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Poll
Question: Do you believe that the acount of genesis in the Old testament should be taken literally?
Yes - 53 (15.7%)
No - 129 (38.3%)
both metaphorically and literally - 155 (46%)
Total Voters: 337

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Author Topic: Creationism, Evolution, and Orthodoxy  (Read 322659 times) Average Rating: 0
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PeterTheAleut
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« Reply #855 on: June 06, 2009, 10:56:52 PM »

[You're being much, much too literal about this. If Adam was a real person, the Law came many, many millenia after him. The years in Genesis are similar to the years in other ancient documents. In the annals of the Sumerian kings, for example, how long a ruler was purported to live was dependent on his power relative to other rulers. In fact, several of these rulers were said to have ruled for several thousand years.]

well St. Justin Martyr's quote was used in opposition to the majority ECF view of literal days, so I was thinking along the lines of his quote to try to see if it lined up.

but if these years aren't literal, why did the ECF's so completely miss that? irregardless of their views on the length of the first week, its a concensus that the earth would be no more than 10,000 yrs by now. Ive never seen any quote from any Father, including on anti-creation websites, that would suggest otherwise. Even Origen believed in a young earth.
But did the Early Church Fathers think of themselves as speaking in consensus on such things as the age of the earth?

Was the age of the earth central to their doctrines, or did they just cite their opinions on the age of the earth in support of other doctrines that they considered more important?
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« Reply #856 on: June 07, 2009, 12:06:23 AM »

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But did the Early Church Fathers think of themselves as speaking in consensus on such things as the age of the earth?

well im sure the later Fathers who had already read the earlier Fathers were realizing that they were agreeing .... especially modern Saints and Holy Fathers who specifically wrote/spoke againts evolution

Quote
Was the age of the earth central to their doctrines, or did they just cite their opinions on the age of the earth in support of other doctrines that they considered more important?

i think its just the concept of accepting Scripture as is that was central to their understanding.

Genesis is the beginning of the story that informs just about every other concept in Orthodoxy ... if you change that beginning what makes you think the rest of the story will remain the same? its like the butterfly effect -- if you change an earlier part of the story you change the whole rest of the story. if we are going to overthrow the Patristic understanding of Genesis we'd have to investigate how that would change everything else.
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« Reply #857 on: June 07, 2009, 12:57:36 AM »

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But did the Early Church Fathers think of themselves as speaking in consensus on such things as the age of the earth?

well im sure the later Fathers who had already read the earlier Fathers were realizing that they were agreeing .... especially modern Saints and Holy Fathers who specifically wrote/spoke againts evolution

Quote
Was the age of the earth central to their doctrines, or did they just cite their opinions on the age of the earth in support of other doctrines that they considered more important?

i think its just the concept of accepting Scripture as is that was central to their understanding.

Genesis is the beginning of the story that informs just about every other concept in Orthodoxy ... if you change that beginning what makes you think the rest of the story will remain the same? its like the butterfly effect -- if you change an earlier part of the story you change the whole rest of the story. if we are going to overthrow the Patristic understanding of Genesis we'd have to investigate how that would change everything else.
I'm not convinced, though, that there was a consensual patristic understanding of Genesis, and I'm quite skeptical that this "consensus" may have been engineered by modern theologians motivated by an unhealthy fear of science.
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« Reply #858 on: June 07, 2009, 01:03:06 AM »

Genesis is the beginning of the story that informs just about every other concept in Orthodoxy

Are you sure? I thought that the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead actually was the beginning of that story, no?

... if you change that beginning what makes you think the rest of the story will remain the same?

Indeed - if the coming of Christ from the dead is the beginning, then does it really matter what all the numerous stories of Hindus, Zoroastrians, Hebrews and so on and so forth, say? Smiley
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« Reply #859 on: June 07, 2009, 11:37:06 PM »

[Are you sure? I thought that the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead actually was the beginning of that story, no?]

well i believe it was this thread, but perhaps a different one where another poster already commented on the anthropology of St. John Chyrsostom and how it is based on a literal understanding of Genesis  --- changing Genesis to an allegory would change Orthodox anthropology for one instance. im reading through the 38 volume Church Fathers set and they continuously go back to Genesis on many subjects. of course Christ is our focal point, but we know what we're meant for and why we need Christ because of Genesis.

[I'm not convinced, though, that there was a consensual patristic understanding of Genesis, and I'm quite skeptical that this "consensus" may have been engineered by modern theologians motivated by an unhealthy fear of science.]

do you have any reason besides skepticism to question the concensus -- like have you seen Patristic quotes that deny the literal? do you really think people like St. Nektarios, St. Barsanuphius of Optina, St. Justin Popovich, Elder Cleopa, Fr. Seraphim, Elder Joseph the Hesychast, etc all just had an unhealthy fear of science? maybe their holiness enlightened them to things we don't see. i think its more likely that other modern theologians (i know of no Saints or modern elders who have come down in favor of evolution) fear looking ridiculous to the scientific community if they were to accept Genesis as is.

also, this just popped into my mind ... have you read the Mountain of Silence? The author mentions in there that the Church has historically interpreted Genesis literally. Also, I was in Romania in March and there was a sign by an old icon that said the icon was from the year 7100 or so from the creation of the world ... which corresponds to 1500 something (i dont remember the exact dates, and pictures were not allowed inside this particular church, otherwise i would have gotten a picture of the sign) ... but anyways this reflects the Church's traditional interpretation -- it adopted a calendar in teh Byzantine era that puts us now in the year 7518 or 7519 from the creation of the world. this is mentioned in Fr. Seraphim's book, and i know its also mentioned in http://www.amazon.com/Orthodox-Russia-Belief-Practice-Under/dp/0271023503/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1244432025&sr=8-1 and im sure you can find other sources. also check out this website http://www.robibrad.demon.co.uk/
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« Reply #860 on: June 08, 2009, 02:37:16 AM »

[Are you sure? I thought that the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead actually was the beginning of that story, no?]

well i believe it was this thread, but perhaps a different one where another poster already commented on the anthropology of St. John Chyrsostom and how it is based on a literal understanding of Genesis  --- changing Genesis to an allegory would change Orthodox anthropology for one instance. im reading through the 38 volume Church Fathers set and they continuously go back to Genesis on many subjects. of course Christ is our focal point, but we know what we're meant for and why we need Christ because of Genesis.

[I'm not convinced, though, that there was a consensual patristic understanding of Genesis, and I'm quite skeptical that this "consensus" may have been engineered by modern theologians motivated by an unhealthy fear of science.]

do you have any reason besides skepticism to question the concensus -- like have you seen Patristic quotes that deny the literal? do you really think people like St. Nektarios, St. Barsanuphius of Optina, St. Justin Popovich, Elder Cleopa, Fr. Seraphim, Elder Joseph the Hesychast, etc all just had an unhealthy fear of science? maybe their holiness enlightened them to things we don't see. i think its more likely that other modern theologians (i know of no Saints or modern elders who have come down in favor of evolution) fear looking ridiculous to the scientific community if they were to accept Genesis as is.

also, this just popped into my mind ... have you read the Mountain of Silence? The author mentions in there that the Church has historically interpreted Genesis literally. Also, I was in Romania in March and there was a sign by an old icon that said the icon was from the year 7100 or so from the creation of the world ... which corresponds to 1500 something (i dont remember the exact dates, and pictures were not allowed inside this particular church, otherwise i would have gotten a picture of the sign) ... but anyways this reflects the Church's traditional interpretation -- it adopted a calendar in teh Byzantine era that puts us now in the year 7518 or 7519 from the creation of the world. this is mentioned in Fr. Seraphim's book, and i know its also mentioned in http://www.amazon.com/Orthodox-Russia-Belief-Practice-Under/dp/0271023503/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1244432025&sr=8-1 and im sure you can find other sources. also check out this website http://www.robibrad.demon.co.uk/
But why even look to the Fathers for a consensus on this issue?  Can we not just accept that maybe the Fathers spoke largely in support of a literal interpretation of Genesis (though I'm still not sure of this) without basing upon this some spurious Orthodox version of creationist dogma that twists and perverts the consensus some see or even creates a consensus that doesn't exist?  IOW, even if there is a patristic consensus on this issue, I often think dogmatists like you and Fr. Seraphim Rose may be using this consensus as a source for the formulation of dogmatic conclusions, a use for which this consensus may have never been intended.
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« Reply #861 on: June 08, 2009, 03:43:19 PM »

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But why even look to the Fathers for a consensus on this issue?  Can we not just accept that maybe the Fathers spoke largely in support of a literal interpretation of Genesis (though I'm still not sure of this) without basing upon this some spurious Orthodox version of creationist dogma that twists and perverts the consensus some see or even creates a consensus that doesn't exist?  IOW, even if there is a patristic consensus on this issue, I often think dogmatists like you and Fr. Seraphim Rose may be using this consensus as a source for the formulation of dogmatic conclusions, a use for which this consensus may have never been intended

im sorry i just dont understand that ... why would we NOT look to the Fathers for a concensus on Scripture ... isn't that what we always do? what other Scriptures would it be suggested to ignore the Fathers on? Why would the Fathers spend so much time commenting on Genesis if they had no intention of transmitting the faith of the Church? Furthermore, several Fathers go beyond giving opinion, and firmly state that it is impermissible to see Genesis as purely allegorical.

Quote
St. Macarius the Great of Egypt, a Saint of the most exalted mystical life and whom one certainly cannot suspect of overly literal views of Scripture, writes on Genesis 3:24: "That Paradise was closed and that a Cherubim was commanded to prevent man from entering it by a flaming sword: of this we believe that in visible fashion it was indeed just as it is written, and at the same time we find that this occurs mystically in every soul."

St. Gregory the Theologian, noted for his profound mystical interpretations of Scripture, says of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil: "This tree was, according to my view, Contemplation, upon which it is only safe for those who have reached maturity of habit to enter." Does this mean that he regarded this tree as only a symbol, and not also a literal tree? In his own writings he apparently does not give an answer to this question, but another great Holy Father does (for when they are teaching Orthodox doctrine and not just giving private opinions, all the great Fathers agree with each other and even help to interpret each other). St. Gregory Palamas, the fourteenth-century hesychast Father, comments on this passage:
Quote
Gregory the Theologian has called the tree of the knowledge of good and evil "contemplation" ... but it does not follow that what is involved is an illusion or a symbol without existence of its own. For the divine Maximus (the Confessor) also makes Moses the symbol of judgment, and Elijah the symbol of foresight! Are they too then supposed not to have really existed, but to have been invented "symbolically"?
St. Basil the Great in his Hexaemeron writes:

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Those who do not admit the common meaning of the Scriptures say that water is not water, but some other nature, and they explain a plant and a fish according to their opinion.... (But) when I hear "grass," I think of grass, and in the same manner I understand everything as it is said, a plant, a fish, a wild animal, and an ox. Indeed, "I am not ashamed of the Gospel (Rom. 1:16)."... (Some) have attempted by false arguments and allegorical interpretations to bestow on the Scripture a dignity of their own imagining. But theirs is the attitude of one who considers himself wiser than the revelations of the Spirit and introduces his own ideas in pretense of an explanation. Therefore, let it be understood as it has been written.
St. Basil continues:

Quote
Evening, then, is a common boundary line of day and night; and similarly, morning is the part of night bordering on day. In order, therefore, to give the prerogative of prior generation to the day, Moses mentioned first the limit of the day and then that of the night, as night followed the day. The condition in the world before the creation of light was not night, but darkness; that which was opposed to the day was named night; wherefore it received its name later than the day did.... Why did he say "one" and not "first"? It is more consistent for him who intends to introduce a second and a third and a fourth day, to call the one which begins the series "first." But he said "one" because he was defining the measure of day and night.

St. Ephraim the Syrian tells us similarly in the Commentary on Genesis:
Quote
No one should think that the Creation of Six Days is an allegory; it is likewise impermissible to say that what seems, according to the account, to have been created in six days, was created in a single instant, and likewise that certain names presented in this account either signify nothing, or signify something else. On the contrary, we must know that just as the heaven and the earth which were created in the beginning are actually the heaven and the earth and not something else understood under the names of heaven and earth, so also everything else that is spoken of as being created and brought into order after the creation of heaven and earth is not empty names, but the very essence of the created natures corresponds to the force of these names.


and again St. Ephraim writes:
Quote
If everything created (whether its creation is mentioned or not) was created in six days, then the clouds were created on the first day.... For everything had to be created in six days.

and again St. Ephraim the Syrian, who understands the days of Creation to be twenty-four hours long, emphasizes that the creative acts of God in these days do not require twenty-four hours, but only an instant. Thus, concerning the First Day he writes:
Quote
Although both the light and the clouds were created in the twinkling of an eye, still both the day and the night of the First Day continued for twelve hours each.

St. John Chrysostom, speaking specifically of the rivers of Paradise, writes:

Quote
Perhaps one who loves to speak from his own wisdom here also will not allow that the rivers are actually rivers, nor that the waters are precisely waters, but will instill, in those who allow themselves to listen to them, the idea that they (under the names of rivers and waters) represented something else. But I entreat you, let us not pay heed to these people, let us stop up our hearing against them, and let us believe the Divine Scripture, and following what is written in it, let us strive to preserve in our souls sound dogmas.

In his commentary on the Fifth Day of Creation, St. John Chrysostom emphasizes the preciseness and accurateness of the order in which the creation is described.

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The blessed Moses, instructed by the Spirit of God, teaches us with such detail ... so that we might clearly know both the order and the way of the creation of each thing. If God had not been concerned for our salvation and had not guided the tongue of the Prophet, it would have been sufficient to say that God created the heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and living creatures, without indicating either the order of the days or what was created earlier and what later.... But he distinguishes so clearly both the order of creation and the number of days, and instructs us about everything with great condescension, in order that we, coming to know the whole truth, would no longer heed the false teachings of those who speak of everything according to their own reasonings, but might comprehend the unutterable power of our Creator.

St. Ambrose writes:

Quote
Moses "spoke to God the Most High, not in a vision nor in dreams, but mouth to mouth" (Numbers 12:6-8). Plainly and clearly, not by figures nor by riddles, there was bestowed on him the gift of the Divine presence. And so Moses opened his mouth and uttered what the Lord spoke within him, according to the promise He made to him when He directed him to go to King Pharaoh: "Go therefore and I will open thy mouth and instruct thee what thou shouldest speak" (Ex. 4:12). For, if he had already accepted from God what he should say concerning the liberation of the people, how much more should you accept what He should say concerning heaven? Therefore, "not in the persuasive words of wisdom," not in philosophical fallacies, "but in the demonstration of the Spirit and power" (1 Cor. 2:4), he has ventured to say as if he were a witness of the Divine work: "In the beginning God created heaven and earth."
St. Ambrose writes that when Moses says so abruptly "In the beginning God created," he intends to "express the incomprehensible speed of the work." And, having the cosmological speculations of the Greeks in mind, he writes words that apply equally well to the speculations of our own times:

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He (Moses) did not look forward to a late and leisurely creation of the world out of a concourse of atoms.

St. Ambrose says further:

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And fittingly (Moses) added: "He created," lest it be thought there was a delay in creation. Furthermore, men would see also how incomparable the Creator was Who completed such a great work in me briefest moment of His creative act, so much so that the effect of His will anticipated the perception of time.



that whole section is taken from http://www.creatio.orthodoxy.ru/english/rose_genesis/index.html

and in his On the Orthodox Faith, St. John of Damascus says that an allegorical approach to Genesis is one of the earliest heresies within the Church.


you say perhaps the Fathers did not intend to be dogmatic about this ... but as I have already said, the Church adopted a calendar that uses a literal timeline for Genesis, and a Canon from the Council of Laodicea that was ratified by the Trullo Council states that anyone who believes that Adam and Eve would have died even without sin is anathema. this tells us two things:
1. Adam and Eve are real people
2. Adam and Eve would not have died had they not sinned. However, evolution is a process that brings death with it. If God created via evolution then God created death, and thus death is good since all God created is good. if Death is good, why did Christ defeat it?


aaaaand finally, its not just dogmatists like me and Fr. Seraphim that takes this position -- its canonized Saints like St. Nektarios, St. Barsanuphius of Optina, and St. Justin Popovich, along with other holy elders like Elder Paisios, Elder Joseph the Hesychast, Elder Cleopa, Elder Ephraim, etc. it seems to me the holy people accept a literal Genesis, adn the "scholars" do not.
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« Reply #862 on: June 08, 2009, 06:00:51 PM »

I don't know if this was addressed elsewhere in the thread, but if so please direct me to the posts and forgive my repetition.

I have thought of Genesis allegorically for the last several years, but lately I have been realizing that humanity would had to have been perfect for a "Fall" to have taken place.  But according to the evolutionary model humanity has been undergoing an evolutionary ascent since from the beginning.  We can't think of our nature as fallen; only as imperfect.  But those are not the same thing.  They are similar concepts in that they connote a deficiency, but but the evolutionary model utterly rejects the notion that mankind was created perfectly and then underwent a fall which affected all of the material world.

Before I had always fallen back on the idea that either way humanity was imperfect and deficient, in need of correction, and that Christ was the sure an the archetype of perfection.  But according to the implications of the evolutionary model, to me it seems to suggest that humanity is exactly how it is meant to be.  Evolution would not rob humanity of its unique place absolutely, because even without humanity having been created at a specific moment in time, humanity still eventually came to exist with our higher level of cognizance over the whole rest of the created order and our apparent exclusive right to bridge the gap between material and spiritual realities.

But I am still not completely satisfied that the implications of evolutionary biology are completely compatible with Orthodox Christianity, simply because of the endless references to humanity's fall and our perfection before it happened.  This necessitates that something specific did actually happen that changed the nature of humanity in such a radical way that it altered not only ourselves by the entire creation.  This is nowhere to be found in evolutionary biology.  It does not seem that it can merely be allegory, but I keep bouncing back and forth on it.  I suppose you could say that humanity in its deficiency does affect material reality in how we consume everything around us in an unbalanced way, which due to current technology has led to the pollution of our environment.  But even that doesn't account for a previous perfection that will be restored.

So I guess the central question is, does Orthodoxy require us to believe that humanity was once perfect?
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« Reply #863 on: June 08, 2009, 06:42:04 PM »

Quote
But why even look to the Fathers for a consensus on this issue?  Can we not just accept that maybe the Fathers spoke largely in support of a literal interpretation of Genesis (though I'm still not sure of this) without basing upon this some spurious Orthodox version of creationist dogma that twists and perverts the consensus some see or even creates a consensus that doesn't exist?  IOW, even if there is a patristic consensus on this issue, I often think dogmatists like you and Fr. Seraphim Rose may be using this consensus as a source for the formulation of dogmatic conclusions, a use for which this consensus may have never been intended

im sorry i just dont understand that ... why would we NOT look to the Fathers for a concensus on Scripture ... isn't that what we always do? what other Scriptures would it be suggested to ignore the Fathers on? Why would the Fathers spend so much time commenting on Genesis if they had no intention of transmitting the faith of the Church? Furthermore, several Fathers go beyond giving opinion, and firmly state that it is impermissible to see Genesis as purely allegorical.

I anticipated you would misunderstand me, which is why I emphasized "for a consensus". Wink  I'm not questioning why we would look to the Fathers; rather, I'm questioning the need for us to see a consensus, manufactured or otherwise.
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« Reply #864 on: June 08, 2009, 07:44:34 PM »

But I am still not completely satisfied that the implications of evolutionary biology are completely compatible with Orthodox Christianity, simply because of the endless references to humanity's fall and our perfection before it happened. 

Evolutionary biology is based on materialism. As such, it is not completely compatible with any major religious tradition. From the perspective of the major religious traditions, evolutionary biology may reveal much about the physical processes that have occurred millions of years ago, but it could never reveal the whole picture. If there were any spiritual forces involved in evolution, evolutionary biology would be incapable of determining the nature of such involvement. From my perspective, Genesis outlines the basic patterns of the spiritual involvement in the physical process of evolution. Since time in the spiritual realms operates differently than in the physical realms, Genesis can speak of the "days" of creation.
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« Reply #865 on: June 08, 2009, 07:50:39 PM »

But I am still not completely satisfied that the implications of evolutionary biology are completely compatible with Orthodox Christianity, simply because of the endless references to humanity's fall and our perfection before it happened. 

Evolutionary biology is based on materialism. As such, it is not completely compatible with any major religious tradition. From the perspective of the major religious traditions, evolutionary biology may reveal much about the physical processes that have occurred millions of years ago, but it could never reveal the whole picture. If there were any spiritual forces involved in evolution, evolutionary biology would be incapable of determining the nature of such involvement. From my perspective, Genesis outlines the basic patterns of the spiritual involvement in the physical process of evolution. Since time in the spiritual realms operates differently than in the physical realms, Genesis can speak of the "days" of creation.

That's prety much the way I see it, too, except I would not single out "evolutionary biology" (is there any other?), and say that science by definition has its limitations. It studies only the natural world. And from that vantage point, questions like, "were humans ever perfect?" -make no sense, because what's perfect?
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« Reply #866 on: June 08, 2009, 07:54:37 PM »

I guess the central question is, does Orthodoxy require us to believe that humanity was once perfect?

I don't know; all I know is that the Nicene-Constantinople Creed requires me to believe that Jesus Christ, our Lord, Light from Light, true God of true God, begotten, not made, one in essence with the Father, through Whom all things were made, for us, men, and for our salvation came down from heaven and became incarnate etc. Beyond that, AFAIK, there are all kinds of views and writings and expressions of faith, but I am not sure that any single one of those is binding for ALL Orthodox.
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« Reply #867 on: June 08, 2009, 10:08:31 PM »

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aaaaand finally, its not just dogmatists like me and Fr. Seraphim that takes this position -- its canonized Saints like St. Nektarios, St. Barsanuphius of Optina, and St. Justin Popovich, along with other holy elders like Elder Paisios, Elder Joseph the Hesychast, Elder Cleopa, Elder Ephraim, etc. it seems to me the holy people accept a literal Genesis, adn the "scholars" do not.

jckstraw72,

Perhaps you could supply some quotes from these Saints that express their concerns regarding the Theory of Evolution?
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« Reply #868 on: June 08, 2009, 10:22:37 PM »

Quote
aaaaand finally, its not just dogmatists like me and Fr. Seraphim that takes this position -- its canonized Saints like St. Nektarios, St. Barsanuphius of Optina, and St. Justin Popovich, along with other holy elders like Elder Paisios, Elder Joseph the Hesychast, Elder Cleopa, Elder Ephraim, etc. it seems to me the holy people accept a literal Genesis, adn the "scholars" do not.

jckstraw72,

Perhaps you could supply some quotes from these Saints that express their concerns regarding the Theory of Evolution?

And also regarding the theory of electromagnetism, or quantum mechanics, or the special and general relativity theory?  Grin Grin Grin
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« Reply #869 on: June 08, 2009, 10:50:49 PM »

Beyond that, AFAIK, there are all kinds of views and writings and expressions of faith, but I am not sure that any single one of those is binding for ALL Orthodox.

What I am wondering is if anybody is certain whether or not we must understand humanity as once being perfect, and falling from that state.
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« Reply #870 on: June 08, 2009, 11:55:33 PM »

Alveus Lacuna i like your line of thinking. i believe the best way to put it is that we were created perfect/sinless with the potential to grow even more perfect, more like God. of course only God is 100% perfect in every way, but Orthodoxy indeed teaches that we were sinless.

as for quotes against evolution ... St. Barsanuphius of Optina: "The English philosopher Darwin created an entire system according to which lief is a struggle for existence, a struggle of the strong against the weak, where those that are conquered are doomed to destruction . . . This is already the beginning of a bestial philosophy, and those who come to believe in it wouldn't think twice about killing a man, assaulting a woman, or robbing their closest friend -- and they would do all this calmly, with a full recognition of their right to commit these crimes." From Elder Barsanuphius of Optina, published by St. Herman's

St. Nektarios: "The two volumes of the work Philosphie zoologique are in their entirety intended to uphold the degrading evolutionary theory regarding man. The first volume seeks to prove that the human organism evolved from that of an ape, as a result of chance circumstances. And the second volume seeks to prove that the distinctive excellences of the human mind are nothing but an extension of a power which the animals have, differing only in degree. Having weak and badly set foundations . . . Lamarck claims to prove that in earlier times nature produced through marvelous evolution one species from another, earlier one. He seeks to establish a gradual chain having successive (not contemporaneous) links and thus to produce finally the human species through a metamorphosis that is the reverse of the truth, and not less marvelous than the transformations one reads about in myths!" -- quoted in Constantine Cavarnos' Biological Evolutionism.

This article http://orthodoxnorth.net/evolution_new_fundamentalism_pt_1.htm tells us that St. Justin Popovich identified Darnwin's ideas with new age religion

Elder Paisios: "...And if one thinks that from a human being, the Most Holy Theotokos, Christ was born! Then what we are saying is that a monkey was an ancestor of Christ? What blasphemy!!" --Elder Paisios of Mount Athos --- from the forthcoming updated Genesis, Creation, and Early Man

St. John of Kronstadt:  "The Holy Scriptures speak more truly and more clearly of the world than the world itself or the arrangement of the earthly strata; the scriptures of nature within it, being dead and voiceless, cannot express anything definite. "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?" Were you with God when He created the universe? "Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being His counseller, hath taught Him?" And yet you geologists boast that you have understood the mind of the Lord, in the arrangement of strata, and maintained it in spite of Holy Writ! You believe more in the dead letters of the earthly strata, in the soulless earth, than in the Divinely-inspired words of the great prophet Moses, who saw God." --- My Life in Christ

in the biography of Elder Cleopa that I read he does not specifically combat evolution but he mentions that man was in Hades for 5508 years before Christ, which is the same date that the Church calendar gives for the creation of the world, which means there was not even one whole year between the beginning of creation and Adam's fall according to Elder Cleopa.

other authors such as Fr. Schmemann and Vladimir Lossky repeatedly mention in their works that there was no death before man's sin, which rules out the evolutionary process.
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« Reply #871 on: June 09, 2009, 12:43:19 AM »

As a side note, in the book Gifts of the Desert the author notes that Orthodox clerics and monks still opposed the writings of Nicolaus Copernicus until as recently as 150 years ago.  As most of you are aware, his heliocentric cosmology removed Earth from being the center of the universe, and replaced it with our solar system's sun.  Obviously we now know that our sun is not the center of the universe either, but this is interesting to note because it deals with the same conflict as that of evolutionary biology.

Both realizations to some degree reduce humanity's importance, at least in comparison with earlier views.  As mankind was the crown of creation, so our world was the center of the cosmos.  Heliocentric cosmology displaced and finally obliterated that reality, to the degree that we now use the 'center of the universe' as the way to refer to a conceited, egotistical person.

So science destroys the notion that mankind is the crown of creation; the purpose for the existence of the whole world (or perhaps our planet in modern scientific terms).  So does this end an ultimate narcissism, or does it fundamentally rob humanity of its centralized role and hence its feeling of purpose?

I don't have the answers to these questions, but I think it is important to mention that Orthodoxy resisted our modern scientific cosmology tooth and nail until it eventually had to cave, because the evidence was too overwhelming; there were no 'gaps' left in due time.  Will the same thing happen with evolutionary biology?  Will most deny it until it is impossible to do so anymore?
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« Reply #872 on: June 09, 2009, 01:05:38 AM »

." From Elder Barsanuphius of Optina, published by St. Herman's


underlining meant that when you wanted something published you wished to have it in italics. 
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« Reply #873 on: June 09, 2009, 04:04:18 AM »

Darwin was a sick person , who encouraged eugenism.
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« Reply #874 on: June 09, 2009, 04:56:10 AM »

Darwin was a sick person , who encouraged eugenism.
What exactly does this logical ad hominem have to do with the substance of modern evolutionary theory, though?
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« Reply #875 on: June 09, 2009, 06:58:53 AM »

Darwin was a sick person , who encouraged eugenism.

No, he did not. In fact, he opposed publication of Galton's ideas along those lines.
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« Reply #876 on: June 09, 2009, 07:30:43 AM »

Beyond that, AFAIK, there are all kinds of views and writings and expressions of faith, but I am not sure that any single one of those is binding for ALL Orthodox.

What I am wondering is if anybody is certain whether or not we must understand humanity as once being perfect, and falling from that state.

Somebody is always certain about something.Smiley But it does not mean that you must always follow this "somebody."
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« Reply #877 on: June 09, 2009, 07:46:35 AM »

Darwin was a sick person , who encouraged eugenism.

Actually Charles R. Darwin was a very healthy person, although he did have something like a mild obsessive-compulsive disorder. Smiley

In his prime years, he was a devout Anglican and a deacon in his church. While traveling on HMS The Beagle, where he was the "Naturalist," he also volunteered to have "spiritual conversations" with the crew. He most certainly knew Scriptures very well, and in his life he was pious and humble. He always stressed that his evolutionary theory has absolutely nothing to do with the alleged removing of God or "robbing" God of His glory.

I think it is very sad when people, not having any grounds whatsoever, insult the memory of great workers like Darwin, of those who labored hard all of their short human life to enrich us with new insights on the way this God's world works. Darwin's name is most definitely in the same glorious file to which belong the names of Aristotle, Mohammed Musa ibn Khorasmi (the inventor of algebra), Roger Bacon, St. Duns Scotus (who was actually the first to outline the concept of separation between theology and natural science), Francis Bacon, Galileo Galilei, Sir Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, Mikhail Lomonosov, Antoin-Laurent LaVoisier, John Dalton, Dmitriy Ivanovich Mendeleev, Nikolay Lobachevskiy, James Clark Maxwell, Nicola Tesla, Max Plank, Albert Einstein, and other "movers and shakers" in the exciting field of natural sciences...
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« Reply #878 on: June 09, 2009, 08:36:54 AM »

But I am still not completely satisfied that the implications of evolutionary biology are completely compatible with Orthodox Christianity, simply because of the endless references to humanity's fall and our perfection before it happened. 

Evolutionary biology is based on materialism. As such, it is not completely compatible with any major religious tradition. From the perspective of the major religious traditions, evolutionary biology may reveal much about the physical processes that have occurred millions of years ago, but it could never reveal the whole picture. If there were any spiritual forces involved in evolution, evolutionary biology would be incapable of determining the nature of such involvement. From my perspective, Genesis outlines the basic patterns of the spiritual involvement in the physical process of evolution. Since time in the spiritual realms operates differently than in the physical realms, Genesis can speak of the "days" of creation.

That's prety much the way I see it, too, except I would not single out "evolutionary biology" (is there any other?), and say that science by definition has its limitations. It studies only the natural world. And from that vantage point, questions like, "were humans ever perfect?" -make no sense, because what's perfect?

Yes, modern Western science is by definition materialistic in its assumptions.
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« Reply #879 on: June 09, 2009, 08:42:00 AM »

Darwin was a sick person , who encouraged eugenism.

Actually Charles R. Darwin was a very healthy person, although he did have something like a mild obsessive-compulsive disorder. Smiley

In his prime years, he was a devout Anglican and a deacon in his church. While traveling on HMS The Beagle, where he was the "Naturalist," he also volunteered to have "spiritual conversations" with the crew. He most certainly knew Scriptures very well, and in his life he was pious and humble. He always stressed that his evolutionary theory has absolutely nothing to do with the alleged removing of God or "robbing" God of His glory.

I think it is very sad when people, not having any grounds whatsoever, insult the memory of great workers like Darwin, of those who labored hard all of their short human life to enrich us with new insights on the way this God's world works. Darwin's name is most definitely in the same glorious file to which belong the names of Aristotle, Mohammed Musa ibn Khorasmi (the inventor of algebra), Roger Bacon, St. Duns Scotus (who was actually the first to outline the concept of separation between theology and natural science), Francis Bacon, Galileo Galilei, Sir Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, Mikhail Lomonosov, Antoin-Laurent LaVoisier, John Dalton, Dmitriy Ivanovich Mendeleev, Nikolay Lobachevskiy, James Clark Maxwell, Nicola Tesla, Max Plank, Albert Einstein, and other "movers and shakers" in the exciting field of natural sciences...

This is an Orthodox site. You must include Theodosius Grygorovych Dobzhansky in any list of scientific notables. Cool
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« Reply #880 on: June 09, 2009, 08:43:52 AM »

Darwin was a sick person , who encouraged eugenism.

Actually Charles R. Darwin was a very healthy person, although he did have something like a mild obsessive-compulsive disorder. Smiley

In his prime years, he was a devout Anglican and a deacon in his church. While traveling on HMS The Beagle, where he was the "Naturalist," he also volunteered to have "spiritual conversations" with the crew. He most certainly knew Scriptures very well, and in his life he was pious and humble. He always stressed that his evolutionary theory has absolutely nothing to do with the alleged removing of God or "robbing" God of His glory.

I think it is very sad when people, not having any grounds whatsoever, insult the memory of great workers like Darwin, of those who labored hard all of their short human life to enrich us with new insights on the way this God's world works. Darwin's name is most definitely in the same glorious file to which belong the names of Aristotle, Mohammed Musa ibn Khorasmi (the inventor of algebra), Roger Bacon, St. Duns Scotus (who was actually the first to outline the concept of separation between theology and natural science), Francis Bacon, Galileo Galilei, Sir Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, Mikhail Lomonosov, Antoin-Laurent LaVoisier, John Dalton, Dmitriy Ivanovich Mendeleev, Nikolay Lobachevskiy, James Clark Maxwell, Nicola Tesla, Max Plank, Albert Einstein, and other "movers and shakers" in the exciting field of natural sciences...

This is an Orthodox site. You must include Theodosius Grygorovych Dobzhansky in any list of scientific notables. Cool

I stand corrected.  Embarrassed
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« Reply #881 on: June 09, 2009, 09:37:35 AM »

Darwin was a sick person , who encouraged eugenism.

Actually Charles R. Darwin was a very healthy person, although he did have something like a mild obsessive-compulsive disorder. Smiley

In his prime years, he was a devout Anglican and a deacon in his church. While traveling on HMS The Beagle, where he was the "Naturalist," he also volunteered to have "spiritual conversations" with the crew. He most certainly knew Scriptures very well, and in his life he was pious and humble. He always stressed that his evolutionary theory has absolutely nothing to do with the alleged removing of God or "robbing" God of His glory.

I think it is very sad when people, not having any grounds whatsoever, insult the memory of great workers like Darwin, of those who labored hard all of their short human life to enrich us with new insights on the way this God's world works. Darwin's name is most definitely in the same glorious file to which belong the names of Aristotle, Mohammed Musa ibn Khorasmi (the inventor of algebra), Roger Bacon, St. Duns Scotus (who was actually the first to outline the concept of separation between theology and natural science), Francis Bacon, Galileo Galilei, Sir Isaac Newton, Robert Boyle, Mikhail Lomonosov, Antoin-Laurent LaVoisier, John Dalton, Dmitriy Ivanovich Mendeleev, Nikolay Lobachevskiy, James Clark Maxwell, Nicola Tesla, Max Plank, Albert Einstein, and other "movers and shakers" in the exciting field of natural sciences...

I think that a problem here, Heorhij, is that sometimes people do not go to the primary source materials on Science, that is what the researchers themselves wrote or said.  They hear or read something derogatory about someone like Darwin (often in my opinion by someone who does not, in fact, understand what the scientist wrote) and accept that as the "truth". 


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« Reply #882 on: June 09, 2009, 09:39:08 AM »

Darwin was a sick person , who encouraged eugenism.

Dan, could you please explain how you mean that Charles Darwin was "sick" and what you have read of him, please?  Not everything written about a famous person is true.
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« Reply #883 on: June 09, 2009, 09:59:17 AM »


as for quotes against evolution ... St. Barsanuphius of Optina: "The English philosopher Darwin created an entire system according to which lief is a struggle for existence, a struggle of the strong against the weak, where those that are conquered are doomed to destruction . . . This is already the beginning of a bestial philosophy, and those who come to believe in it wouldn't think twice about killing a man, assaulting a woman, or robbing their closest friend -- and they would do all this calmly, with a full recognition of their right to commit these crimes." From Elder Barsanuphius of Optina, published by St. Herman's

That is not what "survival of the fittest" means.  It is not a matter of 'strong' beating down the 'weak', or of brutality.  It is the idea that a species that 'fits' that is can survive best in a particular situation. The classic case of the different beaks on the Galapagos Islands' finches is an example. Differently shaped beaks were the "fittest" for different food sources.  (Heorhij, please correct me if I have this wrong or am explaining it badly.) 

Quote
This article http://orthodoxnorth.net/evolution_new_fundamentalism_pt_1.htm tells us that St. Justin Popovich identified Darnwin's ideas with new age religion

I have looked at this page, but that quote is not 'evidence' from an EO saint.  What exactly did he write or say?  That would be the primary source for information on this idea.  How can a person consider whether St. Justin really understood what Darwin wrote without the real quote?

Quote
St. John of Kronstadt:  "The Holy Scriptures speak more truly and more clearly of the world than the world itself or the arrangement of the earthly strata; the scriptures of nature within it, being dead and voiceless, cannot express anything definite. "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?" Were you with God when He created the universe? "Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being His counseller, hath taught Him?" And yet you geologists boast that you have understood the mind of the Lord, in the arrangement of strata, and maintained it in spite of Holy Writ! You believe more in the dead letters of the earthly strata, in the soulless earth, than in the Divinely-inspired words of the great prophet Moses, who saw God." --- My Life in Christ

That's not what any geologists or paleontologists that I've ever read have said.  The study of rocks and fossils isn't to "understand the mind of God" but to find out what is there, to learn more and sometimes the reason is because it's really really neat to find out something new or to learn new information about the universe.  I do not mean any disrespect to St. John, but he doesn't not seem to understand how science is supposed to work.



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« Reply #884 on: June 09, 2009, 10:02:00 AM »

So I guess the central question is, does Orthodoxy require us to believe that humanity was once perfect?

No. The Fathers say that Adam and Eve were created with the potential to be perfect.
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« Reply #885 on: June 09, 2009, 10:55:01 AM »


as for quotes against evolution ... St. Barsanuphius of Optina: "The English philosopher Darwin created an entire system according to which lief is a struggle for existence, a struggle of the strong against the weak, where those that are conquered are doomed to destruction . . . This is already the beginning of a bestial philosophy, and those who come to believe in it wouldn't think twice about killing a man, assaulting a woman, or robbing their closest friend -- and they would do all this calmly, with a full recognition of their right to commit these crimes." From Elder Barsanuphius of Optina, published by St. Herman's

That is not what "survival of the fittest" means.  It is not a matter of 'strong' beating down the 'weak', or of brutality.  It is the idea that a species that 'fits' that is can survive best in a particular situation. The classic case of the different beaks on the Galapagos Islands' finches is an example. Differently shaped beaks were the "fittest" for different food sources.  (Heorhij, please correct me if I have this wrong or am explaining it badly.) 

No, you explained it very well... The principal idea of Darwin is that there exixts a variation in traits in any biological population. Carriers of certain variants of certain traits are always better fit to a particular environment (and in certain cases those who seem "weaker" in fact happen to fit better). Because of this better fit, these individuals have a better reproductive success (i.e. they simply live longer and have more progeny). So, within any population, there is always a trend for a growth of another population, slightly different from the original one. Given enough time and a certain kind of isolation (geographical, or other), the two populations - the original one and the new one - begin to breed only within themselves, and so a new species forms. That's pretty much all there is to Darwin's theory, and it is supported by a colossal, overwhelming evidence, especially by population genetics studies.
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« Reply #886 on: June 09, 2009, 11:00:32 AM »


as for quotes against evolution ... St. Barsanuphius of Optina: "The English philosopher Darwin created an entire system according to which lief is a struggle for existence, a struggle of the strong against the weak, where those that are conquered are doomed to destruction . . . This is already the beginning of a bestial philosophy, and those who come to believe in it wouldn't think twice about killing a man, assaulting a woman, or robbing their closest friend -- and they would do all this calmly, with a full recognition of their right to commit these crimes." From Elder Barsanuphius of Optina, published by St. Herman's

That is not what "survival of the fittest" means.  It is not a matter of 'strong' beating down the 'weak', or of brutality.  It is the idea that a species that 'fits' that is can survive best in a particular situation. The classic case of the different beaks on the Galapagos Islands' finches is an example. Differently shaped beaks were the "fittest" for different food sources.  (Heorhij, please correct me if I have this wrong or am explaining it badly.) 

No, you explained it very well... The principal idea of Darwin is that there exixts a variation in traits in any biological population. Carriers of certain variants of certain traits are always better fit to a particular environment (and in certain cases those who seem "weaker" in fact happen to fit better). Because of this better fit, these individuals have a better reproductive success (i.e. they simply live longer and have more progeny). So, within any population, there is always a trend for a growth of another population, slightly different from the original one. Given enough time and a certain kind of isolation (geographical, or other), the two populations - the original one and the new one - begin to breed only within themselves, and so a new species forms. That's pretty much all there is to Darwin's theory, and it is supported by a colossal, overwhelming evidence, especially by population genetics studies.


Actually, the theory of human evolution has severe problems with population genetics studies.
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« Reply #887 on: June 09, 2009, 11:11:57 AM »


as for quotes against evolution ... St. Barsanuphius of Optina: "The English philosopher Darwin created an entire system according to which lief is a struggle for existence, a struggle of the strong against the weak, where those that are conquered are doomed to destruction . . . This is already the beginning of a bestial philosophy, and those who come to believe in it wouldn't think twice about killing a man, assaulting a woman, or robbing their closest friend -- and they would do all this calmly, with a full recognition of their right to commit these crimes." From Elder Barsanuphius of Optina, published by St. Herman's

That is not what "survival of the fittest" means.  It is not a matter of 'strong' beating down the 'weak', or of brutality.  It is the idea that a species that 'fits' that is can survive best in a particular situation. The classic case of the different beaks on the Galapagos Islands' finches is an example. Differently shaped beaks were the "fittest" for different food sources.  (Heorhij, please correct me if I have this wrong or am explaining it badly.) 

Quote
This article http://orthodoxnorth.net/evolution_new_fundamentalism_pt_1.htm tells us that St. Justin Popovich identified Darnwin's ideas with new age religion

I have looked at this page, but that quote is not 'evidence' from an EO saint.  What exactly did he write or say?  That would be the primary source for information on this idea.  How can a person consider whether St. Justin really understood what Darwin wrote without the real quote?

Quote
St. John of Kronstadt:  "The Holy Scriptures speak more truly and more clearly of the world than the world itself or the arrangement of the earthly strata; the scriptures of nature within it, being dead and voiceless, cannot express anything definite. "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?" Were you with God when He created the universe? "Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being His counseller, hath taught Him?" And yet you geologists boast that you have understood the mind of the Lord, in the arrangement of strata, and maintained it in spite of Holy Writ! You believe more in the dead letters of the earthly strata, in the soulless earth, than in the Divinely-inspired words of the great prophet Moses, who saw God." --- My Life in Christ

That's not what any geologists or paleontologists that I've ever read have said.  The study of rocks and fossils isn't to "understand the mind of God" but to find out what is there, to learn more and sometimes the reason is because it's really really neat to find out something new or to learn new information about the universe.  I do not mean any disrespect to St. John, but he doesn't not seem to understand how science is supposed to work.
Scientists seem fond of the idea that there work is observation without an observer, not matter how much history shows such is not the case.  Hence the idea that theology must bend to their theories (an old problem: in the ancient times the problem was science's insistence on the eternity of the universe). St. John was spot on.
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« Reply #888 on: June 09, 2009, 11:23:25 AM »

Actually, the theory of human evolution has severe problems with population genetics studies.
When a population lives inside an air-conditioned house, eating food from all over the world and taking medicines that cure otherwise fatal illnesses, that population is no longer subject to the factors that govern the law of natural selection.
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« Reply #889 on: June 09, 2009, 11:29:08 AM »

Actually, the theory of human evolution has severe problems with population genetics studies.
When a population lives inside an air-conditioned house, eating food from all over the world and taking medicines that cure otherwise fatal illnesses, that population is no longer subject to the factors that govern the law of natural selection.

There's still some natural selection happening, though. Some people might find that air-conditioning does havoc on their sinuses; other people might find the easy access to high-calorie foods more detrimental to their health; and the over-use of antibiotics can lead to disease-resistant microbes.
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« Reply #890 on: June 09, 2009, 11:42:13 AM »

Actually, the theory of human evolution has severe problems with population genetics studies.

Which ones? Isn't the s-allele frequency growing?
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« Reply #891 on: June 09, 2009, 11:50:55 AM »

Darwin was a sick person , who encouraged eugenism.

Dan, could you please explain how you mean that Charles Darwin was "sick" and what you have read of him, please?  Not everything written about a famous person is true.


from unofficial sources I know he was a big supporter of eugenism , everyone who thinks in eugenism must be a little "sick". Not to mention his evolutionist theories , only heard of them by rumours , but regarding the fact and the name "evolution" i think it is sick. If he really taught that human being are evolved ape , than he is sick.If he trough his evolutional ideas , says that all the species evolved , from something , i think he has issues.We know how Moses teaches us trough genetics , God created all animals and all species , and the crown of the creation was human being. For whom God took counsellar before creating it , and He said : "Let us make man after Our own image" . Not from an ape.What I dislike this being related with Genetics the bible and Creation , the very name of this topic.This should be called more the scientist view on the diversity of life , or something like that. I can`t understand how christians can be darwinists . If darwin really said what i heard he said about evolution.And much more orthodox christians.
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Dan-Romania
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« Reply #892 on: June 09, 2009, 11:53:54 AM »

If he really taught birds evolved from reptiles , fish from other i dunno what , for example. Why do we let science tell us fish are birds or things like this ?
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« Reply #893 on: June 09, 2009, 12:15:23 PM »

If he really taught birds evolved from reptiles , fish from other i dunno what , for example. Why do we let science tell us fish are birds or things like this ?

Science does not tell you that fish are birds. Again, all science tells you is that life evolves. Several powerful natural sources such as mutation, natural selection, gene flow, genetic drift, and other, produce new forms of life. These things are real.
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Dan-Romania
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« Reply #894 on: June 09, 2009, 12:31:53 PM »

I think that Darwin does say that , then . Give me examples of the evolved , mutation species .
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« Reply #895 on: June 09, 2009, 12:42:30 PM »

I think that Darwin does say that , then . Give me examples of the evolved , mutation species .

Sorry, Dan, I would have to quit my job then. If you really want to find out how life evolves, study a biology textbook, attend lecturers, etc. It takes several months to explain this.
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« Reply #896 on: June 09, 2009, 12:44:05 PM »

all i wanted was an example , not the all teaching . name a specie of animal a name , is it that hard?
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« Reply #897 on: June 09, 2009, 01:14:16 PM »

all i wanted was an example , not the all teaching . name a specie of animal a name , is it that hard?

Canis canis

Canis lupus

Happy? Smiley
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« Reply #898 on: June 09, 2009, 01:15:36 PM »

all i wanted was an example , not the all teaching . name a specie of animal a name , is it that hard?
Dan, I'm confused.  You constantly rail against evolution yet you're not aware of a single example of what scientists believe evolution produced.  That seems odd to me.  How can you be so certain that evolution is false if you truly haven't even a cursory familiarity with the topic?
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« Reply #899 on: June 09, 2009, 01:18:39 PM »

yes , thank you . see i am a reasonable person . while i believe in the theory of the mixes between species giving birth to another specie to be true, i tottally reject the idea that reptiles are evolved fish or something like that.
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Tags: science Theory of Evolution evolution creationism cheval mort 
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