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Author Topic: Creationism, Evolution, and Orthodoxy  (Read 323900 times) Average Rating: 0
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Jonathan Gress
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« Reply #3510 on: August 31, 2011, 03:08:25 PM »

Changes in allele frequencies are observed facts. Common ancestry of all species is not observed fact, but conjecture that happens to fit the fossil and genetic evidence. Hence the scare quotes, since when you speak of "evolution" it's not entirely clear which of the two kinds of evolution you are referring to.

I'm pretty sure there is only one kind of evolution, that of change in phenotype in a population by natural selection.

No I think you're right. There is supposed to be a difference between microevolution, which is observed and which causes small changes within species, and macroevolution which causes changes from one species to another. But I would expect that most biologists would consider the very wording "one species to another" misleading, since there is no actual boundary that is crossed. It's not as if Adam's father was an ape, but that an ape-like ancestor begat a less ape-like and more human-like child, with successive generations making the full transition from ape to human. The distinction between apes and humans is only apparent after evolutionary divergence has occurred.
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« Reply #3511 on: August 31, 2011, 03:10:58 PM »

And this brings us back to the point I've been feeling my way towards. Can a belief in the existence of a true human nature accommodate the possibility of transitional beings? Evolution, and our increasing ability to artificially manipulate genetics, raises the possibility of creatures that are partly human and partly something else. Do such possibilities undermine our faith in the reality of human nature, just because the boundaries between humanity and other creatures are fuzzy and not rigid?
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« Reply #3512 on: August 31, 2011, 03:11:15 PM »

Changes in allele frequencies are observed facts. Common ancestry of all species is not observed fact, but conjecture that happens to fit the fossil and genetic evidence. Hence the scare quotes, since when you speak of "evolution" it's not entirely clear which of the two kinds of evolution you are referring to.

I'm pretty sure there is only one kind of evolution, that of change in phenotype in a population by natural selection.

No I think you're right. There is supposed to be a difference between microevolution, which is observed and which causes small changes within species, and macroevolution which causes changes from one species to another. But I would expect that most biologists would consider the very wording "one species to another" misleading, since there is no actual boundary that is crossed.

A "micro" and "macro" distinction also does not exist in biology.

It's not as if Adam's father was an ape, but that an ape-like ancestor begat a less ape-like and more human-like child, with successive generations making the full transition from ape to human. The distinction between apes and humans is only apparent after evolutionary divergence has occurred.

Actually, humans are apes. Any species that is within superfamily Hominoidea can be described as an ape.
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« Reply #3513 on: August 31, 2011, 03:12:02 PM »

Changes in allele frequencies are observed facts. Common ancestry of all species is not observed fact, but conjecture that happens to fit the fossil and genetic evidence. Hence the scare quotes, since when you speak of "evolution" it's not entirely clear which of the two kinds of evolution you are referring to.

Evolution is the change in allele frequencies over time, nothing more. QED.

People make a big deal about "direct observation" in the context of evolution. I do not know why. If you were to come home and find your house ransacked, would you not call the police because you did not observe the robbery?

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I agree with jckstraw. Sauron's tone is marked by condescension and rudeness. He insists on misunderstanding everything I say just so he can continue his polemical attitude, e.g. I never said myself that species do not exist, but that the mode of their existence raises questions about how we define and differentiate them. It was in the latter sense that statements by others like "species do not exist" should be understood. He should know that the definition of species is highly problematic in biology precisely because the boundaries between them are so fuzzy. He seems to think anyone who doesn't agree with him is an idiot. You know, Sauron (why this name, btw?), a lot of very intelligent people have struggled with the dogmatic and moral implications of evolution, both from the side of atheism and the side of Christianity. It's not as straightforward as you seem to think.

You said that biologists say that species do not exist. I am waiting for you to name one. Of course, you can always retract that statement as being incorrect.

Why do you continue to set up straw man arguments? I am still waiting for a reply to, "Could you please draw the logical chain between "species exist" and "distinctions are eternal and immutable"?"

The reasons for my screen name are my own. It certainly has nothing to do with the topic at hand. Neither does how rude you think I am.

People talk about "dogmatic and moral implications", but they are completely artificial and man-made. A few hundred years ago, heliocentrism had "dogmatic and moral implications". Today, it has zero. It is the same with evolution. Have you ever wondered why no one talks about the "dogmatic and moral implications" of gravity or the nitrogen cycle?

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Take cannibalism. It is certainly taboo in many, perhaps most societies, but not in all societies. A true universal should admit no exceptions whatsoever, so this needs some explaining. The fact that some societies permit cannibalism certainly does not entail that cannibalism is OK in an absolute sense, but it requires us to think more deeply about why cannibalism is wrong, rather than simply asserting it is so on the basis that everyone in the world feels that way about it (which is empirically false).

I never stated an opinion one way or the other about cannibalism. Of course, I do not understand the relevance of that topic to the topic of this thread.
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« Reply #3514 on: August 31, 2011, 03:14:06 PM »

And this brings us back to the point I've been feeling my way towards. Can a belief in the existence of a true human nature accommodate the possibility of transitional beings? Evolution, and our increasing ability to artificially manipulate genetics, raises the possibility of creatures that are partly human and partly something else. Do such possibilities undermine our faith in the reality of human nature, just because the boundaries between humanity and other creatures are fuzzy and not rigid?

Transitional species do exist. The fossil record is replete with them. So, if someone's belief in human nature does not accommodate the possibility of transitional beings, that belief would be wrong.
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« Reply #3515 on: August 31, 2011, 03:16:32 PM »

Changes in allele frequencies are observed facts. Common ancestry of all species is not observed fact, but conjecture that happens to fit the fossil and genetic evidence. Hence the scare quotes, since when you speak of "evolution" it's not entirely clear which of the two kinds of evolution you are referring to.

I'm pretty sure there is only one kind of evolution, that of change in phenotype in a population by natural selection.

Negatory.

The original meaning of the word "evolution" was used within the RCC to refer to a God planted 'seed' of creation that develops with God's help. Similar in thought to ID.

Well, I wasn't discussing etymology, I was talking about the Theory of Evolution.

Natural Selection, in and of itself, is not evolution. It's natural selection. Charles Darwin makes this point clear, as he himself believed in God, in his work on Natural Selection.

I didn't say natural selection was evolution.

Evolution today means some form of development from simple proteins to life. The developmental theory may differ from on a variety of variables including, but not limited to, natural selection.

Yes.

In the end, the hardest proponents of evolution haven't been able to prove that inert compounds can develop into hundreds of proteins that must interact to develop the most basic cell. Yet, there is 'faith' that this is possible, it only hasn't been discovered, and is much better than the strawman of the 'bearded man in the sky'.

Yes.

There is not only 'one' type of evolution, which I proved. The end of the last statement "a change through natural selection" leaves question to your understanding of evolution. Because this is not it, hence my statement on natural selection.
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« Reply #3516 on: August 31, 2011, 03:20:34 PM »

Changes in allele frequencies are observed facts. Common ancestry of all species is not observed fact, but conjecture that happens to fit the fossil and genetic evidence. Hence the scare quotes, since when you speak of "evolution" it's not entirely clear which of the two kinds of evolution you are referring to.

I'm pretty sure there is only one kind of evolution, that of change in phenotype in a population by natural selection.

No I think you're right. There is supposed to be a difference between microevolution, which is observed and which causes small changes within species, and macroevolution which causes changes from one species to another. But I would expect that most biologists would consider the very wording "one species to another" misleading, since there is no actual boundary that is crossed. It's not as if Adam's father was an ape, but that an ape-like ancestor begat a less ape-like and more human-like child, with successive generations making the full transition from ape to human. The distinction between apes and humans is only apparent after evolutionary divergence has occurred.

As laconicstudent has already stated, the microevolution/macroevolution distinction is simply not found in biology. It is an invention of creationists. It is similar to how mathematics does not talk of "microaddition" and "macroaddition".

What creationists call "macroevolution" is nothing more than the accumulation of a bunch of "microevolution". There is no mechanism that prevents that from happening.

And, as laconicstudent also noted, humans are apes. We are the family Hominidae aka the great apes such as chimps, gorilla, and orangutans. So, Adam, me, you, and your and my respective fathers are all apes.
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« Reply #3517 on: August 31, 2011, 03:23:01 PM »

Changes in allele frequencies are observed facts. Common ancestry of all species is not observed fact, but conjecture that happens to fit the fossil and genetic evidence. Hence the scare quotes, since when you speak of "evolution" it's not entirely clear which of the two kinds of evolution you are referring to.

I'm pretty sure there is only one kind of evolution, that of change in phenotype in a population by natural selection.

Negatory.

The original meaning of the word "evolution" was used within the RCC to refer to a God planted 'seed' of creation that develops with God's help. Similar in thought to ID.

Well, I wasn't discussing etymology, I was talking about the Theory of Evolution.

Natural Selection, in and of itself, is not evolution. It's natural selection. Charles Darwin makes this point clear, as he himself believed in God, in his work on Natural Selection.

I didn't say natural selection was evolution.

Evolution today means some form of development from simple proteins to life. The developmental theory may differ from on a variety of variables including, but not limited to, natural selection.

Yes.

In the end, the hardest proponents of evolution haven't been able to prove that inert compounds can develop into hundreds of proteins that must interact to develop the most basic cell. Yet, there is 'faith' that this is possible, it only hasn't been discovered, and is much better than the strawman of the 'bearded man in the sky'.

Yes.

There is not only 'one' type of evolution, which I proved. The end of the last statement "a change through natural selection" leaves question to your understanding of evolution. Because this is not it, hence my statement on natural selection.

*patiently*

If you are going to accuse me of not having a high school understanding of biology, you need to at least not misquote me. I understand that it is tempting and it helps make me look like an idiot if you paraphrase, but considering we are communicating via text...

change in phenotype in a population by natural selection.

"by", not "through". There are other mechanisms such as genetic drift, you can read them if you want. I didn't mention them initially because people on the internet tend to be uneducated in science and already have a hard enough time.
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« Reply #3518 on: August 31, 2011, 04:30:30 PM »

If I told you earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
- John 3:12

On this thread I made the presumptious statement that this was proof that Jesus ALWAYS took the plain meaning of scripture first. That is presumptious of my part, I cannot make such a statement I believe. I believe that verse backs my view but apologies for saying this is some sort of unbreakable proof of Jesus always taking the plain meaning of scripture first.
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« Reply #3519 on: August 31, 2011, 05:54:40 PM »

The time for saying this has probably passed, but I will say I only felt compelled to enter the dicsussion not because I care very much about it but because I thought Jonathan was doing a really good job discussing the issues with you graciously and without venom and I didn't feel you were doing him the same courtesy.

For the record, I feel you embarrassed yourself when you invited the clear inference that Jonathan was wrong because he was employing a reductio and also when you misunderstood his usage of the concept of nature. What's worse though is how you came out swinging at me for giving someone I perceived to be under attack a bit of a boost (not that he probably needed a defence).

Other people have called you on your tone, so I would like to think I am not imagining the above complaints.
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« Reply #3520 on: August 31, 2011, 06:05:36 PM »

The time for saying this has probably passed



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« Reply #3521 on: August 31, 2011, 07:09:53 PM »

"when biologists say that species do not exist" What biologist(s) say that? I have only seen that claim in creationist literature. Immutability is not a condition of existence.

What linguist says that languages do not exist? If they don't exist, how can they differ?

These are not rhetorical questions, by the way. Please name three biologists and three linguists who say "species do not exist" and "languages do not exist", respectively. Bonus points if you can find such a claim in a peer-reviewed article. (a Google Scholar search yielded no scholarship on either of these positions)


Sauron makes a request here regarding some claims that have been made and, unless I've missed the response (which is quite possible), it is one that seems to have been overlooked.
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« Reply #3522 on: August 31, 2011, 07:37:37 PM »

I'll concede that I haven't yet located a professional biologist saying that species do not exist, which is, of course, a different topic from how do we define a species. Perhaps this is simply a meme among certain generative linguists who like to think they understand biology. I don't know. It is interesting, however, that I came across this statement twice in apparently independent sources, though I suppose it's conceivable Prof Kroch may have gotten it from Jackendoff or maybe from someone else.

Why would such a statement make such intuitive sense, when as Sauron rightly points out, mutability does not entail non-existence? The fact that over time the human species gradually differentiated itself from its ape relatives does not mean that humans now are the same as other apes. To look at it the other way, why did St Basil attach such importance to the (at that time) philosophical notion of the immutability of species, such that he found it worth citing in his otherwise strictly theological interpretation of Genesis? Did St Basil not know logic as well as any of us, so that he couldn't see that the doctrine of the immutability of species had nothing at all to do with the dogmatic significance of Creation? It only makes sense to suppose that he believed this philosophical doctrine to be dogmatically significant and an important argument for belief in Creation.

If we acknowledge this as what was probably in the mind of St Basil, we can then perhaps start to understand why so many Christians have reacted against Darwinism, with its teaching that distinctions among species are mutable. It should become obvious now that, however illogical it may appear from a certain point of view, many associate the reality of distinctions with the permanence of those distinctions. If this is not logical, then it must arise from some deep-seated psychological association. The analogies between people's emotional attachment to the permanence of biological distinctions and the permanence of linguistic distinctions now become clearer. But a psychological association like this, just like the common psychological antipathies to cannibalism, are perhaps related to dogmatic truth nonetheless. Just as the emotional repugnance felt by most individuals in most cultures to the eating of human flesh correlates with (as we believe) a universal, absolute prohibition against the eating of human flesh, just so the frequent association of existence with permanence suggests perhaps something of universal, absolute significance.
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Sauron
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« Reply #3523 on: August 31, 2011, 07:50:35 PM »

Why would such a statement make such intuitive sense, when as Sauron rightly points out, mutability does not entail non-existence? The fact that over time the human species gradually differentiated itself from its ape relatives does not mean that humans now are the same as other apes. To look at it the other way, why did St Basil attach such importance to the (at that time) philosophical notion of the immutability of species, such that he found it worth citing in his otherwise strictly theological interpretation of Genesis? Did St Basil not know logic as well as any of us, so that he couldn't see that the doctrine of the immutability of species had nothing at all to do with the dogmatic significance of Creation? It only makes sense to suppose that he believed this philosophical doctrine to be dogmatically significant and an important argument for belief in Creation.

Perhaps it is borne from a belief that the creation is complete. It needs nothing added, subtracted, or modified. (this is not my belief, but may have been the underpinning of St. Basil.

Quote
If we acknowledge this as what was probably in the mind of St Basil, we can then perhaps start to understand why so many Christians have reacted against Darwinism, with its teaching that distinctions among species are mutable. It should become obvious now that, however illogical it may appear from a certain point of view, many associate the reality of distinctions with the permanence of those distinctions. If this is not logical, then it must arise from some deep-seated psychological association. The analogies between people's emotional attachment to the permanence of biological distinctions and the permanence of linguistic distinctions now become clearer. But a psychological association like this, just like the common psychological antipathies to cannibalism, are perhaps related to dogmatic truth nonetheless. Just as the emotional repugnance felt by most individuals in most cultures to the eating of human flesh correlates with (as we believe) a universal, absolute prohibition against the eating of human flesh, just so the frequent association of existence with permanence suggests perhaps something of universal, absolute significance.

When I was in 8th grade, I once had a math teacher ask the class, "do you want to believe you come from a monkey"? This reflects I think a key problem of creationists. They argue against evolution because they don't like the implications. However, this is the worse form of magical thinking. We don't get to vote on reality.

(and of course, the teacher was factually wrong. Evolution does not hold that humans come from monkeys.)

By the way, I do write in a very matter-of-fact manner. Since some have objected to my tone, although you have not, I do apologize if I have been brusque. I did not intend offense.
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« Reply #3524 on: August 31, 2011, 08:15:59 PM »

I think you put your finger on it, Sauron: St Basil probably was thinking about the perfection of Creation.

As for your possibly brusque manner, I am probably just as guilty of over-sensitivity.
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« Reply #3525 on: August 31, 2011, 08:42:07 PM »

i think the perfection and completion of Creation would not be exactly synonymous. Adam and Eve were created in a state of sinlessness, for example, but yet were called higher, and to bring all of creation with them. so I would say St. Basil may have had the perfection of Creation in mind, but not the completion.
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« Reply #3526 on: September 01, 2011, 12:06:31 AM »

The time for saying this has probably passed, but I will say I only felt compelled to enter the dicsussion not because I care very much about it but because I thought Jonathan was doing a really good job discussing the issues with you graciously and without venom and I didn't feel you were doing him the same courtesy.

For the record, I feel you embarrassed yourself when you invited the clear inference that Jonathan was wrong because he was employing a reductio and also when you misunderstood his usage of the concept of nature. What's worse though is how you came out swinging at me for giving someone I perceived to be under attack a bit of a boost (not that he probably needed a defence).

Other people have called you on your tone, so I would like to think I am not imagining the above complaints.
To whom are you talking?
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« Reply #3527 on: September 01, 2011, 01:00:34 AM »

The time for saying this has probably passed, but I will say I only felt compelled to enter the dicsussion not because I care very much about it but because I thought Jonathan was doing a really good job discussing the issues with you graciously and without venom and I didn't feel you were doing him the same courtesy.

For the record, I feel you embarrassed yourself when you invited the clear inference that Jonathan was wrong because he was employing a reductio and also when you misunderstood his usage of the concept of nature. What's worse though is how you came out swinging at me for giving someone I perceived to be under attack a bit of a boost (not that he probably needed a defence).

Other people have called you on your tone, so I would like to think I am not imagining the above complaints.
To whom are you talking?

Sorry, that was addressed to Sauron, though I think we've made friends now.
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« Reply #3528 on: September 01, 2011, 08:48:45 AM »

Evolution does not hold that humans come from monkeys.
Correct. Current scientific consensus is that we (that is, genus Homo and close relatives) came from apes, who themselves came from monkeys.
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« Reply #3529 on: September 01, 2011, 08:57:45 AM »

The reason some may argue that "species don't exist" is because the concept of species is more clearly socially constructed than the concept of "individual organism": where one draws the line between Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis is much more fuzzy, and much more liable to individual scientists' idiosyncrasies; than the line one draws between individual Homo sapiens A and individual Homo sapiens B.
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« Reply #3530 on: September 01, 2011, 09:30:36 AM »

Evolution does not hold that humans come from monkeys.
Correct. Current scientific consensus is that we (that is, genus Homo and close relatives) came from apes, who themselves came from monkeys.

No, and no.

Humans don't come from apes; we are apes. Similarly, apes don't "come from" monkeys.

Consensus is that humans and the other great apes have a latest common ancestor. In turn, apes and monkeys are considered to have a latest common ancestor.
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« Reply #3531 on: September 01, 2011, 09:33:12 AM »

The reason some may argue that "species don't exist" is because the concept of species is more clearly socially constructed than the concept of "individual organism": where one draws the line between Homo sapiens and Homo neanderthalensis is much more fuzzy, and much more liable to individual scientists' idiosyncrasies; than the line one draws between individual Homo sapiens A and individual Homo sapiens B.

The concept of "can they breed and have fertile offspring" is a generally good rule of thumb, although it certainly does not always fit the bill.
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« Reply #3532 on: September 01, 2011, 11:19:05 AM »

Here's an example of a biologist discussing different definitions of species and referring to a "nominalist" concept of species, which holds that differentiation of species exists only in the minds of human taxonomists.

http://www.frozenevolution.com/xx2-there-are-several-principally-different-theoretical-concepts-species
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« Reply #3533 on: September 02, 2011, 02:33:35 PM »

So Adam didn't have an anus?
I know about the theological debate about Adam having a belly button or not, but this one is new.
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« Reply #3534 on: September 02, 2011, 03:06:54 PM »

So Adam didn't have an anus?
I know about the theological debate about Adam having a belly button or not, but this one is new.

I am pushing back the frontiers of theology.

By the way, I think I also asked someone earlier in this thread if Adam breathed. They never responded.  Huh
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« Reply #3535 on: September 02, 2011, 03:23:00 PM »

So Adam didn't have an anus?
I know about the theological debate about Adam having a belly button or not, but this one is new.

I am pushing back the frontiers of theology.

By the way, I think I also asked someone earlier in this thread if Adam breathed. They never responded.  Huh


Fr Seraphim Rose objected to Thomas Aquinas' view that Adam "voided fecal matter" in Paradise. But I'm not sure that means he didn't have an anus. Some of the Fathers, including St Basil I think, believed that God gave creatures certain anatomical tools in anticipation of the conditions under the Fall, e.g. carnivores-to-be got their sharp claws and teeth, even though killing and meat-eating didn't exist in Paradise. This might be an instance of that, too.

Does anyone know about e.g. the sexual organs? Fr Seraphim again followed the opinion of the Fathers that there was no sexual intercourse in Paradise, but I don't know if that means Adam and Eve didn't have sexual organs.
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« Reply #3536 on: September 02, 2011, 03:32:21 PM »

So Adam didn't have an anus?
I know about the theological debate about Adam having a belly button or not, but this one is new.

I am pushing back the frontiers of theology.

By the way, I think I also asked someone earlier in this thread if Adam breathed. They never responded.  Huh


Fr Seraphim Rose objected to Thomas Aquinas' view that Adam "voided fecal matter" in Paradise.

Good thing we are concentrating on such important questions that for some reason scripture, Christ and the Apostles never addressed.
But I'm not sure that means he didn't have an anus.
http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,38152.0.html
(WARNING:EXPLICITE discussion of anal sex and other matters.

Some of the Fathers, including St Basil I think, believed that God gave creatures certain anatomical tools in anticipation of the conditions under the Fall, e.g. carnivores-to-be got their sharp claws and teeth, even though killing and meat-eating didn't exist in Paradise. This might be an instance of that, too.
God created for Himself, not for the Fall.

Does anyone know about e.g. the sexual organs?
yes.  What do you want to know?

Fr Seraphim again followed the opinion of the Fathers that there was no sexual intercourse in Paradise, but I don't know if that means Adam and Eve didn't have sexual organs.
Have you not read, that He Who made them at the beginning made them male and female?  We have that on excellent authority.
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« Reply #3537 on: September 02, 2011, 03:32:59 PM »

So Adam didn't have an anus?
I know about the theological debate about Adam having a belly button or not, but this one is new.

I am pushing back the frontiers of theology.

By the way, I think I also asked someone earlier in this thread if Adam breathed. They never responded.  Huh


Fr Seraphim Rose objected to Thomas Aquinas' view that Adam "voided fecal matter" in Paradise. But I'm not sure that means he didn't have an anus. Some of the Fathers, including St Basil I think, believed that God gave creatures certain anatomical tools in anticipation of the conditions under the Fall, e.g. carnivores-to-be got their sharp claws and teeth, even though killing and meat-eating didn't exist in Paradise. This might be an instance of that, too.

Does anyone know about e.g. the sexual organs? Fr Seraphim again followed the opinion of the Fathers that there was no sexual intercourse in Paradise, but I don't know if that means Adam and Eve didn't have sexual organs.

yeah, im not sure they got into such things - if they had sex organs, anus, etc before the Fall. but what we do know is that their bodies were different and not subject to any form of corruption.
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« Reply #3538 on: September 02, 2011, 04:01:18 PM »

So Adam didn't have an anus?
I know about the theological debate about Adam having a belly button or not, but this one is new.

I am pushing back the frontiers of theology.

By the way, I think I also asked someone earlier in this thread if Adam breathed. They never responded.  Huh


Fr Seraphim Rose objected to Thomas Aquinas' view that Adam "voided fecal matter" in Paradise. But I'm not sure that means he didn't have an anus. Some of the Fathers, including St Basil I think, believed that God gave creatures certain anatomical tools in anticipation of the conditions under the Fall, e.g. carnivores-to-be got their sharp claws and teeth, even though killing and meat-eating didn't exist in Paradise. This might be an instance of that, too.

Why else would he have an anus, then? Flatulence humor?

Did Adam breathe or not?

Quote
Does anyone know about e.g. the sexual organs? Fr Seraphim again followed the opinion of the Fathers that there was no sexual intercourse in Paradise, but I don't know if that means Adam and Eve didn't have sexual organs.

How could someone get the idea that there was no sex pre-Fall? The command to "be fruitful and multiply" was given pre-Fall. How were they supposed to multiply, fission like an amoeba? Moreover, Chapter 3 says one of the consequences of the Fall would be that childbearing would become more painful, which implies that childbearing was otherwise going to take place in the pre-Fall way i.e. through the vaginal canal.

"Be fruitful and multiply" is also good evidence that physical death existed in the pre-Fall world. Otherwise, there was no need to reproduce. Furthermore, it would overpopulate the planet very quickly. If each person has just two descendants, the 40th generation alone would have over a trillion people. You think we have an energy shortage now? Ha.

Fr Seraphim Rose had incorrect ideas about evolution. I happen to think that the creationism paints a weaker picture of God than one that provides for evolution, but I will discuss that in another post.
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« Reply #3539 on: September 02, 2011, 04:19:02 PM »

Fr Seraphim Rose had incorrect ideas about evolution. I happen to think that the creationism paints a weaker picture of God than one that provides for evolution, but I will discuss that in another post
Be careful. I tried that and got accused of being a hell-bound Agnostic Smiley

PP
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« Reply #3540 on: September 02, 2011, 04:25:34 PM »

Fr Seraphim Rose had incorrect ideas about evolution. I happen to think that the creationism paints a weaker picture of God than one that provides for evolution, but I will discuss that in another post
Be careful. I tried that and got accused of being a hell-bound Agnostic Smiley

PP

Heh.

I have not read Genesis, Creation and Early Man, but I understand that it is a patristic case against evolutionism. Does anyone wonder why he didn't write a book for the patristic case against heliocentrism?
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« Reply #3541 on: September 02, 2011, 04:43:29 PM »

So Adam didn't have an anus?
I know about the theological debate about Adam having a belly button or not, but this one is new.

I am pushing back the frontiers of theology.

By the way, I think I also asked someone earlier in this thread if Adam breathed. They never responded.  Huh


Fr Seraphim Rose objected to Thomas Aquinas' view that Adam "voided fecal matter" in Paradise. But I'm not sure that means he didn't have an anus. Some of the Fathers, including St Basil I think, believed that God gave creatures certain anatomical tools in anticipation of the conditions under the Fall, e.g. carnivores-to-be got their sharp claws and teeth, even though killing and meat-eating didn't exist in Paradise. This might be an instance of that, too.

Why else would he have an anus, then? Flatulence humor?

Did Adam breathe or not?

Quote
Does anyone know about e.g. the sexual organs? Fr Seraphim again followed the opinion of the Fathers that there was no sexual intercourse in Paradise, but I don't know if that means Adam and Eve didn't have sexual organs.

How could someone get the idea that there was no sex pre-Fall? The command to "be fruitful and multiply" was given pre-Fall. How were they supposed to multiply, fission like an amoeba? Moreover, Chapter 3 says one of the consequences of the Fall would be that childbearing would become more painful, which implies that childbearing was otherwise going to take place in the pre-Fall way i.e. through the vaginal canal.

"Be fruitful and multiply" is also good evidence that physical death existed in the pre-Fall world. Otherwise, there was no need to reproduce. Furthermore, it would overpopulate the planet very quickly. If each person has just two descendants, the 40th generation alone would have over a trillion people. You think we have an energy shortage now? Ha.
you beg the question about pre-Fall physical death: what do you think He is going to do after the Resurrection of the Body/

Fr Seraphim Rose had incorrect ideas about evolution. I happen to think that the creationism paints a weaker picture of God than one that provides for evolution, but I will discuss that in another post.
OK, Fr. Rose had his opinion, and you have yours. But that isn't the issue.
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« Reply #3542 on: September 02, 2011, 04:43:52 PM »

Fr Seraphim Rose had incorrect ideas about evolution. I happen to think that the creationism paints a weaker picture of God than one that provides for evolution, but I will discuss that in another post
Be careful. I tried that and got accused of being a hell-bound Agnostic Smiley

PP

Heh.

I have not read Genesis, Creation and Early Man, but I understand that it is a patristic case against evolutionism. Does anyone wonder why he didn't write a book for the patristic case against heliocentrism?

No.
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« Reply #3543 on: September 02, 2011, 05:01:40 PM »

So Adam didn't have an anus?
I know about the theological debate about Adam having a belly button or not, but this one is new.

I am pushing back the frontiers of theology.

By the way, I think I also asked someone earlier in this thread if Adam breathed. They never responded.  Huh


Fr Seraphim Rose objected to Thomas Aquinas' view that Adam "voided fecal matter" in Paradise. But I'm not sure that means he didn't have an anus. Some of the Fathers, including St Basil I think, believed that God gave creatures certain anatomical tools in anticipation of the conditions under the Fall, e.g. carnivores-to-be got their sharp claws and teeth, even though killing and meat-eating didn't exist in Paradise. This might be an instance of that, too.

Why else would he have an anus, then? Flatulence humor?

Did Adam breathe or not?

Quote
Does anyone know about e.g. the sexual organs? Fr Seraphim again followed the opinion of the Fathers that there was no sexual intercourse in Paradise, but I don't know if that means Adam and Eve didn't have sexual organs.

How could someone get the idea that there was no sex pre-Fall? The command to "be fruitful and multiply" was given pre-Fall. How were they supposed to multiply, fission like an amoeba? Moreover, Chapter 3 says one of the consequences of the Fall would be that childbearing would become more painful, which implies that childbearing was otherwise going to take place in the pre-Fall way i.e. through the vaginal canal.

"Be fruitful and multiply" is also good evidence that physical death existed in the pre-Fall world. Otherwise, there was no need to reproduce. Furthermore, it would overpopulate the planet very quickly. If each person has just two descendants, the 40th generation alone would have over a trillion people. You think we have an energy shortage now? Ha.
you beg the question about pre-Fall physical death: what do you think He is going to do after the Resurrection of the Body

By "beg the question", do you mean "raise the question"? I don't understand what you are asking. It does not seem to address the points I raised.

Fr Seraphim Rose had incorrect ideas about evolution. I happen to think that the creationism paints a weaker picture of God than one that provides for evolution, but I will discuss that in another post.

OK, Fr. Rose had his opinion, and you have yours. But that isn't the issue.

It is not a matter of opinion. He denied reality. That strikes me as an important issue if he is to be cited in this discussion.

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« Reply #3544 on: September 02, 2011, 05:02:38 PM »

Fr Seraphim Rose had incorrect ideas about evolution. I happen to think that the creationism paints a weaker picture of God than one that provides for evolution, but I will discuss that in another post
Be careful. I tried that and got accused of being a hell-bound Agnostic Smiley

PP

Heh.

I have not read Genesis, Creation and Early Man, but I understand that it is a patristic case against evolutionism. Does anyone wonder why he didn't write a book for the patristic case against heliocentrism?

No.

That was a rhetorical question, but I am glad you are following the discussion.  Grin
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« Reply #3545 on: September 02, 2011, 05:27:32 PM »

I think the point is not so much denying reality as choosing which view of reality is the most Orthodox. Fr Seraphim was indeed influenced by "creation science", but the only reason he appealed to creation science, which was otherwise the preserve of Protestant Biblical literalists that had no interest in patristics, is because he genuinely believed that Darwinism was incompatible with patristic Orthodoxy. Since Darwinism is not just a philosophy, however, but a scientific theory supported by concrete evidence, he felt he had to challenge the scientific basis of it, too.

I think the place to challenge thinkers like Fr Seraphim is where they claim to be the authentic interpreters of the patristic tradition. It's not enough to show that the Fathers took Genesis literally. You have to show that the Fathers would continue to have taken it literally now in the face of new evidence that wasn't around then. I personally think this is a legitimate question because elsewhere the Fathers refer to the secular science and philosophy of their day, which means they were not in principle opposed to learning from non-Orthodox sources. Even Fr Seraphim admits that just because the Fathers believed in heliocentrism or other defunct theories of the world we don't need to believe them now. His case for literalism in Genesis rests on the idea that this is not a matter of defunct science but of correct Biblical exegesis, i.e. if the Fathers took Genesis literally, then this overrides any scientific theorizing to the contrary.

Objecting that the anus would not have served any function without the presence of defecation seems to miss the point. Why should it necessarily have had a function at the time? It's not as if the world was invented to make sense to you or me. If St Basil believed that the tiger got its claws and teeth in Paradise, but only in anticipation of the Fall and NOT because the tiger killed prey and ate meat in Paradise, he is obviously envisioning a situation where something was present that didn't have an immediate purpose, but only a purpose in the future. And as far as I know Fr Seraphim showed convincingly that the Fathers did not believe that sexual intercourse as we know it today existed in Paradise, so the command to be fruitful and multiply must have referred to some manner of generation that would now be physically impossible or at least is beyond our current understanding. However, if we are not taking the Genesis narrative as absolutely literal history, this debate is beside the point. The real point is that the passionless angelic life toward which we strive is fundamentally different from the carnal life we know now. My take is that Paradise is a symbol of this goal of our striving.

JRR Tolkien distinguished between allegory and applicability when discussing the meaning of his own works of fiction. Allegory is when there is a definite symbolism behind some narrative that doesn't in fact permit great freedom of interpretation. For instance, one might allegorize the tree of life as Virtue, but if allegory were the only correct way to read Genesis, it would mean that we would not be allowed to understand anything other than Virtue by it, even if it would otherwise permit different meanings. Applicability means that each reader can derive from it what meaning he wished. I have a feeling that the Fathers who argued for literalism may in fact have been trying to defend this greater freedom and applicability of interpretation. So, internal to the narrative, the tree of life should be understood as a literal tree. But when applying the narrative to our own understanding, we can consider it to mean virtue, immortality or whatever seems appropriate.
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« Reply #3546 on: September 02, 2011, 05:43:39 PM »

I think the point is not so much denying reality as choosing which view of reality is the most Orthodox. Fr Seraphim was indeed influenced by "creation science", but the only reason he appealed to creation science, which was otherwise the preserve of Protestant Biblical literalists that had no interest in patristics, is because he genuinely believed that Darwinism was incompatible with patristic Orthodoxy. Since Darwinism is not just a philosophy, however, but a scientific theory supported by concrete evidence, he felt he had to challenge the scientific basis of it, too.

Certainly it is denial of reality. Either the Earth is 10,000 years old or it is not. There is no "Orthodox view" of that fact.

If he thought that reality was not compatible with his view of patristic Orthodoxy, that was his personal problem. He needed to conform his views to reality.

Quote
I think the place to challenge thinkers like Fr Seraphim is where they claim to be the authentic interpreters of the patristic tradition. It's not enough to show that the Fathers took Genesis literally. You have to show that the Fathers would continue to have taken it literally now in the face of new evidence that wasn't around then. I personally think this is a legitimate question because elsewhere the Fathers refer to the secular science and philosophy of their day, which means they were not in principle opposed to learning from non-Orthodox sources. Even Fr Seraphim admits that just because the Fathers believed in heliocentrism or other defunct theories of the world we don't need to believe them now. His case for literalism in Genesis rests on the idea that this is not a matter of defunct science but of correct Biblical exegesis, i.e. if the Fathers took Genesis literally, then this overrides any scientific theorizing to the contrary.

I think the challenge for Fr Seraphim and others is for them to establish why the church fathers have anything of value to say about science.

Heliocentrism is correct, by the way. The church fathers did not accept it.

Quote
Objecting that the anus would not have served any function without the presence of defecation seems to miss the point. Why should it necessarily have had a function at the time? It's not as if the world was invented to make sense to you or me. If St Basil believed that the tiger got its claws and teeth in Paradise, but only in anticipation of the Fall and NOT because the tiger killed prey and ate meat in Paradise, he is obviously envisioning a situation where something was present that didn't have an immediate purpose, but only a purpose in the future. And as far as I know Fr Seraphim showed convincingly that the Fathers did not believe that sexual intercourse as we know it today existed in Paradise, so the command to be fruitful and multiply must have referred to some manner of generation that would now be physically impossible or at least is beyond our current understanding. However, if we are not taking the Genesis narrative as absolutely literal history, this debate is beside the point. The real point is that the passionless angelic life toward which we strive is fundamentally different from the carnal life we know now. My take is that Paradise is a symbol of this goal of our striving.

I find that argument to be rather unpersuasive. If they want to propose some non-sexual way of reproduction, fine, but let them propose it. Of course, that is special pleading, which is fallacious.
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« Reply #3547 on: September 04, 2011, 03:27:46 AM »


You know how the Bible says to submit to the lawful authorities? When it comes to describing the physical universe, scientists, not theologians, are the lawful authorities. St. Basil, for example, believed that the earth was immovable and located at the center of the universe. (See, e.g., Nine Homilies on the Hexameron, 10) He was far from alone in this wrong belief. Of course, we know now that the solar system is heliocentric and that the universe has no center, in fact.

Is there a peer reviewed paper that refutes this aspect of Einstein's theory of generally relativity such that one can state St. Basil's belief is wrong? I haven't seen it so I am curious.

"when biologists say that species do not exist" What biologist(s) say that? I have only seen that claim in creationist literature. Immutability is not a condition of existence.

These are not rhetorical questions, by the way. Please name three biologists and three linguists who say "species do not exist" and "languages do not exist", respectively. Bonus points if you can find such a claim in a peer-reviewed article. (a Google Scholar search yielded no scholarship on either of these positions)

There are such peer reviewed articles and there are a lot of them. The problem here is that you need a more nuanced definition of species to make your case. There are a lot of bacterial and archaeal species. But if you use the criterium of genetic isolation, then the existence of a lot of bacterial archaeal species we have come to know and love can now be considered questionable. I posted this review on this topic back in post 3066:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2784144/
"We now think of the entire world of prokaryotes as a single, huge network of interconnected gene pools, and the notion of the prokaryotic pangenome is definitely here to stay."

Just a thought on the matter.


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« Reply #3548 on: September 04, 2011, 08:21:30 AM »


You know how the Bible says to submit to the lawful authorities? When it comes to describing the physical universe, scientists, not theologians, are the lawful authorities. St. Basil, for example, believed that the earth was immovable and located at the center of the universe. (See, e.g., Nine Homilies on the Hexameron, 10) He was far from alone in this wrong belief. Of course, we know now that the solar system is heliocentric and that the universe has no center, in fact.

Is there a peer reviewed paper that refutes this aspect of Einstein's theory of generally relativity such that one can state St. Basil's belief is wrong? I haven't seen it so I am curious.

General relativity has nothing to do with heliocentrism. Heliocentrism was disproven several centuries before Einstein was born. Neither is general relativity the source of the proposition that the universe has no center. Your question betrays surprising ignorance of the physical universe and general relativity.

I also found your question confusing because it implies that St. Basil and Einstein were in agreement on some point. What point was that, and why do you think so?

Quote
"when biologists say that species do not exist" What biologist(s) say that? I have only seen that claim in creationist literature. Immutability is not a condition of existence.

These are not rhetorical questions, by the way. Please name three biologists and three linguists who say "species do not exist" and "languages do not exist", respectively. Bonus points if you can find such a claim in a peer-reviewed article. (a Google Scholar search yielded no scholarship on either of these positions)

There are such peer reviewed articles and there are a lot of them. The problem here is that you need a more nuanced definition of species to make your case. There are a lot of bacterial and archaeal species. But if you use the criterium of genetic isolation, then the existence of a lot of bacterial archaeal species we have come to know and love can now be considered questionable. I posted this review on this topic back in post 3066:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2784144/
"We now think of the entire world of prokaryotes as a single, huge network of interconnected gene pools, and the notion of the prokaryotic pangenome is definitely here to stay."

Just a thought on the matter.

This is not a response to my question.
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« Reply #3549 on: September 04, 2011, 10:55:41 AM »


You know how the Bible says to submit to the lawful authorities? When it comes to describing the physical universe, scientists, not theologians, are the lawful authorities. St. Basil, for example, believed that the earth was immovable and located at the center of the universe. (See, e.g., Nine Homilies on the Hexameron, 10) He was far from alone in this wrong belief. Of course, we know now that the solar system is heliocentric and that the universe has no center, in fact.

Is there a peer reviewed paper that refutes this aspect of Einstein's theory of generally relativity such that one can state St. Basil's belief is wrong? I haven't seen it so I am curious.

General relativity has nothing to do with heliocentrism. Heliocentrism was disproven several centuries before Einstein was born. Neither is general relativity the source of the proposition that the universe has no center. Your question betrays surprising ignorance of the physical universe and general relativity.
I'm glad you understand Opus118's question so much more perfectly than I do, since I couldn't figure out what he was asking. Roll Eyes
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« Reply #3550 on: September 04, 2011, 02:41:01 PM »


You know how the Bible says to submit to the lawful authorities? When it comes to describing the physical universe, scientists, not theologians, are the lawful authorities. St. Basil, for example, believed that the earth was immovable and located at the center of the universe. (See, e.g., Nine Homilies on the Hexameron, 10) He was far from alone in this wrong belief. Of course, we know now that the solar system is heliocentric and that the universe has no center, in fact.

Is there a peer reviewed paper that refutes this aspect of Einstein's theory of generally relativity such that one can state St. Basil's belief is wrong? I haven't seen it so I am curious.

General relativity has nothing to do with heliocentrism. Heliocentrism was disproven several centuries before Einstein was born. Neither is general relativity the source of the proposition that the universe has no center. Your question betrays surprising ignorance of the physical universe and general relativity.
I'm glad you understand Opus118's so much more perfectly than I do, since I couldn't figure out what he was asking. Roll Eyes

I look forward to his treatise on geocentrism.
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« Reply #3551 on: September 04, 2011, 03:25:34 PM »


You know how the Bible says to submit to the lawful authorities? When it comes to describing the physical universe, scientists, not theologians, are the lawful authorities. St. Basil, for example, believed that the earth was immovable and located at the center of the universe. (See, e.g., Nine Homilies on the Hexameron, 10) He was far from alone in this wrong belief. Of course, we know now that the solar system is heliocentric and that the universe has no center, in fact.

Is there a peer reviewed paper that refutes this aspect of Einstein's theory of generally relativity such that one can state St. Basil's belief is wrong? I haven't seen it so I am curious.

General relativity has nothing to do with heliocentrism. Heliocentrism was disproven several centuries before Einstein was born. Neither is general relativity the source of the proposition that the universe has no center. Your question betrays surprising ignorance of the physical universe and general relativity.
I'm glad you understand Opus118's so much more perfectly than I do, since I couldn't figure out what he was asking. Roll Eyes

I look forward to his treatise on geocentrism.

I somehow don't think that's what he really wants to talk about. You might actually try asking him before you jump to conclusions like this.
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« Reply #3552 on: September 04, 2011, 03:36:59 PM »


You know how the Bible says to submit to the lawful authorities? When it comes to describing the physical universe, scientists, not theologians, are the lawful authorities. St. Basil, for example, believed that the earth was immovable and located at the center of the universe. (See, e.g., Nine Homilies on the Hexameron, 10) He was far from alone in this wrong belief. Of course, we know now that the solar system is heliocentric and that the universe has no center, in fact.

Is there a peer reviewed paper that refutes this aspect of Einstein's theory of generally relativity such that one can state St. Basil's belief is wrong? I haven't seen it so I am curious.

General relativity has nothing to do with heliocentrism. Heliocentrism was disproven several centuries before Einstein was born. Neither is general relativity the source of the proposition that the universe has no center. Your question betrays surprising ignorance of the physical universe and general relativity.
I'm glad you understand Opus118's so much more perfectly than I do, since I couldn't figure out what he was asking. Roll Eyes

I look forward to his treatise on geocentrism.

I somehow don't think that's what he really wants to talk about. You might actually try asking him before you jump to conclusions like this.

I did so in the post to which you replied with the eye-rolling smiley. The ball is in his court.

I should take this opportunity to correct a typo in my reply to him. It should have read, "Geocentrism was disproven several centuries before Einstein was born" rather than "heliocentrism".

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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #3553 on: September 04, 2011, 04:07:34 PM »


You know how the Bible says to submit to the lawful authorities? When it comes to describing the physical universe, scientists, not theologians, are the lawful authorities. St. Basil, for example, believed that the earth was immovable and located at the center of the universe. (See, e.g., Nine Homilies on the Hexameron, 10) He was far from alone in this wrong belief. Of course, we know now that the solar system is heliocentric and that the universe has no center, in fact.

Is there a peer reviewed paper that refutes this aspect of Einstein's theory of generally relativity such that one can state St. Basil's belief is wrong? I haven't seen it so I am curious.

General relativity has nothing to do with heliocentrism. Heliocentrism was disproven several centuries before Einstein was born. Neither is general relativity the source of the proposition that the universe has no center. Your question betrays surprising ignorance of the physical universe and general relativity.
I'm glad you understand Opus118's so much more perfectly than I do, since I couldn't figure out what he was asking. Roll Eyes

I look forward to his treatise on geocentrism.

I somehow don't think that's what he really wants to talk about. You might actually try asking him before you jump to conclusions like this.

I did so in the post to which you replied with the eye-rolling smiley. The ball is in his court.
There isn't a question in the post that drew my sarcastic reply. In fact, that's what drew out my sarcasm: your apparent certitude that you know perfectly what Opus118 is talking about.
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Sauron
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« Reply #3554 on: September 04, 2011, 04:20:11 PM »


You know how the Bible says to submit to the lawful authorities? When it comes to describing the physical universe, scientists, not theologians, are the lawful authorities. St. Basil, for example, believed that the earth was immovable and located at the center of the universe. (See, e.g., Nine Homilies on the Hexameron, 10) He was far from alone in this wrong belief. Of course, we know now that the solar system is heliocentric and that the universe has no center, in fact.

Is there a peer reviewed paper that refutes this aspect of Einstein's theory of generally relativity such that one can state St. Basil's belief is wrong? I haven't seen it so I am curious.

General relativity has nothing to do with heliocentrism. Heliocentrism was disproven several centuries before Einstein was born. Neither is general relativity the source of the proposition that the universe has no center. Your question betrays surprising ignorance of the physical universe and general relativity.
I'm glad you understand Opus118's so much more perfectly than I do, since I couldn't figure out what he was asking. Roll Eyes

I look forward to his treatise on geocentrism.

I somehow don't think that's what he really wants to talk about. You might actually try asking him before you jump to conclusions like this.

I did so in the post to which you replied with the eye-rolling smiley. The ball is in his court.
There isn't a question in the post that drew my sarcastic reply. In fact, that's what drew out my sarcasm: your apparent certitude that you know perfectly what Opus118 is talking about.

My certitude is based on the fact that I speak English. In any event, Opus118 is the best authority on his own posts and what they mean.1 Wouldn't you agree?

1 While I only have an undergraduate understanding of physics, I think I would have remembered learning that general relativity had something to do with geocentrism.
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