The Cat is bemoaning conversations with someone who doesn’t believe in evolution. It’s a topic I’ve grown tired of “debating” on the net, but I’ll visit it One More Time, in the hope that perhaps I can shed some light.
A big problem, as evidenced by the comment thread, is that both sides never tire of turning the opposition into a straw man, and both keep trying to win the argument by definition. A good case in point is the description of the “anthropomorphic all-God” in the comments. It’s a misstatement of Christian positions to say God is “man-like.” Man is, in fact, God-like. (“Let us make man in our image” — KJV) Is “theomorphic” a word? The point is God is the original, man the derivative being. Characterizing God as “anthropomorphic” is a good way to antagonize your respondent.
What’s my position?
1) I find many of the suppositions made following the theory to be suspicious, to say the least. They may be true, but they don’t make sense to me, and there really isn’t way to test them. They are assertions, which make a sincere (at least most of them do) attempt to cover/explain the currently known facts. But several explanations can manage that, so without being able to test the theories, I don’t see a compelling reason to select one over another.
2) Just because I find it unlikely, I’m not going to tell you that you can’t believe it (there’s another problem in terminology — one doesn’t believe in evolution, one believes evolution; there’s no person there to believe in, after all) and forbid you telling other people about it. This attitude, alas, sets off the howler monkeys on both sides of the question.
3) Also, simply because I don’t see it as true doesn’t mean that it isn’t true. I’ve learned long ago not to limit God’s behavior by my own understanding. I don’t have His brainpower; when I know more, I’ll understand more.
Just to explain more about my point #1 above: Let’s say you know nothing at all about the world. You see a video which shows someone entering rooms in a house and turning on lights. Without being able to set up an experiment to test, you can theorize:
1) There is pressure plate under the floor which turns on the light.
2) There is a motion sensor which turns on the light.
3) The house demands you scratch it on a sensitive area and the light is its pleasure response.
4) The beings in the house have an abundance of energy and they power the lights by touching a contact plate.
(I’m sure there are other theories possible, but that’s enough, I think, to make the point.)
There isn’t an experiment we can perform that will *prove* that life on this planet emerged and developed according to the current theories (I use the plural, because there’s not complete agreement among those who accept evolution — nor is there agreement among those who do not, for that matter) this side of time travel. At best we could demonstrate that it could have happened that way, but even that hasn’t been done, yet.
We look at old bones, and we build fleshy creatures that may only vaguely resemble the actual being in question. You would, for example, have a hard time reconstructing my fleshly body from just my bones. I’ve had the same bones all my adult life, yet my height varies by 5% or more routinely, and occasionally by more. My weight has varied by 60% and more. Now imagine you’ve never seen a human and explain where they carry their body fat. They’re just guesses. Do they hold tegether, yes (for the most part) they do, but so does the future histoy of Miles Vorkosigan, does that mean he’s real? Or the Tharks? How about the Puppeteers and the Kzinti?
You see what I mean? Evolutionary theory is largely guesswork and suppositions, unproven and unprovable. (I once ran in to someone who claimed a computer simulation could prove it. Try as I might, I couldn’t get him to see it was tautaulogical: You build a simulation that runs according to the rules of evolutionary theory and behold, the result supports evolutionary theory! Yah think? Computer simulations are useful tools when we understand the problem domain; we don’t know enough about this one. The problem is when you build the solution into the test, you never can learn anything.) It’s just a case of choosing the set you find yourself comfortable living with.