“I see arguments both ways. How to understand the Creation story has never been an article of the Faith. However, there is no philosophical necessity for it to be proven empirically one way or the other. You assume the events of Creation must be reproduceable to be credible.”
However, you would probably admit that some Christians denominations insist upon interpreting the Creation Story, and all of the Bible, quite literally, while more moderate denominations accept it as an allegory. The moderate denominations do not attack or deny scientific facts in a vain attempt to prove that their interpretation is correct. I think that moderate theists and atheist alike would not dispute that an allegory is an allegory. If the story in Genesis is to be taken as a creation allegory, then there is indeed no call to test the details empirically. Nobody bothers to test whether little boys who refuse to grow up can, or can’t, fly.
However, when fundamentalist Christians insist that the Bible in its entirity must be taken literally, then this insistence invites examination. It is not that scientists set out to falsify Genesis, it is that all that is established in scientific knowledge falsifies the physical claims in Genesis. If, for example, females of the human species had been cloned from Adam’s rib, then females as well as males would have an XY combination of sex chromosomes. Dolly had identical DNA to that of the ewe from which she was cloned. If they had cloned from a ram they would have produced Billy.
“That there are Creation myths in every society gives credance to the Genesis story.”
If you mean that the near universality of creation mythologies make the story in Genesis more likely to be accurate, then you are mistaken. If man was indeed Created by God, then we should expect to have the same creation myth in all societies unless you chose to believe the God lied to every society except an ancient tribe in Israel.
“Throughout all of human history there has been a recognition of a conscious purposeful Creation act. How that act took place and how figurative and poetic the language of Genesis is in describing that has been the subject of differing opinions.”
The word “recognition” implies, I’m sure intentionally, that humans actually did come about through an act of creation. (The serpent the fruit and the tree just happened to be there.) None of the evidence points to an act of deliberate creation unless one misinterprets the evidence. The existence of the panoply of creation myths, interpreted without bias, can only be take to indicate human desire for having an explanation of origins. Humans give abundant and continuing evidence of such a desire.
“Science does not refute Genesis – it only offers a variety of explanations of how the events in Genesis took place.”
You speak a lot of philosophy of science, so I am sure that you are familiar with the principle of falsification. Strictly, because of problems of induction, science cannot prove a hypothesis or a theory, but scientific method can disprove hypotheses that do not stand up to empirical testing. Science offers testable, reproducible, falisifiable explanations for how abiogenesis and biological evolution came about. (Obviously, it is easier to empirically demonstrate evolution than abiogenesis.) The “events” described in Genesis did not happen, those supposed events are part of a creation myth invented to provide some sort of explanation long before humans had yet induced better explanations.
Genesis is falsified – females do not have XY chromosomes (testicular feminization, notwithstanding), no talking serpents, no knowledge-giving-fruit, 4.5 billion year old Earth, etc. (I should have used the term “falsified” rather than the term “refuted” because the former applies to empirical testing and the latter to arguments.) Creationists simply deny knowledge.
“What science cannot prove is that there is no purpose or meaning to the universe. Given that humanity has always believed there is a purpose and meaning, regardless of their angle on the Creation story, the burden of proof is upon the atheist to show otherwise.”
Purpose and meaning are purely psychological concepts. It is certainly reasonable to assume that as long as humans have existed, humans have had psychological needs. There is abundant evidence for physical understanding but no evidence for psychological purpose behind purely physical events such as landslides and earthquakes, or more central to creationist concerns, abiogenesis and evolution.
Theists make a claim for the existence of God. Atheist simply reject all the arguments that demand faith in conjectured supernatural agencies. The burden of proof is on the claimant, and it is the theist who insists upon the existence of psychological behaviour in the universe at large. You are trying to shift the burden of proof and that, which you must know since you know the terminology, is a fallacy of logic.
Part 1 in response to No Things in Moderation.
I shall post response to the rest of your post later. Sorry about the delay due to comment moderation (troll prevention). You have found a brilliant way around it, particularly since I get the sense that you have a readership who no longer need to come here to see your comments.
“Now to the substance of your comments:”
“Science does refute The Book of Genesis
Where? This seems to be your presupposition, to which you assume all right thinking people must subscribe.”
Everywhere that Genesis makes creation claims. Not my “presupposition” at all. It’s a posteriori knowledge based on empirical science. If you wish to provide me with empirical evidence for talking serpents, magical knowledge endowing fruit, etc, then I shall retract my assertion that Genesis is falsified. It’s a creation myth, Dave. Creation myths are found in almost all religions that anthropologists have studied and they are an accepted facet of religious belief. Many Christians accept that Genesis is a creation myth and move on. I don’t think that the Council of Nicea had any aspirations toward writing a science text, rather they were interested in selecting those texts that fit the moral allegory that they wished to promote. Continue reading
Falwell’s infamous remarks were ignorant and in the worst of taste. He was disrespectful of those who died in the attacks when he used the to promote his hate-filled fundamentalist views. He was either ignorant of the actual motivations behind the attacks, deliberately ignored those facts, or he welcomed the opportunity to promote his narrow political agenda. Continue reading
Religionists are scared of scientific knowledge because, at some deep level that they are too scared to admit, science refutes the creation mythology in Genesis. If Genesis is refuted, then to those who think in Absolute Terms, the entire Bible is refuted as being The Word of God.
Religionists are so scared of knowledge that many, such as the creationist family in “God’s Christian Warriors”, are home-schooling their children to ensure that they cannot bite the forbidden fruit of secular knowledge. If the facts supported religionist beliefs, then creationists would not need to attack or defend against knowledge. Continue reading
I am a human and humanist, thinker, scientist, and atheist. Suffice to say that I have post-secondary education and have experience in a variety of fields.
As an atheist, I am not merely not convinced that a supernatural being exists, I am quite certain that there is none.
I have long maintained this belief system as a private, though not secret, matter and would have continued to do so if religious fundamentalism were not causing so much damage. If all believers confined their religious activities to purely personal manifestations of faith, I would not have become more vocal. Unfortunately, and increasingly, religious fundamentalists insist stridently on imposing their religiopolitical will to the detriment of world peace, secular democracy, morality, and knowledge.
Since there is no deity, religious dictates cannot lay claim to being the absolute dictates of a deity. So, religious moralistic rules can only be taken to be the edicts of other humans. I do not blindly accede to dictates from other humans if I morally disagree with the rule. In essence, rigid, intolerant, moralistic bigotry offends my secular humanistic sense of morality.