1. SPS Accounts:
    Do you find yourself coming back time after time? Do you appreciate the ongoing hard work to keep this community focused and successful in its mission? Please consider supporting us by upgrading to an SPS Account. Besides the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes from supporting a good cause, you'll also get a significant number of ever-expanding perks and benefits on the site and the forums. Click here to find out more.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
You are currently viewing Boards o' Magick as a guest, but you can register an account here. Registration is fast, easy and free. Once registered you will have access to search the forums, create and respond to threads, PM other members, upload screenshots and access many other features unavailable to guests.

BoM cultivates a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. We have been aiming for quality over quantity with our forums from their inception, and believe that this distinction is truly tangible and valued by our members. We'd love to have you join us today!

(If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact us. If you've forgotten your username or password, click here.)

Is a discussion about Evolution automatically a religious debate?

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by coineineagh, Aug 21, 2012.

?

Evolution: Religious topic, yes or no?

  1. Yes, always

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Yes, in certain countries it is.

    6 vote(s)
    40.0%
  3. No

    9 vote(s)
    60.0%
  1. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    1,637
    Media:
    13
    Likes Received:
    121
    Gender:
    Male
    My question is sparked by a 1-year infraction I got today on another website many of you may know and love: Giant in the Playground, the site that hosts the great Order of the Stick webcomic.
    It was made especially painful by the fact that it was handed out by the comic's author. His site is somewhat strict about a great many things: Even a question like "Why's the next comic taking so long?" can earn you an infraction. My beef is not so much with the infraction, which would be fair if I had discussed religion, as is forbidden in the forum rules. It's with the reasoning that my post was even a topic about religion: It was quite clearly focused on Evolution.

    But I'll try to keep my wallowing to a minimum, and stick to the facts. Here's my original post:
    Everything but the first paragraph was removed, and this was added as a warning:
    Now, I did mention religion in my original post. I also mentioned the media, the scientific method, oil and energy companies, USA and muslim countries, global warming, politicians, businessmen, the scientific community, the Big Bang theory, etc. To say that the text was a discussion about any of those things, is quite a stretch. Evolution is clearly the main topic. I didn't discuss any real-world religions, which is the closest I came to breaking the forum rules.

    Opinions about this situation are welcome of course, pro or con, and if you feel I should stop whining and shut my traphole, I guess I had that coming.

    But the main question is: Is evolution automatically a religious discussion?
    If so, I wonder if there is a big difference between opinions inside and outside the States.
    Does it also apply to abortion and homosexuality? Are they religious topics now too?
    It seems to me that they are in fact of equal political relevance in the USA, so would it also be fair to say they are political topics.
    As an Evolutionary Biologist, it doesn't feel nice to have my study relegated into the realms of religious and political controversies.:(
     
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2012
  2. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2000
    Messages:
    10,357
    Media:
    40
    Likes Received:
    224
    Gender:
    Male
    Evolution doesn't have to be a religious topic, but on a web comic forum or a game forum, it will be without fail because there really would be no other point. People who want to discuss the scientific merits of various evolutionary topics will not go to such places for their discussion.

    And the last three paragraphs of your post were pretty much a lament that religions, the media and big corporations each conspire in their own way to make people stupid for their own gain.
     
  3. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

    Joined:
    May 15, 2003
    Messages:
    12,434
    Media:
    46
    Likes Received:
    249
    Gender:
    Male
    I agree with this. You don't have to specifically use the term creationism to make it a comparison. However, since there's no forum ban on media or corporation, you would only have the delete the sentences that specifically mention religion. In fact, if you do that, you don't lose the general thrust of your post, either.
     
  4. Darion

    Darion Resident Dissident Veteran BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2002
    Messages:
    800
    Media:
    1
    Likes Received:
    42
    Gender:
    Male
    Interesting topic so far.

    I can hardly contribute something meaningful.
    But I can say in all fairness, that I have witnessed some really messy things on other boards where Religion versus Evolution were somehow mentioned (in context or not) that have sparked wars bigger than those we have now. With Mods leading the charge of either fraction!

    Anyway, learned to stay out of religious or evolutionist sub-forums!

    Edit:

    Sorry forgot to vote:

    I say NO!
     
  5. Gaear

    Gaear ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2006
    Messages:
    1,877
    Media:
    13
    Likes Received:
    180
    Thirded. Evolution does not have to automatically be a religious discussion, but you made it so at least in part by mentioning religion. Sorry, but you can't introduce a topic and then claim it's not a topic. And thus, imo, the admin's actions were justified.

    On the contrary, by mentioning those things, you made it a thread about each of them.

    If SP had a rule that stated there could be no threads about green apples, and I started a thread called "Why I love red apples" and mentioned therein that I hated green apples, I would have violated the green apple rule, even if green apples did not appear in the thread title or were not the main thrust of my red apple thread.
     
  6. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2000
    Messages:
    10,357
    Media:
    40
    Likes Received:
    224
    Gender:
    Male
    I'm not so sure it would be that easy, because the thrust of the argument is about evolution which really only has a religious objection. The rest was saying that religions aren't the only one's causing the spread of misinformation. IMO, you can't really get to the others without first bringing up religion vs. evolution since that was the impetus of the post.
     
  7. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    1,637
    Media:
    13
    Likes Received:
    121
    Gender:
    Male
    Very true.
    You have to understand, that 'evolutionists' don't really want to have to promote the message of natural selection. But the science is being so muddied and confused in the general public, that it seems necessary. People shouldn't forget that we come from the natural world, are a part of it, and are dependent on it.

    The theory of evolution is very strong, evidence is easy to find, and relatively easy to explain to laymen, as far as sciences go. This has made it 'religious enemy #1'. Darwin getting the nickname 'the man who killed God' didn't help in that regard.

    The thought that evolution, through the generated controversy, is now so closely linked to religion, that I can't even explain my study without being censored and getting a 1-year infraction, is quite disturbing. To me at least.:o
     
  8. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2000
    Messages:
    10,357
    Media:
    40
    Likes Received:
    224
    Gender:
    Male
    You didn't have to bring up religion to discuss your area of expertise; you chose to. There is no reason you needed to bring up that religions are muddying the waters for you to explain why you think evolution is a fact.
     
  9. Mesmero

    Mesmero How'd an old elf get the blues?

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Messages:
    1,958
    Likes Received:
    12
    Pretty much what BTA said: it does somewhat automatically become a religious debate. When you try to convince someone evolution is the one and only correct theory (which it very much looks like in your second paragraph), it automatically becomes a religious debate, as there are only religious theories on the other side of the coin. If there were other valid scientific theories, it wouldn't be, but as it is either evolution or creationism, it's pretty much rooted into the discussion (unless you discuss various viewpoints within the theory of evolution of course).

    This might get a bit sidetracked, but....
    I don't think abortion is: you can be against abortion based on non-religious grounds (well, a friend of mine isn't religious and is against abortion, so we can have discussions on the topics completely devoid of religious arguments). Discussions on homosexuality is a bit harder, as I can't imagine being against homosexuality from something else than a religious standpoint. Maybe as an evolutionist you could say that it's wrong because it doesn't propagate the species. But since we have a pretty large amount of heterosexuals in the world, I guess it is save to say that the gays can just be with whoever makes them happy, as the species as a whole doesn't really need their kids.
     
  10. The Great Snook Gems: 31/31
    Latest gem: Rogue Stone


    Adored Veteran

    Joined:
    May 15, 2003
    Messages:
    4,113
    Media:
    28
    Likes Received:
    311
    Gender:
    Male
    Religion only seems to be an issue with people who really don't religions. They tend to bring religion up all the time. If you go to dinner with a Rabbi, you will probably go the entire meal without a discussion about religion. If you meet an atheist in an elevator and have a cross hanging around your neck they will be compelled to talk to you and explain atheism (which I ironically consider a religion).
     
    damedog likes this.
  11. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    1,637
    Media:
    13
    Likes Received:
    121
    Gender:
    Male
    I didn't randomly decide to babble about my study for no reason. I reacted to the vague comment of an earlier poster: "book that's been controversial for over 100 years."
    Not unlike rephrasing Global Warming into the less harmful sounding Climate Change, by the way.
    A term like controversial suggests uncertainty. I wouldn't claim there is 100% certainty, but it gives a very strong scientific theory a bad image.
    "controversial to a large part of the public" or "clashes with many people's cherished beliefs" would be a more accurate description. If you say a scientific publication is controversial, it suggests that the controversy is in the scientific community, and this is just untrue.
    If I couldn't clarify the term controversial, I would have had no reason for posting anything at all. Unfortunately, religion needs to be mentioned to clarify things, but I attempted to do so as concise as possible.
    Lastly, I don't think evolution is a fact.
     
  12. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2000
    Messages:
    10,357
    Media:
    40
    Likes Received:
    224
    Gender:
    Male
    No it doesn't. All you needed to say was (for example): "I am an evolutionary biologist an amongst my community - i.e. those in the best position to know - the book is not controversial."
     
  13. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    1,637
    Media:
    13
    Likes Received:
    121
    Gender:
    Male
    You make a good point, and with the knowledge I have now of the board rules and their implementation, it would have been a better way to say things.
    Still, it would have begged the question: "Then why does everybody tell me it's such a controversial book?" which in turn would have lead to the same thing.

    Part of Evolution's strength, is that it is accessible to be understood by laymen willing to use a little brainpower and listen. The same can't be done with a lot of other sciences. Commentary like : "i.e. those in the best position to know" comes across as elitist and would make it seem inaccessible.

    Sigmund Freud's work is an example of controversial research. He didn't set up his research in a scientific way, had patients convinced they'd all been abused as children, published un-falsifiable research, and fudged numbers to suit his hypotheses. Later on, his pseudo-science had found a lot of supporters, and some of his 'findings' were corroborated by real scientists.

    There are psychologists who love him and hate him. Reading his works will give people a summary of a lot of things which were known or being researched by others at the time, so he comes across as a visionary or genius. But he was not a good scientist. Freudian psychoanalysis set the field of psychology back 100 years, some claim.
     
  14. T2Bruno

    T2Bruno The only source of knowledge is experience Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2004
    Messages:
    9,740
    Media:
    15
    Likes Received:
    436
    Gender:
    Male
    Is The Giant a bit heavyhanded? Yes.

    Did you violate his rules? Yes.

    Is a one year infraction excessive? Don't know. After all it's just 'demerits' that stay with you for a year -- if you don't mess up again they don't mean anything at all. It's part of the rules so excessive or not it should have been expected.

    Is evolution automatically a religious discussion? Depends on where the discussion is being held; in your case, yes, because you made it a religious discussion. I agree with dmc, you never needed to mention religion at all.
     
  15. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    1,637
    Media:
    13
    Likes Received:
    121
    Gender:
    Male
    The Giant already addressed my question, and made the part I overlooked in the forum rules bold: "Even a single comment, reference, or post on these topics violates the Forum Rules."
    So although the main topic is not religion, it still violates the rules. Sorry for wasting everyone's time with this.
     
  16. Sir Rechet

    Sir Rechet I speak maths and logic, not stupid Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2003
    Messages:
    1,345
    Likes Received:
    64
    Oh, that's quite a heavy-handed take on the total subject ban. But I do understand why on some level - it's a tricky match between beliefs and facts, when NONE of those need to be true. For all we know, we could be hardwired into the Matrix. ;)
     
  17. coineineagh

    coineineagh I wish for a horde to overrun my enemies Resourceful Adored Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2008
    Messages:
    1,637
    Media:
    13
    Likes Received:
    121
    Gender:
    Male
    Well, he mentioned in his PM that my post was reported multiple times already, and he had no choice but to apply the rules. I can understand that there's a difference between the Alleys (where political debate is welcome) and that forum. He needs to be consistent if he wants to keep evangelism out of his forum.

    He also shared some of his views on the matter with me, but I'll treat that as something he might not want to be disclosed publicly.
    It still saddens me that I can't describe real life affairs without being shut up, because I offended someone's 'cherished beliefs'.

    This comic describes it quite well: theoatmeal.com/comics/religion
    The main thrust is, nobody in their right mind would actually believe such stories unless an authority figure parroted it to them in their childhood. Then religion is shrewdly linked to a person's personal pride, and questioning it is like criticising a person's parents and upbringing.:(
     
  18. Gaear

    Gaear ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2006
    Messages:
    1,877
    Media:
    13
    Likes Received:
    180
    And yet it seems like you're grinding your ax over the matter more than anyone. :p
     
    coineineagh likes this.
  19. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

    Joined:
    May 3, 2003
    Messages:
    2,770
    Media:
    226
    Likes Received:
    234
    Gender:
    Male
    Is a discussion about Evolution automatically a religious debate?

    It depends on your worldview. If you believe in creation, and feel that evolution invalidates your fundamental beliefs, than yes, a discussion about evolution is automatically a regious discussion.
     
  20. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2002
    Messages:
    16,809
    Media:
    11
    Likes Received:
    55
    Gender:
    Male
    How can a religion ignore moral subjects? You can discuss morality from a secular standpoint but how could you remove morality from religion? If you did so, religion would be limited to only external cult and an external cult involving nothing deeper would make no sense. Religion deals with the relationship between you and the Creator, as well as between man and the Creator and also between men.

    They can be both. Science uses division so much in discussing certain topics that there can form a strong habit, turning perhaps into a cognitive bias, which forces a scientist to look at things from the perspective of classification and division and see classifications as exclusive while they aren't really. I see some of this in my field of science. There is no "either or" here, the planes overlap. :)

    I don't doubt your love for your field and your work, which makes you feel bad to see it used instrumentally. But religion is not a backward superstition. Like science, religion grows and develops. It's not the same that it was in the neolithic period, although some things have remained. If you look at philosophy, while there has been a lot of new writing, some of it valuable, Plato and Aristotle have never stopped being current. In this regard things are relatively similar in the study of religion. As for politics, humans are political animals. Politics are nothing else than living in a society, a form of social existence of man. They touch pretty much everything. Thus there is particularly a lot of overlap between religion and politics in terms of interests. Similarly it is with science and either religion or politics.

    If this helps you any, religion is definitely interested in everything which touches the development of life and the relationships between various forms of it, as well as the relationship between everything and its Creator. Natural history just can't fall outside it. This is a different thing from a fundamentalist trying to mould science into a literal reading of a Biblical poetic metaphor.

    Similarly, politics are interested basically in everything which affects men and their beliefs and relationships between each other. There is a certain prejudice against things having a "political" angle but that's because of the sometimes dirty and sometimes shortsighted conflicts and fighting, especially when power is an issue. Those things can indeed be low and especially the division of spoils (posts and lucrative sinecures) can be seen as particularly irrelevant to anything which really matters but still managing to cause politicians and politics to hang up. But that sort of thing, while predominantly in politics, is actually present in all areas of life, also in religion, and in science, and it's connected to human vices. But there's nothing low in the political debate itself, or political life. Where there is a community, there is always politics.
     
Sorcerer's Place is a project run entirely by fans and for fans. Maintaining Sorcerer's Place and a stable environment for all our hosted sites requires a substantial amount of our time and funds on a regular basis, so please consider supporting us to keep the site up & running smoothly. Thank you!

Sorcerers.net is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on amazon.com, amazon.ca and amazon.co.uk. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.