Evolution and Atheism - please help

by Fernando 75 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • Giordano

    I say this because " whilst science books can update books as more information becomes available" and whilst I agree this is true we also have new versions or maybe I should write new " visions" of the bible.

    What we have Rebel with the WT is an attempt to bring the Bible, their version of it, into line with their beliefs just as most religions have done. Especially in the case of the Catholic church........... as quickly as they could dream stuff up the bible was amended, if not redacted, to lend authority to their religious institution.

    With the Society there is no new 'truth' just old beliefs that have to be changed, fixed or discarded.

    With Science old theories are discarded if found to be unsupported with evidence ( like a flat Earth) or celebrated when a theory can be confirmed. Unfortunately religion has no such confirmation.

  • slimboyfat
    Not even wrong


  • Heaven
    As I've said before, the thing I really like about Science is that if you choose not to believe them, they don't threaten you, upon your death, to judge you and if found guilty or otherwise inappropriate in some manner, torture you for all eternity in a burning lake of fire.
  • David_Jay

    Science and religion are neither opposites nor cut from the same cloth.

    Science is not about "answers" but a system of study of the physical universe through observation and experimentation. You can apply science all day long and never get any answers (ask anyone in forensics at your local police office about unsolved crimes, for example), and you can even be a scientist who, though devoting their lives to a particular field of study, never comes up with an answer to any of their questions. Science is a method of analysis, not a philosophical panacea. You don't always get answers becuase you apply scientific methods. And thus you can't use it as a means to get all your answers in life (not that I am saying anyone here is attempting to do that).

    You cannot replace religion with science either. Religion is not a method of analytical research like science is. Religion is an expression of cultural ritual, mores, and practice which offers those who adhere to it a sense of place in relation to the world around them. It can involve the worship of deities or be free of such concepts. It can offer answers or actually be a means used by adherents to free them for the search for such things.

    One can "choose not to believe science" and receive a judgment of awful consequences too. Ignoring physical laws, for example, can cost you your life in some instances. There may not be a lake of fire in your future for failing to believe scientific conclusions, but many a person has paid dearly with great suffering and even death for ignoring scientific data. The ocean liner Titanic is one infamous example of the suffering that can come upon those who "chose not to believe" the data from scientific methodology.

    So it is not always as simple as "choosing between religion and science," as perhaps some try to do. You can follow science as if it were a substitute for religion, but that wouldn't be any different from adopting ideologies like Christian Science or Scientology. Science isn't an ideology, isn't a creed, and it isn't a way of life. It's merely a way to study things around you, not a philosophy upon which to build a life upon.

  • cofty

    I would argue that faith makes it impossible to do science without indulging in a sort of benevolent hypocrisy...

    Consider a scientist who is also a theist doing research into the efficacy of a new drug that cures heart disease. Monday to Friday he supervises a double-blind trial to test the drug on a large sample of patients. At church on Sunday he participates in prayers for church members who are sick. One elderly lady in church has heart disease and is part of the drug trial.

    Now when he collates the results of the trial how does he factor-in the answers to prayers?

  • slimboyfat

    The best explanation I've heard for why science and religion are compatible (of anyone is interested in the other point of view):


    Audio here because audio on video breaks up at one point, Rorty starts at 9.30:


  • David_Jay


    That is a good question, but of course it only limits the issue before a Christian Fundamentalist's dilemma perhaps.

    In Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and in mainstream Christianity, "praying for one's recovery" is not a request for miracles. In fact, I know from experience, that in Catholicism (at least) the administering of medicine or even the scientific discovery and development of new treatments can often be viewed as an "answer to prayer." Seeking miracles, though often declared as a requisite by some "true believers," is not elemental to all theologies or Christian traditions. Some even see such things as unnecessarily "testing" the God they worship.

    A good friend of mine was a professional Catholic theologian. Quite aged now, he is mostly retired, but occasionally gets called on by both clergy and even the USCCB from time to time. I was quite surprised at the dichotomous approach he has to the work he does. I would describe it as "shocking to the conservative religious" because in academic work, even when the result is religious, there is great importance that he places on "never having the end result tainted by superstition," as he put it.

    Of course, were it not for meeting people like him I would probably have a similar view to yours. My experience in the JW religion left me both very sure of my reasoning skills but naive to the reality of how little I really knew about things. One cannot jump to conclusions on how religious people incorporate their scientific side into the holistic whole that ends up being who they are without meeting each and every one of them. Some of them are actually quite divided and prefer it that way to keep them going too far one way or the other.

    So their dichotomy is actually cherished and kept in place at all costs. Science and other critical analytical forms of reason are often employed purposefully by many theists because of the fact that they will not easily or ever reconcile with religious though. They want a fail-safe to ensure that their convictions are more than mere credulity.

    How many of us have a similar fail-safe in place to ensure we are not catering to our emotional need to be right, have all the answers, and are now in a position to remind others with opposite views that they need to change their ways (again, for those of us who thought this way as JWs)? Just because we chose atheism and science doesn't mean we don't need to constantly ensure and validate our current stand with just as much discipline as these people do.

  • cofty

    There you go lecturing that straw man again.

    I was a christian for 9 years after I left the cult and I'm very familiar with the whole spectrum of theological belief.

  • David_Jay


    I think your comments are very good and you show great depth of insight. Why you think I'm lecturing you or building some type of straw man argument is puzzling. I am writing with the understanding that more than you are reading these posts.

    Besides I was under the impression that most here, including you, don't fail to have an even far better means of ensuring the validity of your convictions than most. I am generally criticizing the type of mindset we learned as Witnesses. As far as I am concerned I have but the highest respect for your views, your arguments, and the positions you take.

  • Fernando

    Thank you all for a civilised discussion and for sharing your insights.

    I was going to ask what proportion of atheists reject evolution, however Saintbertholdt beat me to it with his concise answer.

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