I know I've been slacking lately on my blog posts but I've been dealing with my typical post topics in the real-life arena. I am going to school for evolutionary biology but I still come under fire from my peers when it comes to religion and science. Many people in the science field feel that religion and science are compatible. My stance is they are actually incompatible because religion tries to nullify scientific truths.
There is the fact of Evolution and then the Theory of Evolution.

The Fact of evolution is that the properties of populations of organisms or groups of such populations change over the course of generations through heredity. This strictly deals with a population and not an individual. It also does not mean the one species changes into another but merely we see a change in gene frequency over time. When the frequency changes enough and in greater numbers of genes we get a new species.

The theory of evolution is the explanation of how this change occurs.

Most people don't know the difference between a common-speech theory and a scientific theory.

Common-Speech Theory: an educated guess

Scientific Theory: an explanation for a law or fact with substantiated evidence put through peer review and scrutinized.

It's important to know the difference! Try to educate others on this so they know what we mean when we refer to evolutionary theory.

Another tip when speaking to people about evolution is don't say you "believe" in evolution but rather to accept it. believing puts it on the same grounds as believing in god. Evolution is not a faith issue, there is substantial evidence to ratify it.

REMEMBER: It's a war between reason and superstition. Choose your side and educate yourself and others.

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Tags: creationism, evolution, fact, law, theory

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Comment by muhammad amer on May 1, 2009 at 12:31pm
I don't know how word tribe works, so please allow me to use "mindsets" instead. Yes it is my common experience too with the people. Definatly they can be divided into two different mindsets of "rationalists" and "religionists". Reactions of both groups are different towards many daily life questions are different.
Talking about interpertation of things with a friend today, I told him there may be many things happening in my 42 years life which a religious person could have interpreted as supernatural but my mind thought a logical reason for that. So with the same experiences if I would have belonged to other mindset or tribe, I would have gathered many supernatural stories to tell. Now I argue that I have seen none.
As for as study habbits and knowledge are concerned both differ because quite different things attract them. While arguing with other mindset person I often noticed their mind predecided not to accept any thing from me. Infact while I am talking, other person mind is thinking of some counter argument instead of understanding what I was trying to say.
Comment by Adam Johnson on May 1, 2009 at 11:12am
I used the statement descent from god with a sense of sarcasm which is sometimes hard to convey through written words. And deconverted isn't the correct word. I believe something along the lines of 'disindoctrinated' works.
Comment by Sentient Biped on May 1, 2009 at 10:42am
Adam,
Thanks. Your blog posts are thoughtful and interesting.

Also, I agree with your comments about people who deny evolution. Self delusion fits in there somewhere too.

It's a side topic, but I wonder what you think of the terms 'deconverted from baptist' and 'descent from god'. Common usage in freethought and on A|N. But they sound like something is lost in leaving religion. Probably something is lost, but a lot is gained. Are there terms that more positively, possibly more accurately, express your experience? Maybe instead of 'deconvert' it could be 'moved on' or 'became enlightened' or something; and maybe it's really rose above the god concept, instead of descended? Just a thought experiment here.

Thanks for posting your ideas.
Comment by Adam Johnson on April 30, 2009 at 10:35am
I like your use of the word tribe. I think anyone who denies evolution is either ignorant, stupid, or a liar; all of which are inexcusable.

I remember when I deconverted from baptist. Although my mother was christian she taught me to be rational everything. I remember getting those animal pamphlets in the mail that you put together to make the big book; of course my mom bought them from me. I think that was the start of my descent from god. I became immensly interested in animals which led to today where its almost an obsession.
Comment by Sentient Biped on April 30, 2009 at 9:53am
Adam-

Agree completely. It gets into semantics. Semantics is where most of the arguments occur. In a sense, I think this also fits into 'tribalism'. If someone belongs to the 'tribe' of religionists, then they protect that tribe and their status in it by saying whatever it takes to support their membership. Even when they know that evolution is the framework for understanding of biology and medicine, that it is testable and has been tested countless thousands of times in the lab and the field, they still use semantic arguments to state is is just a theory. The reduction of 'theory' to what amounts to a WAG (wild-assed guess) is a rhetorical tool, but doesn't result in anyone changing sides to the 'other tribe'. Demonizing the other side is also a way to maintain the tribal state, but doesn't really establish who is 'right'.

I do this too, of course. It's a human trait. Of course, I'm also 100% convinced that the scientific explanation, evolution, is the correct one.

What arguments do work to move someone from one 'tribe' to the other? If we look into ourselves, and see why we are, where we are, that is a clue. People who were born into atheist or free thinking families, Darwin bless'em, don't have that intimate experience. I did - I know what moved me from Baptist to atheist. It was the internal contradiction of the Bible, the rhetorical contortions of fundamentalism, and the obvious hypocracy within the church that was supposedly supporting the faith.

My arguments, when I make them, are to guide people to their heart of darkness, the bible. And the example of my own life, that while I'm very flawed and fallible, I still try to be a good human being. Even though I love logic, I suspect that arguing the 'correctness' of evolution wins over fewer minds than learning critical thinking, getting people to look into the basis for their religous beleif, being a living example, and being there for others to see.

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