Reason, Religion, and Science

Undying hope that one man can see reason. I suppose the insanity of that is the same insanity much religious faith is based on; the wish for something in the total absence of supporting evidence.


This is the wrong hope. Reason is usually not how minds are changed, even among those that think logic and evidence are paramount.

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I feel like there’s a false equivalence at play here. I like to think I’m capable of changing my mind on basically any subject even as I recognize some will require much more work than others.

There is no subject you and I can discuss, including the existence of God or whatever else I’m probably rather biased about, where I will exhibit the level of apparently volitional obtuseness we see from a few other individuals around here.

Personality traits come in degrees, we don’t have them in exactly equal amounts, and that includes the degree to which people allow themselves to remain stubbornly inane.


I try to follow, very imperfectly, a couple of guidelines with respect to these sort of threads to maintain my mental health.

One, if I have stated my position fully and bluntly at some point, I am OK with letting the other guy have the last word once the exchange is wound up. The final say is not necessarily the most compelling.

Two, I do not attempt to change anyone’s mind or get anyone to cry uncle, because ultimately I do not get to pass or fail a challenger. I try to direct myself to a reader following along, who’s position may not yet be set, and above all, to clarify my own thinking. If I have a defensible position, I feel I should be able to express it.

I will take this opportunity to observe that Rum’s posts are usually substantial and relevantly engaging, and I do appreciate his contribution to the forum as I have learned a great deal by them.


I know it’s hard to believe, but I’m sure many of them feel the same way about you/us.

It’s actually offensive to be equated with the likes of Bill Cole.

Could you elaborate?


And if they do, that’s certainly a further indicator of willful obtuseness.

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I see why you find the comparison offensive. I’m not saying the situation is equivalent, but it’s a fact that that there is somewhat mirrored perceptions.

@colewd how would you describe the common ground you’ve seen between us?

Of course if you are somehow displeased with the duration and/or direction of the thread Joshua you or another moderator may shut it down and you can yourself have the last word after no one else is allowed to respond.

-We are both Christians and I followed @swamidass lead here taking a look at the evidence for the resurrection then ultimately prophecy.

-We both believe most of evolutionary theory is solid science but ultimately a limited explanation of life’s diversity

-We both believe at looking at different models of scientific theory and giving the models a fair hearing. This includes the GAE, design young earth models where we may have some disagreement but don’t discount the possible merits of the arguments.

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There is no evidence for the resurrection or prophecy. These are beliefs. I will never understand why that isn’t enough for some people.

I wonder what exactly Josh (is it Josh or Joshua? Which do you prefer) thinks is lacking about evolution and what needs to be added.

Genealogical Adam and Eve is not a scientific model. It’s a form of apologetics that shelters a religious conviction from scientific scrutiny. And as long as it’s acknowledged for what it is I’m OK with that. How people choose to reconcile their beliefs is fine as long as they don’t feel the need to misrepresent the science in doing so.

So if that’s your common ground it sounds like it’s all religious in nature and has little to do with the science.


Everyone agrees, or at least they should, that evolutionary doesn’t tell us everything. It isn’t the whole story.

That just isn’t it. Sorry :slight_smile:

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But that isn’t true. You reject most of evolutionary theory, especially anything having to do with common descent above whatever you think the level of “kind” is, and that includes most taxa people have mentioned to you.

I don’t think that’s true either. Does @swamidass credit any merits to any young earth arguments

GAE is a scientific model in part: the part that deals with the spread of genealogical ancestry. But would you not agree that the parts about the garden, the existence of that particular couple, and their de novo creation are not scientific?


The result is a literal Adam and Eve becomes an idea that science conveniently can’t confirm or deny.

Also Joshua it’s a clever bit of self promotion to have the initials of your idea link to the book. Good work.

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After having followed this subject for about 12 years that’s not hard to believe at all. I’m sure that’s true, but I don’t think that this serves as a good excuse for the sort of obtuseness that have been witnessed so many times in these discussions.

I’ve been wrong about something, had “my ass handed to me” so to speak, felt embarrassed about it to the point of retreating from the discussion, only to come back and concede the point. It doesn’t feel good in one’s pride to do that, but I felt like I had to do it to preserve my self-respect and the respect of people I consider my peers.

But here’s also what I think is a crucial distinction. I didn’t start blathering word salad and pretentious technobabble, or put some sort of “the debate continues” spin on it to keep up appearances. When I see people do this I start to lose respect for them, because that looks to me like a person who might not even believe any of the stuff they’re saying. I can respect a person who is wrong but sincerely convinced. I can’t respect someone who does stuff that indicates they might actually understand that they’re wrong but keeps going out of whatever tribalistic or personal issues compels them.


This is so vague as to be almost meaningless. Evolutionary biology doesn’t tell us everything about what?

I don’t agree with the idea of universal common descent. There is a lot more to discuss regarding evolutionary theory than this idea. I think the basic concepts of speciation and simple adaptions are very valuable. I think population genetics is very valuable. I think the classification system is very valuable.

@John_Harshman What you say sounds about right. There is quite a lot of ideas bound up in the term GAE. Some of them are science. Some of them are not.