# Why do theists reject evolution?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Xelasnave.1947, Apr 11, 2020.

1. ### Xelasnave.1947Valued Senior Member

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I am probably over sensitive and perhaps reading between the lines, meaning I may well be imagining things, but sometimes I get the impression some theists dislike the theory of evolution for no apparent or expressed reason.

I am not a theist but have had the priveledge to listen to many who seem reasonable, sincere and well educated who see the Bible as a wonderful holy book that draws on analogy to guide humans by providing a basis upon which to build spiritual values and develop laws to help manage morality.

The Bible although not historic allows us to relate to our ancestors in the times they sort to offer a spirituality that was so much more than the superstitious barbarism of earlier pagan or heathen groups.

Learned and sensible theists accept that the Bible follows various writing styles but there is no reasonable arguement advanced to suggest anology is not perhaps the preferred method used to deliver messages as to law morality and indeed a structure to understand how the Earth had a begining and that indeed even humans are made of the same elements that are found in the Earth itself.

The great flood story being an anology causes us to think how the scientific evidence of mass extinctions could be seen as a description of the fundamental law of nature... that of survival of the fittest and that all species can be traced back to a common ancestor.
And our science now shows the anology to be helpful that indeed there were mass extinctions and that indeed all life can be traced back to living things in the past.

Yet many theists fail to regard the various anologies as helpful and revert to a superstitious approach to the wonderful stories and chose to behave like heathens who believe in actual gods that behave as if they were mere men and built a universe as if that god they claim as theirs were not much more than a workman building a barn....and so I ask why do they reject the beauty that is the Old Testament and seek to use its stories to create a distorted meaning of nature and the human role therein...and rather than accept the understanding, which we call science, that has been produced by the ordered existence delivered from contemplation of the anologies in the Old Testament we find they reject the understanding brought to us via science to merely promote a superstitious approach turning out lies of their own self centered belief that everything is for them and that nature and indeed humanity shall not stand in their way to have all things their selfish way.

How can they read their Old Testament and be so selfish and ignorant?

Alex

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Because it simply makes there deity or whatever, a superfluous entity at best.

5. ### Xelasnave.1947Valued Senior Member

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What I like is how the Bible supports evolution

Alex

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How is that?

8. ### Xelasnave.1947Valued Senior Member

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Very encouraging.
Alex

9. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

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Let's be fair here. A lot of theists don't reject evolution. You don't have to be a science denier to be a theist.

Why, then, do some theists reject evolution?

It's usually because they believe that the science of evolution is incompatible with one or more aspects of their religious belief system. Faced with an assumed dilemma - believe the Holy Book/pastor/guru/priest/shaman/whatever or believe the science - they choose the belief that makes them feel more special and comforted (i.e. the religious belief).

You need to understand that for some people, rationality comes a distant second to being "true to the faith". Certainly, when rationality threatens to contradict the dogma of the faith, it must be dispensed with. In some cases, being rational can lead to being ostracised from a religious community and in some cases even to being persecuted by that community. To maintain one's good standing in the community, believers must at least give the outward signs of rejecting the science.

I also want to say that there's a difference between rejecting evolution (denying it) and merely not accepting it. This is similar to the difference between an atheist rejecting a god (that he secretly believes exists) and merely not accepting that the god is real.

A lot of people - not just theists - don't have a good understanding of the theory of evolution. They might rightly reject certain false descriptions of the theory with good intentions, while mistakenly believing that these descriptions are "what the science says". They might also reject evolution simply because they have developed their own false idea about what the science says.

The most strident evolution deniers, though, are religious fundamentalists - the ones who assert that their Holy Book (usually the bible or the Qur'an) is the literal Word of God, and that every word in the book must be literally true. Since stories such as Genesis and Noah's Flood are clearly incompatible with modern science, the fundamentalists find themselves in a difficult position. They cannot simultaneously assert the literal truth of stories that have been proven to be false and also assert that the science that contradicts those stories is true. Instead, they make a conscious choice to tell lies about the science to try to prop up their interpreation of the Holy Book. They also often tell lies about the Holy Book itself.

Just to emphasise, though: there are an awful lot of religious "moderates" of various religions who have no problem accepting science, including the science of evolution. Those people accept that the Holy Books are not always to be taken literally. They believe that some stories are allegories or instructive fictions, or else simply historically inaccurate, and there's no problem. They aren't forced to tell lies for their religion like the fundamentalists. They don't need to back themselves into a tight corner. They can act morally, unlike the fundamentalist hypocrites.

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10. ### Xelasnave.1947Valued Senior Member

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Your bold makes me think that you think that I failed to use such a qualification.
Sad when you can pretty much interprete the Bible any way you wish.
Hopefully the silent majority.
Alex

11. ### JeevesValued Senior Member

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Let's identify the fraction of all "theists" that most get in our faces these days:
American fundamentalist "pastors" - and their public mouthpieces in broadcast media and in print.
What values do these public figures exhibit in their transactions with the mundane world?
They build theme parks that rake in millions from investors and patrons;
They run Ponzi schemes on their parishioners;
They live very high off the televangist herd.

Would all that be possible if they didn't set themselves apart from mainstream society and oppose rational thinking and education? Would their claim to "dominion over the Earth" not be weakened by allowing even the hint of an organic relationship with the natural world they exploit? How would they keep their flocks in bondage, without offing them 1. an entitlement to special attention from God and 2. a readily identifiable boogie-man to unite against?

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12. ### wegsMatter & Pixie DustValued Senior Member

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Not all theists think alike on this - some disbelieve “early evolution,” as in they believe God created most species within a certain span of time (six days might not be a literal six days, for example) but they believe that other species evolved years/centuries later.

Some believe that the “Big Bang” is science making sense of God’s creation (“let there be light” as depicted in Genesis)

I’m a theist but science doesn’t threaten my faith, it supports it, if anything.

There are also many theists who don’t really understand evolution (in the broadest sense) so it’s hard to have a healthy discussion if your “opponent” doesn’t understand what you do.

Some theists also don’t believe in the accuracy of carbon dating - to stake their entire belief system on possibilities.

Before any discussion, even if it’s not faith-based, I try to see where the other person is coming from before judging because their reasoning is often surprising. I know many non-believers want to chalk up theists as uneducated drones, but not all fall into that category.

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13. ### kx000Valued Senior Member

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I support evolution... why else would a super human need wings to fly?

14. ### river

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Because Evolution can be both slow , medium speed and high speed .

Not just slow .

The perfect example of high speed is those that their immune fights off a virus that is very new , some what like SARS , but spreads quicker . Faster . SARS is a respiratory virus as well . Both have things in common . The most serious is the respiratory consequences .

15. ### JeevesValued Senior Member

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But, as far as I know, the "discussions" are never started by people who understand evolution. We don't think there is anything to left to discuss, except progress in identifying specific mechanisms whereby genetic changes occur.
The discussions I've seen are usually started by somebody making an absurd statement about "evolution theory" and then citing an equally absurd reason for believing that it's false. Then a bunch of people who do understand attempt to explain what he's misunderstood or misconstrued or got wholly ass-backward, and he puts up about seven pages of obfuscation and preverication; cites bogus science sources and misrepresents the other people's posts, and finally concludes with the same absurdity with which he started. These are not "discussions" - they are attacks on reason by propagandists of a vested interest in blind faith.
In a discussion with somebody who just doesn't understand, there are usually a couple of scientists with infinite patience to clear up whatever questions you might have.

16. ### Xelasnave.1947Valued Senior Member

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You are such a very nice person it is a pleasure to read your words.

Alex

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17. ### exchemistValued Senior Member

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Well, the title you chose for the thread suggests you might think all theists reject evolution.

But perhaps it was just clickbait, you crafty devil.

The main Christian denominations have no problem with evolution, or anything in science. Their theologians are intelligent enough to realise they would be on a hiding to nothing by opposing the findings of science.

The fundies are another matter. For some of them it is the idea that the Genesis creation account (6 days etc) cannot be taken literally that bothers them, but to be honest I doubt this is the main problem. I suspect it is really to do with their theology of the Fall.

They take literally the idea that death only came into the world through the first sin of Adam (Original Sin). This idea is quite profoundly embedded in Christianity, e.g. Corinthians "Since by Man came death" etc. Obviously, evolution works through differential rates of reproduction and relies on death of all the previous generations, since otherwise the Earth would soon be overpopulated with successive generations of organisms! So, for them, it can't be right.

In more modern interpretations, these references are taken to refer to a form of spiritual death rather than physical death.

18. ### Xelasnave.1947Valued Senior Member

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True but people who know me ....

That's me sharp as a sledge hammer.

You have shown me something that I was unaware of and I sincerely thank you...I got to say aha.

Almost said it all makes sense which would not have made sense...that is so interesting.

This has me now thinking about reproductive organs and how a fundy fits them into their picture...now coming at it thru their eyes god builds Adam and Eve both with reproductive organs I assume, if not that would make it weirder still, to reproduce and yet at that point they were destined not to die, mmm and aging how does that fit in? What would a six thousand year old Adam look like...So why would Adam and Eve have reproductive organs given that at some point you must end up with humans everywhere...and as they take things literally and god making man in his image presumably one must ask why did god have reproductive organs?

Alex

19. ### VociferousValued Senior Member

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Theists only dislike evolution to the extent that atheists have erroneously convinced them that evolution is contrary to creation. The development of life has nothing to do with how it originated, and many modern theists now know this.

20. ### JeevesValued Senior Member

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Yes, but they didn't know what those were for. They didn't even know they were naked, until after they ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. It's unclear whether sex is considered evil, but genitals are something they're now ashamed of and need to hide.
No, that's clearly wrong.
Physical hardship, hatred of snakes and female sexuality are all parts of the curse God heaps upon them for disobedience* i.e. the original sin. But the expulsion is not part of the curse; it is an expedient, to protect the tree of eternal life:
Not substantially different from the 929 year old Adam - you could still pick him out of a lineup.
Maybe God planned a controlled breeding program at some point in the future, when the garden was to be expanded. Remember, they were originally made to tend the flowerbeds.
This is, along with the above-quoted "the man is become as one of us", a quite telling passage. The Sumerian gods had created "the black-headed people" to be their servants; to take care of their crops and vinyards. This story is derivative; Sumerian mythology is one source, but you see there is another version of the creation.
In Chapter 1, the intent for mankind to have a normal life is explicit:
This had to be kept for the dominion part, but doesn't fit with the walled garden idea on the very next page. Note the word replenish: it presupposes depletion - by some means, presumably death by natural causes.
They don't. In fact, they take egregious liberties in interpreting every biblical passage they quote. That's precisely why they don't want laymen thinking independently about it - or, really, about anything.

*The original sin cannot have been the taking of the apple, since they had no knowledge of good an evil until after they swallowed it. The original sin is failing to obey with unquestioning faith.
That's what the fundamentalist preachers can't afford to jeopardize.

Last edited: Apr 11, 2020
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21. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

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No. Ever since Darwin first published his theory of evolution, there have been theists loudly complaining that it isn't true. They don't do that because nasty atheists have convinced them that evolution is contrary to their religion. They do it because they have convinced themselves that evolution is contrary to their religion. Why do you try to shift the blame? Never mind; I know why.

Many, however, do not, as is evidenced by the inability or outright refusal of certain theists to distinguish evolution from abiogenesis.

22. ### VociferousValued Senior Member

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I was talking about people now, not people in the past. Cute that you took a victory lap though. In the past, they rejected evolution because they likely thought the Bible was more literal and didn't imagine God using evolution to create new species.

Do most, or even many, scientists or atheists present evolution as definitely being separate from abiogenesis? Or do most who presume one also presume the other?

23. ### James RJust this guy, you know?Staff Member

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I've already explicitly discussed the views of moderate theists in a previous post. You know, the ones who don't insist on a literal interpretation of the bible and whose faith isn't threatened by the idea of evolution.

Are you trying, then, to blame atheists for modern religious fundamentalists' rejection of evolution? Was that the point of your post #16? If not, what was your point?

That's hard to say without conducting some kind of survey of presentations of evolution by scientists and/or atheists. I'm assuming you haven't done that yourself, or you wouldn't be asking me.

If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say the answer is "yes", if only for the reason that I've seen a lot of presentations of evolution that make no mention at all of abiogenesis. In my experience, abiogenesis is discussed as a separate topic by scientists and atheists, except when religious fundamentalists are involved who don't understand the difference.

I recently corrected Jan Ardena on a similar point. Evolution is not presumed. It is inferred based on the evidence. Abiogenesis is an unsolved problem in science. The only presumption that scientists make there is that it is amenable to scientific investigation. Certainly, there's no good reason to assume science won't crack the problem.