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Author Topic: Creationism, Evolution, and Orthodoxy  (Read 349835 times) Average Rating: 0
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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #360 on: December 29, 2007, 06:32:44 PM »

I don't know if it breaks the forum rules, but it is funny to call others superficial when you are only concentrated on acclamation marks and some spelling mistakes and base your argumentation on these mistakes. Why didn't you tell me via PM that I made a mistake ?
Is it just me, or does anyone else see the hypocrisy of replying to a request from Νεκτάριος that you take your grievance with him to the PM system by telling him publicly that he should have told you of your spelling mistakes via PM?

Quote
Or was it only to discredite my post?
If what you preach here is true and Orthodox, why do you feel you have to fight so hard to defend your personal credibility?  Shouldn't your message stand or fall on its own merit and not depend on your own authority to teach it?
« Last Edit: December 29, 2007, 06:38:12 PM by PeterTheAleut » Logged
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« Reply #361 on: December 29, 2007, 07:22:46 PM »

God bless !

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But why, why? What does the first have to do with the second? I don't imagine that there were literally the first two humans and no other humans, because that would be totally incompatible with the theory of biological evolution. So, do I HAVE to leap from that into the conclusion that Christ did not literally exist or was not literally God incarnate? I don't see any real logic, sorry, just a circular quasi-"logic" and forcing of the language of theology into the language of natural sciences.


That's exact the point, orthodox doctrine is totally incompatible with the theory of biological evolution ! It is VERY important how you understand the "first Adam" because it will affect your understanding of the second. And I think the Holy Fathers did not believe in poly-genism, but when there was poly-genism did all fell in committing the same sin ? Christ did come to save Adam - so it is important to know the first created one.

There are many other problems - how can evolution explain paradise, the immortal nature of Adam, the incorrupt state of Nature, of animals, plants, trees,....I think no one answered the questions how it is possible that Adam received his incorrupt state from lower creatures ? How can evolution explain plants and vegetation being first without the sun,

And also when evolution can explain the fallen state of Nature - how can it explain the state before ?

Creation is a mystery and we can not explain it with the laws of the fallen Nature !

I have given some quotes before, also St. John of Damascus wrote:

The body and the soul were formed together at the same time-not one before and the other afterwards, as the ravings of origenes would have it. ( it is a heresy )

From Blessed Seraphim Rose:

The idea of the "evolution" of man from a lower animal cannot be harmonized with the Patristic and Scriptural view of man's creation, but requires a sharp break with it: If man "evolves" solely according to the laws of nature, then his rational nature, his soul, the image of God, differs not qualitatively but only quantitatively from the beasts; he is then a creature only of the earth, and there is no room for the patristic view that he is partly of the earth and partly of heaven, a "mixture" of the two worlds, to use the phrase of St. Gregory the Theologian. But if, to escape such earthly thinking, a Christian evolutionist admits a Divine creation of man's soul - "when his body was ready for it," as some say- then he not only parts company with scientific thinkers, who will not admit "Divine" acts into their conceptual frameworks, but he also presents no consistent Christian outlook, mixing scientific speculations with "revealed" knowledge in a most haphazard way. In the Patristic-Scriptural view, the entire Six Days of Creation is a series of Divine acts; in the uniformitarian scientific view, the origins of things ( as far back scientists think they can be traced) are nothing but natural processes. These two views are as opposed as any two views can be, and any mixture of the two must be purely arbitrary and fanciful.

St. Basil the great:

"Let the earth bring forth herbs." And in the briefest moment of time the earth, beginning with germination in order that it might keep the laws of the Creator, passing through every form of increase, immediately brought the shoots to perfection. ........And every herb and every kind of vegetables and whatever shrubs and legumes there were, rose from the earth at that time in all profusion....
And the fruit tree that bears fruit containing seed of its own kind and of its own likeness on the earth.....all came into existence in a moment of time, although they were not previously upon the earth, each one with its own peculiar nature.

St. Ephraim

The herbs, at the time of their creation, were the production of a single instant, but in appearance they appeared the productions of months.Likewise the trees, at the time of their creation, were the productions of a single day, but in their perfection and fruits, which weighed down branches, they appeared the productions of years.

In CHRIST
« Last Edit: December 29, 2007, 07:35:47 PM by Christodoulos » Logged
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« Reply #362 on: December 29, 2007, 07:31:21 PM »

Is it just me, or does anyone else see the hypocrisy of replying to a request from Νεκτάριος that you take your grievance with him to the PM system by telling him publicly that he should have told you of your spelling mistakes via PM?
If what you preach here is true and Orthodox, why do you feel you have to fight so hard to defend your personal credibility?  Shouldn't your message stand or fall on its own merit and not depend on your own authority to teach it?

God bless !

You really never gave up the "old style". It is not hypocrisy because he also told me publicly (it is nice to blame one for making a spelling mistake) that I made a mistake ! So I told him also publicly.

I do not "fight" but truth is truth.

In CHRIST
« Last Edit: December 29, 2007, 07:38:34 PM by Christodoulos » Logged
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« Reply #363 on: December 29, 2007, 07:47:25 PM »

God Christodoulos bless !

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Perhaps you know better ones in english - please tell me, I will try to get and read them !

Those are the most popular titles that I know of.  This whole appeal to other languages here is odd.  English is the main language for scientific publication.  Russian and German would probably be the only two other contenders.  As far as I can tell this debate simply doesn't exist in German and considering the ideological constraints under which so much Russian scientific material was published its value is questionable (i.e as has already been talked about in this thread is that many Soviet scientists were forbidden to publish about genetics).

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I don't know if it breaks the forum rules, but it is funny to call others superficial when you are only concentrated on acclamation marks and some spelling mistakes and base your argumentation on these mistakes. Why didn't you tell me via PM that I made a mistake ? Or was it only to discredite my post ?

Since you won't give up on this... I pointed out that when you were using exclamation marks with verbs in the imperative mood it comes across as very rude.  IIRC, you had said "Tell me your jurisdiction!".  In Anglophone culture demanding for personal information like that is rather unusual.  I pointed this out because I assumed that you did not wish to appear rude.  But subsequent posts have shown otherwise.  I believe that that was one post out of many to you in which I have taken the time to actually discuss your methodology and approach to Orthodox theology.  If you are hung up over such a trivial matter that consists of such a minor amount of my total correspondence to you on this forum, that is your problem, not mine. 

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In CHRIST

Maybe you should pick Buddha or somebody more on the mellow side.  Rastafarianism perhaps?
« Last Edit: December 29, 2007, 07:53:54 PM by Νεκτάριος » Logged
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« Reply #364 on: December 29, 2007, 08:04:04 PM »

God bless !
 

That's exact the point, orthodox doctrine is totally incompatible with the theory of biological evolution !


If you are right, then I am not Orthodox.



From Blessed Seraphim Rose:


From what I read of his ignorant meanderings re. evolution, he is a total idiot. Sorry. Hier stehe ich. Etc.

« Last Edit: December 29, 2007, 08:04:30 PM by Heorhij » Logged

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« Reply #365 on: December 29, 2007, 08:05:28 PM »

There are many other problems - how can evolution explain paradise, the immortal nature of Adam, the incorrupt state of Nature, of animals, plants, trees,....I think no one answered the questions how it is possible that Adam received his incorrupt state from lower creatures ? How can evolution explain plants and vegetation being first without the sun,

And also when evolution can explain the fallen state of Nature - how can it explain the state before ?
Precisely because evolutionary theory is built on nature as we can observe and understand it now (since the fall?), any true proponent of evolution will tell you that the theory is not equipped to address such supernaturally revealed metaphysical "truths" as paradise, the immortal nature of Adam, or the incorrupt state of nature.  Nor does evolution have the frame of reference to be able to explain how Adam received his incorrupt state from lower creatures.  What is at issue is the boundaries of the scientific method and of scientific theory.  Based as science is on what we can observe in nature, science cannot speak on the realm of the supernatural.  This is not a failing of science in general, or of evolutionary theory in specific.  To expect evolutionary theory to explain the supernatural Logos within the laws of nature, or to discredit the theory because it cannot explain this Logos, is to misunderstand science altogether.
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« Reply #366 on: December 29, 2007, 08:06:46 PM »

Precisely because evolutionary theory is built on nature as we can observe and understand it now (since the fall?), any true proponent of evolution will tell you that the theory is not equipped to address such supernaturally revealed metaphysical "truths" as paradise, the immortal nature of Adam, or the incorrupt state of nature.  Nor does evolution have the frame of reference to be able to explain how Adam received his incorrupt state from lower creatures.  What is at issue is the boundaries of the scientific method and of scientific theory.  Based as science is on what we can observe in nature, science cannot speak on the realm of the supernatural.  This is not a failing of science in general, or of evolutionary theory in specific.  To expect evolutionary theory to explain the supernatural Logos within the laws of nature, or to discredit the theory because it cannot explain this Logos, is to misunderstand science altogether.

And maybe also to misunderstand theology altogether...
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« Reply #367 on: December 29, 2007, 08:29:37 PM »

God bless !

I would never stroke the word God or refus his blessing. Do you not need God's blessing ?

Quote
Those are the most popular titles that I know of.  This whole appeal to other languages here is odd.  English is the main language for scientific publication.  Russian and German would probably be the only two other contenders.  As far as I can tell this debate simply doesn't exist in German and considering the ideological constraints under which so much Russian scientific material was published its value is questionable (i.e as has already been talked about in this thread is that many Soviet scientists were forbidden to publish about genetics)
.

And that was the reason I put them on the "little list", so you would present the same ? But there are others (also in English) and the four books can not answer all questions. It is more to start with ( I think). And I can tell you this debate exist in germany and this debate is increasing more and more ( and other european countries for example france).

Quote
Since you won't give up on this... I pointed out that when you were using exclamation marks with verbs in the imperative mood it comes across as very rude.  IIRC, you had said "Tell me your jurisdiction!".  In Anglophone culture demanding for personal information like that is rather unusual.  I pointed this out because I assumed that you did not wish to appear rude.  But subsequent posts have shown otherwise.  I believe that that was one post out of many to you in which I have taken the time to actually discuss your methodology and approach to Orthodox theology.  If you are hung up over such a trivial matter that consists of such a minor amount of my total correspondence to you on this forum, that is your problem, not mine.
 

Why are you so concerned if I appear rude, I think some of your posts are more rude than mine ( only think about anti-semitism,......) and why should it be unusual to ask you of your juristiction, when you call me and Vladyka Mark "Branch theorists" why should I not know yours ?

You discussed my methodology - I think you did not really discuss - you wrote some incorrect statements with some accusings -nothing more. You were more concerned on grammar than on orthodox theology.

Quote
Maybe you should pick Buddha or somebody more on the mellow side.  Rastafarianism perhaps?

Or perhpas Nektarianism ?

In CHRIST
« Last Edit: December 29, 2007, 08:49:04 PM by Christodoulos » Logged
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« Reply #368 on: December 29, 2007, 08:33:03 PM »

If you are right, then I am not Orthodox.

From what I read of his ignorant meanderings re. evolution, he is a total idiot. Sorry. Hier stehe ich. Etc.

God bless !

It is hard to read - but when you think about Blessed Seraphim this way - ok you are a modern biologist !

In CHRIST
« Last Edit: December 29, 2007, 08:45:30 PM by Christodoulos » Logged
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« Reply #369 on: December 29, 2007, 08:41:27 PM »

Precisely because evolutionary theory is built on nature as we can observe and understand it now (since the fall?), any true proponent of evolution will tell you that the theory is not equipped to address such supernaturally revealed metaphysical "truths" as paradise, the immortal nature of Adam, or the incorrupt state of nature.  Nor does evolution have the frame of reference to be able to explain how Adam received his incorrupt state from lower creatures.  What is at issue is the boundaries of the scientific method and of scientific theory.  Based as science is on what we can observe in nature, science cannot speak on the realm of the supernatural.  This is not a failing of science in general, or of evolutionary theory in specific.  To expect evolutionary theory to explain the supernatural Logos within the laws of nature, or to discredit the theory because it cannot explain this Logos, is to misunderstand science altogether.

God bless !

That's exact my point-thank you ! You can not explain the Mystery of Creation by the Laws of fallen Nature.

But is this post not contradicting to your post before when you tried to interprete Genesis and creation with evolution ?

In CHRIST
« Last Edit: December 29, 2007, 08:42:02 PM by Christodoulos » Logged
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« Reply #370 on: December 29, 2007, 08:44:38 PM »

God bless !

It is hard to read - but when you think about Blessed Seraphim this way - ok.

In CHRIST

No, dear Christodoulos, it's not OK. I do really, seriously believe that he is an idiot, and I do really, very seriously believe that I am Orthodox. So, there must be some arbitration betwen him and me.
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« Reply #371 on: December 29, 2007, 08:45:05 PM »

From what I read of his ignorant meanderings re. evolution, he is a total idiot. Sorry. Hier stehe ich. Etc.

Seeing as how Fr. Seraphim Rose will probably be glorified as a Saint in the not-so-distant future, I think some more respect is in order. Or at least refrain from such outbursts. "If you can't say anything nice..."
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« Reply #372 on: December 29, 2007, 08:46:12 PM »

Seeing as how Fr. Seraphim Rose will probably be glorified as a Saint in the not-so-distant future, I think some more respect is in order. Or at least refrain from such outbursts. "If you can't say anything nice..."

I am sorry. I really am. An yet, "hier stehe ich," etc.
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« Reply #373 on: December 29, 2007, 08:46:35 PM »

And that was the reason I put them on the "little list", so you present the same ? But there are others
(also in English) and the four books can not answer all questions. It is more to start with ( I think). And I can tell you this debate exist in germany and this debate is increasing more and more ( and other european countries for example france).

If you want to link some German and French sources, fine.  But, as far as I can tell the debate is nowhere near as mainstream as it is among religious zealots in the US.  So I highly doubt you are going to find many actual biologists dissenting in Europe.   
 
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only think about anti-semitism

I posted about my own experiences during the few months I spent on Mt. Athos.  That is not rude.  Because of my experiences I am skeptical; I hope that your experiences have been more positive.  Honestly, if you want to discuss me please take it to the PM system.  Since you keep making public statements like this, I feel that I am justified in responding in public - but I'd appreciate it if you would not do so in the future.   

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You were more concerned on grammar than on orthodox theology.

Most posters here seem to simply ignore you.  I have spent more time responding to your posts and their substance than many have.  You are the one who seems to constantly bring it back up apropos of nothing.   

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Or perhpas Nektarianism ?

Don't temp me.
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« Reply #374 on: December 29, 2007, 08:53:12 PM »

From what I read of his ignorant meanderings re. evolution, he is a total idiot. Sorry. Hier stehe ich. Etc.

Hier stehen wir.  I don't know why Seraphim Rose is such a sacred cow.  Every single person or group that differed from his narrow opinions in the slightest manner were deemed by him to be in prelest or to be completely non-Orthodox.  He got it wrong on evolution.  He went too far on toll-houses.  He believed in UFOs.  He called a great many other Christians satanists.  Is that whom we should emulate? 

Here is a true hero of American Orthodoxy, rather than some eccentric holed up in the wilderness and babbling in paranoia:
 
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« Reply #375 on: December 29, 2007, 09:02:17 PM »

It seems that everybody's made the points that they wish to, and that some have come close to personal attacks (if they haven't already done so).  I'm going to temporarily lock the thread, and will unlock it after an amount of time has passed, to allow those who have become agitated to cool off, and allow those who haven't been agitated time to focus on other things.

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« Reply #376 on: December 29, 2007, 10:44:51 PM »

I merged the post above from a new thread in Faith Issues, pending moderatorial review.
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« Reply #377 on: December 30, 2007, 01:21:59 PM »

Dear members of the forum,

I am sorry for using a derogatory word when writing (yesterday evening) about Fr. Seraphim Rose. While I do absolutely and very passionately consider him dead wrong and harming many people by his writings on evolution, I still should not have used bad, rude, insulting language.

I am truly sorry, please forgive me. Please pray for me.

I hope the evolution thread will be re-opened soon (or maybe some other similar thread), and I will try to express my thoughts in a more charitable manner, whatever these thoughts are.

George
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« Reply #378 on: December 30, 2007, 04:01:06 PM »

George,

Your apology is very thoughtful.  My lock of the thread was only intended to be for about a day, to allow folks to cool if needed and give folks a bit of a break.  I have merged your post into this thread.
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« Reply #379 on: December 30, 2007, 05:10:13 PM »

I'm always intrigued by what the topic of Creation vs. Evolution seems to reveal about people.  The topic is normally driven by two camps, on the one hand, those that call themselves "creationists" who not only believe the creation story as written, but extrapolate on what is written to extremes in order to combat "evolution" and its consequences.  Then on the other hand, you have the "evolutionists" who consider anybody that doesn't believe in evolutionary science as ignorant at best, deceptive at worst of the facts.  I believe both sides get so heated because the discussion reveals deep seated conflicts of faith.  On the creationist side,  they want things of faith to be black and white, not up for discussion, ignoring the fact that issues of faith will always be debated because it is men who put God's word to paper so to speak and men who interpret.  That is why even the Holy Fathers never spoke alone, it was always under the guidance of the bible, the Church and tradition, etc.  On the "evolutionist" side, its seems that deep down their belief in evolution can often keep within them a deep crisis of faith, and when the topic comes up their own internal turmoil is revealed, thus nonbelievers of evolution are quickly labeled as "ignorant" or "deceptive" or "untruthful".

Personally, I think "creationists" read too much into Genesis and you end up with people like Creation Research Institute who really do teach blatantly unscientific teachings, and I think "evolutionists" often ignore huge questions in evolutionary logic because evolution is the only theory that fits what facts they do have, and also that science can never allow the supernatural or spiritual to enter into scientific theory, and rightfully so.

In my opinion, it all comes down to the moment of nothingness.  Whether you are a "creationist" or an "evolutionist" we all would agree there was time in the distant past where life was either "nothingness" or a mass of matter as close to "nothingness" as you can get.  You either believe some force outside nature "god" caused this nothingness to become life, or believe this nothingness due to some natural evolutionary process exploded and evolved into living, breathing human beings with free will and a conscious.  Everything that happened between then and the appearence of "Adam and Eve", while interesting, I'm not sure is important.

In my view, if God did turn nothingness into "life", however he did it is unimportant.  Interesting, but as far as my walk to deification, unimportant.  So in that spirit I would advise both "creationists" and "evolutionists" that when you let emotions dictate your reactions in this discussion, you have already lost the battle.

And finally, a bit of contradiction.  Done in an edifying way, I do really enjoy the whole creation vs. evolution discussion.  It's an interesting topic that a lot of believers struggle with, and done with some discretion and mutual respect, is probably worth discussing.
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« Reply #380 on: December 30, 2007, 05:23:03 PM »

In my view, if God did turn nothingness into "life", however he did it is unimportant.  Interesting, but as far as my walk to deification, unimportant.  

I quite agree with you. None of us, nor any ECFs were there are the Beginning.  I don't know how God made everything. But here we are and it's all complicated and amazing and full of wonderful interesting things that God said were Very Good.
 Smiley

And here is a quote that I've used in before:

"Any deity worthy of a graven image can cobble up a working universe complete with fake fossils in under a week - hey, if you're not omnipotent, there's no real point in being a god. But to start with a big ball of elementary particles and end up with the duckbill platypus without constant twiddling requires a degree of subtlety and the ability to Think Things Through: exactly the qualities I'm looking for when I'm shopping for a Supreme Being." ---  Lee DeRaud


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« Reply #381 on: December 30, 2007, 05:30:16 PM »

Thank you, Cleveland.

I still think that whenever we think or talk or write about biological evolution, we need to have in our mind a clear notion about HOW we really KNOW things about our natural world.

I don't think that we can find even one sane person who would say, "oh, but it's just a theory that water consists of molecules, and each of these molecules has two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen bonded together with the help of polar covalent bonds. I don't see that when I look at water poured in a glass, and the Bible certainly does not teach that. Let's take a look at patristic sources and make sure, is the belief in these atoms and bonds really Orthodox."

The amazing thing, it REALLY IS "JUST" A THEORY that water consists of molecules, and each of these molecules has two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen bonded together with the help of polar covalent bonds. It is not a directly observable fact. But we know that it is true (as far as we know ANYTING about the natural world), because this statement, "water consists of molecules, and each of these molecules has two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen bonded together with the help of polar covalent bonds," is very consistent with numerous observations made by thousands of scientists working in many different laboratories all over the world independently of each other.

And so is the statement that populations evolve (i.e. change their genetic makeup over time) because of the effects of such factors as mutations in the DNA, natural selection, genetic drift, gene flow (migrations), and non-random sexual replication. And so is the statement that this biological evolution, under certain circumstances (as detailed in many contemporary biology textbooks) can result in speciation (emergence of new species), as well as in the extinction of existing species.

Attempts to "prove" that these above statements are not true are ridiculous, even if they come from mouths of people who claim to be educated or even "scientists." Hard evidence that supports these two statements (about the reality of evolution and about the reality of speciation/extinction) is as abundant and un-refutable as the evidence supporting the statement about water molecules made up by two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen.

Biological evolution is not an "opinion," and not a "belief," - again, exactly like structure of water molecules is not an "opinion" and not a "belief." Statements about evolution or structure of water are statements that are AS CLOSE TO REALITY AS WE CAN EVER GET (at least in this world, "to this side of heaven"). Making up alternative statements (for example, that all species were created ex nihilo at one single moment, and no more species will ever arrive; or that water consists of little grey moist corpuscules with little legs and tails) can be done, but this is just like making a "statement" that the Moon is made of green cheese. And to me personally, to a guy who grew up in a totaltarian regime where scientists used to be tortured and shot because their work led them to making statements contradicting a certain ideology, people's attempts to find certain "proof texts" in Scripture and in Fathers and say, "here, this chapter and verse, that's the evidence supporting the notion that the Moon is made of green cheese" - are just too much to bear.

Just like we know better than that the Moon is made of green cheese, WE ALSO *KNOW* (as far as we know things at all) that the situation where on the planet Earth existed only one "man" and one "woman" is biologically impossible. Biologically speaking, there simply cannot be something that can be called the "first" human or the "first" bear or the "first" oak tree or the "first" mushroom or the "first" amoeba. Biology simply does not work that way. How it DOES work, again, many modern biology textboks describe very well, in much detail.

Just how to syntethize this with theology, I really, really do not know. I have no idea how to combine the EXACT KNOWLEDGE that "Adam" could not possibly exist as one lone "first" man who sinned, with the texts of, say, Romans 5:12-21. But that lack of understanding can in no way serve as grounds for dismissal of the exact knowledge obtained by science. Again, that would be ridiculos, disgraceful, a mockery of thousands and thousands of wonderful men and women who labored all their lives to gain knowledge in genetics, biochemistry, population biology, comparative anatomy, ecology, and other fields of biological sciences. I cannot participate in this mockery. So, if there is a consensus that I MUST "believe" in the literal Adam and Eve and therefore in Rom. 5:12-21 according to some exegesis made by some Holy Father of the Church, or else I am not Orthodox - then I really am not Orthodox.

I do believe that Christ, the Son of the Living God, became incarnate of the Holy Spirit and Virgin Mary, and came down to our earth from heaven to save sinners, of whom I am chief. That I do believe, and know. Please pray for me, and I will certainly pray for you all this evening.

George
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« Reply #382 on: December 30, 2007, 06:04:19 PM »

The question shouldn't be "do Oxygen molecules exist" any more than it is "do monkees exist".  The question is how they came into existence.  One thing I've never understood about strict, atheist evolutionists is that they see the simaliarity in nature and go "that proves we all evolved from the same thing." And when I don't get all the jumps and unbelievably mutations that must have happened for that to occur they think I'm stupid(let me add here, I'm not stupid.  Math Major from Vanderbilt University among other things, visit www.silouan.com for more).  But when I see the similarities I only go, "if we all came from the same maker and were made to exist in the same environment, of course there are similarities. The surprising thing would be if there weren't." 

I truly appreciate your passion and scientific contributions to this topic George, but how do you answer the fervent evolutionist who would say your belief in Christ is as "ignorant" and "stupid" as the most hardcore creationist.


Thank you, Cleveland.

I still think that whenever we think or talk or write about biological evolution, we need to have in our mind a clear notion about HOW we really KNOW things about our natural world.

I don't think that we can find even one sane person who would say, "oh, but it's just a theory that water consists of molecules, and each of these molecules has two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen bonded together with the help of polar covalent bonds. I don't see that when I look at water poured in a glass, and the Bible certainly does not teach that. Let's take a look at patristic sources and make sure, is the belief in these atoms and bonds really Orthodox."

The amazing thing, it REALLY IS "JUST" A THEORY that water consists of molecules, and each of these molecules has two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen bonded together with the help of polar covalent bonds. It is not a directly observable fact. But we know that it is true (as far as we know ANYTING about the natural world), because this statement, "water consists of molecules, and each of these molecules has two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen bonded together with the help of polar covalent bonds," is very consistent with numerous observations made by thousands of scientists working in many different laboratories all over the world independently of each other.

And so is the statement that populations evolve (i.e. change their genetic makeup over time) because of the effects of such factors as mutations in the DNA, natural selection, genetic drift, gene flow (migrations), and non-random sexual replication. And so is the statement that this biological evolution, under certain circumstances (as detailed in many contemporary biology textbooks) can result in speciation (emergence of new species), as well as in the extinction of existing species.

Attempts to "prove" that these above statements are not true are ridiculous, even if they come from mouths of people who claim to be educated or even "scientists." Hard evidence that supports these two statements (about the reality of evolution and about the reality of speciation/extinction) is as abundant and un-refutable as the evidence supporting the statement about water molecules made up by two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen.

Biological evolution is not an "opinion," and not a "belief," - again, exactly like structure of water molecules is not an "opinion" and not a "belief." Statements about evolution or structure of water are statements that are AS CLOSE TO REALITY AS WE CAN EVER GET (at least in this world, "to this side of heaven"). Making up alternative statements (for example, that all species were created ex nihilo at one single moment, and no more species will ever arrive; or that water consists of little grey moist corpuscules with little legs and tails) can be done, but this is just like making a "statement" that the Moon is made of green cheese. And to me personally, to a guy who grew up in a totaltarian regime where scientists used to be tortured and shot because their work led them to making statements contradicting a certain ideology, people's attempts to find certain "proof texts" in Scripture and in Fathers and say, "here, this chapter and verse, that's the evidence supporting the notion that the Moon is made of green cheese" - are just too much to bear.

Just like we know better than that the Moon is made of green cheese, WE ALSO *KNOW* (as far as we know things at all) that the situation where on the planet Earth existed only one "man" and one "woman" is biologically impossible. Biologically speaking, there simply cannot be something that can be called the "first" human or the "first" bear or the "first" oak tree or the "first" mushroom or the "first" amoeba. Biology simply does not work that way. How it DOES work, again, many modern biology textboks describe very well, in much detail.

Just how to syntethize this with theology, I really, really do not know. I have no idea how to combine the EXACT KNOWLEDGE that "Adam" could not possibly exist as one lone "first" man who sinned, with the texts of, say, Romans 5:12-21. But that lack of understanding can in no way serve as grounds for dismissal of the exact knowledge obtained by science. Again, that would be ridiculos, disgraceful, a mockery of thousands and thousands of wonderful men and women who labored all their lives to gain knowledge in genetics, biochemistry, population biology, comparative anatomy, ecology, and other fields of biological sciences. I cannot participate in this mockery. So, if there is a consensus that I MUST "believe" in the literal Adam and Eve and therefore in Rom. 5:12-21 according to some exegesis made by some Holy Father of the Church, or else I am not Orthodox - then I really am not Orthodox.

I do believe that Christ, the Son of the Living God, became incarnate of the Holy Spirit and Virgin Mary, and came down to our earth from heaven to save sinners, of whom I am chief. That I do believe, and know. Please pray for me, and I will certainly pray for you all this evening.

George
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« Reply #383 on: December 30, 2007, 06:48:57 PM »

The question shouldn't be "do Oxygen molecules exist" any more than it is "do monkees exist".  The question is how they came into existence.  One thing I've never understood about strict, atheist evolutionists is that they see the simaliarity in nature and go "that proves we all evolved from the same thing." And when I don't get all the jumps and unbelievably mutations that must have happened for that to occur they think I'm stupid(let me add here, I'm not stupid.  Math Major from Vanderbilt University among other things, visit www.silouan.com for more).  But when I see the similarities I only go, "if we all came from the same maker and were made to exist in the same environment, of course there are similarities. The surprising thing would be if there weren't." 

I truly appreciate your passion and scientific contributions to this topic George, but how do you answer the fervent evolutionist who would say your belief in Christ is as "ignorant" and "stupid" as the most hardcore creationist.



Dear Livefreeordie,

The theory of biological evolution (TBE) DOES NOT address the question of origins. It never intended to do that. So, the question, "where did we come from" is BEYOND this theory. All the TBE addresses is HOW DOES THE ALREADY EXISTING LIFE DIVERSIFY. And the answer to this question is, it diversifies through DNA mutations, natural selection, genetic drift, gene flow and non-random sexual replication. These factors, acting on populations of living systems (organisms), make these populations evolve, continuously evolve.

I am not implying tat people who do not understand TBE are "stupid." All I am saying is that they need to take serious biology classes. Studying TBE on your own, using books and the Internet, is very difficult, most likely impossible, very non-productive. You need teachers, their lectures, and you need time (at least one full semester, better two).

If someone says tha my beliefs in Christ are stupid - fine, I won't argue, I'll just keep believing what I believe. But what I have written about TBE has nothing to do with my beliefs, ANY of my beliefs. TBE is NOT A BELIEF SYSTEM. It is not possible to believe or not believe in it. One can either know it or not.
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« Reply #384 on: December 30, 2007, 07:13:05 PM »

What exactly is the ORIGIN of the "The ORIGIN of the SPECIES" if your stated intentions of TBE are correct, i.e. that it never intended to address origins? 

But hey, we do agree completely on this, "TBE only addresses how existing life diversify."  Of course, what is "already exisiting life."  Is it simple cells, or is it already existing creatures?  Is it a mass of matter moments before the Big Bang, or is it a pool of water that fish crawled out of?  This of course seems to be the problem with current evolutionary theory as possited in popular culture as I see it, an honest belief in it really does seem to either rule out the creator at worst or leave him on the sidelines at best.  Plenty of evolutionists who are Christians try to argue otherwise such as Francis Collins in his book "The Language of God", but even his arguments get leveled by leading atheist evolutionists, in my opinion. Leaving the evolutionist who believes saying, "I believe because I believe"  Which of course leaves all of believers in the same place!

Oh, since it seems to be a concern of yours in discussing this matter, I've taken at least 4 semesters of Biology that I can remember, 2 in high school, 2 at Vanderbilt.   Smiley  Since I remember little of it, it seems it also did me little good!

Dear Livefreeordie,

The theory of biological evolution (TBE) DOES NOT address the question of origins. It never intended to do that. So, the question, "where did we come from" is BEYOND this theory. All the TBE addresses is HOW DOES THE ALREADY EXISTING LIFE DIVERSIFY. And the answer to this question is, it diversifies through DNA mutations, natural selection, genetic drift, gene flow and non-random sexual replication. These factors, acting on populations of living systems (organisms), make these populations evolve, continuously evolve.

I am not implying tat people who do not understand TBE are "stupid." All I am saying is that they need to take serious biology classes. Studying TBE on your own, using books and the Internet, is very difficult, most likely impossible, very non-productive. You need teachers, their lectures, and you need time (at least one full semester, better two).

If someone says tha my beliefs in Christ are stupid - fine, I won't argue, I'll just keep believing what I believe. But what I have written about TBE has nothing to do with my beliefs, ANY of my beliefs. TBE is NOT A BELIEF SYSTEM. It is not possible to believe or not believe in it. One can either know it or not.
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« Reply #385 on: December 30, 2007, 07:49:15 PM »

What exactly is the ORIGIN of the "The ORIGIN of the SPECIES" if your stated intentions of TBE are correct, i.e. that it never intended to address origins? 

But hey, we do agree completely on this, "TBE only addresses how existing life diversify."  Of course, what is "already exisiting life."  Is it simple cells, or is it already existing creatures?  Is it a mass of matter moments before the Big Bang, or is it a pool of water that fish crawled out of?  This of course seems to be the problem with current evolutionary theory as possited in popular culture as I see it, an honest belief in it really does seem to either rule out the creator at worst or leave him on the sidelines at best.  Plenty of evolutionists who are Christians try to argue otherwise such as Francis Collins in his book "The Language of God", but even his arguments get leveled by leading atheist evolutionists, in my opinion. Leaving the evolutionist who believes saying, "I believe because I believe"  Which of course leaves all of believers in the same place!

Oh, since it seems to be a concern of yours in discussing this matter, I've taken at least 4 semesters of Biology that I can remember, 2 in high school, 2 at Vanderbilt.   Smiley  Since I remember little of it, it seems it also did me little good!


Well, there are definitely some people among those who call themselves "evolutionists" who in fact have no clue about what is science and what is religious belief. My take on it, - leave them alone. I can't argue with them, I don't argue with them and I won't. They ave a really RELIGIOUS agenda. Not my agenda. Moreover, something opposite to my religious agenda. As one saying goes, let them swim in their own pond.

But there IS science nonetheless, no matter who makes what of it. And this science says that populations evolve and, while evolving, can diverge into separate new species. Why would it matter, who makes what quasi-religious agenda of it? It's what science says, based on tons, tons, tons, megatons, mega-megatons of careful independent observations, questions, hypotheses, predictions, and tests. I, therefore, have but two choices (again, no matter what is anybody's religious agenda): one is, accept that it is true - just like H-two-O is true, or frivilously say that it is not true, just like H-two-O is not true and the Moon is made of green cheese because this and that Father of the 3-d or 4-th century Church wrote something to that effect...

Four semesters of biology should be fine... but do you really know genetics, population genetics and molecular genetics? When I started to teach at American universities, I was astonished by what junk people in this country call "biology..."
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« Reply #386 on: December 30, 2007, 11:33:09 PM »

Reading this thread has certainly been educating (sometimes entertaining, sometimes saddening.)  I intend to go over the early stages of the thread again so that I can get a better grasp of the situation.  But in reading this thread, while also being an admirer of Fr. Seraphim, something occured to me.  Fr. Seraphim spent the whole of his Orthodox life trying to acquire a Patristic mind-frame, that is, he tried to re-structure his way of thinking around the Fathers and Mothers rather than trying to find quotes from them to fit his frame of mind.  Now having said this, I realize that Fr. Seraphim was not entirely correct in all that he said and wrote, and he maybe went too far in some of his assertions.  Perhaps one of the reasons this is so is because the great leaps and bounds in scientific discoveries that we take for granted today simply could not have been even remotely understood by the Fathers (of whom Fr. Seraphim loved so much); they were, after all, a product of their times.  Our dear Fr. Seraphim was simply trying to acquire the 'mind-set' of the Fathers and Mothers (something very admirable and perhaps something we might all benefit from doing) while distancing himself from secular discoveries.  Fr. Seraphim was also a product of his time, or at least he was trying to distance himself from his 'time'.   He simply was in love with Jesus, and did all he could (speaking solely here of his books and lectures) for our benefit.  Again, I understand that he was probably incorrect on some of his understandings, but Fr. Seraphim is only one voice in the whole Ekklesian choir, as it were.

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« Reply #387 on: December 30, 2007, 11:42:15 PM »

You know, I was glad to see the other day that Cleveland locked this thread, simply because it was getting so heated.   Then I was glad to see that he unlocked it, in the hopes that some more fruitful discussion could continue.  I was really enjoying reading the posts, as I was learning so much about science and evolution, etc.  But I feel compelled to say that, at this point, I'm really tired of wading through all the muck of the personal attacks and arguments going on.  I haven't posted in several days to pretty much any thread because (and I'm sure a lot of this is just my perception) it just seems like everyone (and yes I know it is not everyone) is constantly jumping all over everyone else for the slightest little comment!

Though we all like to say that we aren't judging, it seems like you can't sling a dead cat around any of the threads these days without hitting a judgemental post- whether about "nitpicking" over some little detail of someone's post, "clarifying"- is that really what it is?, questioning meaning- when really we're challenging... I know I'm guilty of it too, lest someone hurry to reply to this post and point out that I, too, have done it.  

Anyway, I've just completely lost track of where this thread is going, having to skip over post after post of this stuff.  And funny, when I read over several threads with this kind of thing, there seems to be a common thread running through them, and that is someone (no implications here, so don't read them in, please) has decided themselves to be the authority.  

It seems that the only safe threads to post in, where one won't be attacked over the smallest little thing, are the random postings with the games and such!  I feel like I have had to eliminate my sense of humor from the few times that I do post (because I'm afraid I'll offend), and now I've gotten to the point that I don't want to post at all, for fear of being publicly taken to task over some little something that I absolutely did not mean.  Why is it that we all (lest I be attacked on this one too, I realize it's not ALL of us) look for the weak places to attack and challenge in eachother's posts, instead of just discussing like the loving Orthodox Christians that we're supposed to be?

I've posted my own personal opinions about evolution in this thread long ago.  I will reiterate that I think it's ridiculous to deny the existence of science, as some are essentially doing.  There is NO reason, whatsoever, that Orthodoxy should be afraid of science.  Science is nothing more than the process God uses to create and maintain our world.  The more we learn about science, the more we know about how God works.  This is, what I would say, the simplest form of the idea behind Theistic evolution.  That is, there is some form of evolution, and it is through that evolution that God works.  Denial of science, especially to such an extent as to call those who believe in science as God's handiwork heretics, smacks of little more than ignorance and fear.  If you don't understand the concepts or aren't up on the information, then just educate yourself before calling everyone else a heretic!  Part of the reason I've stayed out of the discussion, beyond what I originally said, is because I am learning a LOT more by reading, then by posting!  I'd rather learn from those who know than display my ignorance and *hear* (read?) the sound of my own voice!!!

All this being said, could we PLEASE take the personal attacks to the PM system???!!!!!  It has been suggested several times... Could somebody please be the hero here and either stop replying to the attacks or take them to the PM's?  I would, personally, love to get through at least one discussion on the threads that are devoid of attacks.  I'm tired of wading through the muck to try and find anything fruitful.  

Am I the only one that feels this way?

P.S.  I'd never heard of Fr. Seraphim Rose before I read this thread.  Call me unread if you like...
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« Reply #388 on: December 30, 2007, 11:54:09 PM »

Dear Presbytera Mari,

If in anything that I wrote there were personal attacks, I deeply apologize.

I am just a scientist and I am not "proud" of it any more than a shoemaker is "proud" that he is a shoemaker. But I am also as sure that biological science is true as this shoemaker is sure that his shoes are "true." And whether it is Fr. Seraphim Rose or anyone else who - based on something that does not convince me that he ever even saw my "shoes" - argues that these "shoes" are "not true" - I cannot agree with him, never will as long as I am in my trade, or even as long as I am alive.

If my trade is not compatible with what people judge to be Orthodox, then I am not Orthodox.

If you kindly do not judge my trade to be incompatible with being Orthodox, I thank you with all my heart and bow and pray that God bless and keep you and make all your paths prosperous.

Humbly, yours,

George
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« Reply #389 on: December 31, 2007, 12:00:11 AM »

Dear Presbytera Mari,

If in anything that I wrote there were personal attacks, I deeply apologize.

I am just a scientist and I am not "proud" of it any more than a shoemaker is "proud" that he is a shoemaker. But I am also as sure that biological science is true as this shoemaker is sure that his shoes are "true." And whether it is Fr. Seraphim Rose or anyone else who - based on something that does not convince me that he ever even saw my "shoes" - argues that these "shoes" are "not true" - I cannot agree with him, never will as long as I am in my trade, or even as long as I am alive.

If my trade is not compatible with what people judge to be Orthodox, then I am not Orthodox.

If you kindly do not judge my trade to be incompatible with being Orthodox, I thank you with all my heart and bow and pray that God bless and keep you and make all your paths prosperous.

Humbly, yours,

George

Please, please don't apologize.  That wasn't at all what I was looking for.  And I would not ever judge your trade to be incompatible with Orthodox, that was exactly my point.  Understanding science is understanding God's work.  Scientists help us understand.  My uncle is a scientist- a nuclear physicist retired from the army (he worked at Los Alamos years and years ago doing work that he still can't tell us about).  He is also a DEVOUT believer in God.  He is the one that originally told me that science is God's handiwork, and it's a phrase and belief that have stuck with me ever since I was a little girl.

Again, please don't apologize.  You have absolutely no reason to.  My saying that I've never heard of Fr. Seraphim Rose was just reiterating what you said- that not everyone has heard of him.

God bless you and the work you do!!!
Mari
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« Reply #390 on: December 31, 2007, 12:00:30 AM »

It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation.

Blessed Augustine – The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 1:19–20, Chapt. 19 [AD 408]
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« Reply #391 on: January 04, 2008, 12:20:28 AM »

We'll be opening this thread---having split several posts into a different thread---and I will again remind people:

An ad hominem attack is an attack against a person, and is not tolerated.
A debate is discussing information in a post, and is encouraged.

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« Reply #392 on: January 04, 2008, 02:47:07 PM »

You know, I was glad to see the other day that Cleveland locked this thread, simply because it was getting so heated.   Then I was glad to see that he unlocked it, in the hopes that some more fruitful discussion could continue.  I was really enjoying reading the posts, as I was learning so much about science and evolution, etc.  But I feel compelled to say that, at this point, I'm really tired of wading through all the muck of the personal attacks and arguments going on.  I haven't posted in several days to pretty much any thread because (and I'm sure a lot of this is just my perception) it just seems like everyone (and yes I know it is not everyone) is constantly jumping all over everyone else for the slightest little comment!

Though we all like to say that we aren't judging, it seems like you can't sling a dead cat around any of the threads these days without hitting a judgemental post- whether about "nitpicking" over some little detail of someone's post, "clarifying"- is that really what it is?, questioning meaning- when really we're challenging... I know I'm guilty of it too, lest someone hurry to reply to this post and point out that I, too, have done it.  

Anyway, I've just completely lost track of where this thread is going, having to skip over post after post of this stuff.  And funny, when I read over several threads with this kind of thing, there seems to be a common thread running through them, and that is someone (no implications here, so don't read them in, please) has decided themselves to be the authority.  

It seems that the only safe threads to post in, where one won't be attacked over the smallest little thing, are the random postings with the games and such!  I feel like I have had to eliminate my sense of humor from the few times that I do post (because I'm afraid I'll offend), and now I've gotten to the point that I don't want to post at all, for fear of being publicly taken to task over some little something that I absolutely did not mean.  Why is it that we all (lest I be attacked on this one too, I realize it's not ALL of us) look for the weak places to attack and challenge in eachother's posts, instead of just discussing like the loving Orthodox Christians that we're supposed to be?

I've posted my own personal opinions about evolution in this thread long ago.  I will reiterate that I think it's ridiculous to deny the existence of science, as some are essentially doing.  There is NO reason, whatsoever, that Orthodoxy should be afraid of science.  Science is nothing more than the process God uses to create and maintain our world.  The more we learn about science, the more we know about how God works.  This is, what I would say, the simplest form of the idea behind Theistic evolution.  That is, there is some form of evolution, and it is through that evolution that God works.  Denial of science, especially to such an extent as to call those who believe in science as God's handiwork heretics, smacks of little more than ignorance and fear.  If you don't understand the concepts or aren't up on the information, then just educate yourself before calling everyone else a heretic!  Part of the reason I've stayed out of the discussion, beyond what I originally said, is because I am learning a LOT more by reading, then by posting!  I'd rather learn from those who know than display my ignorance and *hear* (read?) the sound of my own voice!!!

All this being said, could we PLEASE take the personal attacks to the PM system???!!!!!  It has been suggested several times... Could somebody please be the hero here and either stop replying to the attacks or take them to the PM's?  I would, personally, love to get through at least one discussion on the threads that are devoid of attacks.  I'm tired of wading through the muck to try and find anything fruitful.  

Am I the only one that feels this way?

P.S.  I'd never heard of Fr. Seraphim Rose before I read this thread.  Call me unread if you like...

What a refreshing post, Presbytera Mari!  Thank you for it.

You are definitely not the only one who feels the way you do.

Earlier I bowed out of this "debate" for reasons I expressed in my post and for other, un-expressed, reasons, some of which you touched upon.

I will say this--I acknowledge that I am woefully under-educated in the sciences.  I also do not express myself very clearly sometimes, and this has occurred more than once here.  Some of the more recent postings by Herohij and others have been very useful and educational for me, without some of the pretty nasty polemics and ad-hominems that appeared earlier.  While I found myself being put off earlier by our resident biologist, I now see where he is coming from and, from the basis of my very little knowledge, find myself in agreement with him and with what you so clearly wrote above, as well as with Fr. Seraphim Rose, whom I would most heartily recommend to you.  This may seem contradictory, but in my old, mostly empty, little pea brain, I can see no "real" contradiction.  But then, that's just me  Grin Grin.

God bless you.

In Christ,
Jeff
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« Reply #393 on: January 04, 2008, 05:58:01 PM »

Dear Jeff (Ziggernaut),

I am so sorry that I, as you say, put you off (if it's me whom you refer to as resident biologist). Please forgive me. I really never knew how to debate, and it's perhaps too late for me to learn.

G.
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« Reply #394 on: January 04, 2008, 06:03:12 PM »

Dear Jeff (Ziggernaut),

I am so sorry that I, as you say, put you off (if it's me whom you refer to as resident biologist). Please forgive me. I really never knew how to debate, and it's perhaps too late for me to learn.

G.

You're doing great, the only thing you need to work on is not being so nice. Half of these creationists have opened themselves up to cutting and humiliating remarks and you never dealt the fatal blow. Wink

If you're too nice you may turn your enemies into allies and that would ruin everyone's fun. Grin
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« Reply #395 on: January 04, 2008, 07:06:58 PM »

You're doing great, the only thing you need to work on is not being so nice. Half of these creationists have opened themselves up to cutting and humiliating remarks and you never dealt the fatal blow. Wink

If you're too nice you may turn your enemies into allies and that would ruin everyone's fun. Grin

Well, as I said, I do not believe in the existence of creationists. They are fictional characters like Santa Claus or Ideal Man (not Ideal Woman, my wife is real.Smiley) There are simply people who have some knowledge about biology and others who do not. Within the second category, some are honest and want to learn, while others do not want to learn and pull illogical, irrational arguments (kind of like, speciation does not occur according to what the theory of biological evolution states because Fr. Whasshisname wrote this and said that). I do very sincerely want to help the people who are honest and want to learn. People who do not want to learn and pull irrational arguments make me desperate and sometimes angry, so I hurt everybody, including the honest and the willing to learn. Sad
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« Reply #396 on: January 04, 2008, 07:36:23 PM »

(not Ideal Woman, my wife is real.Smiley)

And apparently reads your OC.net posts...  Wink
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« Reply #397 on: January 04, 2008, 10:50:35 PM »

Well, as I said, I do not believe in the existence of creationists. They are fictional characters like Santa Claus or Ideal Man (not Ideal Woman, my wife is real.Smiley) There are simply people who have some knowledge about biology and others who do not. Within the second category, some are honest and want to learn, while others do not want to learn and pull illogical, irrational arguments (kind of like, speciation does not occur according to what the theory of biological evolution states because Fr. Whasshisname wrote this and said that). I do very sincerely want to help the people who are honest and want to learn. People who do not want to learn and pull irrational arguments make me desperate and sometimes angry, so I hurt everybody, including the honest and the willing to learn. Sad

I was just joking with you in my last post, I do hope that came across.

But I do think these creationists are real, in fact you described them: 'others [who] do not want to learn and pull illogical, irrational arguments.' And I can certainly sympathize with you they can make you desperate and anger you, I would personally use the term 'annoyed' to describe my reaction.

And, perhaps you are right, there may be those who honestly want to learn and simply do not understand the issue at hand, but I am skeptical. Perhaps it's because of the abrasive nature of my personality and my stubbornness (I get that from my German side Wink), but my experience as a creationist was that they are (or perhaps I should say 'we were') generally not interested in good science or sound research, it's a philosophical position based on ignorance and when ignorance is the foundation of your belief any presentation of knowledge is a threat.

No matter how well one presented the theory of evolution I would simply ignore it and retreat to cosmology, attempt to reduce the theory to absurdity by reducing principles it was philosophically dependent on to absurdity. Then, fortunately for me, I took Quantum Mechanics, I learned about the Uncertainty Principle and that matter (and anti-matter) can and does spontaneously generate itself from nothing: it has no need of creation. Reason forced me to dismiss the very arguments to which I would retreat and forced me to confront biological evolution head on. I eventually came to half heartedly accept it, though I had no understanding, then I decided that I had better learn something about biology, it was simply unacceptable to be completely ignorant of an entire scientific field. My studies eventually lead me to this paper http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v423/n6937/full/nature01644.html (abstract only), the methods used and the points made were irrefutable; they were not trying to prove evolution by any means, they all already knew that it was true, it was the basis of their research...but the implications of that assumption were remarkable, four yeast genomes tell you more than a million fossils and a million core samples could ever hope to. I had learned enought that I no longer had a reasonable choice of 'beliefs', there was only one acceptable belief, it is clear that theories opposed to common ancestry and natural selection are simply wrong. To those who think otherwise, read the paper, it's the best $30 you'll ever spend; or if you're too cheap to do that, go down to your local university, every university that's worth being called a school has a subscription to Nature.

But the point I was trying to get across through all this (and I doubt I did a very good job) is that while I now approach the subject with the zeal of a convert, this conversion required the overthrowing of deeply held philosophical and religious principles...it's not something you'll achieve by good education and reasonable arguments alone. It's something that can only be accomplished by the person in question, they have to have an honest desire to learn and advance their knowledge, even at the expense of that which they hold most dear, their very weltanschauung. It's only when I elevated the pursuit of knowledge above all else, as the ulimate good, that I could do as much.

Perhaps you have different experiences as a Professor of Biology, then again perhaps your students tend to be more open to the scientific method and reasonable discourse, but I am skeptical as to whether or not one can effectively educate those who do not wish to be educated (and I would argue today that creationists, by virtue of being creationists, do now wish to be educated).

Hence, I generally don't even try to teach, I have been content to score rhetorical points (the great thing about being right is that it makes this endeavour rather easy Wink). But I must concede that as you still seek to do as much, you are a more patient and optimistic man than I. Smiley
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« Reply #398 on: January 20, 2008, 07:19:46 PM »

You know what, I don't want to get into this discussion... However, don't just throw out Origen because he was condemned - many of the Fathers (um, Saints) used and continue to use what is good that came from Origen, while rejecting the specific things that were bad.

And as for Clement, I think other Fathers quote Clement as well.  I don't have the time to research this now, however, so I understand if you disagree.

Actually, he was never officially condenmned.

Many of the Early Fathers sometimes had some wierd views.
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« Reply #399 on: January 21, 2008, 01:09:07 AM »

Actually, he was never officially condenmned.

I beg to differ.  I do think that his condemnation was quite tragic, coming as it did well after his death, when he couldn't defend himself.  Some of what he did/wrote certainly was worthy of censure, but he was such an amazingly prolific pioneer too.  But that's a subject for another thread.
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« Reply #400 on: February 07, 2008, 10:12:41 AM »

For everyone's benefit, I'm making this thread a sticky and recommending it as a good place for discussion of this topic. There are numerous threads on this subject already, among them the ones listed below:

Genesis, Creation, and Orthodoxy

Can Someone Help Me Understand Sin, God, and the Devil?

Creation Museum Family Visit

"Creation Science" Isn't Science

Young Earth Creation?

Genesis, Creation, and Early Man

Science and Knowledge of Things

Evolutionist, ID, or Creationist? Cast Your Vote!

In What Ways Might God Value Creation?

The Evolution Thread to End All Evolution Threads

I Am Turning into a Creationist

God Is Wonderful in His Creation

Materialistic Evolution

"Youg Earth Theory" and the Early Church Fathers

There Is No Theistic Evolution

Behe the Creationist

"Creatio Ex Nihilo" Is Gnostic Dualism?

Mesopotamian Flood Myths and Creation Myths?

God and Darwin--Washington Post Editorial

Altruistic Chimps Shed Light on Evolution of Altruism

Another Rend in Darwin's Seamless Garment?

X-Men and Philosophy

Evolution and Orthodoxy

Evolution and Oriental Orthodoxy

Darwinian Evolution: The Beginning of Heresy

Bad Arguments for Evolution

BBC: Human Evolution Is "Speeding Up"
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« Reply #401 on: February 07, 2008, 04:29:25 PM »

Here's my creation question of the day.

6-day creationists point to the salt in the oceans as evidence of a young earth.  They say that oceans take in more salt than they give off and if the earth were billions of years old the oceans would have far more salt to the point that they would be almost all salt.  I'm completely ignorant to the science of this, so I have no opinion on it, but it is an interesting point.

If someone who understands geology could comment on the science of this.  I.e., if this is totally made up science, explain it to me, I would appreciate it.

thanks!!
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« Reply #402 on: February 07, 2008, 07:36:14 PM »

Here's my creation question of the day.

6-day creationists point to the salt in the oceans as evidence of a young earth.  They say that oceans take in more salt than they give off and if the earth were billions of years old the oceans would have far more salt to the point that they would be almost all salt.  I'm completely ignorant to the science of this, so I have no opinion on it, but it is an interesting point.

If someone who understands geology could comment on the science of this.  I.e., if this is totally made up science, explain it to me, I would appreciate it.

From The Counter-Creationism Handbook, by Mark Isaak:

Claim made by H.M. Morris; Oceans do not have enough dissolved minerals for an old earth.

An upper limit for the age of the oceans is obtained by dividing the amount of an element dissolved in the sea by the amount added each year by rivers. These calcuations yield the following figures (H.M. Morris 1985, 153-155):


Element                                                         Years to Accumulate

sodium                                                           260,000,000
magnesium                                                      45,000,000
silicon                                                             8,000
potassium                                                        11,000,000
copper                                                            50,000
gold                                                                560,000
silver                                                               2,100,000
mercury                                                           42,000
lead                                                                2,000
tin                                                                  100,000
nickel                                                              18,000
uranium                                                            500,000

Answer: 1. The numbers in the table are residence times, or the average time that a small amount of an element stays in the sea water before being removed. They are not times that it takes the element to accumulate, and individual atoms may stay much briefer or longer than those times. Elements in the ocean are in approximate equilibrium between sources adding them and mechanisms removing them.
A detailed analysis of sodium, for example, shows that 35.6 x 1010 kg/yr come into the ocean, and 38.1 x 1010 kg/yr are removed (Morton 1996). Within measurement error, the amount of sodium added matches the amount removed.

2. Morris left aluminium off the list. It would show (according the Morris' reasoning) that the earth is only 100 years old.

Further reading: Burton J.D and D Wright 1981. Sea Water and its evolution; Matson, D.E. 1994, How good are those young-earth arguments? http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/hovind/howgood-yea.html#proof13; Stassen, C. 1997. The age of the earth. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-age-of-earth.html#ocean
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« Reply #403 on: February 07, 2008, 08:00:48 PM »

From http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/hovind/howgood-yea.html#proof13

Young-earth "proof" #13: If we divide the amount of various minerals in the ocean by their influx rate we get only a few thousand years of accumulation. Therefore, the earth is young.

13. In the case of aluminum we "get" only 100 years! In the case of sodium we "get" 260 million years. Where Dr. Hovind gets his "few thousand years," as though there were some kind of general agreement, is anyone's guess.

The table that one sees in a couple of Henry Morris' books was copied from a chapter by Goldberg (1965) that appears in Riley and Skirrow (1965).

Goldberg's [1965] Table I is a list of the abundances and residence times of the elements in sea water; it is these residence times that Morris [1974, 1977] and Morris and Parker [1982] give as indicated ages of the Earth. The residence time of an element, however is the average time that any small amount of an element remains in seawater before it is removed, not, as stated by Morris [1974], the time "to accumulate in ocean from river inflow," and has nothing to do with the ages of either the Earth or the ocean. Morris [1974, 1974a, 1977] and Morris and Parker [1982] have totally misrepresented the data listed in Goldberg's [1965] table.

(Dalrymple, 1984, 116)

Dalrymple concludes with:

The influx of chemicals to the ocean is an invalid and worthless method of determining the age of the Earth. Morris [1974, 1977] and Morris and Parker [1982] have misrepresented fundamental geochemical data and ignored virtually everything that is known about the geochemistry of seawater.

(Dalrymple, 1984, p.116)

It's all in a day's work for your typical creationist author! They are quite good at ignoring unfavorable facts. Never mind that the elements are in approximate equilibrium with the ocean; never mind that residence times are not the times for elements to accumulate from river inflow. Never mind that plankton concentrates these elements sometimes a thousand fold or more in their skeletons, and, when they die, they remove these elements from the sea waters (Glenn Morton). Press that banner high and march on! And that's exactly what a new generation of creationists are doing with this intellectually dishonest argument.
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« Reply #404 on: February 07, 2008, 08:07:55 PM »

From http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-age-of-earth.html#ocean

4. Accumulation of metals into the oceans
In 1965, Chemical Oceanography published a list of some metals' "residency times" in the ocean. This calculation was performed by dividing the amount of various metals in the oceans by the rate at which rivers bring the metals into the oceans.

Several creationists have reproduced this table of numbers, claiming that these numbers gave "upper limits" for the age of the oceans (therefore the Earth) because the numbers represented the amount of time that it would take for the oceans to "fill up" to their present level of these various metals from zero.

First, let us examine the results of this "dating method." Most creationist works do not produce all of the numbers, only the ones whose values are "convenient." The following list is more complete:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Al - 100 years Ni - 9,000 years Sb - 350,000 years
Fe - 140 years Co - 18,000 years Mo - 500,000 years
Ti - 160 years Hg - 42,000 years Au - 560,000 years
Cr - 350 years Bi - 45,000 years Ag - 2,100,000 years
Th - 350 years Cu - 50,000 years K - 11,000,000 years
Mn - 1,400 years Ba - 84,000 years Sr - 19,000,000 years
W - 1,000 years Sn - 100,000 years Li - 20,000,000 years
Pb - 2,000 years Zn - 180,000 years Mg - 45,000,000 years
Si - 8,000 years Rb - 270,000 years Na - 260,000,000 years

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Now, let us critically examine this method as a method of finding an age for the Earth.

The method ignores known mechanisms which remove metals from the oceans:

Many of the listed metals are in fact known to be at or near equilibrium; that is, the rates for their entering and leaving the ocean are the same to within uncertainty of measurement. (Some of the chemistry of the ocean floor is not well-understood, which unfortunately leaves a fairly large uncertainty.) One cannot derive a date from a process where equilibrium is within the range of uncertainty -- it could go on forever without changing concentration of the ocean.

Even the metals which are not known to be at equilibrium are known to be relatively close to it. I have seen a similar calculation on uranium, failing to note that the uncertainty in the efflux estimate is larger than its distance from equilibrium. To calculate a true upper limit, we must calculate the maximum upper limit, using all values at the appropriate extreme of their measurement uncertainty. We must perform the calculations on the highest possible efflux rate, and the lowest possible influx rate. If equilibrium is within reach of those values, no upper limit on age can be derived.

In addition, even if we knew exactly the rates at which metals were removed from the oceans, and even if these rates did not match the influx rates, these numbers are still wrong. It would probably require solving a differential equation, and any reasonable approximation must "figure in" the efflux rate. Any creationist who presents these values as an "upper limit" has missed this factor entirely. These published values are only "upper limits" when the efflux rate is zero (which is known to be false for all the metals). Any efflux decreases the rate at which the metals build up, invalidating the alleged "limit."

The method simply does not work. Ignoring the three problems above, the results are scattered randomly (five are under 1,000 years; five are 1,000-9,999 years; five are 10,000-99,999 years; six are 100,000-999,999 years; and six are 1,000,000 years or above). Also, the only two results that agree are 350 years, and Aluminum gives 100 years. If this is a valid method, then the age of the Earth must be less than the lowest "upper limit" in the table. Nobody in the debate would agree on a 100-year-old Earth.

These "dating methods" do not actually date anything, which prevents independent confirmation. (Is a 19 million year "limit" [Sr] a "confirmation" of a 42,000 year "limit" [Hg]?) Independent confirmation is very important for dating methods -- scientists generally do not place much confidence in a date that is only computed from a single measurement.

These methods depend on uniformity of a process which is almost certainly not uniform. There is no reason to believe that influx rates have been constant throughout time. There is reason to expect that, due to a relatively large amount of exposed land, today's erosion (and therefore influx) rates are higher than typical past rates.

There is no "check" built into these methods. There is no way to tell if the calculated result is good or not. The best methods used by geologists to perform dating have a built-in check which identifies undatable samples. The only way a creationist can "tell" which of these methods produce bad values is to throw out the results that he doesn't like.
One might wonder why creationist authors have found it worthy of publishing. Yet, it is quite common. This argument also appears in the following creationist literature:

Baker (1976, p. 25)
Brown (1989, p. 16)
Morris (1974, pp. 153-156)
Morris & Parker (1987, pp. 284-284 and 290-291)
Wysong (1976, pp. 162, 163)

Conclusion
Obviously, these are a pretty popular set of "dating" mechanisms; they appear frequently in creationist literature from the 1960s through the late 1980s (and can be found on many creationist web sites even today). They appear in talk.origins more often than any other young-Earth arguments. They are all built upon a distortion of the data.

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