Can belief in a higher power be combined with Evolution

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by keithzworld, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Messages:
    3,159
    Likes Received:
    498
    Lunitik, I don't fully agree. I have not yet decided where I stand on duality, I don't think it is quite as simple as dualistic or non-dualistic. It's all about perspective, and it is constantly changing.

    Radarmark, understandable chunks = good
     
  2. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2005
    Messages:
    20,731
    Likes Received:
    1,408
    It is not easy to be non dualistic when perceiving what your eyes see and ears hear....

    But it is an extreme benefit to try.
     
  3. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
    Messages:
    2,611
    Likes Received:
    0
    For me, bringing together science and psychology through philosophy cannot be solely a mind based understanding. It must also bring the lobes of the brain back into a more cohesive unit rather than split between logic and poetry. Philosophy can do this, it can bring a poetry to the logic depending on what we include. If we continue to maintain strictly a logical perspective on the world, it will continue to develop a war inside each of us.
     
  4. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
    Messages:
    2,611
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thing is, it doesn't really matter what you think about it, it is simply the case - you are perfectly right that it is about perspective though, perception. You identify completely with duality, you have not known anything higher, so how can you know the transcendence of duality? Every faith known to man hints towards it though, it is the height of all religion: a total loss of dual understanding.

    This doesn't mean a tree ceases to exist, it will still be there but it will not be distinct from you. Buddha says this best in his concept of interconnectivity, nothing is distinct, everything is deeply one. Science is confirming at least this much, proving it most directly through things like quantum entanglement.
     
  5. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Messages:
    3,159
    Likes Received:
    498
    Let's just say that, from your point of view, I'm to attached to this material plain. I'm still fascinated by the dualistic natures of our world, no matter if they are real or only in my head. And since I'm not religious, what all religions have in common is irrelevant to me right now. But I wouldn't say I identify completely with duality, I would even go so far as to say that I'm equally interested in the non dualistic perspective of the world.
     
  6. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
    Messages:
    2,611
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is perfectly ok, simply acknowledge every so often: I am perceiving the one as a duality. Sometimes even go deeper, what are the ramifications if two is actually one? What is the relationship between love and hate, between anger and compassion, between good and bad? This will help, this for me is religiousness.

    You need not study scriptures relentlessly, what they convey which is useful is very simple indeed. The problem is how to create the space for truth to seep in? In Bhakti - in the love tradiations - it is difficult, they have to built a reason to love the master even long after the master is dead. This is the purpose of most of the stories, they do not point at anything in and of themselves. The most obvious is the Cross in Christianity, constantly they point at Jesus' sacrifice for you. Lesser is the miracles, you can love a man you think is so much higher than you, that is doing things which seem impossible. This is why you love your father, he has shown you how to do things you didn't think were possible when you were young and they have stuck with you. None of this helps with the transcendence though...

    What I described is enough, if you venture deep enough into the ramifications you will eventually know as any great master has, then what need is the scripture? Personal experience is greater than any dead words you may encounter...
     
  7. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Messages:
    660
    Likes Received:
    2
    Science and religion don't have to be at odds with each other. Religious people can and do also believe in physics and biology. In fact, some religious scientists believe more strongly in physics and biology than many atheists. Another example of religion/science not being at odds is the Roman Catholic church accepting evolution as a scientific fact.

    On the flipside of the coin, many prominent scientists have also been very spiritual/religious. Newton, Einstein, Planck, and others either followed a particular religious dogma or described themselves as spiritual/religious or as believing in a supernatural force.

    The way I see it, if science can explain something, then it's not in religion's realm anymore. Science explains the known, while religion explains the unknown.

    Think about the old debates about the sun revolving around the earth, those beliefs were in large part based on the bible. Once science discovered how and why planets revolve around the sun, this was no longer a topic in the religious realm, it was no longer an "unknown". Or think about many ancient beliefs of the different roles that "Gods" played in creating rain, harvest, fire, thunder, etc. We no longer use religion to explain these phenomena because science has explained how much of the natural world works.

    The difference that I see between the "holy books" that you reference is that religious holy books must be taken on "faith" for the most part (several different ones claim to be the word of God). In contrast, physics/biology/etc, the "holy" books of atheists, can be taken on reason and the scientific method.

    It seems like you're a little harsh on science (although I'm probably biased coming from a scientific background). Natural science isn't perfect and never will be, as its goal is constant improvement/advancement of knowledge and understanding of the world around us. So, there are things that we believe are true now, which might change as we learn new information in the future. That's just the nature of science. However, that doesn't mean that the scientific method isn't valid.

    If you're critical of the scientific method, the "religion" of many atheists (if you think physics/chemistry books are atheist "holy books"), then give some thought to the following:

    Do you think the sun revolves around the earth? Why or why not?

    How old do you think the earth is and why?

    Do you think the bridge you drive over will support the weight of your car?

    Do you trust the medicine that your doctor prescribes for you and why?

    Do you think that smoking increases one's risk of cancer?

    Do you think your microwave will heat up food when you turn it on?

    Do you think people need to get a new flu shot each season and why?

    In my experience, many people are critical of science and the scientific method if/when it challenges one of their deeply held religous beliefs, such as belief in the bible. However, these same people subconsciously build their lives and everyday non-religious beliefs around the scientific method.

    I personally try to embrace the "uncertainty" of science, the fact that science can only tell us so much about our world at the current time. In the future, we may learn new scientific facts, which may change the way we view both science and religion (i.e. sun revolving around earth).

    But just because one believes 100% in the scientific method doesn't mean they can't also believe 100% in a particular religion, as religion/spirituality describes the world where science leaves off. Or as Galileo put it, "The Bible shows how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go."
     
  8. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
    Messages:
    2,611
    Likes Received:
    0
    Are you suggesting here that religions do have to be at odds? He is perfectly right that Science is as much a modern religion as anything else, people blindly accept whatsoever the science community suggests. A good example of this is Black Holes, there is no proof at all, but the math looks right so people assume it is so - there are no benefits to this at all, but people will actually engage in dispute about it. It is not much different at all, and science can be included in the overall synthesis, as can psychology.

    All of these pursuits originated together as philosophy, but due to one sides stubbornness the other has gone on without it... now there is a rift. People aren't interested in truth, they are too much committed to their loyalties gained through accidents of birth - they were born to a Hindu house so whatsoever doesn't agree with Hinduism must be ignored. Have they chosen to be Hindu? The bed across the room might have been a Muslim, just a few more feet and their being would have dropped into that womb. If it had happened, they would have hated all Hindus, they'd have been utterly committed to being Muslim with the same fanaticism.

    These segregations have to all be dropped, all of these people can offer very important things, but most importantly when combined there is a more complete picture. Philosophy means love of wisdom, all of the branches that have stemmed and rejected the others are nothing but utter stupidity.
     
  9. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Messages:
    3,159
    Likes Received:
    498
    IowaGuy,
    yes, I'm hard on science but I'm not saying it's not the way to go. I think you missed the points I was trying to make. I will try to explain myself better at a later time, but if you want, try to reread what I wrote and see that I'm not arguing against science, but expressing my frustrations with aspects of science and people that blindly follow science. I'm not talking about the people who explore the scientific method bot the people who blindly trusts authorities and reports.
     
  10. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Messages:
    3,212
    Likes Received:
    2
    IG and ACOT, that is what I got from her on this thread. "Natural science needs to be ordered" is (I think) a reference to "following blindly".
     
  11. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2011
    Messages:
    660
    Likes Received:
    2
    What is your definition of science?

    What is your definition of religion?

    I think my definition of science & religion differs from yours. Science is definitely not religion. As I stated above science describes the "known" and religion the "unknown."

    If you think science is religion either you are using a non-conventional definition or you do not understand what science actually is/does.

    Some people blindly accept whatever a street-corner psychic tells them, whatever their Mom tells them, etc. People can have blind faith in anything, including science. But science is not based on blind faith.

    Did you give some thought to the questions I posed? Do you need blind faith to believe in those concepts?
     
  12. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

    Joined:
    May 1, 2011
    Messages:
    2,611
    Likes Received:
    0
    Knowledge, but this isn't how it is used...

    It is used to mean a subjective observation of reality, outward perception.

    To re-bind, but again this isn't even how it is defined anymore...

    It is used to describe any mode of thought people have decided is such, as far as I can tell. I mean, philosophy is not considered a religion, but it describes many trains of thought into the ultimate. Socrates, for instance, was almost certainly enlightened, yet he is known to history as a philosopher... then, Buddhism is counted, but it is not like most religions - only Jainism really comes close. Generally, I use "organized religion" to say what society in general means... an organized structure and mode of thought centered around a God.

    I have said religion and science are not the same as well, I simply say this is a mistake that was warned against 2500 years ago. I would usually say science is a subjective observation, and religion is subjective, but I will go ahead and accept your terms.

    I have said it is a type of religion, a belief system...

    Still, a science degree is of philosophy still, as is religion at any University that teaches it for a major. The only difference is how each looks at the world, but they are both investigations into it.

    It is not so far from it, I am mostly trying to bring them together though... I do not believe religion should be founded on blind faith either - although Jesus says those that don't see are blessed.

    I do not think as a rule, but nothing should be accepted blindly ever.

    It is good to trust, there is a beauty in never doubting, but in the end blind does mean you can't see. I am constantly saying "be more aware!", see more. (as well, hear more, smell more, taste more, feel more)
     
  13. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Messages:
    3,159
    Likes Received:
    498
    It seems I expressed myself poorly, it was more of a rant so I forgive myself.
    I don't think either religion or science is necessarily followed blindly, but they are by a great number of people.
    What I said about science is that it WANTS to be ordered. It is, to my mind, how the scientific method works; laws and theories that interact or work side by side. In the pursuit of science we with to catalogue everything from A to Z. But it is not what I see in more advanced levels of natural science, and I blame it on human error. "Scientists" do not agree on everything (and I use quotation marks so simulate the way media uses the term) even though most agree on some things. And I'm not a fan of what Mill would call the tyranny of the majority. With the scientific fields covering greater amounts of knowledge, no person can be an expert on anything but a fraction of what is collectively known and we must thus trust others, perhaps not blindly but with impaired vision.
    All I'm saying is that when I went to school and was thought natural science everything was simple and ordered, but the more you know the more chaotic it appears. I'm not criticising or judging anything, I only share my perception of the world.
     
  14. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Messages:
    3,212
    Likes Received:
    2
    In 1900 Lord Kelvin admonished all physics students to switch to engineering because except for "two small dark clouds" physics was complete. The same year Hilbert presented his 23 problems that would "formalize and axionize mathematics for all time".

    Double oops! The first dark cloud was the unexpected results of the Michelson-Morley Experiment and the second Plank's constant. The former gave birth to relativity and the latter qunatum. Goedel came along and demolished Hilbert's program by showing the second problem was undecideable. Consequently a huge amout of time and brian-power has gone into those three areas.

    Today you will hear physicists (let alone popular authors) claim that "except for unifying quantum and relativity" (and here the string and super-string theorists claim victory already) it is "The End of Physics". Similarly mathematicians of the social-context school are announcing the "proof of truth within" mathematics (and every other school of mathematics had to follow suit).

    However there is this little sub-category in science, emergence theory, and another one in math, complexity-chaos theory, that have already (in my opinion) prooved the impossiblity of 1) a theory of everything with just relativity and quantum, and 2) a proof of truth if math includes complexity-chaos.

    The tale is long and hard but physicist like Maclughlin and Zurek and propular authors like Gleck and Waldrop (I cannot follow the mathematics of these insights at the meta-level) can give some insight.

    The bottom line: you ain't seen nothin' yet! This will get quite a bit more messy before they go back to a 1900 status.

    Pax et amore omnia vincumt. Radarmark
     
  15. shadowofwind

    shadowofwind New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2011
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    A thought relevant to this subject, in response to some of the earlier postings:

    Science, generally speaking, is the study of how things work, to the extent that they work in a controllable, repeatable way. Non-repeatability is accommodated so long as it can be modeled a well defined distribution of 'probabilities'. Linear relationships tend to be given particular attention in large part because they're easiest to deal with. Non-linear relationships are considered extensively also, but are likely to be ignored where they're mathematically intractable and can't be shown to be important in a definite, quantifiable way.

    Within that scope, science is definitely not a religion, not a matter of arbitrary faith. When there is a scientific consensus that 'X works this way', usually that's really how it works. At the bottom of it, the consensus among subject matter experts is based more on understanding than on prejudice or appeal to authority. Science does become more of a religion however for people who decide that things which can not be grappled with effectively in a scientific manner do not exist. And certainly a lot of scientists are like that. For the most part this doesn't invalidate their scientific claims however, only their philosophical ones.

    When creationists argue that that belief in evolution is as much a matter of faith as belief in creationism, they show that they don't understand science. They imagine that because they're inclined to make stuff up and call it TRUTH, or to let other people do that for them, that everyone else must be doing that also. But they're mistaken. Furthermore, if they argue that attempting to make one's faith compatible with scientific understanding shows insufficient devotion to God or to scripture, they're essentially declaring themselves at war with objective honesty. For the most part, I hardly see the point of arguing with such people, because they're not arguing in good faith.

    It seems a tragedy to me, because many, very valuable things are beyond the reach of science. So on the one hand we have atheists who are ignorant of such things because their philosophy declares them to be unreal. And on the other we have theists who are ignorant because they declare a priori what things are while closing their eyes to how things really are. Both approaches amount to a kind of materialism, a tendency to want to bring reality under the heel of declarative will, even though nearly everyone denies that's what they're doing. In that sense, the discoverable poverty of the exclusively scientific mindset is a blessing, and the obvious fallaciousness of young earth creationism is a blessing also. When people replace God with a lot of ideas about God, its idolatry and its a great loss, but the loss can be hard to objectively demonstrate. But when the same people make objectively false claims about things we know from experience to be real, their penchant for replacing reality with a crippled model of it is more decisively exposed.

    Maybe this is why evolutionists and anti-evolutionists keep going round and round with the same old arguments, rarely seeming to break any new ground, and rarely seeming to grasp the element of truth in the other side's perspective. Its a curse that's also a blessing, a metaphor for what's also wrong with our attitudes about heaven and divine justice, and God will let us play that game until we learn our lesson and tire of it.
     
  16. vizenos

    vizenos New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    0
    Essentially by overwhelming weight of evidence. See:
    29+ Evidences for Macroevolution: the Scientific Case for Common Descent

    Major areas of evidence:

    1. Geology: The fossil record. Highest strata contain fossils most closely resembling living species. Lower strata contain fossils decreasingly similar to living species.

    2. Biology: Nested hierarchies are fact, yet make no sense apart from evolution. Speciation, both allopatric and sympatric, have been observed multiple times, both in the laboratory and in the field.

    3. Genetics: Recombinant DNA provides the mechanism for continued genetic diversification within any and all specific populations. It is precisely this diversity which makes evolution not only possible but, given the reality of ecologic change over time, inevitable.

    Regards,
    Jim
     
  17. vizenos

    vizenos New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Messages:
    50
    Likes Received:
    0
    And best of all, you do not merely believe this because others have told you; you know this by direct observation!

    Regards,
    Jim
     
  18. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2011
    Messages:
    3,159
    Likes Received:
    498
    Vizenos,
    but I'm not comfortable calling this evidence, well, they are evidence of something and most likely evolution as we understand it. But it's not the same as a repeatable experiment. What I'm saying is that we understand some factors and have drawn conclusions from them, but we don't know if there are more factors, how many and what they are. I'm quite comfortable not knowing for a fact how we have come to be, and until evidence of the contrary, I'll stick to the theory of evolution.
     
  19. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Messages:
    3,212
    Likes Received:
    2
    The evidence for evolution is overwhelming. But at the same time there are really no experiments nor falsifiability by experiment. The problem is that, at this level, we are dealing with very complex systems... From a philosophy of science view, it would behove us to 1) push towards a science of emergence that could help in this endeavor, 2) point out that the evidence is not experimental but inferential, and 3) further develop the understanding of inference/abduction/induction as a scientific tool in the general population.

    Most citizens believe the "hypothesis-theory-law" paradigm (theories are unproven laws and laws are absolute) it really does not work that way. Secondly, there a bright individuals out there who misapply the Lakatos/Kuhn debate on what a science is to methodology (this even gets more complex whrn you bring in post-modernit deconstrction). Third, the vast majority of practicing mathematicians, engineers, and scientists still have a pre-chaos/complexity assumption of direct causality and cannot fathom probability or Bayesian theory.

    I think as science split off from natural philosophy and theology, we Westerners still needed that idea of "absolute truth" (even if we attributed it to a clockworld world). And now that science can show that ain't so, we do not have anything to fall back on. That frustrates the non-scientist who go searching elsewhere for "absolute truth".
     
  20. jungleturtle

    jungleturtle a buddha

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2011
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'd like to quote, at length, one of my favorite passages from Alan Watts:

    Now, maybe two million years ago, somebody came from another galaxy in a flying saucer, and had a look at the solar system, and they looked it over, shrugged their shoulders and said. "just a bunch of rocks"! And they went away.
    Later on, maybe two million years later, they came around, and they looked at it again, and they said, "excuse me, we thought it was a bunch of rocks and it is peopling, and it is alive after all. It has done something intelligent".
    Because, you see we grow out of this world, in the exactly the same way as the apple grows on the apple tree. If evolution means anything, it means that, but you see we curiously twist it.
    We say first of all in the beginning, there was nothing but gas and rock, and intelligence just happened to arrive in it. Like a sort of fungus or slime on the top of the whole thing. Ahh, but we are thinking in a way you see which disconnects the intelligence from the rocks.
    Where there are rocks, watch out! Because the rocks are going to eventually come alive!

    This may not directly answer the question, but I see it as a vaguely "spiritual" way of thinking about evolution. The intelligence, which Watts says is inherent in the rocks is, I think, what one could call God, the Tao, the shining void, the Great Spirit, Gaia, the Force,... so, yes.:)
     

Share This Page