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Question: Do you believe that the acount of genesis in the Old testament should be taken literally?
Yes - 54 (15.7%)
No - 133 (38.6%)
both metaphorically and literally - 158 (45.8%)
Total Voters: 345

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Author Topic: Creationism, Evolution, and Orthodoxy  (Read 344143 times) Average Rating: 0
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Ziggernaut
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« Reply #270 on: December 26, 2007, 12:43:42 PM »

I hesitate to jump into this ever-so-interesting discussion because I have failed, due to time constraints and health issues, to follow it from the beginning.  So, I beg forgiveness and forebearance in advance as what I have to say and ask may already have been discussed and answered.

First of all I want to admit/acknowledge to all for whom this is important that I slept very soundly throughout much of my paltry education (oh, and how so very refreshing it was, too! Wink), most especially those subjects that had anything to do with that dreaded word "science".  So, please feel free to discount my profound ignorance (and in all seriousness, my ignorance is profound), and move on to the next post.

Now, having said all of that, my understanding of "evolution", at least as generally discussed by many people as poorly educated as myself, is that it has something to do with one (or more) species changing over a relatively long period of time into another species.  My question is this--is there conclusive, irrefutable, concrete, demonstrable evidence that this has happened?   Another question, if I may--have scientists ever been able to replicate that process of one species changing into another species?  If the answer to either of those questions is yes, could you please provide references, links, etc. that an educationally impoverished struggling sinner such as myself would be able to understand?
In spite of my somewhat sarcastic remarks above, I ask this in all seriousness and sincerity.  You see, I am beginning to finally awaken from my long slumber and truely wish to learn as much as my old, decaying remaining 1/2 brain cell is capable of absorbing.

Thanks to all for your patience and understanding.  Please pray for me, a miserable sinner.

In Christ,
Jeff

Christ is Born!  Glorify Him!

My, my, folks are getting a little hot under the collar on this thread!  Nothing like a "heated" discussion  Wink.

I'm quoting myself above, not to cite myself as an authority as I am really not much of an "authority" on anything, but to bring my questions (in bold) back to the attention of the rest of the participants here.  I apologize again if they have been answered elsewhere.  If that is the case perhaps someone could direct me to that answer.  If not, I wonder if someone here can answer those questions.  I'm thinking that they (the answers) may go some way towards clarifying some of the contentious issues being discussed here.  Or, maybe not!

Many thanks, and God bless,
Jeff
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« Reply #271 on: December 26, 2007, 12:54:12 PM »

I haven't waded through all of this, because it's not a subject I get real worked up about nor is biology or the life sciences my forté so I don't feel I can speak with much confidence about them.  The feeling I get however is some combination of what Darwin and Mendel both observed explains a lot of what we see in the natural world, and that there's a good deal of evidence to suggest the natural world and life existed for millions and millions of years before humans as we know them appeared.  The latter point is not necessarily connected to the former, but I think both speak to the same issue, and it is can Genesis be literal as read on the page and can the many genealogies in the Bible be literally true.  The answer to me for both is a fairly obvious no and no.
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« Reply #272 on: December 26, 2007, 02:46:40 PM »

Please tell me you don't believe that Christ needs to evolve to resurrect? Why would man need to evolve to live as man. You see how silly you are sounding? BTW thanks for at least giving it a try.

What on earth are you talking about?   Huh  I don't think you've understood anything I've written.  Of course I don't believe any such nonsense about Christ "needing to evolve to resurrect"!   Roll Eyes  Humanity doesn't "need" or "not need" to evolve "to live as man". 

(BTW, evolutionary theory does not say that every living thing must keep evolving.  The idea is that life evolves until it reaches a state that works well for it in its surrounding ecological matrix.)

 But this seems to me to be really quite a pointless discussion. I feel very much like I'm banging my head against a brick wall here, as it seems to me you don't understand where I am coming from at all.  Perhaps you feel the same way.  So if you don't mind, I would prefer to just call it quits at this point.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2007, 02:48:00 PM by Pravoslavbob » Logged

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« Reply #273 on: December 26, 2007, 03:23:11 PM »

God bless

Quote
So you're the authority on this matter?

Do you want to play again?

I have no authority but the Fathers and the Teaching of the Church have authority- even when you deny it and try to make all things relative and uncertain. Are you against the teaching of the church ? We have many parts of Doctrine and not procclaimed as Dogma -AGAIN- but you have to believe it. Otherwise you are in danger of losing orthdoxy. Do you want to be against the Teaching of the Church - the true Church ?

Quote
I'm glad you think yourself qualified to judge who is and who is not Orthodox.  Though I do see more than enough evidence from our hymnographical tradition and our sacred lore to convince me of the Ever-Virginity of the Theotokos, I certainly don't see myself qualified to judge anyone as not Orthodox for not believing the evidence as I do.According to what I see here, you seem to think yourself an authority on what is Orthodox and what is not.

When you are not qualified to know what is orthodox and what is not- that's not my problem. It is clear that the Orthodox Church believes in the Ever-virginity and everyone who denies this belief is blasphemous and far away of Orthodox Doctrine- that is a fact- even when you try to make all Doctrines not proclaimed as Dogma relative and uncertain. But perhaps when more and more "orthodox" deny such Doctrines, the Orthodox Church will have to proclaim many Dogmas in the future- otherwise it will become protestant ( many members are already more protestant minded than orthodox ) ........And there is a difference in judging people because of their sins and speaking about their belief, it is the duty of every orthodox christian to stand up when any part of Orthodox Doctrine is in danger- it is also your duty ! It would be a sin to be silent.

Quote
Prove it.  Without citations from the Fathers who make up this consensus patrum, your words mean nothing.  Citing only those Fathers who agree with you and ignoring those who don't also doesn't prove a patristic consensus. Again, I say to you: PROVE IT.  You don't get to cite yourself as an eminent authority here.

I know your "Method" very well, first you say I should prove it ( I could there is no problem) and when I post quotes you say that I am bombarding you and only use quotes fitting my "opinion". It is not my opinion it is the opinion of the church. I always try to follow the Church and not my own - it would be dangerous to follow my opinion.

But why do you not prove that there is no CONSENSUS ? Prove it !

We have many writings of the Fathers and the Teaching of the  Church, we have the hymnography and the iconography.....

the larger and smaller commentary of St. John Chrysostom on the Genesis and on the creation of the world
St. Ephraim the syrian's commentary on Genesis
Hexameron and On the origin of early man of St. Basil the great
Hexameron, about the Paradise, about Cain and Abel of St. Ambrose of Milan
St. Gregory of Nyssa; On the making of man and his great Catechism
Catechetical lectures of St. Cyrill of Jerusalem
St. Athanasios the great
St. Symeon the New Theologian; The sin of Adam
St. Gregory the Theologian
St. Macarios the great
St. Abba Dorotheos
St. Isaac the syrian
St. Gregory of Sinia ( he "saw" and experienced Paradise like other Saints - St. Euphrosynos the Cook, St. Andrew...)
St. Gregory Palamas
Blessed Augustine wrote also a commentary on Genesis and also in the City of God speaks about some questions ( read with caution)
St. John of Kronstadt
Metropolit Philaret of Moscow
St. John of Damascus; on the orthodox faith ( contains many chapters on questions about the six days..)
and many many others......
St. Nectarios of Aegina
many Elders......

And now prove that there is no "consensus" ! But please read the Fathers in proper way- the Fathers are not contradicting one another, they only write often from different points but have the same teaching. Or do you think that the Gospels are also a contradiction ? The genealogies of Christ- do you think they are contradicting ?

When you deny that the Church has an exact teaching of creation and the first created man, you can not understand the second Adam and the Orthodox Doctrine of Salvation.

The Orthodox Church has her own " Theory and Philosophy of Creation " - so she can not accept a foreign theory of atheists and and non orthodox or even occultist. When you accept the foreign you have to set aside the orthodox.

And the Evolution theory is only a theory or philosophy and not a fact or science- I am not against true science !
We should not be against modern science, we should be against any alteration of Orrthodoxy and true science is never against orthodoxy - in the contrary ! I would say secular science is fallible but not Orthodox Doctrine- it is the Truth for eternity. We know that the science often made mistakes- that's normal.

The Evolution theory is very complex and we would have to talk about many different aspects.

It would be more interesting to start a new thread on; Genesis, creation and the orthodox interpretation of the Fathers. For example the Orthodox Doctrine differs extremly from the RCC Doctrine of the first created man, you will see when you study for example the summa of Thomas from Aquin that he did not believe that Adam was created immortal, only that he had a supernatural grace and so on....

In CHRIST
« Last Edit: December 26, 2007, 03:39:38 PM by Christodoulos » Logged
PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #274 on: December 26, 2007, 04:54:03 PM »

Do you want to play again?
No, I'm not here to play.

Quote
I have no authority but the Fathers and the Teaching of the Church have authority- even when you deny it and try to make all things relative and uncertain.

Are you against the teaching of the church ? We have many parts of Doctrine and not procclaimed as Dogma -AGAIN- but you have to believe it. Otherwise you are in danger of losing orthdoxy. Do you want to be against the Teaching of the Church - the true Church ?
Straw man!  I have told you many times that I am not the anti-Traditionalist you represent me to be, for I don't oppose the Sacred Tradition of our Church, the Tradition that I vowed at my chrismation to uphold.  The only thing I oppose is your fundamentalist misrepresentation of our Tradition.

Quote
When you are not qualified to know what is orthodox and what is not- that's not my problem. It is clear that the Orthodox Church believes in the Ever-virginity and everyone who denies this belief is blasphemous and far away of Orthodox Doctrine- that is a fact- even when you try to make all Doctrines not proclaimed as Dogma relative and uncertain. But perhaps when more and more "orthodox" deny such Doctrines, the Orthodox Church will have to proclaim many Dogmas in the future- otherwise it will become protestant ( many members are already more protestant minded than orthodox )........And there is a difference in judging people because of their sins and speaking about their belief, it is the duty of every orthodox christian to stand up when any part of Orthodox Doctrine is in danger- it is also your duty ! It would be a sin to be silent.
Interesting statements to make, considering that this post I'm dissecting is a reply to a post in which I stated unequivocally my personal belief in Mary's Ever-Virginity.  In addition, I never said I was unqualified to judge WHAT is Orthodox; like you, I question the Orthodoxy of any teaching that opposes belief in Mary's Ever-Virginity and will argue this traditional belief with anyone who questions it.  What I said I am unqualified to judge is WHO within the Church is Orthodox in belief and WHO is not, for I do not presume to know the hearts of men.

Quote
I know your "Method" very well, first you say I should prove it ( I could there is no problem) and when I post quotes you say that I am bombarding you and only use quotes fitting my "opinion".
That's why I gave you guidelines for how to prove your case.  Consensus is an extremely difficult thing to prove, since you need to establish that the Fathers were unanimous in their doctrine on a particular matter such as the origins of human life.  If someone could show you and us that several of the Holy Fathers taught otherwise, that the Fathers disagreed with each other, then your assertion of patristic consensus is refuted.

Quote
It is not my opinion it is the opinion of the church. I always try to follow the Church and not my own - it would be dangerous to follow my opinion.
Yes, and the consensus of the Church is also that you should pay much more attention to repenting of your own sins than on the sins of others.  "Take the log out of your own eye before you presume to take the speck out of your brother's eye," to paraphrase the words of our Lord.  Have not the Holy Fathers and great ascetics also taught us that cultivating the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives (see Galatians 5:22 for St. Paul's description of this fruit) is more important than preaching correct dogma?  Did not Jesus say that at the last day we would be judged for what we did or did not do for "the least of these, My brethren"?  (Read Matthew 25:31-46).  Did not Jesus say that the greatest commandment from the Law is that we love God and love our neighbor?  Dogma and doctrine are indeed important, but where is the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in your oft-combative and defensive approach to preaching your dogmas here, even if they be the Church's doctrines?  Can they not stand on their own merit without you battling others to defend your own personal authority to teach them here?

Quote
But why do you not prove that there is no CONSENSUS ? Prove it !
Easy to do--just show me one or two Fathers who taught differently from the supposed unanimous consensus.  Besides, I'm not the one making outlandish assertions here; YOU ARE.  This puts the onus on you to prove your position; I don't have to prove anything to anyone here, and I'm not going to.

Quote
We have many writings of the Fathers and the Teaching of the  Church, we have the hymnography and the iconography.....

the larger and smaller commentary of St. John Chrysostom on the Genesis and on the creation of the world
St. Ephraim the syrian's commentary on Genesis
Hexameron and On the origin of early man of St. Basil the great
Hexameron, about the Paradise, about Cain and Abel of St. Ambrose of Milan
St. Gregory of Nyssa; On the making of man and his great Catechism
Catechetical lectures of St. Cyrill of Jerusalem
St. Athanasios the great
St. Symeon the New Theologian; The sin of Adam
St. Gregory the Theologian
St. Macarios the great
St. Abba Dorotheos
St. Isaac the syrian
St. Gregory of Sinia ( he "saw" and experienced Paradise like other Saints - St. Euphrosynos the Cook, St. Andrew...)
St. Gregory Palamas
Blessed Augustine wrote also a commentary on Genesis and also in the City of God speaks about some questions ( read with caution)
St. John of Kronstadt
Metropolit Philaret of Moscow
St. John of Damascus; on the orthodox faith ( contains many chapters on questions about the six days..)
and many many others......
St. Nectarios of Aegina
many Elders......

And now prove that there is no "consensus" !
Again, a selected list of Fathers and Holy Elders does not prove unanimity among ALL the Holy Fathers.  Heck, I'd be willing to wager that there isn't even a consensus as to who are Holy Fathers and who are not.

Quote
But please read the Fathers in proper way-the Fathers are not contradicting one another, they only write often from different points but have the same teaching. Or do you think that the Gospels are also a contradiction ? The genealogies of Christ- do you think they are contradicting ?
So the only proper way to read the Fathers is to read into their works an artificial consensus that doesn't exist?  This reeks to me of circular reasoning.  Believing already that the Holy Fathers never contradict each other, you then read their writings to prove that they never contradict each other.

Quote
When you deny that the Church has an exact teaching of creation and the first created man, you can not understand the second Adam and the Orthodox Doctrine of Salvation.

The Orthodox Church has her own " Theory and Philosophy of Creation " - so she can not accept a foreign theory of atheists and and non orthodox or even occultist. When you accept the foreign you have to set aside the orthodox.

And the Evolution theory is only a theory or philosophy and not a fact or science- I am not against true science !
Contrary to your ignorance of what science really is, theory (that is, plausible explanations of observable natural phenomena) is the very goal of science.  Science really doesn't strive to proclaim anything as factual or to prove anything irrefutably.  Science works with what we understand to be facts and strives to construct explanations based on these facts.  Defining science in this way, evolutionary theory is currently seen as the most plausible explanation for the origins of life that we can observe in the fossil record, but maybe scientists will discover some radically new facts that will force them to abandon or seriously modify their current evolutionary theories.

Quote
We should not be against modern science, we should be against any alteration of Orrthodoxy and true science is never against orthodoxy - in the contrary ! I would say secular science is fallible but not Orthodox Doctrine- it is the Truth for eternity. We know that the science often made mistakes- that's normal.
And, though God has revealed His truth for all eternity through Jesus Christ and the Holy Church, His Body, our understanding of this Truth is always incomplete and often in need of correction.

Quote
The Evolution theory is very complex and we would have to talk about many different aspects.

It would be more interesting to start a new thread on; Genesis, creation and the orthodox interpretation of the Fathers. For example the Orthodox Doctrine differs extremly from the RCC Doctrine of the first created man, you will see when you study for example the summa of Thomas from Aquin that he did not believe that Adam was created immortal, only that he had a supernatural grace and so on....

In CHRIST
« Last Edit: December 26, 2007, 05:20:41 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #275 on: December 26, 2007, 05:18:38 PM »

It seems that many are infected by the bacterium of arrogant humanism.  God works always works through science, however that science is often to the humanists, metaphysical.   Which ontologist could cure cancer by applying chicken fat? Or remove brain tumors by porridge soup?  Yet it happens.  The danger of studying science is not science itself but the arrogance of those who study it.
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« Reply #276 on: December 26, 2007, 05:23:51 PM »

It seems that many are infected by the bacterium of arrogant humanism.  God works always works through science, however that science is often to the humanists, metaphysical.   Which ontologist could cure cancer by applying chicken fat? Or remove brain tumors by porridge soup?  Yet it happens.  The danger of studying science is not science itself but the arrogance of those who study it.
With this statement I agree totally, though many scientists do still maintain a very humble approach to their work.

For clarity's sake, I do need to recommend a more correct word for cancer specialist.  The word you really want to use is oncologist.
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« Reply #277 on: December 26, 2007, 05:31:53 PM »



That's why I gave you guidelines for how to prove your case.  Consensus is an extremely difficult thing to prove, since you need to establish that the Fathers were unanimous in their doctrine on a particular matter such as the origins of human life.  If someone could show you and us that several of the Holy Fathers taught otherwise, that the Fathers disagreed with each other, then your assertion of patristic consensus is refuted.
 
Easy to do--just show me one or two Fathers who taught differently from the supposed unanimous consensus.  Besides, I'm not the one making outlandish assertions here; YOU ARE.  This puts the onus on you to prove your position; I don't have to prove anything to anyone here, and I'm not going to.
Again, a selected list of Fathers and Holy Elders does not prove unanimity among ALL the Holy Fathers.  Heck, I'd be willing to wager that there isn't even a consensus as to who are Holy Fathers and who are not.
So the only proper way to read the Fathers is to read into their works an artificial consensus that doesn't exist?  This reeks to me of circular reasoning.  Believing already that the Holy Fathers never contradict each other, you then read their writings to prove that they never contradict each other.
Contrary to your ignorance of what science really is, theory (that is, plausible explanations of observable natural phenomena) is the very goal of science.  Science really doesn't strive to proclaim anything as factual or to prove anything irrefutably.  Science works with what we understand to be facts and strives to construct explanations based on these facts.  Defining science in this way, evolutionary theory is currently seen as the most plausible explanation for the origins of life that we can observe in the fossil record, but maybe scientists will discover some radically new facts that will force them to abandon or seriously modify their current evolutionary theories.
And, though God has revealed His truth for all eternity through Jesus Christ and the Holy Church, His Body, our understanding of this Truth is always incomplete and often in need of correction.


Not to choose sides or anything, but only to offer a little clarification....

CONSENSUS
From dictionary.com: con·sen·sus      /kənˈsɛnsəs/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[kuhn-sen-suhs] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun, plural -sus·es. 1. majority of opinion: The consensus of the group was that they should meet twice a month. 
2. general agreement or concord; harmony. 


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Origin: 1850–55; < L, equiv. to consent(īre) to be in agreement, harmony (con- con- + sentīre to feel; cf. sense) + -tus suffix of v. action]


It's easy to confuse consensus with unanimity.  They are, however, not the same. 

Maybe I'm nit-picking here, but unless you remove the nits, you won't get rid of the lice  Grin.

In Christ,
Jeff
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« Reply #278 on: December 26, 2007, 05:33:10 PM »

Now, having said all of that, my understanding of "evolution", at least as generally discussed by many people as poorly educated as myself, is that it has something to do with one (or more) species changing over a relatively long period of time into another species.  My question is this--is there conclusive, irrefutable, concrete, demonstrable evidence that this has happened?
To provide an answer I hope will be somewhat helpful, I don't know that any of the evidence we see in the fossil record can ever rise to the level of irrefutable evidence of such evolution as you describe above.  The biggest problem is that we're trying to read and interpret fossil deposits spanning several millions of years.  Without a single living intelligent soul in nature who has been around long enough to observe such changes in life forms within his own lifetime, we can never have any incontrovertible certainty that even our own interpretation of the data is correct.
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« Reply #279 on: December 26, 2007, 05:39:16 PM »

Not to choose sides or anything, but only to offer a little clarification....

CONSENSUS
From dictionary.com: con·sen·sus      /kənˈsɛnsəs/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[kuhn-sen-suhs] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation
–noun, plural -sus·es. 1. majority of opinion: The consensus of the group was that they should meet twice a month. 
2. general agreement or concord; harmony. 


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Origin: 1850–55; < L, equiv. to consent(īre) to be in agreement, harmony (con- con- + sentīre to feel; cf. sense) + -tus suffix of v. action]


It's easy to confuse consensus with unanimity.  They are, however, not the same. 

Maybe I'm nit-picking here, but unless you remove the nits, you won't get rid of the lice  Grin.

In Christ,
Jeff

But then, I'm not necessarily speaking of strict unanimity.  Even based on the dictionary definition of consensus you just provided, if one can establish that the Fathers often disagreed with each other, that there is indeed a lack of harmony between the Fathers on certain issues, then we have established indeed that no consensus exists between the Fathers on these issues.

In addition, when we talk about building a dogmatic theology on the supposed "consensus of the Holy Fathers", as though this represents authoritatively the mind of the Holy Spirit within the Church, then unanimity (or at least near-unanimity) needs to be the standard for establishing this consensus, since the Holy Spirit cannot contradict Himself.  If a teaching is indeed that of the Holy Spirit, then He will proclaim this through ALL those indwelt by Him; disagreement between truly Spirit-filled teachers is a good indicator that the teaching is NOT from the Holy Spirit, but is rather the product of human opinion.
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« Reply #280 on: December 26, 2007, 06:02:33 PM »

To provide an answer I hope will be somewhat helpful, I don't know that any of the evidence we see in the fossil record can ever rise to the level of irrefutable evidence of such evolution as you describe above.  The biggest problem is that we're trying to read and interpret fossil deposits spanning several millions of years.  Without a single living intelligent soul in nature who has been around long enough to observe such changes in life forms within his own lifetime, we can never have any incontrovertible certainty that even our own interpretation of the data is correct.

Thanks, Peter.  I understand what you are saying, and from my little bit of knowledge would tend to agree.  However, let me lower the bar a little, if I may.  If evolution, as commonly understood (or, mis-understood) is as I suggested, one species changing into another over time, do we have any evidence beyond the "theoretical" and "hypothetical" that this has occurred?  There are many species of creatures that have, relatively speaking, extremely short life-spans (the fruit fly is one that comes to mind), and I wonder if there has ever been any kind of observation of one species of such short life-span "evolving" into another in such a way that evolutionary "theory" may become more conclusive?

Please excuse my ignorance!

Thanks, and God bless!
Jeff
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« Reply #281 on: December 26, 2007, 06:06:17 PM »

But then, I'm not necessarily speaking of strict unanimity.  Even based on the dictionary definition of consensus you just provided, if one can establish that the Fathers often disagreed with each other, that there is indeed a lack of harmony between the Fathers on certain issues, then we have established indeed that no consensus exists between the Fathers on these issues.

In addition, when we talk about building a dogmatic theology on the supposed "consensus of the Holy Fathers", as though this represents authoritatively the mind of the Holy Spirit within the Church, then unanimity (or at least near-unanimity) needs to be the standard for establishing this consensus, since the Holy Spirit cannot contradict Himself.  If a teaching is indeed that of the Holy Spirit, then He will proclaim this through ALL those indwelt by Him; disagreement between truly Spirit-filled teachers is a good indicator that the teaching is NOT from the Holy Spirit, but is rather the product of human opinion.

Agreed.  Just trying to clarify terms.  A little quirk of mine  Grin.
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« Reply #282 on: December 26, 2007, 06:13:22 PM »

God bless !

Quote
No, I'm not here to play.

Really ?

Quote
Straw man!  I have told you many times that I am not the anti-Traditionalist you represent me to be, for I don't oppose the Sacred Tradition of our Church, the Tradition that I vowed at my chrismation to uphold.  The only thing I oppose is your fundamentalist misrepresentation of our Tradition.

But you try to make important Doctrines relative which are very clear, and that is against Tradition !

Quote
Interesting statements to make, considering that this post I'm dissecting is a reply to a post in which I stated unequivocally my personal belief in Mary's Ever-Virginity.  In addition, I never said I was unqualified to judge WHAT is Orthodox; like you, I question the Orthodoxy of any teaching that opposes belief in Mary's Ever-Virginity and will argue this traditional belief with anyone who questions it.  What I said I am unqualified to judge is WHO within the Church is Orthodox in belief and WHO is not, for I do not presume to know the hearts of men.

Everyone who denies the Evervirginity or other parts of Orthodox Doctrine isn't orthodox !

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That's why I gave you guidelines for how to prove your case.  Consensus is an extremely difficult thing to prove, since you need to establish that the Fathers were unanimous in their doctrine on a particular matter such as the origins of human life.  If someone could show you and us that several of the Holy Fathers taught otherwise, that the Fathers disagreed with each other, then your assertion of patristic consensus is refuted
.

A CONSENSUS is when most of the Fathers agree on one point, it is very easy. When you search for contradiction, you will also find such in the Gospels or the Holy Scriptures ( in reality there is no contradiction ). When one Father believes in the "soul- sleep" and all the others not - that is not a contradiction it is only a mistake of one Father.......

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Yes, and the consensus of the Church is also that you should pay much more attention to repenting of your own sins than on the sins of others.  "Take the log out of your own eye before you presume to take the speck out of your brother's eye," to paraphrase the words of our Lord.  Have not the Holy Fathers and great ascetics also taught us that cultivating the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives (see Galatians 5:22 for St. Paul's description of this fruit) is more important than preaching correct dogma?  Did not Jesus say that at the last day we would be judged for what we did or did not do for "the least of these, My brethren"?  (Read Matthew 25:31-46).  Did not Jesus say that the greatest commandment from the Law is that we love God and love our neighbor?  Dogma and doctrine are indeed important, but where is the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in your oft-combative and defensive approach to preaching your dogmas here, even if they be the Church's doctrines?  Can they not stand on their own merit without you battling others to defend your own personal authority to teach them here?

You are absolute right. I am not judging people of their sins- really, how could I the most sinful beast on earth. But with Doctrines and Dogmas it is different. We have to tell the truth - and keep the Teaching and the Doctrine pure.

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Easy to do--just show me one or two Fathers who taught differently from the supposed unanimous consensus.  Besides, I'm not the one making outlandish assertions here; YOU ARE.  This puts the onus on you to prove your position; I don't have to prove anything to anyone here, and I'm not going to.

What I wrote is not foreign to orthodoxy or outlandish, than would St. Nektarios and all the others be outlandish Huh When you not want to prove anything than do not ask others- this is not honest. You said that there is no consensus - so prove it.

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Again, a selected list of Fathers and Holy Elders does not prove unanimity among ALL the Holy Fathers.  Heck, I'd be willing to wager that there isn't even a consensus as to who are Holy Fathers and who are not.

The list is for you - not for me. You should prove from the list ( or any other) that it is wrong what I wrote.

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So the only proper way to read the Fathers is to read into their works an artificial consensus that doesn't exist?  This reeks to me of circular reasoning.  Believing already that the Holy Fathers never contradict each other, you then read their writings to prove that they never contradict each other.

I could say the same of you, you read them to search for contradiction and you will find when you search enough. It is a weak argument.

But we also have Saints who speak about the consensus and if the fathers were contradicting or not,- and they share not your opinion. Even it is dangerous to think that there is no consensus - you destroy the teaching of orthodoxy ( St. Basil and others always used the consensus as witness) would you also tell him that there is no consensus ?

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Contrary to your ignorance of what science really is, theory (that is, plausible explanations of observable natural phenomena) is the very goal of science.  Science really doesn't strive to proclaim anything as factual or to prove anything irrefutably.  Science works with what we understand to be facts and strives to construct explanations based on these facts.  Defining science in this way, evolutionary theory is currently seen as the most plausible explanation for the origins of life that we can observe in the fossil record, but maybe scientists will discover some radically new facts that will force them to abandon or seriously modify their current evolutionary theories.
And, though God has revealed His truth for all eternity through Jesus Christ and the Holy Church, His Body, our understanding of this Truth is always incomplete and often in need of correction.

We should not confuse pure science with the different philosophical theories written to explain the facts discovered by science. Facts are one thing ( pure science) and explanations of facts is another ( philosophy). And there are scientists who are against evolution theory....the age of the earth.....and so on...

But the problem is that we should not give up our orthodox Doctrine of creation and following some foreign which are contrary to our understanding of man and creation.

Yes we need correction, but not the teaching of the church !

In CHRIST
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« Reply #283 on: December 26, 2007, 06:24:07 PM »

Species evolving into other distinctly different species?  I dont think so.

Orthodoxy and Creationism: Deacon Andrey Kuraev:

....."Darwinist and Neo-Darwinist theories of Evolution do not answer the main question: what is the source of innovation?  Natural selection will only work when the diversity already exists in which the phenomina can occur. Only when some assortment already in place the natural selection may decide which "Model " will go into "mass production" and which model shall be discarded and not produce the offspring. Darwinism does not answer the question where the assortment came from and when this model differentiation took place.

As far as Neo-Darwinism is concerned, I.E. Darwinism crossed with Mutation Theory, you will not have an answer there either.  Mutation Theory points to which door an innovation enters and it is only a direction arrow showing to the door.  It is clear when someone entered the room through the door and not through the window.  It does not however explain why this person appeared at this point in time in this particular place.  Mutation Theory in its original form suggests that mutations occur accidentally, I.E. the factoro acciden exists, and as a result a break in DNA reduplication process takes place, like a typo made by a typist.  The answer to the questionwhy it has happened is usually naive:"It just happened."  Similary, a child playing with the ink bottle on the table drops it on the floor and explains to his mom: "it just happened."

Natural Selection may explain (rather describe, not explain) variety in context of population but it fails to explain the jump from on species to a different one.  This is why Timofejev-Resovsky rightly noted that in his "The Origins of species" Darwin talks about anything but the origins of species.".....
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« Reply #284 on: December 26, 2007, 06:35:08 PM »

I think consensus would be the wrong thing to look for in this case.  It would be entirely anachronistic to look at the fathers for a response to scientific developments of the past few centuries.  Instead it would make sense to look at their intellectual approach.  And I think based on many of those of the Alexandrian school, a strong cause could be made that had today's biological evidence existed during the patristic era it could have been incorporated into their exegesis of Genesis. 

I'd also be cautious of this entire idea of using biblical texts as historical / scientific works.  Even the historical narratives had to go through some filter and have come down to us as theological works. 
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« Reply #285 on: December 26, 2007, 06:57:50 PM »

Species evolving into other distinctly different species?  I dont think so.

Orthodoxy and Creationism: Deacon Andrey Kuraev:

....."Darwinist and Neo-Darwinist theories of Evolution do not answer the main question: what is the source of innovation?  Natural selection will only work when the diversity already exists in which the phenomina can occur. Only when some assortment already in place the natural selection may decide which "Model " will go into "mass production" and which model shall be discarded and not produce the offspring. Darwinism does not answer the question where the assortment came from and when this model differentiation took place.

As far as Neo-Darwinism is concerned, I.E. Darwinism crossed with Mutation Theory, you will not have an answer there either.  Mutation Theory points to which door an innovation enters and it is only a direction arrow showing to the door.  It is clear when someone entered the room through the door and not through the window.  It does not however explain why this person appeared at this point in time in this particular place.  Mutation Theory in its original form suggests that mutations occur accidentally, I.E. the factoro acciden exists, and as a result a break in DNA reduplication process takes place, like a typo made by a typist.  The answer to the questionwhy it has happened is usually naive:"It just happened."  Similary, a child playing with the ink bottle on the table drops it on the floor and explains to his mom: "it just happened."

Natural Selection may explain (rather describe, not explain) variety in context of population but it fails to explain the jump from on species to a different one.  This is why Timofejev-Resovsky rightly noted that in his "The Origins of species" Darwin talks about anything but the origins of species.".....

Hi Joe!

Ok, I'm probably getting in waaaaaaaaaay over my head here but, when most people that I know speak of, say, human evolution, they are thinking that one primate species changed over time into another primate species....us.  I know, pretty basic, and I've probably mis-understood a lot.  Boy, that'll teach me to sleep through those science classes, won't it  Grin?  Perhaps you (or anyone else, for that matter) could clarify for this poor, ignornant, inattentive, sinning old schmo?

Btw, it's nice to see you on a thread other than the one endlessly discussing the demise of the CAF EC thread!

God bless!
Jeff
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« Reply #286 on: December 26, 2007, 07:51:23 PM »

Species evolving into other distinctly different species?  I dont think so.

Orthodoxy and Creationism: Deacon Andrey Kuraev:

....."Darwinist and Neo-Darwinist theories of Evolution do not answer the main question: what is the source of innovation?  Natural selection will only work when the diversity already exists in which the phenomina can occur. Only when some assortment already in place the natural selection may decide which "Model " will go into "mass production" and which model shall be discarded and not produce the offspring. Darwinism does not answer the question where the assortment came from and when this model differentiation took place.

As far as Neo-Darwinism is concerned, I.E. Darwinism crossed with Mutation Theory, you will not have an answer there either.  Mutation Theory points to which door an innovation enters and it is only a direction arrow showing to the door.  It is clear when someone entered the room through the door and not through the window.  It does not however explain why this person appeared at this point in time in this particular place.  Mutation Theory in its original form suggests that mutations occur accidentally, I.E. the factoro acciden exists, and as a result a break in DNA reduplication process takes place, like a typo made by a typist.  The answer to the questionwhy it has happened is usually naive:"It just happened."  Similary, a child playing with the ink bottle on the table drops it on the floor and explains to his mom: "it just happened."

Natural Selection may explain (rather describe, not explain) variety in context of population but it fails to explain the jump from on species to a different one.  This is why Timofejev-Resovsky rightly noted that in his "The Origins of species" Darwin talks about anything but the origins of species.".....

God bless !

The question of Evolution is an extrem important one for orthodox Christians, for in it are involved many questions which directly affect our Orthodox Doctrine and outlook: the relative worth of science and theology, of modern philosophy and Patristic teaching; the Doctrine of man ( anthroplogy): our attitude toward the writings of the Holy Fathers ( do we really take seriously their writings and try to live by them, or do we first believe in modern "wisdom", the wisdom of this world and accept the teaching of the Fathers only if it harmonizes with this wisdom?) our interpretation of the Holy Scriptures and especially the book of Genesis.

What is evolution:

A specific theory concerning HOW creatures came to be in time: BY MEANS OF THE TRANSFORMATION OF ONE KIND OF CREATURE INTO ANOTHER; COMPLEX FORMS BEING DERIVED FROM SIMPLER FORMS-IN A NATURAL PROCESS TAKING COUNTLESS MILLIONS OF YEARS. ( general zoology)

There is of course a change and development in Nature but not a transformation from one kind into another.

Why was the "first" day in Genesis not called first but ONE ? Because God created time and the meassure of a day.
Why was the sun created on the fourth day when vegetation, plants, seed.....was created on the third day ?? How will they expain it ?

The vegetation brought forth seeds, "each according to its kind !!

St. Joh of Damascus:

From the earth God formed his body and by his own inbreathing gave him rational and understanding soul, which last we say is the divine image ....THE BODY AND THE SOUL WERE FORMED AT THE SAME TIME- NOT ONE BEFORE AND THE OTHER AFTERWARDS; AS THE RAVINGS OF ORIGINES WOULD HAVE IT.

It is a heresy to say the body and the soul were created not at the same time !

St. Gregory of Nyssa:

...Others, on the contrary marking the order of the creation of man as stated by Moses, say that the soul is second to the body in order of time, since God took dust from the earth and formed man, and then animated the being thus formed by His breath; and by this argument they prove that the flesh is more noble than the soul, that wich was previously formed than that which was afterwards infused into it: for they say that the soul was made for the body, that the thing formed might not be without breath and motionm and that everything that is made for something else is surely less precious than that for which it is made......The Doctrine of both is rejected.

But as man is one , the being consisting of soul and body, we are to suppose that the beginning of his existence IS ONE.

Adam was created directly by God and his "hands" and did not evolve from other creatures.How will you understand the millions of years of the evolutionists of corruption, death and decay of the beasts before Adam when also the state of the animals were different ?

How was Adam evolved from mortal beasts when he was immortal........?

How will evolutionists explain the immortal nature of Adam, or the incorrupt nature of the beasts and whole creature ?

The Holy Bible says God ordered and there were.....instantly and not after millions of years. What is with the animals in paradise. How will evolutionists explain fragrant trees and that beasts did not kill other beasts and were not carnivorous ?

There are so many things which are contrary to orthodox Doctrine that it is hard to present all !

In CHRIST
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« Reply #287 on: December 26, 2007, 08:35:34 PM »

There is of course a change and development in Nature but not a transformation from one kind into another.
Isn't "kind", though, somewhat of an arbitrary concept, synonymous with that of "species" discussed earlier on this thread?

Quote
Why was the "first" day in Genesis not called first but ONE ? Because God created time and the meassure of a day.
Why was the sun created on the fourth day when vegetation, plants, seed.....was created on the third day ?? How will they expain it ?

The vegetation brought forth seeds, "each according to its kind !!

St. Joh of Damascus:

From the earth God formed his body and by his own inbreathing gave him rational and understanding soul, which last we say is the divine image ....THE BODY AND THE SOUL WERE FORMED AT THE SAME TIME- NOT ONE BEFORE AND THE OTHER AFTERWARDS; AS THE RAVINGS OF ORIGINES WOULD HAVE IT.

It is a heresy to say the body and the soul were created not at the same time !

St. Gregory of Nyssa:

...Others, on the contrary marking the order of the creation of man as stated by Moses, say that the soul is second to the body in order of time, since God took dust from the earth and formed man, and then animated the being thus formed by His breath; and by this argument they prove that the flesh is more noble than the soul, that wich was previously formed than that which was afterwards infused into it: for they say that the soul was made for the body, that the thing formed might not be without breath and motionm and that everything that is made for something else is surely less precious than that for which it is made......The Doctrine of both is rejected.

But as man is one , the being consisting of soul and body, we are to suppose that the beginning of his existence IS ONE.

Adam was created directly by God and his "hands" and did not evolve from other creatures.
But what many here have been saying is that the idea that God created Adam by His own hands, however we are to understand this creative mystery, is not contradicted by belief that man evolved from lower life forms.  Maybe in our limited understanding of the creation mystery, we can say that evolution was the means, the "how", by which God created Adam "by His own hands".  So let us not follow too closely a literal interpretation of the Scriptures on this account.  FWIW, are you not aware that the "Seven-Day Creation" narrative (Genesis 1:1 - 2:3) speaks of God creating Man after all the other things and that the narrative immediately following (Genesis 2:4-9) has God creating Man before all other forms of life?  How do you explain this obvious contradiction?

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How will you understand the millions of years of the evolutionists of corruption, death and decay of the beasts before Adam when also the state of the animals were different ?

How was Adam evolved from mortal beasts when he was immortal........?

How will evolutionists explain the immortal nature of Adam, or the incorrupt nature of the beasts and whole creature ?
How do you explain the statement that God formed Man out of the dust of the earth?  What is this "dust of the earth" if not the realm of nature?  Does not evolution possibly fit this definition of "dust of the earth"?

Quote
The Holy Bible says God ordered and there were.....instantly and not after millions of years.
But what does instantly mean to God?  Are not the multiple aeons of this earth from beginning to end all as one moment, the eternal NOW, to God?  Could not millions of years to our frame of reference be as "one instant" (i.e., instantly) to God's frame of reference?

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What is with the animals in paradise. How will evolutionists explain fragrant trees and that beasts did not kill other beasts and were not carnivorous ?

There are so many things which are contrary to orthodox Doctrine that it is hard to present all !
I've heard this attributed to St. Basil the Great, whose authority I do not question.  The only question I do have to ask is this:  Are we to recognize St. Basil as truly representative of the whole of the Patristic Tradition?  Recognize his teachings as bearing spiritual authority?  ABSOLUTELY!  Recognize St. Basil's teaching on the creation mystery as dogmatically binding on the faithful?  HEAVENS NO!  The question is not the authority of the Holy Fathers; the question is our own dogmatic theologies, the systems of dogmatics that we would strive to build on the authoritative witness of the Holy Fathers, the systems by which we decide what is NOT Orthodox.  The spiritual authority of great holy men and women does not equate with the dogmatic authority by which we would presume to pronounce anathema upon those who disagree.
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« Reply #288 on: December 27, 2007, 12:54:37 AM »

If evolution, as commonly understood (or, mis-understood) is as I suggested, one species changing into another over time,
It's not. This is a misunderstanding, and is not the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution (or, as it is also called, natural selection) states that each generation of a species will be more suited to its parents' environment than the previous generation was. Sometimes this involves the classification of some members of the new generation as a new species, and sometimes it does not. Lack of speciation does not indicate lack of natural selection.

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do we have any evidence beyond the "theoretical" and "hypothetical" that this has occurred?
In science, there is nothing beyond theory. A theory is an explanation for the facts. The word theoretical to a scientist does not mean that the findings are in doubt. Rather, a hypothesis must be verifiable and stand the test of time before it can be called a theory. Scientific theories are indeed quite sound.

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There are many species of creatures that have, relatively speaking, extremely short life-spans (the fruit fly is one that comes to mind), and I wonder if there has ever been any kind of observation of one species of such short life-span "evolving" into another in such a way that evolutionary "theory" may become more conclusive?
IIRC, some British scientist studying in the Galapagos observed just this phenomenon in finches. He might just have written something about it. Roll Eyes
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« Reply #289 on: December 27, 2007, 01:09:42 AM »

IIRC, some British scientist studying in the Galapagos observed just this phenomenon in finches. He might just have written something about it. Roll Eyes

Yeah, the different "species" of Galapagos finches that interbreed and produce fertile young even in the wild.  Roll Eyes Not exactly the strongest example of speciation.
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« Reply #290 on: December 27, 2007, 03:04:06 AM »

Reflecting on this, I find the very phrase that Peter used very striking, "created by the hand of God."  Interestingly enough, in Islam's version of the patristic era this type of language in sacred texts was a great source of controversy.  This lead to some groups, like the Hanbali school of jurisprudence, to outright accept anthropomorphic descriptions of God as being literally true to some extent.  Others rejected that anthropomorphic imagery could be anything but allegorical.  The Christian patristic consensus entirely rejects any sort of Divine anthropomorphism.  If that is the case, then it is entirely possible for some Biblical passages to be entirely allegorical.  The Fathers did not live in a vacuum.  They were influenced by their cultural milieu; they were trained philosophy, rhetoric and the other sciences of their time.  It is certainly reasonable to ask whether they would have adjusted their exegesis of Genesis had they lived in a society that accepts the scientific validity of evolutionary biology.  And on that last point, other than a few religious zealots with an ax to grind, nobody in the developed world is disputing evolution.   
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« Reply #291 on: December 27, 2007, 03:33:39 AM »

The Fathers did not live in a vacuum.  They were influenced by their cultural milieu; they were trained philosophy, rhetoric and the other sciences of their time.  It is certainly reasonable to ask whether they would have adjusted their exegesis of Genesis had they lived in a society that accepts the scientific validity of evolutionary biology.

I would suggest that if the question of whether the Fathers 'would have adjusted their exegesis of Genesis had they lived in a society that accepts the scientific validity of evolutionary biology' were posed directly to them, that many of them would answer negatively. Such a hypothesis is not completely without basis. As I suggested earlier in this thread, if one reads, for example, Sts Basil and John Chrysostom, one gets the sense that they saw in Genesis divine, and hence priveleged, insight into the origins of the universe; this divine insight was taken to hold precedence before any naturalistic attempt at explaining the origins of man and the universe. If God, the One directly responsible for creation, spoke to Moses about His own creative works, then what more reliable and trustworthy source of such information would one need outside of Moses' own testimony? You can dismiss this as a reductionist and simplistic approach to Genesis, but it certainly seems to be the approach of Sts Basil and John Chrysostom. The intentional aim of such Fathers when approaching Genesis therefore, was to let Genesis speak for itself--to discern what God has to say on the matter, rather than to align Genesis--the insight of God--to the cultural/philosophical worldviews and ideas popular in their day.

For the Fathers, Scriptural exegesis was never determined by secular ideologies, but rather by the faith of the Church (or the rule of faith, or tradition). The Fathers were neither Neo-Platonists, nor Middle-Platonists, nor Stoics, nor anything other than Christians. They utilised the philosophies in their day critically and tactfully, insofar as they, in their discernment, thought it profitable or necessary to do so to promote the faith sourced in revelation. The cosmology of the Fathers was sourced in revelation--the Scriptures, which they sought to interpret in light of the faith of the Church.
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« Reply #292 on: December 27, 2007, 10:12:58 AM »

Yeah, the different "species" of Galapagos finches that interbreed and produce fertile young even in the wild.  Roll Eyes Not exactly the strongest example of speciation.
This is debatable, but as I said in that same post:
The theory of evolution (or, as it is also called, natural selection) states that each generation of a species will be more suited to its parents' environment than the previous generation was. Sometimes this involves the classification of some members of the new generation as a new species, and sometimes it does not. Lack of speciation does not indicate lack of natural selection.
So, then, even if Darwin did not observe true speciation (and that depends on your definition of speciation), he most definitely observed evolution in progress. Therefore, his book is considered to be the first definitive work on the law of evolution.
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« Reply #293 on: December 27, 2007, 03:56:49 PM »

I would suggest that if the question of whether the Fathers 'would have adjusted their exegesis of Genesis had they lived in a society that accepts the scientific validity of evolutionary biology' were posed directly to them, that many of them would answer negatively. Such a hypothesis is not completely without basis. As I suggested earlier in this thread, if one reads, for example, Sts Basil and John Chrysostom, one gets the sense that they saw in Genesis divine, and hence priveleged, insight into the origins of the universe; this divine insight was taken to hold precedence before any naturalistic attempt at explaining the origins of man and the universe. If God, the One directly responsible for creation, spoke to Moses about His own creative works, then what more reliable and trustworthy source of such information would one need outside of Moses' own testimony? You can dismiss this as a reductionist and simplistic approach to Genesis, but it certainly seems to be the approach of Sts Basil and John Chrysostom. The intentional aim of such Fathers when approaching Genesis therefore, was to let Genesis speak for itself--to discern what God has to say on the matter, rather than to align Genesis--the insight of God--to the cultural/philosophical worldviews and ideas popular in their day.

For the Fathers, Scriptural exegesis was never determined by secular ideologies, but rather by the faith of the Church (or the rule of faith, or tradition). The Fathers were neither Neo-Platonists, nor Middle-Platonists, nor Stoics, nor anything other than Christians. They utilised the philosophies in their day critically and tactfully, insofar as they, in their discernment, thought it profitable or necessary to do so to promote the faith sourced in revelation. The cosmology of the Fathers was sourced in revelation--the Scriptures, which they sought to interpret in light of the faith of the Church.

In the end, we are blessed by the fact that modern pharmaceutical researchers and molecular biologists are wise beyond comparison to various fourth and fifth century personalities. They have, of course, been blessed by true knowledge, beyond what could ever be achieved via theological agenda; but they have taken this knowledge and it is used to real and tangable benefit to the human race. At the end of the day, what it comes down to is that evolutionary theory has benefited humanity in ways that no theology, especially creationism, could ever dream of doing; it is the very basis and foundation of modern biology and medicine which has given blessings, unparalled in the history of the world, to the human race.
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« Reply #294 on: December 27, 2007, 04:54:22 PM »

It's not. This is a misunderstanding, and is not the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution (or, as it is also called, natural selection) states that each generation of a species will be more suited to its parents' environment than the previous generation was. Sometimes this involves the classification of some members of the new generation as a new species, and sometimes it does not. Lack of speciation does not indicate lack of natural selection.
In science, there is nothing beyond theory. A theory is an explanation for the facts. The word theoretical to a scientist does not mean that the findings are in doubt. Rather, a hypothesis must be verifiable and stand the test of time before it can be called a theory. Scientific theories are indeed quite sound.
IIRC, some British scientist studying in the Galapagos observed just this phenomenon in finches. He might just have written something about it. Roll Eyes

Thanks for that.  Some of the gaping holes in my dismal education are now somewhat smaller  Grin

So, let me ask this--if, as you say, "The theory of evolution (or, as it is also called, natural selection) states that each generation of a species will be more suited to its parents' environment than the previous generation was.", how might you apply that to human beings?  As I, perhaps mistakenly, understand it, a human generation consists of roughly 30 years.  While the macro- and micro-environments for humans have continued to change in one way or another, how have we, as a "species" for lack of a better word, "become more suited" to the environment(s) of previous generations?  We have access to a greater body of (worldly) knowledge/information; we have lots of technological do-dads of highly questionable value; we have the potential capability to obliterate ourselves almost instantaneously..., but are we "more suited" to our, or our parents' environments?  If so, how?  And has there been any perceptible increase in said suitability over the last, say, 300-400 generations?  Or is that not long enough for any such change to register in such a manner that might be observed? 

Ok, I guess that's enough questions for 1 post. 

Thanks for your patience!!

And God bless!
Jeff
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« Reply #295 on: December 27, 2007, 05:19:10 PM »

In the end, we are blessed by the fact that modern pharmaceutical researchers and molecular biologists are wise beyond comparison to various fourth and fifth century personalities. They have, of course, been blessed by true knowledge, beyond what could ever be achieved via theological agenda; but they have taken this knowledge and it is used to real and tangable benefit to the human race. At the end of the day, what it comes down to is that evolutionary theory has benefited humanity in ways that no theology, especially creationism, could ever dream of doing; it is the very basis and foundation of modern biology and medicine which has given blessings, unparalled in the history of the world, to the human race.

You are correct as far as it goes.  In a "worldly" sense, we may in some ways be better off.  But what about the state of our souls, you know, all that "not-of-this-world" kind of stuff which our faith, such as we have it, addresses?  Are we just biological entities with no stake in the Kingdom of God?  And what about the notion, not originally formulated by me, that the blessings you speak about above are driven by, amongst other things, an extreme fear of death based upon an unacknowledged lack of trust in or even total disbelief in God?

Hmmmm.....Am I getting too far off-topic?

In Christ,
Jeff
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« Reply #296 on: December 27, 2007, 05:26:09 PM »

300-400 generations! Certainly there have been changes in that time--you're talking about 9,000 to 12,000 years!

Here's an example from history: When the Europeans began to colonize the New World, some tof the explorers and colonists carried with them the smallpox virus. The native populations suffered greatly, with as high as a 50% mortality rate. The Europeans also suffered with the disease, but their mortality rate was much lower.1

Why is this? In the late Middle Ages and early modern age, wave after wave of smallpox spread across Europe. By the law of evolution, we know that those who did not die of the disease carried at least some resistance to it, and by the laws of genetics, that they also would pass this resistance to their children. Therefore, the next generation of Europeans was, on the whole, more resistant to the virus than the previous generation was. Over time, this resistance became much greater than the resistance the native Americans had. So when the disease was spread equally among European colonists and native Americans, more native Americans died than colonists.

This is clearly not an example of speciation, as humans in Europe and in America are both homo sapiens. But it is an example of evolution, because one group of humans was more suited to an environment with a rampant smallpox virus than another group was, and each because of the environment of previous generations.

1 Source: Christopher J. Hogan, MD
http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic885.htm


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« Reply #297 on: December 27, 2007, 05:40:45 PM »

In the end, we are blessed by the fact that modern pharmaceutical researchers and molecular biologists are wise beyond comparison to various fourth and fifth century personalities. They have, of course, been blessed by true knowledge, beyond what could ever be achieved via theological agenda; but they have taken this knowledge and it is used to real and tangable benefit to the human race. At the end of the day, what it comes down to is that evolutionary theory has benefited humanity in ways that no theology, especially creationism, could ever dream of doing; it is the very basis and foundation of modern biology and medicine which has given blessings, unparalled in the history of the world, to the human race.

God bless !

There are different kinds of KNOWLEDGE, and the knowledge that comes directly from God is quiete distinct from that which proceeds from man's natural powers. St. Isaac the Syrian distinguishes these kinds of KNOWLEDGE in the following way:

Knowledge which is concerned with the visible, or which receives through the senses what comes from the visible, is called natural.

Kowledge which is concerned with the power of the immaterial and the nature of incorporal entities within a man is called spiritual, because perceptions are received by the spirit and not by the senses.

Because of these two origins ( perceptions of the visible and of the spiritual) each kind of knowledge alike comes to the soul from without. But the Knowledge bestowed by Divine power is called supra-natural; it is more unfathomable and is higher than knowledge. Contemplation of this knowledge comes to the soul not from matter, which is outside it .....It manifests and reveals itself in the innermost depths of the soul itself, immaterially, suddenly, spontaneously, and unexpectedly, since according to the words of Christ, " the Kingdom of God is within you" ( Luk 17:21).

So there is a lower "knowledge" and a higher one, the Holy Fathers from the 4th cent. can be wiser than modern scientists because they have a different source of Knowledge- Divine Vision!

IN CHRIST
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« Reply #298 on: December 27, 2007, 06:10:38 PM »

300-400 generations! Certainly there have been changes in that time--you're talking about 9,000 to 12,000 years!

Here's an example from history: When the Europeans began to colonize the New World, some tof the explorers and colonists carried with them the smallpox virus. The native populations suffered greatly, with as high as a 50% mortality rate. The Europeans also suffered with the disease, but their mortality rate was much lower.1

Why is this? In the late Middle Ages and early modern age, wave after wave of smallpox spread across Europe. By the law of evolution, we know that those who did not die of the disease carried at least some resistance to it, and by the laws of genetics, that they also would pass this resistance to their children. Therefore, the next generation of Europeans was, on the whole, more resistant to the virus than the previous generation was. Over time, this resistance became much greater than the resistance the native Americans had. So when the disease was spread equally among European colonists and native Americans, more native Americans died than colonists.

This is clearly not an example of speciation, as humans in Europe and in America are both homo sapiens. But it is an example of evolution, because one group of humans was more suited to an environment with a rampant smallpox virus than another group was, and each because of the environment of previous generations.

1 Source: Christopher J. Hogan, MD
http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic885.htm




Yes, I'm well aware of the example you cite and, to a certain extent, how immunity can be acquired..  And thank you for it.  But something still nags at the back of my mind, and I'm not quite sure what it is.  Perhaps it has something to do with GiC's post about better living through chemistry, and I'm wondering if a lot of the discussion here is, ultimately,  more about worldly materialism vs. keeping our eyes and mind on Christ while still being in the world as opposed to Creationism v. Evolution?  Or am I twisting things around in my little 1/2 brain cell?

Apologies for the extent of my density!

In Christ,
Jeff
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« Reply #299 on: December 27, 2007, 06:40:32 PM »

300-400 generations! Certainly there have been changes in that time--you're talking about 9,000 to 12,000 years!

Here's an example from history: When the Europeans began to colonize the New World, some tof the explorers and colonists carried with them the smallpox virus. The native populations suffered greatly, with as high as a 50% mortality rate. The Europeans also suffered with the disease, but their mortality rate was much lower.1

Why is this? In the late Middle Ages and early modern age, wave after wave of smallpox spread across Europe. By the law of evolution, we know that those who did not die of the disease carried at least some resistance to it, and by the laws of genetics, that they also would pass this resistance to their children. Therefore, the next generation of Europeans was, on the whole, more resistant to the virus than the previous generation was. Over time, this resistance became much greater than the resistance the native Americans had. So when the disease was spread equally among European colonists and native Americans, more native Americans died than colonists.

This is clearly not an example of speciation, as humans in Europe and in America are both homo sapiens. But it is an example of evolution, because one group of humans was more suited to an environment with a rampant smallpox virus than another group was, and each because of the environment of previous generations.

1 Source: Christopher J. Hogan, MD
http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic885.htm




Is there such a thing as micro-evolution, that is, a change affecting one population segment of a species, as opposed to macro-evolution, i.e. a change affecting the whole species?  If so, is not the example you cite an example of the former, not the latter? 

Also, I'm certainly no geneticist, but I seriously doubt that my immunity to small-pox, acquired not from my parents but, supposedly, from my childhood small-pox vaccination, has been passed on to my son.  Besides, there is also the extremely important issue of susceptibility, which would explain why there was a 50% mortality rate of those who actually caught the disease instead of 60%, 70%, or 100% (but now we're getting off topic so I'll leave it at that).  So, perhaps that's not the most appropriate example to use. 
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« Reply #300 on: December 27, 2007, 06:42:03 PM »

You are correct as far as it goes.  In a "worldly" sense, we may in some ways be better off.  But what about the state of our souls, you know, all that "not-of-this-world" kind of stuff which our faith, such as we have it, addresses?  Are we just biological entities with no stake in the Kingdom of God?  And what about the notion, not originally formulated by me, that the blessings you speak about above are driven by, amongst other things, an extreme fear of death based upon an unacknowledged lack of trust in or even total disbelief in God?

If you think these things are so evil you can easily move to a developing nation and adopt a lifestyle that is centuries behind western standards.  And if you read some actual history of day to day life in previous centuries and not some romantic account, I think you'll find that in many cases it is much easier to live a Christian life in our society.  For instance Hoch's Serfdom and Social Control in Russia.   

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« Reply #301 on: December 27, 2007, 06:44:33 PM »

Also, I'm certainly no geneticist, but I seriously doubt that my immunity to small-pox, acquired not from my parents but, supposedly, from my childhood small-pox vaccination, has been passed on to my son.  So, perhaps that's not the most appropriate example to use.
Ah, but you live after the invention of the smallpox vaccine. The situation I cited took place long before vaccines; therefore, it was a true case of natural selection.
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« Reply #302 on: December 27, 2007, 06:45:41 PM »

For the Fathers, Scriptural exegesis was never determined by secular ideologies, but rather by the faith of the Church (or the rule of faith, or tradition). The Fathers were neither Neo-Platonists, nor Middle-Platonists, nor Stoics, nor anything other than Christians.

That's a blend of wishful thinking and hagiography at best. 
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« Reply #303 on: December 27, 2007, 07:07:59 PM »

If you think these things are so evil you can easily move to a developing nation and adopt a lifestyle that is centuries behind western standards.  And if you read some actual history of day to day life in previous centuries and not some romantic account, I think you'll find that in many cases it is much easier to live a Christian life in our society.  For instance Hoch's Serfdom and Social Control in Russia.   



I never said they "are so evil".  Things in and of themselves are not evil.  It is how we use or mis-use them--but I think you probably already know that.  And I have lived in a developing nation.  And I never said that I didn't appreciate my comforts, and the material benefits we have in this society.  Perhaps you should re-read my posts without assuming what my values are or where I have and have not been in life.  And have you lived, as a Christian, in a society whose lifestyle is centuries behind ours?  It is never easy to live a truely Christian life, and each age has its own peculiar challenges.  One of ours is the rampant materialism that seduces so very many of us in so very many and subtle ways.

In Christ,
Jeff
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« Reply #304 on: December 27, 2007, 10:30:37 PM »

That's a blend of wishful thinking and hagiography at best.

Don't patronise me. These are the conclusions i've drawn after a careful study of the methodology of certain Fathers, particularly as such a methodology is manifest in light of their debates with pagans and heretics--especially the latter given that the major problem of the early heretics was their succumbing to popular philosophical ideas and concepts to the detriment of the faith of the Church. They began with theories; the Fathers began with revelation. We can start a new thread on this very general subject and we can begin with St Gregory of Nyssa as a case study (since I am in the process of reading a thesis on his theology) if you wish. I am prepared to back up the points i've made with reference to primary and secondary sources. Are you? I would hope you have the ability to properly engage with my arguments. I have already demonstrated, no matter how briefly, how the Fathers approached Genesis; you've presented nothing but conjecture.
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« Reply #305 on: December 27, 2007, 10:38:05 PM »

In the end, we are blessed by the fact that modern pharmaceutical researchers and molecular biologists are wise beyond comparison to various fourth and fifth century personalities. They have, of course, been blessed by true knowledge, beyond what could ever be achieved via theological agenda; but they have taken this knowledge and it is used to real and tangable benefit to the human race. At the end of the day, what it comes down to is that evolutionary theory has benefited humanity in ways that no theology, especially creationism, could ever dream of doing; it is the very basis and foundation of modern biology and medicine which has given blessings, unparalled in the history of the world, to the human race.

I'm really not concerned with the evolution vs. creationism debate per se. I am just concerned with how evolutionists try to uphold the theory of evolution whilst attempting simultaneously to maintain the integrity of the Fathers with arguments like: "Had evolution been the popular scientific explanation of creation at the time, they would have adopted it." All the evidence suggests that consideration of any popular scientific/philosophical idea in their day was subject first and foremost to their conception of the faith of the Church as it was borne out by divine revelation. Given that the Fathers saw their cosmology as being based on such divine revelation, it follows that any cosmological theory opposed to such a cosmology would have been dismissed. Do you acknowledge this? If not, I would hope to see you at least demonstrate your opposing view. If you could begin by engaging with the quotations provided earlier, that would be great.
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« Reply #306 on: December 27, 2007, 10:47:13 PM »

I'm really not concerned with the evolution vs. creationism debate per se. I am just concerned with how evolutionists try to uphold the theory of evolution whilst attempting simultaneously to maintain the integrity of the Fathers with arguments like: "Had evolution been the popular scientific explanation of creation at the time, they would have adopted it." All the evidence suggests that they would never have given that consideration to any popular idea in their day was subject first and foremost to their conception of the faith of the Church as it was borne out by divine revelation. Given that the Fathers' saw their cosmology as being based on such divine revelation, it follows that any cosmological theory opposed to such a cosmology would have been dismissed. Do you acknowledge this? If not, I would hope to see you at least demonstrate your opposing view. If you could begin by engaging with the quotations provided earlier, that would be great.

The entire question is inherently one of conjecture: if they overwhelming evidence of evolution had existed in the Patristic era, would the fathers have incorporated it into their exegesis of Genesis?  And, yes, I can cite both primary and secondary sources to my claim that the church fathers did partake of a spirit of reactionary anti-intellectualism that seems to define modern Orthodox theology.  I mentioned some of them before in this thread.  And I'm not really that interested in carrying this debate any further - apparently what men of the early Christian era thought about near eastern mythology and folklore is your life's work and for me it's just a hobby. 
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« Reply #307 on: December 27, 2007, 11:38:59 PM »

Quote
The entire question is inherently one of conjecture:


Not entirely. A plausible logical inference can be made if we can establish a premise concerning how the Fathers actually approached popular philosophical/scientific ideas of their day, in addition to a premise concerning how they approached the Book of Genesis in particular. The general argument I am making is simple:

Premise A: The Fathers subjected every popular philosophical/scientific idea to their conception of the faith of the Church as it was borne out by revelation. In any given conflict between philosophy/science and revelation; the latter took precedence.

Premise B: The Fathers' cosmological views were based on their conception of the divine insight provided by the revelation of Genesis.

Conclusion A: Any popular cosmological view contrary to the Fathers' conception of the divine insight provided by the revelation of Genesis would be rejected by the Fathers.

Premise C: The theory of evolution is contrary to the Fathers' conception of the divine insight provided by the revelation of Genesis.

Conclusion B: The theory of evolution would be rejected by the Fathers, even if it constituted the popular scientific view of their day.

Quote
And, yes, I can cite both primary and secondary sources to my claim that the church fathers did partake of a spirit of reactionary anti-intellectualism that seems to define modern Orthodox theology.


Well, our little debate ends here then doesn't it? I am not here to argue how to interpret the Fathers' subjection of philosophy/science to revelation, only to argue that such a methodology defined the predominant patristic approach.
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« Reply #308 on: December 28, 2007, 01:02:37 AM »



Not entirely. A plausible logical inference can be made if we can establish a premise concerning how the Fathers actually approached popular philosophical/scientific ideas of their day, in addition to a premise concerning how they approached the Book of Genesis in particular. The general argument I am making is simple:

Premise A: The Fathers subjected every popular philosophical/scientific idea to their conception of the faith of the Church as it was borne out by revelation. In any given conflict between philosophy/science and revelation; the latter took precedence.

Premise B: The Fathers' cosmological views were based on their conception of the divine insight provided by the revelation of Genesis.

Conclusion A: Any popular cosmological view contrary to the Fathers' conception of the divine insight provided by the revelation of Genesis would be rejected by the Fathers.

Premise C: The theory of evolution is contrary to the Fathers' conception of the divine insight provided by the revelation of Genesis.

Conclusion B: The theory of evolution would be rejected by the Fathers, even if it constituted the popular scientific view of their day.
 

Well, our little debate ends here then doesn't it? I am not here to argue how to interpret the Fathers' subjection of philosophy/science to revelation, only to argue that such a methodology defined the predominant patristic approach.
I read this a few times and it still came out the same way; if I am not mistaken what you're saying is
  • I Believe that the church Fathers were obscurantists.
  • Threfore the fathers would reject biological evolutuion if they had seen it.
Which is a very poor argument to make.
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« Reply #309 on: December 28, 2007, 02:02:47 AM »

I read this a few times and it still came out the same way; if I am not mistaken what you're saying is
  • I Believe that the church Fathers were obscurantists.

Huh?  Huh

Maybe you need to read it a few more times, because I am at a complete loss as to how you could infer any suggestion in anything i've said, about the Fathers being vague about anything.
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« Reply #310 on: December 28, 2007, 02:29:17 AM »

    Huh?  Huh

    Maybe you need to read it a few more times, because I am at a complete loss as to how you could infer any suggestion about the Fathers being vague about anything. [/list]
    Well let's examine what you had as your premises and major/minor conclusions then. I am sure that with some clarifications you should be able either to see how I came to see your post as merely advocating obscurantism or you will be able to clarify your intended meaning and thus lay to rest my misgivings.

    You said

    • Premise A: The Fathers subjected every popular philosophical/scientific idea to their conception of the faith of the Church as it was borne out by revelation. In any given conflict between philosophy/science and revelation; the latter took precedence.
    OK, this seems quite legitimate, except that it does not really tell us anything about what the church Fathers really did think about Genesis 1, nor what the Church taught about genesis 1. If you have the chance to check through the writings of such fathers as saint Augustine you will find that simple literalism was not the norm in reading and interpreting Genesis 1.
    • Premise B: The Fathers' cosmological views were based on their conception of the divine insight provided by the revelation of Genesis.
    • Conclusion A: Any popular cosmological view contrary to the Fathers' conception of the divine insight provided by the revelation of Genesis would be rejected by the Fathers.
    • Premise C: The theory of evolution is contrary to the Fathers' conception of the divine insight provided by the revelation of Genesis.
    Well, here we have a claim that is not substantiated with evidence. But before we get too caught up in the details it is worth considering what the Fathers would have had an opportunity to know about biology and evolution otherwise we'll be discussing the topic at cross purposes.
    (1)The Fathers had access to ideas and theories about the earth being rather ancient and more than a mere 4 or so thousand years old, and we do have some evidence that some of the fathers at least accepted those ideas or theories rather than taking a literalist view of Genesis.
    (2)The Fathers were not familiar with Darwinian views about natural selection nor with Darwinian evidence about speciation because they did not have access to the volume of data that Darwin had access to so we can expect no sensible comment from the fathers about subjects that were not within their grasp.

    • Conclusion B: The theory of evolution would be rejected by the Fathers, even if it constituted the popular scientific view of their day.
    This is begging the question given that we have no reason to suppose that either the Church or the Fathers would have rejected biological evolution if they had the volume of evidence that is possessed today, that is why the Church does not reject biological evolution as a matter of faith today because she has the evidence and there is no reason to reject the theory.
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    « Reply #311 on: December 28, 2007, 02:30:22 AM »

    Not entirely. A plausible logical inference can be made if we can establish a premise concerning how the Fathers actually approached popular philosophical/scientific ideas of their day, in addition to a premise concerning how they approached the Book of Genesis in particular. The general argument I am making is simple:

    But as ytterbiumanalyst has astutely pointed out, the theory of evolution is not a "popular philosophical/scientific idea."  It has been tested by science and so far has passed the test with flying colours.  It is no more a "theory" in the popular sense of the term than the theory of gravity is a "theory".   In fact, it may well have more solid backing than the theory of gravity does at this point in time!  Do you really believe that some of the Fathers would have stubbornly clung to a literal interpretation of Genesis (or even an allegorical one that had no room in it for science) if they had been exposed to the overwhelming evidence that modern science conveys concerning evolution?


    Quote
    Premise C: The theory of evolution is contrary to the Fathers' conception of the divine insight provided by the revelation of Genesis.

    But that's just it!  There need be no  contradiction whatsoever, as far as the spirit
    of what the Fathers taught is concerned.


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    « Reply #312 on: December 28, 2007, 02:50:06 AM »

    Not entirely. A plausible logical inference can be made if we can establish a premise concerning how the Fathers actually approached popular philosophical/scientific ideas of their day, in addition to a premise concerning how they approached the Book of Genesis in particular. The general argument I am making is simple

    It is really not that simple.  I don't think there is a single legitimate biologist in the world that does not accept the validity of evolution.  It is as much a fact in the scientific world as gravity or the earth being round.  There is no philosophical package with it.  Some who accept the validity of modern science are materialist, some aren't.  So I don't think we even agree on the basic premises here in order to even have this discussion.  The type I thing I would be looking for would be a father to reject the validity of the Pythagorean theorem. 
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    « Reply #313 on: December 28, 2007, 03:59:24 AM »

    The type I thing I would be looking for would be a father to reject the validity of the Pythagorean theorem. 
    The Pythagorean Theorem:  that, in a right triangle, a2 + b2 = c2 ?  This is geometry, not scientific theory, so maybe you need a different example.
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    « Reply #314 on: December 28, 2007, 06:28:54 AM »

    The Pythagorean Theorem:  that, in a right triangle, a2 + b2 = c2 ?  This is geometry, not scientific theory, so maybe you need a different example.

    Don't get GIC in here now lol. "Science" to use it so loosely when trying to understand something as complicated as the origin of species personally I think will just be theories and never 100% "platonic immutable ideals" like Pythagoreans theorem or Pi.
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    The sins I don't commit are largely due to the weakness of my limbs.

    1915-1923 Հայոց Ցեղասպանութիւն ,never again,
    ܩܛܠܐ ܕܥܡܐ ܐܬܘܪܝܐ 1920-1914, never again,
    השואה  1933-1945, never again,
    (1914-1923) Ελληνική Γενοκτονία, never again
    Tags: science Theory of Evolution evolution creationism cheval mort 
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