Thoughts on Theistic Evolution and Deism
In a recent discussion with an atheist I brought up the subject of theistic evolution and how it was compatible with deism. He said theistic evolution sounded like "theistic meteorology" and as a deist, I shouldn't accept it since deism is the belief in a non-intervening God. I basically said theistic evolution doesn't mean God is a cosmic tinkerer but rather may interfere with species evolution.
Incidentally, atheists can never tell me HOW Human chromosome #2 fused, and I don't know of any other fused chromosomes in nature. This may be an instance where God intervened. Also, what is your opinion of things like near death experiences?
For starts you are dealing with an atheist that already has their mind made up and trying to reason with any form of mindless fundamentalism be it religious or secular is a waste of time.
There's also a lot of confusion between the terms intelligent design (also called creation science) versus theistic evolution. They are not the same thing. The public's poor understanding of science is also another problem.
In the realm of philosophy and by definition science is concerned solely with materialism or material processes. Science can't even address questions of God or other spiritual matters anymore than it can "test" why I like cats or one loves their spouse. Evolution in general is a valid scientific theory. (Theory in science is not the general dictionary definition.)
See Introduction to the scientific method.
A theory in science is not an absolute and can change as new knowledge becomes available. When we went from Newton to Einstein science had to modify some of its most cherished beliefs and have no doubt things will change again. Most important is the scientific claim must be testable.
Evolution is a scientific fact, but the mechanism on how it works, how life began, and why humans are as we are is unknown. All attempts to answer this in the laboratory by "material" processes have failed just as laboratory "proof" of God has failed. This it seems is behind recent claims of fossils being found in meteorites has drawn such acclaim from atheism is because they have zero scientific proof and no naturalistic mechanism to explain life on earth.
Now "science" has come up with the idea of "dark matter" and "dark energy." This mysterious substance that composes up to 95 percent of the universe can be neither seen nor measured by scientific instrumentation. Why this has come up is because many of their cosmic speculations are now failing. Stars and galaxies are not acting as predicted. I'll write more on the implications of dark matter elsewhere.
They claim to have found "evidence" of cyanobacteria in a meteorite, but cyanobacteria lives only in liquid water and are photosynthetic. They don't inhabit rocks. This is the same problem with idiot creation scientists that a few years ago claimed DNA in ancient fossils proves a young earth because DNA is destroyed in 10,000 years.
The only problem was the claim was debunked and nothing came of it. It was mere protein fragments and not DNA and that was most likely due to contamination of the sample. All of this is under debate and it's clear the differing sides have an agenda. I will be very clear in that there is no definitive scientific evidence on any of the above claims. Sorry that is the way it is.
That is the clear difference between intelligent design (ID or creation science) and theistic evolution. ID claims there is evidence while theistic evolution says there is no "test tube" type evidence. Theistic evolution makes no claim to materialism as proof.
There is no doubt in my mind of forces beyond mere materialism and the patterns in evolution show a force beyond randomness and mere material process. This force is called God, not to be confused with the often distorted Christian view. God is beyond Creation and not some Holy Spirit that inhabits matter. That philosophy derived from the Greeks and doesn't exist in Judaism.
If we accept the radical and anti-religious view of Deism as "the belief in a non-intervening God" then it's clear that Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, etc. were not Deists. To quote Benjamin Franklin: "That the soul of man is immortal and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this."
That is not the non-intervening and uncaring, absentee god of Voltaire, Aristotle, etc. so preferred by atheistic radical Deism. That is a God that's indeed interested in its Creation. (I don't like attributing gender to God.) But Jefferson himself was even more clear on this than his friend Ben Franklin: "We see, too evident proofs of the necessity of a superintending power to maintain the universe in its course and order."
So I'm totally convinced of an afterlife for reasons I can't reveal and that God is active, but not controlling nor does God resort to magic. As for "near death experiences" I believe they are more than possible, but like revelation (also probable) can't be proven and are open to speculation. When it comes to speculation I leave that to the individual.
But just what is for example revelation? Is it a vision of a Burning Bush? Perhaps a dream? Or perhaps some annoying little idea one has in the back of their mind? I put reason first and have to go on from there. Closing one's mind is the least rational thing to do.
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