God and Evolution (Introduction)

by Balance_Maintained @, U.S.A., Thursday, August 30, 2018, 13:19 (109 days ago) @ dhw

DAVID: You have described how I started from a position of soft agnosticism. In my 50's I did a get deal of reading about particle physics and the new standard theory of cosmology and changed my mind. Studying pure science can do it.

TONY: Indeed it can, but not if you start with a foregone conclusion. Even over the course of the last several years of these discussions with you I have observed your position slowly shifting from a more naturalistic point of view to a more theistic one. Not that you were (since I've been here) purely naturalistic, but I have watched you embrace the concept of a designed universe more fully as the years rolled by, largely I think because of the increasingly apparent complexity that is completely at odds with the naturalistic approach.
The interesting thing is that you are not alone in this. I have witnessed a growing movement among formerly naturalistic scientist that have started embracing design. Even if they do not subscribe to a particular theory of a designer, they are at least acknowledging that it HAD to be designed. It's a start.

DAVID: Thank you for observing me so closely. My first book was published in 2004 with discussions from pure science and stated that science alone showed God had to exist. dhw's imaginative prodding has certainly pushed my thinking. It appears he has learned a great deal in the process although he tenuously clings to Darwin.

DHW: I have learned an enormous amount – largely thanks to David introducing me to areas of science I knew very little about, as well as to different approaches to our various topics through both of you, BBella, Matt and many others throughout our many years of discussions. I now have a much clearer understanding of why I climbed onto and remain on my agnostic fence, and my brain (materialist) or my soul (dualist) has even come up with new hypotheses that it would not have thought of ten years ago.

As regards Darwinian evolution, I continue to believe in common descent, natural selection as a useful term to describe certain obvious processes, and the interplay between evolution and environment. I do not accept the theory of random mutations, and I do not accept Darwin’s rigid adherence to gradualism. Nor do I accept attempts by both theists and atheists to twist Darwin's theory to suit their own agendas.

'm not trying to twist Darwin. He was doing the same thing we are doing, but with less information, and in my own way, I admire him just as I admire you, David, Bella, Matt, and George. I think if he had known about epigenetics, or about how similar genes are found in species in which it is virtually impossible for them to be related through descent, he would have proposed a different hypothesis. I don't think he had enough information to realize that common descent does not have enough explanatory power, nor enough to realize that natural selection is a tautology.

--
What is the purpose of living? How about, 'to reduce needless suffering. It seems to me to be a worthy purpose.


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