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So...I’ve been dating a Christian woman. She is perfectly aware of my stance on the supernatural and has described herself as a more “liberal Christian”. The other night we had a discussion that prompted me to ask her views on evolution vs. creation. She conveyed the typical “its just a theory” argument, showing that she was unaware of the distinction between the common misuse of the word and what an actual scientific theory is. I explained the difference but she was still doubting me.
Does anyone have experience with these types of discussions? Any advice as to how to help her understand these distinctions, given her predisposed notion of creationism?

By Singledad764
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38 comments

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13

Is she aware that the theory of evolution is supported by evidence from a wide variety of scientific disciplines, including paleontology, geology, genetics and developmental biology? If she still has doubts with this knowledge than I don't think she'll be open to being educated by you or others on this subject until she starts doubting and questioning her belief system.

Good answer

Good answer. I never thought of it that way. If it is the truth, there will be multiple ways to lead you to the truth, each with their own support system of facts.

@Nikonian @Rudy1962 Thank you.

9

Their faith tells them not to accept facts that contradict the truths of their god.

mt49er Level 7 Apr 5, 2018
9

Good luck with that.

jlynn37 Level 8 Apr 5, 2018
8

I sure do and I say NO. Do not go there. I married a Catholic woman who was very liberal and not religious. She also doubted evolution, After the kids came she was a raving religious idiot. The kids had to baptised catholic and attend catholic school.
The point is something so simply put as evolution, it is real. It is NOT a theory, it is a scientific theorem. It is a hypothesis with 99% accuracy. To not accept this as real is like believing FOX news,

EMC2 Level 8 Apr 5, 2018
7

Richard Dawkins on the theory of gravity seems to always be the best go-to example. "If you doubt it, you're free to jump out of a 10 story window and see what happens."

Malara Level 5 Apr 5, 2018
6

One of many reasons I simply refused to date religious people anymore.

6

does she put out?

Oh boy

what I typed was the very first thought of every man who read the story.

6

If you're interested, Peter Boghossian has a book that deals with that very subject-how to discuss/debate with believers. It's very effective. He also has YouTube videos that show role plays on discussions. PB also developed an app that guides people through effective conversations.

There's an app for that? Wow

@MrLizard yep.. It's called Atheos. This is what it looks like:

@TravelBug I'm getting!

Have you ever tried his method? (Also note for fun, you're right over the bridge from where Fundamentalism got it's name. But a couple more miles, and the world headquarters of Center for Inquiry exists as a good counter.)

@ChrisLAbbey I see what you're saying. I don't want to behave like a fundamentalist anything. Ugh.?

@TravelBug No, but I see what it seems I implied there. Oops. I was honestly just giving a little local history.

Awesome! Thanks travelbug! I’ll def give it a read

5

Refer her to the Pope's thoughts on the subject, he believes in evolution. Only in America is there any real traction for Creationism, the rest of the Christian world, except for the rare fundamentalists, Jehovah's Witnesses and such, gave that up a long time ago.

Kimba Level 7 Apr 5, 2018

Unfortunately, many Christians don’t believe the Catholics are “real Christians”...lol! No true Scotsman!

5

It's possible over time she can get through her cognitive dissonance. That is if she is a reasonable and otherwise open minded person. I think of long held beliefs I've had that were wrong, it took me time to process and assimilate a new belief.

Rudy1962 Level 9 Apr 5, 2018
4

My question for you is that could you be with someone who believes that Creationism is the truth? If you like her and don't mind tolerating it, I say keep the peace and do not provoke her religious convictions. People will advise her to let you go.

She may have built up a theological system around her religious beliefs, and challenging Creationism is not a simple conversation on Creationsim vs. Evolution, but really challenging her stance on if her religious beliefs are a scam or not.

That would like be asking if ghosts exist, or if people can be possessed by spirits\demons\devils. It's gonna open up a whole bunch of questions which will get bigger than the original question.

Nikonian Level 5 Apr 5, 2018
4

In my experience you can talk and talk to believers about the philosophy of science, how hypotheses remains speculation until there is supporting evidence, that theory really means "fact" in a certain sense. You can describe homologous bone structures, vestigial remnants, fossil records, radioactive decay, genetics, and on and on. It just goes over their heads. They are not interested in changing their minds.

3

A scientific theory explains why a phenomenon occurs AND can be repeatedly tested to produce the same result.

Ask her to use theory to explain something from her religion.

Marz Level 7 Apr 5, 2018

And maybe add to that an explanation (theory) of why bread rises and that this is certainly repeatable under the right circumstances. Put it in terms she can relate to in real life.

I’m not trying to start an argument...just get her to comprehend the base understanding of a theory.

3

Discernment is the key. Does she focus on the dogma of religion? Personally, faith in a "supreme being is not that objectionable to me. It's the silly interpretations of the rules one must live by to belong to that religion that drive us crazy. If she is a "liberal christian" and has numerous likeable traits. Continue the discussion.
I have a science degree but "theory" has levels of truth. I accept evolution but is it absolute truth? I stick to the definition of absolute truth as, a theory that has been validated by recreating in the study the same results. I don't accept the "big bang" theory on another scientific idea, stated simply, matter can't come to existance from a void. Matter is never destroyed just change form. If one doubts a singular theory then other doubt is warranted.
I'm waiting for a logical reason why this all began. Otherwise, I'll hold onto my 0.1% openness to a "god", ancient alien, intradimensional being, ect...having something to do with creation.

3

Unless she is a supermodel millionaire who owns a chain of breweries..... why are you dating this thicko?

3

That too me it would be like me dating a Trump woman. She may be nice but really is missing a few items upstairs. The "core" of a person is can we trust you to believe the truth, such as when you say you did not or did do something, it is the truth. And of course I mean no lying on your part. For her the truth is not part of the core, she is not questioning the real core items of life.
Fake news, fake numbers and some believe this junk

EMC2 Level 8 Apr 5, 2018
3

Why evolution is true by Jerry Coyne

If she prefers video, "Your Inner Fish" is a good introduction.

@TaraMarshall that's also really good. Neil Shubins book of the same title is great

3

Evolution for dummies explains the scientific theory rather well. But, faith trumps, no pun intended, facts and scientific truths.

Clare Level 7 Apr 5, 2018
2
El-loco Level 7 Apr 6, 2018
2

My experience was that after a long discussion where I laid out all my points articulately, persuasively, convincingly, incontrovertibly, lucidly, we never saw each other again. Lol

Geoff Level 5 Apr 5, 2018
2

Be careful. If she is a "true believer" her belief in religious dogma forms the core of her whole personality and mindset. If that is the case, she will never be onvinced about evolution.

If she is a true believer, are you really sure that you an deal with this for the rest of your life?

2

Any decent relationship has to be based on mutual respect. Instead of telling her what you think, why not ask her what she thinks and why she believes what she does? Listen respectfully and keep asking until you feel you really understand her position. Then decide in your own time if you can respect that.

Gareth Level 7 Apr 5, 2018
1

You need to have a conversation with her about what it would mean to alter her beliefs not about the logic of the beliefs themselves. You could use a scaling approach for example where 10 is "No way the world will end and I will die" and 0 is "I am open to another way of thinking about it." See where she falls. Share with her what is it like for you to change a belief? Where are you on the scale. Changing beliefs is threatening to all people to some degree on that scale. It arouses anxiety because we have to go through a phase of uncertainty and ambiguity. You may find it helpful to read Why Bad Beliefs Don't Die by Gregory Lester (4 pages) and talk with her about the article if she will read it and discuss it with you.

ToolGuy Level 8 Apr 18, 2018
1

For me, it is the difference between science and metaphysics.

Scientific theory is based on empirical, testable data. Evolution is like this.

Metaphysics uses faith other untestable logic.

Creationism is a perfectly valid metaphysics theory. There is no way to test it empirically, though.

1

A creationism theory is base on stories, myth, legends and very weak historical facts. I think most Christians threw out the concept of hell because they did not think it was nice. Even though JESUS speaks about hell as much as heaven.

A Christian prepared their whole life to go to heaven, (a theory) Why? even the Pope says hell dose not exist, what is there to loose now.

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