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Author Topic: Creationism, Evolution, and Orthodoxy  (Read 295815 times) Average Rating: 0
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Heorhij
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« Reply #1575 on: October 10, 2009, 12:21:10 PM »

Microevolution (or speciation) is pretty much scientific, but the idea that all living things came from one life source seems kinda farfetched to me.

But the idea that the Earth orbits the Sun, or the idea that a body moves without acceleration or deceleration UNLESS some force acts on it (as opposed to the Aristotelian "each movement must have its cause") also seemed very far-fetched.

Our genetic similarity to a chimp happens to be over 98%. That could perhaps be coincidence, the result of common descent or some other alternative. What's wrong with sticking to this 'other alternative' being God created us this way?

Religious beliefs cannot be alternatives to scientific theories and vice versa.
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« Reply #1576 on: October 10, 2009, 01:18:46 PM »


No one here asserts that God did not create the dinosaurs. But how do you explain the fossil record and other paleoherpetological issues in a time frame of only 7000 years?

Macro evolutionists assume uniformitarianism when interpreting these fossil records, which makes perfect sense. But uniformitarianism is still an assumption, and it is not the only reasonable explanation for the fossils. Catastrophism could just as easily account for this.

Selam
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« Reply #1577 on: October 10, 2009, 01:24:30 PM »

Regarding your comment that "no one has ever said evolution is more than a theory..", well it seems that others disagree with you. Someone earlier on this thread said that macro evolution is a FULL BLOWN FACT (their caps).  But then Riddikulus said that no theory can be "proved." So it seems even evolutionists cannot agree on whether their theory is fact or not.
Gebre, the only person on this thread who has ever used that phrase is you. I have completed a thorough search of this thread, and the first time the phrase shows up is in this post:

You assert evolution is a Full Blown Fact. The burden of proof is therefore upon you. I accept the teachings of my Church (which by your judgment is "rationally ignorant" in regards to this issue). Forgive me if I side with the EOTC teaching over your subjective opinion.
After this, it occurs only in your posts and quotes of your posts. Perhaps your fabricated assertions would be better off in a place where they can't be so easily verified.


In reply 1459, Minosoliman wrote:

"Dr. Theodosius Dobzhansky PhD, a Russian Orthodox Christian, and the SECOND most important figure in evolutionary science, second ONLY to Darwin!  He is the founder of the synthetic division of evolution, combining the field of genetics with evolutionary link, and linking evolution to the rate of mutation, the one who turned evolution to a FULL-BLOWN fact."

Selam
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« Reply #1578 on: October 10, 2009, 01:29:09 PM »

I forgot to mention Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Catholic priest, geologist, and paleontologist, who helped with the finding of Peking man.  He also wrote many books on his religious beliefs intertwining them with evolution.  In fact, he even believed evolution had an "omega point," i.e. that man evolving to be like Christ.

God bless.

Teilhard de Chardin does not impress me. Not what I would consider and orthodox guy.

Selam
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« Reply #1579 on: October 10, 2009, 01:34:46 PM »

Gebre,

I didn't really insult you.  I just called you what you thought of yourself.  You said "I'm not a scientist," therefore, you are ignorant of the information we're presenting to you, and furthermore, you remain to keep your eyes closed to the information.

Read this article here:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html

Quote
Let me try to make crystal clear what is established beyond reasonable doubt, and what needs further study, about evolution. Evolution as a process that has always gone on in the history of the earth can be doubted only by those who are ignorant of the evidence or are resistant to evidence, owing to emotional blocks or to plain bigotry. By contrast, the mechanisms that bring evolution about certainly need study and clarification. There are no alternatives to evolution as history that can withstand critical examination. Yet we are constantly learning new and important facts about evolutionary mechanisms.

- Theodosius Dobzhansky "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution", American Biology Teacher vol. 35 (March 1973) reprinted in Evolution versus Creationism, J. Peter Zetterberg ed., ORYX Press, Phoenix AZ 1983
http://www.2think.org/dobzhansky.shtml

Now, I haven't called myself "demonically deceived."  But if you feel "ignorant" is an insult, then you've only insulted yourself.

God bless.

In admitting my ignorance about many things, I am not insulting myself. Are you omniscient my friend? Unless you are God, then you are also ignorant about many things. By admitting our ignorance, we are able to learn. By thinking others are ignorant but we are not, we remain ignorant. There's no shame in admitted ignorance, but when ignorance is combined with arrogance, then a fool is born.

Selam


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« Reply #1580 on: October 10, 2009, 01:53:23 PM »

The issue of macro evolution is one of the many reasons why I am so grateful to belong to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. Our Fathers have taught that according to Scriptural chronology (derived most notably from the Book of Jubilees, which is part of our canon) the earth is only about 7,000 years old. This time frame precludes any possibility for the process of macro evolution. As an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian, I embrace the apostolic Faith and Teaching of my Church; and therefore I don't have to worry about being deceived by the vagaries and vicissitudes of secular science.
Gebre, since you're posing here fundamentally the same argument that jckstraw72 has advanced against evolution, I think the same question can be asked of you that many have asked of jckstraw72.  What makes you believe you should trust the Scriptures and your Fathers to be infallible authorities on things scientific?  Why should you trust them, who quite likely knew just about as much nothing of modern science as our EO Fathers, over those men and women who actually study and conduct research in science as their life work?

we believe the Church should be trusted on Scripture. Genesis is Scripture. Why do you believe scientists should be trusted on Scripture before the Church?
Speak for yourself, jckstraw72, and let Gebre Menfes Kidus speak for himself.

BTW, jckstraw72, you're putting words into my mouth, since I never said scientists should be trusted over the Church as to how the Scriptures should be understood.
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« Reply #1581 on: October 10, 2009, 01:54:14 PM »

I forgot to mention Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Catholic priest, geologist, and paleontologist, who helped with the finding of Peking man.  He also wrote many books on his religious beliefs intertwining them with evolution.  In fact, he even believed evolution had an "omega point," i.e. that man evolving to be like Christ.

God bless.

come on now -- Fr. Seraphim deals with him extensively -- that man was hardly a Christian, if at all. He said that evolution saves Jesus Christ. He said that evolution is the light which illumines all things, all theories, all beliefs and that everything in life must conform to evolution. He has replaced Jesus as the light with evolution. And Dobhzansky approvinly quotes him on it! Both are barely Christian if at all. Dobhzansky was a deist by belief although he remained officially Orthodox.
Proof?
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« Reply #1582 on: October 10, 2009, 01:56:08 PM »

Gebre,

You asked me to simplify what I wrote about Popper, Kuhn, and Lakatos. Here's another version of what I wrote - maybe it will be smoother and less technical. I am not sure that it will be helpful because others, notably Riddikulus and Mina, made great points that contribute into this discussion a lot better than mine. But I'll still try. Again, the whole point here is that there is no such thing as one universal scientific method.

Early scientists were mostly positivists and "inductivists," meaning that they thought that science begins with factual observations ("unlike non-science, science is derived from facts"), and that conclusions in science are made by induction - if something is true in this situation and in that and in that, then this something is true in all situations. As you yourself correctly stated, Popper challenged this approach, based on two reasons: 1. Factual observations are still "theory-laden," i.e. even to observe something, you must already have a concept, a theory, a framework (Kantian "category") in your mind, and 2. Induction is, strictly speaking, wrong from the point of view of the formal logic. Popper attempted to replace the inductivist approach to science with a "falsificationist" approach, which means that actual science may begin not from observations, but from a rather voluntaristic statement that may not, per se, correspond to factual observations. However, this statement must be falsifiable, meaning that if evidence is found that there exists something incompatible with the made statement, or with logical deductive predictions that follow from this statement, it must be withdrawn. If my hypothesis is that all swans are white, and then suddenly someone finds just one black swan, I take my hypothesis back and begin to think about another hypothesis.

While Popper's ideas are universally recognized as interesting, some practical observations contradict them. Duhem in the 19th century, and Quine in the 1950-s wrote that scientists actually do not always wish to take back their hypotheses when they seem to be falsified by others. For example, the hypothesis that the Earth moves could be "falsified" in the 16th and 17th century because of the so-called tower phenomenon. Throw a stone from the top of the tower, and it will land near its foot - hence, the Earth does NOT move. However, scientists like Galileo objected to that, saying that in fact the stone moves forward together with the moving Earth (implying what we call an "auxillary hypothesis" of inertia). Another example may be that when medical researchers found that stress, high blood pressure, high blood sugar etc. can cause certain diseases, this seemed to "falsify" Robert Koch's hypothesis that every human disease is caused by a microorganism or an infectious agent. Yet, proponents of the Kochian idea said, well, it's just that our methods, technologies are imperfect, so we fail to see the infectious agent, but it is there. And in many cases they turned out to be correct: for example, we now know that Helicobacter pylori is the cause of peptic ulcer and (more recently) a retrovirus is the cause of the chronic fatigue syndrom. So, falsification is not a panacea either, it does not seem to really work as science progresses.

Challenging Popper, Thomas S. Kuhn developed a theory of "paradigm shift." According to Kuhn, science develops in cycles. It always begins with a revolutionary - visionary person stating something that is accepted as a "paradigm" (central notion): for example, that unless a body is acted upon by some forces, it keeps moving without acceleration or deceleration. (That's the famous first law of Newtonian mechanics: note that it was not a record of any factual observation and it could be "falsified" VERY easily at the time of Newton). Then comes a period of what Kuhn called "regular science." It means that a growing number of scientists begin to develop the paradigm, looking at various situations where this paradigm can be applied. They do not produce any new paradigms and, moreover, they develop a "tunnel vision" in that they refuse even to recognize anything that does not fit the paradigm they re developing. That leads to stagnation and crisis. Then, during the crisis, a next visionary enters the scene and announces a totally different paradigm - and the cycle repeats.

Imre Lakatos was not satisfied by what he viewed as "subjectivism" in Kuhn's paradigm shift theory, and tried to develop his own theory of science, known as the theory of research programs. According to Lakatos, science is, indeed, moved forward by paradigms. Yet, these paradigms do not change each other arbitrarily. Rather, a paradigm, or a "hard core" statement, gives rise to a "research program," i.e. a network of people working on this paradigm (again, much like "normal scientists" in Kuhn's account), developing its "protective belt" - a large and growing number of auxillary statements, hypotheses, theories, etc. Several "research programs" work in parallel, and some of them become "progressing," i.e. their "protective belt" is being challenged, partially falsified, and changing, while their "hard core" (which, importantly, gives rise to the protective belt) remains the same.

I do not know Karl Hempel's works, - thank you for pointing out that they exist; I will certainly lok into that. However, I hope the examples above illustrare the idea that the mere notion that there is, or even should be, some unique, well-defined, "one-size-fits-it-all" "scientific method" is simply unsustainable. We do not quite know how science develops, why it makes progress. Diferent philosophers explain this quite differently. Studies of some very famous scientists' personal journals indicate that their methods (in the philosophical sense) differed greatly, and that they, in their pursuit, often violated the neat "scholarly" rules of "THE" scientific method.

And again, most importantly: yes, NOTHING in science is ever "proven." And yet, science exists and makes progress and continues to serve the humankind.

Best wishes,

G.
 

Hey, thank you Heorhij. I was able to follow that. Wink

Acouple of questions:

1. If the scientific method is changing, then how is objectivity maintained? What prevents a scientist with a beloved theory from simply resorting to unlimited ad hoc and auxillary hyopotheses in order to keep their theory alive?

2. What do you think about what I said earlier regarding beginning with wonder and curiosity as the most objective point of scientific reference? In other words, human knowledge is the product of curiosity. Even as infants, we are instinctively curious and wonder about our surroundings and environment. That is how we learn. Why should we abandon this epistemological foundation when it comes to science?

Thanks again for the in depth expalanation. I appreciate the time it must have taken to write all that. It was very helpful.

BTW, on a slightly different note, are you familiar with the naturalist Loren Eisley? I read his autobiography many years ago, and really enjoyed it. I think you would like it too. It's called All the Strange Hours.

Selam

 

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« Reply #1583 on: October 10, 2009, 02:20:05 PM »


No one here asserts that God did not create the dinosaurs. But how do you explain the fossil record and other paleoherpetological issues in a time frame of only 7000 years?

Macro evolutionists assume uniformitarianism when interpreting these fossil records, which makes perfect sense. But uniformitarianism is still an assumption, and it is not the only reasonable explanation for the fossils. Catastrophism could just as easily account for this.
How so?
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« Reply #1584 on: October 10, 2009, 03:12:49 PM »

Religious beliefs cannot be alternatives to scientific theories and vice versa.
yes they can.... MIRACLES!
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« Reply #1585 on: October 10, 2009, 04:47:01 PM »


No one here asserts that God did not create the dinosaurs. But how do you explain the fossil record and other paleoherpetological issues in a time frame of only 7000 years?

Macro evolutionists assume uniformitarianism when interpreting these fossil records, which makes perfect sense. But uniformitarianism is still an assumption, and it is not the only reasonable explanation for the fossils. Catastrophism could just as easily account for this.

Selam
A catastrophe within the last 7000 years can explain fossils which are millions of years old? Can it also explain how we can see stars billions of light years away?

And what have you to say about the other half of my post which you quoted here, where you made a completely false statement based upon your own assertion, which you made less than two hours before your "recollection"?
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« Reply #1586 on: October 10, 2009, 07:05:06 PM »

Religious beliefs cannot be alternatives to scientific theories and vice versa.
yes they can.... MIRACLES!
The scientist is free to believe in miracles, but he cannot base his formal scientific theories on such miracles.  One of the fundamental premises of a scientific hypothesis or theory is that it be falsifiable--the possibility must exist that the theory can be proven false by later tests.  Belief in miracles is certainly legitimate to the person of faith, but there's no way that the assertion of a miraculous event can ever be tested and proven false.  (Can a miracle be repeated on command in a scientific laboratory?)  Therefore, miracles cannot be accepted as scientific explanations for any phenomena.
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« Reply #1587 on: October 10, 2009, 07:27:37 PM »

So you're saying I'm a deist?

Not really surprising, minasoliman. I don't know about you, but I have never encountered a Creationist who will not, at some stage in a discussion of this sort, resort to an attack of the spirituality of their opponent.  I don't understand the motivation, but it happens.
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« Reply #1588 on: October 10, 2009, 07:43:27 PM »

Religious beliefs cannot be alternatives to scientific theories and vice versa.
yes they can.... MIRACLES!

No. Miracles aren't alternatives, they are supplements. Smiley
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« Reply #1589 on: October 10, 2009, 08:45:58 PM »


No one here asserts that God did not create the dinosaurs. But how do you explain the fossil record and other paleoherpetological issues in a time frame of only 7000 years?

Macro evolutionists assume uniformitarianism when interpreting these fossil records, which makes perfect sense. But uniformitarianism is still an assumption, and it is not the only reasonable explanation for the fossils. Catastrophism could just as easily account for this.

Selam
A catastrophe within the last 7000 years can explain fossils which are millions of years old? Can it also explain how we can see stars billions of light years away?

You obviously don't understand catastrophism, and your questions are tautological.

Selam
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« Reply #1590 on: October 10, 2009, 10:36:46 PM »


No one here asserts that God did not create the dinosaurs. But how do you explain the fossil record and other paleoherpetological issues in a time frame of only 7000 years?

Macro evolutionists assume uniformitarianism when interpreting these fossil records, which makes perfect sense. But uniformitarianism is still an assumption, and it is not the only reasonable explanation for the fossils. Catastrophism could just as easily account for this.

Selam
A catastrophe within the last 7000 years can explain fossils which are millions of years old? Can it also explain how we can see stars billions of light years away?

You obviously don't understand catastrophism,
Would you care to explain catastrophism to us, then?

and your questions are tautological.
In that they needlessly repeat what?
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« Reply #1591 on: October 10, 2009, 10:49:14 PM »


No one here asserts that God did not create the dinosaurs. But how do you explain the fossil record and other paleoherpetological issues in a time frame of only 7000 years?

Macro evolutionists assume uniformitarianism when interpreting these fossil records, which makes perfect sense. But uniformitarianism is still an assumption, and it is not the only reasonable explanation for the fossils. Catastrophism could just as easily account for this.

Selam
A catastrophe within the last 7000 years can explain fossils which are millions of years old? Can it also explain how we can see stars billions of light years away?

You obviously don't understand catastrophism,
Would you care to explain catastrophism to us, then?

and your questions are tautological.
In that they needlessly repeat what?

Basically, catastrophism is an explanatory theory that takes into account the possibility of a single momentary cause that manifests effects which have the appearance of having taken long periods of time to produce. (Sorry for the unartful sentence  Embarrassed) Uniformitarianism asserts that the rate of change which is observable now must be assumed to have aways existed and is to account for the effects we observe today.

In other words, the effects we observe about moutains, canyons, and such could have been produced by millions of years of time, or they could have been effected by a catastrophic event such as a universal flood. Macro evolutionists reject catastrophism as a viable consideration, and yet ironically they rely on catastrophism to explain the origin of the universe, i.e. the Big Bang theory.


As for tautology, this is what many people do in trying to defend their position. For example, an atheist might ask, "How can you believe Jesus was God when God doesn't exist?" That's a tautology. This is essentially what ytterbiumanalist did when he asked, "A catastrophe within the last 7000 years can explain fossils which are millions of years old? " His question assumes the very issue which is up for debate. That is tautological.

 
Selam
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« Reply #1592 on: October 10, 2009, 11:00:07 PM »

1. If the scientific method is changing, then how is objectivity maintained? What prevents a scientist with a beloved theory from simply resorting to unlimited ad hoc and auxillary hyopotheses in order to keep their theory alive?

Criticism, especially a criticall mass of critically-minded peer scientists. Not an ideal thing (I personally had my share of suffering from what I perceived as an unfair criticism of NIH reviewers... Smiley ), but there is nothing better so far.

2. What do you think about what I said earlier regarding beginning with wonder and curiosity as the most objective point of scientific reference? In other words, human knowledge is the product of curiosity. Even as infants, we are instinctively curious and wonder about our surroundings and environment. That is how we learn. Why should we abandon this epistemological foundation when it comes to science?

I do appreciate it. Of course, curiosity and awe are the most important movers of science.

Thanks again for the in depth expalanation. I appreciate the time it must have taken to write all that. It was very helpful.

Thank YOU. I am not a philosopher, so maybe my explanations, diletantic as they are, weren't all that accurate. But I do hope that as I am myself learning the long and complicated field of history and philosophy of science, I will be better prepared for answering people's questions about what science is and what it is not.

BTW, on a slightly different note, are you familiar with the naturalist Loren Eisley? I read his autobiography many years ago, and really enjoyed it. I think you would like it too. It's called All the Strange Hours.

No, I am not. Thanks again for your interesting references!
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« Reply #1593 on: October 10, 2009, 11:21:41 PM »


No one here asserts that God did not create the dinosaurs. But how do you explain the fossil record and other paleoherpetological issues in a time frame of only 7000 years?

Macro evolutionists assume uniformitarianism when interpreting these fossil records, which makes perfect sense. But uniformitarianism is still an assumption, and it is not the only reasonable explanation for the fossils. Catastrophism could just as easily account for this.

Selam
A catastrophe within the last 7000 years can explain fossils which are millions of years old? Can it also explain how we can see stars billions of light years away?

You obviously don't understand catastrophism,
Would you care to explain catastrophism to us, then?

and your questions are tautological.
In that they needlessly repeat what?

Basically, catastrophism is an explanatory theory that takes into account the possibility of a single momentary cause that manifests effects which have the appearance of having taken long periods of time to produce. (Sorry for the unartful sentence  Embarrassed) Uniformitarianism asserts that the rate of change which is observable now must be assumed to have aways existed and is to account for the effects we observe today.

In other words, the effects we observe about moutains, canyons, and such could have been produced by millions of years of time, or they could have been effected by a catastrophic event such as a universal flood. Macro evolutionists reject catastrophism as a viable consideration, and yet ironically they rely on catastrophism to explain the origin of the universe, i.e. the Big Bang theory.
Macro evolution theory is the product of research in a scientific field, biology, that has nothing to do with the Big Bang theory.  The Big Bang theory is more the fruit of the study of astronomy or astrophysics.  Therefore, I think it's a bit of an "apples to oranges" comparison to talk of macro evolutionists explaining the origin of the universe via the Big Bang theory.


As for tautology, this is what many people do in trying to defend their position. For example, an atheist might ask, "How can you believe Jesus was God when God doesn't exist?" That's a tautology. This is essentially what ytterbiumanalist did when he asked, "A catastrophe within the last 7000 years can explain fossils which are millions of years old? " His question assumes the very issue which is up for debate. That is tautological.
Actually, what you're describing is an argument that begs the question.  Tautology is more of a compound proposition in which all the assertions are true, such as "It will rain tomorrow, or it won't."
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« Reply #1594 on: October 11, 2009, 01:19:38 AM »


No one here asserts that God did not create the dinosaurs. But how do you explain the fossil record and other paleoherpetological issues in a time frame of only 7000 years?

Macro evolutionists assume uniformitarianism when interpreting these fossil records, which makes perfect sense. But uniformitarianism is still an assumption, and it is not the only reasonable explanation for the fossils. Catastrophism could just as easily account for this.

Selam

Modern uniformitarianism (actualism) differs from nineteenth century Lyell uniformitarianism. The prevailing view in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was that the earth had been created by supernatural means and had been shaped by several catastrophes, such as worldwide floods. In 1785, James Hutton published the proposal that Earth's history could be explained in terms of processes observed in the present; that is, "the present is key to the past." This was the beginning of uniformitarianism. Charles Lyell, in his Principles of Geology, modified Hutton's ideas and applied this philosophy to explain geological features in terms of relatively gradual everyday processes.

Geologists today no longer subscribe to Lyell uniformitarianism. Starting in the late ninteenth century, fieldwork showed that natural catastrophes still have a role in creating the geologic record. For example, in the later twentieth century, J. Harlan Bretz showed that the Scablands in eastern Washington formed from a large flood when a glacial lake broke through an ice dam; and Luis Alvarez proposed that an asteroid impact was responsible for the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Actualism (modern uniformitarianism) states that the geologic record is the product of both slow, gradual processes (such as glacial erosion) and natural catastrophes (such as volcanic eruptions and landslides). However, natural catastrophes are not consistent with creationist catastrophism, such as "Flood geology." First, they are much smaller than the world-shaping events proposed as part of the creationists' catastrophism. More to the point, they still represent processes observed in the present. Meteorites, glacial melting, and flash floods still occur regularly, and we can (and do, as in the examples above) extrapolate from the observed occurrences to larger events of the same sort. The scale of events may change, but the physical laws operating today are key to the past.


http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CD/CD200.html
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« Reply #1595 on: October 11, 2009, 01:41:29 AM »

The issue of macro evolution is one of the many reasons why I am so grateful to belong to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. Our Fathers have taught that according to Scriptural chronology (derived most notably from the Book of Jubilees, which is part of our canon) the earth is only about 7,000 years old. This time frame precludes any possibility for the process of macro evolution. As an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian, I embrace the apostolic Faith and Teaching of my Church; and therefore I don't have to worry about being deceived by the vagaries and vicissitudes of secular science.
Gebre, since you're posing here fundamentally the same argument that jckstraw72 has advanced against evolution, I think the same question can be asked of you that many have asked of jckstraw72.  What makes you believe you should trust the Scriptures and your Fathers to be infallible authorities on things scientific?  Why should you trust them, who quite likely knew just about as much nothing of modern science as our EO Fathers, over those men and women who actually study and conduct research in science as their life work?

we believe the Church should be trusted on Scripture. Genesis is Scripture.

The Church/Fathers should be trusted for theological explanations of scripture, but not scientific explanations of the world in which we live. If we allow them to hinder our exploration of this planet, we are going to have that whole geocentric mess all over again; where people of knowledge and experience, who knew more than the Church were subject to persecution and death. People who study science still know more than the Church in regard to science and if we don't pay heed to they knowledge, or if we attempt to hinder them, as did the Church with Galileo, people are simply going to have good cause to laugh at us in everything that we say; including what we have to say regarding Christ.

As St Augustine said;

Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.   

Quote
Why do you believe scientists should be trusted on Scripture before the Church?


Scientists should be trusted with regard to science, because that is what they know; the Fathers should be trusted with regard to theology because that is what they know.

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« Reply #1596 on: October 11, 2009, 02:06:49 AM »

Gebre,

I didn't really insult you.  I just called you what you thought of yourself.  You said "I'm not a scientist," therefore, you are ignorant of the information we're presenting to you, and furthermore, you remain to keep your eyes closed to the information.

Read this article here:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html

Quote
Let me try to make crystal clear what is established beyond reasonable doubt, and what needs further study, about evolution. Evolution as a process that has always gone on in the history of the earth can be doubted only by those who are ignorant of the evidence or are resistant to evidence, owing to emotional blocks or to plain bigotry. By contrast, the mechanisms that bring evolution about certainly need study and clarification. There are no alternatives to evolution as history that can withstand critical examination. Yet we are constantly learning new and important facts about evolutionary mechanisms.

- Theodosius Dobzhansky "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution", American Biology Teacher vol. 35 (March 1973) reprinted in Evolution versus Creationism, J. Peter Zetterberg ed., ORYX Press, Phoenix AZ 1983
http://www.2think.org/dobzhansky.shtml

Now, I haven't called myself "demonically deceived."  But if you feel "ignorant" is an insult, then you've only insulted yourself.

God bless.

In admitting my ignorance about many things, I am not insulting myself. Are you omniscient my friend? Unless you are God, then you are also ignorant about many things. By admitting our ignorance, we are able to learn. By thinking others are ignorant but we are not, we remain ignorant. There's no shame in admitted ignorance, but when ignorance is combined with arrogance, then a fool is born.

Selam

Either you're misunderstanding my point, or you're just being annoying.

I did not claim I'm omniscient.  Neither am I God.  Yes, I am ignorant of many things, but certainly not the science of biology and evolution its cornerstone.  In fact, I am required to accept it as a fact to understand its principles and use it to the best of my ability through research and clinical experience to help patients.  Therefore, I am not ignorant of the science of evolution, and thus I am qualified to talk about it and debate.

You proclaimed your ignorance in front of us all and said you're not a scientist.  Clearly, therefore, you do understand nor are qualified to placed judgment on something you do not know.  Thus, you also make yourself "rationally" ignorant, because in fact, not only are you ignorant, but now you show yourself to be irrational.  You don't even understand the science, and yet you judge it as a demonic deception.  Not only ignorance, and irrationality, but also hypocrisy.  You pretend to be "humble" and yet you don't even know when to draw the line on yourself and what you "think" you know.

A humble, person who knows his own ignorance and who has a sense of rationality will not call something he doesn't know a "demonic deception."  He will with humility and kindness ask, not judge, but ask.  That is all that is required of you.  I ask when I don't know something; neither should I get into a discussion and form an opinion if I find myself unqualified to do so.  I mean you don't even know much about your own church, and many times you asked our Ethiopian brothers in the forums for answers in your own Ethiopian Church tradition.  How much more decency do you need to develop before placing judgment on something you think you know and have told us you're not even part of?

I hope you understand by now my frustration with you.

God bless.
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« Reply #1597 on: October 11, 2009, 02:12:06 AM »

I forgot to mention Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a Catholic priest, geologist, and paleontologist, who helped with the finding of Peking man.  He also wrote many books on his religious beliefs intertwining them with evolution.  In fact, he even believed evolution had an "omega point," i.e. that man evolving to be like Christ.

God bless.

come on now -- Fr. Seraphim deals with him extensively -- that man was hardly a Christian, if at all. He said that evolution saves Jesus Christ. He said that evolution is the light which illumines all things, all theories, all beliefs and that everything in life must conform to evolution. He has replaced Jesus as the light with evolution. And Dobhzansky approvinly quotes him on it! Both are barely Christian if at all. Dobhzansky was a deist by belief although he remained officially Orthodox.

With the little I've read about him and from him (and boy did he write a lot...and I bought almost all of them), I seemed to get the sense he's closer to Orthodox teaching of theosis than his Catholic counterparts accusing him of heresy.  The first person who introduced me to Fr. Pierre was a Greek Orthodox priest I personally knew, may God rest his soul.

I would be interested to read what Fr. Seraphim thought though.

As for Dobhzansky, his student calls his beliefs deistic, and yet Dobhzhansky leaves us from his writings with the idea that he was defending a benevolent God.  So I don't know personally.  Even his own student uses Dobhzansky's same arguments to defend God's benevolence, oddly enough.  I don't think that's remotely deistic imo.

It's possible though, just as in any great Church father, people may misunderstand and/or misconstrue their writings/beliefs.

God bless.
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« Reply #1598 on: October 11, 2009, 02:19:02 AM »

So you're saying I'm a deist?

Not really surprising, minasoliman. I don't know about you, but I have never encountered a Creationist who will not, at some stage in a discussion of this sort, resort to an attack of the spirituality of their opponent.  I don't understand the motivation, but it happens.

First time in this forum I've encountered it.  Outside it though, people thought I was an atheist.  Amazing how people cannot separate the idea of evolution from atheism.

Well, actually to be fair, this is actually the second time to have my spirituality questioned (demonic deception was the first).  First time being called a deist though.
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« Reply #1599 on: October 11, 2009, 04:36:54 AM »

I-didn't-call-you-a-deist

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Evolution and deism are very similar in that God gives a beginning to the universe, which develops on its own. The only difference with deism is that you believe in a Saviour, but concerning creation, you are very similar.

I also never said your an atheist. I just don't believe that God created evolution. And I don't believe water and oil are divided by God everytime. The difference is, as I already said, that water and oil respond to universal laws of physics God put into the world. Evolution is a chaotic process governed by billions of changing factors, so I don't apply the same deterministic categories as you do, that's all. Am I free AT LEAST to reject evolution "per se" or am I obliged to follow every single scientific theory in the world? What I'm asking here is if I'm an heretic for rejecting a scientific theory, since many others on this forum have been accused to be ignorant and fools for believing in a more literal approach of science MORE THEN  ONCE. Do you want to be free in your positions? Then accept the possibility of others being creationists, respect them and love them for their positions. As I can't be sure evolution isn't true, you can't also be sure that it is true. What's wrong with your attitudes is using ABSOLUTE STATEMENTS such as "evolution is certainly true" or "evolution is a scientific fact", claims which prevent other Christians, in their exegetical freedom, to reject it. I will never be comfortable with the evolution theory as a scientific law, and I can't accept others to put it as a fact when indeed it doesn't. "In the beginning God created heaven and earth". Every single law, every single atom of this universe, existed by God's will, and exists as it is for a specific purpose God had planned since the beginning. God in his eternity SUSTAINS the universe according to its laws. If I'm not free to believe this - which is a fundament of Scripture - then we have nothing to share anymore.

In Christ,  Alex
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« Reply #1600 on: October 11, 2009, 10:52:00 AM »

Am I free AT LEAST to reject evolution "per se" or am I obliged to follow every single scientific theory in the world?

If under biological evolution we understand change in the genetic makeup of populations, then you are not free to reject it, because it is simply DOCUMENTED. In many populations, this change is occuring fast enough even for one genertion of population geneticists to directly observe a shift from the Hardy-Weinberg distribution of alleles and genotypes. So, poplations EVOLVE, that's a FACT.

accept the possibility of others being creationists, respect them and love them for their positions.

But "creationism" is not a scientific theory because it does not have any central statement that would be within generally accepted limitations of what we know as natural sciences. Any statement about Creator is, by definition, outside the scope of natural sciences, because the Creator cannot be directly observed by our sensory organs and explored scientifically. We cannot address questions like "what is the Creator's temperature," "what is the Creator's voltage," what is the Creator's wavelength," etc. And if you remove the Creator from "creationism," then all you have is just a negative statement that evolution does not occur. But we know the evolution occurs (see above). If we define evolution as change in the genetic makeup of pupulations, as pretty much all modern biology textbooks do, then it does occur.

As I can't be sure evolution isn't true, you can't also be sure that it is true. What's wrong with your attitudes is using ABSOLUTE STATEMENTS such as "evolution is certainly true" or "evolution is a scientific fact", claims which prevent other Christians, in their exegetical freedom, to reject it. I will never be comfortable with the evolution theory as a scientific law, and I can't accept others to put it as a fact when indeed it doesn't. "In the beginning God created heaven and earth". Every single law, every single atom of this universe, existed by God's will, and exists as it is for a specific purpose God had planned since the beginning. God in his eternity SUSTAINS the universe according to its laws. If I'm not free to believe this - which is a fundament of Scripture - then we have nothing to share anymore.

So you are saying that if a person has studied a biology textbook and learned that a shift from the Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium really occurs, then you don't have to share anything anymore with that person? Smiley
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« Reply #1601 on: October 11, 2009, 11:17:28 AM »

I-didn't-call-you-a-deist

Quote
Evolution and deism are very similar in that God gives a beginning to the universe, which develops on its own. The only difference with deism is that you believe in a Saviour, but concerning creation, you are very similar.

I also never said your an atheist. I just don't believe that God created evolution. And I don't believe water and oil are divided by God everytime. The difference is, as I already said, that water and oil respond to universal laws of physics God put into the world. Evolution is a chaotic process governed by billions of changing factors, so I don't apply the same deterministic categories as you do, that's all. Am I free AT LEAST to reject evolution "per se" or am I obliged to follow every single scientific theory in the world? What I'm asking here is if I'm an heretic for rejecting a scientific theory, since many others on this forum have been accused to be ignorant and fools for believing in a more literal approach of science MORE THEN  ONCE. Do you want to be free in your positions? Then accept the possibility of others being creationists, respect them and love them for their positions. As I can't be sure evolution isn't true, you can't also be sure that it is true. What's wrong with your attitudes is using ABSOLUTE STATEMENTS such as "evolution is certainly true" or "evolution is a scientific fact", claims which prevent other Christians, in their exegetical freedom, to reject it. I will never be comfortable with the evolution theory as a scientific law, and I can't accept others to put it as a fact when indeed it doesn't. "In the beginning God created heaven and earth". Every single law, every single atom of this universe, existed by God's will, and exists as it is for a specific purpose God had planned since the beginning. God in his eternity SUSTAINS the universe according to its laws. If I'm not free to believe this - which is a fundament of Scripture - then we have nothing to share anymore.

In Christ,  Alex

You can't choose the law of physics over the law of biology.  For you to reject evolution and say that God guides all things in biological life makes you accuse of God of creating a messed up life in this world.  Simply put, genetic mutations occur because of evolution, i.e. this is what drives evolution.  There are some good mutations out there, like the occurrence of people who genetically have high HDL in their blood.  But there are some bad mutations as well, like Marfan's or hyperlipidemia or hypoleptinemia.  If you're saying that God, instead of evolution, guides life, you're accusing of God of creating diseases in this world.

Every generation, our genes mutate.  Because most of the genes are "silent," we don't observe these mutations phenotypically.  But every once in a while, these observations come out phenotypically.  This is the essence of evolution.  So yes, your acceptance of "creationism" is fine in a theological standpoint, as I am a "creationist" too.  But your non-acceptance of "evolution" as "science," is something of fools if they cannot back up their "science."

Your statement of "deism" holds no water.  God programmed laws of science in things, and you concede to that.  For you to pick and choose biology and ignore physics and call that "deistic" is simply hypocritical, not to mention plain wrong, because the laws of biology is most certainly connected and intertwined with the laws of chemistry and the laws of physics, and something as simply as the separation of oil and water is one of the basis of life on earth and what makes genetic change, i.e evolution, possible.

I'm not saying you should accept evolution though.  I'm saying you can't reject what you don't know.

God bless.
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« Reply #1602 on: October 11, 2009, 01:50:09 PM »

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You can't choose the law of physics over the law of biology.  For you to reject evolution and say that God guides all things in biological life makes you accuse of God of creating a messed up life in this world.  Simply put, genetic mutations occur because of evolution, i.e. this is what drives evolution.  There are some good mutations out there, like the occurrence of people who genetically have high HDL in their blood.  But there are some bad mutations as well, like Marfan's or hyperlipidemia or hypoleptinemia.  If you're saying that God, instead of evolution, guides life, you're accusing of God of creating diseases in this world.
This is a weak point. Human diseases are caused by our fallen condition, as it is implied in the Garden of Eden story. I made the precise statement "human deseases" because I know of illnesses on dinosaurs, for example a bone cancer on a female T-Rex I heard of in a documentary... but human mortality on the contrary isn't a part of God's plan for us, so if illnesses and catastrophes affect our lives, it's because of the fall. The same fact of thinking of God programming the mechanism of evolution in a way that can create diseases is also as dangerous as believing that God in the present is responsible for genetic diseases. This is a thing I could never accept. That's why "my" model of evolution is "for the better" and never "for the worse". God creates only positive things, and evolution - as the word implies - should only correspond to a progress, and that's the point of our discussion. A genetic mutation which inserts errors can't be called evolution, yet the evolutionary theory places all genetic mutations on the same level, and it's natural selection that decides a genetic mutation to be useful and determines its continuation in the next generations.

Quote
I'm not saying you should accept evolution though.  I'm saying you can't reject what you don't know.

That's true. But since official science proposes evolution as a fact when it isn't, I prefer to reject it then to acknowledge it. The principle is that reason should determine our scientific beliefs, and I can see no reason to embrace a theory which can't be demonstrated, as I already said. So I refuse any opinion on evolution, and for the sake of religion I'll repeat to myself what's necessary for my salvation on the origins of the world: "In the beginning God created heaven and earth" and "I believe in one God, Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth, of all visible and invisible things".

In Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #1603 on: October 11, 2009, 06:03:07 PM »

St. Athanasius believed that all those that are created out of nothing have the propensity to nothing.  In other words, all creation is corruptible, including mankind.  Only man (and angels) was given the grace of Incorruption, i.e. unity with God through the Divine Image.  Nevertheless, the "Fall" was man's own fall, and he fell right into the "natural" law of death, thus sharing corruption with the rest of the world.

I find this view of the Fall quite compatible with the scientific fact of evolution.  So yes, because of the Fall, we receive diseases, and we "fell" with the rest of the animal world into the natural laws, which include the law of evolution.  If man didn't sin, perhaps we would have continued to transcend all the laws of science.  But because of the sin of man, we continue to be part of the evolving and fallen world.

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth...I believe in One God, the Pantrocrator Who created all things seen and unseen."  And to that, I say Amen!

God bless.
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« Reply #1604 on: October 11, 2009, 06:14:13 PM »


Either you're misunderstanding my point, or you're just being annoying.

You proclaimed your ignorance in front of us all and said you're not a scientist.  Clearly, therefore, you do understand nor are qualified to placed judgment on something you do not know.  Thus, you also make yourself "rationally" ignorant, because in fact, not only are you ignorant, but now you show yourself to be irrational.  You don't even understand the science, and yet you judge it as a demonic deception.  Not only ignorance, and irrationality, but also hypocrisy.  You pretend to be "humble" and yet you don't even know when to draw the line on yourself and what you "think" you know.

That's more of... bashing him than criticizing him, no?

And sorry to interupt, but I have a question... 6 days, God created the earth... we're living in the 7th day... "Give us this day, our daily bread of tomorrow," references the 8th day (heaven)... what does everyone think about that?

And another last question... what do you have to say to:
Quote from: some guy
"Tamper with the Book of Genesis and you undermine the very foundations of Christianity...If Genesis 1 is not accurate, then there's no way to be certain that the rest of Scripture tells the truth."[/quote
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« Reply #1605 on: October 11, 2009, 06:37:11 PM »

Bashing him?  Hardly.  Critical?  Yes, very critical, and I backed up my criticism based on the pattern he portrays in his arguments and his own words:

Ignorant because he implied so himself.
Irrational because despite his ignorance, he continues to talk about it as if he does know it.
Hypocritical because despite being humble enough and decent enough to ask of things he doesn't know of his own Church, he places a condemnatory judgment on a scientific study he doesn't even know.

He thinks I am under a demonic deception, and at the same time he misconstrues my words thinking I'm saying I'm omniscient like God.  So, if he feels like he's in a corner, then that's his own feeling.  I just had to answer his false claims and his insults against me.

Quote
And sorry to interupt, but I have a question... 6 days, God created the earth... we're living in the 7th day... "Give us this day, our daily bread of tomorrow," references the 8th day (heaven)... what does everyone think about that?

Not every Church father believed we live in the "seventh day."  In fact, brother Gebre believes the world is 7000 years old based on the Ethiopian church's interpretation of the book of Jubilees.  So I doubt he also believes in it.  Do I believe that we live in the "seventh day"?  I really haven't given it much thought, but I don't see why I should.

Quote
"Tamper with the Book of Genesis and you undermine the very foundations of Christianity...If Genesis 1 is not accurate, then there's no way to be certain that the rest of Scripture tells the truth."

Then whoever said this does not stand on the foundation of Orthodox faith, but on Bibliolatry.  Many Church fathers, as I have shown repeatedly did not take the Scriptures literally, but rather looked at the Scriptures as a window to the New Testament, to the revelation of Christ.  I would venture to say that many people might have started in medieval times to take Scripture literally because of Islamic influences on taking their precious Quran literally, either that, or from Protestant influences, but not from Orthodox influences.

I hammered this out plenty of times here and elsewhere.  I don't feel like going through this again.  I know you are probably influence by what some clerics teach, but you need to go to the Church fathers.

PS  Actually come to think of it, I really don't know any Church father that said we live in the "seventh day."  Do you know sodr2?
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« Reply #1606 on: October 11, 2009, 06:50:55 PM »


We can add Bishop Alexander (Mileant), of blessed memory, to the list. Before becoming a bishop, he used to work with NASA.

I have already quoted extensively from his work in this thread, quotes which have gone unanswered.

"So, everything that we are going to say about synchronizing the Holy Scripture with modern scientific discoveries is based on the axiom of truth and validity of two revelations — natural and supernatural: the Lord makes Himself known to man either directly, through spiritual enlightenment, or indirectly, through nature.

Since the Source of both revelations — internal or supernatural, and external or natural — is one, their contents must be in complete harmony, complementing each other. If "conflicts" between the judgments of scholars and theologians sometimes arise, it is always the result of faulty interpretation — whether of scientific data or of the true meaning of God’s word.

The Holy Scripture (or Bible) is the written result of the spiritual enlightenment that God conferred upon His chosen ones, the Prophets, to reveal religious and moral truths to man. It always has been and always will be the main source of everything that concerns faith and morality. Science is not qualified to discuss these things. Its task is to perceive the structure of the universe and its physical laws. Religious representations about the origin of the universe do not flow directly from any physical laws, but rather come through induction and spiritual enlightenment, the depth and quality of which depend on the spiritual sensitivity, maturity, and cultural level of one thinker or another, and will always be subjective. Therefore the accuracy of their conclusions must be tested by the word of God.

When attempting to harmonize religious truths and scientific data, one must take into account that these areas of knowledge use different sources and pursue their own specific goals. In science, the source of truth is observation and experimentation. They spawn scientific hypotheses and theories, suggest models and patterns on the basis of some observations or other, and predict the course of events, which in turn must be tested by experiment. If repeated observations do not concur with the theory’s predictions, the theory will be thrown out and replaced by a new one. Science must be based solely on unquestionable, proven facts. Everything that goes beyond the limits of an experiment, that is impossible to check by the scientific method, dares not claim to be science, but belongs to the realm of assumption, philosophy, or metaphysics.

It is distressing when, in their struggle with religion, half-educated people, using the authority of science, make unfounded claims that "science has proven such and such," when in fact they are citing unproven assumptions that often go beyond the limits of science.

Similarly, it is sad when shallow theologians who build their "scientific" conceptions on the incorrect interpretation of some word or another in the Bible hostilely attack harmless scientific findings. Thus, for example, the Roman Catholic inquisition judged Galileo’s teachings about the earth’s rotation around the sun. It seemed to its hierarchs that if God created everything for man, then the earth must be located in the center of the universe, and all the heavenly bodies must rotate around it. It is, of course, a completely arbitrary opinion, not based on the Bible, for being in the center of Divine care has nothing to do with the geometric center of the universe.

Thus, the Holy Scripture’s objective is to reveal religious and moral truths necessary for man to save his soul. It is mainly about the non-natural and the invisible, about God the Creator and the Provider of the world, about the point of our existence, about right and wrong. It does not attempt to teach people astronomy, cosmology, zoology, or any other science. Only a handful of issues that border on both the physical and the spiritual — for example, about the beginning of the observable universe and life on Earth, or the origins of man’s spirituality, thanks to which he is fundamentally different from other living beings — interest science and religion simultaneously. And here, in attempting to reconcile the word of God with scientific discoveries, one needs a comprehensive education, a profound understanding of the bounds of competency of both sources of knowledge, as well as a reluctance to judge. Otherwise, the best-meant efforts to reconcile religion and science will be nothing more than failed and miserable "attempts with faulty methods."

As we will see later, some of the interdisciplinary questions that interest science and religion equally, when studied thoughtfully, give us the ability to more deeply understand a number of parallel patterns that operate in the physical and spiritual worlds.

Thus, religion and science are concerned with different questions, have their own specific goals and use different methods. Science strives to answer the question "how?" while religion asks "why?" Religion attempts to turn the believer’s gaze to the heavenly world, while science chains it to the mortal."

http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/creation_man_a_mileant_e.htm#_Toc67449465

Thanks for reminding me of this excellent publication, Ukiemeister.
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« Reply #1607 on: October 11, 2009, 07:07:31 PM »


Either you're misunderstanding my point, or you're just being annoying.

You proclaimed your ignorance in front of us all and said you're not a scientist.  Clearly, therefore, you do understand nor are qualified to placed judgment on something you do not know.  Thus, you also make yourself "rationally" ignorant, because in fact, not only are you ignorant, but now you show yourself to be irrational.  You don't even understand the science, and yet you judge it as a demonic deception.  Not only ignorance, and irrationality, but also hypocrisy.  You pretend to be "humble" and yet you don't even know when to draw the line on yourself and what you "think" you know.

That's more of... bashing him than criticizing him, no?

And sorry to interupt, but I have a question... 6 days, God created the earth... we're living in the 7th day... "Give us this day, our daily bread of tomorrow," references the 8th day (heaven)... what does everyone think about that?

That's the first time I see this interpretation of the Lord's Prayer. Its original text does not have this "of tomorrow" part. It's just "Τόν άρτον ήμων τόν έπιούσιον δός ήμίν σήμερον," or "give us our over-important bread today," or "give us our most substantial (substantiating?) bread today." There is absolutely no referral to the future, to the 8th day, to heaven, to the Lord's Sabbath etc. In fact, we will not be needing of any "bread" when we are resurrected...

And another last question... what do you have to say to:
Quote from: some guy
"Tamper with the Book of Genesis and you undermine the very foundations of Christianity...If Genesis 1 is not accurate, then there's no way to be certain that the rest of Scripture tells the truth."

But a lot of things one can read in Scripture aren't "accurate," not only things one can read in the book of Genesis. Christ was taken by the Satan to the top of the highest mountain from where He could see "ALL kingdoms of the world." Apparently, He could not see the kingdoms of Australia and New Zealand from there. So? Does it mean that the message of Scripture is not "true?" Of course not. The message that God became man and lived among us and was crucified and died and buried and rose again, and ascended into Heaven, and is with the Father and simultaneously among us right here and right now, and that He will come again in glory to judge you and me - it is true...



Fixed quote tag (and nothing more)...  -PtA
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« Reply #1608 on: October 11, 2009, 08:35:32 PM »

A review of Dawkins' new book, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution:

Quote
There is one point on which I believe Dawkins gets tripped up by his zeal. To refute the creationists, who like to dismiss evolution as “just a theory,” he keeps insisting that evolution is an undeniable fact. A moment’s reflection reveals the problem: We don’t speak of Darwin’s fact of evolution. So is evolution a fact or a theory? On this question Dawkins, to use an English expression, gets his knickers in a twist.

Evolutionary theory is a mansion that has been under vigorous construction for the last 150 years and is still far from complete....If the theory of evolution is still in full flux — as befits any scientific theory at the forefront of research — how can evolution be said to be a fact?

Dawkins is aware that evolution is commonly called a theory but deems “theory” too wishy-washy a term because it connotes the idea of hypothesis. Evolution, in Dawkins’s view, is a concept as bulletproof as a mathematical theorem, even though it can’t be proved by rigorous logical proofs. He seems to have little appreciation for the cognitive structure of science. Philosophers of science, who are the arbiters of such issues, say science consists largely of facts, laws and theories. The facts are the facts, the laws summarize the regularities in the facts, and the theories explain the laws. Evolution can fall into only one of these categories, and it’s a theory.

...It’s the highest-level elements in the cognitive structure — the theories — that are sacrificed when fundamental change is needed. Ptolemaic theory yielded when astronomers found that Copernicus’s better explained the observations; Newton’s theory of gravitation turned out to be a special case of Einstein’s....

Since the theory of evolution explains and is in turn supported by all the known facts of biology, it can be regarded as seriously robust. There’s no present reason to think it has any flaws. But when we learn how life evolved on other planets, evolution could turn out to be a special case of some more general theory....

[Dawkins fails] to distinguish between evolution as history and evolution as science. Evolution is indeed a historical fact. Every living thing and every fossil-bearing rock bears evidence that evolution occurred. But evolution is not a scientific fact as philosophers of science see it. In science it plays a far grander role: it is the theory without which nothing in biology makes sense. The condition of this high status is that it cannot be the final and absolute truth that Dawkins imagines it to be; it is liable to future modification and change like any other scientific theory.

....Creationists insist evolution is only a theory, Dawkins that it’s only a fact. Neither claim is correct.

If you're in South Carolina this week, Dawkins is speaking in Columbia, Tuesday, 7:30 pm. It's free, of course.
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« Reply #1609 on: October 12, 2009, 01:22:46 AM »

Gebre,

I didn't really insult you.  I just called you what you thought of yourself.  You said "I'm not a scientist," therefore, you are ignorant of the information we're presenting to you, and furthermore, you remain to keep your eyes closed to the information.

Read this article here:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/evolution-fact.html

Quote
Let me try to make crystal clear what is established beyond reasonable doubt, and what needs further study, about evolution. Evolution as a process that has always gone on in the history of the earth can be doubted only by those who are ignorant of the evidence or are resistant to evidence, owing to emotional blocks or to plain bigotry. By contrast, the mechanisms that bring evolution about certainly need study and clarification. There are no alternatives to evolution as history that can withstand critical examination. Yet we are constantly learning new and important facts about evolutionary mechanisms.

- Theodosius Dobzhansky "Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution", American Biology Teacher vol. 35 (March 1973) reprinted in Evolution versus Creationism, J. Peter Zetterberg ed., ORYX Press, Phoenix AZ 1983
http://www.2think.org/dobzhansky.shtml

Now, I haven't called myself "demonically deceived."  But if you feel "ignorant" is an insult, then you've only insulted yourself.

God bless.

In admitting my ignorance about many things, I am not insulting myself. Are you omniscient my friend? Unless you are God, then you are also ignorant about many things. By admitting our ignorance, we are able to learn. By thinking others are ignorant but we are not, we remain ignorant. There's no shame in admitted ignorance, but when ignorance is combined with arrogance, then a fool is born.

Selam

Either you're misunderstanding my point, or you're just being annoying.

I did not claim I'm omniscient.  Neither am I God.  Yes, I am ignorant of many things, but certainly not the science of biology and evolution its cornerstone.  In fact, I am required to accept it as a fact to understand its principles and use it to the best of my ability through research and clinical experience to help patients.  Therefore, I am not ignorant of the science of evolution, and thus I am qualified to talk about it and debate.

You proclaimed your ignorance in front of us all and said you're not a scientist.  Clearly, therefore, you do understand nor are qualified to placed judgment on something you do not know.  Thus, you also make yourself "rationally" ignorant, because in fact, not only are you ignorant, but now you show yourself to be irrational.  You don't even understand the science, and yet you judge it as a demonic deception.  Not only ignorance, and irrationality, but also hypocrisy.  You pretend to be "humble" and yet you don't even know when to draw the line on yourself and what you "think" you know.

A humble, person who knows his own ignorance and who has a sense of rationality will not call something he doesn't know a "demonic deception."  He will with humility and kindness ask, not judge, but ask.  That is all that is required of you.  I ask when I don't know something; neither should I get into a discussion and form an opinion if I find myself unqualified to do so.  I mean you don't even know much about your own church, and many times you asked our Ethiopian brothers in the forums for answers in your own Ethiopian Church tradition.  How much more decency do you need to develop before placing judgment on something you think you know and have told us you're not even part of?

I hope you understand by now my frustration with you.

God bless.

I've asked many questions about this issue that have been sidestepped and unanswered thus far. (Go back and read my questions and answer them. If I am wrong I will be the first to admit it.) I have studied the Philosophy of Natural Science, so I am know something about it. I shall not allow you to think you can prove yourself right simply by saying you know more about science than me. There ae people who know more about science than you who do to believe in macro evolution. With respect, don't be so arrogant my friend.

Selam
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« Reply #1610 on: October 12, 2009, 01:26:52 AM »


No one here asserts that God did not create the dinosaurs. But how do you explain the fossil record and other paleoherpetological issues in a time frame of only 7000 years?

Macro evolutionists assume uniformitarianism when interpreting these fossil records, which makes perfect sense. But uniformitarianism is still an assumption, and it is not the only reasonable explanation for the fossils. Catastrophism could just as easily account for this.

Selam

Modern uniformitarianism (actualism) differs from nineteenth century Lyell uniformitarianism. The prevailing view in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was that the earth had been created by supernatural means and had been shaped by several catastrophes, such as worldwide floods. In 1785, James Hutton published the proposal that Earth's history could be explained in terms of processes observed in the present; that is, "the present is key to the past." This was the beginning of uniformitarianism. Charles Lyell, in his Principles of Geology, modified Hutton's ideas and applied this philosophy to explain geological features in terms of relatively gradual everyday processes.

Geologists today no longer subscribe to Lyell uniformitarianism. Starting in the late ninteenth century, fieldwork showed that natural catastrophes still have a role in creating the geologic record. For example, in the later twentieth century, J. Harlan Bretz showed that the Scablands in eastern Washington formed from a large flood when a glacial lake broke through an ice dam; and Luis Alvarez proposed that an asteroid impact was responsible for the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Actualism (modern uniformitarianism) states that the geologic record is the product of both slow, gradual processes (such as glacial erosion) and natural catastrophes (such as volcanic eruptions and landslides). However, natural catastrophes are not consistent with creationist catastrophism, such as "Flood geology." First, they are much smaller than the world-shaping events proposed as part of the creationists' catastrophism. More to the point, they still represent processes observed in the present. Meteorites, glacial melting, and flash floods still occur regularly, and we can (and do, as in the examples above) extrapolate from the observed occurrences to larger events of the same sort. The scale of events may change, but the physical laws operating today are key to the past.


http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CD/CD200.html

I completely agree with this statement. However it has nothing to do with disproving the possibility of catastrophism.

Selam
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« Reply #1611 on: October 12, 2009, 01:42:07 AM »

Bashing him?  Hardly.  Critical?  Yes, very critical, and I backed up my criticism based on the pattern he portrays in his arguments and his own words:

Ignorant because he implied so himself.
Irrational because despite his ignorance, he continues to talk about it as if he does know it.
Hypocritical because despite being humble enough and decent enough to ask of things he doesn't know of his own Church, he places a condemnatory judgment on a scientific study he doesn't even know.

He thinks I am under a demonic deception, and at the same time he misconstrues my words thinking I'm saying I'm omniscient like God.  So, if he feels like he's in a corner, then that's his own feeling.  I just had to answer his false claims and his insults against me.


I am trying to engage in an important discussion, but you either don't want to or don't know how to reason and debate. In fact, I'm less concerned with debate than with learning. But you have taught me little if nothing, because you simply refuse to believe you could be wrong about anything in regards to the issue at hand. You assert that your knowledge is superior to mine, and thus you're automatically right.

Heorhij and Riddikulus have answered my questions, and have refrained from insults. I appreciate the information they provide and the tone with which they provide it. Open your mind, be objective, and try to understand that if you want to persuade someone then you will have more success with a willingness to learn than with an attitude of superiority and arrogance.

I'm not trying to deter anyone from believing in evolution. I have said many times that if Christians hold to macro evolution then it has no bearing on their Christian Faith. But I have asked some important questions about the moral and social implications of Darwinian evolution, which have yet to be answered. For example, let me ask you again a question that you have yet to answer:

If macro evolution is a fact, then we are still evolving. Therefore, who and what determines and decides who and what is fully human? I'd really like you to answer this question.

Thanks.

Selam
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« Reply #1612 on: October 12, 2009, 03:11:01 AM »

Bashing him?  Hardly.  Critical?  Yes, very critical, and I backed up my criticism based on the pattern he portrays in his arguments and his own words:

Ignorant because he implied so himself.
Irrational because despite his ignorance, he continues to talk about it as if he does know it.
Hypocritical because despite being humble enough and decent enough to ask of things he doesn't know of his own Church, he places a condemnatory judgment on a scientific study he doesn't even know.

He thinks I am under a demonic deception, and at the same time he misconstrues my words thinking I'm saying I'm omniscient like God.  So, if he feels like he's in a corner, then that's his own feeling.  I just had to answer his false claims and his insults against me.


I am trying to engage in an important discussion, but you either don't want to or don't know how to reason and debate. In fact, I'm less concerned with debate than with learning. But you have taught me little if nothing, because you simply refuse to believe you could be wrong about anything in regards to the issue at hand. You assert that your knowledge is superior to mine, and thus you're automatically right.

Heorhij and Riddikulus have answered my questions, and have refrained from insults. I appreciate the information they provide and the tone with which they provide it. Open your mind, be objective, and try to understand that if you want to persuade someone then you will have more success with a willingness to learn than with an attitude of superiority and arrogance.

I'm not trying to deter anyone from believing in evolution. I have said many times that if Christians hold to macro evolution then it has no bearing on their Christian Faith. But I have asked some important questions about the moral and social implications of Darwinian evolution, which have yet to be answered. For example, let me ask you again a question that you have yet to answer:

If macro evolution is a fact, then we are still evolving. Therefore, who and what determines and decides who and what is fully human? I'd really like you to answer this question.

Thanks.

Selam


Gebre,

Quite frankly, if it wasn't for the fact that you called evolution a "demonic deception," your words here speak humility par excellence.  But I can't reconcile these specific great words like "I'm less concerned with debate than with learning" and "I appreciate the information they provide and the tone with which they provide it" and "Open your mind, be objective" and (this one is actually beautiful) and "I have said many times that if Christians hold to macro evolution then it has no bearing on their Christian Faith" with what you said in the Oriental Orthodox forum, where you believed evolution is a demonic deception.  I don't understand how you can continue thinking you're asking more questions than criticize when you criticized before with something that really really hurt me.

But nevertheless, since you don't realize it but you seem to try to act "sincere" and "kind" and "humble," sure, I'll answer your question before I go to bed tonight.

Quote
If macro evolution is a fact, then we are still evolving. Therefore, who and what determines and decides who and what is fully human? I'd really like you to answer this question.

Great question.  At the moment, we as Orthodox Christians do believe in a form of spiritual evolution.  We call this "theosis."  In fact, I like this quote posted by EA a while back:

Quote
The very nature of humanity is to be like God, for that is what it means to be created in the image of God. The more humanity becomes like God, the more it becomes itself. Theosis is anthropesis. (HE Paulose Mar Gregorios)

So yes, we are evolving, evolving to be like Christ.  Sure, there's a physical side to evolution, but since man also has an intellect that reflects the superiority of the creation of man, it seems evolution is concentrating more on man's intellect than on man's physical side (very minor improvements I can say in evolution like my favorite hyper-HDL-cholesterolemia, which I'm sure everyone wishes to get).  Perhaps, there's nothing much left to evolution.  In the beginning, nature started out with how life can evolve, and now man is looking into how his intellect can evolve.  There is now room for a realization of man's theosis with God, to evolve to be more like Christ, the perfect human, which only implies, we are not perfected in the human process yet.  Human is both a means and an end, as the Late HE Paulose Mar Gregorios implied, that its means is to be like God, its end is to be like Christ.

With an intellect like ours, we are also learning ways in improving the human condition, perhaps possibly even controlling evolution itself.  We are becoming like God, but one thing humanity needs to realize.  All is vain in human achievement if one does not put God first.  I'm sure you and I can agree to that.  "Unless the Lord builds the house, the laborers labor in vain."  So we are human and we are being more and better and even more perfect human.  In the universal resurrection, we are to obtain a "new body" and "new soul," in a much better condition better than man in his pre-fall state.

Of course people may "devolve" as well, and one can put that under the umbrella term of "evolution."  Evolution with man is a pathway upon which man can choose which direction he can.  He can evolve into someone who is morally transcendant or immoral.  Evolution does not imply moral peril or social disasters, neither does it imply moral superiority.  But as man is to be a light to the world, through our freedom of choice and strength of the intellect and the Grace of God, we can turn evolution to the pathway of Christ.  As for others, they will dehumanize themselves, and in Judgment Day, truly indeed we might even be two different species, "sheep and goats."

God bless.
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« Reply #1613 on: October 12, 2009, 03:15:07 AM »

Bashing him?  Hardly.  Critical?  Yes, very critical, and I backed up my criticism based on the pattern he portrays in his arguments and his own words:

Ignorant because he implied so himself.
Irrational because despite his ignorance, he continues to talk about it as if he does know it.
Hypocritical because despite being humble enough and decent enough to ask of things he doesn't know of his own Church, he places a condemnatory judgment on a scientific study he doesn't even know.

He thinks I am under a demonic deception, and at the same time he misconstrues my words thinking I'm saying I'm omniscient like God.  So, if he feels like he's in a corner, then that's his own feeling.  I just had to answer his false claims and his insults against me.


I am trying to engage in an important discussion, but you either don't want to or don't know how to reason and debate. In fact, I'm less concerned with debate than with learning. But you have taught me little if nothing, because you simply refuse to believe you could be wrong about anything in regards to the issue at hand. You assert that your knowledge is superior to mine, and thus you're automatically right.
If you're truly here to learn, what does it matter if someone refuses to believe he could be wrong, unless that person is you?  I would think resistance to accepting someone else's point of view (e.g., Mina refusing to believe he could be wrong) would matter only if you're trying to teach.

Heorhij and Riddikulus have answered my questions, and have refrained from insults. I appreciate the information they provide and the tone with which they provide it. Open your mind, be objective, and try to understand that if you want to persuade someone then you will have more success with a willingness to learn than with an attitude of superiority and arrogance.
That makes no sense.  How does one's unwillingness to learn hinder anyone's ability to persuade unless it is you trying to persuade?

I'm not trying to deter anyone from believing in evolution. I have said many times that if Christians hold to macro evolution then it has no bearing on their Christian Faith.
Can you point out the "many times" you have said this, for I have no recollection of such?  {Edit}  Okay, I see some statements that can be construed as saying this on the OO thread you started.
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« Reply #1614 on: October 12, 2009, 07:41:14 AM »

St. Athanasius believed that all those that are created out of nothing have the propensity to nothing.  In other words, all creation is corruptible, including mankind.  Only man (and angels) was given the grace of Incorruption, i.e. unity with God through the Divine Image.  Nevertheless, the "Fall" was man's own fall, and he fell right into the "natural" law of death, thus sharing corruption with the rest of the world.

I find this view of the Fall quite compatible with the scientific fact of evolution.  So yes, because of the Fall, we receive diseases, and we "fell" with the rest of the animal world into the natural laws, which include the law of evolution.  If man didn't sin, perhaps we would have continued to transcend all the laws of science.  But because of the sin of man, we continue to be part of the evolving and fallen world.

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth...I believe in One God, the Pantrocrator Who created all things seen and unseen."  And to that, I say Amen!

God bless.

So you understand my point. Since the moment a perfect (but, yes, still open to corruption) humanity was created, we were put outside of the laws of physics, INCLUDING all possible genetic mutations, diseases and - of course - mortality. When in Adam we fell, we took on all the effects of genetic mutations (which are generally more negative then positive), diseases (whose action on humans is fortunately limited by our weakened but still working immunities) and death. Actually we are not evolving. We are devolving - from a physical point of view. We will evolve in our *original* condition before the Fall after the Resurrection, when our bodies, while still working at contact with "solid" matter, will be completely uneffected of its limitations and laws, as Jesus was when at His resurrection he obtained an immortal - I would say impassible - body who could even enter a room at closed doors, showing a complete independence from the physical boundaries.
I am now thinking of a natural principle of our world: enthropy. This law states that chaos can only increase over time, and that every attempt to restore order will have only a temporary solution and, releasing necessarily some energy to operate against enthropy, it still provides a growin amount of chaos (free energy is a source of enthropy too!). Now, I have heard of many creationists who use enthropy against a belief in evolutions, saying that evolution claims that order can grow over time in biology, so this shows that evolution "can't" be true because it violates enthropy. My answer is that these creationists don't understand enthropy. In thermodynamics, a word completely full of enthropy would be made a perfectly homogeneous space vibrating with energy, which is the primordial state of the universe at the Big Bang (of course, assuming the laws of physics to have been the same always in the past). Now, the same could be said of life. We had a completely "neutral" form of life in the beginning, some form of bacteria. The fact that now there are billions of species doesn't mean that the world is less chaotic then before. On the contrary, specialization and differentiation are direct effects of enthropy.
In this context, what strikes me is how human is the LEAST specialized animal on the world. We don't have super-eyes like eagles, we can't run as fast as panthers, we can't climb vertical surfaces, we can't fly like birds, we can't swim like dolphins... we are a indeed the only animal which in its nature has proceeded against specialization, but this makes us sufficiently adaptable to almost all conditions despite the effects of the Fall. Even when we have biological limits, we can supply them with reason and technology: in fact, we couldn't live in the Northern Pole if we weren't able to make garments, we wouldn't be able to fly if we couldn't built airplanes and helicopters; we couldn't reach the fundals of the seas without submarines, and the depths of space without space shuttles. So WE are somehow the only anti-enthropic being in the universe LOL
That was just a little reflection to dismiss the idea that evolution can be disproved through the principle of enthropy, and to repeat that man is superior (or was originally superior) because of being the "only" non-entropic creature in the world as designed by God.

In Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #1615 on: October 12, 2009, 11:40:05 AM »

Well, let's slow down for a minute.  I'm not sure you understand the concept of entropy correctly.  Because of the conversion of energy, energy used will later be energy lost, and thus, the fact that energy is used is a side of entropy.  This then leads to the idea that we need to replenish ourselves with energy.

Second of all, all creation is "entropic."  To say something is "non-entropic" is actually in my opinion a Divine attribute.  So yes, even angels are entropic.  Because we are living systems, we are able to replenish ourselves with energy forming a disequilibrium which keeps us moving.  Dead systems and non-living systems (like rocks) all have equilibrium, and cannot replenish their energy sources.

So, the first living organism has to have the quality to overcome "entropic factors" by the constant replenishment of energy, whether it be from light, oxygen, heterotrophic factors (like sugar or amino acids), carbon dioxide, etc.  These prevent us from going into disorder and thus we are able to maintain a homeostasis.

To say that we are non-entropic would mean that we are not part of creation, which is a dangerous thought.  We are indeed created beings, and therefore we experience entropy.  Perhaps the closest thing to that idea is St. Athanasius' teaching where since we are created out of nothing, we are prone to nothingness unless the grace of God continually fills us to prevent this from happening.  To say we are "non-entropic" means we can be self-sustaining, which is impossible.

The replenishment of energy makes it possible for babies to grow, and for species to evolve.

Finally, I wouldn't say we are devolving in all aspects.  I put elsewhere that evolution is an umbrella term for improvement and failures.  One example of improvement is the case of Familial hyper-alpha-lipoproteinemia (HALP), in which you get high levels of HDL in your blood.  Imagine if the only food source we eat every day was junk food.  Junk food will then force natural selection to kill off all those who do not have HALP, and those who do have HALP will be "fit" for natural selection.  Therefore, HALP is an improvement in human evolution (from what I understand the professors are teaching here).  Perhaps, one day we may find a mutation in a gene that can withstand smoking risks of cancer or COPD.  There is a mutation for people who can withstand lactose intolerance (that's a mutation, whereas it's actually genetically normal to be lactose intolerant as you age).  So, from what I understand, not all animals are "devolving" and certainly not all humans.

Let's also keep in mind that we shouldn't dismiss man's animal origins.  Yes, he may have been "non-entropic" by grace at one point, but not by nature.  Whether you believe the ground formed man as it formed other animals or descended from an animal line, either way, it is an acknowledgment of man's connection with the animal world.  Man's spirit is his connection with the angelic world.  Thus, we have two natures, both of creation, both when put together puts man at a superiority of creation in both the earthly and heavenly worlds.  Both natures of man are entropic, but we obviously seek this non-entropic state through the grace of God beginning first with the spiritual.

God bless.
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« Reply #1616 on: October 12, 2009, 12:29:52 PM »

Quote
Well, let's slow down for a minute.  I'm not sure you understand the concept of entropy correctly.  Because of the conversion of energy, energy used will later be energy lost, and thus, the fact that energy is used is a side of entropy.  This then leads to the idea that we need to replenish ourselves with energy.
Cfr this:
Quote
I am now thinking of a natural principle of our world: enthropy. This law states that chaos can only increase over time, and that every attempt to restore order will have only a temporary solution and, releasing necessarily some energy to operate against enthropy, it still provides a growin amount of chaos (free energy is a source of enthropy too!)
So that's what I meant, despite my linguistic barrier.
Quote
Second of all, all creation is "entropic."  To say something is "non-entropic" is actually in my opinion a Divine attribute.  So yes, even angels are entropic.  Because we are living systems, we are able to replenish ourselves with energy forming a disequilibrium which keeps us moving.  Dead systems and non-living systems (like rocks) all have equilibrium, and cannot replenish their energy sources.

So, the first living organism has to have the quality to overcome "entropic factors" by the constant replenishment of energy, whether it be from light, oxygen, heterotrophic factors (like sugar or amino acids), carbon dioxide, etc.  These prevent us from going into disorder and thus we are able to maintain a homeostasis.
Fully agree. It was implied in my denial of the creationist belief that evolution by definition wasn't enthropic (which is a contradiction). But more in general, creationists use a figurative sense to enthropy (as I saw even Stephen Hawking in his "A brief history of time" does), i.e. its extension to all systems.

Quote
That was just a little reflection to dismiss the idea that evolution can be disproved through the principle of enthropy, and to repeat that man is superior (or was originally superior) because of being the "only" non-entropic creature in the world as designed by God.

This should answer to your passage:
Quote
Let's also keep in mind that we shouldn't dismiss man's animal origins.  Yes, he may have been "non-entropic" by grace at one point, but not by nature.  Whether you believe the ground formed man as it formed other animals or descended from an animal line, either way, it is an acknowledgment of man's connection with the animal world.  Man's spirit is his connection with the angelic world.  Thus, we have two natures, both of creation, both when put together puts man at a superiority of creation in both the earthly and heavenly worlds.  Both natures of man are entropic, but we obviously seek this non-entropic state through the grace of God beginning first with the spiritual.
and the answer is affirmative to your conclusions. I would say this: Adam was created non-entropic by grace, which implied immortality, but after the fall, the laws of nature prevailed and Adam was made entropic AND THUS mortal, like all animals and specifically, the 'clay' (=matter) he had been "formed" from.

Hope this helps reducing the distance of our positions,

in Christ,   Alex
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« Reply #1617 on: October 12, 2009, 01:53:57 PM »

Bashing him?  Hardly.  Critical?  Yes, very critical, and I backed up my criticism based on the pattern he portrays in his arguments and his own words:

Ignorant because he implied so himself.
Irrational because despite his ignorance, he continues to talk about it as if he does know it.
Hypocritical because despite being humble enough and decent enough to ask of things he doesn't know of his own Church, he places a condemnatory judgment on a scientific study he doesn't even know.

He thinks I am under a demonic deception, and at the same time he misconstrues my words thinking I'm saying I'm omniscient like God.  So, if he feels like he's in a corner, then that's his own feeling.  I just had to answer his false claims and his insults against me.


I am trying to engage in an important discussion, but you either don't want to or don't know how to reason and debate. In fact, I'm less concerned with debate than with learning. But you have taught me little if nothing, because you simply refuse to believe you could be wrong about anything in regards to the issue at hand. You assert that your knowledge is superior to mine, and thus you're automatically right.

Heorhij and Riddikulus have answered my questions, and have refrained from insults. I appreciate the information they provide and the tone with which they provide it. Open your mind, be objective, and try to understand that if you want to persuade someone then you will have more success with a willingness to learn than with an attitude of superiority and arrogance.

I'm not trying to deter anyone from believing in evolution. I have said many times that if Christians hold to macro evolution then it has no bearing on their Christian Faith. But I have asked some important questions about the moral and social implications of Darwinian evolution, which have yet to be answered. For example, let me ask you again a question that you have yet to answer:

If macro evolution is a fact, then we are still evolving. Therefore, who and what determines and decides who and what is fully human? I'd really like you to answer this question.

Thanks.

Selam


Gebre,

Quite frankly, if it wasn't for the fact that you called evolution a "demonic deception," your words here speak humility par excellence.  But I can't reconcile these specific great words like "I'm less concerned with debate than with learning" and "I appreciate the information they provide and the tone with which they provide it" and "Open your mind, be objective" and (this one is actually beautiful) and "I have said many times that if Christians hold to macro evolution then it has no bearing on their Christian Faith" with what you said in the Oriental Orthodox forum, where you believed evolution is a demonic deception.  I don't understand how you can continue thinking you're asking more questions than criticize when you criticized before with something that really really hurt me.

But nevertheless, since you don't realize it but you seem to try to act "sincere" and "kind" and "humble," sure, I'll answer your question before I go to bed tonight.

Quote
If macro evolution is a fact, then we are still evolving. Therefore, who and what determines and decides who and what is fully human? I'd really like you to answer this question.

Great question.  At the moment, we as Orthodox Christians do believe in a form of spiritual evolution.  We call this "theosis."  In fact, I like this quote posted by EA a while back:

Quote
The very nature of humanity is to be like God, for that is what it means to be created in the image of God. The more humanity becomes like God, the more it becomes itself. Theosis is anthropesis. (HE Paulose Mar Gregorios)

So yes, we are evolving, evolving to be like Christ.  Sure, there's a physical side to evolution, but since man also has an intellect that reflects the superiority of the creation of man, it seems evolution is concentrating more on man's intellect than on man's physical side (very minor improvements I can say in evolution like my favorite hyper-HDL-cholesterolemia, which I'm sure everyone wishes to get).  Perhaps, there's nothing much left to evolution.  In the beginning, nature started out with how life can evolve, and now man is looking into how his intellect can evolve.  There is now room for a realization of man's theosis with God, to evolve to be more like Christ, the perfect human, which only implies, we are not perfected in the human process yet.  Human is both a means and an end, as the Late HE Paulose Mar Gregorios implied, that its means is to be like God, its end is to be like Christ.

With an intellect like ours, we are also learning ways in improving the human condition, perhaps possibly even controlling evolution itself.  We are becoming like God, but one thing humanity needs to realize.  All is vain in human achievement if one does not put God first.  I'm sure you and I can agree to that.  "Unless the Lord builds the house, the laborers labor in vain."  So we are human and we are being more and better and even more perfect human.  In the universal resurrection, we are to obtain a "new body" and "new soul," in a much better condition better than man in his pre-fall state.

Of course people may "devolve" as well, and one can put that under the umbrella term of "evolution."  Evolution with man is a pathway upon which man can choose which direction he can.  He can evolve into someone who is morally transcendant or immoral.  Evolution does not imply moral peril or social disasters, neither does it imply moral superiority.  But as man is to be a light to the world, through our freedom of choice and strength of the intellect and the Grace of God, we can turn evolution to the pathway of Christ.  As for others, they will dehumanize themselves, and in Judgment Day, truly indeed we might even be two different species, "sheep and goats."

God bless.

Thanks for the response my brother.

I hope you know that I did not intend to insult you or hurt you with my comments that I believe evolution to be a demonic deception. That in no way was intended to belittle anyone, just as I'm sure that Orthodox Christians who believe in evolution do not mean to disparage those of us who don't when they claim we are ignorant about science. For example, you and others that ascribe to evolution assume that those of us who don't are ignorant. Now that certainly isn't flattering to us, but I don't take it personally. It wouldn't be fair to ask you not to step on my toes by sugar-coating the fact that you think my lack of knowledge of evolutionary biology precludes me from having a valid opinion about the subject. The only time we should take personal offense is if we are personally insulted. Maybe I should have said that I think evolution is a deception rather than a "demonic deception," but I doubt if people would have been any less offended.

The reason I think there is a demonic element behind evolution is because of the social ramifications that have resulted from evolutionary theory. Ideas have consequences, and the theory of Darwinian evolution has unquestionably undermined the sanctity of human life (IMO). That does not mean that Orthodox Christians who hold to theistic evolution don't value human life; but people who believe in evolution without having the moral guidance of the Church will certianly be prone to see human life in a much less sacred light.

Thanks for answering my question. It was a beautiful explanation of theosis, and I appreciate how well you articulated it. But with respect, it doesn't really address the question. You see, atheistic evolutionists such as Richard Dawkins are not concerned with theology, thus the idea of theosis will have no bearing on their determination and definition of human life. And what I am trying to understand is when was human life "human?" Was Neanderthal man "human?" Was the amoeba that first spawned life "human?" Is the embryo in a woman's womb "human?" Is a brain dead person on life support "human?" If we are still evolving - and according to evolutionary theory, I don't see any reason to say that we are not - then are we becoming "more human?" Did we used to be "less human?"

As Orthodox Christians, we have the Church to guide us and teach us about the sanctity of human life. So even though some of us may believe in evolution, we don't have to worry about debating the morality of abortion, genocide, euthanasia and such. We accept the teachings of our Church in regards to the sanctity of life. But unfortunately, most people are not Orthodox Christians. And in a world where science is elevated as the sole arbiter of facts and truth, while religion is relegated to the realm of subjective morality, then we can hardly expect for an unChristian world to respect the sanctity of life in light of the theory of macro evolution.     

I appreciate your point that evolutionary theory is in itself "amoral." But so is the theory that gravity does not exist. Now people are free to choose whether or not they believe in gravity and how they act according to that belief. Imagine if the masses in society were promulgated with the theory that gravity did not exist. What if children were taught in schools that gravity did not exist, and even if scientists tried to give evidence to the contrary, they were not allowed by law to teach anything in shcool other than the theory that gravity did not exist. In spite of basic common sense, I assure you that people would still jump off of buildings and kill themselves because of their belief that gravity did not exist. Seems crazy, but it was also crazy to beleive that Jews and Africans were less than human. Seems crazy to believe that an unborn child isn't human. And yet people believe these things, often because of their evolutionary worldview.

Anyway, I liked your answer, even if it didn't exactly answer my question. It was very interesting, and I especially agree with you about spiritual evolution. No doubt about that. Maybe de Chardin was trying to fuse spiritual evolution with biolgoical evolution. A neat idea, but I'm afraid it's a stretch.

Thanks for the in depth response.

Selam
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« Reply #1618 on: October 12, 2009, 02:57:30 PM »

I just read this interesting quote, FWIW:

"It was not paradise that gave rise to the creation of mankind; rather, it was for Adam alone that Paradise had been planted."

                                -St. Ephrem the Syrian-


Selam
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« Reply #1619 on: October 12, 2009, 04:53:54 PM »

I hope you know that I did not intend to insult you or hurt you with my comments that I believe evolution to be a demonic deception. That in no way was intended to belittle anyone, just as I'm sure that Orthodox Christians who believe in evolution do not mean to disparage those of us who don't when they claim we are ignorant about science. For example, you and others that ascribe to evolution assume that those of us who don't are ignorant. Now that certainly isn't flattering to us, but I don't take it personally. It wouldn't be fair to ask you not to step on my toes by sugar-coating the fact that you think my lack of knowledge of evolutionary biology precludes me from having a valid opinion about the subject. The only time we should take personal offense is if we are personally insulted. Maybe I should have said that I think evolution is a deception rather than a "demonic deception," but I doubt if people would have been any less offended.

The reason I think there is a demonic element behind evolution is because of the social ramifications that have resulted from evolutionary theory. Ideas have consequences, and the theory of Darwinian evolution has unquestionably undermined the sanctity of human life (IMO). That does not mean that Orthodox Christians who hold to theistic evolution don't value human life; but people who believe in evolution without having the moral guidance of the Church will certianly be prone to see human life in a much less sacred light.

...

I appreciate your point that evolutionary theory is in itself "amoral." But so is the theory that gravity does not exist. Now people are free to choose whether or not they believe in gravity and how they act according to that belief. Imagine if the masses in society were promulgated with the theory that gravity did not exist. What if children were taught in schools that gravity did not exist, and even if scientists tried to give evidence to the contrary, they were not allowed by law to teach anything in shcool other than the theory that gravity did not exist. In spite of basic common sense, I assure you that people would still jump off of buildings and kill themselves because of their belief that gravity did not exist. Seems crazy, but it was also crazy to beleive that Jews and Africans were less than human. Seems crazy to believe that an unborn child isn't human. And yet people believe these things, often because of their evolutionary worldview.

Perhaps, the removal of the word "demonic" would have removed part of the insult.  To call it just "deceptive" perhaps, I would be perplexed (it would imply either we are deceptive or we are deceived, but by whom or what?).  To be honest, when one studies the fossil records, the genetic patterns, proteins, even the behavior patterns among species, along with actual evidence of speciation observed, one cannot help but see the obvious.  If that is not evolution, certainly it is nature then that's really deceiving us, and implications of this in my opinion, are terrifying.

On the issue of morality, I believe there are plenty of atheists who have a morality built in them that does not show any sign of doom.  In fact, I'm sure if gravity was "disproved" there would be another explanation of why things fall, no?  Common sense dictates that since things fall, there is no rational reason why people should jump off buildings.  It's only when people deny that things fall that we have to worry (and we don't call them atheists or immoral, we call them psychotic and need medical attention, and atheistic physicians will agree).  But to deny gravity only begs the question:  What causes things to fall if not gravity?  Likewise, the reason why species change, if not evolution then what? 

People have a sense and a rational to inner morality that won't lead others to kill others.  It's already established that logically, we're better off loving one another than hating one another.  Atheists understand this very well, and most of them who have moral sense will not dispute the transcendent teachings of Christ.  They will dispute his existence, let alone God's.  But even Socrates himself taught to love thy enemies.  Even St. Paul teaches that morality is in the heart, which is why Gentiles are not exempt from the "Law."  The Jews may have it written down on paper, but all humanity have it inscribed within their humanity.  In fact, interestingly enough, you talk to most atheists, and their belief in the idea that they cease to exist in death makes them take life much more seriously, leading them to a strong moral sense.  While for us that is vanity, it is amazing how within such a vain perspective, they still have room to do good unto others even if they accept scientific views like evolution.  And when there are scientists that do have a view that leads them to the idea of evolution, it is not because they want to deceive or are deceived or a demon is deceiving them.  They don't even have an ulterior motive.  It is because at it stands, this is what seems to explain how species change.  It is only how one interprets such an objective work that leads to a misuse of scientific knowledge (Dawkins and Soviets), not as a result of the knowledge itself.  As I debated elsewhere, people can misuse religion to commit evil.  Does that mean that Christianity is a deception?  On the next part, I will even show that the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was misused, and was not evil in and of itself.

Quote
Thanks for answering my question. It was a beautiful explanation of theosis, and I appreciate how well you articulated it. But with respect, it doesn't really address the question. You see, atheistic evolutionists such as Richard Dawkins are not concerned with theology, thus the idea of theosis will have no bearing on their determination and definition of human life. And what I am trying to understand is when was human life "human?" Was Neanderthal man "human?" Was the amoeba that first spawned life "human?" Is the embryo in a woman's womb "human?" Is a brain dead person on life support "human?" If we are still evolving - and according to evolutionary theory, I don't see any reason to say that we are not - then are we becoming "more human?" Did we used to be "less human?"

As Orthodox Christians, we have the Church to guide us and teach us about the sanctity of human life. So even though some of us may believe in evolution, we don't have to worry about debating the morality of abortion, genocide, euthanasia and such. We accept the teachings of our Church in regards to the sanctity of life. But unfortunately, most people are not Orthodox Christians. And in a world where science is elevated as the sole arbiter of facts and truth, while religion is relegated to the realm of subjective morality, then we can hardly expect for an unChristian world to respect the sanctity of life in light of the theory of macro evolution.

You'd be surprised at how much more moral an atheistic evolutionist can be than so-called "Christians" in some parts of the world.  Sanctity of life though?  Yes, this is an interesting debate.  It's indeed very hard to convince even religious people of an embryo being a person, but I venture to say it has nothing to do with evolution any more than the prevention of jumping off buildings have nothing to do with the theory of gravity (or lack thereof).

As for being "less human," St. Irenaous I recall taught that whether or not Adam would have eaten from the fruit of that tree, the Logos was still planning to be incarnate because the humanity of Adam was an immature humanity.  So "less human" or "immature human" "child-like state" whatever you call it, to me it's all semantics, but this is quite supported by church fathers like this saint and St. Isaac of Nineveh.  They venture to say that the tree of knowledge of good and evil is not evil, but that Adam being in that immature state was not "ready" for it.  This shows a misuse of the tree.  The cause of Adam's death was his disobedience, not the tree, and thus, its misuse lead to death.

Quote
Anyway, I liked your answer, even if it didn't exactly answer my question. It was very interesting, and I especially agree with you about spiritual evolution. No doubt about that. Maybe de Chardin was trying to fuse spiritual evolution with biolgoical evolution. A neat idea, but I'm afraid it's a stretch.

Thanks for the in depth response.

Selam

Either I didn't answer your question, or my question wasn't satisfactorily enough for you to accept.  If the former, I would be more than happy to try to answer your question if you rephrase it.

God bless.

PS I don't think St. Ephraim's quote contradicts anything I believe in.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2009, 04:59:49 PM by minasoliman » Logged

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