Cliff Sodergren

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Cliff Sodergren
Posted about 2 years ago
Does creationism indicate bad education? (If so how can we fix this, and should it be taught?) Does Creationism have any credibility to it?
Allan, I think I'm getting pretty far off the original creationism topic here, but I wanted to comment on your thoughts. You wrote: "When the Bible was written, all they had was metaphor to help explain the inexplicable. They did not have science." I am not going to argue with you over their lack of scientific understanding, but I will point out that "metaphor" was not their only way of writing. I may be stretching your statement to a much broader application than you intended, but I do take issue with those that say, "you can't take the Bible literally, so you much treat it all as symbolic (or metaphor)". This is much too simplistic an approach for a complex document like the Bible. Clearly, much of what is written in the Bible is written as history ("on such a day, in such a geographic location, when so-and-so ruled", etc.) and is meant to be understood as events that literally happened in time and space. Other portions are clearly written in a manner that implies a figurative interpretation. I say this because the popular viewpoint seems to be that you either have to take the Bible 100% literally (leaving no room for figurative interpretation of portions that are obviously written that way), OR you have to take the Bible as 100% figurative and simply a book of some fables with some symbolic truths tucked away in places. There is a much more logical middle ground--interpret each portion according to the manner it was written and was intended to be understood. This is not always easy to discern, but this approach does lead toward a reasonable, consistent interpretation that is not contradictory with modern science, and still upholds its claims of being a record of real events that happened in history. Best regards, Cliff
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Cliff Sodergren
Posted about 2 years ago
Does creationism indicate bad education? (If so how can we fix this, and should it be taught?) Does Creationism have any credibility to it?
Just read your response yesterday. Thanks for the compliment. I'm curious what you believe about science's ability to address claims of a spiritual world (God's existence, etc.). Perhaps you have addressed this in other comments, but I'll readily admit I'm too tired/lazy to look through them all. Do you believe science can eliminate the possibility of a spiritual world (essentially a non-material parallel universe), or do you believe science must be silent on it because it is not a testable hypothesis, but rather a philosophical proposition? If you take the time to respond, thanks.
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Cliff Sodergren
Posted about 2 years ago
Does creationism indicate bad education? (If so how can we fix this, and should it be taught?) Does Creationism have any credibility to it?
Carlos, I haven't been on here in awhile, so I just saw your response from 5/17 yesterday. Sorry for the delay. I haven't read much ID literature, but if you insist that it is built on 'god of gaps', then I have to distance myself from it. I do believe in an intelligent designer, but not simply one who fills the gaps. You asked: "ID= is too complex to figure out, thus God Did it. What do you do with that line of reasoning?" Simply, I reject it because it is not my line of reasoning. You wrote in your response to me "what a bouquet of contradictions". Please explain, as you did not elaborate on what the contradictions are. Does it simply not smell nice to you or is there a specific contradiction you can point out? I still hold that what I expressed is not contradictory. If you think so, I'd like to know where. I'd be glad to explain how each item I mentioned fits cohesively with the rest without contradiction. Do you think it is possible to know anything without measurable evidence? I'm wondering how you feel about that and would like to know your thoughts. You wrote: "What religion folks profess is fine just as long as they don't try to ram it...." I agree with you here that nothing should be rammed on anyone. I am fully in favor of honest, thoughtful dialogue, and anyone of any religious (or non-religious) perspective should feel free to engage others in discussing its merits. If they are not interested in engaging in such a discussion, that should be respected. To be honest, I think an outside observer might view your comments in this conversation as a bit more on the 'ramming' side, but maybe you just tend to choose stronger words when expressing your arguments. I agree with you that ID does not belong in science class. I also am eager to explore and learn more, rather than accept ignorance. Besides, the existence of an intelligent creator does not hinge on any discovery of how it happened. Science isn't able to refute that possibility.
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Cliff Sodergren
Posted about 2 years ago
Does creationism indicate bad education? (If so how can we fix this, and should it be taught?) Does Creationism have any credibility to it?
Carlos, I have no argument with you regarding the politics and what people may or may not say in one context vs. another. Understanding you are from TN helps me in realizing it seems you have had no exposure to the broader community of folks who value science but also happen to believe in a Creator. What you have stated regarding the creationists or ID folks you have run into may very well be true. I want to assure you that it is not representative of the broader community. To equate ID with god of the gaps fallacy is a common misunderstanding. Speaking for myself, to suggest that there is an intelligent being that should be credited with the creation of the universe (and what has subsequently come into existence) is not suggesting that "there is no current explanation, therefore it must be God"--the basis of the god of the gaps. For me, it is a philosophical/religious belief that does not rely on whether gaps of knowledge are filled in or not. Rather, it posits that at every point, whether we understand the processes by which things came to be or not, there was a supreme being outside of our realm of existence engineering and directing those processes. This is a question on which science ultimately must be silent, because it is not a scientific proposition that can be explored with the scientific method. And it doesn't make one any less scientific for believing it. One can still hold the scientific method in the highest regard and do scientific work with the greatest rigor. Many great scientists, past and present, have! I think much of the issue with creationism is that it is a backlash against science classes that go beyond the boundaries of science and teach that evolution (or anything else for that matter) somehow disproves or negates a belief in a higher power. I have no problem with evolution, as long as it is not coupled with its own philosophical (not scientific) statements such as "evolution contradicts/eliminates belief in God", etc.
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Cliff Sodergren
Posted about 2 years ago
Does creationism indicate bad education? (If so how can we fix this, and should it be taught?) Does Creationism have any credibility to it?
Carlos, thanks for your response. You wrote: "ID folks and those supporting-Do not care about Science..." and "their mission is to destroy good science education for every child in the public schools of America". Please be careful about speaking categorically for all people in a group. (It's akin to stating: "All scientists want to destroy religion.") And I think refraining from the phrase "green serpents" will help keep this discourse civil. Certainly, your assumption may be correct for some. But many ID folks do care a great deal about doing good science and about good science education. They simply happen to believe that the evidence suggests an intelligent designer at work in the creation of the universe. This may be informed by their religious viewpoint, certainly. I have no problem saying that ID is not science in that it makes philosophical and theological statements. And I can agree with what Judge Jones says, as long as when he says "creationist" he doesn't mean Young Earth creationism. Many ID folks find YEC ridiculous, small-minded, dishonest, and a terrible distortion of scientific data (exactly why I suggested differentiating between YEC and ID). Ultimately, science can falsify YEC by finding contradictory evidence, which is well-established. But if ID is simply the idea that an intelligent creator was involved in the beginning of the universe, this is something science will not be able to address, as it is not falsifiable. So, regardless of where we fall in religious viewpoints, we will always be left with the possibility of a intelligent being's existence and involvement in the creation of the universe. I'm not suggesting it should be taught in the science classroom; I'm simply pointing it out as a legitimate viewpoint that science is not able to address.
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Cliff Sodergren
Posted about 2 years ago
Does creationism indicate bad education? (If so how can we fix this, and should it be taught?) Does Creationism have any credibility to it?
Gerco, I find it interesting you said "However, to say that an intelligent creator was at the start of it all is quite a leap that poses a whole range of other questions that are next to unanswerable, which is intolerable to those who want to understand the universe." Do you consider them unanswerable because they are not testable, and thus outside the realm of science? If this is the case, then there will always be unanswerable questions. Anytime you question issues of purpose, meaning, or a potential first cause outside our physical world before the universe or multiverse existed, you are asking questions that science can't address. But that doesn't mean they are not worth asking. Science is an incredible tool, but it does have its limits, as there are certain things that simply can't be put to the test. But it also is not the only method used to arrive at knowledge. If you really want to "understand the universe" (and obviously to me, you do), you will inevitably arrive at questions that science cannot answer. Even if every aspect of how the universe works/exists is someday explained, it still leaves the 'why'? If there is no why, it still leaves us asking "why do we think there could be a 'why'?" Either way, questions are unanswered. If having questions that science can't answer is "intolerable", then it will always leave you in a difficult spot, as such questions will always exist.
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Cliff Sodergren
Posted about 2 years ago
Does creationism indicate bad education? (If so how can we fix this, and should it be taught?) Does Creationism have any credibility to it?
Gerco, thanks for your responses and for the compliment. You ask good questions. My estimation--which I'm sure isn't 100% accurate, but it's the best I can see it--is that most "religious" students do have the scientific method taught to them well and that they generally accept it. It is not the scientific method they have a problem with. Despite our best efforts, science is never 100% objective, because it is being done by human beings who have opinions, preferences, biases, grudges, preconceived notions, etc. Much of the time, science is done well and with careful, balanced analysis. On the other hand, history is rife with examples to the contrary. I think the distrust is not of the scientific method but of the scientists. It is easy for them to imagine a scientist favoring an interpretation of data that supports the scientist's worldview while overlooking contradictory evidence. This perspective is probably aggravated by the general distrust of authority that has been breeding in our country for quite some time. We have seen too many political leaders, CEOs, and other people of power abuse their positions for their own gain. A great example is the healthcare industry--I know people who consciously ignore health advice given by government entities because they believe it has been influenced by large healthcare providers who want to make more money, and so they assume it is bad advice. You get the idea? So, how do we address this problem? When I tell a Christian that there really is good evidence for the universe being 14 billion years old, for example, I find I have to carefully explain to them HOW we know this. They can easily assume the data has been misinterpreted or even altered. If they know and trust me, they are more likely to believe what I am saying. And so I try to be patient, carefully explaining the facts, and hopefully pointing them toward a more sound understanding of science.