I have been trying to explain evolution to my stepmother who believes god created everything.  She does halfway understand that evolution is a fact and it took billions/millions of years.  But for some reason she does not understand that there may have been dozens of different types of bacteria living in the primordial sludge not just one.  I have tried to explain that perhaps not everything evolved from the same one celled lifeform.  I have tried to explain that when the conditions for life were right, it is possible that many different types of bacteria grew.  Or maybe a meteor from another plant had some bacteria on it that introduced other forms of life to ths one.  My point is just because life is diverse does not mean god made it that way.  Who knows maybe some ancient astronaut came here and relieved itself and we all evolved from the bacteria in that poop.  The presence of bacteria is not proof of the existence of god. 

She also claims that God created the Big Bang.  First off, points to her for even knowing or trying to understand the big bang.  She says before the big bang, there was god.  So I asked her who created god?  God was just first.  Okay, but if everything has to be created by something, doesn't something have to have created god?

She's the diversity of life and the evolution of intelligent beings is proof of god.  I said there is more than one intelligent lifeform on this planet.  There are several animals out there, I would say are fairly smart.  In fact, many animals are pretty intelligent for what they are, where they live and how they live.  Maybe it doesn't require a 10 pound brain to be a worm. However, dumb worms get eaten or die too young to reproduce.  It's a everything eats worm world out there for worms, so maybe for the life that they lead, they are pretty smart.  Maybe intelligence and life are the rule not the exception.  Maybe the universe is teaming with life, we just haven't gotten out there to see it. 

How do I explain to her that life evolves regardless if there is a god around or not?  I'm not trying to steal away her sky friend, just trying to explain he doesn't do everything and he's not in charge of everything.











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When I tried explaining it to my mother, I used overly simplified examples of us. That our family are living in the wild and we all eat some berries. Everyone dies except me. I then marry someone else who survived the berries and produce children who are all immune to the berries. >.> My mother found it silly. :gonk:
My stepmother actually watches science shows, so she gets the gist of it. But she gets hung up on the fine points. I am not a scientist. I am a historian of modern history. I don't 100% understand every aspect of science either. That doesn't make it magical. It just means I don't understand it. I know there are people who do.

Sometimes I feel like as atheists, theists expect us to know every aspect of every science there is or else we don't know what we are talking about. They don't even know their one book very well, let alone by heart. Good grief there are thousands, maybe millions of scientific books out there. Even professional scientists who are experts in their fields don't know everything about every field of science there is!

One day I may just say, "Just as there is no requirement that every christain be a theologian, there is no requirement that every atheist be a scientist."
I find it extremely difficult to understand how some one can reject such a supported theory in the first place. But I think explaining as a survival of the fittest will work. E.g: Two dogs are born one has stronger legs etc than the other. The stronger one inevitably lives longer and has a chance to reproduce and therefore producing more dogs with theses traits.

Also sorry to bump a kinda old thread...
Well, many people who are not fanatically religious nevertheless adhere to 'somethingism', a term coined by the prominent Belgian philosopher Etienne Vermeersch. Whilst they accept that evolution and modern cosmology are scientific facts, they retain an irrational urge to believe that there is 'something more'. This something, unfortunately, is never clearly defined.
Also, I think there is a modern Protestant concept known as the 'non-interfering God', which roughly means that although he may be behind the universe as such, he has no power to meddle with it. He is just the primary instigator and even lacks awareness of himself. (An idea which sprang from Spinoza, who simply identified the universe itself with God.)
I prefer Occam's razor in these matters: if a hypothesis serves no purpose and is unnecessary, one had better get rid of it.
I am on a group that does just that. All The evolutionists are making good points. The problem is that the information is bouncing off the creations like a brick wall.
In addition to the excellent berkley website, I would also recommend Dawkin's documentary "The Genius of Charles Darwin".

This is a old post, but I agree, this is a very good place to start.

Lots of folks are more inclinded to watch a DVD than read a book, and this

one is very good for the beginner.

I have recommended and loaned my own copy to several people and it did help

them to understand.

For folks who want to get more info. Jerry Coynes "Why Evolution is True", mentioned

by John D. in his above post is very clear and conclusive.

 

You can then move on to Dawkins "Greatest Show on Earth"

If, after watching the video and reading these 2 books that little light inside doesnt

click on in a "ah-ha" moment, then you are hopeless ;)

 

Once you see for yourself how perfectly all the evidence fits, you will wonder why on earth

anyone could have a problem with it.

To biologists, there is no controversy over evolution as a reality, the controversy is only among

folks who know absolutly nothing about it except what they have read on the fundie websites or heard from thier church.

 

Also, many religious people, like the catholics imbrace evolution, and believe it shows how god "did it"!

Start with microevolution as it is easier for someone with her perspective to get. Then transition into macroevolution.

2nd, "Why evolution is true".
w/patience?
Tell them that there are Theists and Atheists . If they still don't get it in such simple terms, they never will. Theists intentionally deny things for the preservation of their beliefs and ideology. You will have better luck talking a brick into believing in evolution.

Most of my theist friends and relitives avoid topics of biogenesis, evolution and big bang theory.

Asking them the question; what created God, is generally shruged off without a thought; "so,

since WHEN does god have to follow OUR rules"? or some similar retort.

Some of my younger theist friends will accept part of evolution, that is, on a "micro" scale, such

as viruses, etc. but you can explain to them how humans evolved until you are blue in the face,

they will not accept it for a minute.

Humans were created in "god's" image, and god was not a monkey, and, it's only a "theory" afterall! ;)

 

My older friends totally dismiss the concepts outright. It's all just something some crazy old atheist

scientist cooked up in his head so he could publish a book and be famous!! ;)

 

They know absolutly nothing about evolution or the man who discovered it, and they intend to keep it that way.

 

So my advise, unless your theist friend or relative shows a GENUINE intrest in the subject, dont even

bother to waste your time and theirs.

It depends on the theist.  YEC's are like that but not old earth creationists.

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