M - Does God Exist? (Facebook video
(click here for a youtube version
"A true story..." Please share this video with your friends or by posting it on your profile.
R - argh...this again...Einstein never said those things, this is a story that never happened and it was produced by people who feel that lying is justified to promote their world view. If you want to know Einstein's actual feelings about religion:
This is not "truth", rather the farthest thing from it.
M - interesting that the story is false, however the words are truth, somebody had the question and the wisdom for the answer. That is what I like about it. I am not political, and I don't believe in teaching beliefs (God included) to people like they are fact without giving them the right to question and ask. Which is what I don't like about them ... Read Moreteaching evolution to the kids in school. Evolution, (and the idea that dinosaurs lived millions of years ago before humans existed) etc., is just another belief, which directly contradicts creationists belief. I am already dealing with my son being taught this in Grade 1.
G - Mr Ryan! You must be an old man to have been there when Einstein spoke his words to know we he really did say. You sound very bitter. Happiness can be simple, don't complicate it for yourself. This is only one person's interpretation!
G - I agree with you Miriam. Religion is not allowed to be taught in school now, however the theory of evolution is. If we raise our children right, they'll decide for themselves what belief or faith they follow. I also hope they won't be bitter with what choices other people make for themselves!
M - http://www.snopes.com/religion/einstein.asp further discussion about this clip. Interesting read.
R - I'm not bitter just because I seek precision and defend truth. Misrepresenting history to add credibility to a world view is wrong. If your belief is worth defending, why not just use examples that actually are true, there are many great thinkers of the past that were deeply rooted in religion. Einstein simply wasn't one of them. Lots were, ... Read Morelike C.S. Lewis, George Washington Carver, John Calvin etc.
As for teaching religion in school. Evolution is science. "Creationism" is not science, it is faith. In our democracy, it is illegal to teach religion in school. IF we can teach your brand of "creationism" we should also teach every other religion in school, including paganism, satanism, fairies, ancient greek creation myths etc. Evolution is not the "origin of it all" it is simply the science of studying how species come about and evolve over time. Evolution does not claim to know "how it all began" simply how life seems to work based on the latest evidence. It can be refuted if evidence comes along to the contrary and is continously refined. Creationism, as a faith, cannot be refuted ever. It is a religion. People believe it, regardless of whether evidence supports it or not, because their bible tells them its true. That makes it religion, not science. You are free to teach it in your church and to your children, just as another parent can teach their children that storks bring babies, or santa clause brings presents.
Again, not bitter, just happy to be able to speak my mind in an open, free democracy :)
R - Good article Miriam, the idea is not so much putting down or supporting evolution or creationism, rather, teaching children to think for themselves, giving them access to all perspectives. We don't teach religion in schools, but we also do not demand you teach science in church.
M - I agree with you Ryan :) I gather from the link talking about this clip that the makers of it were using Einsteins name to create a stereotype, still wrong. I also agree that they should teach (if they were to do so) about all religions in school, in a way of giving information, not creating biases. I think there is this as an option later in a ... Read Morechilds education. The problem is that they are taught about evolution as soon as kindergarten really, as soon as they start signing books about dinosaurs out of the library. I know the general view is that evolution is science, however I do not agree that it claims not to know how it all began. They teach that humans evolved from monkeys and that humans did not exist in the beginning of time. They claim that they 'know this through scientific research' yet who is to say they have it right? Them? It does have to do with the question of how it all started, as teaching these things about evolution as a fact states that Christian creationist belief is false. Not that we should say faith should be taught as fact, but saying their science is fact is just as wrong, it is a theory. (That they faithfully state as fact) :P
M - Yes, thinking for yourself is where it is at. I think when it comes to learning about the ancient history of the world to young and very impressionable children, all theories should be taught. Add that this theory is based on faith, and this theory is based on peoples studies. Show that there are contradictions, and that each person will have to... Read More think about these things for themself. This doesn't have to be about the issues of church and state. I think it should all be taught, in this way, in school.
R - Actually, evolution teaches that humans and monkeys have a common ancestor, not that humans evolved directly from what we see today as a modern monkey. The problem is people put down evolution or dismiss it as "faith" without really understanding what it is. They decide, again without studying it, that it is on equal footing with creationism as a ... Read Morefaith based religion. People who actually do study it carefully, however, see evolution as obvious as the earth is round. We do not teach the "earth is flat" in science class to little kids even though some people might believe that to be true. Faith is believing in something for which there is little or no evidence to support it (you dont need faith to believe in gravity -even though gravity is a theory like evolution). Evolution happened, and we know that in the same way we know stars are composed largely of hydrogen, and that atoms are composed of electrons, protons and neutrons. Religious people dispute evolution because it seems to conflict with a literal creation story, but they dont seem to refute "the faith" of believing that electrons exist, even though they cannot be visually observed. In order to refute evolution, you need to actually understand it. My guess is if you actually completed a biology degree, you would, like almost all biology students, come to realize it takes no faith to agree with evolutionary theory, and that creationism is essentially religious.
R - There is nothing wrong with experts teaching about things they have studied. I wouldn't want a bus driver to perform heart surgery on me, and by the same token, I wouldn't recommend a pastor trained in theology to teach (or refute) science. It is as plain today that Dinosaurs pre-existed humans as it is that radio waves exist and can travel through solid matter. Again, no faith required, but you have to study the science before you can hope to refute it, or even understand it.
M - That is where faith comes in :) I don't need to be a scientist (or have a biology degree) to refute their methods of saying they can tell how old things are, or that they know for a fact one species existed before another, because I can look at the bigger picture and see that there are things that don't add up. What I see is taking a humans word ... Read Morefor times long ago, or taking Gods word for it. My logic sense goes with God. I don't discredit science and the knowledge that comes out of it for things like ions, medicine, chemistry etc. because that is the here and now and you can use the here and now to prove it. There is no question for me that any science about ancient history is about theory that cannot be proven. It is about deductive reasoning, and there is no question that the human mind is finite (as amazing as it is and continues in learning) there is always the possibility of error.
R - You may not believe it "adds up", but in fact, in excess of 99% of the scientific community who are experts in the field of biology, physics, chemistry, and all other scientific disciplines believe Evolution is as much a fact as the earth is round. They have used evolutionary theory to make predictions and discoveries in the field of biology that ... Read Morehave been responsible for many cures to disease and surgical procedures that save countless lives. If we were created independently of the animals and plants, we would have nothing in common with them. In fact, we can perform experiments on animals and plants, then apply the findings to humans because we have all evolved from the same common ancestors. Darwin predicted this and it has come to pass. If evolution were a bad theory, the discovery of DNA should have contradicted it, but instead, it has supported it, the more we learn about DNA, the more we have come to understand how accurate evolutionary theory really is.
R - In the past, science showed that the universe did not revolve around the earth in spite of the faith of millions who believed it did. If God created earth, it seemed to not "add up" to them that he would make the earth a tiny insignificant speck on the edge of a minor galaxy in a universe full of galaxies. It didnt make sense to them that God would die on a cross for such an insignificant population in a tiny corner of the universe.
R - However, it is now undisputed by all but the most fringe of religious views that the earth is the 3rd planet from the sun and makes up less than .01 percent of the total mass of our solar system. Compared to the earth, the atmosphere is akin to the layer of varnish on a billiard ball, and we inhabit only a tiny portion of it. It takes light from the closest stars we can see 4 years to get here (so we are seeing the star as it was 4 years ago). Most stars are millions of "light years" away. Many we can observe are billions of "light years" away, meaning we can directly observe that the universe is at least billions of years old, just like we can observe the earth is round.
G - Ryan, thank you. I have had the opportunity through your discussion to investigate on my own, and while I don't have the verbal talent that you have, I am more assured that I will continue to be deluded by my faith in God, my Creator. He is God of order, and it is not by a one time random chance - which is not proven or replicated - though there may be evidence for it (i'll let you research the difference on your own) - that I or you are here. And yes, yes it is a widely accepted THEORY - evolution.
L - k, so here's the thing. the claims of science and religion are neither contradictory nor mutually exclusive- what I mean to say is, they are speaking on two different levels. To paint the distinction with a broad brush: science describes (and prescribes) things, while religion explains (and some would say proscribes) things. I know that some will say that science explains things, but have patience, gentle person, and read on.
People who take first year science courses at a college or university level learn that "Science" never makes truth claims in the sense that religion, philosophy or politics (small tongue-in cheek there) do. Thus, the orthodox 'scientific method' of examining and describing processes in the world can never generalize observations to the level of proof. What scientists do is observe, experiment, and test hypotheses. When a hypothesis is tested and not disproved enough times, a general consensus arises amongst scientific colleagues saying that the hypothesis is now a 'theory'. The scientific kind of 'theory' isn't really the same as what we mean when we use the word in common speech.
For example, scientists are careful to use the term "theory" when talking of the study of evolution because any good scientist knows that should new information arise (as it so often does), the knowledge claims of the theory can be altered. So, to reiterate: a scientific theory ("evolution" being a rather well-known one)is nothing more than a well-established hypothesis that has not been disproven. You can NEVER prove something scientifically (again, any good scientist will emphasize this), you can only ever DISprove something. So hopefully you can see now why I've said that science can only ever describe things -- not explain them in the way that religion does.
For those who are reading this and are interested in a more detailed analysis of what science is, here's a little bit about the process of doing science:
Scientists start doing "science"with making OBSERVATIONs. Good scientists know that observations are often skewed or biased by the subjectivity of the observer in some way. Therefore it is dangerous (non-scientific) to make blanket ('proof') statements about the nature of what is observed. New observations come along, different perspectives arise, new dimensions of the phenomenon at hand emerge. Lots of examples of this exist. Well-educated scientists know that it is easy to forget how our position or viewpoint in itself colours our understandings, assumptions and even what we are capable of observing.
For example, Psychologists have studied something called
'change blindness' in humans, wherein they show how when a person is focussed on a certain task, event or process, they can be completely blind to overt changes. In one study they ask people to watch a video of boys and girls passing two different balls back and forth, and count the number of passes for one of the balls. WHile this is going on, a man dressed in a gorilla suit walks into the mix (middle of the screen) and waves his arms about.
The crux of it is, lots of people don't see the gorilla. They are too busy counting ball passes.
Not to belabour the point, but don't you see how you can't trust 'scientific' observation?
I could go on to the issues of trustworthiness with regards to experimentation and testing of hypotheses, but I'll spare myself (and you, gentle facebooker) for now so that I can go to bed.
Suffice it to say, the theory of evolution is just that, theory. And on that note, I would like to point out that when people speak of said theory, they often actually mean to refer to the 'big bang' theory (which as far as I know, is actually more logical conjecture than scientific theory).
While many biological processes can be and are currently explained sufficiently from within the evolution theory/paradigm (think natural selection -- creatures that are well suited to a specific environment are more likely to proliferate as compared to those less suited) I suggest that we take care when making broader claims about the nature, time span (future and historical) and origin of our Universe.
r - L, you have made a very good case for what constitutes the scientific method, but I would be interested to read what in contrast justifies the video produced, the anti-science movement in schools, and the general oppression of science by religion over the millenia. Religion claims to be superior to science in the "ultimate supreme knowledge" department, and while it usually tries to stay in a completely different hall from the one science occupies, in America, it has taking on science claiming to have the authority on the validity of evolution, and has, in its war on intelligence, taken on evolutionary teaching in schools by all kinds of fraudulent means, not the least of which is the video at the genesis of this discussion.
As long as religion stays 500 yards away from science in its church halls and other buildings dedicated to itself, and stays out of public education and government in a democracy, its generally ignored by science. Yet, in our continent, we have seen it push rudely and ignorantly into the elaborate and delicately constructed halls of science with popular mis-understanding and embarrassing lack of decorum.
Hence, my protest. Believe what you want, but don't force it on everyone else via changing school science policy, legal marriage policy, foreign policy etc. We do not live in a totalitarian religious state, and last time I checked we actually attacked Afganistan under the premise of protect them from such a regime.
G - Well, as I said, I am not one to keep up with you in verbal banter. I can only speak from my 10 years of experience in the classroom. In my first year I was faced with the challenge of explaining Islam, readily I am faced with the challenge of teaching my students to be tolerant of their many backgrounds, of which religion is a big part. (Islam, Wicka, Christianity, Sikh, Buddhism, etc.) I believe that there is only one truth - but I watch my back - or risk losing my job. I go home and pray for opportunities to be presented, and I do not bring my views into the classroom. Many of my Christian collegues have the same policy.
While I haven't read much, I know of the huge discussions that have surrounded the changes to the Science curriculum. One side pushing for theory to be taught as fact and the other saying, then give it all a fair shot! Let's not go down that path again.
Point is, both topics are there, and very prevalent. We are human, aren't we? Political correctness often overrides right or wrong and that is an agenda. It is no longer politically correct to be a Christian, much less a vocal one. Enough said. ... Read More
Last point, I don't believe religion is trying to dictate the Scientific method. At least not in my "religion". We are merely seekers of the one truth, and as advocates for our children, we speak out about evolution being taught as much as we do teaching yoga and meditation - which by the way is latest craze.
Again, thank you for keeping me on my toes. Rest well, my friend.
G - Oh, and L, thank you for your comments, and the clarity with which you presented them! The common folk need you:)
r - Gillian, Thanks for your words. I am glad to hear you are careful to give your students an unbiased education, encouraging them to learn all the facts and come to their own conclusions. You have to admit its probably a good thing that you "have to watch your back" in that you need to be careful of what you tell children that might sow the seeds of intolerance, say, against homosexuals, giving the students any reason to believe a person other than themselves somehow deserves less than they do (even if the bible teaches it to be so)
Creationism as a belief system is "out there" but it is not science, it is a religious belief and should be taught as such.
Evolution and the process of natural selection are by the very definition scientific disciplines, and while your various pastors and preachers will try to tell you it takes the same amount of "faith" to believe in evolution as creation, they are, with all due respect, grossly under-qualified to comment on the validity of a scientific discipline, as I'm sure you would not feel all that comfortable having your local pastor perform heart surgery on you, even if he "had a calling from god" that it was within his ability.
Yoga and meditation predate christianity by thousands of years. You might want to learn a bit before making a sweeping generalization about it. That is, in my view, part of the issue with many Americanized Evangelical Christians. They make sweeping statements about things they dont understand, then push those ignorant views into politics, education, and society. America was not founded by christians, democracy is NOT a biblical concept (Thomas Jefferson was an atheist and most of the founding fathers were deists), Yoga is not a "craze", homosexuality is NOT a "sickness" and finally, Evolution is NOT a religion.
r - oh and to circle back to the beginning...Einstein did NOT say any of the things in the video presented. The very start of this conversation is a common example of Christians twisting the truth or revising history to support their untenable world view. Its the latest "craze"...lying for Jesus.