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I Don't Think God Fails

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Posted by Harvey on October 11, 2002 18:41:09 UTC

Hi Aurino,

I don't see it as God's immediate objective to make sure everyone believes 'truth'.

I think Sam can come to see evolution as true even if it does conflict with his religious views. I had trouble with evolution as a teenager since I couldn't see how God could be involved in a natural process that doesn't apparently need him. First you must be led to conflict before you can find a resolution to conflict (movies are based on this stuff).

Rather, Sam has chosen inappropriate means by which to settle the conflicts. This is Sam's conflict resolution algorithm from what I can tell:

1) The Bible is completely true.
2) The Bible should be defended.
3) Evolution contradicts the Bible.
4) Something in the evidence of evolution must be false.
5) I don't know enough about evolutionary evidence to decide (4).
6) There is a website with people having science degrees who believe like me and who hold (4).
7) Therefore I believe the people in (6) are true - or are to be my help.
8) I will defend the Bible (2) and use (7) to do this. I will link many of my arguments with (7).
9) I win when I accomplish this task.

Of course, this (1)-(9) is entirely faulty reasoning. What I have to do is show Sam why this is faulty. I can attack (1), but like you said that ain't gonna work since it is Sam's premise and not a conclusion. I can attack (2), but that's another premise that nobody can do anything about. I can attack (3), but I think there is a strong indication that biblical literacy is not possible without making generous interpretations of the text, I can attack (4), which is what I am doing. I'm showing that he has a proclivity to attack without any possible admission of there being truth to evolution. I'm also showing him that (5) is reason for him not to attack evolution. I don't want him to rely on (6) or (7) but his own thoughts and arguments. Make him aware of (8) and show that (9) is faulty.

Will this change Sam's mind? I don't think so. The premises of (1) are so strong that he is willing to forego rational reasoning even if necessary. However, anyone who takes that position is easily uncomfortable since they depend on rational reasoning to convert others to their viewpoint (a very important requirement for missionary religions like Christianity and Islam which is why I think science had a headstart in those dominated-religious areas). So, in order to get Sam to doubt (1), one must first disable (4)-(9) and then try to agree on what is a rational mind. Granted, I don't think Sam would ever come over to a valid rational standard (at least one that he is willing to apply to himself), but he might be budged to question (4)-(9). That's at least a small victory, and might spare some people of at least some of his boring and specious creationist arguments throughout his life.

High hopes. I'd rather climb Everest, that seems easier.

Warm regards, Harv

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