Help! Trying to save what may be a lost cause.

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Discussion by: AthenaPrime

A formerly rational friend has been brainwashed by her new fundamentalist husband.  She now insists that there is no conclusive evidence to prove that evolution is real.  I recommended that she read some of Dr. Dawkins's works (pointing out that he has refuted the fundamentalist arguments about the Cambrian Explosion) and her response was:

Thanks for responding to my email and the additional intel re: Dawkins.   I am actually very familiar with Dawkins (an ardent atheist) and I won't bore you, but he actually doesn't refute the intelligent design science I have looked into because as he himself admitted, we actually don't have one example of where a genome was increased by evolution.  Needless to say, we won't agree on that point. 
Can anyone tell me what she is talking about?  I'm really about ready to give up. I can't believe that it has been as easy as it is to completely lose someone to fundamentalism in a little over a year. 

41 COMMENTS

  1. OP:

    She now insists that there is no conclusive evidence to prove that evolution is real.

    That person is so wrong. She obviously has no idea how wrong she is. We can point her in the right direction, but we can’t force her to face the reality of science.

  2. A genome cannot be increased because a change of any sort alters the genome. An altered genome is a different genome. Altered genomes are evidence of evolution. The fact that altering genomes become new genomes explains why your friend is human and not fish.

    • In reply to #3 by daddyhominum:

      A genome cannot be increased because a change of any sort alters the genome. An altered genome is a different genome. Altered genomes are evidence of evolution. The fact that altering genomes become new genomes explains why your friend is human and not fish.

      I’ve started using these creationist arguments against them by turning them on their head. (The arguments, not the creationists. While entertaining such behaviour would be cruel.) Simply state that an increasing genome would be positive proof of doG taking a hand in the world. Same with seeing an animal give birth to a different animal, crockoduck style. Proof of doG.

      I don’t for one instant make any claim to being intellectually honest here. I do get some enjoyment from watching their confusion when I say the evidence they demand to “prove” evolution (it’s almost always evolution) would actually be fairly convincing proof of their invisible friend.

  3. I actually having a hard time believing that she was rational in the first place. I find it hard to imagine that someone who you say used to be rational would fall for such grade school arguments. Any supposed research she did must have only been on Christian apologist sites because no one that does real research on the issue could come away thinking there is any doubt about evolution.

    • In reply to #5 by Mormon Atheist:

      I actually having a hard time believing that she was rational in the first place.

      It does seem strange but I can believe it. My sister was fairly well educated, science subjects to A levels and never showed signs of religious irrationality but a couple of years ago allied with the ant-climate change lobby and came out with “I think it is arrogant of man to think he can change god’s planet.”

      Sorry to be pessimistic but I feel there is little hope in changing any fundamentalists mind unless they are willing to consider other possibilities and it seems this formerly rational friend has shut herself off from logic.

  4. I am actually very familiar with Dawkins (an ardent atheist) and I won’t bore you,

    This is “creationist proof”! – Some puffed-up creationist ignoramus said so, and that Dawkins is a nasty atheist, so I choose to believe the nicy, pseudo-scientist, creationist troooo believer who says he is an expert!

    but he actually doesn’t refute the intelligent design science I have looked into because as he himself admitted, we actually don’t have one example of where a genome was increased by evolution. Needless to say, we won’t agree on that point.

    Their claim is bananas – triploid bananas!

    There is no such thing as “intelligent design science” and no evidence for it, so there is nothing to refute except concocted deception!

    Not just scientists condemn ID as fakery or fallacious ignorance! Even the Vatican astronomer says so!

    In addition, while he was the Vatican’s chief astronomer, Fr. George Coyne, issued a statement on 18 November 2005 saying that “Intelligent design isn’t science even though it pretends to be.

    They are simply lying to her, and have pulled the old trick of making up nonsense about a technical subject which many people will not understand. – So she is not likely to understand an explanation without some detailed learning of biology first.

    This is one of their methods of hiding their lies in plain view of their gullible followers.

    Genes are grouped on chromosomes which greatly vary in number from species to species. Genetic material can be gained, changed, or lost.

    List of organisms by chromosome count

    Not only can genes increase, but whole chromosomes can double, triple, or quadruple in number.

    Many cultivated plants have increased chromosome numbers compared with their wild relatives. These changes can SOMETIMES make an organism’s polyploid offspring sterile.

    Such organisms are known as polyploids. Parade of Polyploids Some -like the strawberry and banana are well known.

  5. A formerly rational friend has been brainwashed by her new fundamentalist husband.

    They were probably married in some fundamentalist church, and are now in a fundamentalist social circle where she is trying to fit in and be accepted.

    In these groups, compliance, humility, and acceptance of dogma, trumps reality!

  6. The rational refutation to your friend’s poor science is irrelevant here because if you convince her there’ll still be a line of similar snippets of silliness queueing up behind that one.

    Since there are no lives at risk [apparently] due to wacky belief systems, I suggest you wait for the honeymoon romance/marriage to cool off & keep sending xmas cards at least :)

    Regards
    Agony Aunt Michael

  7. AthenaPrime, they say that religion and politics are two subjjects never to argue with a friend or relative. But religion is worse. I have a few good friends and a grown child whose politics are very different from mine, but we are still close with each other. We even argue a little. But religion is different. I have no advice or insights for you, just want to say that I feel for you.

  8. ” I have looked into because as he himself admitted, we actually don’t have one example of where a genome was increased by evolution. Needless to say, we won’t agree on that point.

    Can anyone tell me what she is talking about? “

    Sounds if she is talking about that faked piece of video where the creationists asked Dawkins about information increase in the genome and they made it look as Dawkins did not have an answer to their question. All faked.

    You can not lose what you never had. I don’t think your friend was solidly based anyway, so the first errant wind took her off.

    • In reply to #11 by Neodarwinian:

      ” I have looked into because as he himself admitted, we actually don’t have one example of where a genome was increased by evolution. Needless to say, we won’t agree on that point.

      Can anyone tell me what she is talking about? “

      Sounds if she is talking about that faked piece of video where the…

      ah yes, i thought this sounded familiar. it’s also another example of creationist misunderstanding the basics of evolution

      we actually don’t have one example of where a genome was increased by evolution.

      is an assertion that evolution is some sort of incremental process, that humans are at the top of the ‘tree’ (above cats lol) and this is achieved by having “more” genes. it’s basically a lie about a misdirection so falls under the “not even wrong” category of internet asserion falacies.

      As for what you can do to help. I don’t think you can do anything. I’ve lost friends this way, mostly to conspiracy theories, but much the same thing. a blind assertion that the scientific consensus is simply a big lie.

      my advice would be to withdraw gracefully, be on hand to help in any way if she asks but treat her like a drug addict, be ready to do anything other then help find a new vein for her. giving up on beliefs can’t be imposed, the act of indoctrination revolves around conditioning to reject reason out of fear but the minute she has a crisis of faith, be on hand to listen to her story

  9. It is clear that your friend only ever had a superficial understanding of the science behind evolution. On top of that, she clearly trusts her new husband as a source of information, quite likely beyond any other source, and such trust is driven emotionally. Any argument from the “science” side she will view with extreme mistrust.

    If you feel it is worth pursuing, you might take the approach of actually wanting the “learn” from her. Take the approach that if she has, for example, discovered Dawkins admitted the thing about genome information (or whatever), or any other “good argument” for the creationist side, then you want to know about it because you are always prepared to change your views in light of new evidence or better reasoning. If you just keep asking honest (and non-threatening) questions, following her “research” perhaps she will follow along with you as you dig a bit deeper and find the rebuttals for herself.

    Basically if you let her feel like she is teaching you, and keep asking innocent questions, her efforts to answer you may evenually cause her to look even more closely at her newfound “insights”. But you are looking at a very long haul. I imagine if she just recently married this fundy husband, she quite likely is still quite “in love” (deeply infatuated) with him and is thus overly willing to trust whatever he says and accept his viewpoint. After infatuation wears off, her willingness to reconsider her beliefs will still be influenced by how deeply invested she is in the relationship (and family if they have kids by then).

    • In reply to #12 by s.k.graham:

      It is clear that your friend only ever had a superficial understanding of the science behind evolution. On top of that, she clearly trusts her new husband as a source of information, quite likely beyond any other source, and such trust is driven emotionally. Any argument from the “science” side she will view with extreme mistrust.

      Before I started visiting this site earlier in the year, I, too, only had a superficial understanding of the science behind evolution. There were plenty of things that I just didn’t understand, things that seemed to contradict “common sense” and things that didn’t seem to be as “proven” as some people claimed they were. From my postings here and the many quality responses I have received, I’d like to think that I now have a much better understanding of the science behind evolution, even though I still think there are specific details that may not be quite as settled as some may believe.

      Throughout all my ignorance, however, at best I could say, “I simply don’t know/understand how evolution works” and at worst I could say, “And I don’t think anybody else really knows/understands it, either.” At no point did it ever enter my mind the thought, “Therefore, God must have created man in his own image 6,000+ years ago!”

      All of which is to say that I strongly doubt that the OP’s friend’s problem is due to having a superficial understanding of the science behind evolution. There must be some other underlying reason for her change, and trying to better explain the science isn’t likely to make any difference. She needs to understand that, even if the theory of Evolution were completely and utterly false, there still would be no valid reason to believe that “God did it.” If you can get her to accept that God is a man-made construct with no valid explanatory power whatsoever, then — and only then — can you start to discuss the best theories that science has come up with to explain the world around us.

  10. If you just keep asking honest (and non-threatening) questions, following her “research” perhaps she will follow along with you as you dig a bit deeper and find the rebuttals for herself>

    An ideal way for self-discovery if it comes off.

    #12 s.k.graham

  11. There’s a larger problem with your friend than just becoming brainwashed, there is a deeper reason for this change. Just getting together with someone who believes rubbish shouldn’t change your mind about it unless you either don’t have a strong sense of self or someone is slowly taking your identity away from you. I would suggest, given the history of fundamentalist males I have known, that there might be some form of coercion happening. It’s a well known fact that believers will seek out non-believers and break them down slowly but surely to convert them to belief. I have experienced such shenanigans in my own life with my mother trying to set me up with girls in her congregation in an attempt to convert me to Jehovah’s Witless. The ways of the fundie are as devious as they are divisive so keep an eye out on your friend.

  12. It is beyond me why she has chosen a fundamentalist husband in the first place. Why would any “rational” person do so. :(
    In the first place she is a kind of person that obviously need a control factor in her life; her pursuit for knowledge reveals that. It is like everything must be “in order” so she can feel safe, … there is no room for doubt in any aspect of her life. She seeks for knowledge that will give her a sense of comfort and where she will no longer have to question her (our human) existence, but a field where everything will be “in order”. She was seeking for a fundamentalist so she got one. Pity she wasn’t stronger enough to look for TRUTH. Instead of that she embraced religious point of view,… so comforting and it eliminates any questioning; everything is so to speak “in right place”. Perhaps you should see what pushed her into that irrational direction in her life. Why is she so insecure. :)

  13. Let’s imagine 2 sets of mutually exclusive genes.

    • Gene Set (A) triggers adjustments of thoughts and behaviours in response to mating opportunities
    • Gene Set (B) causes absolute dogmatism on thoughts and behaviour even at the expense of good mating opportunities.

    Which set of genes do you think are likely to gain dominance in the Homo Sapien gene pool, which has evolved mostly in small hunter gatherer societies for 90,000 of the past 100,000 years?

    Don’t take me too seriously on this but I do think it is not entirely reasonable to expect your friend to maintain here atheist views after marrying a fundamentalist. She must have had some thoughts about this before she got married. The question is; are you able to keep your friendship and let this minor point of her believing (probably a pretense in my opinion) in some rubbish like Intelligent Design slide. To be honest I have never met anybody (myself included) who did not have some ridiculous ideas or superstitions. Intelligent Design is just another one like Astrology or walking under ladders.

  14. because as he himself admitted, we actually don’t have one example of where a genome was increased by evolution.

    That sounds familiar. I think Dawkins mentioned that he had been asked a similar question by a film crew deceiving him into having an interview for a creationist film. At the time, he failed to answer a similar question because he claimed to have realized at that point that he had been deceived about the nature of the documentary. If so, then he wrote an answer to that question in A Devil’s Chaplain, in an essay which I think is called “The ‘Information Challenge’ “.

    I can’t give all the details, if only because some aspects of the argument were technical and need to be read, fully developed, in the original book, but he finished by pointing out that the information contained in a genome is the accumulated information of a combination of genetic mutation (which sometimes duplicates or adds genetic loci to an existing gene pool) and natural selection (which lawfully matches the genes to their physical and ecological environment through their phenotypes), operating over so many millions of generations that the genome becomes a kind of anthology of past environments and how to survive in them.

    This is how the genome is “increased by evolution”, though that phrasing is clumsy, and I think Dawkins begins his essay by pointing this clumsiness out. I think he also develops the conceit in Unweaving the Rainbow, specifically a chapter entitled “The Book of the Dead”.

    However, as regards your current situation, approaching your friend directly with this information is more likely to make her defensive, and thus make the effort to change her mind backfire on you. I’m certainly in no position to dictate how you handle this, if only because you know your circumstances and I have no clue of them.

    The best I can suggest is that this isn’t entirely a difference of fact, and so you probably shouldn’t expect to convince her solely on intellectual grounds. There may be a stronger moralistic or “group identity and personal identity” element going on here, especially if, as your words imply, she has a potential interest in converging with her husband and his values.

    It might be worth at least taking her aside and openly acknowledging and expressing deferment towards her right to her own views, and to do this sincerely, mostly to convince her of your good intentions and respect for her autonomy. If it won’t convince her to change her mind, it will at least ease the suspicion that you’re out solely to “convert her to your own views”. Remember that people are not databases on legs, and have wills and views of their own.

    By contrast, an attempt to persuade her could be interpreted as a disrespectful and even hostile attempt to manipulate her against her interests, even if you have no such intentions. Most people will react more strongly to social cues and non-verbal communication than to neutral statements and intellectual arguments (though these are important, too, which is why you should be non-aggressively firm about where you yourself stand as well). People are people, when all’s said and done.

    I make no guarantees, however, as to the potential success of this advice, so it is at your discretion whether you adopt it or reject it.

  15. I think Stuart Coyle gave you a good piece of advice with regard how to tackle this issue. Of course the Socratic technique is hard to apply in an e-mail conversation. The problem I have noticed when arguing with creationists is that it’s not really a discussion. You are actually arguing against creationist talking points. Often you realize that the very same sentences and phrasing is used over and over again. This goes to show that you aren’t really arguing with an active mind. There are emotional barriers that prevents that person from actually reflecting on the issue at hand. Hence, they all pretty much use the same standard creationist arguments and logical fallacies. It does not matter how many times you give them rational arguments that refute their standard responses. It’s not a meeting of two minds. Hence, you have to somehow get under their skin. Find a way to for at least a brief moment get them to lower their guard and perhaps some of your arguments can reach them. That’s why I think the Socratic technique can be very useful in this regard.

  16. Don’t try to “win”. Plant seeds of doubt, and try to get her to look into the science more deeply by asking questions, pointing out issues with creationism, and asking her to look into the real science so she can explain to you why she doesn’t think it is correct.

    People rarely will admit they are wrong during a debate, but they’ll happily tell you how they came to a new conclusion using only their own wits.

  17. “I am actually very familiar with Dawkins (an ardent atheist) and I won’t bore you, but he actually doesn’t refute the intelligent design science I have looked into because as he himself admitted, we actually don’t have one example of where a genome was increased by evolution.”

    1.) Ask her where she got that information from. Have her find the EXACT quote and the source (i.e. a book of his, interview, etc.). Make sure to add all of the additional context that she is most likely leaving out, or more accurately, has been redacted for her. Then parse it with her together and demonstrate how it doesn’t mean what she thinks it means.

    2.) Point out that Darwin and his contemporaries did not need any knowledge of genetics to show conclusively that living things were not separately created. Geological succession (fossil evidence), biogeography, comparative anatomy, and embryology provided more than enough evidence of the fact of descent with modification. In the early and mid-nineteenth century, for crying out loud. As a former “rationalist”, she should know all this.

    3.) Going through 1 and 2 will probably be a waste of time because lack of evidence is not the reason that she has rejected evolution. You have to deal with the faulty filter in her brain that is selectively rejecting any evidence that contradicts her fundamentalism. Not sure about your relationship with her and how deeply you can challenge her emotions, insecurities, and loyalties to her new husband, but until you deal with that then even the most convincing piece of evolutionary evidence will be the standard case of in one ear and out the other. A couple of questions along these lines might help though:

    • Is it even possible for your literal interpretation of the Bible to be incorrect? What would it mean for your worldview if it was?

    • Is there any possible observation that you would accept that would falsify this literal interpretation of the Bible, or would you a priori reject any such evidence because the Bible can never be wrong? On my end, I could certainly think of some observations that, if true, would falsify evolution by natural selection.

    • If you think that the Bible, taken literally, can never be wrong, then how did you arrive at that conclusion? Through evidence?

    • For me, the conclusion that lifeforms are mutable and have evolved over eons into many different forms is strictly a matter of evidence, and does not carry with it any moral or existential baggage. Meaning, the fact that we share common ancestry with modern chimpanzees, dogs, and yeast bacteria does not cause me any anxiety. Does it cause you anxiety? Do you think that we cannot be moral if we evolved from so-called lower forms? Does the fact that we hold no special place on the tree of life bother you, such that it would cause you to reject any evidence for evolution for purely emotional reasons?

    • If the creation story is to be taken literally true, which one do we pick (there are two)?

    • Is the Tower of Babel story to be taken literally true as well for the origin of languages, meaning the study of modern linguistics is as flawed as modern biology, or is this story just a metaphor? If the latter (I hope!), how do you know when to view Biblical stories as metaphors/symbolism and when to view them as literally true?

    The point of all this is to make it crystal clear that this is not really a matter of evidence for the fundamentalist, and that they need to be honest with you and themselves on this point before you proceed with this discussion. This is about a worldview that offers several things that are apparently very comforting to her at this point in her life, and any evidence that contradicts that worldview will not be accepted. If it WERE a matter of evidence, then her interpretation of the Bible would have to change in light of scientific evidence, not the other way around. She will undoubtedly reply that human knowledge, i.e. science, is flawed, while God’s word is perfect by definition. Ask how a mere human then could ascertain whether the Bible is perfect, and make her admit that it is a pure faith position to claim that it is.

    Keep emphasizing that she is holding a faith position, not a an evidence-based one. Note that she is being extremely selective in which part of the scientific consensus that she accepts (which presumably includes weird things that quantum physics and general relativity), even though those discoveries were arrived at using EXACTLY the same methods as those used in biology and geology. Talk as much as possible about WHY she feels compelled to hold this position – what it is about this fundamentalist worldview, and/or her new husband, that she finds so wonderful?

  18. I think the issue is more… is the religion she has decided to believe in evidence based? I doubt it… so how could you prove to her that evolution is reality when she is gullible enough to accept (her husband’s) nonsense? She may just be trying to make her marriage work by conforming to her husbands wishes/version of the godly (boring) wife. It may be impossible to change a person who would allow another human to confiscate their thought processes. But I do know that religion becomes boring… just as marriage does… She may be more amenable to reason once the boredom sets in and she starts to ask herself… what the hell have I done? Don’t write her off… but don’t push either… find better things to do. I do commend you for your loyalty.

  19. It’s tragic but I think you have lost a friend.

    She “lost” her because she is…ignorant about biology and refuses to learn?

    I’m sorry, is this your friend, or a student you are about to fail in a class?

    People have been friends while disagreeing in matters quite more substantial to everyday life than a scientific theory for crying out loud, no matter how important.

    I’m sorry, but I find this patently ludicrous. If her particular brand of religion causes her in the future to become a hateful person you can’t associate with, that’s another matter entirely…but breaking a friendship because your friend is dead wrong about evolution? Are you freaking kidding me?.

    I don’t even know where most of my friends stand in such issues…it’s…usually not a topic that comes out a lot, I guess because we’re too busy talking about petty stuff like…I don’t know…sports, relationships, unemployment, our troubles in our workplaces, family issues (or just play Call of Duty).

    I seriously doubt you were actually friends to begin with, and not mere acquaintances.

  20. I know that a rational person can fall into religious fundamentalism because I’ve seen it happen. My best friend, possessor of about the finest mind I’ve known, did a 180 flip into fundamentalist young earth creationism shortly after the birth of his first child. He said that he had a profound religious experience that completely changed his understanding of reality and showed him how arrogant he had been. He has since turned his formidable brain toward Christian apologetics, taught himself Greek and some Aramaic in order to understand biblical source materials, and works on goofy things like providing mathematical “proof” for c-decay to support biblical timelines. He says that he is still dedicated to a search for truth, but now adds “as it pleases God”.

    I think that he probably was indoctrinated with Christian belief as a young child (it would be nearly impossible not be when growing up in North Carolina) and overcame it for a while by sheer power of intellect. But that rationality rested on a weak foundation undermined by childhood beliefs. I suspect that he may have felt a bit imbalanced all along because of this, and then the powerful emotional hit accompanying the birth of his son toppled the edifice. He can now seem like quite an idiot, but I know that he didn’t suffer physical brain damage; rather, he fell from a shaky footing into a swamp of emotion.

    Because his arguments are rational and well crafted, though his presuppositions generally are not, we were able to carry on discussion for years. But eventually we cut it off. I began to notice that my arguments hit a wall of resistance and were actually causing him a lot of grief. I think that he realized that he was being dishonest with himself and was afraid of making the leap back to intellectual honesty. He is now highly respected within his fundamentalist social circle as their intellectual flag bearer, and presumably derives a lot of emotional support there. I’m not able to turn that ship, and so choose not to be a fly in their ointment. The best thing that I can do for my dear old friend, sadly, is to shut up and go away.

    We who identify as rationalists may tend to think that we approach life with reason first, and then color & flesh-out our views with intuitive emotion. But it may be the other way around. Perhaps we respond intuitively to sensory input and then use our conscious cognitive tools to rationalize what we’ve already concluded and, at best, modify those conclusions. This could have been what my now fundamentalist friend was doing during his rationalist phase with great effort. And then once a strong emotional hit knocked him off his sketchy footing he was unable or unwilling to rebuild the scaffolding of reason. This is why early childhood indoctrination is so very pernicious.

    }}}}

  21. She should look up research done on Drosophila (Fruitlies). Because they have a verr short life circle and a high rate of reproduction you can watch evolution actually happen! But this is not the problem here! Alan4Discussion makes the point. She wants to believe cosy stuff and not to live in the elevating uncertainty that drives us to ask new questions. It is a greneral problem not a minor technical one … as long as she is not willing to learn in the field of science she will believe all sorts of nonsense – a typical theist way to convince people …

  22. She should look up research done on Drosophila (Fruitlies). Because they have a verr short life circle and a high rate of reproduction you can watch evolution actually happen! But this is not the problem here! Alan4Discussion makes the point. She wants to believe cosy stuff and not to live in the elevating uncertainty that drives us to ask new questions. It is a greneral problem not a minor technical one … as long as she is not willing to learn in the field of science she will believe all sorts of nonsense – a typical theist way to convince people …

  23. There is a distinction between ‘Created’ (bara) and ‘Let’ (para) in the Torah. In ancient Hebrew – Genesis chapter 1 – the words ‘Let the Earth bring forth’ can be today interpreted to mean ‘Let the Earth evolve over time’ In essence Genesis is saying that God is permitting the continuation of a process He set in motion after one of the three creative declarations found in Genesis. This would further imply that God (if God Exists) is a evolutionist.

    The Cambrian explosion of life is referred to in Genesis 1,20. ” Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures….” In the same verse the referrence to birds flying is misinterpreted in both the NKJV and the KJV. In ancient Hebrew it says; ve’ oph ye’ oph translated as “flyers flying” which is non specific as to what is flying. By the end of the Cambrian the first flying insects appeared. In the next ‘day’ (epoch) birds are again described, but now the Torah uses the word ‘owph’ meaning “A fowl having feathers” This is consistant with evolution.

    • In reply to #30 by Pkeeper:

      There is a distinction between ‘Created’ (bara) and ‘Let’ (para) in the Torah. In ancient Hebrew – Genesis chapter 1 – the words ‘Let the Earth bring forth’ can be today interpreted to mean ‘Let the Earth evolve over time’ In essence Genesis is saying that God is permitting the continuation of a pr…

      If the writers of Genesis predicted evolution and were in a position to write about it, then why did Darwin’s and Wallace’s discoveries, investigation, synthesis, and arguments for it, and the Neo-Darwinian synthesis and the work of the likes of biologists such as Fisher, Haldane, and Hamilton, and finally the wealth of information we now have on it, all manage to confirm it without reference to what was written in the Old Testament? How could it be that the original writers had no impact on its discovery at all?

      It seems to mix both supreme intelligence and supreme foolishness if those possessed of such insight nevertheless made hardly any effort to be any clearer, and merely wrote a generic and vague pair of mutually contradictory creation stories about it. Finally, it also depicts such things as plants appearing before the sun did, the moon producing its own light, two kinds of water, a heaven and a “dividing firmament” which definitely do not exist, the existence of days before the sun was made, whales appearing before land animals (which are divided between “creeping things,” “beasts of the earth”, and “cattle”), God stepping in and explicitly making some things rather than simply letting them arise, land animals appearing from the earth rather than the seas, and all species being vegetarian despite the fact that carnivory goes back to at least the Cambrian.

  24. Why should religion impact a friendship?
    My girl friend is southern Baptist and I am an athiest. We have been together for 13 years. We don’t talk about religion.
    On Sunday she goes to church, a friend comes over to the house and we watch sports, eat deli sandwiches and drink beer. This is a completely satisfactory arrangement.
    I also have a niece who is southern Baptist. I still like her but she won’t stop talking about being a born again Christian.
    She will give thanks at a Taco stand.
    So I know it may not work for you but I hope. You can let her have her beliefs and continue your friendship.

  25. Can anyone tell me what she is talking about?

    I think by far the best option is to ask HER what she is talking about.

    My guess is she almost certainly doesn’t know, which might make her stop and think a bit.

  26. If ID is her issue you might have her read the opinion of the federal judge in Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. (400 F. Supp. 2d 707). He is a VERY conservative judge and did a pretty good job of calling ID what it is…unscientific religion.

  27. Tell her to study the issue on her own until she is absolutely convinced she understands what it means! Maybe finding a peer reviewed paper on the subject and looking at what reviewers were saying :)

  28. The biggest issue I see here is the loss of respect for someone with these beliefs. I have friends who became religious jews out of the blue and now are spouting creationism .

    One such friend whom I really enjoyed playing music with and recording and had a great time together became a religious jew after suffering an incident where he got beat up by some thugs. I think the shock was so great he flipped his wig.

    He blamed the incident on his having been a bad jew. For Not praying 5 times a day and eating shellfish and all that is not allowed.
    in his mind that was why he had been in that situation and since he started praying 5 times a day and following the religion he has been safe and at peace.

    I asked him if he actually believed the bible now . He said he believed everything in it was the truth. Even the garden of eden and all that. He is not a moron. He went to school and knows about science. He just choses to think that this is all true.

    I could not continue fomenting this friendship in the end. It was too weird and I lost respect for him. I have no respect for religious beliefs. I think it is stupid to take it literally or any other way.

    If you can deal with having no respect for them because of their own stupidity then accept it and deal with it, ignore it if you can.
    Otherwise the best thing you can do for them is tell them how you feel and move on. If they can’t grasp evolution and prefer to think god made it. Then ask yourself what other things are they willing to say god made . You will never see eye to eye.

    I would prefer to have this problem with someone who is bright and highly educated so at least the discussions can be also a learning experience and more entertaining .

    @PKeeper
    I found that very interesting how it perfectly accommodates the science and how god said it went down and it made me think about it to the point of saying really ?. But as Zeuglodon points out, that would mean that the writers were aware and informed about evolution. Also I would point out that evolution is not some difficult concept to understand. You can see it happening. With flies or plants. Hybridization is a form of evolution. So if someone was a good observer that would be the obvious answer. That things evolve.

    the words ‘Let the Earth bring forth’ can be today interpreted to mean ‘Let the Earth evolve over time’

    And how would the words “I will bring out my daughters so you can do as you wish with them but just don’t sodomize my guest”

    be interpreted today to mean exactly what? I can’t imagine that there was a hebrew mistranslation of the word sodomize is there? Could it have meant shower them with gifts instead?

    Well there is a whole website dedicated to the Christian invention of Sodomy. Had no idea they invented it…

    http://nwanglicanblog.wordpress.com/2011/02/14/sodomy-a-biblical-word-study-that-might-surprise-you/

  29. if they changed as part of a rational process – might I suggest that continuing the rational debate on the same terms – but make sure to invlude relevant discussions from BOTH sides on the SAME topic to ensure the debate doesn’t derail.
    cheers,
    pete

  30. Maybe it´s not a question of rationality at all, but one of social self-preservation. If your friend is married to a fundamentalist, it´s likely their social circle is mainly fundamentalist and it may just be easier for her to go along with their beliefs, than it would be to contradict. Peer pressure is a key component with these people, so your friend could just be avoiding trouble in her marriage and new social circles.

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