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Author Topic: Creationism, Evolution, and Orthodoxy  (Read 327193 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #4995 on: February 20, 2013, 03:19:27 PM »


Selam
I like Dr. Carson, but does he offer another explanation for the past existence of Tiktaalik, Australopithecus, and Hyracotherium?


Rare anomalies in the fossil record that have the appearance of evidentiary import do not negate the overwhelming dearth of evidence in the fossil record that is normative.



Selam  
So how much evidence would there have to be for you to accept it?


I recommend this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Darwin-Trial-Phillip-E-Johnson/dp/0830838317


Selam

I see that you are a very intelligent guy, Gebre, and have a great interest in this subject, so I just picked up a copy of Darwin on Trial from the library. I am going to start reading it now... and I promise to try and give it as fair and unbiased a 'shake' as I can.  

If the author of that book has as much little knowledge of the evolutionary process (even as it's presented by the "atheist scientists" they demonize) as Seraphim Rose in Genesis, Creation, and Early Man, I think I'll pass.

Or just don't say anything.  At least if you want to engage in this discussion, take Gebre seriously and read the book.

You didn't answer my question: Does it contain significantly different arguments from Genesis, Creation, and Early Man? If not, I feel perfectly justified in engaging in this discussion.

Forgive me for the harsh tone.  I just don't want anymore "evolutionists call us ignorant" excuses.
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« Reply #4996 on: February 20, 2013, 03:26:16 PM »

Forgive me for the harsh tone.  I just don't want anymore "evolutionists call us ignorant" excuses.


Yes no offense taken, I hope Gebre (and others from the other side of the debate) can forgive my harsh tone as well. I am particularly opinionated about this because biology was a major focus of my education* and the prevalence of creationism in the Orthodox world as I have been exposed to it has been a significant stumbling block to my conversion.

*This is not mere "indoctrination" either; I had PLENTY of atheistic professors and teachers with whom I actively disagreed.
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« Reply #4997 on: February 21, 2013, 03:00:23 AM »

 Young earth Creationism is not a valid scientific theory, explained by the talk earlier about "null-hypothesis". If you do believe it to be a valid scientific theory, you really honestly, don't understand the scientific process. I mean no offense by this, and I dearly hope none of you take offense in it, but that's not how science works. That "card" gets played every time because there's no other honest rebuttal when someone advocates something as a theory, when it isn't.
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« Reply #4998 on: February 21, 2013, 05:28:50 AM »

Young earth Creationism is not a valid scientific theory, explained by the talk earlier about "null-hypothesis". If you do believe it to be a valid scientific theory, you really honestly, don't understand the scientific process. I mean no offense by this, and I dearly hope none of you take offense in it, but that's not how science works. That "card" gets played every time because there's no other honest rebuttal when someone advocates something as a theory, when it isn't.

It's all you have left.
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« Reply #4999 on: February 21, 2013, 09:57:00 AM »

Well if it's harder to read what he said, it must not be true!
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« Reply #5000 on: February 21, 2013, 09:57:05 AM »

Forgive me for the harsh tone.  I just don't want anymore "evolutionists call us ignorant" excuses.


Yes no offense taken, I hope Gebre (and others from the other side of the debate) can forgive my harsh tone as well. I am particularly opinionated about this because biology was a major focus of my education* and the prevalence of creationism in the Orthodox world as I have been exposed to it has been a significant stumbling block to my conversion.

*This is not mere "indoctrination" either; I had PLENTY of atheistic professors and teachers with whom I actively disagreed.


No worries. I think you guys have been pretty civil here recently. This is obviously an emotional issue for some. I don't get emotional about it, because I truly remain open to science and scientific evidence. But I too apologize if I come across the wrong way. Stating ones beliefs will inevariably ruffle the feathers of those who disagree. But I think it's good that we keep trying to communicate in a Christian manner.



Selam
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« Reply #5001 on: February 21, 2013, 09:57:59 AM »

A Few Thoughts on Evolution...


1. The Problem of Presuppositions
 
The theory of evolution hinges on certain presuppositions, as does the creationist theory. These presuppositions may be quite logical and philosophically plausible, but they often get in the way of empirical science. For example, the presupposition of uniformitarianism (the theory that the rate of change we observe today must be the same rate of change that has always occurred) is indispensible to evolutionary theory. But uniformitarianism is only a presupposition. There is no empirical proof that the rate of change we observe today is the same rate of change that occurred 7,000 years ago or 70,000,000 years ago. It is only an assumption- perhaps a very logical assumption, but an assumption nonetheless. And hypothetical assumption is not empirical fact.

It is just as logically valid and philosophically plausible to presuppose catastrophism, which is the assumption that a cataclysmic event/events radically disrupted the rate of change and effected nature in such a way that would lead one to believe that these effects must have occurred over a long period of time. For example, one lake may be the effect of hundreds or thousands of years of accumulative cause, while another lake may be instantly formed from an impact crater. Certainly, a cataclysmic event such as a universal flood could produce effects that may appear to be the results of uniformitarian causes. But there is no way to empirically verify either the theory of uniformitarianism or the theory of catastrophism. 

The scientific data will be interpreted differently according to the presuppositional context within which the data is analyzed. If atheism is presupposed (and it is most certainly presupposed by most evolutionary scientists), and if uniformitarianism is presupposed, then the data will always be interpreted to support evolutionary theory. But true science distances itself from presuppositions (as logical as those presuppositions may be) and instead insists upon allowing the data alone to dictate the conclusions. True science does not forcibly reshape the jigsaw piece in order to make it fit into a theoretical mosaic. But this is exactly what evolutionists do. By clinging to the hypothetical presuppositions of atheism and uniformitarianism, they obfuscate their objectivity when analyzing the scientific data. Desperately searching for a needle in the haystack, they produce a needle-shaped piece of straw and say, “Aha! We have discovered the evidence!”


2. Theistic Evolution and the Orthodox Christian Faith

There are many people who subscribe to evolutionary theory while rejecting the atheistic presupposition. They claim that God used the process of evolution to create mankind. Some of these “theistic evolutionists” are Christians, and they see no contradiction between evolutionary theory and a biblical Christian worldview. I will briefly address three reasons why the theory of theistic evolution is not compatible with an Orthodox Christian worldview.

A) Theistic evolution is the most scientifically and logically untenable theory out of the three competing options of atheistic evolution, intelligent design/creationism, and theistic evolution. As I mentioned above, the ostensible evidence for evolutionary theory only appears to be evidence when interpreted within the context of the presuppositions of atheism and uniformitarianism. When God is removed from the equation at the outset, then the only remaining option is evolution. So regardless of the tremendous lack of supporting empirical evidence, the theory cannot be challenged. “There is no God you idiot, so of course evolution is true!” My college philosophy professor often used the “one runner” analogy: If there are two runners at the starting line, and you shoot one of them before the race begins, then of course the other one will win because no competition was allowed.  However, if you allow for the theistic possibility, then the ostensible evidence for evolution greatly diminishes in the light of rigid empirical criteria. In fact, the lack of empirical evidence for evolutionary theory actually lends more scientific and philosophical credence to the theory of intelligent design/creationism. So, to put it bluntly, theistic evolutionists are greatly deluding themselves.

B) Evolution theologically and philosophically contradicts Orthodox theology. Evolution essentially makes God the author of death, which is pure heresy. Evolution hinges upon natural selection, which means that if God used evolution to create man in His own image, then He used death to do so. Please note that I am not speaking here about a literal or chronological interpretation of the book of Genesis. Rather, I am addressing a fundamental doctrine of the Orthodox Christian Faith. Death entered into the world through sin (Romans 5:12), and this is not a matter of interpretation. This truth is essential to understanding the doctrine of our salvation. To ascribe to God that which is the result of sin is an egregious blasphemy. So, Christians who embrace theistic evolution are also embracing a heresy, whether they realize it or not.

C) Theistic evolution also poses tremendous philosophical and ethical dilemmas for the Orthodox Christian. If evolution is true, then that means that we are still evolving as humans. Therefore, who or what determines who and what is “fully human”? One may argue that we are fully human now, but by what standard? The theistic evolutionist who is an Orthodox Christian may point to the teachings of the Church to affirm the sanctity of Life, and they would be right to do so. But they would have no objective scientific basis for defining who or what is “fully human.” Evils like slavery, abortion, and genocide cannot be objectively condemned within an evolutionary framework. The definition of “human” becomes arbitrary, and the sanctity of Life is relegated to the whimsical determinations of evolutionary biologists whose atheistic presuppositions know no ethical boundaries.



Selam, +GMK+
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« Reply #5002 on: February 21, 2013, 04:28:04 PM »

Young earth Creationism is not a valid scientific theory, explained by the talk earlier about "null-hypothesis". If you do believe it to be a valid scientific theory, you really honestly, don't understand the scientific process. I mean no offense by this, and I dearly hope none of you take offense in it, but that's not how science works. That "card" gets played every time because there's no other honest rebuttal when someone advocates something as a theory, when it isn't.

It's all you have left.
You're making it very hard for me to retain a civil attitude towards this discussion. Rather than disregarding everything I said there, and bending it towards your own "I don't like people who think I'm wrong" agenda, why don't you address the points I made(in a polite manner)?

 I don't have to keep posting in this thread, and I certainly won't if this sort of treatment from peers who disagree with me is commonplace. I'm simply trying to help you understand my point of view.
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« Reply #5003 on: February 21, 2013, 05:04:42 PM »

Young earth Creationism is not a valid scientific theory, explained by the talk earlier about "null-hypothesis". If you do believe it to be a valid scientific theory, you really honestly, don't understand the scientific process. I mean no offense by this, and I dearly hope none of you take offense in it, but that's not how science works. That "card" gets played every time because there's no other honest rebuttal when someone advocates something as a theory, when it isn't.

It's all you have left.
You're making it very hard for me to retain a civil attitude towards this discussion. Rather than disregarding everything I said there, and bending it towards your own "I don't like people who think I'm wrong" agenda, why don't you address the points I made(in a polite manner)?

 I don't have to keep posting in this thread, and I certainly won't if this sort of treatment from peers who disagree with me is commonplace. I'm simply trying to help you understand my point of view.
You should ignore him. He has never had any substance on this subject.

Leave him to his Answers In Genesis website.
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« Reply #5004 on: February 22, 2013, 12:15:20 AM »

Okay, now that we've "made up", I have a few initial thoughts on what you've posted...

2. Theistic Evolution and the Orthodox Christian Faith

There are many people who subscribe to evolutionary theory while rejecting the atheistic presupposition. They claim that God used the process of evolution to create mankind. Some of these “theistic evolutionists” are Christians, and they see no contradiction between evolutionary theory and a biblical Christian worldview. I will briefly address three reasons why the theory of theistic evolution is not compatible with an Orthodox Christian worldview.

A) Theistic evolution is the most scientifically and logically untenable theory out of the three competing options of atheistic evolution, intelligent design/creationism, and theistic evolution. As I mentioned above, the ostensible evidence for evolutionary theory only appears to be evidence when interpreted within the context of the presuppositions of atheism and uniformitarianism. When God is removed from the equation at the outset, then the only remaining option is evolution. So regardless of the tremendous lack of supporting empirical evidence, the theory cannot be challenged. “There is no God you idiot, so of course evolution is true!” My college philosophy professor often used the “one runner” analogy: If there are two runners at the starting line, and you shoot one of them before the race begins, then of course the other one will win because no competition was allowed.  However, if you allow for the theistic possibility, then the ostensible evidence for evolution greatly diminishes in the light of rigid empirical criteria. In fact, the lack of empirical evidence for evolutionary theory actually lends more scientific and philosophical credence to the theory of intelligent design/creationism. So, to put it bluntly, theistic evolutionists are greatly deluding themselves.

This point seems to revolve around the standard claim that there is a "lack of empirical evidence" for evolution. This is incorrect and I can't help but think that it only derives legitimacy from the fact that the most noticeable effects of evolution in *most* species only appear after a considerable length of time (using the same logic one might claim that there is no empirical evidence for all of human history as we know it). But even if we ignore the archaeological evidence for our past, we can still today observe history in the making, and the same applies to evolution, since it has been actively observed in laboratories and field studies across the globe (a couple of which I mentioned earlier, the Italian wall lizard and Drosophila fruit flies). If we observe the raw basics of human behavior today, we can conclude in conjunction with historical evidence that similar behavior existed 500 years ago. Similarly, by studying how organisms are evolving today, we can predict in conjunction with fossil records and genetic testing how they were evolving thousands of years ago.

B) Evolution theologically and philosophically contradicts Orthodox theology. Evolution essentially makes God the author of death, which is pure heresy. Evolution hinges upon natural selection, which means that if God used evolution to create man in His own image, then He used death to do so. Please note that I am not speaking here about a literal or chronological interpretation of the book of Genesis. Rather, I am addressing a fundamental doctrine of the Orthodox Christian Faith. Death entered into the world through sin (Romans 5:12), and this is not a matter of interpretation. This truth is essential to understanding the doctrine of our salvation. To ascribe to God that which is the result of sin is an egregious blasphemy. So, Christians who embrace theistic evolution are also embracing a heresy, whether they realize it or not.

It has always been my understanding of Christian and Orthodox theology that God is capable of bringing good out of the bad. We have seen this with contemporary events, such as the Russian Revolution, as well as with those integral to the faith, such as the Crucifixion. As for the quoted verse, I don't feel that I'm in a position to supply commentary, but I would rather defer to the voices and interpretations of those Orthodox theologians who don't see a conflict between the faith and science on this point.

Regarding the other implication, that Christians who acknowledge evolution as fact are heretics, I have to take offense at that, if not on behalf of myself than on behalf of the thousands (?) of Orthodox priests and bishops who today accept it (including my own spiritual father!). I'm not even Orthodox yet but that's a pretty radical and I would have to guess un-Orthodox suggestion, especially since I'm assuming you don't have the hierarchical authority to declare anyone in the Church a heretic.

C) Theistic evolution also poses tremendous philosophical and ethical dilemmas for the Orthodox Christian. If evolution is true, then that means that we are still evolving as humans. Therefore, who or what determines who and what is “fully human”? One may argue that we are fully human now, but by what standard? The theistic evolutionist who is an Orthodox Christian may point to the teachings of the Church to affirm the sanctity of Life, and they would be right to do so. But they would have no objective scientific basis for defining who or what is “fully human.” Evils like slavery, abortion, and genocide cannot be objectively condemned within an evolutionary framework. The definition of “human” becomes arbitrary, and the sanctity of Life is relegated to the whimsical determinations of evolutionary biologists whose atheistic presuppositions know no ethical boundaries.

Yes, technically evolution is a continual process; however, the effects of natural selection among Homo sapiens have been significantly curbed by modern man's unsurpassed ability to manipulate nature itself to complement his own condition.

I expect others will raise objections to other portions of what you've written, but that's all I have time/motivation for right now.
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« Reply #5005 on: February 22, 2013, 09:20:33 PM »

As for the quoted verse, I don't feel that I'm in a position to supply commentary, but I would rather defer to the voices and interpretations of those Orthodox theologians who don't see a conflict between the faith and science on this point.

After a bit of searching via OrthodoxWiki, I was able to find this, written by Bishop Alexander of Buenos Aires. Some parts of it confuse me regarding consistency (e.g. an apparently literalistic view of Adam, Eve, and Eden) but I haven't yet read his essay beyond this section. Nevertheless I feel that some interesting and legitimate points are made.

Quote
Death: when did it appear?

Some people draw the conclusion from the Bible’s account of Adam and Eve that, before the fall of the first man, neither death nor decay existed in nature: life all over Earth flowed smoothly without storms or cataclysms, animals of prey fed on grass, and neither insects, fish, nor animals died, but rather all of them enjoyed immortality together with man. This idealization of the primitive world has no basis.

The very concept of death is full of human tragedy. Do we really have the right to apply the word death in the same sense to the plant or animal world? The departure of animals is not a death similar to the departure from life of Godlike man, who was made to be immortal. The division of a living cell, the loss of bacteria or an insect, or the halting of physiological processes in an ape is not the same thing as the demise of a human. Animals were not promised immortality, and they do not die because they broke the commandment. On the contrary, their death is just as natural a process as their birth. From the appearance of the first living cell in the world up until the creation of Adam, birth and death flowed in an uninterrupted stream. If it had been otherwise, the world would have become overpopulated with animals with nothing to feed upon soon after its creation. Only death and decay could pave the way for the birth of new creatures.

Adam was made to be immortal, not by his nature, but rather, conditionally, insofar as he was given access to the Tree of Life as a reward for fulfilling the commandment. In warning Adam about the danger of death, the Maker did not have in mind physical so much as spiritual death — that he would be deprived of the life-giving grace of the Holy Spirit. However, theoretically, Adam could have prolonged his physical life if he had eaten from the fruit of the Tree of Life after the Fall, too. It is specifically because God denied Adam access to the Tree of Life that he was doomed to physical death. Saint Gregory the Theologian explains that God fixed things so that the moral "evil [which entered Adam] did not become immortal." The fact that Adam was created outside of Eden already tells us that he must have been acquainted with death in the animal kingdom.

It may be assume that before the Fall of Adam there were no predators within the limits of Eden and only herbivores and harmless animals lived there. But beyond the limits of Eden, life flowed in its primordial rhythm. We know from paleontology that long before the birth of man there were predators even more fierce than today’s. From the very beginning, life and death alternated on all levels of existence — from microorganisms to the very largest animals. Just look at the skeleton of the prehistoric tyrannosaurus, whose teeth, sharp as a knife, reached lengths of 15 centimeters (6 inches). He certainly didn’t feed on grass!

Paleontology has counted about ten cases of relatively short periods from 500 to 65 million years ago during which massive extinctions of an enormous quantity of animal and plant species occurred. Perhaps the most grandiose massive extinction took place about 250 million years ago, at the end of the Permian period, when 50 to 90 percent of the species inhabiting Earth, or about 200 of 400 known families, were wiped off the face of the Earth. Another massive extinction of apocalyptic proportions occurred at the end of the Cretaceous period, 65 million years ago, which led to the death of all dinosaurs and ammonites.

But in that case, how are we to interpret the words of the Apostle Paul: "For the earnest expectation of the creature eagerly awaits for the revealing of the sons of God... For the creature

was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;.. because the creature itself also wall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Rom. Chapter 8:19-21)?

Is the Apostle not indicating here that death and decay in the world were the result of the Fall of Adam? It seems to us that here he is talking not about the past, but about the future. The Apostle’s basic idea is that nature is imperfect and perishable because man, the crown of creation, was expected to perfect himself spiritually. But since man fell morally, nature remained perishable and imperfect without reaching the ideal state it was destined for. When the faithful part of mankind is honored with immortality after the universal resurrection from the dead, then the rest of the physical world will be transformed into new heavens and a new earth (see II Pet. 3:13). On the "day" after the universal resurrection, all of nature will be renewed, and the lowest creature, together with man, will be free from the laws of decay and destruction. What will nature look like then, and will it still have the plants and animals we know? The Apostle does not answer these questions. There are hints in the Bible that there will be something similar in the new world to what we see here (Is. 11:6-9, Is. 65:17-25; Rev. ch. 21-22). However, it is useless to try to imagine now what that spiritual world will look like, because time itself, space, and all the laws of nature will have completely new substance.

We have already cursorily mentioned the misunderstanding concerning Earth’s position in the galaxy. Since Moses describes everything from the point of view of an observer on earth, the impression is created that Earth is the center of the universe. Roman Catholic theologians defended this view with much pathos: "It is not fitting for the Earth, to which the Lord had to descend, to spin around in space like a child’s top." Fortunately, with time good sense triumphed and now no one can seriously repeat the old error about the universe’s rotation around Earth. This case vividly illustrates the problem that a biased understanding of some expressions in the Bible can cause when one is unaware of or ignores basic scientific data.

Edit: After further reading, another excerpt from the same article...

   
Quote
It is noteworthy that the idea that Adam did not acquire his godlike soul immediately, but instead lived like other animals according to his composition, was not alien to some Church Fathers. Indeed, many centuries before modern paleontological discoveries, St. Gregory of Nyssa (4th century) wrote in his work On the Making of Man, pointing out the duality of man’s creation and making, "God created inner man and shaped outer man; the flesh is shaped, but the soul is created."

A similar idea is developed in Motovilov’s story in his conversation with St. Seraphim of Sarov, when St. Seraphim says: "The Lord created from the earth not just Adam’s flesh, but his soul as well, and his human spirit: but until the moment that God breathed the breath of life into him, Adam was like the other animals."

Metropolitan Philaret (Drozdov) expressed the opinion that man was created "not in one short action, but by gradual formation."

Bishop Nathanail (L’vov) discusses this in more detail: "By his physical nature man is a part of the external animal and material world. Everything inside of us exists in the world around us. We are even closer to the animal, animate world, to those whom, like us, God created with living souls. Therefore the Christian may very easily agree with the observation that man and chimpanzee are closer to each other in their physical natures than even chimpanzee and monkey. If speaking about man’s physical nature, the possibility of putting man in the modern zoological classification in a definite place in the primate order, in the mammal class, does not bother us at all."

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

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« Reply #5006 on: February 22, 2013, 11:54:37 PM »

I will dedicate this post to the presuppositions, and then maybe another post later to theistic evolution:

The problem with presupposition to me is not a problem, but rather an matter of experience.  What you may call atheism, I may call materialism.  As for uniformitarianism, based on your definition, I disagree that even atheists have that presupposition.

First off, the presupposition of what you call "atheism".  The problem with this presupposition is the fact that because one can materialistically explain a phenomena or solve a problem, somehow this excludes God.  This is precisely the failure of Western philosophy over the recent centuries.  This is what gave birth to atheism.  The last batch of famous Christian scientists, such as Galileo, Newton, Pasteur, all of which we would proudly call Christian, but their faith (besides the obvious heterodox churches to which they belonged to) depended on a form of God that existed only when there are unexplainable phenomena.  The problem with this is twofold:

1.  It leads to a slippery slope that God is not the Creator of ALL things.
2.  It leads to a slippery slope that God can in fact be proven false once the phenomena can be explained.

This failure is obvious when all of a sudden, Darwin gives birth to a thought that explodes in the face of many who rely on this particular idea to maintain belief in God.  Thus, for these people, to disprove evolution was to avoid the disproof of God, and maintain that these gaps of a Linnean system of life forms should be maintained to "prove God".  So, I truly believe therefore, the "God of the Gaps" is a terrible heresy, a blasphemy, hinges on the damaging to spirituality as well, because this allows the person to not involve God in all things, since He is the Creator of all things.

For instance, eating as nourishment for the body and maintenance for the protein, vitamins, and minerals in the body is a perfectly naturalistic phenomena.  As Christians however, this is also a spiritual phenomena, something that these Christian scientists seem to have ignored.  We pray to God before we eat, and we thank Him for all things.  We involve His grace into the food, so that by eating for the nourishment of our bodies, we also ask God to give us His divine grace and blesses in these foods to nourish our souls.

Now, the presupposition for eating as a basis for nourishment of our bodies is naturalistic, not atheistic.  The same presuppositions used for understanding the importance of food (and the choice of food) for our bodies is the same presuppositions used for science.  The problem is, the ignorance of God's involvement even in naturalistic processes, NOT in atheistic presuppositions.  God created the universe with materialistic laws and matter, and ordained in them spiritual meanings.  God created the spiritual universe with spiritual laws and matter, and ordained in them materialistic thoughts in our heads.  Out of these two natures comes the pinnacle of all creation, the creature that unites both universes, man, and man learns through divine grace to unite virtue with matter.

So, my presupposition in dealing with science is indeed materialistic.  My dealings with patients in treatment is materialistic.  But I ask God to bless the work of the lab, and the work of my hands, and the works of my brain to diagnose, so that it's not me, but it is Him who works through me.  Thus, I take the materialistic lamb of my work, place it in the altar of prayer, sacrifice my time in this work and lift it up to God as a sweet smell of incense, and fulfill my work as a means of my own salvation.

As for uniformitarianism, evolutionary science does not believe that there is a constant rate of change.  Sometimes there's an accelerated rate of change.  You can think of it like a car when you put it on drive, but you don't hit the accelerator, there's a constant movement.  But, what causes the acceleration?  Non-random mating, natural selection, migration, genetic drift, mutations...whatever causes these disturbances in nature, these will accelerate the rate of evolution.  It's like making a horse run faster, using one or more of the following:  whip, spur, voice, etc.  Thus, there is no real uniformitarianism.  There is however a maintenance of consistency, and this is the other presupposition.

Consistency is the laws of of all things we look for.  Our morals maintain a level of consistency.  Our natural laws maintain a level of consistency.  Our Orthodox faith and dogmas maintain a level of consistency.  And if we live our lives in true righteous consistency, we are in harmony with the world and with God, who by His very nature is Perfection in Consistency through the Logos.  Logos is the blueprint of God, creating the blueprint of the world's laws and nature, and through the Eternal Blueprint of God, the universe with her multiple blueprints is created, and in consistency with one another.  Atheists will have a presupposition of blueprints in the laws of the universe, but they will not admit to the author of the blueprints being the eternal Logos Himself.  Nevertheless, this consistency I see in nature, in science is to me God's signature.

So, the presuppositions of science are materialism and consistency, NOT atheism and uniformitarianism.  Therefore, atheism is only a denial of the grace of God that permeates and is involved in all matter and energy that exists, that we can materialistically sense, and atheism is the denial of the Logos that puts all things in unimaginable order and consistency.  But a theistic scientist, just as he prays and involves God in his eating, a materialistic process, so does the scientist involve God in figuring out materialistic phenomena and acknowledging His glory in all things, explainable and YET to be explainable.  For I believe it is heresy to believe in things unexplainable, God is thus proven.  But, in true Orthodox spirituality, things that have been newly explained, it dignifies and glories the Lord even more, for the end result in the crown of our achievement before the altar of new knowledge is thanksgiving (Eucharista in Greek) to the Lord.
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« Reply #5007 on: February 23, 2013, 01:17:37 AM »

As for the quoted verse, I don't feel that I'm in a position to supply commentary, but I would rather defer to the voices and interpretations of those Orthodox theologians who don't see a conflict between the faith and science on this point.

After a bit of searching via OrthodoxWiki, I was able to find this, written by Bishop Alexander of Buenos Aires. Some parts of it confuse me regarding consistency (e.g. an apparently literalistic view of Adam, Eve, and Eden) but I haven't yet read his essay beyond this section. Nevertheless I feel that some interesting and legitimate points are made.

Quote
Death: when did it appear?

Some people draw the conclusion from the Bible’s account of Adam and Eve that, before the fall of the first man, neither death nor decay existed in nature: life all over Earth flowed smoothly without storms or cataclysms, animals of prey fed on grass, and neither insects, fish, nor animals died, but rather all of them enjoyed immortality together with man. This idealization of the primitive world has no basis.

The very concept of death is full of human tragedy. Do we really have the right to apply the word death in the same sense to the plant or animal world? The departure of animals is not a death similar to the departure from life of Godlike man, who was made to be immortal. The division of a living cell, the loss of bacteria or an insect, or the halting of physiological processes in an ape is not the same thing as the demise of a human. Animals were not promised immortality, and they do not die because they broke the commandment. On the contrary, their death is just as natural a process as their birth. From the appearance of the first living cell in the world up until the creation of Adam, birth and death flowed in an uninterrupted stream. If it had been otherwise, the world would have become overpopulated with animals with nothing to feed upon soon after its creation. Only death and decay could pave the way for the birth of new creatures.

Adam was made to be immortal, not by his nature, but rather, conditionally, insofar as he was given access to the Tree of Life as a reward for fulfilling the commandment. In warning Adam about the danger of death, the Maker did not have in mind physical so much as spiritual death — that he would be deprived of the life-giving grace of the Holy Spirit. However, theoretically, Adam could have prolonged his physical life if he had eaten from the fruit of the Tree of Life after the Fall, too. It is specifically because God denied Adam access to the Tree of Life that he was doomed to physical death. Saint Gregory the Theologian explains that God fixed things so that the moral "evil [which entered Adam] did not become immortal." The fact that Adam was created outside of Eden already tells us that he must have been acquainted with death in the animal kingdom.

It may be assume that before the Fall of Adam there were no predators within the limits of Eden and only herbivores and harmless animals lived there. But beyond the limits of Eden, life flowed in its primordial rhythm. We know from paleontology that long before the birth of man there were predators even more fierce than today’s. From the very beginning, life and death alternated on all levels of existence — from microorganisms to the very largest animals. Just look at the skeleton of the prehistoric tyrannosaurus, whose teeth, sharp as a knife, reached lengths of 15 centimeters (6 inches). He certainly didn’t feed on grass!

Paleontology has counted about ten cases of relatively short periods from 500 to 65 million years ago during which massive extinctions of an enormous quantity of animal and plant species occurred. Perhaps the most grandiose massive extinction took place about 250 million years ago, at the end of the Permian period, when 50 to 90 percent of the species inhabiting Earth, or about 200 of 400 known families, were wiped off the face of the Earth. Another massive extinction of apocalyptic proportions occurred at the end of the Cretaceous period, 65 million years ago, which led to the death of all dinosaurs and ammonites.

But in that case, how are we to interpret the words of the Apostle Paul: "For the earnest expectation of the creature eagerly awaits for the revealing of the sons of God... For the creature

was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;.. because the creature itself also wall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God (Rom. Chapter 8:19-21)?

Is the Apostle not indicating here that death and decay in the world were the result of the Fall of Adam? It seems to us that here he is talking not about the past, but about the future. The Apostle’s basic idea is that nature is imperfect and perishable because man, the crown of creation, was expected to perfect himself spiritually. But since man fell morally, nature remained perishable and imperfect without reaching the ideal state it was destined for. When the faithful part of mankind is honored with immortality after the universal resurrection from the dead, then the rest of the physical world will be transformed into new heavens and a new earth (see II Pet. 3:13). On the "day" after the universal resurrection, all of nature will be renewed, and the lowest creature, together with man, will be free from the laws of decay and destruction. What will nature look like then, and will it still have the plants and animals we know? The Apostle does not answer these questions. There are hints in the Bible that there will be something similar in the new world to what we see here (Is. 11:6-9, Is. 65:17-25; Rev. ch. 21-22). However, it is useless to try to imagine now what that spiritual world will look like, because time itself, space, and all the laws of nature will have completely new substance.

We have already cursorily mentioned the misunderstanding concerning Earth’s position in the galaxy. Since Moses describes everything from the point of view of an observer on earth, the impression is created that Earth is the center of the universe. Roman Catholic theologians defended this view with much pathos: "It is not fitting for the Earth, to which the Lord had to descend, to spin around in space like a child’s top." Fortunately, with time good sense triumphed and now no one can seriously repeat the old error about the universe’s rotation around Earth. This case vividly illustrates the problem that a biased understanding of some expressions in the Bible can cause when one is unaware of or ignores basic scientific data.

Edit: After further reading, another excerpt from the same article...

   
Quote
It is noteworthy that the idea that Adam did not acquire his godlike soul immediately, but instead lived like other animals according to his composition, was not alien to some Church Fathers. Indeed, many centuries before modern paleontological discoveries, St. Gregory of Nyssa (4th century) wrote in his work On the Making of Man, pointing out the duality of man’s creation and making, "God created inner man and shaped outer man; the flesh is shaped, but the soul is created."

A similar idea is developed in Motovilov’s story in his conversation with St. Seraphim of Sarov, when St. Seraphim says: "The Lord created from the earth not just Adam’s flesh, but his soul as well, and his human spirit: but until the moment that God breathed the breath of life into him, Adam was like the other animals."

Metropolitan Philaret (Drozdov) expressed the opinion that man was created "not in one short action, but by gradual formation."

Bishop Nathanail (L’vov) discusses this in more detail: "By his physical nature man is a part of the external animal and material world. Everything inside of us exists in the world around us. We are even closer to the animal, animate world, to those whom, like us, God created with living souls. Therefore the Christian may very easily agree with the observation that man and chimpanzee are closer to each other in their physical natures than even chimpanzee and monkey. If speaking about man’s physical nature, the possibility of putting man in the modern zoological classification in a definite place in the primate order, in the mammal class, does not bother us at all."

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


Excellent stuff here! Thanks for sharing. 
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« Reply #5008 on: February 23, 2013, 01:21:41 AM »

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But a theistic scientist, just as he prays and involves God in his eating, a materialistic process, so does the scientist involve God in figuring out materialistic phenomena and acknowledging His glory in all things, explainable and YET to be explainable.  For I believe it is heresy to believe in things unexplainable, God is thus proven.  But, in true Orthodox spirituality, things that have been newly explained, it dignifies and glories the Lord even more, for the end result in the crown of our achievement before the altar of new knowledge is thanksgiving (Eucharista in Greek) to the Lord.

Your love of both God and science is very encouraging!
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« Reply #5009 on: February 23, 2013, 01:35:20 AM »

Now for Theistic evolution and the Orthodox faith:

A)The "lack of empirical evidence" seems to be a matter of interpretation.  If we go by the scientific method, which is based on materialism and consistency, as I demonstrated in my previous post, then there is no other "option".  In fact, I think to say Creationism is a valid scientific thought has profound problems, because it either means one's definition of science is flawed, or one's definition of Creator is flawed.  The former will show forth that it has no realistic place in the scientific world, because this lacks the consistency and materialism bases of that God created the world to have.  The latter (assuming correct scientific definition) will actually define God as a falsifiable entity that can be tested within the realm of all things material, thus turning the Creator into a creature in His own divine essence!  So, in fact Creationism/Intelligent Design is the worst blunder of both logic and blasphemy ever to appear out of Western culture.  As I explained earlier, theistic evolution is just as tenable as saying grace before a meal and understanding the implications of this prayer in all of nature.

B) This is a forgivable thought, as it's plain to see that this does indeed become a contention in the Church based on Patristic understanding of creation.  Nevertheless, I hinged my thoughts on St. Athanasius' quote before, that we are the only creatures, who by nature impermanent, receives the grace of the Image of God, that is immortality and incorruption.  Thus, no other creature created in God's green earth seems to have immortality and incorruption, since this is engrained in the Image of God itself.  I've also made the argument that the idea that biological death for all other creatures besides humanity as a result of Adam's fall can be considered a theologomenoun.  Just as the first 300 years of Church fathers unanimously believed that angels can copulate with humans to give birth to the Nephilim, only to find that Sts. Augustine and John Cassian to be the first ones to refute such a thought proves that despite Patristic consensus of the time, it was unnecessary for dogma, and therefore theologomenoun.  In fact, the blessed and honored Fr. Seraphim Rose claims that St. Athanasius and St. John Chrysostom were also against such a thought, but I have yet to find proof of that.

As time moves on, we will see a shift in an issue where I feel is not dogma.  In fact, there is a sense that biological death is a necessary act of mercy of God for the sins of Adam, despite the fact that it's a tragedy and unnatural for any human being in the spiritual sense, as St. Irenaeus teaches (Against Heresies 3.23.6):

Quote
Wherefore also He drove him out of Paradise, and removed him far from the tree of life, not because He envied him the tree of life, as some venture to assert, but because He pitied him, [and did not desire] that he should continue a sinner for ever, nor that the sin which surrounded him should be immortal, and evil interminable and irremediable. But He set a bound to his [state of] sin, by interposing death, and thus causing sin to cease, (Romans 6:7) putting an end to it by the dissolution of the flesh, which should take place in the earth, so that man, ceasing at length to live to sin, and dying to it, might begin to live to God.

I find it rather interesting that God is even involved having to block the source of immortality to Adam so that he may not live in sin forever.  This is not to contradict the idea that Adam brought death to himself.  But it also raises the question even in biological death, it is not only a punishment Adam brought upon himself, but a necessity prepared to help Adam and all humanity in their sinful state.  And what great prophetic wonder it is, that God may use death to destroy both sin and death in His incarnation!

Therefore the death and struggle of individual species of animals resulting only to give birth to higher species and forms of life shows us God teaching us that through a massive cycling of progressive processes, a plan for man was to appear, so that all of natures pangs and pains may be fulfilled in man's immortality and bringing all nature into unison with God.  However, because of man's failure, all of nature's species continued in pain, and in fact, the world began to fail.  Man continues to lead the Earth into bad shape, even while it progressed in knowledge and technology.  The way they treat the Earth and they way they sinned is a reminder of the dire sinful state of man and the sinful results it brings to the world.

In addition, the world is one giant organism, by which we are to be stewards of its whole.  We understand that there's a necessary balance of biological life from the microscopic to the predator/prey relationships, both plants and animals.  The diversity of the world is but organs and tissues and cells of the Earth.  The Earth never experienced death.  Rather, it experienced growth and change.  The Earth in its vast globe is created by the right "Side" of the Father, just as Eve was said to have been made out of the side of Eve, and the Church born out of the pierced side of Christ.  The Earth's waters and ground became but a vast womb, by which the God seeded with the Holy Spirit (wind hovering the waters) and the Logos (the Light), by which the clouds, the oceans, the vegetations, the soil, the sun, the moon, the stars, the sea creatures, the creatures of the air, and the creatures of the ground all were processes of development in the womb, all of which had their roles whether it be as yolk sac, or placenta, or the growth of the fetus itself, by which many both grow and others necessarily "apoptose" (not necrose), to give birth to mankind.  Therefore, the Earth never died in its vastness.  The Earth simply went through life-changing processes for the sake of mankind.  Rather than see it from the point of view of individual animals dying, what we learn is the animals are a continuum of individual parts of a whole system of the Earth, where they cannot exist without other parts.

But when man is born, God truly intervenes and grants man His divine image, as St. Athanasius teaches.  For man in the Scriptures is both dust from the Earth and "breathe" from above.  Therefore, the divine image is not something that was evolved, as you seem to think evolution entails.  Whatever was the perfect "ape" that God saw, God took from its very beginning of conception to bless it with the Image, and placed it in Paradise.  Man has the power to not depend on Earth in and of itself if we achieve greatness.  There is no doubt even atheists want to work in such a manner so as to break free from the earthliness we latch on, that they work to advance humanity that we may not depend on the Earth, leaving her to float away in the proverbial iceberg of the universe, whereas we as Christians work to advance humanity that we may bring the ailing Earth to God, by faith (in God and in the Church) and by works (almsgiving, fasting, doing our jobs in the world, whether in science or any other field) through His grace.



C) As Christ teaches us, "peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you.  Not as the world gives do I give to you."  He also says, "I have chosen you out of the world.  The world hates you." Furthermore, "In this world, you will have trouble.  Rejoice!  I have overcome the world!" As St. James teaches us, "Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?"  As St. John teaches us, "Do not love the world, nor the things which are in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him."  So when one says evolution causes a moral dilemma, I say, even if that is true, this proves nothing.  Evolution is not Christian dogma.  It is simply a way of the world, and if evolution was never discovered, Hitler would have still killed the Jews.  After all, can we say the knowledge of evolution caused Nero to kill Christians?  The world thrives by competition and growth.  It may be violent at times.  The competition of traits is how the world seems to run.  When man fell, the competition actually became much more gruesome, because rather than judicious use of the world, the world became abused.  In addition, the world includes those men who live by the world's standards, rather than transcending them like Christ.  Thus, most of the troubles facing the followers of Christ in the world comes from the competition by the fallen men who wish to see the destruction of those who want to transcend the world.  But of course, the trait of creation cannot overcome the trait of the Creator.  And so in competition, the world will lose.  So the moral dilemma does not exist.  I'd even go further and say the misuse of evolution in nature leads to such moral problems in the world, as true supernatural harmony is consonant also with virtues.

In fact, as a result of being able to control the world, we as humanity simply created a "brake" in the evolutionary ride.  Before mankind, there was only the option of acceleration and no acceleration.  But to slow down evolution only came about when man came.  This says a lot about who man really is, that in him, there is a nature that does not exist in the rest of the world.  So even in materialistic sense, human is no longer arbitrary, but rather the new element of the Hardy-Weinberg principle, as described in my last post.  To speed up evolution, humanity can make a choice to hit the accelerator, even at a speed it can control.  Now that we unlocked the genes by which all this is driven, you can sure bet, mankind is no mere arbitrary creature, but truly, in His likeness, gods on Earth.

In a spiritual aspect as well, we can also rest assured that the incarnation of the Logos shows that the principle behind all of creation rests on our control and manipulation, and that we are also the final product of salvation for the whole universe, or for its destruction.
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« Reply #5010 on: February 23, 2013, 01:48:44 AM »

Excellent stuff here! Thanks for sharing. 

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But a theistic scientist, just as he prays and involves God in his eating, a materialistic process, so does the scientist involve God in figuring out materialistic phenomena and acknowledging His glory in all things, explainable and YET to be explainable.  For I believe it is heresy to believe in things unexplainable, God is thus proven.  But, in true Orthodox spirituality, things that have been newly explained, it dignifies and glories the Lord even more, for the end result in the crown of our achievement before the altar of new knowledge is thanksgiving (Eucharistia in Greek) to the Lord.

Your love of both God and science is very encouraging!

+1
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« Reply #5011 on: February 23, 2013, 06:04:14 AM »

Young earth Creationism is not a valid scientific theory, explained by the talk earlier about "null-hypothesis". If you do believe it to be a valid scientific theory, you really honestly, don't understand the scientific process. I mean no offense by this, and I dearly hope none of you take offense in it, but that's not how science works. That "card" gets played every time because there's no other honest rebuttal when someone advocates something as a theory, when it isn't.

It's all you have left.
You're making it very hard for me to retain a civil attitude towards this discussion. Rather than disregarding everything I said there, and bending it towards your own "I don't like people who think I'm wrong" agenda, why don't you address the points I made(in a polite manner)?

 I don't have to keep posting in this thread, and I certainly won't if this sort of treatment from peers who disagree with me is commonplace. I'm simply trying to help you understand my point of view.

I will simply say I am sorry for upsetting you in a personal way.  Anything else I have to say at this time in response would certainly not be considered civil, so I will refrain.  Apparently, I just don't understand...again.
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« Reply #5012 on: February 23, 2013, 06:05:03 AM »

Young earth Creationism is not a valid scientific theory, explained by the talk earlier about "null-hypothesis". If you do believe it to be a valid scientific theory, you really honestly, don't understand the scientific process. I mean no offense by this, and I dearly hope none of you take offense in it, but that's not how science works. That "card" gets played every time because there's no other honest rebuttal when someone advocates something as a theory, when it isn't.

It's all you have left.
You're making it very hard for me to retain a civil attitude towards this discussion. Rather than disregarding everything I said there, and bending it towards your own "I don't like people who think I'm wrong" agenda, why don't you address the points I made(in a polite manner)?

 I don't have to keep posting in this thread, and I certainly won't if this sort of treatment from peers who disagree with me is commonplace. I'm simply trying to help you understand my point of view.
You should ignore him. He has never had any substance on this subject.

Leave him to his Answers In Genesis website.

Interesting conclusion...considering.
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« Reply #5013 on: February 23, 2013, 11:51:02 AM »

On a side note, can anyone recommend Peter Bouteneff's Beginnings as it relates to this topic?
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« Reply #5014 on: February 23, 2013, 02:04:08 PM »

Young earth Creationism is not a valid scientific theory, explained by the talk earlier about "null-hypothesis". If you do believe it to be a valid scientific theory, you really honestly, don't understand the scientific process. I mean no offense by this, and I dearly hope none of you take offense in it, but that's not how science works. That "card" gets played every time because there's no other honest rebuttal when someone advocates something as a theory, when it isn't.

It's all you have left.
You're making it very hard for me to retain a civil attitude towards this discussion. Rather than disregarding everything I said there, and bending it towards your own "I don't like people who think I'm wrong" agenda, why don't you address the points I made(in a polite manner)?

 I don't have to keep posting in this thread, and I certainly won't if this sort of treatment from peers who disagree with me is commonplace. I'm simply trying to help you understand my point of view.

I will simply say I am sorry for upsetting you in a personal way.  Anything else I have to say at this time in response would certainly not be considered civil, so I will refrain.  Apparently, I just don't understand...again.
I'm sorry for the harsh tone of that post. I was just offended. I try to put a lot of thought(and occasionally even prayer) into my posts, so that I best represent God's influence in me, and my beliefs. I probably value them a little more than I should, due to this. It's just a little frustrating to see one of my precious posts all crossed out and whatnot. :p
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« Reply #5015 on: February 23, 2013, 02:37:00 PM »

I will dedicate this post to the presuppositions, and then maybe another post later to theistic evolution:

The problem with presupposition to me is not a problem, but rather an matter of experience.  What you may call atheism, I may call materialism.  As for uniformitarianism, based on your definition, I disagree that even atheists have that presupposition.

First off, the presupposition of what you call "atheism".  The problem with this presupposition is the fact that because one can materialistically explain a phenomena or solve a problem, somehow this excludes God.  This is precisely the failure of Western philosophy over the recent centuries.  This is what gave birth to atheism.  The last batch of famous Christian scientists, such as Galileo, Newton, Pasteur, all of which we would proudly call Christian, but their faith (besides the obvious heterodox churches to which they belonged to) depended on a form of God that existed only when there are unexplainable phenomena.  The problem with this is twofold:

1.  It leads to a slippery slope that God is not the Creator of ALL things.
2.  It leads to a slippery slope that God can in fact be proven false once the phenomena can be explained.

This failure is obvious when all of a sudden, Darwin gives birth to a thought that explodes in the face of many who rely on this particular idea to maintain belief in God.  Thus, for these people, to disprove evolution was to avoid the disproof of God, and maintain that these gaps of a Linnean system of life forms should be maintained to "prove God".  So, I truly believe therefore, the "God of the Gaps" is a terrible heresy, a blasphemy, hinges on the damaging to spirituality as well, because this allows the person to not involve God in all things, since He is the Creator of all things.

For instance, eating as nourishment for the body and maintenance for the protein, vitamins, and minerals in the body is a perfectly naturalistic phenomena.  As Christians however, this is also a spiritual phenomena, something that these Christian scientists seem to have ignored.  We pray to God before we eat, and we thank Him for all things.  We involve His grace into the food, so that by eating for the nourishment of our bodies, we also ask God to give us His divine grace and blesses in these foods to nourish our souls.

Now, the presupposition for eating as a basis for nourishment of our bodies is naturalistic, not atheistic.  The same presuppositions used for understanding the importance of food (and the choice of food) for our bodies is the same presuppositions used for science.  The problem is, the ignorance of God's involvement even in naturalistic processes, NOT in atheistic presuppositions.  God created the universe with materialistic laws and matter, and ordained in them spiritual meanings.  God created the spiritual universe with spiritual laws and matter, and ordained in them materialistic thoughts in our heads.  Out of these two natures comes the pinnacle of all creation, the creature that unites both universes, man, and man learns through divine grace to unite virtue with matter.

So, my presupposition in dealing with science is indeed materialistic.  My dealings with patients in treatment is materialistic.  But I ask God to bless the work of the lab, and the work of my hands, and the works of my brain to diagnose, so that it's not me, but it is Him who works through me.  Thus, I take the materialistic lamb of my work, place it in the altar of prayer, sacrifice my time in this work and lift it up to God as a sweet smell of incense, and fulfill my work as a means of my own salvation.

As for uniformitarianism, evolutionary science does not believe that there is a constant rate of change.  Sometimes there's an accelerated rate of change.  You can think of it like a car when you put it on drive, but you don't hit the accelerator, there's a constant movement.  But, what causes the acceleration?  Non-random mating, natural selection, migration, genetic drift, mutations...whatever causes these disturbances in nature, these will accelerate the rate of evolution.  It's like making a horse run faster, using one or more of the following:  whip, spur, voice, etc.  Thus, there is no real uniformitarianism.  There is however a maintenance of consistency, and this is the other presupposition.

Consistency is the laws of of all things we look for.  Our morals maintain a level of consistency.  Our natural laws maintain a level of consistency.  Our Orthodox faith and dogmas maintain a level of consistency.  And if we live our lives in true righteous consistency, we are in harmony with the world and with God, who by His very nature is Perfection in Consistency through the Logos.  Logos is the blueprint of God, creating the blueprint of the world's laws and nature, and through the Eternal Blueprint of God, the universe with her multiple blueprints is created, and in consistency with one another.  Atheists will have a presupposition of blueprints in the laws of the universe, but they will not admit to the author of the blueprints being the eternal Logos Himself.  Nevertheless, this consistency I see in nature, in science is to me God's signature.

So, the presuppositions of science are materialism and consistency, NOT atheism and uniformitarianism.  Therefore, atheism is only a denial of the grace of God that permeates and is involved in all matter and energy that exists, that we can materialistically sense, and atheism is the denial of the Logos that puts all things in unimaginable order and consistency.  But a theistic scientist, just as he prays and involves God in his eating, a materialistic process, so does the scientist involve God in figuring out materialistic phenomena and acknowledging His glory in all things, explainable and YET to be explainable.  For I believe it is heresy to believe in things unexplainable, God is thus proven.  But, in true Orthodox spirituality, things that have been newly explained, it dignifies and glories the Lord even more, for the end result in the crown of our achievement before the altar of new knowledge is thanksgiving (Eucharista in Greek) to the Lord.

This is a wonderful post Minasoliman.

I especially appreciated this:
Quote
My dealings with patients in treatment is materialistic.  But I ask God to bless the work of the lab, and the work of my hands, and the works of my brain to diagnose, so that it's not me, but it is Him who works through me.  Thus, I take the materialistic lamb of my work, place it in the altar of prayer, sacrifice my time in this work and lift it up to God as a sweet smell of incense, and fulfill my work as a means of my own salvation.
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« Reply #5016 on: February 23, 2013, 02:44:50 PM »

I will try to respond more to Mina's recent posts later. Some lovely philosophical concepts (and I am not being condescending.) But I do wonder why an Orthodox Christian should presuppose a materialist worldview in any aspect of their lives, especially when it comes to the treatment of the body, mind, or soul. By all means address the material components of the illness, but why jettison the spiritual components? I don't see any patristic precedent for such a dichotomization of life.



Selam
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« Reply #5017 on: February 23, 2013, 04:06:00 PM »

I really enjoyed the eloquence and perspicacity of minasoliman's responses as well. And of course I will let him speak for himself but the main idea seems to be that material and spiritual is a false dichotomy so that neither will be "jettisoned" with the appropriate approach.
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« Reply #5018 on: February 23, 2013, 04:18:41 PM »

I will try to respond more to Mina's recent posts later. Some lovely philosophical concepts (and I am not being condescending.) But I do wonder why an Orthodox Christian should presuppose a materialist worldview in any aspect of their lives, especially when it comes to the treatment of the body, mind, or soul. By all means address the material components of the illness, but why jettison the spiritual components? I don't see any patristic precedent for such a dichotomization of life.



Selam

I hope you don't misunderstand my approach as "dichotomizing life".  No, on the contrary, I only explain aspects of how a believing scientist can use a holistic approach for the betterment of his own spiritual life as well as physical.  I could even argue that the underlying spiritual work in the materialistic methods of science is also utilized by atheists without realizing it.  They fulfill a sense of gain of knowledge and enrichment of the intellect, and they might even perform righteous alms as a result from it.  It just takes one step closer to turn their work into a form of prayer where they they can lighten up their already partially enlightened spirit.

A priest ordained and qualified to perform the sacraments but sooner or later loses belief or believes in a heresy and not yet been judged by the Church may still perform the sacraments and the sacraments are not any less valid than those performed by a believing priest.  Likewise an atheist who goes by materialistic principles does not necessarily deny the underlying spirituality of the work.  Sometimes, their work might also be a form of idolatry as well.


I really enjoyed the eloquence and perspicacity of minasoliman's responses as well. And of course I will let him speak for himself but the main idea seems to be that material and spiritual is a false dichotomy so that neither will be "jettisoned" with the appropriate approach.

Exactly my point!  Smiley
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« Reply #5019 on: February 23, 2013, 04:46:16 PM »

I will try to respond more to Mina's recent posts later. Some lovely philosophical concepts (and I am not being condescending.) But I do wonder why an Orthodox Christian should presuppose a materialist worldview in any aspect of their lives, especially when it comes to the treatment of the body, mind, or soul. By all means address the material components of the illness, but why jettison the spiritual components? I don't see any patristic precedent for such a dichotomization of life.



Selam

I hope you don't misunderstand my approach as "dichotomizing life".  No, on the contrary, I only explain aspects of how a believing scientist can use a holistic approach for the betterment of his own spiritual life as well as physical.  I could even argue that the underlying spiritual work in the materialistic methods of science is also utilized by atheists without realizing it.  They fulfill a sense of gain of knowledge and enrichment of the intellect, and they might even perform righteous alms as a result from it.  It just takes one step closer to turn their work into a form of prayer where they they can lighten up their already partially enlightened spirit.

A priest ordained and qualified to perform the sacraments but sooner or later loses belief or believes in a heresy and not yet been judged by the Church may still perform the sacraments and the sacraments are not any less valid than those performed by a believing priest.  Likewise an atheist who goes by materialistic principles does not necessarily deny the underlying spirituality of the work.  Sometimes, their work might also be a form of idolatry as well.


I really enjoyed the eloquence and perspicacity of minasoliman's responses as well. And of course I will let him speak for himself but the main idea seems to be that material and spiritual is a false dichotomy so that neither will be "jettisoned" with the appropriate approach.

Exactly my point!  Smiley


I'm glad to know that. I suspected as much. I just asked the question because you stated, "My dealings with patients in treatment is materialistic." That's why I asked. Your wording seemed to indicate that when dealing with biological/physiological/psychological issues you rely on a materialistic approach as opposed to a spiritual approach. Which brings us back to the issue presuppositions. Whether we rely on a materialistic, spiritual, or holistic approach, our reliances are still presuppositional. The materialist healer and the spiritual healer may both produce the same positive results, but those successful results don't necessarily prove the validity of their presuppositions.



Selam
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« Reply #5020 on: February 23, 2013, 05:22:22 PM »

I will try to respond more to Mina's recent posts later. Some lovely philosophical concepts (and I am not being condescending.) But I do wonder why an Orthodox Christian should presuppose a materialist worldview in any aspect of their lives, especially when it comes to the treatment of the body, mind, or soul. By all means address the material components of the illness, but why jettison the spiritual components? I don't see any patristic precedent for such a dichotomization of life.



Selam

I hope you don't misunderstand my approach as "dichotomizing life".  No, on the contrary, I only explain aspects of how a believing scientist can use a holistic approach for the betterment of his own spiritual life as well as physical.  I could even argue that the underlying spiritual work in the materialistic methods of science is also utilized by atheists without realizing it.  They fulfill a sense of gain of knowledge and enrichment of the intellect, and they might even perform righteous alms as a result from it.  It just takes one step closer to turn their work into a form of prayer where they they can lighten up their already partially enlightened spirit.

A priest ordained and qualified to perform the sacraments but sooner or later loses belief or believes in a heresy and not yet been judged by the Church may still perform the sacraments and the sacraments are not any less valid than those performed by a believing priest.  Likewise an atheist who goes by materialistic principles does not necessarily deny the underlying spirituality of the work.  Sometimes, their work might also be a form of idolatry as well.


I really enjoyed the eloquence and perspicacity of minasoliman's responses as well. And of course I will let him speak for himself but the main idea seems to be that material and spiritual is a false dichotomy so that neither will be "jettisoned" with the appropriate approach.

Exactly my point!  Smiley


I'm glad to know that. I suspected as much. I just asked the question because you stated, "My dealings with patients in treatment is materialistic." That's why I asked. Your wording seemed to indicate that when dealing with biological/physiological/psychological issues you rely on a materialistic approach as opposed to a spiritual approach. Which brings us back to the issue presuppositions. Whether we rely on a materialistic, spiritual, or holistic approach, our reliances are still presuppositional. The materialist healer and the spiritual healer may both produce the same positive results, but those successful results don't necessarily prove the validity of their presuppositions.



Selam


I'm alluding to the fact that there's a materialistic aspect that should not be ignored, and this is what is primarily worked on for most of any individual's day.  A spiritual healer for instance cannot get rid of a bacterial infection by prayer alone, unless God allows miracles to happen through this person.  Spiritual healing is about how what I do would be beneficial for my salvation, or how I can turn anything I do for a salvific affect.  Therefore, even in materialistic instances, such as healing an infection using antibiotics, I still think about the spiritual aspect in this for myself.  If the patient allows, he/she also can have this spiritual aspect in him/herself as well as he/she is being healed physically.  I also gave the analogy to mundane things like eating a meal earlier.

It's like in Christology, we define Christ as having both materialistic and divine aspects in Him.  I could simply spend time on why the reality of the crucifixion by alluding to the materialistic, "en theoria" apart from the divine (and His rational soul as well) involvement in it.  Likewise, my description of the materialistic is a contemplative aspect of the work I do, which is nonetheless an important aspect of the work.
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« Reply #5021 on: February 26, 2013, 11:05:39 PM »

Why did God create the Dinosaures ? Did he create them in an instance or did he let evolution create dinosaurs over a period of million of years ?. Is the same process applied to us Humans ?.
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« Reply #5022 on: February 26, 2013, 11:33:42 PM »

Why did God create the Dinosaures ? Did he create them in an instance or did he let evolution create dinosaurs over a period of million of years ?. Is the same process applied to us Humans ?.


To whom are you directing this question to?  Because depending on the person, you will get different answers.

From a scientific background, yes, it is believed that dinosaurs just as any other animal came and went through evolution, and it is the same process that humans have went through.  To avoid worry, one can say the Image of God was not evolved, but directly created from God, if that's what people's concerns are.  In addition, we don't claim to know the reason God created dinosaurs.  At our best understanding right now, the reason for all of creation really leads to us, that is mankind, and our salvation.
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« Reply #5023 on: February 26, 2013, 11:53:55 PM »

I'm alluding to the fact that there's a materialistic aspect that should not be ignored, and this is what is primarily worked on for most of any individual's day.  A spiritual healer for instance cannot get rid of a bacterial infection by prayer alone, unless God allows miracles to happen through this person.  Spiritual healing is about how what I do would be beneficial for my salvation, or how I can turn anything I do for a salvific affect.  Therefore, even in materialistic instances, such as healing an infection using antibiotics, I still think about the spiritual aspect in this for myself.  If the patient allows, he/she also can have this spiritual aspect in him/herself as well as he/she is being healed physically.  I also gave the analogy to mundane things like eating a meal earlier.

It's like in Christology, we define Christ as having both materialistic and divine aspects in Him.  I could simply spend time on why the reality of the crucifixion by alluding to the materialistic, "en theoria" apart from the divine (and His rational soul as well) involvement in it.  Likewise, my description of the materialistic is a contemplative aspect of the work I do, which is nonetheless an important aspect of the work.

I'm going to play the "devil's advocate": Wouldn't this delegitimize the notion of turning to God for all things through prayer, since recovery from bacterial infections is governed by a specific set of material laws? We pray to God not only for our salvation, but for our material well-being (e.g. a "painless" ending to our life), but isn't it ultimately pointless to do so if such an eventuality is decided and observable exclusively within a naturalist, materialist framework? I suppose this could possibly lead to some significant philosophical problems (e.g. God of the Gaps not as heretical but as the only theologically consistent understanding), but I'd be interested in hearing your input.
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« Reply #5024 on: February 27, 2013, 06:57:59 AM »

Why did God create the Dinosaures ? Did he create them in an instance or did he let evolution create dinosaurs over a period of million of years ?. Is the same process applied to us Humans ?.


To whom are you directing this question to?  Because depending on the person, you will get different answers.

From a scientific background, yes, it is believed that dinosaurs just as any other animal came and went through evolution, and it is the same process that humans have went through.  To avoid worry, one can say the Image of God was not evolved, but directly created from God, if that's what people's concerns are.  In addition, we don't claim to know the reason God created dinosaurs.  At our best understanding right now, the reason for all of creation really leads to us, that is mankind, and our salvation.

So God created humankind directly from him "Let Us make Man in Our Image and in Our Likeness", what about the animals, and all other creatures did he cause evolution to do his work for him? or did he directly create them ?.
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« Reply #5025 on: February 27, 2013, 07:44:00 AM »

Why did God create the Dinosaures ? Did he create them in an instance or did he let evolution create dinosaurs over a period of million of years ?. Is the same process applied to us Humans ?.


To whom are you directing this question to?  Because depending on the person, you will get different answers.

From a scientific background, yes, it is believed that dinosaurs just as any other animal came and went through evolution, and it is the same process that humans have went through.  To avoid worry, one can say the Image of God was not evolved, but directly created from God, if that's what people's concerns are.  In addition, we don't claim to know the reason God created dinosaurs.  At our best understanding right now, the reason for all of creation really leads to us, that is mankind, and our salvation.

So God created humankind directly from him "Let Us make Man in Our Image and in Our Likeness", what about the animals, and all other creatures did he cause evolution to do his work for him? or did he directly create them ?.

Mina is right.  Depending on who you ask depends on your answer.  I, as do others many of whom are in the scientific studies, believe all life was created with no evolution.  
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« Reply #5026 on: February 27, 2013, 07:47:13 AM »

Scientific studies like computer science and non-organic chemistry that conveniently don't need evolution to make sense.
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« Reply #5027 on: February 27, 2013, 08:50:38 AM »

Scientific studies like computer science and non-organic chemistry that conveniently don't need evolution to make sense.

You realize this isn't the random posts thread?
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« Reply #5028 on: February 27, 2013, 09:42:50 AM »

Scientific studies like computer science and non-organic chemistry that conveniently don't need evolution to make sense.

You realize this isn't the random posts thread?

Seems pretty on topic to me.
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« Reply #5029 on: February 27, 2013, 01:00:00 PM »

I'm alluding to the fact that there's a materialistic aspect that should not be ignored, and this is what is primarily worked on for most of any individual's day.  A spiritual healer for instance cannot get rid of a bacterial infection by prayer alone, unless God allows miracles to happen through this person.  Spiritual healing is about how what I do would be beneficial for my salvation, or how I can turn anything I do for a salvific affect.  Therefore, even in materialistic instances, such as healing an infection using antibiotics, I still think about the spiritual aspect in this for myself.  If the patient allows, he/she also can have this spiritual aspect in him/herself as well as he/she is being healed physically.  I also gave the analogy to mundane things like eating a meal earlier.

It's like in Christology, we define Christ as having both materialistic and divine aspects in Him.  I could simply spend time on why the reality of the crucifixion by alluding to the materialistic, "en theoria" apart from the divine (and His rational soul as well) involvement in it.  Likewise, my description of the materialistic is a contemplative aspect of the work I do, which is nonetheless an important aspect of the work.

I'm going to play the "devil's advocate": Wouldn't this delegitimize the notion of turning to God for all things through prayer, since recovery from bacterial infections is governed by a specific set of material laws? We pray to God not only for our salvation, but for our material well-being (e.g. a "painless" ending to our life), but isn't it ultimately pointless to do so if such an eventuality is decided and observable exclusively within a naturalist, materialist framework? I suppose this could possibly lead to some significant philosophical problems (e.g. God of the Gaps not as heretical but as the only theologically consistent understanding), but I'd be interested in hearing your input.

Well, grace is not something magical.  I think people with simple minds tend to look for a sign or miracle that "proves" God, when in fact, God is much bigger than that.  Perhaps, in an age where people haven't matured in mind yet, that this is acceptable.  But we are a much more wiser and smarter human species than thousands of years ago.  We no longer take milk, but solids, as St. Paul teaches.  Therefore, we know God is quite a systematic God, and rivals in organization and consistency.

So, pretty much, we believe that God sustains all things through His grace.  There is not one minuscule material or spiritual matter that isn't sustained by His grace.  All creation is sustained through Him.  Therefore, just because something can be healed by antibiotics does not mean we ignore God's grace.  His grace gives us the realization that nothing we do that can be through Him is in vain.  But if we dig deeper, and do all things on a purely materialistic basis, then all things disintegrate into vanity.

The most important proof in all of this is that God became man.  Therefore, whatever God did materialistically, it's no longer grace in a merciful fashion, but a truly intimate and more superior grace.  Now, I carry God in me.  And it is of utmost importance that this blessing be magnified in all things we do.

Atheists who do things on a purely materialistic basis simply work in the dark.  They may say we don't need light, we created night vision goggles.  But for the believers, God to us is the light that lightens all things.  Sure, theoretically, I may not need even vision to do some of the mundane things in life, but vision adds meaning to what you do, not in a magical sense, but in a grateful sense.

As we pray in the Coptic Church, "We thank You for every condition, concerning every condition, and in every condition, for You covered us, helped us, guarded us, accepted us to You, spared us, supported us, and has brought us to this hour."  That is what an Orthodox Christian does.  We give thanks in ALL things, not just in the things we can't explain.  If miraculously my bracelet shows up after I know I dropped it in the sewers, or somehow I passed the hardest exam in the world that I should have failed, are these the only things I thank God for?  Or do I thank God for waking up, for being able to walk to the shower, for having the means to live and to care for my family, for having the intelligence to study and to work, for eating my breakfast, lunch, and dinner?  This is true grace.

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« Reply #5030 on: February 27, 2013, 01:10:28 PM »

Scientific studies like computer science and non-organic chemistry that conveniently don't need evolution to make sense.

You realize this isn't the random posts thread?

Seems pretty on topic to me.

Okay...let's stop right there.  Just be straightforward.  No need for snarky comments.

Kerdy, I disagree with your assertion of "many".  Very few, if at all, disagree with evolution.  Even one of the ring leaders of Intelligent Design, Dr. Michael Behe, who Johnson depended on in scientific terms of "irreducible complexity" actually does not disagree with the idea that humans and apes share a common ancestor.
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« Reply #5031 on: February 27, 2013, 01:13:43 PM »

Why did God create the Dinosaures ? Did he create them in an instance or did he let evolution create dinosaurs over a period of million of years ?. Is the same process applied to us Humans ?.


To whom are you directing this question to?  Because depending on the person, you will get different answers.

From a scientific background, yes, it is believed that dinosaurs just as any other animal came and went through evolution, and it is the same process that humans have went through.  To avoid worry, one can say the Image of God was not evolved, but directly created from God, if that's what people's concerns are.  In addition, we don't claim to know the reason God created dinosaurs.  At our best understanding right now, the reason for all of creation really leads to us, that is mankind, and our salvation.

So God created humankind directly from him "Let Us make Man in Our Image and in Our Likeness", what about the animals, and all other creatures did he cause evolution to do his work for him? or did he directly create them ?.

My friend, according to Genesis, God created the animals in a similar way He created man, that is from the dust of the ground.  The only difference:  man was breathed into.  Soooo...allegorically, you can take that as thinking that man, like any other animal, evolved, but the Image of God in man was not evolved.

The question of "directly" creating them is a false dichotomy.  God is creator of all things.  He is directly involved in all of our creation.  He has never "indirectly" created us.

"Let them praise the name of the Lord, for He commanded, and they were created." (Ps. 148:5)
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« Reply #5032 on: February 27, 2013, 02:01:11 PM »

Dear Mina: I admire your philosophical creativity, but I respectfully continue to point out that philosophical speculation does not equate to empirical scientific fact. I could actually respect evolutionists if they said something like this:

"We believe that the most logical scientific approach to discerning the origins of existence is to begin with a presupposition of materialism. Since we cannot prove the existence of the immaterial, science must deal only with the material. So we begin with such a presupposition. We can neither prove nor disprove the metaphysical or the supernatural. Now, examining the data from this logically valid presuppositional starting point, we ascertain that it points to strong evidence for the theory of evolution."

You see, this would be honest and I could respect that position. But when militant evolutionists refuse to acknowledge their presuppositions, then they forfeit their objectivity and discredit their own cause.



Selam 
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« Reply #5033 on: February 27, 2013, 02:16:22 PM »

Dear Mina: I admire your philosophical creativity, but I respectfully continue to point out that philosophical speculation does not equate to empirical scientific fact. I could actually respect evolutionists if they said something like this:

"We believe that the most logical scientific approach to discerning the origins of existence is to begin with a presupposition of materialism. Since we cannot prove the existence of the immaterial, science must deal only with the material. So we begin with such a presupposition. We can neither prove nor disprove the metaphysical or the supernatural. Now, examining the data from this logically valid presuppositional starting point, we ascertain that it points to strong evidence for the theory of evolution."

You see, this would be honest and I could respect that position. But when militant evolutionists refuse to acknowledge their presuppositions, then they forfeit their objectivity and discredit their own cause.



Selam 

Of course we cannot materialistically prove metaphysical realities.  I'm not saying we can.  Metaphysical realities require something different than the scientific method.  Science by its nature is a materialistic aspect of how we deal with life, that only deals with the 5 senses of humanity.  All things science wishes to know is how we can understand things through those five senses.

The only difference between Orthodox Christian scientists and atheistic scientists is the realization that such senses can be deified and permeated with spirituality.  This is a relational sense, not a scientific sense.  Atheists will eat their food without prayer, while we eat with prayer and receive grace through it.  They live according to the flesh, while we live according to the spirit, even in fleshly things.  That is the difference.  It's not a very difficult idea to understand.

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« Reply #5034 on: February 27, 2013, 02:31:52 PM »

Dear Mina: I admire your philosophical creativity, but I respectfully continue to point out that philosophical speculation does not equate to empirical scientific fact. I could actually respect evolutionists if they said something like this:

"We believe that the most logical scientific approach to discerning the origins of existence is to begin with a presupposition of materialism. Since we cannot prove the existence of the immaterial, science must deal only with the material. So we begin with such a presupposition. We can neither prove nor disprove the metaphysical or the supernatural. Now, examining the data from this logically valid presuppositional starting point, we ascertain that it points to strong evidence for the theory of evolution."

You see, this would be honest and I could respect that position. But when militant evolutionists refuse to acknowledge their presuppositions, then they forfeit their objectivity and discredit their own cause.



Selam 

Of course we cannot materialistically prove metaphysical realities.  I'm not saying we can.  Metaphysical realities require something different than the scientific method.  Science by its nature is a materialistic aspect of how we deal with life, that only deals with the 5 senses of humanity.  All things science wishes to know is how we can understand things through those five senses.

The only difference between Orthodox Christian scientists and atheistic scientists is the realization that such senses can be deified and permeated with spirituality.  This is a relational sense, not a scientific sense.  Atheists will eat their food without prayer, while we eat with prayer and receive grace through it.  They live according to the flesh, while we live according to the spirit, even in fleshly things.  That is the difference.  It's not a very difficult idea to understand.




I understand your philosophy on this point. My question to you is why you don't simply admit that the evolutionary foundation of materialism is a presupposition. It may be a logical presupposition, but it is a presupposition nonetheless.

Earlier you wrote: "I'm alluding to the fact that there's a materialistic aspect that should not be ignored, and this is what is primarily worked on for most of any individual's day.  A spiritual healer for instance cannot get rid of a bacterial infection by prayer alone, unless God allows miracles to happen through this person.  Spiritual healing is about how what I do would be beneficial for my salvation, or how I can turn anything I do for a salvific affect."

What you are doing is essentially dichotomizing faith and facts. As a Christian you allow for the possibility of miracles and acknowledge the reality of the superantural in selective instances and situations. But somehow when it comes to your understanding of evolution you jettison the supernatural and cling to a materialist presupposition. But then you try to "Christianize" your materialism by claiming that God used the processs of evolution to create man. As the nature of Our Lord is one - divine and human without separation or confusion - so the universe is both material and spiritual. If you can accept that Mystery transcends scientific attempts to discredit the Eucharist, then why can't you accept the possibility that mystery may transcend evolutionary explanations of human creation?



Selam
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« Reply #5035 on: February 27, 2013, 03:10:21 PM »

Dear Mina: I admire your philosophical creativity, but I respectfully continue to point out that philosophical speculation does not equate to empirical scientific fact. I could actually respect evolutionists if they said something like this:

"We believe that the most logical scientific approach to discerning the origins of existence is to begin with a presupposition of materialism. Since we cannot prove the existence of the immaterial, science must deal only with the material. So we begin with such a presupposition. We can neither prove nor disprove the metaphysical or the supernatural. Now, examining the data from this logically valid presuppositional starting point, we ascertain that it points to strong evidence for the theory of evolution."

You see, this would be honest and I could respect that position. But when militant evolutionists refuse to acknowledge their presuppositions, then they forfeit their objectivity and discredit their own cause.



Selam 

Of course we cannot materialistically prove metaphysical realities.  I'm not saying we can.  Metaphysical realities require something different than the scientific method.  Science by its nature is a materialistic aspect of how we deal with life, that only deals with the 5 senses of humanity.  All things science wishes to know is how we can understand things through those five senses.

The only difference between Orthodox Christian scientists and atheistic scientists is the realization that such senses can be deified and permeated with spirituality.  This is a relational sense, not a scientific sense.  Atheists will eat their food without prayer, while we eat with prayer and receive grace through it.  They live according to the flesh, while we live according to the spirit, even in fleshly things.  That is the difference.  It's not a very difficult idea to understand.




I understand your philosophy on this point. My question to you is why you don't simply admit that the evolutionary foundation of materialism is a presupposition. It may be a logical presupposition, but it is a presupposition nonetheless.

Earlier you wrote: "I'm alluding to the fact that there's a materialistic aspect that should not be ignored, and this is what is primarily worked on for most of any individual's day.  A spiritual healer for instance cannot get rid of a bacterial infection by prayer alone, unless God allows miracles to happen through this person.  Spiritual healing is about how what I do would be beneficial for my salvation, or how I can turn anything I do for a salvific affect."

What you are doing is essentially dichotomizing faith and facts. As a Christian you allow for the possibility of miracles and acknowledge the reality of the superantural in selective instances and situations. But somehow when it comes to your understanding of evolution you jettison the supernatural and cling to a materialist presupposition. But then you try to "Christianize" your materialism by claiming that God used the processs of evolution to create man. As the nature of Our Lord is one - divine and human without separation or confusion - so the universe is both material and spiritual. If you can accept that Mystery transcends scientific attempts to discredit the Eucharist, then why can't you accept the possibility that mystery may transcend evolutionary explanations of human creation?



Selam

I only disagreed with your idea that the presupposition is "atheistic".  And I am no less dichotomizing life than a typical Christian who prays before his meals.  That's all.  This analogy I keep repeating is pivotal in understanding that.

Sacraments are beyond the scientific realm.  Sacraments are not science.  So that's the difference.  Humanity has two natures, one that we can scientifically understand, and one we can spiritually understand.  It's only a dichotomy if one actively separates the two in practice, or in the case of atheism, the complete denial of one part.

So in the case of evolution, I don't jettison anything, no less than I don't jettison the embryological basis of birth of a human.  I don't understand how you feel I am ignoring the mystery of humanity.  Perhaps, you and I understand "mystery" differently.  Mystery is precisely the realm in which grace works through things we can sense to me.  In fact, that is the precise meaning of sacraments, isn't it?

When we partake of the Eucharist, we taste bread and wine.  This is the eyes of materialism, and we don't deny or discredit the fact that we have bread and wine before us, but we don't either stop there, for to scientifically describe the Holy Eucharist would be a mockery of the Eucharist.  By grace, we know what we partake of is truly the Body and Blood of Christ.

If you want to extend this to humanity, we know we are by nature of this world, and yet by nature as well as grace, we transcend this world.  It is okay to scientifically examine human's materialistic origins because this is not a liturgical realm of reverence that God forbade.  He blessed us with the intelligence to study this creation of His and to use of for our benefit as well as a means by which we can also have it deified and become salvific for us.

I like this blog about having the poetic soul, where it quotes from Elder Porphyrios.  Imagine that we also can figure out chemically what the fragrances of flowers are, but we also can poetically understand the grace of God in them as well:

Quote
“Take delight in all things that surround us. All things teach us and lead us to God. All things around us are droplets of the love of God — both things animate and inanimate, the plants and the animals, the birds and the mountains, the sea and the sunset and the starry sky. They are little loves through which we attain to the great Love that is Christ. Flowers, for example, have their own grace: they teach us with their fragrance and with their magnificence. They speak to us of the love of God. They scatter their fragrance and their beauty on sinners and on the righteous.
For a person to become a Christian he must have a poetic soul. He must become a poet. Christ does not wish insensitive souls in His company. A Christian, albeit only when he loves, is a poet and lives amid poetry. Poetic hearts embrace love and sense it deeply.
Make the most of beautiful moments. Beautiful moments predispose the soul to prayer; they make it refined, noble and poetic. Wake up in the morning to see the sun rising from out of the sea as a king robed in regal purple. When a lovely landscape, a picturesque chapel, or something beautiful inspires you, don’t leave things at that, but go beyond this to give glory for all beautiful things so that you experience Him who alone is comely in beauty. All things are holy — the sea, swimming and eating. Take delight in them all. All things enrich us, all lead us to the great Love, all lead us to Christ.”
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« Reply #5036 on: February 27, 2013, 05:26:39 PM »

Well, grace is not something magical.  I think people with simple minds tend to look for a sign or miracle that "proves" God, when in fact, God is much bigger than that.  Perhaps, in an age where people haven't matured in mind yet, that this is acceptable.  But we are a much more wiser and smarter human species than thousands of years ago.  We no longer take milk, but solids, as St. Paul teaches.  Therefore, we know God is quite a systematic God, and rivals in organization and consistency.
...
We give thanks in ALL things, not just in the things we can't explain.  If miraculously my bracelet shows up after I know I dropped it in the sewers, or somehow I passed the hardest exam in the world that I should have failed, are these the only things I thank God for?  Or do I thank God for waking up, for being able to walk to the shower, for having the means to live and to care for my family, for having the intelligence to study and to work, for eating my breakfast, lunch, and dinner?  This is true grace.

Great answer, thanks for humoring me!
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« Reply #5037 on: February 28, 2013, 01:34:01 AM »

Why did God create the Dinosaures ? Did he create them in an instance or did he let evolution create dinosaurs over a period of million of years ?. Is the same process applied to us Humans ?.


Like all the other creatures, dinosaurs were created to serve man. This is most clearly seen in an old Young Earth Science documentary called The Flintstones.
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« Reply #5038 on: February 28, 2013, 03:44:58 AM »

Scientific studies like computer science and non-organic chemistry that conveniently don't need evolution to make sense.

You realize this isn't the random posts thread?

Seems pretty on topic to me.

Okay...let's stop right there.  Just be straightforward.  No need for snarky comments.

Kerdy, I disagree with your assertion of "many".  Very few, if at all, disagree with evolution.  Even one of the ring leaders of Intelligent Design, Dr. Michael Behe, who Johnson depended on in scientific terms of "irreducible complexity" actually does not disagree with the idea that humans and apes share a common ancestor.

If you place a percentage on what constitutes "many", perhaps.  Otherwise, any number greater than "few" would be many.  You will notice I avoided percentages, mainly because I don't know them, but I agree "most" agree with evolution, even without percentages.  If you have 100,000 scientists and 12,000 disagree with evolution, that isn't very few.  It's a lot of people, thus my usage of the word "many".
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« Reply #5039 on: February 28, 2013, 05:21:13 AM »

Why did God create the Dinosaures ? Did he create them in an instance or did he let evolution create dinosaurs over a period of million of years ?. Is the same process applied to us Humans ?.


Like all the other creatures, dinosaurs were created to serve man. This is most clearly seen in an old Young Earth Science documentary called The Flintstones.
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