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Why is there such heated debate over Creationism vs. Evolution?

Recently Fox News and Gallup posted some poll results:

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/09/07/fox-news-poll-creationism/

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/09/07/fox-news-poll-most-believe-prayer-heals-45-believe-in-creationism/

http://www.gallup.com/poll/145286/Four-Americans-Believe-Strict-Creationism.aspx

I found them interesting and wondered why they cause so much discussion. Two theories both sides unwilling to budge. So I devised an experiment and on a Christian blog I posed that evolution was true and on Ted as you may know I posed a debate on evolution and sided against it.

In both cases the arguements were fierce and hence my final question on the subject in TED. I appoligize for those who got heated and there were a few. I thank those who tried to answer.

So for this question I am wondering about why this topic is so heated? Your answers will help my report for school.

Topics: religion society
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    Oct 18 2012: I agree with a lot of the comments below - core beliefs, identity, ego etc.

    I might just add another atheist perspective.

    I guess the thing I find odd is creationists pick and choose the science that that fits their religious beliefs. They are generally okay with electricity, optics, chemistry etc until it clashes with their beliefs e.g. for yound earthers - the rejection of radiometric dating. Or that the light from some galaxies has taken billions of years to reach us.

    But evolution, the foundation of modern biology, comes under special attention. Even though the Anglican and Catholic church are accepted the science to some extent. other groups, particularly evangelicals just completely deny this part of science.

    They accept our DNA is similar to other primates. They can see the shared traits with all vertebrae, but because it does not happen on a human time scale, and their assumption is the bible is correct this block of science is not accepted.

    So I guess for some creationists, evolution is a deal breaker. Others though can still find a way to believe in gods that are compatible with evolution.

    But for me I guess it is kind of annoying that people who refute evolution are happy to take the benefits of science anyway, even things like testing on animals that works because we have similar physiologies, which science expains via evolution.

    The other thing for me is how people can imagine a god created the entire universe with us the focus on this little speck. That all animals survive by eating other living things. The rutting to make babies. Growing old and dying. It is just so earthy and brutal and natural. Nothing divine whatsoever.

    And then we see the tree of life mapped out, the fossils, evolution just makes sense. So it is kind of frustrating when it seems so obvious now we have the answer.

    Finally, evolution is well established science. Not the origin of life, but evolution. Its like people saying pluto does not orbit the sun.
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      Oct 18 2012: we should be the creators of science ,not the benifits of science ,if we want to earn more money and have a huge wealth ,think if we creat we are the creator of markets .if we are the benifits of it ,we are the consumers of it , one pay ,one get .
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      • Oct 19 2012: John Lennox on one side ... hum, "mathematician," "philosopher" of science (riiiiiiight!), on the other actual scientists, much closer to the problems that relate to life and the origins of anything, like thousands of physicists, of biologists, of molecular biologists, geologists, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Lots of actual philosophers of science too. Hum, I would think that Lennox is completely wrong. Of course, not only is the weight of actual scientists heavier, the evidence is what matters the most, and Lennox is just wrong. Not only that, I know the scientific fields myself, and I know directly that Lennox is wrong. So, from me to the many scientists who actually know what they are talking about, to the evidence and the proper understanding of the sciences involved, against this boring ignorant. Science wins hands down.
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        Oct 19 2012: yeah logical. let list lennox as an authority on the subject, but declare our right to ignore the hundreds of thousands of scientists on the other side of the debate. talk about double standards.
      • Oct 19 2012: Well Don, before I posted my comment above, I went and looked at what this Lennox has done. He does not have a lot of the math online. The little math he has does not make him an expert in statistics, physics, biology, or anything scientific. At least not in the sciences that matter in this "debate." On his "philosophical" side, I saw not a single thing about philosophy of science, but lots of the typical rhetorical Christian apologetics. Took a look at a supposed "debate" between him and Dawkins, for example, and while Dawkins was not precisely brilliant, all Lennox was doing was rhetorical after rhetorical point. "Christians don't really believe that," some beautified version of the sacrifice, and on. The same old and malicious point that it is all a matter of interpretation and worldviews. But nothing scientific, nothing of substance. All rhetoric aimed at the hearts, not the minds, of his flock.

        So, it is not a matter of my credentials (which are in biology, which is much closer to the problem of evolution than anything Lennox can offer). It is much more a matter of distinguishing between evidence and proper knowledge on one side, rhetorical imagery on Lennox's side. I find science much more reliable. Therefore you can keep your rhetorics for the sake of rhetorics, thank you very much.

        (Curious that you would not tell Lennox to give you the facts, not fiction. Maybe because you like his fiction then it's ok.)
      • Oct 19 2012: I do not mind about Dawkins. Criticize at will. In that "debate" he should have started by saying, rightfully, that the questions were not related to the issue (god delusions). But he is not a debater. He is just a scientist.

        Gold Medal on debating? I didn't know that debating mastery was conducive to truth. That science and evidence, if careful and reliable, are to be ignored. Would you illuminate my poor scientific mind? How would a medal on debating help me know that gods are true and evolution is false? The medal might pronounce me fit to convince people of whatever I wanted, that's what debating is about, but would it help me know something about gods and science? Please help me out. Thanks in advance.
      • Oct 20 2012: Thank you Don Wesley.
        I learned a lot.
        Peace be with you too.
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      Oct 19 2012: I guess the thing I find odd is creationists pick and choose the science that that fits their religious beliefs. They are generally okay with electricity, optics, chemistry etc until it clashes with their beliefs e.g. for yound earthers - the rejection of radiometric dating. Or that the light from some galaxies has taken billions of years to reach us.

      God made adam a full adult so he can make anything any age he wants. He created light so he can make it everywhere.

      They accept our DNA is similar to other primates. They can see the shared traits with all vertebrae, but because it does not happen on a human time scale, and their assumption is the bible is correct this block of science is not accepted.

      Similar DNA but as a true researcher in subject would agree the smallest difference can be a drastic difference. One single marker in the junk DNA has been proven to be the difference in different diseases and not so much junk anymore. I don't doubt the science just the assumptions.

      And then we see the tree of life mapped out, the fossils, evolution just makes sense. So it is kind of frustrating when it seems so obvious now we have the answer.

      The tree of life has multiple missing links, hence the term, and the fossile record still doesn't support many changes. So it is kind of frustrating when it seems so obvious we already had the answer.

      22 hours ago: I agree with a lot of the comments below - core beliefs, identity, ego etc.

      I might just add another atheist perspective.

      I guess the thing I find odd is creationists pick and choose the science that that fits their religious beliefs. They are generally okay with electricity, optics, chemistry etc until it clashes with their beliefs e.g. for yound earthers - the rejection of radiometric dating. Or that the light from some galaxies has taken billions of years to reach us.
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        Oct 19 2012: Quote => "God made adam a full adult so he can make anything any age he wants. He created light so he can make it everywhere."

        I always found this interesting, in the book as well as in statements made in conversations. Adam was an adult, perfect, with a non entropic body, so why make him a male with male genitalia? of course god had plans but he trialled Adam, he made Adam name all the animals in Eden and then god felt that Adam shouldn't be alone which can be assumed that Adam passed god's trial period. What if Adam had no male genitalia but had a rudimentary system resembling the female genitalia without the reproductive system or skeletal structure. God caused him to lay down in a deep sleep and took from him a bone and created Eve. What if God restructured Adam from the ground up, deleting the perfection of the singularity and split the model in half literally. Any holes in this suggestion?
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    Oct 16 2012: Because it's a fake debate. Creationnists start those fake debates. Perhaps they're afraid to read science books, so they poke the atheistic layman instead, hoping his dayjob and family life would have distracted him from remembering all the bits and pieces of something like evolution, and then they draw conclusions about the whole of the scientific institution.
    Or perhaps they're reaching for education...
    In any case, the heat comes from the fact that there is no debate of content in these discussions.

    If at least one of the parties hasn't changed views during a debate, then it's not over. Nothing bothers me more than lazy Tedsters who chicken out of an argument right when the fun starts.
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      Oct 17 2012: Thank you for your reply. Could you please further answer the question?
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        Oct 17 2012: From a Creationist's point of view, the debate is legitimate. It's one opinion against another, one religion against another. One very recent belief system against one as old as the pyramids. And for the Creationist, one concept appears to make more sense than the other.

        From an Evolutionist's point of view, the debate is not legitimate because Evolution is not a belief. It's a theory that's a work in progress, that's being criticized and improved constantly. But mostly, it's an explanation about what life is and where it comes from. So for the Evolutionist, Intelligent Design is not an option worth considering since it's not even pretending to be an explanation about life and its origins.

        The heat in the debate comes from that difference in viewpoints. Creationists don't understand why Evolutionists are not open-minded to what they believe to be decent alternative theories. Evolutionists don't understand why Creationists believe in explanations that don't explain anything.
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          Oct 19 2012: Excellent answer to the question! Thank you.
  • Oct 15 2012: Why?

    It's obvious, you have on the one side scientists working hard to discover how nature works and has worked. Figuring out some pretty amazing stuff by carefully gathered data. Trying hard to get the next generations inherit what we already know, at least the basics, so there's foundations for further progress.

    On the other side you have people holding to old myths lead by charlatans. Charlatans who will deny any piece of scientific evidence that contradicts their old myths. Charlatanry that will be happily accepted by believers in such ancient myths. Not content with denying something like evolution, these charlatans will convince their followers that there's evidence for, say, Noah's flood, or that our planet is very young, all by twisting any scientific discovery they can to their own ends.

    These charlatans want their myths taught in school instead of science. Taught as if they were valid scientific findings. They are so desperate to debase science, that they have evolved their strategies and disguised their charlatanry as much as possible. Trying to get into the science curriculum by little steps, none of them by actual scientific discovery, but rather courts, and laws, and rules that might open up a bit the classroom to teach creationism as if it were science.

    That's why this is such a hot topic. Because scientists understand that the way to the science classroom is science, not politics and charlatanry. Because those charlatans accuse scientists of fabricating evidence, all the while lying to their followers and to society in general.

    Creationism is not a theory. It's a belief.
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      Oct 17 2012: Their are scientist on both sides of the equation.

      But thank you for your input.
      • Oct 17 2012: No there's not. If a scientist decides to start campaigning in charlatan mode against scientific findings that conflict with their faith, they are not practicing science, they are practicing lemon-car-salesmanship.
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    Oct 22 2012: The debate is so heated, because how you answer this question can determine how you live your life and how resources (often tax dollars) are spent. I don't think both points of view can be right at the same time (unless you get pretty creative). So you're either "right" or "wrong" on this issue, depending on what you believe.

    If you believe in creationism, you also usually (in my experience) believe a number of other things that go along with that, all mostly having to do with your religion, and that religion is usually Christianity. Why would you want your own tax dollars to go towards educating your own children about evolution when that is something you fundamentally disagree with? This violates people's sense of religious freedom.

    As evolution is the prevailing official view (at least as taught in most Western schools), this would put the creationists in the position of having to fight for their rights, as they understand them. Such fights naturally lead to heated debates, and there you have it.

    From the evolutionists perspective, the creationists are backwards thinking, antediluvian, religious zealots who are interfering with the progress of science, and they do not want their tax dollars going towards teaching their children someone else's religion.
  • Oct 19 2012: "Why is there such heated debate over Creationism vs. Evolution?"

    There isn't in the civilized world.

    It's not an issue in Europe, Russia, China, Japan, Australia, Canada, Latin America, Japan, parts of India and the more developed parts of the United States.

    Unfortunately their remain some pockets of religious extremists who keep making it an issue (because the truth scares them) in Africa, the Middle East, Pakistan, some other parts of India and the less developed parts of the United States.
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    Oct 19 2012: It can never be a debate.......yessss it can be only a discussion or anything else that can be called but noi debate......

    Belief vs Logic/ Reasoning/ Evidence can't go on as debate.....

    However you are right about the HEAT ...
  • Oct 16 2012: I'm not much of a fan when it comes to analogies but let me try one anyways.
    In your "about me" it states that you are a Nuclear Power plant operator.
    You have a vast number of safety measures and procedures in place around the operation of this nuclear plant.
    If a group of neo-astrologers begins to lobby the government and the education system that astrology is a viable alternative to predicting future events like earthquakes, tsunamis and nuclear accidents and it is superior to your safety procedures because you can't predict when something will go wrong, only react to it when it’s too late.
    They further demand that it be taught in schools as an equivalent safety mechanism to your procedures and that it should be put in place in the entire nation’s nuclear reactor plant to better protect us from misadventure. They draw their authority from Genesis, statements by Mathew and the magi interpreting planetary position to portent the birth of Jesus.
    The pro-astrology group forms organizations to slip "predictive astrology" into the schools and want to debate you at every possible time on the predictive ability of their science and the lack of it in yours.
    You know they are idiots but every time you destroy one of their arguments, they simply rephrase it and state it again as if it’s something new. They begin to attack you in the courts.
    You are forced to fight back, knowing that you are correctly keeping the country safe but at the same time appearing belligerent to this group when you debate and when you write books on proper safety procedures.
    Do the deserve respect. No because they are morons and their belief system is absurd.
    Can there be any real debate between the two groups. No, because there is no common ground. One is science and one is a delusion. How do you convince a deluded person that they are deluded.
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      Oct 17 2012: I ask you to look in the mirror.

      Jesus said, "I AM the Way the Truth and The Life" - John 14:6
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        Oct 17 2012: How do you know Jesus said that?
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          Oct 18 2012: How do we know Nelson said "Kiss me Hardy", or Ceasar said "Et tu Brute" ?

          :-)
      • Oct 17 2012: Exactly what does that mean. What way. the way to learn about the universe?. I don't think so.
        What truth. The truth about how we became to be on this planet? I don't think so.
        I have a life that does not revolve around adoration of mythical beings.

        Your's was one of the most ridiculous comments I have seen on Ted for some time.
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        Oct 22 2012: Hi peter, guess we don't know. In fact I thought et tu Brute was made up by Shakespeare.

        However there is much more evidence both of these men existed than Jesus. In fact there are no records dating back to when he was alive of the existence of Jesus. And as far as we know the gospels were recorded decades after his death. Must be good memories, or magic right, to get even the less fantastic details correct.

        And then you have to decide whether you accept the magical aspects, virgin birth, water walking, ressurections, and claims etc with no compelling evidence.
    • Oct 18 2012: WOW Gordon those were pretty harsh words. You know we always seem to pit Christianity against Evolution. You never hear how other religions view evolution. How many countries teach evolution in their classrooms I wonder? Gordon I really do think that calling others morons, because they view things differently than yourself is what causes these discussions to go nowhere. Belittling others will never gain you a positive response. Personally I believe in both Creationism and Evolution. I view myself as a very small being from a very young species, who knows very little. I believe that would be open mindedness with a dash of humility. I am glad to finally meet someone on TED who is omniscient such as yourself. I hope your next post will be the answer to String Theory.
      • Oct 18 2012: If you would actually read my post I was using an analogy of an obviously debunked "science" of astrology as a stand in for creationism.
        We seem to have a mental block about creationism that I thought could be addressed by looking at it a different way.
        We may be a young species with a small amount of knowledge, but that doesn't mean that we know nothing nor that when confronted by a concept that we find uncomfortable to a pre-existing belief system that we should retreat from it to the supernatural.
        You should get comfortable with the notion that the debate between creationism and evolution will never go anywhere because they are opposites. There is an abundance of evidence for evolution and none for creationism yet the argument that both should be taught for a 'balanced' view is repeatedly made.
        They are also rooted in vastly different frameworks. Evolution is based on science that does not allow for an authority and demands only explainations that are falsifiable.
        Creationism is based on an framework that relies on authoritation points of view and explainations that must be taken on belief with no evidence.
        If you can have a debate within that framework you know something I don't.
        I have no comments on string theory, I find the math too convoluted for me to follow.
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      Oct 20 2012: Hi Gordon.
      I have been following this "Creationism in Schools" thing from the UK.
      There is a lot of talk about "religion by the back door" & such like. When I listen to the counter argument it seems that they merely want science in school to be honest. They want evolution to be taught honestly, instead of it being stated as fact. There is a lot of opinion involved with evolution. A evolved from B, B evolved wings etc. & we've got the artists impression to prove it.
      Creationists have no interest in "Creation'ism'" being taught by folks who don't believe it; that would be totally counter-productive. All they are asking is that science, & only science, without personal prejudice, be taught to our youngsters. That seems very reasonable to me.

      :-)
      • Oct 20 2012: I would also like science to be taught honestly. However that includes evolution being a fact and not an opinion, that there is no supporting evidence for creationism or ID as it is called here, and that science accepts no authority figures whose opinion cannot be challenged.
        There is no debate in the scientific community that evolution exists, there never has been since before Darwin.
        Science is now exploring the causes and mechanisms.
        Your statement that creationist have no interest in ID being taught by non-believers is unimaginably uninformed. They want it taught instead of evolution but will accept the current thin edge of the wedge as being taught as an equivalent theory.
        My own point of view is that these people are insane or at least massively delusional.
        Science is not a democracy and does not care about anyones opinion. It requires and relies on only evidence. All theories must be supported by evidence or they are rejected (or downgraded). For example, Newtonian gravity theory was disproven, however at low gravities and low velocities, it still works good so it has been downgraded. However, without Einstein's calculations, your GPS would not work correctly.
        I require only that schools teach the truth as we know today regardless as to how much it disagrees with my own personal world view. Or your personal world view for that matter.
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          Oct 21 2012: Well Gordon.
          ""My own point of view is that these people are insane or at least massively delusional. ""

          Where does one begin with someone who thinks I'm insane ? Enjoy your belief; bye!
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    Oct 16 2012: that conversation was titled "Choose Pro or Con and discuss"? i skimmed through it, and i found very little heat, and very high argument-to-heat ratio. it seems to me that you came here with a preconception, and you have written the conclusion before the test.

    i also found misleading and dissatisfying that you attached the heat to the topic in general. like everyone becomes fierce and hostile, and no actual debate takes place. it is necessary to analyze the hostility or elevated emotions in depth. who commits that, in reaction to what, what is the nature of it and so on. namecalling is not the same as calling someone a scientific illiterate after illustrating he actually is a scientific illiterate.

    we can only hope that your report will be more in depth and less flamboyant.
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      Oct 17 2012: Krisztian,
      That was my intent in the first place. As for the argument-to-heat ratio that was what I hoped for and was well rewarded. I may have stirred the pot from time to time. True that not everyone became hot but I wasn't truely concered about the debate more the social responses.
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    Gail . 50+

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    Oct 16 2012: As a parent and a tax payer, I believe that schools exist for the purpose of education, not indoctrination. I do not want to have my (now) grandchildren) indoctrinated. I consider it child abuse.

    The anti-intellectualism of the evangelical christians is a frightening thing to watch. I see it as a danger, not only to children, but to the country itself. America has already entered the dangerous realm of a christian theocracy. Those of us who are non-christians are forced to violate our consciousnesses in the name of this theocracy with its hateful god.

    If christians were less intolerant, vengeful, pro-violence, and ignorant, I wouldn't give a hoot what they believe. When they force me to honor their God (whom they have shown me does not deserve my respect, let alone my honor), my basic human right to my most important freedom is erased, and I am forced into slavery.

    Slavery is horrible thing to endure.

    PS: Evolution is not a theory, and anyone who believes that it is is dangerously uninformed - a threat to all. Ignorance is not strength. It's a weakness.

    Faith = belief in spite of lack of evidence.
    Evidence does not involve faith. It stands alone.

    There is ZERO evidence in favor of creationism. There is abundant evidence in favor of evolution, a theory, in spite of the fact that it may not be complete. Evolution would not be a theory if all of the facts were in. If all facts were known, it would be a LAW. It is a theory because not all the facts are in. ZERO facts are in favoring creationism, therefore it is not a theory.

    Creationism isn't even a hypothesis because a hypothesis requires a propsed test, which Christianity hasn't yet presented..
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      Oct 17 2012: Interesting that a country founded on religious freedom should now have those same freedoms that made the country so great viewed as danger.

      But you are right you are a slave of a master. And so am I, but it is a different master. I know you won't understand that but I hope some day you do.
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        Oct 17 2012: I'm an EX-christian. Christianity has changed a LOT in the last 25 years. It is no longer recognizable as Christianity. I know you won't understand, but I hope that some day you do.
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          Oct 17 2012: Sorry, Ms. Lover, but there is no such thing as "an EX-christian". The reason is simple. God decides who will receive the gift of Faith and once it is given it cannot be lost. Christianity is not a human construct. Not everyone who claims to be a Christian is. If you are not a believer in the LORD Jesus Christ now, you never were, but you could become one if God so chooses. Ask, seek, knock. Peace.
        • Oct 17 2012: (My apologies Edward for what I had written here. It was not a good way to convey the message. May I try and clean my act by saying that of course, I understand that you think this idea comes from your god, rather than from you, yet, telling someone that he/she was not a Christian is calling them liars. Think how you would react if somebody called into question that you truly are quite sure that you have been chosen by this god. That's it.)
        • Oct 18 2012: Doesn't that mean that you let yourself be robbed of your beliefs. I never view any religion by its parishioners. Christianity is the same as it was and will be under its worst and best representations. That would be like equating everyone's beliefs to that of any president, and saying the president represents what all American's believe. The perversion of a religion doesn't make the religion bad anymore than the nuclear bomb makes science bad. Heck atheist have been responsible for quite a few deaths from Hitler to Stalin. What we have chosen to do with the gift of free will is our choice. By giving us that precious gift we have also been allowed to muck up, and misrepresent a deity's words. I have met those who represent their beliefs very well, and others who drive people away from "their" religion at break neck speeds. Fortunately I do not have to suffer fools. I can simply read for myself, and make my own conclusions. I am sorry for your loss especially if it was do to others mishandling of a belief.
      • Oct 17 2012: The danger is not your freedom of religion. Te danger is in the pretence to pass religious beliefs for science. In trying to force disguised indoctrination into science class. The problem is the fundamentalist Christians trying to undermine this freedom of religion by despicable tactics. By introducing their beliefs to unaware children using tax-payer money. That's the danger. If creationists want to reach the science curriculum, they should use the proper channel: scientific endeavours, scientific findings, scientific discoveries, the long and winding road that other scientific findings took before been of enough importance to make it into science class. But no, they know they have nothing scientific to present, so they prefer courts and disguising their beliefs hoping that judges will not notice. How's that for danger?
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    Oct 15 2012: I can think of two reasons. One is that a belief in this area may be one of the most important foundations of a person's life, so the issue is not some academic thing that doesn't really matter to the participants. It matters.

    Another is that in this area, people often do not respect each others' positions. This often moves into not respecting the person who accepts or argues for that position.

    Some people ignore those they do not respect. This can mean not engaging with them on the topic (which doesn't tend to create heat) or participating in discussion but not listening to or genuinely considering what others are saying. Appearing to engage but then not actually listening may frustrate the person who is not being heard, which may produce an aggressive reaction. The exchange may then escalate.

    Others prefer to be aggressively disrespectful to those they do not respect for whatever reason. This, again, may escalate. Of course some people get angry whenever they cannot convince others they are right (regardless of the topic), or are quick to take offense, and so move the interaction from trying to convince with argument to something else.

    I have to add that I have seen fourteen year olds discuss this subject (in a discussion involving both religious and non-religious youth) without anyone's getting upset or mean about it.


    If this is really for school, remember what you are gathering will only be random people's opinions. If I had to write on this topic, I would look into the literature in psychology which addresses underlying reasons for aggressive behaviors or one-upsmanship. I would then take the case of this particular issue and analyze it using the frameworks/models I found in the literature.
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      Oct 15 2012: Thanks for the advice! This is only part of my research, thanks.
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        Oct 15 2012: What is the course called? Or is it thesis work?
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        Oct 17 2012: Hi, James. I couldn't get this near the posts to which I was responding.

        I did not raise the question of politics. I only replied to Ken's reference to 'their worldview party's election."

        I don't tend to follow the creation versus evolution threads. I only commented early in one that you posted, saying that the fact that evolution isn't proven is not saying it is "out" as an explanation and remarking on the standard that replaces "proof' in science. When you replied just, "answer the question," rather than responding to what I had said, I knew you were not interested in considering my way of approaching your question and so did not return to the conversation.

        From a research standpoint, do you think perhaps that the way you, the researcher, replied to posts in your thread steered the tone of the debate, and who would remain to discuss the issue, to confirm your hypothesis that it would tend to be heated?
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          Oct 19 2012: true got frustrated that no one answered any question but even the response I got were hot to prove a point that the question didn't ask.
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        Oct 19 2012: Good to recognize. I mention it only because in empirical work for thesis research, it is important to describe in presenting your work how you as the researcher intentionally or unintentionally may have skewed the result of your experiment. By replying to many of the early early responses only with "Answer the question," you set a somewhat rude opening tone.

        This practice of setting something forward (image/tone/suggestion) that influences your subject's behavior is sometimes called "priming."
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      Oct 16 2012: Could i just add something?

      Is there room for the militant mindset in a debate? regardless of what side a person comes down these minds are only out to absorb,analyze and repurpose another persons arguments for future reuse while sprinkling hints to use the debate as a personal campaign for their worldview parties election. Why i say this is because i fell prey to it and sometimes still fall prey to it though i'm trying to curb the secret converter and kick him to the side rather than have it subsume the human that tries to see all paths without partitions and try to stick to being courteous. There are many times i've allowed emotion to rule which only serves to teach you something about yourself and does help in self modification but i have come across minds that though extremely knowledgeable and successful and highly respected act in some instances like young adults, sensitive.

      I hope i've added and conveyed this properly?
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        Oct 16 2012: I think people who want to improve their arguments for a point of view they hold may legitimately use an informal debate as a learning opportunity to do that. Participating in a debate is a way of developing more convincing arguments for a position and also learning the strongest arguments for the opposing position so they will know how to critique those arguments the next time.

        That is one way people can use debates to understand a point of view better.

        I am not sure I understand the "sprinkling hints to use the debate as a personal campaign for their worldview parties' election," particularly in the context of James' specific question about evolution.

        I don't think of debates between candidates for election as real debates somehow. There is too much looking to ridicule the opponent with little gimmicks, taking words out of context, and so forth rather than offering a glimpse into their real thinking and plans.
        It's more like advertising.
        I admit that I don't watch debates between candidates, because I don't like seeing people at their worst.

        I agree that some extremely knowledgable and highly respected people can act like young adults. Some even ARE young adults!
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          Oct 16 2012: Quote => "I am not sure I understand the "sprinkling hints to use the debate as a personal campaign for their worldview parties' election," particularly in the context of James' specific question about evolution."

          Yes, this part has nothing much to do with James or even directed at him or you or anyone but i'm glad we know his debate material is for personal/school research, I wondered why his postal responses were somewhat clinical in manner in the other debates. It's just that when a knowledgeable member can sometimes wreck a beautiful post/all their posts by inserting a personal subtle/unsubtle remark about another group then they, to me, lower themselves, like i said before, I fall prey to it myself. I'm not asking that you agree with me Fritzie i'm just stating what i've personally observed and think you have far better perception than me and can see a totally different angle than most.

          Quote => "I agree that some extremely knowledgable and highly respected people can act like young adults. Some even ARE young adults!"

          Yes, I'm not use to dealing with such powerful minds even if they are young but i won't try to stop it if it is the way of the future, then so be it.

          Sorry James if i've Hijacked for a small while, it's not intentional but Fritzies first post was thoughtful for me.
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          Oct 17 2012: Not sure about how you got onto politics as Ken mentioned.

          And thank you for you input.
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        Oct 16 2012: I understand what you are saying. I don't like gratuitous jabs at other people or groups either. In fact you have likely seen me question sweeping generalizations about, or condescending attitudes toward, groups of people.

        I am with you that such behavior does not add to the person's credibility.
        In terms of hyper-emotional stuff, I have zero temper, so whenever people start turning a difference of opinion into postures that are hostile on a personal level, I find it extremely unpleasant. But I know some people have big tempers.

        I also really don't like when people ridicule others, though some people (including some pretty famous ones) obviously enjoy that.
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          Oct 17 2012: Thank you for noticing this. In the debates I staged several individuals fell to this level many times. They repeatably stated their case and at no time provided help to the group discussion and were enraged when I didn't acknolege them within 24 hours. Or if they were burried in an avalanch of replies (and they often were as the debates were over a hundred of comments long in just a few short days). I'm still trying to establish the best way to catagorize them. My thesis relates to social media's impact on such discussions.
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        Oct 17 2012: Always room for the militant mindset and others. In the debate it really doesn't matter.
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    Oct 20 2012: Creation vs Evolution. Two theories. Heated debate. Maybe not two opposing theories but two threads in a fabric of existential cloth. There was a TEDtalk a while ago about creativity. It might help here. The speaker pointed out that in ancient times ideas etc were said to come from the Gods i.e. to be inspired by an external source. With the advent of science during the time known as the Enlightenment, ideas etc came to be located within an individual person's intellect. Imagine the power in locating an idea. Locating an idea or thought process in an external, non-locatable source like a God is quite freeing and quite confining. Same for locating an idea or thought process in a person. It's about 'ownership' in a way. The scientific community is very hot on evidence-based ideas so any hypothesis has to be delivered via a replicatable experiment and the results debated. Unfortunately several phenomena do not respond well to this kind of analysis. I suggest creations like books, works of art, music etc definately don't. Words and ideas are cultural creations. You might like to look at George Orwell's novel '1984' where the author plays with the 'what if' idea of limiting a vocabulary to remove the potential for thoughts disruptive to a particular ideology. Passion is great isn't it. Certainity is death to creative processes. Perhaps your report might touch upon the idea of 'freedom of speech'. Your experiment was unscientific, there was no 'control' debate and too many variables. You might like to look at the scientific methodology in some of the social sciences and the use of 'case vignettes' particularly used for exploring lived experience in subjects like psychology and counselling.
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    Oct 20 2012: James,

    Are you familiar with the book Ishmael?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ishmael_%28novel%29

    Absolutely great book and it discusses something similar to what you may be searching for...

    Taking from the book as well as what I can a test to:

    As human beings we have a drive to want to know how the metaphysical works. How this drive was/is formed, well, that is slowly being illuminated today in cognitive studies. Yet, I do insist this drive exist.

    With the anticipation this drive exist, we can assume easily why anyone would want to know how the universe began, and shall end (as well as other meta-questions). Now the debate at hand questions "why does one need to answer how life began?"

    I argue aesthetics. It is pleasing to the psyche to imagine how we began to answer the rest of life's great questions. The Big Bang theory is incomplete, but said theory solidifies an image to those whom desire no higher power than humanity - life is random with deterministic natures. Creationism is pure theory, but the opposite occurs, those who hold faith in said theory desire a higher power to watch over humanity - life is determined with seemingly random natures.

    Personally, I do not care. I only care because others seem to care so much about the need to know how life (or the universe) began. What cannot be mistaken is the fact we have evolved. Even if the argue becomes macro v. micro evolution - no one can deny we have evolved (and if they do, they are extremist and dangerous). So whether or not we are created to evolve by a creator, or are purely a random happening - how we began does not dictate where we are going and what we must do to continue our survival on this planet.

    This aesthetic debate blinds us from what really matters - due to how pleasing it is.

    Being fundamental here is selfish to me; as I know we are not the only life on this planet and in the universe, and if we were created; our creator(s) seem to care nothing about what we do.

    Stress the future
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    Oct 20 2012: I'll take a stab at answering it James, Physical evidence of investigation and logic is far more appealing than just a archaic book written by people from an age gone by. It goes against my core belief system but that is to me, a pretty good assessment.
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    Oct 16 2012: The heat, as someone said, is caused by friction. This debate is so basic to our human life because it really is asking, "do you believe in a God or not?

    Fewer and fewer people believe in a God and part of that reason is the popularity of science. Science seems to have all the answers about this world.

    It seems more an argument about whether there is just a physical world and thus no God, or also a spiritual world and thus a God. Many experiences cannot be explained by science. The usual response is Give us time.

    That is how basic, and thus hot, the argument is. For many ages the literal Creation Story was the way to go. Now there are issues with several assumptions about it and for good reason. I do not believe the Creation Story has any connection or application to this physical world. it is all about the spiritual development each individual person can go through, if they wish (and God hopes for).

    Science can get us to the moon, but only religion can get us to heaven.
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      Oct 17 2012: To you, and many others, its may seems like " Science seems to have all the answers about this world."
      This is a distorted, yet common, understanding of science.
      Science never makes the claim that it has ALL the answers. Science has a method for covering information about the world, the scientific method. It is constantly moving forward and as such revising and updating itself.
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        Oct 17 2012: "Science never makes the claim that it has ALL the answers. Science has a method for covering information about the world, the scientific method. It is constantly moving forward and as such revising and updating itself."

        That's why the usual response is (even creating an apple out of nothing), "give us time"

        Science has everything to do with matter ("this world"), it has nothing to do with life (and its possible purpose).

        I have absolutely nothing against science, because I recognize its limits. Where science stops, religion starts and both should have a meaningful and respectful connection (being from the same Source).

        One cannot do without the other.
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          Oct 17 2012: You're not presenting a valid argument. We exit in a material realm. Life is a part of this realm. Science investigates it. Religions are based in mythology, a series of stories intended to explain our existence here.

          There is no "religious method of investigation."

          People get along fine without religion, try getting along without science.
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        Oct 17 2012: I think it is our body that exists in a material realm. My wife had a NDE and agrees with me, there is more to us than the body.

        "There is no "religious method of investigation.""
        You're right, there is indeed no investigation of matter, or even the movement of neurons, etc. Because if we do something wrong it is our mind that is responsible, not our neurons or electrical connections. We have to pay the ticket, or go to prison etc. we can't send the neurons.
        That being said, Swedenborg has written close to 30 books and all about religious experiences and investigations. In fact it is all so scientifically detailed and consistent it is regarded by us as the Second Coming of the Lord. But, that's just our opinion, there is no scientific proof of that..

        Just a question about us and animals. If the body is all there is, how come animals with bodies consisting of the same kind of materials as we have, are not send to prison when they do something wrong but either ignored or shot on the spot? What do you think it is that makes us different?

        How long have people been getting along without science?
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          Oct 17 2012: "Getting along" is relative. They lived shorter lives and suffered more which afforded the mythos of religions that promised heaven and negated the material existence
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          Oct 19 2012: Hi Adriaan, I’m open on NDE. Actually I am open on the existence of gods and goddesses in general. I just don’t think there is sufficient evidence to prove their existence. Also, as these beliefs get more layered with dogmatic specifics and supernatural claims, they get more contradictory and less believable. Instructions on facial hair, genital mutilation, what to eat, who to kill, virgin births, walking on water etc.

          NDE is probably one of the best arguments for the spirit realm or an afterlife. Unfortunately it is not a slam dunk. In fact I suggest it is more likely a hallucination while the brain is struggling against shutting down.

          My aunty had an NDE, while flying on an 747, and while she is encouraged that there might be something positive after life, it not the only possible explanation, and not definitive proof.

          For myself, the closet I have come is a hospital stay for some major surgery. Whether it was the painkillers or body recovering from trauma, I had the most vivid dreams and hallucinations. Also, sometimes my normal dreams seem real, and in some I can fly.
          I don’t find it unreasonable that the NDE might just be something going on in the physical brain.

          However, I would also highlight that the best evidence is just these subjective types of experiences, where the mind is in an extreme state. For me that points to it most likely being mind experiences. It also highlights how tenuous the evidence is for spirit. A fair degree of faith is required to be confident, especially as people start to make specific detailed claims about the supposed spiritual realm. Which is one reason they often make contradictory claims. Its all subjective.
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        Oct 19 2012: Hi Obey,
        "NDE is probably one of the best arguments for the spirit realm or an afterlife. Unfortunately it is not a slam dunk. In fact I suggest it is more likely a hallucination while the brain is struggling against shutting down."
        But if we hallucinate we don't see the truth or reality, that's why it is called that. But when someone can related what a doctor said or a nurse did, and they acknowledge that, it is real.

        But you are still very much wishing for proof and evidence of the spirit. I have absolutely no problem with positive questions and concerns. It is a preconceived negative approach that makes a discussion impossible.
        Over millions of years, spiritual instruction (Revelation) has indeed evolved and may indeed seem to have changed. But that has been more the choice of words than the underlying spiritual meaning. The Creation Story is an example of that. The Israellites and later the Jews needed a different approach, and structure of discipline, than the Christians do now in order to become better people. And that's what life is all about.

        I'm glad to see you're open to a belief in a higher power, if I understand you correctly. No one is perfect or has all the answers. it is more like, as the Dutch saying goes, 'row with the oars we have.'
        BTW my wife had a NDE as a young girl because of drowning and became frustrated with religion because no one could tell her anything about her actual and very real experience. Often she was aksed silly things like 'What did you eat, or drink' etc. Her opinion about religions came up one time and she said why that was. When I said that NDE's were normal and could be explained, she almost feell off her chair :)
        Swedenborg wrote about them in detail about 250 years ago. I suppose that's why Dr Moody in his famous book Life After Life included a chapter about him. Googeling the name and NDE might open some doors too.

        And yes, subjective is the word!
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          Oct 19 2012: There is a neurosurgeon with a new book out about his near death experience, Eben Alexander.
          The fact remains that we do understand how long term memory is produced from short term memory. What I am not seeing here is a discuss about brain processes. Sam Harris pointed out, when questioning Alexander's account, that the brain did not stop functioning, while Alexander was in a coma, and this is accurate, leaving the opening for further explanation and doubt about Alexander's story.
          Other neuroscientists, such as Daniel Kahneman tells us that the unconscious mind plays a bigger role than we imagine. The focus here is the conscious mind, and that may be the error. Much of what flows into the consciousness starts in the unconscious. (see Benjamin Libet) I'll give Alexander's book a look just to see his appendix discussions. I did heard him interviewed and he was not informative or convincing. He has no proof, just a good story to tell. The bottom line is that Alexander's asking us to BELIEVE in what he cannot explain, and religion already does that.
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        Oct 19 2012: HI Theodore, a near death experience is a personal experience and cannot be regarded as proof for anyone else. As is shown here on TED, even NDE's can be (mis)-interpreted by the one undergoing one. What only can be very important is the consistency of millions.

        I do not see the brain as anything more than an organ of the body, and in this case a connector. Just as the eye does not see and the ear does not hear, neither is it the brain that thinks about our thoughts and decides to change the mind all by itself. To force ourselves from loving evil to loving good is no physical process. No marching neurons :)

        You may have something there about the conscious and the unconscious mind. Swedenborg may have called them the internal and external man.

        You made a good point "BELIEVE in what he cannot explain" "now humanity is allowed to enter intellectuallly into the realm of faith." ~ E. Swedenborg
        So, would you agree that near death experiences usually take minutes?
        How would you regard someone's writings about NDE's, out of body experiences etc who was a much respected scientist? Much respected by the Swedish governing body and it's kind and queen. Someone who had those experiences every day for the last 27 years of his life.
        Someone who also had many recorded experiences in social settings which proved his spiritual connections were real.
        If you'd like to check things out, his books can be freely downloaded from my website and others.
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    Oct 15 2012: Simply, Creationism is about Faith. Evolution is about Science and free logic. With faith you are already in a mind set. With Science you are constantly searching. It is like saying, "why can't water and oil get together?" ...... Having said this, there is also and foremost a Biological explanation but, this will be a lengthy and a different discussion.
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      Oct 15 2012: Yes that is a way of explaining them but why the debate, why is it so hot?
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        Oct 16 2012: Hello James. You ask 'why the debate, why is it so hot?' I say that it is NOT a debate. You can debate Creationism with Creationism, Evolution (Science) with Evolution. This is why it is so hot. ... once again, the water and oil example. They are two totally different things.
        Cheers
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          Oct 16 2012: I think trying to mix water and oil does not generate much, if any, heat. Friction generates heat. Where two mutually-exclusive life views are debated there is bound to be friction. Each side disputes the very existence of the other. You see words used throughout this conversation like, "idolatry", "malicious propaganda", "charlatans", "lying", etc. (for the record, all references to Creationists by Evolutionists). By the way, Evolution is no more a synonym for Science than Creationism is. They are each different words. Thank you sir!
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          Oct 17 2012: Vince,
          If the debate is not hot why are there so many response for and against it and angry words on each side?
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    Oct 15 2012: As one green belt to another let's talk root-cause (of the passion). There are three possible explanations for life on Earth: 1) God. 2) Abiogenesis followed by natural selection of beneficial mutations over eons of time from a common ancestor. 3) It cannot be proven so don't worry about it. The intensity of debate comes not so much from group 3, but when proponents of groups 1 and 2 go at it great heat is generated and very little light. Why so heated? Simple. . . each side denies the very essence of the other's belief system. To acquiesce is to admit the need to start over, to be born again.
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      Oct 15 2012: May I propose another group those who try to fit science into the bible. As indicated in the polls. How do you see them fitting in?
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        Oct 15 2012: I consider the Deistic Evolutionist school to be split between groups 2 and 3 because no proper application of the Holy Bible can support the notion of a self-regulating, godless universe. Not all "science" is at variance with the Holy Bible so there is no problem fitting science into the Bible, unless you remove God to make room for it. Factual science (no, that is not an oxymoron, nor is it redundant) fits perfectly with the Bible. It is the scientific theories falsely called facts that conflict with scripture. Thank you sir!
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          Oct 17 2012: Well spoken! Was not trying to incite was just wondering based on the poll.
    • Oct 15 2012: Natural processes are not belief systems.
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        Oct 15 2012: Agreed.
        • Oct 15 2012: Therefore natural selection and evolution are not belief systems.
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        Oct 16 2012: Again, agreed. Natural selection is a component part of evolution. Neither is a natural process. Both are descriptive titles of a theoretical bio-mechanism whereby all life is said to have evolved from nothing into some undetermined substance then into every lifeform that ever existed, or ever will exist, all for no known cause or reason, and under no known control or design.
        • Oct 16 2012: Natural selection is a de facto natural process. It is also undeniably so. Evolution is the consequence of many natural processes, so I would agree that it is not per se a process, but, since it is the result of lots of natural processes on top and aside and everywhere with respect to each other, it is not a belief system. Thus, it is a mistake to put evolution and creationism (even your particular brand of creationism) side-by-side and call them both belief systems (you said "each side denies the very essence of the other's belief system").

          Of course, you put abiogenesis and universal common ancestry there together, which might work all right for your argument (gives an false appearance of impossibility), but deviates from what people really think and understand and from the many varieties of people's experiences and actual beliefs, combined with their different levels of understanding. I know, not too clear. Anyway, I refuse to put scientific theories and hypotheses, into a "belief system" category. They are not belief systems, they are results, or conclusions suggested/affirmed/reaffirmed by evidences and results, some stronger, some weaker, some conclusive, some inconclusive, some developing at a very quick pace, some so well established that there's little more to add. But again and again, not belief systems.
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        Oct 16 2012: We have a topic already and it is not the specific analysis of the elements of Evolution or Creationism. Why don't you post your statement, "Natural Selection is a de facto natural process. It is also undeniably so." as a debate and see what transpires?
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          Oct 17 2012: I tried that already.
        • Oct 17 2012: Agreed that this is not the topic. But you equated natural processes with belief systems.

          It is nonsense to start a debate about things that are evidently true. Natural selection is, de facto, a natural process. It is so by definition. Debating this would be like posting something with the title: "red is a de facto colour. It is also undeniably so." Why would I want to expose myself to nonsense coming mainly from creationists who would mistake this with a statement about the origin of species, of life, of the universe, and the existence or nonexistence of gods; or with wannabe philosophers with unreasonable tendencies towards solipsism?
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        Oct 18 2012: You, Entropy, have chosen a most suitable monicker to define yourself. By that I am referring to the fact that your participation in this conversation has largely had the effect of moving it toward disarray. I am mystified why you would enter into a debate you consider to be "nonsense". Your mind projection fallacies and your use of kettle logic are inefficient and unproductive. Have you an answer to your own question. . . "Why would I want to expose myself to nonsense. . . with wannabe philosophers and. . .sollipsism? Somewhere in your contributions here have you stated your opinon as to why evolution/creation debates typically tend to be heated? Peace.
        • Oct 18 2012: I have stated why the "debate" is so heated.
          Peace to you too.
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    Oct 15 2012: There is more to it than first meets the eye. It is politics nevertheless.
  • Oct 15 2012: Because both sides are so sure that their view is the right one. But being certain of a lie would not change it to the truth. And sometimes a lie could seem as convincing as the truth.
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      Oct 15 2012: Reminds me of the election debates
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    Oct 22 2012: James, No one mentioned that in this frail world that religion offers "hope". To dash someones hopes and dreams is an attempt to dominate and that sets heels.

    There are those that have exploited religion and many of us remember the hucksters that roamed the Bible Belt for years. Now we have the TV brand who again have been proven unworthy.

    I have been accosted in airports and in my home by door to door christians who mean well but do little good. They have little respect for those who also believe because they do not believe as they do.

    For some religion is big money .... for others it is hope for eternity.

    Good luck with your paper.

    Al;l the best. Bob.
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    Oct 20 2012: finally we are answering the question. No offense to the others, they have shared very interesting and helpful ideas.
    Congratulations James and good luck on your report. You have definitely stirred the wasp nest.... oops, sorry, that was an analogy. :)
    Cheers
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    Oct 20 2012: James,

    I find several reasons for the heat; first, one does not want to be wrong, so they defend their belief on personal grounds. It's a matter of pride, and sometimes conceit.

    Second, the heat is between what will be taught in schools. Evolutionists see science as the holy grail of knowledge. Creationism is built on faith. The current definition of "faith" is unquestioning belief that does not require proof or evidence. Science is dependent on evidence leading to proof, so creationism is seen as repressive against science, and therefore, repressive against knowledge.

    Third, the timeline issue is a hot topic; was it thousands or billions of years. Some say it doesn't matter because both are long past, but the HOW comes into the mix. Did we evolve, which is a process that has led us on a path that has unlocked great secrets in trying to figure it out. Or was it God, which keeps the secrets all to himself. Since it can't be both (thousands verses billions), many are challenged to choose sides.

    But the forth is the one I find generates the most heat; the proclaimed wrath of God against the unbeliever. The atheist is appalled at the proposed torment that a "loving and merciful" God would condemn a lost soul to. The believer is appalled that someone would lead another to hell by convincing them that God does not exist. When those issues get pulled into the debate, and they often are even if they are not stated (people subconsciously think about it), then the emotional content leads to anger on both sides. It's no longer an issue of who is right, it becomes an issue in which one sees the other as a threat against the well being of the masses.
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    Oct 20 2012: Hey James,
    People get heated over this topic, I feel, in most cases in the way beliefs are passed down. If you don't believe like your community leaders then it almost always gets taken as a disrespectful gesture which often leads to excommunication from the church or family. Look at the Dad's who forsake their own sons after they discover that they are homosexual. World views are taken very seriously by most no matter how self serving and unwilling to change they may be. It is possible to believe in God and the Sciences as well, I do. But then again I may be just choosing what I like.
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    Oct 20 2012: You ask why it is so heated?

    Well, it's because belief is exactly the same as perception.
    It's just a sortation system that converts the data from our senses into information.
    We use this information as a basis to decide which is the most optimal way forward.
    The optimal way forward is determined by how our actions will affect our comfort.
    Our comfort is benchmarked by optimal levels of physical states .. things like blood pressure, core temperature etc.
    Anything that makes our core body deviate away from the optimal is called "discomfort".
    Anything that converges our core body with optimum is called "comfort".

    One's beliefs, no matter how delusional, make-up a world view.
    Any world view that results in perpetual comfort will remain static. If anything challenges this world view, our causal systems will predict a threat to comfort.
    Problem with humans is that our prediction systems are connected with body regulation - so we see threats to world view as physical threats. This kicks-in the fight/flight response and causes discomfort.

    So try this - threaten someone's world view at the point of a gun and they will recant - no matter how devout.
    Or - challenge the world view of someone who is already uncomfortable, and they will be inclined to open their closed mind.

    Your heat is being generated by the gas that emits from comfortable people.

    It's fun to watch the shenanigans - as you well know.

    I salute you ;)
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      Oct 20 2012: Hi Mitch.
      ""So try this - threaten someone's world view at the point of a gun and they will recant - no matter how devout.""
      Hasn't worked too well with Christians over the years. Remember the lions?

      http://www.jesus.org.uk/vault/library/foxes_book_of_martyrs.pdf

      :-)
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        Oct 20 2012: Worked well enough for the inquisition.

        Mind you - this is all heresay. The story of martyres is always written second-hand.

        I don't remember any lions outside of a zoo - do you?

        This is why i recommend trying something before you believe in it.

        (Edit: Damnit, I'm sounding a little too comfortable! :)
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          Oct 21 2012: I guess if you consider history to be heresay then you don't have a lot to go on. The inquisition was the Roman Catholic way of disposing of those who wouldn't tow the line. Chief among these were the Christians, who could have saved themselves by recanting, but didn't; just like those thrown to the lions by Rome, & millions throughout history. So I've heard say at any rate :)
          OK for you to be comfortable; you're not a Christian.

          :-)
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        Oct 21 2012: LOL!

        Who said I wasn't a Christian?
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          Oct 21 2012: There's not many around in this place; I thought I'd sussed them out. I need all the help I can get if you want to 'come out'. Be careful of the Christophobics. :)

          :-)
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        Oct 22 2012: Hi Peter,
        I placed my life into god's hand when i was 10 years old.
        Ask and you will be given, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened.
        So I asked for wisdom.
        Part of the wisdom given me was the word of Christ.
        Another part was a vision of the creation of the universe.
        Let me tell you, time is not what we take it to be.
        Jesus came to fulfill the commandments - to move forward from the old ways that had become captured by the scribes and the pharasees - and bent to their personal agendas.
        This debate about creationism Vs. evolution is a battle between the modern day scribes(orthadox science) and pharsees(orthadox religion).
        God is not concerned with any of this.
        If you want to become closer to god, look up from confusion and conflict - move into him - he is not in a book, he is at hand.
        Ask. Then accept the answer as it unfolds.

        Mind you - I am very curious to see what insights the fosil anomalies reveal!
        This is the absolute joy of God.
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          Oct 22 2012: Hi Mitch.
          I was 35 before I heard about Christ in any meaningful way. Always knew we were living in a miracle. Studied evolution for years, but couldn't get the dots to join scientifically. When I encountered creation everything just fell into place.
          I agree on your reading of the Scribes & Pharisees, it is a bit of a sideshow. However I believe the evolution issue is important as it conflicts with the Word of God. If death is part of the natural process; ie. not the result of sin; then the death of Christ is made of no effect. It is my thing because of the route I took to Christ, but there are others out there seeking in the same way; so I plough on.
          You say He is not in a book. Don't you believe He is the author of the bible?
          The fossils thing is really interesting. Nobody will acknowledge that rapid deposition is a possibility as the main cause. They do acknowledge that is necessary in many places at various times, but refuse to acknowledge that it may have been worldwide. Yet the fossils are worldwide. It is frustrating, but I guess it can't be otherwise.
          I love to see God's handiwork in nature, so beautiful & so so complex that we are really without excuse.

          :-)
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        Oct 22 2012: Hi Peter,

        The bible was written by men.
        It is extremely difficult to work out the messages of teh prophets through that much noise and translation error.
        But it is there in a patchy kind of way. Specially when you cross reference between all the prophets in all the writings from all the religions.
        Like I said - time is not like anything people understand. The truth is that no one - not the bible, not the scientists know what is going on with historical records such as fossils.
        If the orthodoxy in science was not so politically polluted, the anomolies could be examined in the light of new hypotheses.
        Rapid deposition is not denied by science - the large fosil deposits of teh northern tundra demonstrate clear evidence of it - something big happened there, scientists know it, buit no one has offered a hypothesis that can be verified under peer review. Paul LaViolette had a go, but he's underfunded to complete his work.
        As for the very old human remains anomolies - well, these timescales put them back before the global ice-sheet which ground everything to a pulp for a few millenia.
        I am sure the explaination for this stuff will surprise everyone, and it will probably have to do with the true nature of time - independant of being disgourged whole from a cosmic turtle or being layed down in orderly evolution.
        The vision i was granted is a lot more interesting than these primative explainations. It allows my god to exceed anything that has or can be written and calls us all into him. I cannot fully write what I saw .. I've been trying to for about 40 years .. but I think quantum physics is a reasonable start .. teh dimensional density of it is impressive, and yet the creation itself was so simple that using words for it polutes its purity. Yes, it is something like a big bang, but it is not on any timeline - the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
        Death is necessary - only the unenlightened fear it. Sin is a word that arises in childhood abuse. Neural theory confirms it.
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        Oct 22 2012: I'm going to continue a bit here because you seem to be a genuine seeker.
        Part of the eternal big-bang that we call creation is encapsulated in the only true word of god written in the old testament "I am that I am".
        My vision showed that the (unsayable in words) that is imbedded in "I am that I am" is creation itself.
        In what we take for time, it is going on all the time - it did not happen at any point in the past .. time itself is part of it. This is why Jesus said "the kingdom of heaven is at hand" because it is.
        My vision also showed me more than one time - infinite dimensions radiating from (the unsayable word).
        My path has since showm me the essential role of self - that exists in every particle, molecule, rock, water, germs, worrms and men and the singing of stars. Each self a part of the (unspeakable word) which is the only self that requires no not-self for definition.
        When you do sacrifice to gods, they bless you.
        When you deny gods, they bless you.
        When you do the work of gods, they do not bless you, you enter them and become a part of them - you no longer have a self to bless. This is how they bless themselves.
        After becoming God, death loses its meaning.
        in terms of common human happiness, it is more fruitful to read Damasio than the bible. At least Damasio has a clue about what self really means in humans.
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          Oct 22 2012: Hi Mitch.
          The trouble with going outside the bible is that you are left to be your own judge & jury. How can you trust that your revelations are not just misfiring neurons? What makes you doubt that God is capable of preserving His message in a book? There are hundreds of people who have had revelations of one type or another, but if we have no way of checking them, then what ?
          Jesus often references the Old Testament, & careful reading of it reveals Christ himself all the way through it, including many prophecies which are fulfilled in the New Testament. So, for my part, I will continue to trust it.
          As for fossils etc. I agree, no-one really knows. Looks like a big flood to me; but what do I know? No doubt the heated debate will continue. Interesting to hear your viewpoint although I can't go along with it. I guess we can agree that mainstream science & mainstream religion both leave much to be desired. Keep on diggin'.

          :-)
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    Oct 20 2012: Well my fellow debaters; after days of continuous banter, it seems to me this discussion has proved absolutely nothing. The Creationist are still Creationist, and the Evolutionist are still together. Have you figured out why yet? Well, let me suggest a reason. If you scroll way up to the question that James put forth, you will notice that none are answering the question. ...Please evolutionist lets not argue with those of Faith. our arguments makes them stronger. As for the answer to THE QUESTION. they are two views that do not mix. It is not a true debate. This is why it is so HOT.
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    Oct 19 2012: Regarding the consistencies of NDEs, what are they? Is anyone documenting the similarities and differences, and explaining them?
    Until this happens NDE remains speculative and suspect. Alexander's book may as well be fiction or the discussion of a personal dream. I've not seen him address the neurological aspect of my question.
    You ignored it as well.
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      Oct 20 2012: Theodore?

      Have you come across many people who have had NDE's? If so, have any of them had similar type experiences or are they singular with each individual that has had one? Just curious as there are a few Tedsters that have been through one.
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        Oct 20 2012: I have never personally known anyone who had a NDE so I have not had the change to discuss it except in comments such as these. Also, I have seen people complain that "mainstream science" does not pursue the topic, but I do not feel it is the responsibility of scientist with no interest in the topic to disprove something for which there is only personal narratives.

        It does sound like a TED conversation that needs to be started.
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          Oct 20 2012: Would there be any money out there to get the funding close to starting an investigation? A conversation would be enlightening but from memory there is only three tedster regulars that i know of that can give their input to their experience, it would be up to the vast tedwatchers to jump in and hopefully contribute their experience.
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        Oct 20 2012: Hi Ken,
        FYI - there is a ton of information available regarding research that has been done for years. Google NDE research for starters:>)
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          Oct 20 2012: I'm going to have a search Colleen but i was hoping that other tedsters that might of had one would tell their stories here if Theodore would pose the Q, I know your one as well as John moonstroller and possibly Pat and another lady but i can't remember her name, there must be millions as well as OBE people.
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    Oct 19 2012: Because of this little thing called belief. People believe one or the other and have to justify their belief. I prefer to look at each and see how each applies.

    "Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking; where it is absent, discussion is apt to become worse than useless."
    ~Leo Tolstoy
  • Oct 19 2012: All heated debates have the same hidden scenario : nobody wants to listen everybody wants to say .
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    Oct 18 2012: Hi James.
    Obey (below) & I have clashed on many occassions, & most of his points have been answered. However there is an inability on both sides to take on board the viewpoint of the other. This is frustrating for all, but creationists seem to be considered as some sort of lesser being. Christian etiquette demands that we love our enemies, so I try to take it on the chin. Not always successfully.
    The fossils that are so persuasive to the evolutionists, are also, for a different reason, persuasive to me.
    In order to become a fossil a creature must be buried rapidly. The various layers of rock seem to be liberally scattered with fossils; some even penetrate several layers. The joints between layers are typically clean & smooth. It seems obvious to me that this feature could not have been formed gradually over millions of years.
    Now I freely admit I may be wrong. I await a reasonable alternative mechanism; but I fail to see how the rapid formation argument is dismissed out of hand. Is it not a viable alternative ? Typically I am told to read a geology book.
    From my perspective this is frustrating, notwithstanding loving my neighbour.

    :-)
    • Oct 19 2012: Peter,

      I venture that the problem of explaining things to you start with trying to figure out where to start. Example, your claim about fossils and geological layers is wrong almost at every word, sprinkled with a few truths. It is even worse, I have to guess what kinds of mistaken concepts lie below the surface of your already patently wrong claims. I guess that's the reason people tell you to go and read a good book on geology (add thermodynamics to the list, please).

      The first sentence sounds, intuitively, right. An organism should be buried somewhat rapidly to be fossilized. However, when looked more closely, this is false (the wikipedia article on fossils might give you a clue of the many kinds of fossils, and thus how not all of them had to be buried rapidly). So, supposing that some organisms were buried rapidly by some flood is all right. Jumping from that to the conclusion that therefore the whole of geological layers were deposited rapidly is plainly silly.

      The joints between layers are rarely smooth. I am appalled that you would say the contrary to what geologists say, and to what I have witnessed myself. We can actually separate layers and see the evidence for erosion. Lots of layers, lots of erosion events. Often the eroded layers can be slanted with respect to other layers. It's obvious that such layers were formed over quite long periods of time.

      Rocks are not steaming with fossils. Some places are, some places aren't. There's nothing surprising about fossils penetrating several layers. Interesting cases, of course, but nothing contradictory to any results in geology and geophysics.

      That's but a flavour. But, obviously, a full course in geology would be better for you. That is why it is frustrating. There's too much to rectify in your understanding of the sciences, and these are just comments in an internet forum. Science is not a one sentence deal. It's hard work.

      :-)
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        Oct 19 2012: Thanks Entropy; you make my point very well. The assumption is that I am wrong & you are right. Kudos for not mentioning pixies & Spaggetti Monsters.

        :-)
    • Oct 19 2012: It's not an assumption Peter. I know for certain that you are wrong. I know so because I have studied geology, studied rocks, studied layers, studied how geologists distinguish minerals, thus sources of sediments, metamorphic processes, the effects of pressure, the effects of heat, distinguishing wind from water erosion, and understanding how layers are deposited. I have also studied palaeontology. Studied different kinds of fossils, learned how different kinds of fossils formed, studied some fossils, and so on. The only way to make the assertions that you make is to remain ignorant of a billion details about geology and concentrate on a few points to make it appear ass anything but impossible (more rhetoric than science).

      It is not a matter of assumptions, but a matter of study. A matter of knowledge against the badly deformed information that creationists are fed by their charlatans.

      :-)
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        Oct 19 2012: You make several assumptions Entropy.
        1) I have not studied this.
        2) I am gullible.
        3) The experts who believe as I do are charlatans.
        4) You are infallible.
        This is why the debate gets heated. A total lack of respect for the informed opinions of others. The fact is that neither of us was there, & consequently cannot be sure.

        :-)
    • Oct 19 2012: I'm not infallible?!

      :-(