so you can no longer hide.

    And yes, I delete comments.

    No wait, I only do that to you (except the changing content thing, I’ve never done that).

    In fact Troll, you’re now banned…I’ve tried repeatedly, at least 10 times, to have a discussion with you. I’ve warned you about the insults, that this is a place of discussion and that your comments will be censored unless they have arguments in them, but you don’t care. In fact, you don’t even care if I never approve any of your comments again. So, I won’t. Cause you’re banned. Go find another creationist blog to troll.


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