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Question: Do you believe that the acount of genesis in the Old testament should be taken literally?
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Author Topic: Creationism, Evolution, and Orthodoxy  (Read 323657 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #2475 on: December 03, 2010, 03:30:04 PM »

There are proof by actions and there are proofs by examining material evidence.  Science works by the latter.  Faith works by the former.  They both need not contradict each other.
What do you mean by "proof by actions"?
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« Reply #2476 on: December 03, 2010, 04:01:12 PM »

Scientists typically start from unproven assumptions.
This statement belies your complete misunderstanding of how science works.  It starts not with assumptions at all, proven or otherwise.  It starts with asking "what have we observed?", and then asks "what explanation is most consistent with each and every one of those observations?"

Why are you so quick to dismiss that which you so clearly don't understand?
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« Reply #2477 on: December 03, 2010, 04:20:55 PM »

There are proof by actions and there are proofs by examining material evidence.  Science works by the latter.  Faith works by the former.  They both need not contradict each other.
What do you mean by "proof by actions"?

What God has done for us, and what we do for God and for others.

"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, that you love one another." John 13:35
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« Reply #2478 on: December 03, 2010, 04:23:14 PM »

Scientists typically start from unproven assumptions.
This statement belies your complete misunderstanding of how science works.  It starts not with assumptions at all, proven or otherwise.  It starts with asking "what have we observed?", and then asks "what explanation is most consistent with each and every one of those observations?"

Why are you so quick to dismiss that which you so clearly don't understand?
But surely you agree that modern Western science starts with the "assumption" that any explanation must be an explanation that is confirmable, verifiable, falsifiable, or in some sense testable (which would exclude most sorts of 'supernatural' explanations)?
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« Reply #2479 on: December 03, 2010, 04:27:07 PM »

Scientists typically start from unproven assumptions.
This statement belies your complete misunderstanding of how science works.  It starts not with assumptions at all, proven or otherwise.  It starts with asking "what have we observed?", and then asks "what explanation is most consistent with each and every one of those observations?"

Why are you so quick to dismiss that which you so clearly don't understand?

I'm afraid you are the one who is misunderstanding things here. By assumption, I mean some statement that is not proven. This statement may or may not be consistent with current observations, but scientists typically take as their assumptions those which are in fact consistent with current observations. Nevertheless, the assumption is not proven, because there may be other assumptions also consistent with our observations that the scientists choose not to take, not because they have or lack proof, but because they conflict with whatever principles of philosophy of science that are in fashion at the time.

Take linguistics again. No linguist has actually proved that there is a universal grammar, or that there is an innate language acquisition device. These assumptions are consistent with our linguistic observations, but so is the assumption that linguistic universals can be explained by a universal learning algorithm. Both the innate LAD and the universal learning algorithm are vague and undefined enough that all observations can be made to fit it if so desired. Linguists choose to operate under the assumptions of an innate LAD mainly because otherwise linguistics would have no reason to exist as a separate discipline from, say, psychology.

Evolutionism and creationism are quite similar concepts. All species seem to be adapted for their environments. The evolutionist says this is because of natural selection, the creationist because of design by the Creator. Neither assumption can really be falsified. The biologist chooses the former not because the latter assumption is inconsistent with our observations, but because it is inconsistent with his philosophical materialism.
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« Reply #2480 on: December 03, 2010, 04:30:12 PM »

But surely you agree that modern Western science starts with the "assumption" that any explanation must be an explanation that is confirmable, verifiable, falsifiable, or in some sense testable (which would exclude most sorts of 'supernatural' explanations)?
No, I wouldn't.  Quite the opposite, really.  Modern Western science started with many of the same ideas that creationists and others propose today.  Only when those ideas led to inconsistencies were they discarded.
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« Reply #2481 on: December 03, 2010, 04:36:25 PM »

By assumption, I mean some statement that is not proven.
So, of all the concepts in modern science, are there any which you would consider proven?
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« Reply #2482 on: December 03, 2010, 04:40:13 PM »

But surely you agree that modern Western science starts with the "assumption" that any explanation must be an explanation that is confirmable, verifiable, falsifiable, or in some sense testable (which would exclude most sorts of 'supernatural' explanations)?
No, I wouldn't.  Quite the opposite, really.  Modern Western science started with many of the same ideas that creationists and others propose today.  Only when those ideas led to inconsistencies were they discarded.
What were some of those ideas that early modern Western science shared with creationists?
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« Reply #2483 on: December 03, 2010, 04:46:17 PM »

I suggest with the word "assumption," I'm not sure, but before we get into an argument, assumption should be more defined, just in case we argue past one another rather than against one another.  For instance, we don't merely assume Christianity, but we live it and it works.  If an assumption is one by which the system works, then that's a different definition of "assumption."
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« Reply #2484 on: December 03, 2010, 04:55:42 PM »

What were some of those ideas that early modern Western science shared with creationists?
The static nature of species, for example.  Life begets life according to its kind.  Once observations (such as those from fossil evidence) demonstrated that species go extinct and that new species emerge, that idea was discarded.  Several others took its place over time.  Evolution was not the first, by the way.  It simply emerged as the one that most consistently accounted for all known observations.  Which is exactly why evolution is not an assumption.  The assumptions were discarded.  Evolutionary theory is what we ended up with, not what we started with.
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« Reply #2485 on: December 03, 2010, 04:57:41 PM »

Scientists typically start from unproven assumptions.
This statement belies your complete misunderstanding of how science works.

Or maybe you just never considered questions of epistemology before.

Quote
It starts not with assumptions at all, proven or otherwise.  It starts with asking "what have we observed?", and then asks "what explanation is most consistent with each and every one of those observations?"

How do you make and analyze observations, without first making assumptions about what should be observed, what is admissible as data, what you are looking for, etc.?

Your assertion that science can be done without any presuppositions whatsoever is absurd.
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« Reply #2486 on: December 03, 2010, 05:07:57 PM »

Your assertion that science can be done without any presuppositions whatsoever is absurd.
No, what is absurd is our collective assumption that 56 pages of this is actually leading somewhere.
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« Reply #2487 on: December 03, 2010, 05:15:08 PM »

I suggest with the word "assumption," I'm not sure, but before we get into an argument, assumption should be more defined, just in case we argue past one another rather than against one another.  For instance, we don't merely assume Christianity, but we live it and it works.  If an assumption is one by which the system works, then that's a different definition of "assumption."

Good point. There might be a more formal term for what I mean by "assumption", but I don't really do philosophy of science. But I do have the impression that methodological naturalism, which is the driving assumption behind much of modern science, including psychology, biology and physics, is really nothing more than the practical application of materialist philosophy, which is opposed to our faith. What science would be like without methodological naturalism I can't say for sure, but perhaps pre-Darwinian science may give a clue.

What you say about Christianity is interesting, i.e. that it is empirically validated. But it is also assumed, in that if we fail to live up to Christ's standards, if our prayers are not answered and so on, we do not simply abandon our faith, but we assume that it is true despite whatever difficulties we may have with it at the time. We assume that our difficulties arise from our own weakness, or the deceptions of the devil, rather than with our faith.
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« Reply #2488 on: December 03, 2010, 05:21:20 PM »

Your assertion that science can be done without any presuppositions whatsoever is absurd.
No, what is absurd is our collective assumption that 56 pages of this is actually leading somewhere.

Part of the reason these 56 pages have led nowhere is because hardly anyone has addressed, or even understood, these basic questions of what is science, how do we know something is true, how do we accept something as evidence, etc.

I asked you these questions in another thread:

1. Why do you think the "scientific method" is a reliable methodology for apprehending natural phenomena? 2. What would convince you that a different method is superior? 3. How do you answer any of these questions without presuppositions?

Your answer:

1.  Because it hasn't yet been supplanted by anything superior.

2.  I can't say a priori.  To do so, after all, would be a presupposition.

3.  Because I acknowledge that every one of my answers is subject to being replaced by a better one.  Why do you refuse to acknowledge that this is the precise opposite of presupposition?

So the "scientific method" is considered reliable because it hasn't been supplanted by anything superior. At the same time, it could never be supplanted because you have no principles by which you could demonstrate its superiority in the first place. You also apparently have the ability to value something as "better" or "worse"without any measure by which to determine these values.  Can you really not see the absurdity of this position?
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« Reply #2489 on: December 03, 2010, 05:35:53 PM »

I suggest with the word "assumption," I'm not sure, but before we get into an argument, assumption should be more defined, just in case we argue past one another rather than against one another.  For instance, we don't merely assume Christianity, but we live it and it works.  If an assumption is one by which the system works, then that's a different definition of "assumption."

Good point. There might be a more formal term for what I mean by "assumption", but I don't really do philosophy of science. But I do have the impression that methodological naturalism, which is the driving assumption behind much of modern science, including psychology, biology and physics, is really nothing more than the practical application of materialist philosophy, which is opposed to our faith. What science would be like without methodological naturalism I can't say for sure, but perhaps pre-Darwinian science may give a clue.

What you say about Christianity is interesting, i.e. that it is empirically validated. But it is also assumed, in that if we fail to live up to Christ's standards, if our prayers are not answered and so on, we do not simply abandon our faith, but we assume that it is true despite whatever difficulties we may have with it at the time. We assume that our difficulties arise from our own weakness, or the deceptions of the devil, rather than with our faith.

I would be careful as to say that all scientists follow materialistic "philosophy."  They take a materialistic approach, but not all scientists are followers of materialism, i.e. the forerunner of atheism.  Since science is by definition a materialistic approach, then I find nothing wrong with that.  I've explained much earlier in this thread that medicine and health is based on materialistic approach as well, and other simple sciences such as the materialistic approach in explaining how oil separates from water or how salt dissolves in liquid.

Whatever source our weaknesses come from, we are encouraged to struggle against it, not to give up and accept it.  This is a philosophy that health care practitioners try to live by and teach their patients via a materialistic approach, and this is also a philosophy we as Christians live by as well via a spiritual approach (and in some way a materialistic approach to help transcend our flesh, since we partake of flesh and blood of Christ that's united with His divinity and we encourage hard work and fasting with prayer).  I don't think any Church father is against health science, and yet that too is a materialistic approach.
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« Reply #2490 on: December 03, 2010, 05:45:31 PM »

Another thing to consider is just what counts as evidence. The secular scientist will never accept scripture or revelation as evidence, but the Orthodox Christian does.

Where? In science? In evaluating a scientific theory? No. No matter how many times Scripture mentions the Sun orbiting the Earth, I will not consider this evidence. If you say that I am not Orthodox because I reject evidence provided by Scripture that the Sun orbits the Earth and not vice versa, we will just have to "agree to disagree" then.
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« Reply #2491 on: December 03, 2010, 05:46:30 PM »

I suggest with the word "assumption," I'm not sure, but before we get into an argument, assumption should be more defined, just in case we argue past one another rather than against one another.  For instance, we don't merely assume Christianity, but we live it and it works.  If an assumption is one by which the system works, then that's a different definition of "assumption."

Good point. There might be a more formal term for what I mean by "assumption", but I don't really do philosophy of science. But I do have the impression that methodological naturalism, which is the driving assumption behind much of modern science, including psychology, biology and physics, is really nothing more than the practical application of materialist philosophy, which is opposed to our faith. What science would be like without methodological naturalism I can't say for sure, but perhaps pre-Darwinian science may give a clue.

What you say about Christianity is interesting, i.e. that it is empirically validated. But it is also assumed, in that if we fail to live up to Christ's standards, if our prayers are not answered and so on, we do not simply abandon our faith, but we assume that it is true despite whatever difficulties we may have with it at the time. We assume that our difficulties arise from our own weakness, or the deceptions of the devil, rather than with our faith.

I would be careful as to say that all scientists follow materialistic "philosophy."  They take a materialistic approach, but not all scientists are followers of materialism, i.e. the forerunner of atheism.  Since science is by definition a materialistic approach,

A recent concept and one that ignores the history of natural philosophy.

 
Quote
then I find nothing wrong with that.

If you think materialism is an acceptable approach to understanding the natural world, then you are either a materialist or a dualist.

Quote
I've explained much earlier in this thread that medicine and health is based on materialistic approach as well

Only modern, conventional, "Western" medicine.

Quote
I don't think any Church father is against health science, and yet that too is a materialistic approach.

Throughout history, and throughout the world, there are health sciences that are not materialist.
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« Reply #2492 on: December 03, 2010, 05:47:35 PM »

I would be careful as to say that all scientists follow materialistic "philosophy."

I would be less careful and say that when a person is really "doing science," this person MUST STAY AWAY FROM ANY PHILOSOPHY.  Tongue
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« Reply #2493 on: December 03, 2010, 05:48:28 PM »

What were some of those ideas that early modern Western science shared with creationists?
The static nature of species, for example.  Life begets life according to its kind.  Once observations (such as those from fossil evidence) demonstrated that species go extinct and that new species emerge, that idea was discarded.  Several others took its place over time.  Evolution was not the first, by the way.  It simply emerged as the one that most consistently accounted for all known observations.  Which is exactly why evolution is not an assumption.  The assumptions were discarded.  Evolutionary theory is what we ended up with, not what we started with.

All right, I think this is a good approach. Do fossils in fact count as evidence against the creationist worldview? I read that St Nectarios explained fossils as the result of the Great Flood, and this is how creationists today typically account for them. Perhaps one could argue that Genesis says all species were saved in the Ark, so that if fossils remain of species that no longer exist (dinosaurs etc.), that proves the Genesis account is wrong. Is this along the lines of what you were thinking?
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« Reply #2494 on: December 03, 2010, 05:49:29 PM »

Throughout history, and throughout the world, there are health sciences that are not materialist.

By definition, science explores the natural world, i.e. things that are material. If someone explores the influence of an non-tangible, non-material things like "spirit" etc. on the human health and calls is "helth science," that person is simply misusing the term "science."
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« Reply #2495 on: December 03, 2010, 05:50:53 PM »

I would be careful as to say that all scientists follow materialistic "philosophy."

I would be less careful and say that when a person is really "doing science," this person MUST STAY AWAY FROM ANY PHILOSOPHY.  Tongue


Which is nonsense. You cannot learn anything without some presuppositions about what is true, what is acceptable as evidence, what are the most reliable faculties for apprehending data, etc.

You might as well say, "I want to drive this engine around town without all that annoying car stuff around it."
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« Reply #2496 on: December 03, 2010, 05:54:43 PM »

Throughout history, and throughout the world, there are health sciences that are not materialist.

By definition, science explores the natural world, i.e. things that are material.

Really? Where did this definition come from? Long before there were materialists, there was science.

Quote
If someone explores the influence of an non-tangible, non-material things like "spirit" etc. on the human health and calls is "helth science," that person is simply misusing the term "science."

No, he is simply recognizing the fact that material and spiritual worlds interpenetrate and mirror each other. The materialist approach is like listening to a musical composition but screening out some of the instruments. Some parts of the composition you might hear accurately, but other parts will be mutilated.
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« Reply #2497 on: December 03, 2010, 06:04:58 PM »

I suggest with the word "assumption," I'm not sure, but before we get into an argument, assumption should be more defined, just in case we argue past one another rather than against one another.  For instance, we don't merely assume Christianity, but we live it and it works.  If an assumption is one by which the system works, then that's a different definition of "assumption."

Good point. There might be a more formal term for what I mean by "assumption", but I don't really do philosophy of science. But I do have the impression that methodological naturalism, which is the driving assumption behind much of modern science, including psychology, biology and physics, is really nothing more than the practical application of materialist philosophy, which is opposed to our faith. What science would be like without methodological naturalism I can't say for sure, but perhaps pre-Darwinian science may give a clue.

What you say about Christianity is interesting, i.e. that it is empirically validated. But it is also assumed, in that if we fail to live up to Christ's standards, if our prayers are not answered and so on, we do not simply abandon our faith, but we assume that it is true despite whatever difficulties we may have with it at the time. We assume that our difficulties arise from our own weakness, or the deceptions of the devil, rather than with our faith.

I would be careful as to say that all scientists follow materialistic "philosophy."  They take a materialistic approach, but not all scientists are followers of materialism, i.e. the forerunner of atheism.  Since science is by definition a materialistic approach, then I find nothing wrong with that.  I've explained much earlier in this thread that medicine and health is based on materialistic approach as well, and other simple sciences such as the materialistic approach in explaining how oil separates from water or how salt dissolves in liquid.

Whatever source our weaknesses come from, we are encouraged to struggle against it, not to give up and accept it.  This is a philosophy that health care practitioners try to live by and teach their patients via a materialistic approach, and this is also a philosophy we as Christians live by as well via a spiritual approach (and in some way a materialistic approach to help transcend our flesh, since we partake of flesh and blood of Christ that's united with His divinity and we encourage hard work and fasting with prayer).  I don't think any Church father is against health science, and yet that too is a materialistic approach.

OK, I think I see where you're coming from: science is and has always been materialistic in essence. The trouble then seems to arise where materialist science touches on certain empirical claims of our faith, e.g. our origins and the origins of creation, the Fall, the Patriarchs and the Flood, all the other miraculous events in sacred history and the lives of the saints, and so forth. Where our faith has nothing to say, e.g. on whether the sun goes round the earth or the earth round the sun, matters that apparently never had any theological import (at least in the East), science can go where it likes and the Church has no problem. Where science begins to contradict certain well-established empirical claims, e.g. the origin of Man by special creation from inanimate clay, rather than by natural generation from a pre-human species, the Church does appear to have a problem. This problem is manifest, for instance, wherever the Fathers draw attention to the theological importance of special creation, e.g. St Gregory the Theologian:

They who make Unbegotten and Begotten natures of equivocal God's would perhaps make Adam and Seth differ in nature, since the former was not born of flesh (for he was created), but the latter was born of Adam and Eve. (Oration on the Holy Lights, XII)

I don't know how to interpret this under the assumptions of evolutionary biology.
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« Reply #2498 on: December 03, 2010, 07:04:48 PM »

I suggest with the word "assumption," I'm not sure, but before we get into an argument, assumption should be more defined, just in case we argue past one another rather than against one another.  For instance, we don't merely assume Christianity, but we live it and it works.  If an assumption is one by which the system works, then that's a different definition of "assumption."

Good point. There might be a more formal term for what I mean by "assumption", but I don't really do philosophy of science. But I do have the impression that methodological naturalism, which is the driving assumption behind much of modern science, including psychology, biology and physics, is really nothing more than the practical application of materialist philosophy, which is opposed to our faith. What science would be like without methodological naturalism I can't say for sure, but perhaps pre-Darwinian science may give a clue.

What you say about Christianity is interesting, i.e. that it is empirically validated. But it is also assumed, in that if we fail to live up to Christ's standards, if our prayers are not answered and so on, we do not simply abandon our faith, but we assume that it is true despite whatever difficulties we may have with it at the time. We assume that our difficulties arise from our own weakness, or the deceptions of the devil, rather than with our faith.

I would be careful as to say that all scientists follow materialistic "philosophy."  They take a materialistic approach, but not all scientists are followers of materialism, i.e. the forerunner of atheism.  Since science is by definition a materialistic approach, then I find nothing wrong with that.  I've explained much earlier in this thread that medicine and health is based on materialistic approach as well, and other simple sciences such as the materialistic approach in explaining how oil separates from water or how salt dissolves in liquid.

Whatever source our weaknesses come from, we are encouraged to struggle against it, not to give up and accept it.  This is a philosophy that health care practitioners try to live by and teach their patients via a materialistic approach, and this is also a philosophy we as Christians live by as well via a spiritual approach (and in some way a materialistic approach to help transcend our flesh, since we partake of flesh and blood of Christ that's united with His divinity and we encourage hard work and fasting with prayer).  I don't think any Church father is against health science, and yet that too is a materialistic approach.

OK, I think I see where you're coming from: science is and has always been materialistic in essence. The trouble then seems to arise where materialist science touches on certain empirical claims of our faith, e.g. our origins and the origins of creation, the Fall, the Patriarchs and the Flood, all the other miraculous events in sacred history and the lives of the saints, and so forth. Where our faith has nothing to say, e.g. on whether the sun goes round the earth or the earth round the sun, matters that apparently never had any theological import (at least in the East), science can go where it likes and the Church has no problem. Where science begins to contradict certain well-established empirical claims, e.g. the origin of Man by special creation from inanimate clay, rather than by natural generation from a pre-human species, the Church does appear to have a problem. This problem is manifest, for instance, wherever the Fathers draw attention to the theological importance of special creation, e.g. St Gregory the Theologian:

They who make Unbegotten and Begotten natures of equivocal God's would perhaps make Adam and Seth differ in nature, since the former was not born of flesh (for he was created), but the latter was born of Adam and Eve. (Oration on the Holy Lights, XII)

I don't know how to interpret this under the assumptions of evolutionary biology.

I've addressed these earlier in this thread as well.  The Bible teaches that man has two natures, materialistic and spiritual united in one.  The materialistic part of the formation of man according to Genesis does not differ from the materialistic part that formed animals.  The difference is that God "breathed" into this specific part of creation His Image and Likeness, something that no other creature has.  Therefore if we are fully consubstantial with animals and fully consubstantial with angels, there is no contradiction, and evolution only affirms what the Bible is intending to convey.

The Creation story's job was to demythologize the other creation myths that are being circulated.  They used what was generally understood at the time, and turned it into something that professes correct doctrine and something that is also quite prophetic.  Those that are prophetic do not need to be taken over-literally, such as the creation of Eve out of the "side" of Adam (rib is a mistranslation) pointing to the birth of the Church from the bleeding side of the crucified Christ, the trees in the garden of Eden pointing to the Cross of Christ, the flood of Noah and the Red Sea pointing to baptism and salvation, etc.

Earlier in this thread, I've showed how St. Athanasius took the creation story allegorically and told us what was important to learn from them in his famous "On the Incarnation."  What I believe is that God saw the creation of man and loved it, breathed into it, and put it in Paradise.  But soon after, man disobeyed God, and went back to the world of natural materialism and death.  God became incarnate to transform the body of death into a life-giving death, and giving us all the hope of Resurrection, Ascension, and Eternal Divine Life.
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« Reply #2499 on: December 03, 2010, 07:47:28 PM »

^ Yes!
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« Reply #2500 on: December 03, 2010, 08:40:56 PM »

This thread really should be strictly a debate about the evidence for evolution. People know what science is, they see it in their everyday life. They know it works. We don't need to get into these esoterical discussions about what is science, what is knowledge, etc. There are many scientific advancements which have led to various kinds of technology that we take for granted. Everyone here believes in science and what it can provide for mankind. The Theory of Evolution is just another result of that same process that has brought us so much. If you think that the ToE lacks sufficient evidence, we can discuss that evidence, but to attempt to cast doubt on the entire scientific process is quite silly, given that so much of what we take for granted in our lives (the computer sitting in front of you?) are a result of that process, and to deny that is to deny reality and existence, which is a pointless discussion.
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« Reply #2501 on: December 03, 2010, 10:50:54 PM »

Famous creationist scientists who were not all even Christians:

Robert Boyle - scientist and chemist

Michael Faraday - physicist, formulated laws electromagnetic induction, did groundwork for making dynamos, electric motors and transformers

James Joule - science of thermodynamics

William Thompson  - thermodynamics

Johannes Kepler - laws of planetary motion

Carl Linnaeus - botanist, professor

Matthew Maury - leading scientist in oceanography and hydrography

James Clerk Maxwell - electromagnetic theory

Isaac Newton - laws of gravity, motion and calculus

Blaise Pascal - invented early calculator, helped discover the theory of probability

Louis Pasteur - invented vaccination, immunization and pasteurization

Sir Henry Rawlinson - archaeologist

George Stokes - physicist and mathematician

Joseph Lister, John Ambrose Fleming, Henri Fabre, John Ray, Nicolaus Steno, William Petty, Georges Cuvier, Louis Agassiz, Gregory Mendel, Bernhard Riemann, Joseph Henry Gilbert, Charles Lindbergh, Thomas Anderson, William Mitchell Ramsay, John Ambrose Fleming, Werner Von Braun, John Coach Adams, Johann Baptist Cysat, John Woodward, Humphrey Davy, George Biddle Airy, James Bradley, and Albert Einstein
I doubt that Einstein was a "creationist".

Plus, many, if not most, of these scientists listed here flourished either before Darwin, or before the 1940s, when Darwinian natural selection became the most widely accepted idea of how evolution occurred.

Exactly.. I looked up Keven William Thompson  - thermodynamics, at random to see what was up with him. It turns out he MISS CALCULATED the age of the Earth leading him to conclude that there was not enough time for evolution as Darwin theorized.


Anyone who thinks evolution is not accepted throughout the length and breadth of the Scientific community TODAY is delusional.
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« Reply #2502 on: December 03, 2010, 11:46:37 PM »

Famous creationist scientists who were not all even Christians:

Robert Boyle - scientist and chemist

Michael Faraday - physicist, formulated laws electromagnetic induction, did groundwork for making dynamos, electric motors and transformers

James Joule - science of thermodynamics

William Thompson  - thermodynamics

Johannes Kepler - laws of planetary motion

Carl Linnaeus - botanist, professor

Matthew Maury - leading scientist in oceanography and hydrography

James Clerk Maxwell - electromagnetic theory

Isaac Newton - laws of gravity, motion and calculus

Blaise Pascal - invented early calculator, helped discover the theory of probability

Louis Pasteur - invented vaccination, immunization and pasteurization

Sir Henry Rawlinson - archaeologist

George Stokes - physicist and mathematician

Joseph Lister, John Ambrose Fleming, Henri Fabre, John Ray, Nicolaus Steno, William Petty, Georges Cuvier, Louis Agassiz, Gregory Mendel, Bernhard Riemann, Joseph Henry Gilbert, Charles Lindbergh, Thomas Anderson, William Mitchell Ramsay, John Ambrose Fleming, Werner Von Braun, John Coach Adams, Johann Baptist Cysat, John Woodward, Humphrey Davy, George Biddle Airy, James Bradley, and Albert Einstein
I doubt that Einstein was a "creationist".

Plus, many, if not most, of these scientists listed here flourished either before Darwin, or before the 1940s, when Darwinian natural selection became the most widely accepted idea of how evolution occurred.

Not to mention, most of these scientists didn't even study biology...Werner Von Braun was a rocket scientist!  Roll Eyes
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« Reply #2503 on: December 04, 2010, 03:59:01 AM »

I'm reading St Athanasius and I don't get the feeling he is explicitly rejecting the literal reading of Genesis: I think you're reading that into him. It seems rather he is assuming it and using it as the basis for his allegorical interpretation, just as St Gregory the Theologian did. Plus there are many other Fathers where the literal interpretation is much more prominent. For instance, St Athanasius certainly speaks of our natural state as corruptible. But it seems to me he is using "natural" in one particular sense, to mean nature without grace, after the Fall, which is corruptible. Other Fathers, however, speak of our natural state as incorruptible, e.g. Abba Dorotheus in his First Instruction:

Quote
In the beginning, when God created man (Gn. 2:20), He placed him in Paradise and adorned him with every virtue, giving him the commandment not to taste of the tree which was in the midst of Paradise. And thus he remained there in the enjoyment of Paradise; in prayer, in vision, in every glory and honor, having sound senses and being in the same natural condition in which he was created. For God created man according to His own image, that is, immortal, master of himself, and adorned with every virtue. But when he transgressed the commandment, eating the fruit of the tree of which God had commanded him not to taste, then he was banished from Paradise (Gn. 3), fell away from the natural condition, and fell into a condition against nature, and then he remained in sin, in love of glory, in love for the enjoyments of this age and of other passions, and he was mastered by them, for he became himself their slave through the transgression.

So in one sense our current corruption is natural, but in another sense it is unnatural. It doesn't seem to me reasonable to use St Athanasius' words to bolster evolutionist claims that corruption and death are natural, when other saints say the opposite about our nature. The Fathers who speak of our condition becoming unnatural clearly consider our prelapsarian condition, the condition to which we were restored by Christ, to be the only truly natural one.

Also, I'm not so sure it's correct to say that human nature is defined as a union of human and angelic, in the way Christ is a union of divine and human natures. It seems rather that human nature is its own thing, while it shares characteristics with both the animals and the angels. Fr Seraphim actually stresses this in his essay.

Finally, your claims about the purposes of the Genesis creation "myth", that they were only intended to "delegitimize" other pagan myths, are interesting and intellectually attractive, but they are not patristic. They are what a secular historian of comparative religion might claim, but not what traditional Orthodox exegesis claims.

In conclusion, my impression is that you overly rely on one single Father, St Athanasius, to the exclusion of other Fathers, whose words cannot be so molded to fit your particular theistic evolutionism. Furthermore, you insist on a certain interpretation of St Athanasius' words to convey your idea that man was corruptible at first, being descended from corruptible animals by natural generation, was lifted from corruption and placed in Paradise, and then fell away to his original state. However, St Athanasius does not say this in so many words; only his particular use of the term "nature" can be made to fit that interpretation. Moreover, the witness of other Fathers makes it clear that the Church has traditionally held man to have been originally created in incorruption, and that Man's current state of corruption is solely due to his fall, and not to do with nature as it was before the fall. As a believer in the consensus patrum, I would prefer to assume that St Athanasius believed the same things as the other Fathers about the nature of man. If in fact he did not, then I would still have to say that his views do not accord with the patristic consensus.
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« Reply #2504 on: December 04, 2010, 07:49:15 AM »

Is this along the lines of what you were thinking?
Sure, this is along the same line.

I read that St Nectarios explained fossils as the result of the Great Flood, and this is how creationists today typically account for them.
You are quite correct; this is how many creationists typically explain this.  We would certainly expect large amounts of sedimentation in a global flood.  And in a global flood that killed all land-based life forms, we would expect to see many of their carcasses in the sediment.  I'll even go so far as to say that a global flood is a reasonable hypothesis, were those the only data points we had.  The problem is that a valid hypothesis has to account for all known observations, and be compatible with all current data.  Peeling back this proverbial onion by even a single layer quickly exposes any deluge hypothesis' inability to do this.

For example, in a global deluge, we'd expect the sediment to be either relatively uniform, or perhaps sorted by increasing density (top to bottom).  Is this in fact what we observe?  Not at all.  Check out the layers exposed in what is now the Grand Canyon.  There, we see layering that we could represent as something like 8-5-6-3-9-4-8-3 (where the #s represent density).  You have denser layers on top of less dense ones, topped by layers even more dense, topped by less dense ones, etc.  It's completely inconsistent with what a deluge hypothesis would predict.

Another?  There is a distinct layer of iridium at a very particular place in the strata.  This phenomenon is worldwide.  Superficial analysis might well yield an "Of course!  In a global flood, we'd expect to see this iridium spread widely."  Further investigation reveals questions that the hypothesis is unable to answer, such as the original source of the iridium.  An astronomical collision, on the other hand, fits the data quite nicely, with no inconsistencies.

More?  In a global flood like described in Genesis, we'd expect to see this pronounced sediment layer containing land animals and no ocean-faring creatures.  Do we see this?  No.

Etc.
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« Reply #2505 on: December 04, 2010, 07:59:46 AM »

Part of the reason these 56 pages have led nowhere is because hardly anyone has addressed, or even understood, these basic questions of what is science, how do we know something is true, how do we accept something as evidence, etc.
No, because these questions are actually not all that basic to the issue at hand.  These questions make for interesting dorm-lounge discussions by first-semester college freshmen experiencing philosophy for the first time.  However, 99% of the time, 99% of the population can participate in 99% of conversations without asking "How can I even know Pete exists?" when Pete is telling me about the poor dog he ran over on his way to work.
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« Reply #2506 on: December 04, 2010, 09:10:09 AM »

Part of the reason these 56 pages have led nowhere is because hardly anyone has addressed, or even understood, these basic questions of what is science, how do we know something is true, how do we accept something as evidence, etc.
No, because these questions are actually not all that basic to the issue at hand.  These questions make for interesting dorm-lounge discussions by first-semester college freshmen experiencing philosophy for the first time.  However, 99% of the time, 99% of the population can participate in 99% of conversations without asking "How can I even know Pete exists?" when Pete is telling me about the poor dog he ran over on his way to work.

They can also participate in conversations without conducting rigorous empirical tests or sticking Pete in a lab. What's your point? If we were simply talking about common experiences like the kind you mention above, then your boorish dismissal might be more valid. The thing is, 99% of the population also learns things without using the "scientific method." So when someone deliberately sets out to use this method (which is based in philosophy, not everyday common experience) to ascertain truth, it is worth asking how valid the method is, especially when it is being brandished as the key to understanding the visible creation.
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« Reply #2507 on: December 04, 2010, 09:11:55 AM »

This thread really should be strictly a debate about the evidence for evolution. People know what science is, they see it in their everyday life.

That's called brainwashing. Your appeal to the majority doesn't help you when "people" have been told since elementary school (or before) that "science" is this one particular empiricist methodology which arose in the past few centuries.

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They know it works.

Sure, but according to what standard, and to what end? What is the purpose of studying the natural world anyway?
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« Reply #2508 on: December 04, 2010, 09:19:36 AM »

OK, I think I see where you're coming from: science is and has always been materialistic in essence.

By conceding this point, which is not borne out in the history of philosophy, you are essentially accepting dualism. And that is the chief problem I see with both the Darwinists and creationists here- they accept the same basic, non-Christian cosmology and so these discussions go nowhere.
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« Reply #2509 on: December 04, 2010, 10:20:55 AM »

Famous creationist scientists who were not all even Christians:

Robert Boyle - scientist and chemist

Michael Faraday - physicist, formulated laws electromagnetic induction, did groundwork for making dynamos, electric motors and transformers

James Joule - science of thermodynamics

William Thompson  - thermodynamics

Johannes Kepler - laws of planetary motion

Carl Linnaeus - botanist, professor

Matthew Maury - leading scientist in oceanography and hydrography

James Clerk Maxwell - electromagnetic theory

Isaac Newton - laws of gravity, motion and calculus

Blaise Pascal - invented early calculator, helped discover the theory of probability

Louis Pasteur - invented vaccination, immunization and pasteurization

Sir Henry Rawlinson - archaeologist

George Stokes - physicist and mathematician

Joseph Lister, John Ambrose Fleming, Henri Fabre, John Ray, Nicolaus Steno, William Petty, Georges Cuvier, Louis Agassiz, Gregory Mendel, Bernhard Riemann, Joseph Henry Gilbert, Charles Lindbergh, Thomas Anderson, William Mitchell Ramsay, John Ambrose Fleming, Werner Von Braun, John Coach Adams, Johann Baptist Cysat, John Woodward, Humphrey Davy, George Biddle Airy, James Bradley, and Albert Einstein
I doubt that Einstein was a "creationist".

Plus, many, if not most, of these scientists listed here flourished either before Darwin, or before the 1940s, when Darwinian natural selection became the most widely accepted idea of how evolution occurred.

Not to mention, most of these scientists didn't even study biology...Werner Von Braun was a rocket scientist!  Roll Eyes
...and a former member of the SS. (To be fair, there is little or no evidence of Von Braun participating in Nazi death-camp activities -- he appears to have been a member of the SS because that was the only way he could do rocket science in 1930s-40s Nazi Germany.)
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« Reply #2510 on: December 04, 2010, 02:46:04 PM »

OK, I think I see where you're coming from: science is and has always been materialistic in essence.

By conceding this point, which is not borne out in the history of philosophy, you are essentially accepting dualism. And that is the chief problem I see with both the Darwinists and creationists here- they accept the same basic, non-Christian cosmology and so these discussions go nowhere.

Sorry, I wasn't intending to concede any point. I was merely trying to articulate what I believed minasoliman to be arguing in a more concise fashion. I believe this is how he and many see the role of science. My intention was to show that I understood, or thought I understood, what mina's underlying assumptions about science were.
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« Reply #2511 on: December 04, 2010, 03:03:00 PM »

Part of the reason these 56 pages have led nowhere is because hardly anyone has addressed, or even understood, these basic questions of what is science, how do we know something is true, how do we accept something as evidence, etc.
No, because these questions are actually not all that basic to the issue at hand.  These questions make for interesting dorm-lounge discussions by first-semester college freshmen experiencing philosophy for the first time.  However, 99% of the time, 99% of the population can participate in 99% of conversations without asking "How can I even know Pete exists?" when Pete is telling me about the poor dog he ran over on his way to work.

These "deep" questions are important because our faith deals with "deep" questions. The Church doesn't care about most scientific issues because they don't touch on the deep questions: questions about human nature, the purpose of the universe and so forth. But there are some areas of secular scientific inquiry that do touch on these matters, and which offer theories about things like human nature that conflict with traditional Church teaching. Evolutionism teaches that human nature was corruptible from the beginning, but Orthodoxy teaches that it was originally incorruptible. To me this is an irreconcilable difference. The only solution appears to be something along the lines of what minasoliman has done, and read into certain of the Fathers the idea that our original state of incorruption was actually a temporary interlude between two states of corruption: the first one before we received the "breath of life" and were placed in Paradise, and the second one after Adam and Eve transgressed and were expelled from Paradise. But the consensus of the Fathers is that there was never this first, pre-Paradisiacal state of corruption, but rather that incorruption was our original state.
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« Reply #2512 on: December 04, 2010, 03:10:22 PM »

Is this along the lines of what you were thinking?
Sure, this is along the same line.

I read that St Nectarios explained fossils as the result of the Great Flood, and this is how creationists today typically account for them.
You are quite correct; this is how many creationists typically explain this.  We would certainly expect large amounts of sedimentation in a global flood.  And in a global flood that killed all land-based life forms, we would expect to see many of their carcasses in the sediment.  I'll even go so far as to say that a global flood is a reasonable hypothesis, were those the only data points we had.  The problem is that a valid hypothesis has to account for all known observations, and be compatible with all current data.  Peeling back this proverbial onion by even a single layer quickly exposes any deluge hypothesis' inability to do this.

For example, in a global deluge, we'd expect the sediment to be either relatively uniform, or perhaps sorted by increasing density (top to bottom).  Is this in fact what we observe?  Not at all.  Check out the layers exposed in what is now the Grand Canyon.  There, we see layering that we could represent as something like 8-5-6-3-9-4-8-3 (where the #s represent density).  You have denser layers on top of less dense ones, topped by layers even more dense, topped by less dense ones, etc.  It's completely inconsistent with what a deluge hypothesis would predict.

Another?  There is a distinct layer of iridium at a very particular place in the strata.  This phenomenon is worldwide.  Superficial analysis might well yield an "Of course!  In a global flood, we'd expect to see this iridium spread widely."  Further investigation reveals questions that the hypothesis is unable to answer, such as the original source of the iridium.  An astronomical collision, on the other hand, fits the data quite nicely, with no inconsistencies.

More?  In a global flood like described in Genesis, we'd expect to see this pronounced sediment layer containing land animals and no ocean-faring creatures.  Do we see this?  No.

Etc.

I'm not sure about your last point. In a Flood, the sea creatures would presumably be mixed up together with the land creatures, no?

I'm not sure exactly what we'd expect to see in the sediment layers from a worldwide Flood. Genesis speaks about rain falling from the heavens, but also of water welling up from the earth. I'm reminded of the scenario from the movie 2012, which I thought was generally pretty silly, but they had an interesting idea of just what kinds of geological activities could be responsible for a global flood. There could be various reasons for geological strata to get mixed up, if catastrophic tectonic shifts caused the oceans to flood over the continents.
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« Reply #2513 on: December 04, 2010, 03:49:57 PM »

There could be various reasons for geological strata to get mixed up, if catastrophic tectonic shifts caused the oceans to flood over the continents.
But the strata aren't mixed up.  They are in fact quite orderly and consistent.  It's just that they are not consistent with a global flood hypothesis.
There could be various reasons for geological strata...
And unfortunately, this typifies common creationist reasoning.  You state that "there could be various reasons", yet no one has produced a hypothesis that would consistently explain what we see.  In order to convince the scientific community to dismiss a well-supported theory, it takes more than merely saying "Why, there's any number of other explanations."  You have to actually proffer one.
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« Reply #2514 on: December 04, 2010, 04:12:27 PM »

What's your point?
My point is that your insistence on clear-cut definitions is not a valid tenet of science.  If you want it to be, then that's fine, I guess.  But if you're expecting it to be, then you're merely displaying a continued lack of understanding.  I'm sure you'll want examples...

The biological sciences have no universally-accepted definition of life.  It should come as no surprise to anyone that the concept of life is absolutely central to the life sciences.  Yet there is no definition?  That's correct.  And 99% of the time, it matters not.  In the vast majority of situations, two scientists will look at an object/thing and conclude that it is either alive or not, without argument.

Biology has no universally-accepted definition of species.  A vast majority of the time, it doesn't matter one iota.  Science continues along just fine, and the occasional discourse about whether two creatures are the same species or not doesn't undermine the science; it advances it.

In math, there is no universally-accepted definition of set.  Do you have any idea how absolutely cental the notion of set is to modern mathematics?  It doesn't matter.  In virtually all cases, when a mathematician talks about "the set of integers such that...", other mathematicians understand exactly what she means.

Using your mindset, I guess I should ask by what objective criteria did you conclude my reply was boorish?  How do you know it wasn't just boorish, but actually barbarous?  Or how can you be sure that it was boorish, and not merely uncivil?

Do you not see how that line of thinking and questioning leads us nowhere?
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« Reply #2515 on: December 04, 2010, 04:43:22 PM »

What's your point?
My point is that your insistence on clear-cut definitions...

I'm asking some very simple, easy questions. Either you are dodging them or you simply don't understand them.

Quote
is not a valid tenet of science. 

So what is a valid tenet of science?  You said "science" makes no presuppositions. Now you are judging what is or is not a valid tenet... how?

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Do you not see how that line of thinking and questioning leads us nowhere?

I can see that you are obfuscating and muddling a discussion that's really very simple. How do you learn anything reliable about the world without presuppositions?
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« Reply #2516 on: December 04, 2010, 04:43:53 PM »

OK, I think I see where you're coming from: science is and has always been materialistic in essence.

By conceding this point, which is not borne out in the history of philosophy, you are essentially accepting dualism. And that is the chief problem I see with both the Darwinists and creationists here- they accept the same basic, non-Christian cosmology and so these discussions go nowhere.

Sorry, I wasn't intending to concede any point. I was merely trying to articulate what I believed minasoliman to be arguing in a more concise fashion. I believe this is how he and many see the role of science. My intention was to show that I understood, or thought I understood, what mina's underlying assumptions about science were.

Okay. I'm sorry I misread you.
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« Reply #2517 on: December 04, 2010, 04:51:50 PM »

Part of the reason these 56 pages have led nowhere is because hardly anyone has addressed, or even understood, these basic questions of what is science, how do we know something is true, how do we accept something as evidence, etc.
No, because these questions are actually not all that basic to the issue at hand.  These questions make for interesting dorm-lounge discussions by first-semester college freshmen experiencing philosophy for the first time.  However, 99% of the time, 99% of the population can participate in 99% of conversations without asking "How can I even know Pete exists?" when Pete is telling me about the poor dog he ran over on his way to work.

These "deep" questions are important because our faith deals with "deep" questions. The Church doesn't care about most scientific issues because they don't touch on the deep questions: questions about human nature, the purpose of the universe and so forth. But there are some areas of secular scientific inquiry that do touch on these matters, and which offer theories about things like human nature that conflict with traditional Church teaching. Evolutionism teaches that human nature was corruptible from the beginning, but Orthodoxy teaches that it was originally incorruptible. To me this is an irreconcilable difference. The only solution appears to be something along the lines of what minasoliman has done, and read into certain of the Fathers the idea that our original state of incorruption was actually a temporary interlude between two states of corruption: the first one before we received the "breath of life" and were placed in Paradise, and the second one after Adam and Eve transgressed and were expelled from Paradise. But the consensus of the Fathers is that there was never this first, pre-Paradisiacal state of corruption, but rather that incorruption was our original state.
But why should we presume that Genesis and evolutionary theory should necessarily line up? If Church teaching is about the "deep Nature" of things, then why should a deep Nature understanding of human nature be necessarily consistent with a non-deep Nature understanding of human nature (as proposed by evolutionary theory)?
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« Reply #2518 on: December 04, 2010, 05:14:05 PM »

I'm asking some very simple, easy questions. Either you are dodging them or you simply don't understand them.
No, you are asking some interesting philosophical and rhetorical questions -- they are just not the kinds of questions that science has any desire to answer.  You're asking the exact same questions that Socrates asked of Meno, as I'm sure you're aware.  They made for interesting discourse then, and they continue to make for interesting discourse today.

They just aren't all that relevant.  If you're frustrated with my lack of an answer, I wish I could help you.  Ask a relevant question, and I'll see what I can do.
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« Reply #2519 on: December 04, 2010, 09:33:54 PM »

OK, I think I see where you're coming from: science is and has always been materialistic in essence.

By conceding this point, which is not borne out in the history of philosophy, you are essentially accepting dualism. And that is the chief problem I see with both the Darwinists and creationists here- they accept the same basic, non-Christian cosmology and so these discussions go nowhere.

I don't see how the ToE must accept any particular type of cosmology, nor does it require strict materialism, it doesn't deal with the nature of matter. Needless to say, this theory has already borne fruit which has assisted research in the medical field tremendously, which ultimately improves the quality of life for mankind. This is the goal, which you asked about earlier.
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