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There was a diary yesterday about attitudes towards religious people on Daily Kos. It set off a very extensive discussion which I found interesting. One of the issues involved was the political matter of people who want to promote the teaching of creationism in public schools as an alternative to the established biological theory of evolution.

There was a time in US history when many religious denominations were opposed to evolutionary theory on the grounds that it contradicted the teaching in the Bible that is in part the scriptural source for Christianity, Judaism and Islam. There was the famous Scopes trial that pitted William Jennings Bryant against Clarence Darrow. Most of America has moved on to a considerable extent since then. I started looking for something on the present state of opinion of people who are adherents to various religious traditions. I found this.

Which religious groups are Creationist?  

It is reporting on a survey by Pew Research. The question being asked was do you agree that evolution is the best explanation for the origins of human life on earth. That is different from do you believe in creationism, but it does provide a fairly good approximation. We certainly can't conclude that all of the people who answered no to the question asked actively support the teaching of creationism in the schools, but we can see where the antagonism to evolution is concentrated. It is with the evangelical protestants, white and black, the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses. These are not what have traditionally been considered to be mainstream religious traditions. They are people who know how to make a lot of noise and the leaders of the evangelical groups and Mormons are allied with various right wing political organizations.

Katharine Jefferts Schori, the current presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the US holds a PhD in oceanography. She did research in that field before entering a religious vocation. I'm quite certain that she accepts the theory of evolution and finds it compatible with her religious beliefs. She is just one particularly prominent example.

I was raised in the Southern Baptist Church and began to find many things about it objectionable as I came of age. I became an Episcopalian and found an atmosphere there in which I was more comfortable. I haven't been an active participant in that church for a long time. I simply reached a point at which I wanted to reduce my involvement with institutions, religious and otherwise. However, I still have very real respect for many people who I know who are active members. It is a church that has provided real leadership in the movement for LGBT rights. For that I am personally grateful.

My point here is that religious people come in all shapes, sizes and flavors. It is a serious distortion of reality to lump them all together.      

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Comment Preferences

  •  There are all kinds of ways of packaging this (5+ / 0-)

    data.  The issue is not one of numbers but one of attempts to control us.  That influence is not reflected by your naked numbers.

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Sat May 17, 2014 at 05:21:15 PM PDT

  •  It is interesting to look at the obverse of your (6+ / 0-)

    chart. Even 19% of the Buddhists and 28% of the unaffiliated reject evolution, joined by 42% of the Catholics and 49% of the mainline Protestants.

    The exact wording of the question, however, is sadly horseshit. This may have come from ignorance of many types or from being too chickenshit to put a direct question out there.

    do you agree that evolution is the best explanation for the origins of human life on earth.
    Life evolves, species and the like evolve. But did the absolute first living organism evolve? From what? Define a) life and b) evolution for $20. Whether our understanding and modelling of the origins of life meet the usual understanding of "evolution" is somewhat murky.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Sat May 17, 2014 at 05:36:12 PM PDT

    •  Evolutionary theory evolves. (4+ / 0-)

      The present constructions of biologist are considerably more complex than the original ideas of Darwin.

    •  Where's my $20? (5+ / 0-)

      Better yet, donate it to wikipedia.

      Life is considered a characteristic of something that exhibits all or most of the following traits:
          Homeostasis: Regulation of the internal environment to maintain a constant state; for example, electrolyte concentration or sweating to reduce temperature.
          Organization: Being structurally composed of one or more cells — the basic units of life.
          Metabolism: Transformation of energy by converting chemicals and energy into cellular components (anabolism) and decomposing organic matter (catabolism). Living things require energy to maintain internal organization (homeostasis) and to produce the other phenomena associated with life.
          Growth: Maintenance of a higher rate of anabolism than catabolism. A growing organism increases in size in all of its parts, rather than simply accumulating matter.
          Adaptation: The ability to change over time in response to the environment. This ability is fundamental to the process of evolution and is determined by the organism's heredity, diet, and external factors.
          Response to stimuli: A response can take many forms, from the contraction of a unicellular organism to external chemicals, to complex reactions involving all the senses of multicellular organisms. A response is often expressed by motion; for example, the leaves of a plant turning toward the sun (phototropism), and chemotaxis.
          Reproduction: The ability to produce new individual organisms, either asexually from a single parent organism, or sexually from two parent organisms.

      This has been a vigorous topic of debate for three or four hundred years at least. "Life" is hard to describe in a simple manner because it is a process. Are viruses alive? Not in the same sense as a bacterium or a human, no. So there is a gray area of "non-life life" which might reflect the early pre-life assemblages of self-replicating molecules. There is also some evidence that life arose very quickly after the formation of the Earth, as early as 4.1 - 3.85 billion years ago. Some "pre-life" chemicals have been observed in interstellar gas and dust clouds. This kinda seems to be a verification of the anthropic principle. You see, even astronomers have gotten into the act. Not to be denied, theoretical physcists have joined the fun:
      The strong anthropic principle (SAP) as explained by Barrow and Tipler (see variants) states that this is all the case because the Universe is compelled, in some sense, for conscious life to eventually emerge. Critics of the SAP argue in favor of a weak anthropic principle (WAP) similar to the one defined by Brandon Carter, which states that the universe's ostensible fine tuning is the result of selection bias: i.e., only in a universe capable of eventually supporting life will there be living beings capable of observing any such fine tuning, while a universe less compatible with life will go unbeheld. Such arguments are closely related to some multiverse ideas and can link to the Fermi paradox.
      Isn't science wonderful? It's like living inside a castle with ten thousand rooms, each room containing wondrous things.

      Join Essa in a revolt against the gods. Continue the fight, Causality.

      by rbird on Sat May 17, 2014 at 06:30:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Define a) life and b) evolution for $20.
        was from the perspective of the "average" poll taker. They're all over the map from what I've seen.

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

        by enhydra lutris on Sat May 17, 2014 at 07:11:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I've read/watched so much Sci-Fi, hehe, that I (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        enhydra lutris

        can't count how many times the subject arises in those stories as to when one should consider a "robot" or "android" to be alive?  

        Take Star Trek, for instance.  In the original series, there's the episode about Harry Mudd and his androids/robots.  Are they life forms?  Are they alive?  I would say no, because they're too stupid.  Then again, an amoeba is completely mindless, yet is alive.

        But in The Next Generation, there's the character Data.  Data is orders of magnitude more complex than the Harry Mudd's androids, but is still a man-made entity comsisting of computer programs and electronic/positronic circuits.  Is he alive?  There's a few episodes that deal with that question, and the politically correct answer in those shows was "yes, Data is alive".

        Then we get to Star Trek Voyager, where the doctor is a holographic being (body is a holograph, mind is a computer program).  The computer program that is his mind is orders of magnitude more complex than a typical "holograph character" of a holograph program.  There are multiple episodes based on whether he and other entities like him are "alive".  And the politically correct answer was again, "yes", though with some more resistance, even from Capt. Janeway.

        In Star Wars, we have C3P0 and R2D2.  Are they alive?  I'd say no, but that may be just because they don't try to mimic a human being's physical appearance like Data and Voyager's doctor do.  And in Star Wars, there's never any philosophical debates as to whether the droids are alive, they are considered to be tools, though with particular personalities.

        In The Forbidden Planet, there's Robby The Robot.  Is he alive?  No.  He's similar to C3P0.

        In Battlestar Galactica, we have the Cylons.  Who began as robots created by man, but somehow evolved into more complex entities that mimic human beings.  They seem to be alive.  The whole series is kind of built around that.

        There's an Arthur C Clarke story about life on Jupiter consisting of huge beings made of gas (since Jupiter is a gas planet).  Such things wouldn't be life as we know it, but would be life forms nevertheless.

        I don't know that that Wikipedia article is the last word on the subject of what "life" is. hehe

        BTW, mules (offspring of horse and donkey) can't reproduce, but they are clearly alive.  So biological reproduction capability doesn't seem would count as a necessary criterion for something to be alive.

    •  19% of the Buddhists (3+ / 0-)

      hmm, I wonder what their views might be since Buddhism is a non-deistic religion.

      •  Buddhism says to Hindus (3+ / 0-)

        that they can use their cosmology, up to a point.

        After the end of one kalpa in the dissolution of whatever remains, a new kalpa begins as a result of cause and effect in some form that is outside our religious or scientific knowledge. Some God (Brahma in Hinduism) comes into existence at the same time, and, according to Buddhists, suffers from the delusion of being the Creator. The kalpa runs on for a vast stretch of time, conventionally measured as the time it would take to wear away a cubic mile (or rather, some ancient Hindu measure) of rock by wiping it with a silk cloth once a century. We could make a rough calculation about how long that could be, but the actual number doesn't matter. It is at least quadrillions of years.

        Everything within the new kalpa proceeds by cause and effect. Many Buddhists take it that this is primarily physical cause and effect, but some suppose that some spiritual law of karma affects which life forms appear.

        I can't give you any more detail than that, because there is no doctrine on the supposed spiritual effects, and nobody I know of has set forth a specific hypothesis on how that would intersect with evolution. We aren't supposed to care.

        The actual effective teaching for non-Hindus is that cosmology is irrelevant. Buddhism is about the cause and cure of suffering in this life, not about the history of the universe or the attainment of some conjectural Heaven.

        The current Bang-Bang-Bang conjecture of multiple universes bubbling out of a patch of false vacuum at a fantastic rate does not accord with any of the cosmology above, but that doesn't matter either.

        Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

        by Mokurai on Sat May 17, 2014 at 09:08:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Buddhism sort of doubts the reality of reality (3+ / 0-)

          if I understand right.

          In that kind of scheme, I can see the whole question as being not-so-important.

          Quote of the week: "They call themselves bipartisan because they're able to buy members of both parties," (R. Eskow, Campaign for America's Future.)

          by mbayrob on Sat May 17, 2014 at 11:52:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Perhaps it's a little bit more nuanced than that (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            enhydra lutris, marykk, mbayrob

            In order to understand what might be considered "unreality", a rock solid understanding of reality must first be established and edified.

            But to put things in greater perspective with regards to Creation mythology, Buddhism isn't a religion of the book.  Oh, they have books all right - around 2,500 of them and hundreds of them contain ancient Creation myths.

            But if you live in the here and now, when and how the world was created isn't much of an everyday concern.  Unlike other religions, Buddhism doesn't "stake its reputation" on one Creation myth or another.  They'll tell you, instead, that "that's what scientists are for."

            Know that $20 I owe you? Well, since money equals speech, then speech, of course, must equal money. C'mere and I'll read you the Tao Te Ching.

            by thenekkidtruth on Sun May 18, 2014 at 04:48:12 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  There is not, and cannot be, (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              thenekkidtruth, mbayrob

              a rock-solid understanding of all of material reality. Even if we had a working Theory of Everything in Physics, that would only cover the forces we know about, and would not tell us if there were others. Also, it would leave more that we know we don't understand than what we do. We have proved a finite set of theorems in math from a finite set of sets of axioms and rules of inference, out of the infinity that we know exists. Furthermore, a ToE would not explain all of Chemistry and Biology, or even stellar evolution.

              Worst of all, from our point of view, none of this helps with economics and politics, where the inmates seized control of the asylum, and we are looking for ways to grab it back. Fortunately millions of the children of those inmates are growing up considerably saner each year, and leaving the Right.

              Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

              by Mokurai on Sun May 18, 2014 at 07:43:37 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Quite true - of course this is the case (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                There is not, and cannot be, a rock-solid understanding of all of material reality.
                But, as you are certainly aware, Ānán, that fact doesn't absolve us of the diligent lifelong responsibility for the contemplation of its nature.
                Three things that can't be hidden. The Sun, the Moon & the Truth.  ― Gautama Siddhartha

                Those who have failed to work toward the truth have missed the purpose of living.  ― Gautama Siddhartha

                The Gift of Truth excels all other Gifts.  ― Gautama Siddhartha

                We must conduct research and then accept the results. If they don't stand up to experimentation, Buddha's own words must be rejected.  ― Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lama

                Know that $20 I owe you? Well, since money equals speech, then speech, of course, must equal money. C'mere and I'll read you the Tao Te Ching.

                by thenekkidtruth on Sun May 18, 2014 at 08:24:50 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  This (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          enhydra lutris
          We aren't supposed to care.
          A common Buddhist viewpoint with regards to the creation controversy is, "Who cares?  That's what scientists are for."

          Know that $20 I owe you? Well, since money equals speech, then speech, of course, must equal money. C'mere and I'll read you the Tao Te Ching.

          by thenekkidtruth on Sun May 18, 2014 at 04:27:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  It's more like 19% of all Buddhists are not (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        enhydra lutris

        well versed in the intricacies of modern scientific theory.  There is no doubt that evolution is a universally accepted Buddhist tenant.

        Know that $20 I owe you? Well, since money equals speech, then speech, of course, must equal money. C'mere and I'll read you the Tao Te Ching.

        by thenekkidtruth on Sun May 18, 2014 at 04:25:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think that this survey was limited (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        enhydra lutris

        to Americans. Buddhists and Hindus are a very small portion of the population and are somewhat likely to be well educated immigrants.

      •  Actually, there are many sects and some are (0+ / 0-)

        diest. It makes no sense, but such is reality.

        That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

        by enhydra lutris on Sun May 18, 2014 at 07:25:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Careful (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Lyon, enhydra lutris

      Not all of those that "don't agree" about evolution necessarily "reject" evolution.

    •  The Pew question (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      enhydra lutris

      seeks to tease out the degree of support for common descent in particular faith traditions.  How else would you have worded it?

    •  Good point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      enhydra lutris

      I point out a couple of other problems with the question lower down.  This is definitely not a question a biologist would use to discover if someone accepts the notion of evolution.

      Drafting such a question is actually extremely difficult because your respondents would be an enormously variable population.

      "To see both sides of a quarrel, is to judge without hate or alarm" - Richard Thompson

      by matching mole on Sun May 18, 2014 at 06:28:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, the question is well-worded (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Richard Lyon

      It's the evolution of the human race that's the sticking-point here.

      Remember, Darwin specifically left any discussion of human evolution, natural or otherwise, out of Origin of Species because he knew how controversial that topic would be, and it was. Bishop Wilberforce and Thomas Huxley didn't lock horns over whether amphibians evolved from fish; they tangled over humans and gorillas. Darwin sat on Descent of Man for another ten years, attempting to refine his presentation to make it more palatable.

      The creationists I encountered growing up in the South in the '70's endlessly invoked Genesis 2:4-22 to explain that evolution couldn't be right because YHWH had made man as a "special creation" outside of the normal order of the development of animals. The issue of human evolution goes, as it always does with authoritarians, to power and control. You see, it's not necessarily the "special creation" that matters, it's that YHWH had Adam, the man, who was created first and without Eve, the woman, name all the animals and plants. Being able to put a name on something gives the namer power over the named. I had this explained to me, over and over, both inside Church and outside of it. So, if creationism isn't how the world came to be, and more specifically, the creationism of Genesis 2 isn't how the world came to be, then MAN, i.e. male, and it was always implied, white, humans are not divinely ordained to run the show as they see fit.


  •  Creationism: (11+ / 0-)

    Where we ignore all the scientific evidence, and turn to a Bronze Age story about a man made out of dirt, a woman made out of a rib, a magic tree with a fruit that kills you, but doesn't, and makes you smart, and a talking snake.

    Makes sense to me!

    •  Oh, and making yourself smart with the magic fruit (8+ / 0-)

      ...was the evil, most horrible and awful thing that anyone could have done, and it's the WOMAN'S FAULT!!! THEY MUST BE TORTURED IN CHILDBIRTH FROM NOW ON!

    •  One cannot not believe in evolution. (5+ / 0-)

      One either understands evolution or one doesn't.

      What is so unnerving about the candidacy of Sarah Palin is the degree to which she represents—and her supporters celebrate—the joyful marriage of confidence and ignorance. SAM HARRIS

      by Cpqemp on Sat May 17, 2014 at 06:59:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Evolution is a set of propositions (0+ / 0-)

        People can believe or disbelieve propositions all day long.

        Seriously, amateur hour philosophizing.enlightens no one.

        •  Evolution BY Natural Selection (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rduran, Garrett, Namazga III

          is based on a set of propositions.

          Evolution itself is just a series of observations.

          However you can still believe in them or not.  I've always found this fixation on the word believe by my fellow evolution supporters to be a bit odd and contrary to the word's everyday usage.

          "To see both sides of a quarrel, is to judge without hate or alarm" - Richard Thompson

          by matching mole on Sun May 18, 2014 at 06:42:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Observations themselves are propositions (0+ / 0-)

            After all, you have to fix even eyeball measurement to something.

            People word chop in debates for a variety of reasons.  Some see the word "truth" as some sort of game changing prize, elevating positions on even the most mundane issues to matters of great importance.  The cloak of "truth" places their point of view beyond reproach, and discredits the other guy who--as everyone should know by now--is an idiot and should be ignored (or ridiculed) until he leaves this world.  It's also very easy to do.

        •  Evolution is a scientific theory (0+ / 0-)

          which is the highest level of science that there is - so if one doesn't "believe" in evolution, one logically rejects the entire scientific enterprise.

          •  Not even close (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Richard Lyon

            1. Evolution is a scientific theory
            2. Theory is the "highest level of science that there is" (I suppose you mean to say "theory" is well established fact).
            3. Person A rejects evolution

            C. Person A rejects the scientific enterprise.

            You're missing a premise or two to complete the argument.

            •  Theories are abstractions (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              that are not empirical fact. Their usefulness is evaluated by the ability to generate questions that lead to empirically stated hypotheses that can be experimentally tested and lead to the establishment or refutation of propositions about fact.

              The scientific culture is driven by debate over theory. It often takes on the passion of religious argument. Theories evolve. They are not conclusively proven or disproven.  

              •  "Theory" is a word frequently used imprecisely (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Richard Lyon

                in both scholarly and vernacular literature. So are "law" and "hypothesis."  Outside amateur debate and introductory philosophy, few people bother dwelling on it and for good reason: it's a fruitless sideshow.  Suffice to say that scientists make statements about our experience, and--in theory (pun intended)--assign credence to them by their varying degrees of supporting evidence and predictive power.  Since empiricism is unconcerned with propositional truth, there's no need to conclusively prove or disprove anything.

                •  You seem to have no clue what the "theory" of (0+ / 0-)

                  evolution entails (or are just being deliberately obtuse, who knows):

                  The United States National Academy of Sciences defines scientific theories as follows:

                  The formal scientific definition of theory is quite different from the everyday meaning of the word. It refers to a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence. Many scientific theories are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them substantially. For example, no new evidence will demonstrate that the Earth does not orbit around the sun (heliocentric theory), or that living things are not made of cells (cell theory), that matter is not composed of atoms, or that the surface of the Earth is not divided into solid plates that have moved over geological timescales (the theory of plate tectonics)

                  So what rises to this level?  Here a some examples (which, btw, include evolution):
                  Examples of scientific theories[edit]
                  Note that many fields of inquiry do not have specific named theories, e.g. genetics and developmental biology. Scientific knowledge outside a named theory can still have a high level of certainty, depending on the amount of evidence supporting it. Also note that since theories draw evidence from many different fields, the categorization is not absolute.

                  Biology: cell theory, theory of evolution, germ theory

                  Chemistry: collision theory, kinetic theory of gases, Lewis theory, molecular theory, molecular orbital theory, transition state theory, valence bond theory

                  Physics: atomic theory, Big Bang theory, Dynamo theory, M-theory, perturbation theory, theory of relativity (successor to classical mechanics), quantum field theory

                  Other: climate change theory (from climatology), plate tectonics theory (from geology)

              •  Theories are at a higher level that "fact" (0+ / 0-)

                They are, however, based on facts as explained

                A scientific theory summarizes a hypothesis or group of hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing. If enough evidence accumulates to support a hypothesis, it moves to the next step—known as a theory—in the scientific method and becomes accepted as a valid explanation of a phenomenon.

                IOW, hypotheses that have been supported with repeated testing involve a whole bunch of facts provide underlying support for a theory.

                Thus if you do not accept that scientific theories are "conclusively proven" you in essence reject science.   Because, if they were not "conclusively proven" they would not be considered to be theories, they'd just be hypotheses.

                •  There can be more than one theory (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  that offers and explanation of facts. Two theories that are able to offer plausible explanations for the same collection of experimental evidence are likely to be fairly closely related and the academic debates between the proponents of each is likely to revolve around what to the rest of us seem likely fairly minor points. However, that does nothing to diminish the passion of the debate. Physics is probably the scientific field that carries this to the greatest level of abstraction.  

                •  Wrong, on so many levels (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Richard Lyon

                  1. Nobody cares what terminology hierarchy Kim Ann Zimmerman uses, and I have no idea why randomly linking to some nobody's opinion amounts to spreading the gospel.  If you want to get etymological and linguistic about it, by all means write a damned diary.  You might even get a dozen or so recs--mine included.

                  2. There is nothing, and I repeat nothing, in the definition of the scientific method that requires anyone to accept a scientific statement--theory, law, otherwise--to be "conclusively proven."  On the contrary, the scientific method admits imprecision and error--two features that are antithetical by definition to propositional truth.  If you find that unsatisfying, it speaks less to the power of science and more to your own capacity for reason.

                  3. It is clearly wrong to say that rejection of the entire body of science follows from rejecting any scientific statement regardless of its perceived evidentiary weight or predictive power.  That people facts while rejecting others all the time is an observed fact.

  •  This is fun (10+ / 0-)

    If you dig into the original Pew document you find:

    Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

    While the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has not issued a definitive statement on evolution, it does contend that “God created the universe and all that is therein, only not necessarily in six 24-hour days, and that God actually may have used evolution in the process of creation.”

    as well as:
    Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod

    The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod teaches that “the Genesis account of Creation is true and factual, not merely a ‘myth’ or ‘story’ made up to explain the origin of all things.” The church rejects evolution or any theory that “denies or limits the work of creation as taught in Scripture.”

    and I know from Wife's experience that the Presbyterian churches have the same kind of divide into liberal and conservative wings.  I myself have never met an ELCA Lutheran who thought creationism was anything other than a silly superstition left over from the olden days, and I suspect that our quote is a relic from the distant past that we have not gotten around to fixing because it is such a non issue for us.

    All of which speaks to Richard Lyon's point, in that the single column of Mainline Protestant that has 51% acceptance of evolution in fact conflates two groups that are superficially identical but in fact hold widely divergent views on important matters; which means that it pays to be specific about who, exactly, you are discussing.

    I believe that this was the origin of commonmass's complaint, that - in his opinion - certain critics were not being sufficiently careful.

    o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel: Parati

    by tarkangi on Sat May 17, 2014 at 05:50:13 PM PDT

    •  I've had enough dealings with Lutherans (3+ / 0-)

      to know that there is a large divide.

      When you start looking at opinion polls of US Catholics it becomes apparent that a majority of them don't follow the same religion as the present conservative hierarchy. The RCC manages to preserve its institutional facade, but there huge cracks in the foundation.    

      •  I went to Catholic school, and we were taught (7+ / 0-)

        evolution as a basic, uncontroversial fact.  I was taught it by a Catholic brother, no less.  The Church brass has had its ups and downs with Darwin, but... heck, the father of genetics was a Catholic friar.

        What's sad is that some of the kids who sat in the same classroom have grown up to be creationists, as if they've forgotten their own church's teachings and reflexively assumed a "conservative" stance.

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Sat May 17, 2014 at 06:15:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  In no way does the Catholic hierarchy (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        reject evolution. It has been seen as a tenable theory since the late 19th century, and as (likely) scientific truth for the past three generations.

        They have had two reservations. One has largely gone by the boards--that popularizing the theory could lead the faithful astray. The second remains in principle: that God created the Universe, and intervened at some point to give Adam & Eve a soul. But Catholic schools, and especially Catholic universities, (mostly) teach the theory without mentioning the divine or supernatural at all.

        This doesn't of course mean that no teachers, or even all professors, are creationists (or climate-change deniers). But the (mostly older) professors, at least, don't let that influence their professional work, or in most cases their teaching, and their colleagues are seldom sympathetic to those views.

        But, as is well-known, it's a just little easier to get rid of cockroaches from a city apartment than to get rid of a tenured professor.

    •  A real problem is people reading things into (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tarkangi, Pluto, BMScott

      statements that aren't there. Often, in the readeer's mind, "all" or "some" is insterted and offence is or isn't taken based on this modified reading.  The invisible comma is another problem.  Compare:

      Christians who disbelieve science blah blah blah
      Christians, who disbelieve science, blah blah blah

      Two very different statements, and a lot of people will go off the rails beuause they read the first as the second.

      That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

      by enhydra lutris on Sat May 17, 2014 at 06:14:48 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  There's Also a 40 Year Program of Biblical (7+ / 0-)

      fundamentalists joining to legally take over mainline Protestant churches.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sat May 17, 2014 at 06:15:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The War Church (5+ / 0-)

        My pastor, who came out of the Yale Divinity School, believes that there has been a deliberate movement to create a War Church in America so as to elide such embarrassments to the Establishment as the prominence of Christian clergy in the opposition to the Viet Nam war.

        There has also been a generation long effort to blur the definitions of "Evangelical" and "Fundamentalist" - which are not the same thing at all - because the latter figured out that they were too similar to the wild eyed crazies who have been blowing things up around the world so that a marketing bait&switch was in order.  I do not approve of this trend, but there doesn't seem to be anything that I can do to stop it.

        o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel: Parati

        by tarkangi on Sat May 17, 2014 at 06:25:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  As a Wedding/Funeral Musicians I See Shrines (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          enhydra lutris, tarkangi, Roadbed Guy

          to "our troops" at the entrances of Catholic and Protestant churches alike, have for many years especially since the 1st Gulf War.

          Last Catholic church I participated at, couple of years ago, had the war shrine out in the entrance and the field of dead aborted pre-election baby crosses out front.

          Not a poster about the poor, or peace, or forgiveness.

          This is routine in fundamentalist Protestant land too.

          We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

          by Gooserock on Sat May 17, 2014 at 06:44:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The Commemoration of the Departed (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            This has always been part of the religious tradition, but like anything else it can be handled in a multitude of ways.  The War Church certainly emphasizes the strength and glory of American arms, but it doesn't have to be that way.

            When I was in Austria I came across a church that had a little war memorial tucked away in the back: an Teutonic Cross carved in granite, bearing the names of the men who had died fighting the Russians in WWI.  A quick bit of arithmetic suggested that about three quarters of the men in the village did not return from the battles, so the whole thing was a somber testimony to the folly of war.

            But here in my own town there is a church with that idiot fetus cross garden, and the whole vibe of "don't abort them so they can grow up and die for Jesus" insanity.  All I can say is, some people are going to be really surprised when they go to meet their Maker.

            o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel: Parati

            by tarkangi on Sat May 17, 2014 at 07:37:50 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I remember an apparance by Jerry Falwell... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          on a news program. He was telling the host that he wanted to get away from the term fundamentalist, because they were thought of the "ones who went around blowing up airplanes" or something like that.

          Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

          by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun May 18, 2014 at 02:31:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  They've also been targeting the Catholic Church. (0+ / 0-)

        The Charismatic movement, encouraged and financed by Pentecostal interests, have manage to become dominant forces many Catholic parishes.

        Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

        by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun May 18, 2014 at 02:28:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I am ELCA (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      And the subject of Creationism is wholly irrelevant to my faith in Christ. Personally, I think it is a myth similar to the Greek ones for people who didn't have the intelligence or knowledge to devise a different explanation. After all, for how many millenia were women blamed for the gender of their offspring only for us later to discover that males determine gender?

      •  What is Genesis? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Richard Lyon, kurt, RhodeIslandAspie

        Well, it's an oral history that contains an origin myth.  We have thousands of such histories recorded in the libraries and such matters have been studied extensively (exhaustively?) but this particular one is ours.

        I like to think that is a theological statement rather than a scientific statement, for the very good reason that Science was not to be invented for another fifty six hundred years, and that it makes sense best as a way to differentiate the various Abrahamic religions that were floating around the Middle East from the practices of their neighbors: we know that the authors of the Old Testament spent a great deal of time dishing on the Baal cults.  So:

            They worship the Sun?  Our God created the Sun.
            They worship the Moon?  Our God created the Moon.
            They worship the beasts of the field?  Our God created...

        It is well established that Fundamentalism, which styles itself a return to the original and pure religion, is in fact a modernist reaction to the triumph of the Enlightenment and rationalist thought.  The mistake of the Creationists is to read Genesis as a scientific text when it clearly is no such thing.  My interpretation may well be wrong, but theirs is wrong with absolute certainty.  Why they might want to do that anyway is an interesting discussion, to me at least, but way outside the scope of this comment thread.

        o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel: Parati

        by tarkangi on Sat May 17, 2014 at 07:07:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  2 similar but distinct myths (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          wilderness voice, kurt, VeggiElaine

          There are 2 contradictory accounts of creation in Genesis.  Modern scholars, based on textual analysis, believe that the 1st 5 books of the OT were compiled from several writers.  Two writers of 2 somewhat different origins are likely the source of Genesis 1 and 2.

          Interesting as literature and allegorical stories but impossible to take 'literally' as orgs like Answers in Genesis want to do.

          •  I actually saw Ken Ham and his Freak Show (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Back when I young and ardent, I believed that if only I could educate the crowd then they would drop the foolishness and we could all march together into my rationalist technoutopian future.

            What a tool, him and me, each in our separate ways.

            The joke is that if Ham were to be time traveled back to Ur, he would immediately be stoned as a heretic and a menace to society.

            o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel: Parati

            by tarkangi on Sat May 17, 2014 at 07:47:16 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Common in the oral tradition (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wilderness voice, VeggiElaine

              Long ago I heard Albert Lord lecture about Serbian folk singers, back when everyone but WWI buffs was blissfully ignorant of where Serbia might be.

              The story that resonated was about a man with the reputation of being able to sing an entire song from memory after hearing it just once.  Lord and his team put the man through his paces and it turned out that he was pretty good - but not perfect.  It all hinged on there being a common corpus of songs from which the singer could analyse a "new" song and stitch together the pieces to make a tolerably good repeat performance.  In other words, he legitimately had a prodigious memory but he also had some cultural assistance.

              Presumably this kind of process was at work when two variants of the Creation story were stitched together when the written version of Genesis was finalised.  It certainly obliterates the conceit that God touched Moses  and caused him to pour out Genesis in one great torrent.

              In a humorous note, there are people who believe - in all seriousness - that the original source texts of the Bible became so corrupted over the millenia that God touched the translators of the King James Version so that they wrote in English what He intended the first time around but had gotten scrambled by fallible human transcription.  You can't argue with logic like that.

              o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel: Parati

              by tarkangi on Sat May 17, 2014 at 10:10:58 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The culture that did the edit was literate (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                wilderness voice, VeggiElaine

                The process you describe is widely believed to describe how works like the great Greek epic poems were composed.

                I think that most non-religious scholars of the Hebrew Scripture believe that the interweaving of the various stories did not happen quite that way.  It's worth remembering that the use of the Canaanite alphabet pre-dates the start of the Israelite kingdom by a couple of hundred years.  And in the late Bronze Age (even earlier) Canaanite city states are corresponding with with Egypt, using Cuneiform Babylonian.  At least among elites, this was a literate culture.

                So the various versions of sacred and historical writings were in the hands of various groups of people -- call them scribal schools.  As the Torah evolved into something like its current form, it looks like the editors (or "redactors", as they're called) were working from written documents.  This is most clear when you look at stories like the biblical flood, which very clearly composed from two similar but partially contradictory narratives.

                This is a different process than the feats of memory of Serbian folk singer, or of an early Iron Age Greek poet, and generates a different kind of document.

                Quote of the week: "They call themselves bipartisan because they're able to buy members of both parties," (R. Eskow, Campaign for America's Future.)

                by mbayrob on Sat May 17, 2014 at 11:40:37 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  On the sixth day, I made two omelettes (0+ / 0-)
            On the seventh I rested.

            Now here follows the story of how I made the omelettes:

            I first made a Nova Scotia Lox omelette.  Then, I felt it needed a companion.  So I made a Tex-Mex omelette.  And it was good.

            People have been reading and analyzing Scripture for millennia, and for five centuries ever bolder anti-clericism has had its bite at the apple.  It would actually be something to find an unassailable point of contradiction.  Unfortunately, human beings don't conveniently share enough assumptions for that to ever be likely.

            The putative authorship of Genesis 1 and 2 is a different issue from the question of whether 1 and 2 contradict one another (they clearly do not).

        •  Absolute certainty? (0+ / 0-)

          How do you figure?

        •  Few Jews take it literally. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          And since Genesis, and the rest of the OT books were Jewish works, maybe they just might know a little something about them.

          Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

          by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun May 18, 2014 at 02:37:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Funny thing about that (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            And I mean funny weird, not funny haha.

            As a Christian I am angry that so many Christers are all too happy to lecture the Jews about what God really meant on this or that point of Scripture.

            o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel: Parati

            by tarkangi on Sun May 18, 2014 at 02:58:02 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It would be hilarious... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              if the results had not been so tragic for the Jewish people. Even as Christian societies became secular, and the church became more marginal, these societies had become so hard-wired to hate the Jews, that they still had to find excuses to do so. Although Hitler and his hard core followers were hardly Christians, we know who was enemy number one for him, and what the consequences were.

              Without Judaism to build on, there is no Christianity, and no Islam.

              Paradoxically, the Catholic Church, which has promoted such horrible antisemitism has been in the forefront of building bridges between Christianity and Judaism. This process started with John XXIII and has continued through his successors, including a couple of quite traditionalist Popes.

              As a fallen Catholic, I'll say this one thing that they have gotten absolutely right over the last half century or so.

              Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

              by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun May 18, 2014 at 03:50:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Godwin alert! (3+ / 0-)

    Here is another group from the not too distant past who were (contrary to lying right-wing talking points) anti-Darwinists and avid Creationists!

    P.S. For those who have the time and inclination, this is actually quite a fascinating read.

    "Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius." -- Arnaud Amaury

    by terremoto on Sat May 17, 2014 at 06:12:46 PM PDT

  •  That data is based on a 2007 survey (11+ / 0-)

    and there is a more recent survey from Pewfrom 2013:

     photo pew_creation_poll.jpg

    This is a better survey.  The phrasing of the question for identifying creationists is needed IMO to more accurately identify them: "humans existed in present form since beginning".  It depends on the question design, but it is likely an error of logic to assume that 19% of Buddhists of that 2007 data reject evolution.  There could be an "I don't know" response.

    So I think it is interesting how they chose to phrase the question for 2013.  I'm glad they gave two choices that also allowed the "I don't know" group to be identified as well.

    Personally I think it is quite a challenge.  How does one design a survey that idiot creationists can understand?  Do you go for the young earthers or something more akin to Scopes trial issues?

    I'm satisfied that this is a fairly good indicator of where the crazy is coming from.

    Good diary though, because the point is an important one

    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

    by Satya1 on Sat May 17, 2014 at 06:47:09 PM PDT

  •  Gallup 2012 (5+ / 0-)

    On partisanship:

    Highly religious Americans are more likely to be Republican than those who are less religious, which helps explain the relationship between partisanship and beliefs about human origins. The major distinction is between Republicans and everyone else. While 58% of Republicans believe that God created humans in their present form within the last 10,000 years, 39% of independents and 41% of Democrats agree.
  •  Are there data differentiating between (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    enhydra lutris

    creationists and believers in intelligent design?  

    The frog jumped/ into the old pond/ plop! (Basho)

    by Wolf10 on Sat May 17, 2014 at 06:56:55 PM PDT

  •  I'm surprised mainline Prostestantism... (0+ / 0-) not higher than 51% and that it didn't beat Catholics.

  •  Smaller lumps are still lumps. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Grey Fedora
    My point here is that religious people come in all shapes, sizes and flavors. It is a serious distortion of reality to lump them all together.
    It approaches a "serious distortion of reality" to lump members of individual denominations together, too...

    I'm a Southern Baptist, and I wouldn't even attempt to dump the SBC's 46,000 churches and 16 million members into one bucket. There's a huge difference between what the "big time" power players say is important and what is actually being taught and done in the rank-and-file churches.

    As far as this particular survey question is concerned, I think that the more telling point may be the prevalence of certain denominations in areas of low educational attainment. When you hit those areas in which 40% or more of the population doesn't even have a high school diploma, you find folks who say they believe in creationism because they can't understand evolutionary biology.

    The word "parent" is supposed to be a VERB, people...

    by wesmorgan1 on Sat May 17, 2014 at 07:42:28 PM PDT

    •  Religious Culture (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Neither side seems to understand that religion and culture are intertwined.

      While the link isn't as well defined as it is in Judaism, where one is both a member of a religion and an ethnic group, it is still there in most cultures. Even though we have legal separation of church and state, the United States is CULTURALLY a Christian nation.

      Just as atheist Jews still identify culturally as Jewish, there are both liberal and conservative people who identify as Christians. We tend to create God in our own image, and use religion to justify whatever we are predisposed to do in the first place.

      As  Wesmorgan points out, the more telling point is probably education.

      "The long memory is the most radical idea in this country." Utah Phillips 1935 - 2008

      by Grey Fedora on Sat May 17, 2014 at 11:32:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Um... (0+ / 0-)

    Mainline Protestant, Orthodox Jews and Catholics don't look so hot on this chart either.

    Plus you need to consider the % of the population that each group holds.

  •  Fortunately for the rest of us (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue in NC, thenekkidtruth

    several million children of the far Right, including the Religious Right, fall away every year, like the Diarist. Pew has some numbers on that that are not broken out by denomination on their main pages, but I expect could be found in the crosstabs somewhere.

    Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

    by Mokurai on Sat May 17, 2014 at 09:14:50 PM PDT

    •  I've frequently read that, but somehow I'm (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      matching mole

      still not convinced. Where I live, there is a disproportionate concentration of very politically-rightwing, very fundamentalist "Christian" people.

      Their children are routinely either homeschooled or attend "Christian" schools that are spinoffs of and run by various rightwing fundamentalist local churches. The homeschool textbooks, which are frequently published by Bob Jones University, strongly deny evolution and promote creationism (among many other scientific and historical flaws: for example, according to what these kids are taught in history, the United States was founded as and was meant to be a Christian nation). The children's social lives are strictly controlled, and they generally marry others from within their very narrow confines in an almost "arranged-marriage" scenario.

      Because I live where I do, these people represent the bulk of my acquaintances and many of them are even friends, so I'm aware of what happens to their children after they leave home, and universally those children have "gone forth and multiplied", and carried their rightwing fundamentalism as well as their rightwing Republicanism with them.

      I realize that "the plural of anecdote is not (necessarily) data", but I'm just not seeing this falling away among the children of the far right and the religious right. Au contraire, I see the disease spreading and persisting.

      I hope that my anecdotal "evidence" is an aberration, and that your observation is correct.

      "Bernie Madoff's mistake was stealing from the rich. If he'd stolen from the poor he'd have a cabinet position." -OPOL

      by blue in NC on Sun May 18, 2014 at 04:36:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I suspect that the general pattern is true (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blue in NC

        (young people are less religious) but that it is not uniform geographically.  My guess (no data just a guess) is that there is less falling away in areas with very high proportions of the conservative religious.  It would make sense that you are less likely to stray if you aren't exposed to the alternatives.

        "To see both sides of a quarrel, is to judge without hate or alarm" - Richard Thompson

        by matching mole on Sun May 18, 2014 at 06:37:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Some of the churches say so themselves (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Richard Lyon

        You can start with The Incredible Shrinking Church, by Frank Page, who used to be the President of the Southern Baptist Convention. They had to abandon their racist doctrines and recruit minorities to avoid declining to irrelevance. Unfortunately, in giving up official racism, they doubled down on bigotry and misogyny.

        Barna Group is an Evangelical polling firm [I know! Actual facts!] that has been documenting the decline in Evangelical churches and the religious right. My favorite fact from Barna Group is their report that 38% of Christian Millennials fact-check sermons on their smart phones.

        I have seen a bit of their problem with my own eyes. A few weeks ago I was in a Fundy church in southern Indiana where there were only two people under the age of fifty, a wife and a son. A significant portion of the sermon was about the sorrow of their family members falling away from Jesus into the arms of the Devil, and there was nothing the members could do to save them. That church is going away.

        You are correct that the Religious Right still tries to raise its children in the bubble. You are correct that you see them and their children reciting the approved messages. What you don't see among your neighbors is the children who leave as soon as they are legally able to, but who keep their mouths shut until then. But some of their stories are available on the Web. Here is an extreme one, from a son of Fred Phelps, founder of Westboro Baptist Church.

        EXCLUSIVE: 'They see death as a judgment from God': Westboro founder Fred Phelps' son reveals the truth about his father's excommunication - and how the hate group Phelps founded is destined to fail

        ‘You have to understand,’ Nate said. ‘He didn’t need to stop us from coming in contact with other ideas. He had such control with the tools that he had, the rhetoric and the violence, that we saw everything through the filter of how it meant we stood with God. He sent us out into the world fully armored. ‘
        Up to the point where he started planning his escape for the moment he turned 18.

        There are others. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why,  by Bart D. Ehrman, starts out with a different version, how Ehrman, trained as a Fundamentalist theologian, started to see the light and was, in effect, excommunicated and shunned.

        Back off, man. I'm a logician.—GOPBusters™

        by Mokurai on Sun May 18, 2014 at 08:13:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Global Warming and Evolution (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Looked for but could not find any polls as to what percentage of any Religion believes in Global Warming. It would be interesting to compare it to the Evolution one.

    It would be a GUESS, and I do mean guess, that they might be similar.

  •  If you have a problem with people (0+ / 0-)

    believing in Creationism, you have a very small problem indeed.

    •  The problem isn't a belief in creationism nearly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      as much as the baggage the usually comes bundled with it.

      Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, anti-intellectualism, anti-science, unconcern or open hostility towards a more just society, unconcern or outright denial about climate change, rampant militarism and jingoism. I could go on forever here, but I'll best save that for another diary.

      Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

      by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun May 18, 2014 at 03:08:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In other words, its a characteristic (0+ / 0-)

        shared by, as of 2008, a clear majority of Republicans.  Granted.  But it's also a belief held by 40 percent of Democrats and Independents.  Grating as it is, what people believe happened 6,000 years ago is not worth picking a fight over.

        •  If creationists want to simply be creationists, (0+ / 0-)

          that isn't any great problem. But many, probably most want us to accommodate them. They want their intelligent design in the schools. Excuse me, if we are going to be teaching science in the schools, it shouldn't be what any pressure group want, but rather it should reflect mainstream science.

          I don't believe for a second that creationist beliefs cause people to be hateful reactionaries. It's probably more effect than cause. People that want the good old days when you know who knew their place are likely to be comfortable with the old style religious beliefs which explained everything so well. And of course, one does not have to a be a person of an ultra traditionalist faith to be a hateful person. Nor are  all ultra traditionalist types hateful.

          But I have yet to meet a genuinely committed creationist that didn't have some horribly reactionary beliefs as to the way society should be run.

          Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

          by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun May 18, 2014 at 03:40:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            There were tons in Black churches and mosques where I grew up.  Still are to this day.

            Creationists are already being accommodated.  The question is what we should do about it.  Personally, I think the entire debate is upended; instead of arguing about what HS students should be learning in Earth Science and Biology, I want to know what's the pedagogical justification for the trivia pursuit that typifies so much of K-8 science education.  I want to know the reason educators delay teaching mathematics necessary for science to a powerful, predictive tool rather than the rote memorization of facts.

            •  We can come to some agreement here. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Yes, they are being accommodated, and they want even more. Look what they usual suspects are doing down in Texas to history.

              And I agree that mathematics is being dumbed down.  

              Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

              by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun May 18, 2014 at 05:39:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Buddhists evolve (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    matching mole

    So I'm not surprised that they lead the list.

    There was a revolution among certain Buddhist sects in the late 1970s, and it went like this - we're vegetarians because killing is wrong.  So we'll eat plants, but there's a problem.

    It's clear to us that killing plants is no different than killing animals.  Plants aren't rocks any more than a zebra or an osprey or an albacore or a nematode is - the two living kingdoms are Plants and Animals.

    And humans have gall bladders which secrete bile - necessary for the breakdown of animal lipids.  So what is natural is that humans eat animal proteins as well as plants.  Anthropology and biology informs us of this.

    So changes were made.  The consumption of animal protein was viewed in a whole new light, and the emphasis was to see to it that both Plants as well as Animals be consumed humanely and responsibly.

    In other words, a major religion's doctrines that were closely held for millennia were challenged and changed in the light of scientific fact.  Not an everyday occurrence, but Buddhism honors the reasonable, the pragmatic and especially the factual.

    Know that $20 I owe you? Well, since money equals speech, then speech, of course, must equal money. C'mere and I'll read you the Tao Te Ching.

    by thenekkidtruth on Sun May 18, 2014 at 04:20:41 AM PDT

  •  Wording is very important (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thenekkidtruth, rduran

    Example 1:  I can tell you from personal experience that the wording of the question is guaranteeing a low agreement rate across all group.

    "Is evolution the best explanation for the origins of human life on earth?"

    The word 'best' automatically sets up evolution in competition with other ideas and allows, for example, the responder to answer no even if they accept evolution because they feel religious explanation provides meaning that a purely scientific explanation lacks.  Doesn't mean they reject evolution.

    Asking specifically about humans also sets you up for a low positive response.  Students in my intro bio class are generally quite accepting of evolution (they are a non-random sample) but their acceptance of evolution as an explanation for human origins is consistently lower (65%) than their general acceptance of evolution and associated non-biological facts (age of the earth) which are usually over 90%.

    Example 2:  The original diary by Hunter that seems to have caused all this kerfuffle.  Reading it I saw a satirical attack on those who have specific beliefs about the nature of the physical universe that are not based on evidence and who attempt to impose those beliefs on others.  Nothing that was an attack on religious belief generally.  However clearly there were a number of people of faith who thought differently.  I'd be interested in hearing from those people more specifically about exact statements and who they interpreted them.  Not to tell them they are wrong but I don't think this conversation will go anywhere as long as people talk past one another.

    "To see both sides of a quarrel, is to judge without hate or alarm" - Richard Thompson

    by matching mole on Sun May 18, 2014 at 06:07:27 AM PDT

    •  I don't think it's ever going to go anywhere (0+ / 0-)

      About the only common ground a secular guy can have with one who believes whole heartedly in a creation myth is: "hey, with magic anything's possible."  

      Question is why we invest so much time and effort legislating, litigating and polemicizing over an otherwise inconsequential disagreement.  

  •  The American evangelical movement ebbs and flows (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    in reaction to larger changes in American society. Its seems to me that their impulse to "draw a line in the sand" over creationism is more politics than creed. It's a loyalty test that they demand of politicians who seek their backing.

    A lot of main-line churches were part of the civil rights movement in the sixties. Fundie churches swelled in the seventies to provide white Amerikaners with a refuge from desegregation. They easily allied themselves with the new southern Republicans and conservative politics.

    We're fighting the old battle over evolution again because of the backlash to the election of our first black president. Open Klan-style racism has gone out of style, but the "Confederates" can still discipline their candidates and line up their voters by fighting surrogate battles over creationism in schools, stem cell research, gay marriage, etc.

    Evangelical churches are actually becoming racially diverse now, but the old power structure remains.

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Sun May 18, 2014 at 08:51:42 AM PDT

  •  58% of Catholics support evolution, (0+ / 0-)

    but that is much lower than one might suspect, since the CC has no beef with evolution, recent Popes have praised Darwin, and Catholic Schools taught evolution starting at least as far back as the early part of the 20th century.

    But then again, the majority of Catholics use contraceptives and oppose the outlawing of abortion, whereas there leaders are completely on the other side of that.  Interesting.

    It's not surprise the the CC rank and file buck their leadership on reproductive issues, because the leadership seems to live in another century. But why is there somewhat of a reversal on evolution, where the CC leadership is clearly behind science, but a surprisingly large minority is the laity is on the other side? Perhaps because the leadership has been churning up the waters of right wing social causes, there are many conservative Catholics that want to turn their back on the modern world.

    I went to Catholic Schools, and they did teach real science. But there was on nun in the eighth grade one nun, a Sister of (no) Mercy, of course, who told us to disregard everything the textbook said about evolution, because the scientists were lying to us, because they were a bunch of atheists. I attempted to debate her on this issue, and she was surprisingly open to hearing me out until I started making her look foolish and getting some snickers from the class, and then she starting raving and ranting at me and threatening with violence, It was hilarious.

    BTW, this didn't happen in 1932, it was 1972. Oh yes, she thought Fr Coughlin was a thought provoking man who THEY forced off the air, and that labor unions were run by communists. Oh yes, she told us that Playboy magazine was run by the commies also, and the profits were helping the International Communist Conspiracy. And yes, if Truman had only let MacArthur run the Korean war and nuke those yellow reds, we would have been living in such a wonderful world.  

    Fortunately, the Catholic high school I went to the next was much more civilized.

    Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

    by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun May 18, 2014 at 10:04:20 AM PDT

    •  Main thing I take away from that anecdote (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      is that too many people take pride in humiliating others over trivial things.  

      •  Before you want to make this nun a victim, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        understand that we, the class, were her victim. She was one of the wackadoodles you used to see teaching in Catholic schools. People who should have never been allowed in the classroom, but had a job for life, because they were nuns. And we had more than our share of these wackadoodles in our parish school. Perhaps because it was a poorer parish where the parents were less educated and more unquestioning.

        Think of our push back as being self-defense.

        Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

        by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun May 18, 2014 at 05:44:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I'm sorry you had an unpleasant teacher once (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I'd wager most people have at one point, including far too many who have suffered real harm.  A row over creationism isn't what most would count as abuse, especially since you apparently got the upper hand fairly quickly and to the amusement of your classmates.

          •  No, the worst wasn't that she was a creationist. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The worst was that she really didn't know much about anything, but acted like she did, and was quite a bully. Common among the cast of characters I dealt with at that school. The Catholic high school as I said was much better.

            But it is interesting that such characters tend toward quite exte,e views, whether it be creationism, objectivism, racism, Marxism-Leninism, Fascism.

            Just another underemployed IT professional computer geek.

            by RhodeIslandAspie on Sun May 18, 2014 at 08:05:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  An interesting point was made by Reza Aslan (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Garrett, AlyoshaKaramazov

    in his wonderful book, "Zealot", that Creationism is an injection of modern understandings of objective truth into scripture. The people who wrote the Bible, for example, did not have any real conception of independently verified fact. Their writings were an expression of an awareness of a relationship between God and Man, not an attempt to publish the God Gazette. To the authors of the Bible, the suggestion that they were claiming that God created everything in just 7 days would have left them extremely puzzled. However, the triumph of the scientific method in the 19th Century also resulted in a sort of triumph of that same method among some Christians and this then engendered an obsession with "factuality" in scripture to its lasting detriment.

    Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

    by Anne Elk on Sun May 18, 2014 at 10:41:19 AM PDT

    •  don't forget about the paranoia (0+ / 0-)

      felt by many church-goers, that scientists and science teachers are actually trying to turn their kids into atheists.

      And that they apparently feel the need to defend their omniscient, omnipotent Lord.  As if he needs their help.

      Religious affiliation, as extension of personal (and group) ego, is a very interesting subject, and tends to be mostly displayed amongst the strictest and most extreme of religious sects.

      Their fear of being wrong, and overwhelming need to be right, has caused some of the most evil acts ever recorded in history.

      "Republicans are shameless dicks. No, that’s not fair. Republican politicians are shameless dicks." - Al Franken

      by AlyoshaKaramazov on Sun May 18, 2014 at 12:00:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Aren't they? (0+ / 0-)

        At the very least, isn't one of the main thrusts of secular education to advance...well..secular thought?  Let's not pretend there isn't a genuine controversy over what kids--particularly in public school, but also in private academies and home school settings--should be required to master.

    •  If Reza made that point in "Zealot," (0+ / 0-)

      I must have missed it.  I wouldn't be surprised if he did make it in some other venue.  The man has a habit of passing himself off as a scholar of religion and religious history.

  •  "I am an unaffiliated groper" (0+ / 0-)

                            - Norman Lear

    closest I've yet come to an accurate description of where I am at.

    Jiddu Krishnamurti blew my mind silent 24 years ago.  I haven't looked back.

    Oh, and what exactly is a "Historically Black Protestant?"

    "Republicans are shameless dicks. No, that’s not fair. Republican politicians are shameless dicks." - Al Franken

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Sun May 18, 2014 at 11:41:10 AM PDT

  •  um, (0+ / 0-)

    "Republicans are shameless dicks. No, that’s not fair. Republican politicians are shameless dicks." - Al Franken

    by AlyoshaKaramazov on Sun May 18, 2014 at 12:13:48 PM PDT

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