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October 29, 2001
10:28 AM   Subscribe

All of the talk about Islam, got me thinking about how religions move evolve/devolve and move even more and even sometimes go away. Sure, we’ve all heard of Christianity, Buddhism and Judaism but how many recall this one? Speaking of which, aren’t we due for another Big Ole Religion? What’s the next big God thing in your opinion?
posted by Dagobert (73 comments total)

 
Science.
posted by fpatrick at 10:30 AM on October 29, 2001


Scientology.
posted by QrysDonnell at 10:31 AM on October 29, 2001


Jedi.
posted by bobo123 at 10:33 AM on October 29, 2001


Darn, bobo123, you beat me to it.
posted by msacheson at 10:34 AM on October 29, 2001


Matt Haughey.
posted by gd779 at 10:35 AM on October 29, 2001


I'm a Zarathrusta Booster!
posted by plinth at 10:36 AM on October 29, 2001


thelema?
posted by kliuless at 10:36 AM on October 29, 2001


God II: Attack of the Clones
posted by bondcliff at 10:36 AM on October 29, 2001


oooo, erik davis on lovecraft! (he just wrote a cover piece for wired on tolkienism, to it in :)
posted by kliuless at 10:43 AM on October 29, 2001


the Bahai Faith is the next big one. Takes the Islamic lesson of inclusion and a united humanity one step further to include all the faiths that Mohammed never knew, and gives it all a modern twist. It's the hot new god-thing.
posted by cell divide at 11:09 AM on October 29, 2001


I was looking at this page, which lists the major religions by population (hey you left out Hinduism), and then it hit me, the next major religion has to be Rastafarianism, it's from this century and is making gains on Scientology. 800'000 strong, millions if you include those that just follow the lifestyle.
posted by bobo123 at 11:14 AM on October 29, 2001


A mixture of ecology and architecture as we learn to pay attention to the built environment on a spiritual level.
posted by worldsystema at 11:25 AM on October 29, 2001


Elvis lives.
posted by Carol Anne at 11:25 AM on October 29, 2001


hey you left out Hinduism

Mea Culpa.

I initially left out the Hindu faith as I saw it as an aggregate faith as opposed to a unified belief system.

Now I realize that was my Abrahamic leaning. Christianity is no more unified than the Hindu faith.

Stupid Western viewpoint. I blame my parents.

Personally, I would love to see Baha'i take off. Dizzy Gillespe was Baha'i, btw. I think.
posted by Dagobert at 11:29 AM on October 29, 2001


Vishnu, one of the three main Hindu gods has ten avatars. His tenth is supposed to be called Kalki and is supposed to be born soon (the previous avatars include Ram, Krishna, and Narshima.) Some people in southern India are already worshiping a man who claims to be Kalki.

I don't know if it's true or not.
posted by riffola at 11:31 AM on October 29, 2001


Little Debbie, Praised be She
posted by geronimo_rex at 11:37 AM on October 29, 2001


the next major religion has to be Rastafarianism

Though appearantly not a believer himself, I bet Rastafari will be glad to hear that.
posted by gd779 at 11:38 AM on October 29, 2001


self worship......or didn't you notice?
posted by bunnyfire at 11:59 AM on October 29, 2001


I personally think that the "next big religion" will be the one that the census takers don't count: Personal spirituality

You know, the kind where you aren't led by some guy in a funny hat, or one carrying an AK-47, or one with a little 800 number on the bottom of the TV screen.

The kind of religion where words in some book written by some fallible and biased earth creature don't create more ethical dilemmas then they solve.

The kind of religion that is based on a mixture of many faiths and where "dogma" is just a word on a pithy bumper sticker (that doesn't even make sense anyway)

The kind of religion where you rely on your conscience to know what is wrong and right instead of being told you're going "straight to hell" for something that is completely natural and human...

The kind of religion where no one has anything to GAIN by increasing the number of believers (wealth, power, etc).

Pardon me for saying this, but I believe that organized religion is a well-intentioned sham (or at least a void filler). Believe in your own beliefs.
posted by fooljay at 12:20 PM on October 29, 2001


I, personally, believe in Bunnyfire, not in Her beliefs, mind you, but in Her as an abstract concept, reified for our benefit.

All Hail!
posted by signal at 12:35 PM on October 29, 2001


Drop what ye are doing and follow me!
posted by fuq at 12:37 PM on October 29, 2001


maybe smurfism? actually i think i like fooljay's idea but i'm not holding my breath.
posted by ggggarret at 12:38 PM on October 29, 2001


Speaking of which, aren’t we due for another Big Ole Religion?


No we're not due for a new religion. I'm not seeing the traditional uprisings and populist movements that create traditional religious institutions.

This is like asking what the next form of government will catch on. The heavyweights are here to stay, if anything they're going change when they have to to keep the pews filled.

If we're taking bets I'd say that scientific cosmology will still slowly continue to creep into the hearts and minds of the religious and continue to cause distress and cognitive dissonance.
posted by skallas at 12:39 PM on October 29, 2001


Once I was at a Grateful Dead show (about 11 years ago), and I heard of this one -- and I think it was serious, too -- People for the Deification of John Lennon.
posted by paladin at 12:41 PM on October 29, 2001


Believe in your own beliefs.

fooljay: An excellent suggestion, but it begs the question: what do you use as the foundation of your beliefs? Maybe this speaks more to my choice of friends than it does the concept of personal spirituality, but most people that I have known who believed in personal spirituality formed their beliefs by saying, "well, this just feels right to me". Given the implications that religion can have on concepts like self-esteem and moral duty, it seems clear that any one individual will have a very difficult time in being objective.

Religious beliefs aren't valuable simply because they are emotionally comforting. I submit that religious beliefs are valuable only if they are actually true. What, then, causes the rational person to embrace personal spirituality instead of objectively evaluating organized religions and, if they are all rejected as impossible, preceeding to accepting mere science and rationalism?

In other words, many organized religions have some sort basis for their faith; a supposed holy book, for example, or a spiritual leader. That gives them a testable basis for faith and, rational or not, a source of theology external to themselves. But, in my admittedly limited understanding, personal spirituality seems more fluid, subject to the whims and prejudices of the individual holder. In my experience (again, correct me if I'm wrong), personal spirituality doesn't seem to have any external criteria besides "this is what I believe".
posted by gd779 at 12:49 PM on October 29, 2001


I wanted to break this next part out from my comments to fooljay, but I would like to briefly comment on what I see as the proper role of emotion in organized religion. I see too many religious people relying on pure emotional "faith" in forming their beliefs. That seems to me to be an extremely dangerous game of Russian Roulette.

On the other hand, most of us "thinkers" tend to go 180 degrees in the opposite direction, and that's not right either. The life of the mind, alone and unsupplemented, is dry and ultimately unfulfilling. Besides, like it or not, we are all swayed by social and emotional needs. A religious belief, even a correct one, that is founded purely in reason, but never supported by emotional faith, will eventually give way to something more emotionally fulfilling and socially acceptable.

I hear non-Christians argue a lot about the conflict between faith and reason. That "conflict" seems to me to only be caused by emotionally-oriented religious leaders improperly expanding the proper role of faith in forming beliefs. Reason must choose, but faith is needed to sustain.

Not to get too personal here, but my comments to fooljay about "objective truth" are precisely why I have accepted Christ. I believe in Jesus not only because of my personal and experiential (read: subjective) relationship with Him, but also because Christianity is, I believe, founded in objective and verifiable truth. (To preempt: I say founded in, not proved by. The theological doctrine of the trinity, for example, is unprovablen and unprovable, but still rational if reason has lead you to accept the veracity of the Bible as an inerrant whole).
posted by gd779 at 1:04 PM on October 29, 2001


Eh. That last post seemed on-topic when I fist made it, but looking back now, I realize that it really isn't. Sorry.

On the plus side, I was stumped before on how to come up with a good name. Working "Haughey" into an "ism" is a real pain, let me tell you. But I finally figured it out: Mathowiesm! It's perfect.

Now, we just need somebody artistically inclined to work on the idol.
posted by gd779 at 1:21 PM on October 29, 2001


gd779 Christianity is, I believe, founded in objective and verifiable truth.

Verifiable? Pardon?

but still rational if reason has lead you to accept the veracity of the Bible as an inerrant whole Brught to you by today's word: Tautology.

I respect your beliefs, gd, but verifiable? Please expand.
posted by signal at 1:22 PM on October 29, 2001


brught=brought *sigh*
posted by signal at 1:23 PM on October 29, 2001


I,personally, believe in Bunnyfire, not in Her beliefs, mind you, but in Her as an abstract concept, reified for our benefit.

All Hail!
posted by signal at 12:35 PM PST on October 29


I think you mean "Oh H**l".............

I will gladly be a pigment of your imagination if you would take comfort in my concrete faith.........
posted by bunnyfire at 1:24 PM on October 29, 2001


Does the bunnyfire religion have anything to do with setting rabbits on fire? Because if it does, well, I don't know how I feel about that.
posted by aramaic at 1:46 PM on October 29, 2001


It still may be in here but otherwise, I think Carole Anne is on the money.: E presents all the major symptoms--resurrection, miracles, the adoration of masses and so forth. Cripes, if Dylan had've bought it in his motorcycle accident back in '67, there would already be churches built...
posted by y2karl at 1:52 PM on October 29, 2001


Brought to you by today's word: Tautology.

signal: Not at all. The Bible makes a number of claims about the state of the world, which I think can be broken down into 3 categories:

1) Objectively verifiable statements. Historical accounts, for example, are verifiably either true or false.

2) Reasoned statements. Some theological arguments, for example, that are verifiable logical or illogical once you accept certain assumptions.

3) Dogma. The doctrine of the trinity, for example, transcends logic. This is not to say that it contradicts logic. Instead, some topics are simply supernatural in scope, and beyond the proofs of logic either way.

So, here's the theory: (I should point out that I don't speak for all Christians on this).

The Bible is really a series of books, written over thousands of years by dozens of authors. This much nobody contests. If it were written by mere humans, even the most talented and dedicated and intelligent humans we've ever seen, it would contain imperfections: historical inaccuracies, internal contradictions, and various other mistakes. I don't think that's too terribly controversial.

So, setting aside for a minute the question of fulfilled prophecy, if we were to find that the Bible were completely internally consistent, totally historcally and scientifically accurate (making allowances for the fact that both disciplines are constantly in flux), and wholly without flaw, we would have some basis for believing it to be supernaturally inspired. If we were to come to that conclusion, based on the facts that we could verify, we would not be irrational to accepts the facts that we cannot verify.

Now I will admit that my "investigation", if you will, is incomplete. But I've been doing a lot of studying, and so far I haven't found anything to contradict my view that the Bible is inerrant. If you know of anything I that may prove me wrong, I'd greatly apprecaite it if you'd pass it on. Though maybe you should email me so that we don't completely derail this thread.

To get back to your original question about the rationality of Christianity, I think that Dr. Samuel Craig put it better than I could:

We would not be understood as implying that the mere fact that the Bible claims infallibility relieves us of the responsibility of examining its passages to ascertain whether its contents accord with the claim. However, if the Bible makes this claim and if even the most careful examination of its contents discloses nothing that contradicts it, it is at least possible that the claim is a valid claim. If on examining the Bible we find that all its statements that we are able to verify are trustworthy, we will be more and more disposed to believe that the statements that are incapable of verification are also trust worthy.
posted by gd779 at 1:58 PM on October 29, 2001


Does the bunnyfire religion have anything to do with setting rabbits on fire? Because if it does, well, I don't know how I feel about that.
posted by aramaic at 1:46 PM PST on October 29


....it's more the fire in the Bunny's eyes.......;-)
posted by bunnyfire at 2:11 PM on October 29, 2001


Man, I was always crossing my fingers for Nachoism. But, alas, it was not to be.
posted by tpoh.org at 2:12 PM on October 29, 2001


As I understand it, Rastafarianism requires a diet which is basically a subset of veganism. I don't think there are millions who just happen to be "following the lifestyle".
posted by sudama at 2:23 PM on October 29, 2001


gd: thanks for your response. I also, don't want to derail this thread. But:

Sagan said "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." I feel the burden of proof is on you, my friend. Besides, anything particularly preposterous in the bible is dismissed as "allegory" or "metaphor". 7 days? Sun standing still? Creation of woman from man's rib? 2 of each animal in an ark? The cocroaches alone would sink it.

I wasn't questioning the rationality of christianity, just its verifiability. The central dogmas of the christian faith are all un-verified. There is no more proof for Christ's ressurection than for Hercules' apotheosis, actually less, because Hercules or Heracles is recorded in many different, independent sources, unlike Christ.

This isn't a bad thing. It's a religion. People come to it by faith.
posted by signal at 2:23 PM on October 29, 2001


I feel the burden of proof is on you

Agreed.

anything particularly preposterous in the bible is dismissed as "allegory" or "metaphor"

I can't speak for everyone, but that's not for me. I stand by the literal interpretation of the Bible. If someday I were to reject the 7 days creation story or the story of the flood, I would either have to find another rational basis for my faith or reject Christianity altogether. But I've done a fair amount of reseach into each of those areas (and I'm continually doing more), and so far I've found that once you filter through the initial level of propoganda and start really thinking about the issues, the truth becomes pretty clear. And, again, I invite anybody here to email me with anything that might disprove my beliefs; I will respond to your email or not as you like.

And finally, signal: thanks for staying respectful. That doesn't happen much when discussing religion, and it is appreciated.
posted by gd779 at 2:49 PM on October 29, 2001


gd779: good luck with your investigation, but I only hope that you apply the very same exegetical methods to the texts and traditions of the world's other religions.
posted by holgate at 3:27 PM on October 29, 2001


I just read an introduction to Bahai'i recently. Damn interesting religion; damn promising. I have no doubt that it would be the next big religion.

Except.

One of the main things that the Bahaullah (sp?) wanted was to ensure that the Bahai'i faith didn't get split into sects, because that way the religion wouldn't move forward. So, he passed the title of main head guy to wuzzhisname.. A something. A something passed it on to Shogi Effendi. All was well.

Then, Shogi died, and there was no will to be found. So, no successor was appointed, and Bahai'i split into many sects, all of which believe in different people or organizations as being the head person.

Rather depressing, actualy.

I think I'll stick to searching agnosticism for now.
posted by Theiform at 3:49 PM on October 29, 2001


1) Objectively verifiable statements. Historical accounts, for example, are verifiably either true or false.

Of couse the Bible on this issue is in fact verifiably false to such an extent that most Christian traditions gave up on literalism (if they even subscribed to it to start with Christian critiques of literalism go back to when it was Christians claiming a flat earth in the face of pagan natural philosophy.)

But most arguements about 7-day creation rely on a bit of dishonesty in regards to what counts as verification. At what point does a theory supported by more lines of evidence than the moons of Jupiter become "verified."

Quite thankfully, most Christian traditions recognize that the Bible makes better philosophy than natural history.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:08 PM on October 29, 2001


Bob is a rock. Bob is a tree. Bob is in you and he's trying to get me. And I know the Space Goddesses are running a little late (they were due the summer of 1998) but they will be here any minute now. You'll see. And you'll wish you paid. When the planet's being decimated and thrown into the sun you'll scream, running after the flying saucers begging Bob to take your wallet. Not just your money, but your credit cards, your library cards, the picture of your pet pit bull which was eaten by the Creatures From The Hollow Earth.. but Bob will just laugh at you.

In the end all the really good bad eggs will be SubGeniuses. The rest of the religions will only be able to get cable access channels. Real late at night. And no one will be left to watch them.

It will be.. so... beautiful..
posted by ZachsMind at 8:47 PM on October 29, 2001


Vishnu, one of the three main Hindu gods has ten avatars. His tenth is supposed to be called Kalki ...

Kalki is a fabulous novel by Gore Vidal. It examines celebrity, religion, and the apocalypse, replete with a surprise ending. Literary and still very entertaining. Highly recommended.
posted by Marquis at 10:13 PM on October 29, 2001


Theiform: Baha'i splits did occur, but they're not significant numerically. The vast majority of Baha'i are part of the original branch, and have representative elections to choose leaders.

Here in Evanston, IL, I'm lucky to live near the Baha'i House of Worship (aka Baha'i Temple) in Wilmette. The Baha'i built one major temple on each continent, and this is the only one in North America. I've been to this one numerous times escorting visitors to town, since it's really a don't-miss place. More on the Baha'i. One way to think of it is a sort of Unitarian-Universalist outgrowth of Islam, though it is explicitly not an Islamic sect; the Baha'i have suffered grievous persecution, especially in Iran.

That said, Islam remains the world's fastest-growing religion ... for better or for worse. And remember that the largest number of Muslims actually live in .... Indonesia; and after that, India, then Pakistan. We're going to be dealing with the ramifications of this for a long time whether or not we want to.
posted by dhartung at 10:25 PM on October 29, 2001


An excellent suggestion, but it begs the question: what do you use as the foundation of your beliefs?

Yes, I realize the circular argument here. The only thing I can figure is that just as in all other aspects of life, you need to take things in from all points in order to make decisions about your course. I grew up Presbyterian and went to Catholic Cigh School in a Catholic town. I went to school in the heart of Southern Baptist Christianity. I have spent a lot of time with Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists and others. None of what I have found fully encompasses my theology, but all have had some effect on shaping it.

When you're a child, you have no foundation of knowledge for understanding the world around you. As you grow older, you build it. I would say that the same thing has happened to me.

Given the implications that religion can have on concepts like self-esteem and moral duty, it seems clear that any one individual will have a very difficult time in being objective.

Yes, and here is where personal spirituality fails, but what keeps Catholics from having premarital sex? What keeps Christian fundamentalists from consorting with consorts? And so on and so on. People make choices for themselves every day. People fall short of their internal beliefs or external religions every day, but which one is stronger in the long run and more important to the individual?

In other words, many organized religions have some sort basis for their faith; a supposed holy book, for example, or a spiritual leader. That gives them a testable basis for faith and, rational or not, a source of theology external to themselves. But, in my admittedly limited understanding, personal spirituality seems more fluid, subject to the whims and prejudices of the individual holder.

Answering my question above, I believe that personal conviction and morality is more binding on any one individual than a bunch of words in an archaic text or proscriptions (or prescriptions) handed down from some earthly paternal figure...

In my experience (again, correct me if I'm wrong), personal spirituality doesn't seem to have any external criteria besides "this is what I believe".

I'm not totally sure if I understand you, but if you're asking if I've got a book that I live by or some external organization that I look to for guidance, I'd say no. That said, almost everything that is internalized came from outside sources.

Again, I don't have any problem with people believing what any one religion believes or participating in that community. Community is a wonderful thing for reinvigorating your spirit. I have a problem with the organized religion competing to control people's minds. My religion is between me and the higher power. No earthly intermediary is involved or welcome.

These are some ideas that were liberated by the Protestant Reformation, but then somehow partially derailed, I think.
posted by fooljay at 10:59 PM on October 29, 2001


gd779:

previously, I made crack about cockroaches. My mistake.

My crack is about beetles!

According to this, there are between 350.000 to 8.000.000 species of beetles! They're sexual, as far as I know, so in a worst case scenario, Noah's frikkin ark had 16M beetles on it! Or at least 700K beetles.

That, my friend is a lot of beetles.

Plus, it says 750K would be about 1/4 of the total known animal species. I don't know how many of those are acuatic or winged, so lets say a good million more? About? Plus special facilities for cold-weather animals, rain forest animals, desert animals, cave-dwelling animals, etc, plus food and water.

That's a mighty big ark, you've got there kiddo.
posted by signal at 12:20 AM on October 30, 2001


Signal,

I always thought of it as the "beetle prototype" that made it onto the ark....then later the miracle of micro evolution takes over and we get the variety.

I DO believe in micro evolution, I just think that macroevolution is silly.
posted by bunnyfire at 3:14 AM on October 30, 2001


Bow to the WonderChicken!

...or not. I'm a forgiving deity.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:41 AM on October 30, 2001


bow chicka bow wow.

what about the dinosaurs?
posted by kliuless at 6:18 AM on October 30, 2001


fooljay: There's a certain amount of sense in what you say. While proofs and objective knowledge are easier to talk about, I recognize that there's also some value to be had from intuition developed over a lifetime of experience. You have to be careful that your desires don't overcome your reason but, like you pointed out, you have to do that a lot in life.

what about the dinosaurs?

baby dinosaurs. much smaller. eat less. particularly if they're asleep the whole ride.
posted by gd779 at 6:41 AM on October 30, 2001


I always thought of it as the "beetle prototype" that made it onto the ark....then later the miracle of micro evolution takes over and we get the variety.

I DO believe in micro evolution, I just think that macroevolution is silly.


Ah but then you are allready taking a big step away from biblical literalism to interpretation.

More idependent lines of evidence support "macroevolution" (ignoring for a moment that the distinction is bogus to start with and still contradicts biblical literalism) than the moons of Jupiter. And yet we don't see challenges to solar system astronomy.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:34 AM on October 30, 2001


Ah but then you are allready taking a big step away from biblical literalism to interpretation

sez who?

Unlike many on this board, I have actually read the Bible......when God created a critter, he formed it to reproduce its own kind......beetles make beetles, etc......


Here's how I see it.

a small example.
Feral dogs around the world look about the same-in other words if a breed is mixed enough, there is a particular type that results....now there are chihuahuas and german shepherds and St. Bernards, etc.....all those dogs were bred out of the basic "dog" type.....and I have no problem lumping jackals and wolves, etc in as far as a basic type of animal.
I just cannot see one type of animal (macro evolution) changing into another....

and another thing- how in the world did SEX evolve???
parts is parts, but we are talking two KINDS of parts.....
yeah,RIGHT that happened randomly ......(not!)
posted by bunnyfire at 7:51 AM on October 30, 2001


Unlike many on this board, I have actually read the Bible......when God created a critter, he formed it to reproduce its own kind......beetles make beetles, etc......

I also have read the bible (and why is it that creationists assume no one else has while insisting on demanding ignorance of the facts of evolution? Could it be because creationism is so obviously fraudlent?)

According to the bible, god proclaimed everything good. If that is the case, then there is no need for evolution. (macro-/micro- is another creationist fraud) If evolution of any sort occurs then you must adopt an interpretation of "good." If the bible is literal, then you must regect all forms of evolution. (Along with a round earth and the irrationality of Pi.)

At any rate, rejecting evolution requires rejecting cubic miles of evidence that the earth is far older than claimed in the bible, and that new species and even new orders have developed over the history of the earth.

and another thing- how in the world did SEX evolve???
parts is parts, but we are talking two KINDS of parts.....
yeah,RIGHT that happened randomly ......(not!)


Actually, we have a pretty good developmental history of sex from simple organisms. Once you get a motile gamete and a stationary gamete, the rest is just window dressing.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:17 AM on October 30, 2001


besides, bunnny, micro-evolution doesn't allow for speciation, that nasty thing darwin was going on about. there are more than 350K species of beetles, not "breeds" or something funky like that.
posted by signal at 8:42 AM on October 30, 2001


Well excuse me, I was simply using that as an example. You get the point, i hope.

and Kirk, I suppose both those gametes put their heads together and discussed how they wanted things to fit together, right?

Now THAT is funny.
posted by bunnyfire at 8:49 AM on October 30, 2001


Well excuse me, I was simply using that as an example. You get the point, i hope.

Certainly I get the point. That doesn't make it any less wrong however.

and Kirk, I suppose both those gametes put their heads together and discussed how they wanted things to fit together, right?

Not at all required. But if you knew what the heck you were talking about you would know that.

But again the problem is that we have examples of "trasitional forms" in the animal kingdom. We have examples of critters at all stages of sexual dimorphism.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 9:14 AM on October 30, 2001


I wasn't talking about transitional forms existing or not existing. I was talking about HOW it could/could not have happened.

You really think it was random?
If so, then no more cracks by anybody about what I believe.......
posted by bunnyfire at 10:28 AM on October 30, 2001


You really think it was random?

The myth that evolution is random is yet another creationist fraud. Of course evolution is not random in the same way that gravity doesn't pull you in a different direction from minute to minute.

If so, then no more cracks by anybody about what I believe.......

Certainly, however the claim under discussion is that if the Bible is shown to be in error with known facts, then a literal interpretation of the Bible in regards to natural history must be discarded. Of course, the majority of Christianity has already conceeded this issue under a massive weight of evidence. As I pointed out earlier, evolution is supported by quite a bit more independent lines of evidence than the moons of Jupiter, or our understanding of how the semiconductors in your computer works.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:42 AM on October 30, 2001


I still fail to see where the Bible claims that microevolution is in error....and you would consider me to be a fundie (although in our lexicon I am a charismatic....technically fundies are more like independent Baptists or something).....
Would you like to show me chapter and verse?
posted by bunnyfire at 11:06 AM on October 30, 2001


Well now, to start with lets point out that the basic basis of evolution (again micro-/macro- are creationist frauds, there is no distinction betwee the two.) Evolution occurs because some individuals within a population are less fit than other individual in a population.

Genesis
1:11 God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: plants yielding seeds according to their kinds, and fruit trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds.” It was so.
1:12 The land produced vegetation—plants yielding seeds according to their kinds, and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. God saw that it was good.

Now a literal interpretation would require both that all present kinds were created by God, and that they are all "good." This pretty much removes the possibility of evolution right there. If all of the kinds created by god are "good" then there can be no natural selection of any sort.

Of course, you could quite dishonestly work your way around this by saying that "kinds" refer not to species or strains, but to larger level taxonomies. Such as all beetles. But this requires an interpretation of the term "kinds" once you make that interpretation you can no longer claim to be a literalist.

But of course, again the problem is that this, like the myth of the elephants standing on the back of the turtles, is its wrong. You might as well insist on the factual accuracy of Kipling's just so stories. In fact, the fossil record in regards to paleobotany is even more damaging to "creation science" (a basically fraudulent oxymoron) than the fossil record of paleozoology. We know with literally kilotons of evidence that all the kinds that exist today did not appear all at once, and many kinds of plants vanished long before man walked on the Earth.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:26 AM on October 30, 2001


Just cause it was good doesn't mean he couldn'f make it better....

And since the Bible was not originally penned in English could you please give us the Hebrew definition of the word "kind" ?

And could you explain while you are at it what the fraud supposedly is between micro and macro evolution? (bearing in mind that I dont necessarily swallow every definition of the terms I see on those creationist websites-please give me credit for independent thought here).......
in other words ..."step AWAY from the stereotype....."
posted by bunnyfire at 11:37 AM on October 30, 2001


Bunnyfire: My point, way back there, was that according to your "micro-evolution" theory, the >350K species of beetles couldn't come into existence from 1 original pair. The insistence on the word "species" isn't pedantic (at least not 100%), but rather the central issue, and what made Darwin's books so controversial.

If, on the other hand, you accept the possibility that new species can evolve from others, than you've conceded the entire argument. It's as if OJ Simpson's lawyers had started by saying "Well, of course he killed her."

On another note, darwinian evolution isn't random, it's probabilistic and complex. A very loose analogy: the movement of the water molecules in a teapot is random, but at the boiling point it results in highly structured phenomena such as hexagonal convection cells and linguini. You see, the huge number of individuals (genes, day traders or water molecules) together with positive & negative reinforcement cause new properties to emerge which couldn't be predicted from just the studying of the individual elements.

It's fascinating stuff, really.
posted by signal at 5:48 PM on October 30, 2001


signal: It was my understanding that beetles and other insects were never aboard the ark in the first place. Genesis 7:21-22, for example, states that only land-dwelling animals that breathed through their nostrils (i.e. land vertebrates) were extinguished by the flood. Therefore, we could probably reasonably infer (based on the almost complete similarity of the language used in the Bible) that only land vertebrates were preserved on the ark. In my understanding, beetles wouldn't meet that criteria.

So the obvious question is, how do we have beetles? Or plants, for that matter? That's a very long discussion, and I can't get into the full complexity here (mainly because I'm not an expert in these things), but here's one explanation that I've heard: perhaps plants and insects, etc. could survive on floating vegetation mats and pumice, and via seeds, pupae, etc.

Now I don't have any way to evaluate the plausibility of that claim myself. My expertise isn't in science. And if I'm completely wrong, there may be a better answer out there that I'm not aware of. But my point is, if we can somehow resolve the difficulties inherent in plants and insects needing to survive the flood, then the problem is solved.
posted by gd779 at 8:59 PM on October 30, 2001


Plus special facilities for cold-weather animals, rain forest animals, desert animals, cave-dwelling animals, etc, plus food and water.

signal: Almost forgot. My personal theory is that God put the animals to sleep for the whole ride, negating the need for large stores of food or elaborate hygine systems. Admittedly, there's nothing in the Bible that establishes that theory, but there's also nothing that would contradict it. And once you accept a God that can flood the earth and call one of every kind of animal to the ark without them killing one another, it's easy to accept Him putting them to sleep.

The calculations I've seen (again, I'm not a math major!)indicate that, once you adjust for this assumption, the ark (as currently understood) is large enough to hold everyone comfortably.
posted by gd779 at 9:05 PM on October 30, 2001


Perhaps God just reduced the animals to their genetic code, and then reconstructed them when they arrived back on dry earth. Perhaps that's the real reason for the Unicorn's loss of horn.
posted by chaz at 10:29 PM on October 30, 2001


Signal, are you saying that a higher intelligence dictated the development?

if not, my whole point of all this being random stands....a molecule does not have the capability of deciding anything.....much less what to "evolve into".


as to the beetle problem, if the ark beetles carried enough genetic code in them to represent all beetledom, I have no problem with two beetles being the source of many kinds of beetles.
posted by bunnyfire at 3:22 AM on October 31, 2001


Re the Little Debbie cult: is it proof of divinity that they have a pastry which unifies the Hostess Cupcake (which I cannot eat because I keep somewhat kosher and it contains lard) and the Ring Ding (basically, it's a Ringding with lines of frosting on it)? I'm convinced it is.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:35 AM on October 31, 2001


And since the Bible was not originally penned in English could you please give us the Hebrew definition of the word "kind" ?

Ahh, but isn't insisting that the bible can be translated its self a step away from literalism? After all, all translation requires interpretation in some form.

And could you explain while you are at it what the fraud supposedly is between micro and macro evolution? (bearing in mind that I dont necessarily swallow every definition of the terms I see on those creationist websites-please give me credit for independent thought here).......
in other words ..."step AWAY from the stereotype....."


The fraud is that there is a difference between the two. In fact, once you make the claim that evolution happens on any scale, then there is nothing to prevent speciation events from occuring if you wait long enough.

Now I don't have any way to evaluate the plausibility of that claim myself. My expertise isn't in science. And if I'm completely wrong, there may be a better answer out there that I'm not aware of. But my point is, if we can somehow resolve the difficulties inherent in plants and insects needing to survive the flood, then the problem is solved.

Of course, the problem is quite easily solved if one acknoledges that physical evidence indicates that the flood didn't happen as claimed, never could happen as claimed, and therefore there is no need to make absurd rationalizations about how many critters could fit into the ark.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:10 AM on October 31, 2001


Of course, the problem is quite easily solved if one acknoledges that physical evidence indicates that the flood didn't happen as claimed, never could happen as claimed, and therefore there is no need to make absurd rationalizations about how many critters could fit into the ark.

And let's not forget about the pesky rainbow after the flood. It was God's promise to never flood the planet again, and every time we see a rainbow we are reminded of that promise.

But if that's what a rainbow is, then that must have been the first time a rainbow appeared on the Earth. Since a natural rainbow is caused by light refracting through water droplets) -- that would mean that the Great Flood marked the first time that moisture appeared in the air. It would also mean that the planet's air had been dry up to that point.

It would also mean that agriculture would have been impossible at that time.

Come to think of it, why are the people in the Noah's Ark story only worried about the flooding? Wouldn't they be more freaked out that water was falling from the sky for the first time ever???
posted by Dirjy at 10:19 AM on October 31, 2001


Since a natural rainbow is caused by light refracting through water droplets) -- that would mean that the Great Flood marked the first time that moisture appeared in the air. It would also mean that the planet's air had been dry up to that point.

That's true, but only if you assume that both the speed of light and the index of refraction are constant. Not very good assumptions in this context. Below I'm going to list several possible explanations, presented in no particular order. Now I don't know much about hard science, so if anyone still reading this thread is scientifically inclined, I'd appreciate a critique.

1) As I stated above, a rainbow depends upon a certain speed of light, combined with the index of refraction of water, and certain properties of water that make the droplets form. If the speed of light is too slow, you will only see one color, or no light. If it is too fast, you only see white light. Scientists have recently (within the last year, if memory serves) learned that the speed of light is quite possibly not constant over time. Though this new theory is still being explored, perhaps it provides some explanation?

2) Perhaps the flood resulted in a change in the density of water, and hence its index of refraction. The index of refraction of water determines whether or not rainbows can occur. (I could say that, according to the Bible, the flood changed the composition of the atmosphere substantially, but I'd be simplyfing a bit. There are other possible interpretations of the biblical language; I just happen to think that's the most likely one.) Perhaps that provides a plausible explanation?

3) There's always the old "water canvas" theory. But that's going out of vogue, and it would probably need to be supplemented by one of the above explanations anyway.

4) It's possible, though perhaps questionable, to read the Bible as allowing the existence of rainbows before the flood. If that were true, it would not be the only time God used an existing thing as a special "new" sign of a covenant (e.g., bread and wine in the Lord's Supper).

One final thought. If we were to send a copy of The Origin of Species back through time, it would be rejected by every scientist that found it as "unfounded". Let's assume now that evolution is true. What does that tell us?

Science is an evolving process, and needs to be treated as such. That's not by any means an excuse for ignoring science; you have to give science the credibility it deserves. But you also can't forget that many once "absolute" rules of science have now been invalidated. A humble look at history councils against over-certainty.

Let me be clear: It's obviously an egregious mistake to disregard current scientific understanding. But it's also a mistake to assume that we currently have a complete understanding of the physical world. If nothing else, the "discovery" of non-constant light velocity should teach us that.
posted by gd779 at 1:30 PM on October 31, 2001


Also: A humble look at a dictionary counsels against misusing the word council.
posted by gd779 at 3:14 PM on October 31, 2001


...God put the animals to sleep for the whole ride, negating the need for large stores of food or elaborate hygine systems...

...Perhaps God just reduced the animals to their genetic code, and then reconstructed them when they arrived back on dry earth. Perhaps that's the real reason for the Unicorn's loss of horn...

... Perhaps the flood resulted in a change in the density of water...

...baby dinosaurs. much smaller. eat less. particularly if they're asleep the whole ride....


Stephen Hawking explains in A Brief History of Time:

"We could still imagine that there is a set of laws
that determines events completely for some supernatural
being, who could observe the present state of the universe
without disturbing it. However, such models of the universe
are not of much interest to us mortals. It seems better to
employ the principle known as Occam's razor and cut out all
the features of the theory which cannot be observed."

Pluralitas non est ponenda sine neccesitate, baby!
posted by signal at 11:54 PM on October 31, 2001


Lawsonism.
posted by clavdivs at 2:30 PM on November 1, 2001


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