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Author: Subject: My parents don't believe in evolution
TownOfDalem
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posted on 2-26-2010 at 04:31 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
My parents don't believe in evolution

So somewhere along the way my parents lost their minds. Over the past few years they have become believers in various conspiracy theorys. 9/11, Obama birth certificate (though they voted for him), secret societies controlling the world, intentionally poisoned food supply, global warming being a myth, things such as that. It kind of annoyed me seeing them become crazier and crazier, but I ignored it.

Now they have decided they no longer believe in evolution. For some reason this one bothers me the most. I didn't think evolution was something still up for debate outside of a few fringe religious groups.

How do I continue to have rational conversations with these people?





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williamssl
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posted on 2-26-2010 at 04:35 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Point how how much smarter you are than they are and that since that's clearly not a function of genetics, it must be evolution?





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blackdragon
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posted on 2-26-2010 at 05:57 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Wait, wait, wait. So up unitl now, they did believe, and then suddenly POOF, there's no such thing? How did that even enter the conversation?

Were you guys watching PBS and your mom was like "Yeah right, maybe you evolved from a monkey." Or were you having dinner and your dad was like "So I told Dan that only godless hippies believe in evolution. Pass the potatoes son."





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nOOb
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posted on 2-26-2010 at 06:46 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TownOfDalem
Now they have decided they no longer believe in evolution. For some reason this one bothers me the most. I didn't think evolution was something still up for debate outside of a few fringe religious groups.

How do I continue to have rational conversations with these people?


Okay, maybe it's just me, but I always thought that the sheer idea of "evolution" was pretty out there. I mean, what's a more reasonable idea of how the all life came to be:
-A very large series of 1 in a billion incidents coinciding in yet another 1 in a billion chance of occuring to create a rock that housed an amoeba that, following another large chains of one in a billion occurences, lead to the creation of a species that manages to survive against all odds and has created a society that allows for their survival to continue.
-A divine being created everything in a span of time that humans could never do it in and, since they had time to spare, also gave humans the basic knowledge to do everything that they need to do to survive.

Second, why someone not believing in evolution prevents you from having rational conversations with them is beyond me, since evolution shouldn't even be the basis of a regular conversation. Unless you're a scientist in a family of other scientists. Then you're pretty screwed.

Also, there's really no way to derail this thread without someone showing the evolution of how a goatse is formed, so I hate you.





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Chris Is Good517
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posted on 2-26-2010 at 06:59 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
I still don't understand why creation and evolution can't co-exist. To me there's way too much scientific evidence supporting evolution to try to argue against it, but isn't it theoretically possible that if all life was indeed created by a divine being he could have eventually started making minor tweaks here and there, much like a writer who rereads his work and makes the necessary editorial changes? Or am I being too reasonable about this?





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posted on 2-26-2010 at 07:24 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
There's a really wide continuum. From "the earth is 6000 years old because we added up the ages of the old testament and therefore dinosaurs never existed" to "everything science thinks it knows is 100% true and wherever there's a hole we'll say God did it."

Wherever they are, I'm not sure why conversation can't continue. "Dad, did you see the game?" "Yep, and not a single one of those players evolved!"

"Mom, this is great meatloaf, thanks for inviting me over." "Thanks for the compliment, my divinely created being."

Unfortunately, there are still people who will try to argue with someone like Chris, who is being perfectly logical about. The person who will fall on his sword to deny the existence of God just says you're painting the target around where the arrow already hit, and the "anti-science" (even though I loath that term) will say evolution is all just an attempt to drive God from our lives and since that's the motivation they don't have to listen. The argument is rarely truly about creation versus evolution.





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BBMN
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posted on 2-26-2010 at 07:50 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Are your folks Catholic? If so, share this with them; Pope Accepts Evolution.

If not, then simply ask them how they see stars. Finding a way to explain how you see light that has been traveling for millions of years, but yet the light is only a few thousand years old, takes some tortured logic.

As for Obama.... the fact this is still an fucking issue makes my brain bleed.

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quote:
The argument is rarely truly about creation versus evolution.


Exactly. That's the only reason people fight the idea of evolution... if a single crack in logic appears in the good book, then they feel that God is being disproved. I really think that if people are going to be 'anti-science', then they ought to disavow all things derived from science and the technologies it has created. No cars, no medicine, no electronics... no internet porn. And seriously, if one stops having faith because a single scientific fact disproves a single part of a book based on faith, then that person had little faith to begin with and is pretty feeble minded.

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TownOfDalem
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posted on 2-26-2010 at 07:52 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
I'm with you CiG. I have no problem with the idea that a creator or creators put into place a system that includes evolution. That actual is what I believe. I believe in both a higher power and evolution. But trying to deny evolution is incomprehensible to me.

blackdragon - my parents listen to internet radio shows, visit websites, and watch movies/documentaries that feed them these conspiracy theories. I'm assuming one of these things told them evolution wasn't real so they went with it.

For an example, last Christmas I agreed to watch one of their movies by the name of Endgame. It presented wild theories about a New World Order that has existed for centuries pulling the strings of the world with out offering much in the way of evidence. The strategy of the film was to make bold claims without offering facts by acting as if those claims are common knowledge. Then they would use those claims as jumping off points for which to build all their theories off of.

Basically it is hard to maintain civil discourse when each conversation leads off with a newly discovered conspiracy that one must learn about. Ignoring them doesn't work because then the conversation becomes about not listening and disagreeing is impossible because they have all these "undisputible" facts. Therefor, rational conversation can be tough if one party consistently wants to discuss these conspiracy theories. I don't attempt to convince them they are wrong I just try to avoid any subjects that could lead down that road. I was just making some sort of joke where I mentioned evolution. I was completed unprepared for the following lecture about how teaching evolution was part of the educational conspiracy to brainwash the youth or something like that. I can't wait until baseball season at least then I can postpone these discussions with red sox news.





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posted on 2-26-2010 at 07:59 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Chris Is Good517
I still don't understand why creation and evolution can't co-exist. To me there's way too much scientific evidence supporting evolution to try to argue against it, but isn't it theoretically possible that if all life was indeed created by a divine being he could have eventually started making minor tweaks here and there, much like a writer who rereads his work and makes the necessary editorial changes? Or am I being too reasonable about this?


The reason why this won't work with the Christian notion of God boils down to one thing: divine omniscience. If God really knows all, then the need for "editorial corrections" is incompatible.

Moreover, why would God set up a world with observable rules for evolution, if he were making editorial changes? If an omnipotent creator saw problems, he would probably make the changes immediate, rather than the incredibly gradual shift evinced by the evolutionary record.

If we want to take a sort of deist creator view, where the creator sets everything in motion and it unfolds accordingly, then that view may be compatible with evolution. The creator, in that view, would've set forth the initial set of circumstances, and the adaptations would follow naturally from the rules established at creation.

Therein, however, lies the rub. Christians are not going to admit God's fallibility, while evolution requires at least a tacit admission that certain species (at their inception) were flawed and needed gradual correction to ensure their continued survival. That level of fallibility is antithetical to the omniscient and omnipotent Christian God.

[Edited on 2-26-2010 by atothej]





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nOOb
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posted on 2-26-2010 at 08:09 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Except that when we're talking about a divine being, 9 times out of 10 it's God (God as in the Judaic one, not Zeus or Lord Zylorn or Baal or Kruum). And one of the key sticking points of God is that he's infallible, so the sheer idea that he would need to "tweak" something meant he didn't do it right the first time. So really, in these cases, the two cannot be mutual. And really, neither was designed to go with the other: evolution was designed to disprove God or any divine being while the existence of an infallible God means that a mechanism that weeds out defects that were present upon first creation is kind of contradictive. Mixing the two makes something that's not really one or the other.

Editted to add: it took me a while to write this while dealing with customers, so pretend this was an immediate response to CiG's post. Especially since AJ just basically said everything I said with more words and less time. Ass.

[Edited on 2-26-2010 by nOOb]





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Biff_Manly
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posted on 2-26-2010 at 08:15 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Sounds like your parents have been indulging in the Fox News, Alex Jones, and talk radio a little too much. Maybe you can go in and throw the parental lock on their TV, change their radio stations, and put a few site blocks on their browsers?

Don't feel too mad at them. The poor baby boomers are realizing that everything they believed in and worked for was a bunch of lies, and lots of them are not handling it well. They swallowed the kool aid that America was a shining city on the hill and that if they worked hard and bought the right products everything would be fine.

Yet things aren't fine. Their leaders lied to them. The economic system they relied on was turned against them. Their children and grandchildren will probably never have the general level of prosperity that they enjoyed most of their lives.

It's a lot easier to believe a shadowy "them" is responsible for all the wrongs of the world than for them acknowledge that large portions of the American value system were and are really messed up.

As far as not believing in evolution--as old people get older they almost always get more religious. You can call it hedging their bets. If they are wrong, well, they'll never know, and if they are right it won't hurt that they were rooting for the winning side. You could always ask them why they think God wouldn't use evolution. Time means nothing to an all powerful creator, why not evolution?

In the end it might not matter much, people are going to believe what they believe. One thing to watch out for, depending on how mentally sharp they are, is to make sure they are making any large donations to specific groups that are out of the ordinary. There are always people out there ready to prey on older folks.





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posted on 2-26-2010 at 08:29 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
I'd also like to point up that this thread STILL hasn't been hilariously or disgustingly derailed, so I question whether or not it belongs here.





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posted on 2-26-2010 at 08:31 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
I think the only solution is to start a Twitter feed called "Crazy Shit My Parents Believe," then wait for the money to roll in.





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posted on 2-26-2010 at 09:00 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by BBMN
That's the only reason people fight the idea of evolution... if a single crack in logic appears in the good book, then they feel that God is being disproved.

This can cut both ways, though, can't it? I realize it's not strictly evolution, but the lengths some can go to to try to remove God completely can get just as ridiculous. What caused the big bang? There's a background frequency that every particle vibrates with and the tiniest shift either way would make life impossible (somehow - that physics is beyond me), why is it that it just so happens to be the perfect frequency, Kenneth? Why does the earth seem to be such an exception to the cosmic placement of planets, 8 planets around a single star that's just the right size, in a part of the galaxy relatively devoid of stars, with a huge neighbor?

Could be my perspective, but I think leaving out the possibility of (a) God having a prominent role at least up to the Cambrian explosion seems to be as delusional as saying that God did it all perfectly 6000 years ago.





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posted on 2-26-2010 at 09:48 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
quote:
This can cut both ways, though, can't it? I realize it's not strictly evolution, but the lengths some can go to to try to remove God completely can get just as ridiculous.


You'll have to provide examples... I'm sure there is an instance or two where even the most vocal atheist would agree, but then again, this statement can cut both ways... there's people that feel that they must insert (their) religion into all types of publicly funded institutions. If people hate the separation of church and state so much... there's always Saudi Arabia.

quote:
Why does the earth seem to be such an exception to the cosmic placement of planets, 8 planets around a single star that's just the right size, in a part of the galaxy relatively devoid of stars, with a huge neighbor?


I think when people say that the Earth is in a unique place, they fail to take into account how big the galaxy is, let alone the universe. We're tiny. Very, very, very tiny, and hence not likely to be truly unique.



We are but one of millions of planets.

edit; spelling n stuff

[Edited on 2-27-2010 by BBMN]

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posted on 2-26-2010 at 09:49 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
Fight-fight-fight-fight, fight-fight-fight-fight!

They fight and fight, fight-fight-fight-fight-fight. Fight-fight-fight! Fight-fight-fight! It's the Jesus And Dawkins Show!



My two cents: creationism is pushed mostly by people who adopted the Jerry Falwell political playbook word-for-word. It's got squat to do with faith. It's a wedge issue that, when they* succeed, they inevitably move onto something else on their hate list. "We beat the secular humanist evolutionists! Yay!. Let's go after the blacks/gayz/feminazis/high school graduates next! Kill 'em! Kill 'em all!" It's a major part of an ongoing non-stop process of political rollback specifically designed to reverse every single social or cultural change that's occurred since the 1950's, AKA their Golden Age. And, at it's core, it's no different at all than the same sort of bullshit perpetrated by historical revisionists ranging from David Irving to Chomsky to the 9/11 tin-hatters to Glenn Beck's "history" texts. It's not a different interpretation of history, it's total anti-history.

* "They", of course, being the Party Of Dixie, or whatever it is this metastisizing cultural cancer calls itself ever since Lee Atwater handed the entirety of the GOP power structure over to the social conservative fundamentalists.

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williamssl
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posted on 2-26-2010 at 10:14 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by atothej
The reason why this won't work with the Christian notion of God boils down to one thing: divine omniscience. If God really knows all, then the need for "editorial corrections" is incompatible.

Moreover, why would God set up a world with observable rules for evolution, if he were making editorial changes? If an omnipotent creator saw problems, he would probably make the changes immediate, rather than the incredibly gradual shift evinced by the evolutionary record.

If we want to take a sort of deist creator view, where the creator sets everything in motion and it unfolds accordingly, then that view may be compatible with evolution. The creator, in that view, would've set forth the initial set of circumstances, and the adaptations would follow naturally from the rules established at creation.

Therein, however, lies the rub. Christians are not going to admit God's fallibility, while evolution requires at least a tacit admission that certain species (at their inception) were flawed and needed gradual correction to ensure their continued survival. That level of fallibility is antithetical to the omniscient and omnipotent Christian God.




How is any of this evidence of God's fallabilty? Something is created and has to evolve over time to adjust to changing surroundings. Makes a lot of sense and sounds like a good design/creation that it has the ability to do that. I'm not sure what needs to be admitted here.

I'm not sure if I'm arguing against that point, or agreeing that Christians who hold that evolution and creationism can't work together are f'd in the head.

To those Christians who reject the argument of evolution and creationism co-existing because if said fallabilty, I would point out Genesis 1 which essentially has God's main creation - us - choosing to sin which sounds like a much bigger deal than the length of some finch's beak over time.


More importantly,






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posted on 2-26-2010 at 10:54 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
See, I see a fine line behind "amoeba turns in fish turns into reptile turns into man" evolution and "natural selection, coal factory shoots up clouds of dust that coat trees in white dust and leads to brown butterflies in the area getting eaten more frequently than dust-white butterflies that were previously eaten more" evolution.

That natural selection bit is common sense to me: if a turtle that has a natural immunity to a poison is more prosperous on an island where all the local food has that poison as opposed to an adjacent island populated by troll men with an insatiable thirst for turtle blood, there's a reason and a mechanism behind that. And the argument could reasonably be made that it is divinely engineered.

But if you try to make a convincing argument to, well, let's be clear here, a Christian, Judaic worshipper, or Muslim, that God created a single-celled organism and, over the span over a million or a billion years, decided what he made wasn't right, so he upgraded it, while deciding to also keep the originals, that's when you're not going to get an agreeable response.

So really, it is dependent on which "evolution" we're talking about, because, time span arguments aside, there's one that can be reasonably argued and one that just isn't going to mix (to the point where I don't even consider "natural selection" and "evolution" to be synonymous).

On a sidenote: don't Google Shakira and Turtle. I didn't care for the results.





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posted on 2-26-2010 at 11:48 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote






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posted on 2-27-2010 at 12:04 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
There is also the argument that "In the beginning..." was pre-big bang, "...then there was light..." was the big bang, and ever since God has been watching his little experiment on life ever since.





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posted on 2-27-2010 at 05:51 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
I want to be like Columbo and just believe. but from what I've heard, Evolution is a mystery for the changes no one sees and that God makes a fool of history.





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posted on 2-27-2010 at 07:12 AM Edit Post Reply With Quote
I would like to point out that, while this thread has yet to be derailed by any goatsevolution, BBMN did find a way to include Uranus.





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posted on 2-27-2010 at 12:21 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by OOMike
There is also the argument that "In the beginning..." was pre-big bang, "...then there was light..." was the big bang, and ever since God has been watching his little experiment on life ever since.


BZZT WRONG

quote:
1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

2 Now the earth was [a] formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

3 And God said, "Let there be light," and there was light.


There's also the argument that I gave your mom a pearl necklace before I went through puberty and saw her and stalked her and kidnapped her and put her in my basement.





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posted on 2-27-2010 at 04:43 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by williamssl
How is any of this evidence of God's fallabilty? Something is created and has to evolve over time to adjust to changing surroundings. Makes a lot of sense and sounds like a good design/creation that it has the ability to do that. I'm not sure what needs to be admitted here.


This is an interesting point, but it still then presupposes that God created circumstances under which some of his creation could not survive without adaptation. Therefore, God created a being that could not survive, as created, in the world he created. Then, he gave them adaptability rather than simply set up the world so that they would be acclimated to it without changes.

Again, if the idea is that God simply sets things in motion and then the mechanism must work, I can see that. Usually, however, that is not the perception of most Christians regarding God.

quote:
To those Christians who reject the argument of evolution and creationism co-existing because if said fallabilty, I would point out Genesis 1 which essentially has God's main creation - us - choosing to sin which sounds like a much bigger deal than the length of some finch's beak over time.


Theologically, though, the two are very different. Man's fall is stems from free will, not an inability to survive in the conditions as created. Without getting into a long discussion of free will, I think it is apparent that the finch's beak change is one that was necessitated by the finch living in an environment in which it could not survive. Thus, God created a being (the finch) and an environment that were incompatible. That would appear to be an error in design that belies omniscience and infallibility.

[Edited on 2-27-2010 by atothej]





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posted on 2-27-2010 at 05:39 PM Edit Post Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by BBMN
That's the only reason people fight the idea of evolution... if a single crack in logic appears in the good book, then they feel that God is being disproved.


And yet in the Bible they profess to read the god they profess to believe in is constantly revising its plan. First it's all "Oh whoops, you eat from the tree of knowledge, you have to leave paradise". Then it's all, "Too much sin around, so I'm gonna wipe it all out with a flood and we can start over with sort of a clean slate" After that it's all, "We can't have this Tower of Bable thing, so now everyone has to speak a different language." Then it's "OK seriously now, let's set up a covenant and me lay out the ten commandments you have to follow." Then it's, "Remember that last covenant? That's null now, and I'm gonna send my child down to set up a new one." Then Paul's, presumably speaking for god's interest, says that you don't have to get circumcised any more. And so forth.

The way I figure it, the only way you can claim the inerrancy of the Judeo-Christian god is to not actually read the texts that claim to depict it. And in fact there are a number of studies about these sorts of fundamentalist and literalist forms of Christianity that show that what's important is that you claim the inerrancy of the Bible, not that you actually know much about its content.

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