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October 27, 2005

Evolutionist denial

Steve Verdon who guest blogs at Outside the Beltway took exception to my calling the religion of Evolution, a religion. He claims...

There are numerious [sic] problems with this view point. Usually this view relies on the logical fallacies of equivocation, and the argument from ignorance.

Often times these arguments will note that scientists believe in evolutionary theory and that some people believe in religion. Hence both evolutionary theory and religion are "beliefs". Q.E.D, evolution is a religion. The problem is that belief is not so simple a word that it has only one meaning that is exactly the same in all cases. For example, I believe that if I drop a rock it will fall to the ground. Why do I believe this? I have witnessed it an untold number of times. I have seen rocks (and other objects) fall to the ground so many times and never once seen anything fall up into the sky, that I believe the theory of gravity. There is no religion here, no dogma and casting anybody who believes in gravity as some sort of religious gravitist  is just silly.

First let's look at the claim that calling the religion of Evolution a religion relies on the logical fallacies of equivocation. The American Heritage dictionary defines religion as...

1. a. Belief in and reverence for a supernatural power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe.
    b. A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.
2. The life or condition of a person in a religious order.
3. A set of beliefs, values, and practices based on the teachings of a spiritual leader.
4. A cause, principle, or activity pursued with zeal or conscientious devotion.

Under (1a) Evolution fits with the exception that the authors of the dictionary chose to add the word “supernatural”. But is that word really necessary for the definition? Would “Belief in and reverence for a power or powers regarded as creator and governor of the universe” be any less a legitimate definition? Only if you specifically wanted to exclude something from the definition that would logically fit otherwise, which speaks more toward the dictionary contributors' motives than the actual definition. The Supreme Court has ruled that Atheism is legally considered a religion. Obviously Atheists have no belief in anything supernatural (or none that they would admit to)

Under (4) Evolution most definitely fits. There is no denying that the teachings of the religion of Evolution are pursued with zeal and conscientious devotion by its adherents.

But look further at Steve's examples. What about the Theory of Gravity?

In a nut shell, this argument is a shell game. There is no single Theory of Gravity. In fact it is a misnomer to speak of a Theory of Gravity, for there numerous competing theories that are still disputed about by physicists. They are theories about why gravity works, not if it works.

In other words, Steve used the logical fallacies of false equivocation and argument from ignorance to defend the obvious observation that Evolution is indeed a religion.

I also find it ironic that one of the Evolutionist zealot's favorite tricks is to misuse the very word Evolution, to mean one thing in one place and another somewhere else, therefore they can claim Evolution means simple change, and thus cannot be denied, then demand that the wider definition of the religious view of origins must be included in that acceptance.

Posted by Danny Carlton at October 27, 2005 08:46 AM

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Comments

Well that was less than impressive. My son pursues his swimming with zeal and conscientious devotion...does he worship the religion of Swimming and are Aaron Pierson, Michael Phelps, and Ian Thorpe his prophets or something? You had to select the weakest argument and make some silly comment about the motivations of dictionary contributors (of course, religion involves the supernatural since you yourself deny that nature is sufficient...talk about inconsistent).

As for other theories of evolution, I don't dispute that. I mentioned Margulis contribution which was explicitly non-neodarwinian. Funny you omitted that. Perhaps because it undercuts your claims.

The claim that atheism is a religion is irrelevant as belief in evolutionary theory does not necessitate a belief in atheism.

In short, you have failed completely at making that case that evolution theory is a religion. And you falsly ascribe to me the very same error in reasoning creationists make, equivocation. I make a fair amount of effort to distinguish between the theory of evolution and the fact of evolution.

If evolutionary theory is a religion, then God is well and truly dead.

Posted by: Steve at October 27, 2005 02:45 PM

Well that was less than impressive. My son pursues his swimming with zeal and conscientious devotion...does he worship the religion of Swimming and are Aaron Pierson, Michael Phelps, and Ian Thorpe his prophets or something? 

Now who's leaping head first into false equivocation? Evolution by its very nature demands a place as the foundational factor in viewing the universe and one's place in it. Just as any religion does. You cannot equate a passion for swimming with the blind zeal that you and other Evolutionists demonstrate in defense of your religion. 

You had to select the weakest argument and make some silly comment about the motivations of dictionary contributors (of course, religion involves the supernatural since you yourself deny that nature is sufficient...talk about inconsistent).

So now I am the to be the ultimate definer of religion, eh? You seem to change your mind awful quickly. I deny that accident is sufficient to have initiate life, or the universe. However that in no way implies that one believe in the supernatural in order to have a religion. Belief in something that defines the meaning of your existence is all it takes. Evolution does that for those who believe in it.

As for other theories of evolution, I don't dispute that. I mentioned Margulis contribution which was explicitly non-neodarwinian. Funny you omitted that. Perhaps because it undercuts your claims.

I haven't a clue what you're talking about here. I mentioned various theories of gravity, in order to show how silly your use of the phrase “theory of gravity” was when used to mean gravity itself.

The claim that atheism is a religion is irrelevant as belief in evolutionary theory does not necessitate a belief in atheism.

Actually it does. Either everything is by accident, or intentional. Those who like to pretend they can straddle that oxymoronic fence do so at the expense of looking utterly silly to those on either side.

In short, you have failed completely at making that case that evolution theory is a religion. And you falsly ascribe to me the very same error in reasoning creationists make, equivocation. I make a fair amount of effort to distinguish between the theory of evolution and the fact of evolution.

Actually I succeeded at both, but being blind to the truth, you continue to pretend otherwise. You cannot accept the truth, because your firmly held faith in the religion of Evolution won't allow it. That's why the idea of teaching that there are questions about any part of Evolution is fought against to vigorously, even to taking it to court. While you defend violently the teaching of Evolution as a hard solid fact, in taxpayer funded schools, you laugh at those who use that very same curriculum to define evolution, claiming it is archaic, and newer finding are more accurate—thus ignoring the salient fact that if it is indeed “fact” why does it change so dramatically ever few years.

If evolutionary theory is a religion, then God is well and truly dead.

Non sequitur

Posted by: Danny Carlton at October 27, 2005 06:27 PM

Greetings,

I have one question: where is the evidence that the Supreme Court declared Atheism a religion?

I believe this to be true and I've heard this before, but could never find it.

thanks.

Posted by: polymathis at October 27, 2005 11:44 PM

Actually after looking it up it was the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals but they based their decision on the Supreme Court's decision in Torcaso v. Watkins when they ruled that a religion does not require belief in a Supreme Being. I covered it here

Posted by: Danny Carlton at October 28, 2005 06:28 AM

Now who's leaping head first into false equivocation? Evolution by its very nature demands a place as the foundational factor in viewing the universe and one's place in it.

No it does not. One can believe in God and evolutionary theory. They are not mutuallly exclusive. Granted one cannot be a YEC and believe in evolutionary theory, physics, and chemistry, but that is a different issue. This idea that believing in evolutionary theory forces one into some viewpoint you've selected is a strawman argument.

You cannot equate a passion for swimming with the blind zeal that you and other Evolutionists demonstrate in defense of your religion.

I merely used your definition to highlight the absuridty of your claim. Of course swimming is not a religion and neither is evolutionary theory. People believe in the current theory based on the evidence. New evidence may (or maynot) induce a change in this belief. Very much like Margulis' research.

So now I am the to be the ultimate definer of religion, eh? You seem to change your mind awful quickly.

What? No, I was merely using your definition that you selected. Sheesh.

I deny that accident is sufficient to have initiate life, or the universe.

And evolutionary theory does not speak to the origin of life, but about diversity of life once life is present. Your beef here is with the theory of abiogensis.

However that in no way implies that one believe in the supernatural in order to have a religion. Belief in something that defines the meaning of your existence is all it takes. Evolution does that for those who believe in it.

I think you'd find that guys like Kenneth Miller probably disagree in some regards.

I haven't a clue what you're talking about here.

I know.

I mentioned various theories of gravity, in order to show how silly your use of the phrase “theory of gravity” was when used to mean gravity itself.

Yes I konw. I mentioned Margulis' work to show that evolutionary theory will adopt new theories and processes...even non-neodarwinian ones, if they have the evidence, data, and predictions to support such inclusion.

Actually it does. Either everything is by accident, or intentional.

Non sequitur. The following orgins views can all be compatible with evolutionary theory:

1. Aliens deposited the first most simple life form on the planet.
2. A supernatural being, call him God, creates the first most primitive life form on the planet.
3. Abiogensis--i.e. your accident theory.

Further, in regards to evolutionary theory one could even hold that God uses that processes and intervenes in a manner that is undetectable to guide the process. This belief isn't scientific, but it in no way prevents one from doing "good science".

Actually I succeeded at both, but being blind to the truth, you continue to pretend otherwise. You cannot accept the truth, because your firmly held faith in the religion of Evolution won't allow it.

Making assertions without support repeatedly does not constitute a valid arguement. All you have is a weak dictionary definition, which oddly enough you impugn with your latest comment, and an irrelevant court case. I have shown that evolutionary theory is non-dogmatic, that it will change based on the evidence, and that it does not require the invocation of the supernatural. These three things are found to varying degrees in virtually all religions. If you insist on calling evolutionary theory a religion why not meteorology, physics, chemistry, and astrophysics as well? After all, they fit your weak definition you selected.

Posted by: Steve at October 31, 2005 12:04 PM

Well that was less than impressive. My son pursues his swimming with zeal and conscientious devotion...does he worship the religion of Swimming and are Aaron Pierson, Michael Phelps, and Ian Thorpe his prophets or something? 

Now who's leaping head first into false equivocation? Evolution by its very nature demands a place as the foundational factor in viewing the universe and one's place in it.

No it does not. One can believe in God and evolutionary theory. They are not mutuallly exclusive. Granted one cannot be a YEC and believe in evolutionary theory, physics, and chemistry, but that is a different issue. This idea that believing in evolutionary theory forces one into some viewpoint you've selected is a strawman argument.

One could believe that up is down, but it take the effort of rationalization to do so. Pretending the God of the Bible is real, and the Universe came into existence on it's own are mutually exclusive concepts. It takes an irrational mind to believe in both.

You cannot equate a passion for swimming with the blind zeal that you and other Evolutionists demonstrate in defense of your religion.

I merely used your definition to highlight the absuridty of your claim. Of course swimming is not a religion and neither is evolutionary theory. People believe in the current theory based on the evidence. New evidence may (or maynot) induce a change in this belief. Very much like Margulis' research.

People believe in Evolution based on faith, not on the evidence, because the evidence is not there. To claim it is, is, again, an exercise of faith that something exists, which in fact does not.

You had to select the weakest argument and make some silly comment about the motivations of dictionary contributors (of course, religion involves the supernatural since you yourself deny that nature is sufficient...talk about inconsistent).

So now I am the to be the ultimate definer of religion, eh? You seem to change your mind awful quickly.

What? No, I was merely using your definition that you selected. Sheesh.

You stated that religion involves the supernatural, since I deny that nature is sufficient, therefore by your own logic, you would be admitting that since nature is sufficient, Evolution is a religion. You seem to have a serious problem with simple logic.

It also does not follow that, if nature is insufficient to bring itself about, therefore religion must involve the supernatural. You are making nonsensical leaps.

I deny that accident is sufficient to have initiate life, or the universe.

And evolutionary theory does not speak to the origin of life, but about diversity of life once life is present. Your beef here is with the theory of abiogensis.

It's all one and the same. The concept that the Universe and life came about through naturalistic and accidental means is referred to in the broad sense of the term Evolution. Playing word games, doesn't change reality.

However that in no way implies that one believe in the supernatural in order to have a religion. Belief in something that defines the meaning of your existence is all it takes. Evolution does that for those who believe in it.

I think you'd find that guys like Kenneth Miller probably disagree in some regards.

And that proves what?

As for other theories of evolution, I don't dispute that. I mentioned Margulis contribution which was explicitly non-neodarwinian. Funny you omitted that. Perhaps because it undercuts your claims.

I haven't a clue what you're talking about here.

I know.

So you spouting meaningless, incoherent nonsense is supposed to prove something? That is another example of the faith of the religion of Evolution: spout something meaningless and gloat that those who cannot understand, are inadequate to disagree. This is similar to the friholic measures Grens used in the abnilogical coherence methods which Forthwart denounced with the Flimshax Theory.

I mentioned various theories of gravity, in order to show how silly your use of the phrase “theory of gravity” was when used to mean gravity itself.

Yes I konw. I mentioned Margulis' work to show that evolutionary theory will adopt new theories and processes...even non-neodarwinian ones, if they have the evidence, data, and predictions to support such inclusion.

You Evolutionists are fond of disclaiming any single Evolutionist who ideas might run contrary to your religion. Quoting one Evolutionist as proof of anything, is meaningless.

Regardless what pretense of "openness" you might claim—the truth is you allow no dissent unless it supports the basic foundation of Evolution which is: The Universe does not need God. Any idea, theory or even evidence that runs contrary to that central theme is rejected regardless of its validity.

The claim that atheism is a religion is irrelevant as belief in evolutionary theory does not necessitate a belief in atheism.

Actually it does. Either everything is by accident, or intentional.

Non sequitur. The following orgins views can all be compatible with evolutionary theory:

1. Aliens deposited the first most simple life form on the planet.

First of all that wouldn't address life in the Universe as a whole, and also uses a secondary unknown source for life on earth. If Creation is to be rejected, why bring up this?

2. A supernatural being, call him God, creates the first most primitive life form on the planet.

Yet Evolutionists claim that all of life is accidental, and reject any theory that poses any other suggestion. This is also rejected by the religion of Evolution, so cannot be used as some sort of "view of origins" that would fit within the religion of Evolution.

3. Abiogensis--i.e. your accident theory.

Further, in regards to evolutionary theory one could even hold that God uses that processes and intervenes in a manner that is undetectable to guide the process.

But Evolutionists reject this as unscientific.

This belief isn't scientific, but it in no way prevents one from doing "good science".

So then why do Evolutionists reject any form of this as something that would cripple scientific advancement?

In short, you have failed completely at making that case that evolution theory is a religion. And you falsly ascribe to me the very same error in reasoning creationists make, equivocation. I make a fair amount of effort to distinguish between the theory of evolution and the fact of evolution

Actually I succeeded at both, but being blind to the truth, you continue to pretend otherwise. You cannot accept the truth, because your firmly held faith in the religion of Evolution won't allow it.

Making assertions without support repeatedly does not constitute a valid arguement. All you have is a weak dictionary definition, which oddly enough you impugn with your latest comment, and an irrelevant court case. I have shown that evolutionary theory is non-dogmatic, that it will change based on the evidence, and that it does not require the invocation of the supernatural. These three things are found to varying degrees in virtually all religions. If you insist on calling evolutionary theory a religion why not meteorology, physics, chemistry, and astrophysics as well? After all, they fit your weak definition you selected.

You have amply demonstrated the dogmatism of the religion of Evolution. You have not shown that Evolution will alter from its fundamental core (That the Universe does not need God). And whether or not Evolution requires a supernatural element is irrelevant, it is still a religion.

You'll find that chemists and physicists argue about the origin of the moon, since chemists see no way that the moon could have come from the supposedly molten earth, and physicists see no way that the earth could have "caught" the moon as it traveled through from somewhere else. Each believes in their own field and firmly holds to their opinion. But the fact that most never bother to put the evidence together to show that there is no reason for the moon to be there, shows that the religion of Evolution has hampered their scientific inquiry. Thus their chemistry or physics have become sub-religions of the religion of Evolution as it conforms itself to the religion of Evolution. True chemistry or physics wouldn't stop at such a points and would continue on. But to continue would be to entertain the only possible solution—and that the religion of Evolution will not allow in its dogmatic adherence to the principle that the Universe does not need God.

Posted by: Danny Carlton at November 2, 2005 10:33 AM

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