Why Learn Evolution

How understanding evolution benefits humanity

Comments that should be posts—Thank you Swarn.

1. First understanding our true origin means a great deal as opposed to stories that focus on things like original sin. In Judeo Christian thought, the idea that we are all born sinners because of this creation story matters a great deal.

2. The idea that evolution is both non-divergent and is iterative over a long timescale has numerous benefits to us as a people:

a) Evolution wasn’t trying to create us. Intelligence is just one other way to adapt to an environment. We are not the most successful species or the pinnacle of evolution by any means. Human conceit is a big problem and this is largely built the idea that there is a divine reason for our being here that does not apply to the rest of the universe.

b) Because evolution is iterative, we know that as a species we are part of a continuum, not some large gap above every being. This relates to a) above, but the fact that evolution allows us to recognize that all creatures, plants, microbes, other animals have a right to life is extremely important. It also helps us understand how best to preserve conditions that are going to prevent creatures from going extinct before their time to allow for a more natural adjustment of ecosystems. But beyond a) knowing that we are a continuum allows us to study other organisms and their behaviors to help us understand ourselves. It also might allow us to forgive ourselves a little more for our imperfections.

c) The fact that evolution is a slow process is something that helps us understand the vast well of time that it takes to make life as complex as ourselves and gives a sense from where we fit into the history of the Earth and of the universe. It is humbling to say the least and that’s important. Humility. I find contemplating this span of time to also be more awesome than a magical wave of God’s hand and a 6000 year history. And if awe and wonder is important to you, than the ways in which evolution works are filled with much to contemplate and awe at. Understanding the longer story of evolution and human development gives us a better sense of what we can expect out of ourselves for the future.

3) Evolution has also had an enormous impact on our understanding of the brain, and helped bust through the paradigm that our mind is somehow separate from our body. This is something that was built on the human conceit. The brain is an organ like any other, and evolved along with the rest of our organs and thus we can understand much about how the brain works by understanding past environments that we spend much of our time in surviving. This has enormous impacts on understanding human behavior, helping people overcome thought patterns which may not be very helpful, and again by seeing ourselves on this spectrum with other life we can see that our brains aren’t vastly more special than some of our closest relatives. Without evolution we would not have bust through the notion of free will which has enormous implications on how we practice justice. More than that it can increase our empathy for those that are our worst actors in society to see them as sick and not intrinsically evil.

Understanding evolution has increased my empathy, made me more forgiving, gives me more hope for the future, and fills me with a sense of awe and wonder that the spiritual world could not even come close to. Perhaps that’s not your experience, but to suggest that it tries to be some sort of pillar against religion or that people who have studied evolution had some goal to take down religion seems ludicrous to me. Trying to understand the world is a fundamental curiosity and evolution is the truth. It serves us far better than the illusions. Global and social problems can be addressed through an acceptance of evolution. Not only by the contents of the theory, but the acceptance that there is a better way to acquire knowledge about the universe than just make guesses, and believing in things real hard to convince yourself that you’re right. Evolution isn’t obvious, as are a lot of things that science has discovered. They are nuanced, you have to look carefully, you have to be systematic in your observations and you have to check in with others to make sure those observations are sound. This is actually really really important to solving problems. To suggest that we ignore one of the most meaningful and important scientific theories because it doesn’t help us solve the problems of today is just simply untrue.

—Swarn Gill

Author: jim-

Alternatives to big box religions and dogmas

105 thoughts on “Why Learn Evolution”

  1. Of course whatever is new to an area has an impact: tiny, small, medium, big, huge, depending upon what it is (i.e. new species introduced, fire, toxic water, artic air flowing through, etc.).

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  2. I’ve always been one to say what is, is. No matter what theories people have, all that matters is reality. Could there/have there been creatures and plants that changed over the years? I could believe so. Have animals developed from amoebas, in a primordial soup? I would have no problems accepting creation could happen that way. But the evidence is against. The lowest life form never could have begun on it’s own, and honest scientists know this, partly due to the inability to make it happen in labs. And we see no half-necked giraffes or otherwise to show development from one creature to another. Do I know absolutely? Evidence.

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    1. I agree. It’s been on my mind a lot lately that people are passionate about belief. What the hell good does belief do? Belief is the root of war, oppression, religion, division, oppression, all supported by belief in an unprovable. Humans are weird, and will believe anything. Thanks. Great sense comment!

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  3. Some dipstick previously said: “Swarn uses evolution as a frame upon which to hang some of his personal beliefs and opinions. That’s well and good, so long as he does not then go on to claim that accepting his personal beliefs somehow is concomitant with accepting evolution as a scientific explanation for the development of life on one planet. To say that would be going well beyond the purview and competence of science.” …end quote. (Massive projection anyone?)

    Someone seems to believe evolution is some made up book full of inconsistencies and lies, designed to misinform and manipulate the masses. We already have plenty of those sort of books. Thanks.

    I dont suppose it would do any good at all to mention the vast amount of peer reviewed research, done by real scientists, with real degrees, which has been piling up for hundreds of years now, most all of it one long supportive chain of facts, indicating that evolution is indeed not only true, but inescapably so… would help?

    I dont suppose it would also do any good to mention evolution is not a belief system, or a conspiracy developed by the devil to drag good wittle x-ians down onto the pits of hell?

    Facts matter, most of my friends here are aware of the facts and aware of the implications of the facts, and that is all we need to put our trust in. Evidence based fact. The massive body of evidence supporting evolution is not ours to believe in, belief is for those who accept claims with zero supporting evidence. Indeed, that previously mentioned body of evidence is for those who are able understand what the facts actually are showing us. No belief required, merely an understanding of the facts. If only religion had some facts to rely on instead of magic books and pretentious defense mechanisms.

    To my good friend Swarn, you were mentioned here and I in no way meant to put words in your mouth, I think you know that 🙂 It could have been any of us that sort of ignorant reply was aimed at. It rubbed me the wrong way and I must have jumped in. 😉

    My words might be evidence of that.

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    1. Along with that, each scientist has enough ego to topple the whole thing if he/she could. The truth is, the bad and inconsistent hypothesis fall by the way side, the good ones gain more traction over time. Without god showing up, this is going to be around a long time like it or not. Good to see you Shell!

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    2. @shell – I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you merely skimmed parts of the thread at random, or perhaps English is not your first language. My comment had nothing to do with accepting (as I do) established scientific findings relative to evolution. Rather, I was simply cautioning against conflating such findings with personal beliefs and value judgements. Swarn subsequently clarified that such was not his intent. Happy to clear that up for you.

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      1. Well… it sure sounded a LOT like creationist claptrap we have all heard before.

        Evolution is a religion nonsense. If that were not the case then I owe you a benefit of the doubt.

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  4. Understanding evolution has many practical benefits too, especially in the medical field! Imagine if creationists had their way and we weren’t allowed to learn evolution? Believing in sky fairies has no practical benefits that I can see.

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    1. His blog is quite the boor without us. I would guess he would eventually just go away in short order with only the three clowns commenting and flossing, giving more insight to delusions. I could only imagine this is their version of heaven.

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      1. Now that he has (supposedly) decided to ditch the overt Let’s Attack The Atheists theme to focus on Christianity I imagine it will get boring as hell in very short order.
        After all, what on earth can he possibly ”preach” that hasn’t been done to death already?

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      1. I was never religious, I never go to church, I don’t believe in repetitive sermons, but I believe in God, I may not see Him, but I feel his presence all the time, especially in the dark times of my life, I believe in the theory of Creation not because I know the bible but because I believe that a higher power exists.

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            1. I am sure you are! However, here you are on an atheist blog, for what reason one can only guess, and I can assure you that every deconvert to the person has, at one time or another been in a similar position as you are now.
              Many will aso tell of ”Dark Times”, feeling God’s presence etc etc.
              And yet, I would venture that every one who walked away will hint that they now cringe a little at the silliness of it – even while realising it was a manifestation of their emotional predicament – and also the arrogance that the god they communed with or felt the presence of was not only the Right God but this god seemed unconcerned with the billions of other people from other countries and cultures who believed exactly the same things about their god.

              The most important point is this: You’ll be good without this god. Probably a lot better in fact.

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            2. I respect your beliefs and I am glad that you stand by it, I will never judge anyone because they view things differently. I am here because this particular blogger has been one of the few who I admire in this community and I respect him a lot, so I always read what he has to say even if it defies some of the things that I believe in. 🙂

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            3. If you don’t view them as ”lost” then why on earth are you a Christian?
              Christian doctrine demands compliance of belief in the biblical character Jesus of Nazareth, and that he is the sole means of redemption for sin.
              Every variant of this doctrine ultimately leads to damnation for the non-believer, whether they spend eternity being tortured in the fiery pit (sic) or merely end up ”Separated” from your) god).

              If you have a personal view about what ultimately happens to you as a believer then you must surely have a view what happens to a hard-core non believer such as me.
              I truly am fascinated to read your take.

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            4. I have read your blog for a while. I’ve seen the ups and downs. I do see you have the power and ability to solve your own problems. The power is in you…it’s in us we all survive and heal and grow because of people,or in spite of them. On the other hand, understanding Neurology, evolution, and just a little psychology we see that we’ve got this! Humans have quirks! And we grow even better when using real tools and insight to our amazing abilities to survive, adapt, press through, advance. I once had belief as well. When I no longer believed nothing really changed. I’d been on my own all along. Now I’m developing tools instead of dependency. Make sense. Respectfully I would suggest you have the power as well. Thank you for sharing openly. It does help us all understand we are all in a different place on the same road.

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        1. If that is the case, then you will believe that our minds and our intelligence are given to us by god. And since those intelligent minds have discovered the evolutionary past of humans and have ditched the old myths, then that must mean that evolution is true.

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    1. I think that even many people and scientists were and to some degree are guilty of still seeing evolution as a pyramid which leads to us. But once it was proven that evolution was not convergent, I think that’s a significant finding that should make us more humble about our responsibility in living sustainably on our planet.

      Also, just as a note, I feel impressed that I made a statement worth of 10 libraries, given that I certainly have not read quite as many books. I should choose a biographer now so they can be fully aware of my greatness. LOL

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  5. @ Loy

    As science … ”…has nothing at all to say about the act of creation.” ….

    how does one interact with God and how does one know that such interaction is real?

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    1. Oooo, oooo! Ark, I can answer that one for Loy! 😁 The answer is twofold:

      General Revelation! But more importantly…

      SPECIAL Revelation, or in other words, Holy Scripture and individual miracles and revelations via soulful/cerebral neurological “communications” including hallucinations!!!

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      1. Yes, but you simply wouldn’t understand; mostly because you’re old an’ mean an’ you probably smell funny, too.
        I need to read what a proper Christian has to say about this.

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          1. Just because YOU don’t believe in miracles, and just because YOU don’t believe in prayer and have intimate tete a tetes with El Supremo, doesn’t mean it isn’t real.
            And for the record, I’ll bet Jesus saved better than you ever did, even if he had athlete’s foot up to his knee!
            Remember: evolution is only a theory .
            Jesus was real.

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            1. Taboo, now we have a self appointed king, AND a self nominated nobel prize winner right here on wordpress. Now all we need is a research analyst….bitch!!

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      2. A priest once told me he had a “special revelation” for me back in my Catholic school days. I didn’t go with him and, thus, I didn’t get me “special revelation”. I think I made the right choice. 🙂

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    2. how does one interact with God

      The same way I interact with you.

      and how does one know that such interaction is real

      The same way I “know” (or rather, posit) that anything not myself is “real”.

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  6. Now I would like to take this opportunity to explore some different approaches to what Swarn tells us in his third point above:

    “Evolution has also had an enormous impact on our understanding of the brain, and helped bust through the paradigm of our mind being somehow separate from our body.”

    To begin, I fail to see how evolution had any impact on our understanding of the brain. Human fossils do not show us how our brains worked, not even Otzi’s 5000 year old brain can do that. The evolution of our brain before and after Otzi are based on brain case measurements, which cannot tell us how many folds the encased brain might have had. But while all this is interesting, it is not very meaningful. Brain size can tell us very little about brain works.
    Also, there are other possible realities that we must consider. The first is consciousness level, and for this I would theorize 3 levels of consciousness going on in our brains, and bodies. I would first deny that our minds are detached from our bodies, but are actually the consciousness of our bodies, as opposed to the consciosness attached to our brains. I think that our brain-consciousness could be called our ego-being. My ego, for me, is a direct extension of my brain, using the sensations sent to our brains by our senses. Basically, our brains can only know what comes to us through our 5 senses, sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. Everything we learn about the physical world around us comes through one or more of our senses. What people teach us comes to us through sound or sight, occasionally augmented by taste, feel, and/or scent. Nothing physical can come to us in any other way. Saying that, our ego-beings are concerned with what we are taught. We start from the “I,” and work outward from there. We learn family, other living beings, and objects in the home, working out in concentric circles as we move outside the home. For the longest time, though, we only know “I, me, mine.” Slowly, and hopefully, we learn about other. Other is “not I” which in turn becomes mommy, daddy, sibling (if any), pet, (if any), and so on. Along the way we become conscious of emotion, but they are not physical, though we treat them as such at first. As we grow to understand emotions, I think we learn our second level of consciousness, what I will call mind-being. Our mind-beings only deal with ego-being matters at a very basic level. Our minds are aware of ego-matters, but it is the emotions that bring mind-consciousness into being. Most emotions come to us at gut level, attached not only to our brains but to our bodies. It seems like our minds are in our heads, but that is because we have learned that the head is the seat of the ego. Meanwhile, feelings like fear, love, envy, hate, etc., we feel mainly in our bodies, with our heads left to try and make sense of them. The more we feel these non-physical emotions, the stronger our minds become. In this part I can only speak from my own experience, but I lived in fear from the time I was a toddler through my adolesence, a very strong fear, and I ended up with a very strong mind. I suspect most atheists have very strong minds, because it is our minds that filter out religious beliefs as we grow. In fact, I think our minds are very efficient filters for things that are not physically based. It is easy to know what things are made of, we can see them, feel them, and otherwise sense them. But other things, like gods, religions, emotions, we cannot know them through our senses, so we use our minds to try to know them, and if our minds are strong, we reject those things that we cannot know to be real. (Religious believers, political positionists, racists, etc are egoists, not mindists! They accept their youthful learning as set in stone, and do not challenge these attitudes or beliefs. Mindists, on the other hand, challenge most things if not all things, attempting to know what they accept as true, and what they do not accept as true.)
    For sake of the length of this comment, I will not go into the third level of consciouness that I see, except to name this level as spirit-being. Those of you who know my writings will see, I think, what I am alluding to, but for now it must remain there. Ego-being and mind-being are earthly, tied to our brains and/or bodies, so they are the important parts of this discussion. Take them for what they are worth to you, if anything. I would expect nothing less of you.

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    1. Perhaps the first sentence was poorly phrased, but I think that I was clear in what I meant in my explanation. Once you accept evolution, you cannot escape the conclusion that the brain is a physical organ that evolved with the rest of us. Nor can you can you escape the conclusion that since we are on a continuum of life that other brains and consciousnesses have similarities to our own even in other species. I certainly wasn’t talking about fossilized brains (since none exist) but rather the comparison of existing brains in species and what they can teach us about ourselves, and that the way our own brain works is not some completely separate entity from the rest of the animal kingdom. It may have differences yes, but there are also similarities, and that’s important for learning about us.

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      1. Hey, Swarn, two things. We do have mummified brains to study, with the oldest being the man frozen in the ice in the Austrian/Italian Alps a few years ago.
        And we can study all the brains we want, but that only gives us physical knowledge, not mental understanding. Measuring brain output in other species is well and fine, but that cannot tell you what a brain is thinking, or even if it is thinking. I am of the camp that says all brains think, on more than one level. If that is what you are saying, good. But I cannot accept that accepting evolution means I must make certain conclusions. That way lies anthropomorphism. We expect to find what we already know about ourselves, so we are happy when we find it. But somewhere in our evolutionary past were brains that did not work the way ours did. That is what evolution is all about–a million failures for evety success–and we still do not know that we will be a success in the future. It looks like we will be, but appearances can be decieving.
        Anyway, thank you for your input. Just because I don’t always agree with it does not mean I don’t respect it. I do. And so it goes…

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        1. Thank you for that information. I didn’t realize we had mummified brains. And I agree that we can’t know exactly what anybody is thinking or even if we are, and I am of the opinion that consciousness is not just an artifact of human brains so we do have levels of thought.

          Make of evolution what you will I suppose, but I do think there is good evidence that the theory of evolution challenges some of the fundamental concepts that civilization has been built on which have been largely religiously…which I don’t doubt seemed sensible given no information at all about how we came to be as a species.

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          1. I don’t think they were mummified if I remember right. I believe they were preserved in the peat bogs and others frozen. Not sure on the brains exactly, but the remains were remarkably intact. I’ll seek it out again.

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          2. I certainly agree evolution challenges old beliefs, I would go so far as to say it takes believers right off the field of play. The thing is, in my opinion, keep an open mind. “There are more things in [our cosmos], Horatio, than are dreamt of in our philosophy.” And more things than we can know with our senses.

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  7. There is no doubt in my mind the worst teaching of the Christian religion is the idea of original sin. That someone as perfect and loving as a god is supposed to be could condemn a whole species forever! because his very first human creations could not resist the temptation put in front of them by him is the height of stupidity. That every human child is born a sinner who must! suffer the rest of their life is such a travesty of so-called justice is the most far-fetched idea any god or human could have. That theists cannot understand how atheists could ever doubt the word of god is neatly tied up in the story of the Garden of Eden which begins the story of the bible; it is so outrageous beyond belief. But yet people accept the story, scaring little children with the threat of hell, when really religious teachers are condemning those same children to a lifetime of hell on earth. Original sin indeed! Original sin is the doctine of teaching the doctrine of original sin. But so it goes…

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  8. I have some open questions is evolution systematic and in what way? What are the processes in evolution that favours justice above injustice?

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    1. Evolution as I understand it is chaos based, trying all kinds of ways to improve life at large, species at large, and individuals at large. Others might not agree with me, but there are three things that seem to apply to all types of life, to prolong life, to propagate life, and to improve how life works.. These three processes can be extended to all levels of life as mentioned above.
      Further, IMO there is no such thing as justice in evolution. The law, if there is one, is survival of the fittest. Except when it comes to humanity and humanity’s protected species, where the weak can reproduce at the same rate as the strong, does survival of the fittest not apply.
      Justice is a human affectation, which applies more to the weak than the strong. Strong or powerful people seldom least just lives, knowing they can flaunt it in most cases. Meanwhile the weak demand justice because they think it can protect them. It cannot. Justice is an after-the-fact process, it protects no one. The pursuit of justice is revenge against the unjust, but only after the doer has set aside belief in justice.
      IMO, justice is merely a scare tactic invented by the weak, to make them believe they are strong. But why destroy that belief, even if it gives a false sense of safety? Because the rich and powerful can afford justice, while the poor cannot.

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    2. I don’t say that evolution favors justice above injustice. My argument is that by accepting that we are all just a continuum of species on this planet, that there is no better or worse species that this can positively influence justice as we practice it, as opposed to a system that holds humans as far above all other life. This philosophy has us treating the rest of the Earth as something we can abuse, and this philosophy also extends into how we treat each other.

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      1. Thank you for your reply:-) ❤ Sometimes it also favours injustice because it is beneficial for survival.

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          1. Just watching a fair amount of nature documentaries you can find many examples of what humans would consider injustice. The cuckoo birds nesting habits is just one example.

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            1. Good question, all options are at the fundamental level in superposition with each other. Observation and measurement might change that fact though. Observers are the perspective and that may cause something not so objective.

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  9. Swarn uses evolution as a frame upon which to hang some of his personal beliefs and opinions. That’s well and good, so long as he does not then go on to claim that accepting his personal beliefs somehow is concomitant with accepting evolution as a scientific explanation for the development of life on one planet. To say that would be going well beyond the purview and competence of science.

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      1. Don’t a great many religiously inclined people accept evolution?

        Indeed. According to Pew, for most major religious groups in the USA, majorities of adherents accept that humans evolved over time.

        Buddhists… 86
        Jews… 81
        Hindus… 80
        Catholics… 66
        Mainline Protestant… 65
        Orthodox… 59
        Muslims… 53
        Mormons… 42
        Evangelicals… 38

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        1. And by accepting human evolution is it the same way biologists talk about evolution

          Because, for one far more religious people accept “micro evolution” than those who accept “macro evolution”
          Did the study account for this

          Two, many religious people who accept “evolution” accept only a subset of it. A common view among them is god created certain “kinds” of organism and allows the evolution within a kind. There is only speciation within a “kind”. For example, god created the canine ancestor and this ancestor evolved into dogs, wolves etc
          Did the study account for this

          majorities of adherents accept that humans evolved over time

          Rereading this your statement, from the way this statement is framed,
          The actual question that seems to be asked is
          Has there been changes in the human population over time
          Most die hard young earth creationist would accept this

          Most who think it is are confused between adaptation/speciation and Darwinian evolution. Adaptation and speciation within kinds is seen throughout nature. Many animals adapt. Human beings adapt in many ways.Ray Comfort

          We embrace the formation of new species from the kinds that were on board the Ark while rejecting the transformation of one kind into another kind.
          https://answersingenesis.org/natural-selection/speciation/does-ken-ham-embrace-evolution/

          Reading through Ken Ham works, he accepts micro evolution

          But this question does not imply that the respondent accept that humans evolved from other “non human” living things

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        2. Can you give the link to the study
          Because I don’t see how it implies that majority of members of these religions accept “evolution”
          And by evolution, I mean the way biologists think of evolution

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          1. Yes, of course, as with all public opinion surveys, everything depends on precisely how you word the question. And as with almost all surveys, most of the respondents, regardless of religious or political affiliation (or education level, for that matter) are rather poorly informed.

            But you’re missing the point, which is that evolution is a non-issue for most religious groups and most of their membership.

            http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/02/10/darwin-day/

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            1. I know evolution is popular, except for man, in my former circles—He’s a special case above it all. I wonder if the question was rephrased how many would agree all life shares common ancestry?

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            2. But you’re missing the point, which is that evolution is a non-issue for most religious groups and most of their membership.

              That is why I asked what is meant by evolution and is it what biologist mean when the talk about evolution.

              humans evolved over time
              The way this was phrased is what I am drawing your attention to.
              Do you accept that humans evolved over time? Is a totally different question from Do you accept that humans evolved from other (non human) organisms or Do you accept biological evolution as the reason for the origin of species
              These are totally different questions. The first one is asking if you accept micro-evolution ( evolution within a species and does not lead to new species ) while the second is asking if you accept macro-evolution ( evolution within a species that leads to a new species )
              Most young earth creationist and evolution deniers accept micro-evolution, but do not accept macro-evolution. If they did not how would the explain the observable difference among human population, why are some people black and others white, why do blondes exist and so do brunette, why do some people have black/brown eyes and some have blue, why are they more than one blood groups etc.

              But you’re missing the point, which is that evolution is a non-issue for most religious groups and most of their membership.

              And I’m not missing any point. What you said here is not what the study says
              The point the study is making is that many members of religious group accept that humans have changed over time
              And NOT that the accept biological evolution
              So it is you that is missing the point

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            3. @Jonathan – Oh, malarkey. I worded the findings precisely as they are presented by Pew on the page I cited — i.e., “percent who say humans evolved over time”. The brief Pew report doesn’t get into all the hairsplitting you do. I acknowledged that all opinion surveys should be taken with a grain of salt. In any case, I was only responding to a direct question posed by another guest. I don’t much care if anti-evolutionist crackpots and atheist crackpots want to spend all their time and energy doing battle with each other. Keeps them off the streets.

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            4. In the comment where you cited the pew study you worded the findings precisely as they are presented by Pew

              But you’re missing the point, which is that evolution is a non-issue for most religious groups and most of their membership.

              But in your subsequent comment. You accused me of missing a point that the study did not make. Rather, it was point you were making

              I was only responding to a direct question posed by another guest.

              This was the question asked
              Don’t a great many religiously inclined people accept evolution?
              And not
              Do many religiously inclined people accept that human evolve over time. Which was the question the Pew study was answering
              So even the study you cited did not address the question you were responding to

              The brief Pew report doesn’t get into all the hairsplitting you do.

              I wouldn’t have made those distinctions if you had not taken the study out of context and accused me of missing a point the study never made

              A Pew Survey that took into consideration the fact that just because someone agrees that humans evolved over time, the may not necessarily agree with the scientific explanation

              60% of Americans say humans have evolved over time, but only about half of that group (32% of U.S. adults overall) believes that humans and other living things evolved solely due to natural processes, the explanation accepted by the vast majority of scientists

              http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/10/30/5-facts-about-evolution-and-religion/

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    1. These words were a response to someone claiming that evolution provided no benefits to mankind. I tried to refute that argument and part of that refutation is to say that I, at the very least, have been benefited by understanding how evolution works and what it says about life on this planet. Evolution is a fact, whether one chooses to put value in it or not. Certainly nobody has to derive the same value out of it. But I’d rather have awe and wonder at what is, rather than try to convince people they should have awe and wonder and what I believe to be true without evidence.

      You are free to respond with whatever nonsense you like…I’m not going down your road of circular logic again. At least until I’ve had a good vacation from it. 🙂

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        1. In contemporary philosophy, a brute fact is a fact that has no explanation. More narrowly, brute facts may instead be defined as those facts which cannot be explained. To reject the existence of brute facts is to think that everything can be explained. To this point this is true. Since religion has made its best guess centuries ago, I’m guessing they will never explain anything real in the future either, since it still sits on a scientific claim that has no semblance of truth. Nothing has been created. It just is.. and creatio ex nihilo is not scientific nor scriptural. Ex Nihilo nihil fit. That is an obviousity.

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          1. Just is? Only God just is.

            Creation is a metaphysical claim, not a scientific claim. Since science can only study the created order, it has nothing at all to say about the act of creation.

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            1. Sure science won’t tell you about “the act of creation” because there is absolutely no evidence to suggest that there was a creation

              Just is? Only God just is.

              If by god you mean the natural world and you share the pantheist views. Then sure
              One does not need to posit an extra unproven baggage as the reason why the universe exist, but on the existence of the baggage the baggage just is.
              It is a more simpler explanation to get rid off any unnecessary unproven “just is” baggage and if there is actually any “just is” it would be the universe ( the natural world) that just is

              Creation is a metaphysical claim, not a scientific claim.

              Creation is simply not a scientist claim simply because there is no evidence for it. If there was evidence for a creation, it would have become a scientific claim and it would have been part of the standard model

              Since science can only study the created order

              Science does not only study “created order”, physics also studies disorder.
              Science can only study what is real and not what is imaginary.
              If a divine creation was necessary for the universe to exist, the field of cosmology would discover it

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            2. How is that the case

              Creation is a metaphysical claim, not a scientific claim. Since science can only study the created order, it has nothing at all to say about the act of creation.

              Cosmology is the study of the origin, evolution, and eventual fate of the universe.

              If there was any evidence for a creation, it would be known in the field of cosmology.
              If there was any evidence that the universe was created, then creation would be a scientific claim. But there is absolutely no evidence for that, and as you correctly noted

              Your talk about science only studying “created order” is absolutely incorrect, for one science can also study disorder.
              And two, as science studies about the natural world, if there was a creator then science would find evidence for a creator through the study of nature and it’s origins.

              Science can not study imaginary beings ( it can only try to find evidence for if such a being exist)

              it has nothing at all to say about the act of creation

              Science has nothing to say about the “act of creation” simply because there has been no evidence to suggest that there was a creation to begin with. If evidence arises to support the notion of a supernatural creation, then scientist would probe into it to gain more understanding of it

              “It’s OK to study the universe and where it began. But we should not inquire into the beginning itself because that was the moment of creation and the work of God.”Pope John Paul II

              If there is a god who created the universe then cosmologists would have found ( or will find ) evidence of god

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            3. From a simplistic standpoint, science relies on observations gathered using our natural senses; things we can see, touch, hear etc. Using our natural senses, we can gather data, make hypotheses about things, and test said hypothesis. If creation is not a scientific claim (metaphysical, whatever…), then it doesn’t involve any of our senses. If this is so, how can we put any trust in said claim? Do we just trust our emotions now?

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            4. @Jonathan: Once again, dear friend, we must go back to definitions. By universe or nature we mean everything that is in principle observable, measurable, explainable, repeatable, predictable, contingent, physical, etc. To claim that these properties are present in members of a set individually, but not present in them collectively, is implausible, if not illogical and meaningless. There is no “universe” out there that is other than the phenomena that comprise it. Yet that’s exactly what one is saying when they claim that the universe itself somehow is different, is not contingent or explainable, but “just is”. Something that “just is” is not in the universe, nor of the universe.

              Ultimately, “just is” can only allude to this: Being-as-such; the great I-AM-WHO-AM; aka God, who calls all contingent things into being.

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            5. To claim that these properties are present in members of a set individually, but not present in them collectively, is implausible, if not illogical and meaningless. There is no “universe” out there that is other than the phenomena that comprise it.

              I don’t understand what you mean here. Please clarify

              Yet that’s exactly what one is saying when they claim that the universe itself somehow is different, is not contingent or explainable, but “just is”. Something that “just is” is not in the universe, nor of the universe.

              How is something that “just is” is not in the universe, nor of the universe. Why is this the case

              Ultimately, “just is” can only allude to this: Being-as-such; the great I-AM-WHO-AM; aka God, who calls all contingent things into being.

              If evidence arose that such a being existed then we may consider this.
              But based on what we know. It is nature that “just is”. One does not need to invent another entity to explain the universe.

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            6. @Jonathan – If all the stamps in your only stamp collection are Italian, then you have an Italian stamp collection. You can’t claim it’s an African stamp collection, or a multinational stamp collection. And if you have no stamps, then you can’t claim it’s a stamp collection.

              The universe is a collection of things having certain properties. If everything in the universe is explainable, then you can’t claim the universe itself is non-explainable.

              Now, if you’re going to claim at this point that the universe can contain non-contingent, non-explainable entities, then that opens up a whole other discussion, because to this point you have insisted on the contrary.

              That which “just is” is God. God “explains” nothing — yet creates everything.

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            7. The universe is a collection of things having certain properties. If everything in the universe is explainable, then you can’t claim the universe itself is non-explainable.

              No atoms are alive but living things ( which are made up of atoms) are alive

              Just because parts of the universe is explainable does not necessary mean that the universe is explainable
              Assuming that what is true for the parts is also true for the whole is a fallacy of composition

              Secondly, we don’t know if everything in the universe is explainable. Science just assumes so and if there is an explanation we would probably find it and if there isn’t we won’t find any

              That which “just is” is God. God “explains” nothing — yet creates everything.

              Why is this the case. Why does the natural require an explanation but the supernatural does not

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            8. I said collection, not composite, specifically a collection whose members all possess (or are assumed to possess) certain fundamental attributes. If all things that together comprise nature/universe/creation are thought to require explanation, then why would it be otherwise when we consider them together? Isn’t it telling that at this point apologists for so-called naturalism can only fall back on naked and unwarranted “brute fact” assertions? The implicit admission is that even once you reveal everything that science possibly can reveal, you would be no closer to understanding the mystery of being. And make no mistake, to assert that nature/universe is a “brute fact” that “just is”, is to admit that being as such is a mystery beyond the grasp of science.

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