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Does God exist?
May 31, 2000 3:50 AM   Subscribe

Does God exist? In a day and age where people are somewhat better educated (than say 500 years ago), we are taught to think freely and form our own opinions. As a result, it is no surprise that Christianity is nowhere near as strong as it was back in its glory days. Here are some good debates between University professors over the existence of God. Very good arguments from both sides. Very thought-provoking stuff. I, for one, believe there are far too many people who blindly believe in a religion because it is the easy way out. Tell me what you think.
posted by PWA_BadBoy (38 comments total)

 
I just started reading the oldest in the series, Is the basis of morality natural or supernatural?, and I was immediately put off by the introductory remarks. It may be because I don't know how to read philosophical debates; 90% of my reading is technical material.
Richard Taylor's opening remarks (he's arguing for the side I'm prejudiced towards) are full of anecdotal evidence and terms that I feel he should define before he uses. I didn't read the rest of it yet.
Again, these may be fantastic debates. But I'm accustomed to reading material filled with independantly verifiable facts, graphs, glossaries, and the like. When Richard says [paraphrased], "I've met many, many good people, perhaps one of which believes in god as a lawgiver." I immediately ask, "Define your sample, please. And define god and 'lawgiver'". I'm going to go back and read through the whole debate, but my first reaction is, "this sounds just like the slashdot rumor mill."
posted by katchomko at 5:19 AM on May 31, 2000


Well, a lot of it is a load of crap.. and sometimes you really have to sift through it to find a gem. But I seem to have noticed that the Atheist side tends to have a more concrete argument whereas the Christian side tends to stray towards asking questions that can't be answered in order to prove their point.

This topic came up as an e-mail was sent to an Atheist friend of mine about an Atheist professor questioning and bashing Christianity because of the lack of hard evidence that supports it. The e-mail ends as a joke for Christians to feel good about themselves when a Christian student puts the professor in his place. Unfortunately, the arguments in the e-mail were flawed, as spotted by a friend of mine, and a huge debate was sparked. You can read about the debate here. ... Another friend took the liberty of writing the emails to his web page.. so have a look. It's nicely designed too. :)
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 6:04 AM on May 31, 2000


This is a story someone submitted to our site that I found amusing. It's also a very good arguement for the existance of a higher being.
posted by Jeremy at 7:14 AM on May 31, 2000


PWA_BadBoy, are you saying that a person who holds religious beliefs should be considered uneducated? That they only reason they hold their beliefs is because they don't know any better, and can't be bothered to think for themselves?

I would agree that there are a lot of people who do not think, and who depend on others to tell them how to lead their lives, without taking any kind of responsibility for themselves. However, that is by no means limited to religion, and education does not necessarily address this problem.

If we take a global view of religion, I think we'll find that it is hard to write off religious practitioners as uneducated.

(FWIW, I'm not what most would consider a particularly religious person.)
posted by Calebos at 7:32 AM on May 31, 2000


no
posted by efader at 7:57 AM on May 31, 2000


from Jeremy's link, "Why Science Fails to Explain God."...
Science doesn't need to explain God.
posted by jamescblack at 8:16 AM on May 31, 2000


Science and religions are a candles in darkness. Both religion and science are based on a degree of faith. Science says this is the way things are because everytime we've tested it, it remains true. Religion says this is the way things are because history has produced this evidence and we believe the evidence to be valid. The question of God can't be answered. It seems useless to try and claim a victor. Does it matter how many people belief something. A lot of people bought the N'sync album, but I don't think it's good.
posted by john at 8:42 AM on May 31, 2000


I'm sure there's a higher being, I just don't believe in the christian god, too many holes in the theory.By the by, does anyone know anyone who bought the N'sync album? That may just be a rumour concocted by the record labels, because I just can't see how they, Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears or any of the other fluff bands could GIVE their crap away...
posted by meaning at 8:56 AM on May 31, 2000


> Both religion and science are based on a degree of faith.
Religion is based on faith. Science is based on reproducible testing. These are completely unrelated. If you are thinking about the philosophical idea that we can never really know anything, I'm afraid that is more whimsey than solid argument.

> The question of God can't be answered.
Of course it can. But opinions will still differ.

> Does it matter how many people belief something.
Nope. Actions should count more.

> far too many people who blindly believe in a
> religion because it is the easy way out.

I think this is a simple minded thing to say. I don't think anyone follows one religion or another because it's the easy way out.

Talk to some church goers about faith. It has nothing to do with "going with the flow." Faith is an active process. Just because you don't have any doesn't mean other people are clueless.

By the way - I'm an atheist. But I struggle with that sometimes. Isn't not having faith in a higher being the "easy way out". It's much easier than being religious.
posted by y6y6y6 at 9:38 AM on May 31, 2000


> there are far too many people who blindly believe in a religion because it is the easy way out. <

actually I find that non-believers as a whole tend to be terribly close-minded if anyone proposes the consideration--even for a moment--that there *may* be a higher power. more close-minded than believers in many cases, who often are at least willing to engage in the thought experiement of "what if there were no God"?

(to be fair, I think a lot of non-believers once were, and may be bitter that things didn't work out.)

living a life of faith is challenging, I think, and I admire anyone who is doing so.

rcb

posted by rebeccablood at 9:45 AM on May 31, 2000


It's a shame that too few of these debates incorporate the long history of religious philosophy, which has covered these questions in great detail and often much more compellingly.

I believe a lot more agnostics would accept faith in their lives more readily if they understood some of the religious philosophy of previous eras. I personally am wholly comfortable with both my religious and scientific sides, and I don't see this debate affecting that much.
posted by dhartung at 9:54 AM on May 31, 2000


When I posted this, my point was to say that sometimes people haven't put enough thought into their religious beliefs as they may have for say, scientific truths. The simple fact of the matter is, many believe simply because it is easier to believe that something greater than us exists out there, and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Coming to grips with the fact that everyone dies was one of the hardest things I had to try to understand growing up. It still bothers me sometimes. There are times when I wake up in a cold shiver in the middle of the night thinking of my own mortality knowing that someday I won't be around the way I am now. Yet doesn't it seem like a simple solution to say, "Believe in God and you will go to Heaven after you die"?? Sure is a lot easier than what I go through. And I think a lot of people will believe in God and Christianity simply because of this simple little concept. It may be true. It may not be. But in the end, it's one less thing for them to worry about.

I believe Christianity has been twisted over the course of time, its true meaning lost by people who have tried to reinterpret the Bible in order to use it for their own personal gains.

Anyways, those are just some of my opinions from my side of the fence. Seems like we've got quite a little mini-debate going on in here too! :)
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 11:54 AM on May 31, 2000


Religion is based on faith. Science is based on
reproducible testing. These are completely unrelated. If you are thinking about the philosophical idea that we can never really know anything, I'm afraid that is more whimsey than solid argument.


As much as anything can truly be incorrect, this is. An exercise for the interested reader: prove, using scientific principles, that God either does or does not exist. When you can do that, perhaps a statement like "the question of God can be answered" can be defensible.

Actually, just go through the exercise of defining the question and you'll see what I mean (what does "prove" mean, what does "exist" mean in this context, if anything, etc.).

The notion that scientist can really know what something is at it's most basic level is silly. Science and math, in their present states, are full of roadblocks (see Godel's Undecidability Theorem and Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle for starters).

Signed, A Recovering Physicist.
posted by jkottke at 12:20 PM on May 31, 2000


> sometimes people haven't put enough thought into their religious beliefs
> as they may have for say, scientific truths.

I just don't think this is true. I think most religious people have spent a LOT more time thinking about it than non religious people.

Who are these people you are talking about? I think you are just making this up. Have some conversations with these people you are accusing. I think you'll find they think about it more than you think about the validity of science.

> But in the end, it's one less thing for them to worry about.

Religious faith isn't something that just "happens". You don't have it when you are born. Authority figures can't make you have it. Have you even been to church? I think your opinion is very uninformed.

Again, I don't believe in God. But I came to that after attending various churches and talking to lots of people about their beliefs. I haven't anyone from this apathetic religion you're talking about. Where are they?
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:27 PM on May 31, 2000


Ok, I haven't read the rest of the essays yet. So sue me.
I'm an atheist, and I agree with what y6y6y6 says, "It's much easier than being religious." I have a worldview that doesn't need volumes of navel-gazing... errr, I mean religious philosophy compiled over the centuries to explain. Really, it only needs one branch of science, cognition. I subscribe to the body of evidence that supports the notion that we, as lingistic beings, have a "hardwired" need to categorize everything we experience. The only way to categorize, given the way we're wired, is by pattern recogniztion.
As our brains got bigger, and we tried to categorize more and more of our experience, we had to look for more and more abstract patterns. To make a long story short, the "uberpattern" [note the slick avoidance of the term `meta'] became god. Patterns for weather were controlled by the weather "gods", patterns for animal behavior controlled by animal gods, and so on.
As hunter/gatherer societies gave way to social organization based on land and agriculture, classes began to develop, and the rise of a ruling elite. Simultaneous was the shift away from animistic worship to monotheistic religions. Why? It is my belief that the elite began to justify their elevated class by placing themselve in an intermediary position between mere human mortal existence and the patterns that people lived by.
The Sumerians and Egyptians began this trend by moving away from animism and towards polytheism, putting the ruling class into positions of near godhood, and, IMHO, things continued to go downhill fast after that.
Until objectivity came back into vogue; the first glimmers during the greco-roman era, then again during the "Enlightenment" in Europe. And, of course, the spirit of natural science was never actively exterminated in the "Far East". Now that the "clockwork universe" is pretty much dead and buried, we can move on to a universe filled with bizarre and funky patterns, many of which we can observe but can't explain yet.
Not that this detracts from anyone's faith. I mean, this is all so abstract it doesn't need to have a bearing on how we behave towards each other, and that's the most important aspect of a society. So, coming full circle back to the first essay in the series PWA_BadBoy posted, it doesn't matter from where the ideas of right and wrong are, as long as a powerful enough majority of people in that society agree on what constitutes proper behavior.
posted by katchomko at 12:37 PM on May 31, 2000


Definitions are always the best way for a conversation to go bad from the beginning. I think it utterly trivializes faith to say that science and religion are both based on faith. What both science and faith are built on are axioms, givens that are accepted without regard to proof or disproof. But to say "faith" is equivalent to "axiom" just bothers me to death. Christians have faith that Jesus arose from the dead; Buddhists have faith that reincarnation will occur; these are acts of faith. Religion is built on the axiom "faith is a valid way of understanding things."

That is a far cry from the axiom "if it happens five hundred times, under the same conditions, we'll figure it will happen the five hundred and first time as well." Science is built on the axiom "evidence is a valid way of understanding things."

You can say that it takes faith that the sun will warm the Earth tomorrow as it did today, but what does that get you? It gets you a definition of faith so broad as to strip it of its meaning. Faith becomes a blanket term for everything, every idea, every concept, every argument, all are faith.

Faith so defined is so broad as to be meaningless.
posted by mrmorgan at 12:38 PM on May 31, 2000


actually I find that non-believers as a whole tend to be terribly close-minded if anyone proposes the consideration--even for a moment--that there *may* be a higher power. more close-minded than believers in many cases, who often are at least willing to engage in the thought experiement of "what if there were no God"?

This may have something to do with the fact that non-believers are pretty much *constantly* asked to consider the idea that there may be a higher power. It gets tiresome and boring after a while. And I'm not talking about overt conversion attempts, either. It's hard, perhaps impossible, to live in the U.S. and not be confronted with the idea of a big powerful deity, Christian-style or otherwise, on a regular basis. Anyone who has reasoned their way out of theism has probably heard it all already, and I can't blame them for not wanting to hear it again.

-Mars


posted by Mars Saxman at 1:10 PM on May 31, 2000


>Science is based on reproducible testing.

How is that any more reliable then religion? In time most scientific theories have been invalidated. We've only been studying for a few thousand years and havn't even reached outside of our own solar system. Empirical truth is no more the truth then the principles of faith.

I don't see how anyone is going to prove God exists. I also don't see how it makes anyone lesser of a person to hold one idea or another. At some point people either make a descision to belief in a certain thing or they don't. Faith is an internal entity that may or may not be fueled by outside influences.

In the end it really doesn't matter. It shouldn't matter in the way that you live. If there is a God, then great! If there isn't, then life is just as precious.
posted by john at 1:16 PM on May 31, 2000


I think the first problem is that we need to define "god." What exactly do we mean? I think that the question of the existence of "god" is really a question of whether or not there is a plan or design to our lives, or whether all of life is some sort of meaningless accident. I think asking whether god exists is just the shorthand of this question.
posted by andy at 1:24 PM on May 31, 2000


John, I think the point of science is that theories are replaced by better ones. I think science is all about trying to understand the world and the natural laws that govern it. Theories are meant to be replaced. The problem I have with (most) religious doctrine is that it is meant to be taken as The Word Of God. Like the Ten Commandments. This is different from, say, Kant's ideas of morality. It's just ten things Thou Shalt Not do, without an explanation given except "god said so."

My main beef with organized religion is that I think people should decide (and think) for themselves what is moral and immoral. Simply believing in something for no real reason (faith) is not a good way to think about things.
posted by nickdoro at 1:35 PM on May 31, 2000


John, I think the point of science is that theories are replaced by better ones. I think science is all about trying to understand the world and the natural laws that govern it. Theories are meant to be replaced. The problem I have with (most) religious doctrine is that it is meant to be taken as The Word Of God. Like the Ten Commandments. This is different from, say, Kant's ideas of morality. It's just ten things Thou Shalt Not do, without an explanation given except "god said so."

My main beef with organized religion is that I think people should decide (and think) for themselves what is moral and immoral. Simply believing in something for no real reason (faith) is not a good way to think about things.
posted by andy at 1:35 PM on May 31, 2000


sorry, my brother and me use the same computer. whoops.
posted by andy at 1:54 PM on May 31, 2000


>Science is based on reproducible testing.

How is that any more reliable then religion? In time most scientific theories have been invalidated. We've only been studying for a few thousand years and havn't even reached outside of our own solar system. Empirical truth is no more the truth then the principles of faith.
It's more reliable than religion, because (to steal an idea from Carl Sagan's Contact) I can hold a pendulum at my nose, drop it, and know that it is going to stop exactly at my nose at the most.

It isn't going to suddenly gain momentum (unless outside influences are introduced) and knock me cold, despite it's apparent speed hurtling towards me.

On the other hand, I can't say that I know that a god is going to cure my disease. Even better, I don't know that I'm going to Heaven.

I'm assuming you do, if you believe in the Christian god. Or at least that if you lead a good life, and seek forgiveness for your errs, you'll go to heaven.

That you know that - which I certainly don't doubt - is an example of faith. Because of my beliefs, I can't know that I'm going to heaven or even that heaven exists.

That's the difference between science and faith.

Faith is definetely important, and I personally will not question someone's faith. I admire people with faith; it takes a release of yourself, of your doubts, to put faith into an entity who's existance is constantly questions. It's just not something I can do.
posted by cCranium at 1:56 PM on May 31, 2000


i agree with andy when he says that people should think and decide about religious matters for themselves.

too many times i have met people that say they believe in God but when questioned about why they believe in God they simply say "because i have this feeling" and they can't back it up any more than that. i tend to ask how one can be sure this 'feeling' is God and not some bad burritos they had for lunch.

i guess i take issue to many christians who believe in God because they have never considered the alternatives. this scares me because they assume they are always right.

they tend to take a literal interpretation of the bible when science has shown it to be wrong in many situations and blindly follow anyone who established himself as a religioius leader. this blind belief/following of so called 'religious leaders' leads to crap like godhatesfags.com
posted by darainwa at 2:00 PM on May 31, 2000


From Ol' Britannica on an article about Bertrand Russell:

He came to disagree with his family on everything except politics, but he was also able to accept the disillusionment of finding that logical certainty was unattainable in empirical matters and to accept as well the stunning disappointment (when introduced by his brother at the age of 11 to the delightful certainties of mathematics) of being told that the axioms of GEOMETRY could not be proved but had to be TAKEN ON TRUST.

posted by n_s_1 at 2:11 PM on May 31, 2000


Mark Morgan: Metafilter road kill. Just drive right past, folks.

n_s_1, I still think that it devalues faith completely to redefine it as "anything that's an axiom." Who cares how deep your religious faith if, if faith encompasses everything?
posted by mrmorgan at 2:19 PM on May 31, 2000


andy & crainum,

I agree, science is easier to test. Reliability does not make something necessarily truth. I guess the undeniable chance that every idea can still be wrong makes me an enternal skeptic. I don't think I enjoy life any less. It's my comfortably humble acceptence of the mystery of life.

It seems wise to not worry about the inevitable or endlessly contemplate the unknowable.
posted by john at 2:21 PM on May 31, 2000


I'm an atheist too, but I don't think it's always easier than being religious. I'm an atheist because I questioned the beliefs I was presented with. I thought long and hard before I decided I was an atheist - and I learned a lot about the many different relgions with which I had *any* connection.

I feel like, for my atheism to be worthwhile for me, I need to keep questioning. I still *think* about religion, and god(s), and belief systems. while I would never call atheism a religion, sometimes it can be just as time-consuming as religion is for a born-again christian (I lived down the hall from one last year). in any case, atheism isn't passive. it's active, so it's not always easy.

I suppose anything can be the easy way out, if you just accept it without really thinking about it. there are plenty of people who do this, and plenty of people who don't. I think that determines how "difficult" a belief system is to uphold, in a way.

also, science does not say something is true just because it's been a certain way every time it's tested. science says something is very very unlikely to be false. there is a huge difference.

the "faith" and "dogma" aspects of science come from the way people use it irresponsibly, the way they allow themselves to overlook inconvenient details, and the way they are quick to fill in the blanks.

(however, I have fun contemplating the unknowable, perhaps because I don't really believe there exists such a thing. unknowable to whom?)
posted by rabi at 2:46 PM on May 31, 2000


I was intruiged by PWA_BadBoy's reference to the Bill Craig university debates over God's existence, because just yesterday I was browsing some material about them.

I'm delighted that lots of people are taking questions of ultimate meaning and significance seriously. Many of the comments in this thread show that people are as alive to this stuff as ever before. However, I'm distressed by the way that some religious believers, like Bill Craig, push their line. Using "debating techniques" to defend your position in a public space like this, seems to demean religious belief. I'd rather have an open ended discussion over a debater who tries to win by presenting so many arguments that a respondent runs out of time in responding. (For details, check Ed Curley's account of his debate with Bill Craig.)

I'm all for taking religious belief seriously. But scoring cheap points in trying to defend your view against all comers without giving those respondents a decent chance to reply seems to be a less-than-honest way to go.

Disclaimer: I'm a both university professor and a believing Christian. This might have something to do with my distaste of this debate format.
posted by grestall at 3:37 PM on May 31, 2000


I have no desire to get involved in a debate about the nature or existance of God, but I found the faux-anecdote PWA posted way back at the top of this thread remarkable for a couple of reasons. The idea that any philosophy professor would be wholly ignorant of theodicy, the study of exactly this sort of question, or that a college student would blithely stump him with simple answers to questions that don't really have any (for those who accept the existance of a benevolent supreme being or intelligence that provides guidance to the universe; atheists and theists believing in a sort of God-the-Clockmaker have an easier time with this one) is laughable.

A number of really fine Western philosophers, most notably Leibniz, have addressed themselves to the problem of evil; it's also the subject of one of theology-sci-fi writer James Morrow's weaker books, which nonetheless got me interested in the subject.
posted by snarkout at 4:11 PM on May 31, 2000


To me, the most interesting part of this discussion is "which is easier, atheism or religion." The mostly unstated premise seem to be easier=bad. Why is this? Is "taking the easy way out" a sign of "bad character"? Is there a link between easy/hard and truth/falsehood?

Like several of you, I am an atheist. I didn't struggle with my decision to become one, because I didn't decide to become one. I was brought up in a non-religious family--not an atheist family, just a family in which religion wasn't a focus. When I heard people talk about God, He sounded like Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny. And I thought, show me some evidence, and I'll consider it. And I'm still waiting.

So my decision to "become" an atheist was easy. But is BEING an atheist easy? Hardly! At least, not for me. The older I get, the more I fear death (my own, and the death of those I love). As I don't believe in an afterlife, I know that when people die, I will never see them again. This is agony for me. But just because presents are nice, that doesn't make Santa real. Just because an afterlife would ease my pain, that doesn't make God real. So unless you're entirely comfortable with death, lack of a fixed moral system, lack of a plan/purpose to life, and lack of universal love and justice, I don't see how atheism can be easy. I don't struggle with my belief system, just with my fears.
posted by grumblebee at 9:27 PM on May 31, 2000


grumblebee put it perfectly...... he shares my opinion and viewpoint. I am waiting for someone to show me a good reason to be Christian. I have accepted what I am, who I am.

So far, the people around me who are Christian have not given me a very good reason to believe. Much of what I hear is simply "blind" faith. They don't question the Bible or its teachings. They don't question the actions of the Church. Give me a good reason to believe. Or is being a good person and living a good life good enough?

Did you know Ted Bundy converted to Christianity 15 minutes before his execution? The minister proclaimed that he would be forgiven for his sins and would go to heaven. Yet am I to believe that ME trying to be a good person would not because I don't believe? Of course this would bring up the whole argument of "what's good, what's right, and what's wrong".........
posted by PWA_BadBoy at 9:41 PM on May 31, 2000


Just because I find atheism hard, don't think I'm implying the alternative is easy. Atheists may have to struggle with mortality-fears, but religious people have to struggle with bad luck. Why did God let my baby die, etc. And I'm sure there are other hardships that, not being religious, I am likely to miss.

Truth is, if you are a THINKING person, life can be hard--whether you are an atheist or a believer. Sure, there are people who are religious without giving it much deep thought. There are also plenty of atheists like this.
posted by grumblebee at 9:51 PM on May 31, 2000


John:
I agree, science is easier to test. Reliability does not make something necessarily truth. I guess the undeniable chance that every idea can still be wrong makes me an enternal skeptic. I don't think I enjoy life any less. It's my comfortably humble acceptence of the mystery of life.
I didn't mean to imply that science is truth and religion isn't, I was just trying to demonstrate the difference between belief in a scientific truth and belief in a religious one.

I tend to agree with where this thread's been going, and especially with grumblebee's above post. Life is hard, and people deal with it in different ways. :-)
posted by cCranium at 4:33 AM on June 1, 2000


Evolution is real... God is not.
posted by efader at 8:28 AM on June 1, 2000


Christianity is not about Religion it's about a relationship with God.
It is an active process which is anything but mindless or uneducated.

I personally think it requires just as much faith to believe that the world resulted by accident from chaos as it does to believe in a God that designed it. Evolution is STILL a theory and not scientific law.

My 2ยข
posted by ooklah at 9:15 AM on June 1, 2000


I personally think it requires just as much faith to believe that the world resulted by accident from chaos as it does to believe in a God that designed it. Evolution is STILL a theory and not scientific law.

You're welcome to believe whatever you like, but this comment betrays a complete misunderstanding of the nature of scientific theory. Evolution is "still a theory" in the same way that gravity is still a theory and electricity is still a theory. You can quibble over the superiorities of Einstein's theory of gravitation over Newton's theory, or even make up your own theory for that matter, but denying that rocks fall when you drop them would be a little silly.

In the same way, you can discuss Darwin's theory of evolution, or Lamarck's, or the punctuated equilibrium theory, or even some divine intervention theory of your own if you want to. These are theories of evolution, yes - subject to the same critique and process of replacement as all other scientific theories. Theories are simply tools used to explain observable data, to predict the results of experiments, and to model the behaviour of the universe we live in.

You may have problems with current theories of evolution, but the uncountable millions of fossils which represent the history of life on earth are the facts of evolution - the near-uncontestable knowledge that the creatures alive on earth now are not the same kind of creatures that were alive twenty million years ago, nor are they the same kinds as the ones twenty million years before that, and so on for a billion years. You can argue about the method by which these species changed, or were replaced, all you want - but the fact that they changed is literally as plain as rocks in the dirt.

None of this, of course, has anything to do with the existence of God. You can explain the facts of evolution with a theory that involves a deity, just like you can explain the facts of electricity, gravitation, plant growth, weather, or the migration of sea-turtles with theories that involve a deity. Simply being a theory does not make an idea less valuable.

-Mars


posted by Mars Saxman at 11:26 AM on June 1, 2000


I'll just weigh in to point out another problem in the statement "Evolution is STILL a theory and not scientific law.." It's common to believe that theories graduate into laws when they have enough evidence. That's not so. A scientific law is a general statement describing the relationships between some variables, such as E=Mc2 or F=MV. A theory is an explanation for something that has been tested. A theory that has been tested enough that it would be highly improbable that it would be wildly inaccurate is called in science a "fact". For example, gravity is a theory (explaining how things fall together), a set of laws, and a fact because nobody doubts that there is gravity. 99.99% sure is Good Enough.

The fact that evolution isn't a scientific law is irrelevant. It's not supposed to be. It's a theory. I haven't personally read every single piece of evidence in its favor, or even a lot of the evidence, but biologists consider evolution established enough that none deny the reality of evolution. Holy wars are fought over the details...

And, finally, "it requires just as much faith to believe that the world resulted by accident from chaos"; well, take that up with cosmologists; evolution deals with biological systems, not world-building.
posted by mrmorgan at 5:01 PM on June 1, 2000


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