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Author Topic: God and Darwin - Washington Post Editorial  (Read 8370 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: January 26, 2005, 02:00:33 PM »

washingtonpost.com
God and Darwin

Monday, January 24, 2005; Page A14

WITH THEIR SLICK Web sites, pseudo-academic conferences and savvy public relations, the proponents of "intelligent design" -- a "theory" that challenges the validity of Darwinian evolution -- are far more sophisticated than the creationists of yore. Rather than attempt to prove that the world was created in six days, they operate simply by casting doubt on evolution, largely using the time-honored argument that intelligent life could not have come about by a random natural process and must have been the work of a single creator. They do no experiments and do not publish in recognized scientific journals. Nevertheless, this new generation of anti-evolutionists, arguing that children have a "right to question" scientific truths, has had widespread success in undermining evolutionary theory.

Perhaps partly as a result, a startling 55 percent of Americans -- and 67 percent of those who voted for President Bush -- do not, according to a recent CBS poll, believe in evolution at all. According to a recent Gallup poll, about a third of Americans believe that the Bible is literally true. Some of these believers have persuaded politicians, school boards and parents across the country to question their children's textbooks. In states as diverse as Wisconsin, South Carolina, Kansas, Montana, Arkansas and Mississippi, school boards are arguing over whether to include "intelligent design" in their curriculums. Last week, in Pennsylvania's Dover School District, an administrator read a statement to ninth-grade biology students saying that evolution is not fact. Over the objections of ninth-grade science teachers and of parents who have filed suit, he offered "intelligent design" as an alternative. Also last week, a Georgia county school board voted to appeal a judge's decision to remove stickers describing evolution as a "theory, not a fact" from school textbooks. In both cases, the anti-evolutionists have been very careful in their choice of language, eschewing mentions of God or the Bible. Nevertheless, their intent was clear. As the lawsuit filed by Dover parents states, "intelligent design is neither scientific nor a theory in the scientific sense; it is an inherently religious argument or assertion that falls outside the realm of science." Discussion of religion in a history or philosophy class is legitimate and appropriate.

To teach intelligent design as science in public schools is a clear violation of the principle of separation of church and state.

It also violates principles of common sense. In fact, the breadth and extent of the anti-evolutionary movement that has spread almost unnoticed across the country should force American politicians to think twice about how their public expressions of religious belief are beginning to affect education and science. The deeply religious nature of the United States should not be allowed to stand in the way of the thirst for knowledge or the pursuit of science. Once it does, it won't be long before the American scientific community -- which already has trouble finding enough young Americans to fill its graduate schools -- ceases to lead the world.
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« Reply #1 on: January 26, 2005, 02:18:21 PM »

Was this an editorial or an actual article?
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« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2005, 02:51:14 PM »

Was this an editorial or an actual article?

My mistake - it was an Editorial.
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« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2005, 03:28:33 PM »

I would prefer Charles Darwin's concept of intelligent design:

“With respect to the theological view of the question; this is always painful to me. I am bewildered. I had no intention to write atheistically. But I own that I cannot see, as plainly as others do, and as I should wish to do, evidence of design and beneficence on all sides of us. There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae [wasps] with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice. Not believing this, I see no necessity in the belief that the eye was expressly designed. On the other hand I cannot anyhow be contented to view this wonderful universe and especially the nature of man, and to conclude that everything is the result of brute force [or chance].
I am inclined to look at everything as resulting from designed laws, with the details, whether good or bad, left to the working out of what we may call chance. Not that this notion at all satisfies me . . . But the more I think the more bewildered I become . . .”


A designed law perfect enough to will evolution through blind chance would certainly require a designer.


Furthermore, Intelligent Design theorists are not anti-evolutionist, they merely adhere to theistic evolution and intend to prove the design in evolutionary history.

And we should not just assume that they are without relevent degrees, and articles in established science journals.

Just check out the Design Theorists featured in Natural History Magazine:
http://www.actionbioscience.org/evolution/nhmag.html

There is nothing wrong with real scientific evidence that shows the obvious limitations of a materialistic account of the universe.

And they do perform experiments rather often to show the element of design, especially involving the human genome.

Whoever wrote that article obviously has no grasp of the subject matter. Too bad.
I wonder what his preconceived bias is. Roll Eyes

However, given that the intention behind design theory may be purely religious, even if they have good science to back it up, it may be impossible to expect it to be taught in a public school classroom.

But then again, whose fault is that? I'd blame the ACLU.
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« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2005, 05:11:20 PM »

It's interesting, because it was recent news that Anthony Flew (a fairly well noted atheist) essentially admitted to something along the lines of intelligent design.   I remember reading that he felt that the scientific evidence, specifically in RNA/DNA encoding, pointed in that direction.

It's amazing the dogma that's been formed around strict, materialistic interpretations of evolutionary biology.  Just read Richard Dawkins if you want to read the rantings of a raving fundamentalist who would put Billy Sunday to shame.
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« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2005, 05:27:32 PM »

Summary:
Darwinian Evolution has obviously been provento be true by scientific evidence and expirementation and should be accepted as fact.  If you believe otherwise, then you have no common sense and are a brainwashed religious fanatic.  To try and teach anything to the contrary in schools would be damaging to children and the public educational system.

 Roll Eyes
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« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2005, 05:30:55 PM »

Here's the deal: Intelligent Design is basically a religious belief, even if it is based on new evidence. If this were taught in schools, the ACLU would throw a fit. But who really cares about those brown shirts anyway?

Furthermore, if Richard Dawkins is correct that the Blind Watchmaker guides all evolutionary history through blind chance, this Blind Watchmaker itself would require a designer.

What the real problem is that public schools should mention the limitations of evolution, but without attempts to refute the theory.
They should also show the compatability of evolutionary science and religious faith.
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« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2005, 06:17:40 PM »

I would like to know how Darwinian evolution theory of.. can be considered scientific?  This has always bothered me.  I see it as philosophy, not science.  So let's take evolution out of the science classroom and put it under humanities alongside Intelligent Design and Mormonism (I wonder who's going to get to rule Titan?)
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« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2005, 06:23:23 PM »

Evolution is a scientific theory, and it is based on observable evidence.

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« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2005, 06:32:07 PM »

Evolution is just as provable as intelligent design Grin In other words, both have no scientific backing whatsoever. It all comes down to what you want to put your faith in. Good luck to those driving around with Darwin fishes on the back of thier cars Grin
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« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2005, 06:35:02 PM »

I've learned enough of Anthropology to conclude that there is adequate evidence in the fossil record for human evolution, and it would be hard to look at an Australopithocene, Homo Erectus, etc. and deny that evolutionary history occured.


Please consider Evolution & Orthodoxy by Fr. John Matusiak:

"I might begin by stating that, if by evolution one is referring to the theories and teachings of Charles Darwin, the Orthodox Church surely does not subscribe to evolution in any manner. Orthodoxy firmly believes that God is the Creator of all things and that human beings, created in the image and likeness of God, are unique among all created beings. At the same time Orthodoxy is not literalist in its understanding of the accounts of creation in Genesis, and I have encountered writings by Orthodox Christians which attempt to balance the creation accounts with a certain ongoing -- evolutionary, if you will -- process which, on the one hand, affirms that while humans may have evolved physically under the direction and guidance and plan of the Creator, their souls could not have evolved any more than the powers of reasoning, speaking, or the ability to act creatively could have simply evolved. In such a scenario the Creator intervened by breathing His Spirit into man and giving him life, as stated in Genesis. Such thinking, however, while admitting the possibility that the Creator guided a process of physical evolution, is not identical with the theories of Charles Darwin, which in my limited understanding implies that man's soul also evolved and denies the active participation on the part of the Creator. This poses a variety of questions and problems beyond the scope of your original question.

In short, then, Orthodoxy absolutely affirms that God is the Creator and Author of all things, that He is actively engaged with His creation, and that He desires to restore His creation to full communion with Himself through the saving death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This, unlike Darwinism, is not a matter of ideology but, rather, a matter of theology.

Orthodoxy has no problem with evolution as a scientific theory, only with evolution -- as some people may view it -- eliminating the need for God as Creator of All."
http://www.oca.org/pages/orth_chri/Q-and-A_OLD/Evolution-and-Orthodoxy.html

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« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2005, 11:58:12 PM »

Micro evolution, or shcanege on a small basis (cellular level), has been proven. But there is a huge gap in the fossil record tht has baffled scientists, and with that gap, they cannotconclude or prove macro evolution, wherein the entire species changed over time. A theory has been going around that says that this was the time of the Great Flood. What do yall think?

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« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2005, 12:45:10 AM »

Micro evolution, or shcanege on a small basis (cellular level), has been proven. 

Most definitely.
But there is a huge gap in the fossil record tht has baffled scientists, and with that gap, they cannotconclude or prove macro evolution, wherein the entire species changed over time.

Two words: Punctuated Equilibrium
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punctuated_Equilibrium


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« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2005, 08:59:43 AM »

I think that was a rather inflammatory editorial ( isnt that the nature of editorials?)  but I'm also a firm believer of separation of church and state, so I will make sure my kids get to church school and they can learn the scienc part at regular school. You may not understand it but i have no problem reconciling religion with science...so i suppose i'd be a what ya call it...design theorist?  I'll definetly be checking out those links everyone has posted so far.  I do love a bit of research!  laugh
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« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2005, 09:17:46 AM »

A good read for an Orthodox perspective on the topic is Fr. Seraphim Rose's Genesis, Creation and Early Man
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« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2005, 01:23:25 PM »

Metaphysics does not belong in the science classroom.
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« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2005, 03:35:04 PM »

Metaphysics does not belong in the science classroom.

That's right. Ergo, the grand metaphysical claims of neo-Darwinism does not belong in a science classroom.
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« Reply #17 on: January 27, 2005, 04:19:16 PM »

Neo-Darwinism is supported by scientific evidence, and it is within the realm of scientific inquiry.

Metaphysics: A priori speculation upon questions that are unanswerable to scientific observation, analysis, or experiment.

Intelligent Design would fall under metaphysics, not pure science.

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« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2005, 06:29:25 PM »

Neo-Darwinism is supported by scientific evidence, and it is within the realm of scientific inquiry.

Actually, only the limited observable changes that occur within (or among) preexisting organisms falls strictly within the realm of scientific inquiry. Neo-Darwinism, which pretends to account for how such complex organisms themselves arose by undirected material causes from inorganic matter (without actual empirical proof), is basically the "creation myth" for metaphysical naturalists. The problem is that the limited observable changes, which are empirically verifiable, and the grand naturalistic macro-evolutionary claims, which are not, are both subsumed under the amorphous concept of evolution. However, to correctly point out this discrepancy is apparently grounds for being censored as an "anti-science creationist."

Quote
Metaphysics: A priori speculation upon questions that are unanswerable to scientific observation, analysis, or experiment.

Such as the alleged, hypothetical, but unseen, intermediates that are no where to be found in the fossil record, yet that have to nonetheless exist since Darwinism is a "fact"? Or the "just-so" stories which purport to account for the formation of irreducibly complex structures without actually explaining anything? Or that the idea that information (and indeed mind itself) arose from causes reducible to the material universe? These are all metaphysical claims often taught under the guise of "science" by neo-Darwinists. Darwin himself was driven by the metaphysical idea that no designer was necessary for life in all of its complexity. Neo-darwinists are simply following in his metaphysical footsteps, empirical evidence be damned.
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Intelligent Design would fall under metaphysics, not pure science.
Intelligent Design theorists propose rigorous criteria by which design can be detected and distinguished from chance and "necessity". You may want to check out The Design Inference by William Dembski. You also may want to read Mike Behe's Darwin's Black Box and Philip Johson's Darwin of Trial.

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« Reply #19 on: January 27, 2005, 06:34:42 PM »

I have studied Intelligent Design theory. One would not teach ID without mentioning a hypothetical Designer, but speaking of God would not be the role of science.

It would be rash to assume that a believer in the Christian religion cannot also hold to evolution as a scientfic theory. You should consult what the Orthodox position is on this.

Furthermore, the gaps in the fossil record are explained by punctuated equlibrea. Even with the gaps, there is still an obvious succession in the fossil record from the simplest life to the most complex.
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« Reply #20 on: January 27, 2005, 06:38:39 PM »

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Furthermore, the gaps in the fossil record are explained by punctuated equlibrea. Even with the gaps, there is still an obvious succession in the fossil record from the simplest life to the most complex.

Yep, it leads all the way back to single celled organisms right??
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« Reply #21 on: January 27, 2005, 06:42:55 PM »

It leads back to small, simple pre-Cambrian organisms.

Anti-evolutionists shouldn't use the gaps in the fossil record as evidence against the theory without also refuting puncuated equilibrea.
If you do not know what punctuationism is, then you do not have the right to object to the teaching of evolution in the first place.

We are Orthodox Christians, not young earth creationist fundamentalists.


Please consider Evolution & Orthodoxy by Fr. John Matusiak:

"I might begin by stating that, if by evolution one is referring to the theories and teachings of Charles Darwin, the Orthodox Church surely does not subscribe to evolution in any manner. Orthodoxy firmly believes that God is the Creator of all things and that human beings, created in the image and likeness of God, are unique among all created beings. At the same time Orthodoxy is not literalist in its understanding of the accounts of creation in Genesis, and I have encountered writings by Orthodox Christians which attempt to balance the creation accounts with a certain ongoing -- evolutionary, if you will -- process which, on the one hand, affirms that while humans may have evolved physically under the direction and guidance and plan of the Creator, their souls could not have evolved any more than the powers of reasoning, speaking, or the ability to act creatively could have simply evolved. In such a scenario the Creator intervened by breathing His Spirit into man and giving him life, as stated in Genesis. Such thinking, however, while admitting the possibility that the Creator guided a process of physical evolution, is not identical with the theories of Charles Darwin, which in my limited understanding implies that man's soul also evolved and denies the active participation on the part of the Creator. This poses a variety of questions and problems beyond the scope of your original question.

In short, then, Orthodoxy absolutely affirms that God is the Creator and Author of all things, that He is actively engaged with His creation, and that He desires to restore His creation to full communion with Himself through the saving death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ. This, unlike Darwinism, is not a matter of ideology but, rather, a matter of theology.

Orthodoxy has no problem with evolution as a scientific theory, only with evolution -- as some people may view it -- eliminating the need for God as Creator of All."
http://www.oca.org/pages/orth_chri/Q-and-A_OLD/Evolution-and-Orthodoxy.html


Furthermore, Darwin did believe that natural selection is a designed law:

“With respect to the theological view of the question; this is always painful to me. I am bewildered. I had no intention to write atheistically. But I own that I cannot see, as plainly as others do, and as I should wish to do, evidence of design and beneficence on all sides of us. There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae [wasps] with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice. Not believing this, I see no necessity in the belief that the eye was expressly designed. On the other hand I cannot anyhow be contented to view this wonderful universe and especially the nature of man, and to conclude that everything is the result of brute force [or chance].
I am inclined to look at everything as resulting from designed laws, with the details, whether good or bad, left to the working out of what we may call chance. Not that this notion at all satisfies me . . . But the more I think the more bewildered I become . . .”
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« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2005, 06:52:52 PM »

Quote
We are Orthodox Christians, not young earth creationist fundamentalists.

I think the majority of the church fathers would disagree with your evolutionary viewpoints. You are just using canned beleifs from your college profesors that already teach it as if it is all factual. What alot of people don't understand is that colleges today teach a very selective variety of the facts and only pick and choose what fits with thier worldview, which happens to be very secular. There's alot more good information available that you won't find in your textbooks that is out there. I'm also not a young earth creationist. I beleive the earth is very old, but on the other hand I don't beleive we came from apes and small organisms either.
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« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2005, 07:09:20 PM »

Normal Joe: Why can't we see macro evolution at work today?
Evolutionist: Things evolve too slowly.
Normal Joe: Well then there should be a ton of evidence for this gradual process, if we are talking about so lengthy a time?
Evolutionist: Things evolve too quickly.
Normal Joe: Wait, can you show evidence of evolution in the fossil record or not?
Evolutionist: Yes. The fossil record is enormous and shows an amazing amount to those who know how to look at it properly.
Normal Joe: Well, go ahead and show me.
Evolutionist: Ok, but you have to understand that we don't have any "missing links".
Normal Joe: In other words you have holes, and all you really have are regular animals with no real conclusive evidence of things right in the middle of going from, let's say, a bird to a dinosaur?
Evolutionist: The fossil record is not complete.
Normal Joe: Well show me one example of macro-evolution as far as how we eventually got to human beings.
Evolutionist: The fossil record is very incomplete.
Normal Joe: In other words every time you find "proof," you later find out it was a hoax, or a really embarrassing mistake?
Evolutionist: What is embarrassing is the pseudo-science of creationists!
Normal Joe: Do you mean talking about concepts like irreducible complexity? Perhaps if you could explain... [cut short]
Evolutionist: You know they are all religious zealots, right?
Normal Joe: Look, I'm willing to admit that some of the arguments are a little short on evidence, but you have not yet... [cut short]
Evolutionist: They're idiots!
Normal Joe: Are you listening to me?
Evolutionist: Evolution is true! I don't care if Darwin was a racist, or that he did admit that he didn't understand how things like the eye evolved. I refuse to believe in God.
Normal Joe: What's wrong with God?
Evolutionist: He's a farce. Evolution is fact. We have evidence.
Normal Joe: What evidence?
Evolutionist: Let me tell you about this theory an anthropologist at Berkley recently put forward...

 Roll Eyes
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« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2005, 07:10:39 PM »

Dear Mr. Doubting Thomas Poster,

Thank you for posting that. Now I don't have to post anything. And yet, I'm posting. So why am I posting? No reason. Perhaps just to emphasize to Mr. Matthew the first paragraph of Mr. Doubting Thomas' post is the point. It's like String Theory, it's a very lovely philosophy, but completely unprovable (at least at present - and before I get creamed by all you somewhat physicists, the proponents of String Theory admit this weakness but still call it science).

I think the question is, "What is science?" It's an amazingly abused term. If you want to prove anything just call it science and get it printed in a "scientific" journal. It could be stupid and wrong (which has happened more frequently in respected "scientific" journals than some would care to admit), but people will follow right along. Just go back twenty years and read JAMA.

Schools have no business teaching unprovable theories that look and smell like religion, even metaphysical. If it walks like a duck . . . If they want to teach this, then they have to be intellectually honest about the FACT that they CANNOT prove a single word they are saying about the origin of man. It's not science, IMHO, it's metaphysical conjecture. Yes, it's metaphysical.

I'm not saying the Earth is two-years old. I couldn't give a tinker's dang how old the flippin planet is.


Nektarios With the Greek Letters In Your Name,

I've heard that's a marvelous book. I should get it.
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« Reply #25 on: January 27, 2005, 08:35:40 PM »

The Orthodox Church is neither opposed to science nor the scientific theory of evolution.
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« Reply #26 on: January 27, 2005, 10:25:22 PM »

I have studied Intelligent Design theory. One would not teach ID without mentioning a hypothetical Designer, but speaking of God would not be the role of science.
Apparently you haven't studied it too carefully. ID theorists employ criteria by which they detect intelligent agency as opposed to random events etc. In the same way, forensic scientists, archaeologists, and cryptographers have methods of distinguishing intelligent causes from undirected natural causes. In other words, ID theorists study the effects of design and can infer design based on rigorous detection criteria. The point is to detect intelligent agency and not necessarily to identify the intelligent agent(s).


Quote
It would be rash to assume that a believer in the Christian religion cannot also hold to evolution as a scientfic theory. You should consult what the Orthodox position is on this.
I think it's pretty rash to assume that you know what the Orthodox position is. Most of the Church fathers and many modern day Orthodox writers (such as Fr. Seraphim Rose) would disagree with what you consider to be the Orthodox position.

Quote
Furthermore, the gaps in the fossil record are explained by punctuated equlibrea.
Actually, puntculated equilibria while attempting explain the deficienies the fossil record creates more problems than it purportedly solves.
Quote
Even with the gaps, there is still an obvious succession in the fossil record from the simplest life to the most complex.
"Obvious succession" doesn't necessarily equal common decent, let alone neo-Darwinism. Of course if one is a neo-Darwinist and committed a priori to philosophical naturalism, this succession from simplest life to the most complex seems to be "obvious" proof for his theory. OTOH, starting with different assumptions one can also view the heirarchical arrangement of living organisms (from simple to complex) and argue for a common designer.
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« Reply #27 on: January 27, 2005, 10:27:43 PM »

Paradosis,

Great post! It's funny because it's true....Cheesy

Cizinec,

Thanks for the props. I agree with your post as well. Smiley
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« Reply #28 on: January 27, 2005, 10:33:30 PM »

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Paradosis,

Great post!  It's funny because it's true....

Cizinec,

Thanks for the props.  I agree with your post as well. 

Hehe, I enjoyed it too!!! Cheesy
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« Reply #29 on: January 27, 2005, 11:00:50 PM »

Cizinec, you wrote: "Schools have no business teaching unprovable theories that look and smell like religion, even metaphysical. If it walks like a duck . . . If they want to teach this, then they have to be intellectually honest about the FACT that they CANNOT prove a single word they are saying about the origin of man. It's not science, IMHO, it's metaphysical conjecture. Yes, it's metaphysical."

Your complaint about religion in public schools makes me wonder if the Orthodox have any schools like the ones set up by Catholics. I can't help thinking education without God is seriously lacking.

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning [sum or top ] of wisdom ..." ( Proverbs 1: 7 ).

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning [ summit ] of wisdom, and the counsel of saints is understanding: for to know the law is the character of a sound mind" ( Proverbs 9: 10 ).

As for being intellectually honest about what can or can't be proved, do you think teachers ought to admit being unable to prove the big bang and other things that are taught as if they were known or even provable?

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« Reply #30 on: January 28, 2005, 12:34:37 PM »

Matthew why do you assume to speak for the Orthodox church? Apparently your problem with Rome's infallibility is that is got in the way of your personal infallibility.

For a secular perspective on the issue the book Darwin on Trial is a good start. For an Orthodox perspective with much supporting patristic evidence Father Seraphim Rose's book that I already mentioned is very good reading. And yes I am well aware of what punctiated equilibrium is and find it very puerile that assume those who disagree with do not.
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« Reply #31 on: January 28, 2005, 03:51:05 PM »

Matthew why do you assume to speak for the Orthodox church?

I am not. I am only saying what I have learned from the Orthodox Church; through books, Orthodox websites, and the words of the clergy.
www.oca.org/pages/orth_chri/Q-and-A_OLD/Evolution-and-Orthodoxy.html
http://www.indianchristianity.org/world.html
Orthodoxy and Creationism
Fr. Deacon Andrey Kuraev
http://www.sullivan-county.com/id4/ort_creation.htm

For a secular perspective on the issue the book Darwin on Trial is a good start.

Pointing out the flaws in Darwinist gradualism does not invalidate the entire theory of evolution itself.

And yes I am well aware of what punctiated equilibrium is and find it very puerile that assume those who disagree with do not.

One cannot use the gaps in the fossil record as evidence against evolution without also attempting to refute punctuated eqilibrea. To do so would display either dishonesty or ignorance.

What do you think that the Australopithecus, Homo herectus, Neanderthal and the other past species of evolutionary history are?
DNA testing has proven that Neanderthals were not AMH but were an evolutionary dead-end.



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« Reply #32 on: January 28, 2005, 04:13:25 PM »

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I am not. I am only saying what I have learned from the Orthodox Church, through books, Orthodox websites, and the words of the clergy.

None of which entitles you to speak and say "The Orthodox Church teaches..."  How can you reconcile that with the fact that the fathers that wrote at great length regarding Genesis such as Saints Ambrose of Milan, Basil the Great, Augustine of Hippo, Ephraim the Syrian et al.  understood it to be literal.

You could say "A minority of modernist Orthodox teach..." but not "the Orthodox Church teaches..."  There is more to Orthodoxy than pullling a quote off the OCA's webpage.

Quote
Pointing out the flaws in Darwinist gradualism does not invalidate the entire theory of evolution itself.

The book that I mentioned goes much further than talking about gradualism, but I do find it interesting that you are so entrenched in your faith in evolution that you can critique a book you have never read!

Quote
One cannot use the gaps in the fossil record as evidence against evolution without also attempting to refute punctuated eqilibrea. To do so would display either dishonesty or ignorance.

Gould's idea of punctiated equilibrium is still controversial even among evolutionists.  Here is the qorld view of Stephen Jay Gould, "Humans are not the end result of predictable evolutionary progress, but rather a fortuitous cosmic afterthought, a tiny little twig on the enormously arborescent bush of life, which if replanted from seed, would almost surely not grow this twig again."   Is that the patristic view of creation?

Furthermore there is no empirical EVIDENCE for PE.  So if I had to choose between two theories with no empirical evidence able to "prove" either one, I'll stick with Genesis. 

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« Reply #33 on: January 28, 2005, 04:48:19 PM »

So if I had to choose between two theories with no empirical evidence able to "prove" either one, I'll stick with Genesis.

Do you believe that the earth was created in six literal days, less than 20,000 years ago?
Genesis itelf is not meant to be interpreted as a literal account of the Creation; Genesis 1 and 2 even contradict each other.

"Orthodoxy and Science
Orthodoxy has neither a textual nor a doctrinal basis to reject evolutionism. Neither does it make sense for Orthodox Christians to indulge the current fashion of irrationality (since any irrationality, in the end, will favor occultism and will work against the Church). Before beginning, it should be said that it is more a novelty than a tradition among the Orthodox to disclaim evolution.

First of all, according to the views of the theologians of the very traditionalist Russian Church Abroad, "the Days of creation should be understood not literally ("For a thousand years in Thine eyes, O Lord, are but as yesterday that is past, and as a watch in the night.") but as periods!"

Secondly, the idea of evolution, given its separation from its atheist interpretation, is discussed quite positively in works by Orthodox authors. Prof. Ivan M. Andreev, having rejected the idea that man evolved from monkey, says: "In everything else, Darwinism does not contradict the biblical teaching on the creation of living things because evolution does not address the question of who created the first animals."

Professor of the St. Petersburg Theological Academy, Archbishop Michael (Mudyugin) writes: "The process of evolution of the organic world belongs to the category of phenomena in whose description in the Bible and in the pages of any biology textbook it is easy to see an amazing degree of similarity. The biblical terminology itself fits into the same surprising coincidence — it is said: "Let the water bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life." "Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle and creeping things, and beast of the earth after his kind." Here the verb "bring forth" points to the link between distinct phases in formation of the animal world, moreover, to the connection between nonliving and living matter."

Professor Alexey I. Osipov, of the Moscow Theological Academy supposes: "For theology, both the creationist and evolutionary hypotheses are permissible, in principle. That is with the condition that in both cases the Lawgiver and the Creator of the world is God. All existing species He could create either by "days," at once and in final form, or gradually, in the course of "days" to "bring them forth" from water and earth, from lower forms to the highest by way of laws that He built into nature."

Professor of St. Vladimir’s Theological Seminary in New York, Fr. Vasili Zenkovsky also emphasized the biblical "creative potential" of the earth: "It is clearly stated in the text of the Bible that the Lord gives an order to the earth to act with its own strength . . . This inherent creative activity of nature, "elan vital" (in the expression of Bergson) — the aspiration to life, helps to understand an indisputable fact of evolution of life on earth."

One of the leading authors of the Journal of the Moscow Patriarchate in the 1960's and 70's, Archpriest Nicholas Ivanov was in agreement with the idea of evolutionary development: "The act of the creation of the world and its shaping are manifestations of God’s omnipotence, His will; yet, for Nature, the realization of His will is a long and gradual process, an act of maturation that takes place in time. Numerous transient forms can appear during the process of development, sometimes merely serving as steps in emergence of the more advanced forms, that are linked to eternity."

Professor N. N. Fioletov, who took part in the Local Council of 1917-1918, thought that "in itself the idea of evolution appears not to be alien to the Christian conscience, or in contradiction with it."

In 1917, hieromartyr archpriest Michael Cheltsov, touching on the question of the relationship between Christianity and science, wrote: "Deeper and more-thoughtful and spiritual explanation and understanding of many places of the Bible have contributed not a little towards the overcoming of animosity between science and religion. It sufficed to read the biblical account of the creation of the world to realize that the Bible gives no support to understanding of the days of creation as 24-hour intervals, and the wall between biblical accounts and scientific data on the indefinitely long period of Earth’s existence prior to the appearnce of mankind collapsed."

Before that, it was V. S. Solovyev, who showed the way of direct Christian interpretation of the idea of evolution: "If I were facing the task of pointing out parallelisms between modern science and the Mosaic world view, I’d say that his [Moses’s] vision of the origins of life is similar to the theory of directed evolution."

Vladimir Solovyev clearly expressed the philosophical basis of this theory, developed in biology by L. Berg and Teilhard de Chardin: "The fact that the highest forms and types of creation appear or are revealed after the lowest does not mean that they are the product or creation of the simplest forms. The level of being is not the same as the order of appearance. Higher, more positive, and complete images of being metaphysically existed prior to the lower ones, even when they appear or are revealed after these. This does not deny evolution: evolution can not be denied; it is a fact. But to claim that evolution is able to fully create higher forms from lower, and, in the end, from nothing — means putting logical nonsense under the cover of this fact. Evolution of the lower levels of being can not, by itself, produce the higher ones, yet it produces the material conditions or provides the proper environment for the coming or the revelation of the higher type. Thus, each appearance of the higher level of being is, in a way, a new creation: the type of creation, of which the least of all can be called "creation from nothing." First of all, the old type is forming as the material basis for the new one, and, second, the proper positive content of the new type does not appear fresh from non-being but merely steps into the new sphere of existence, (in due time) into the world of things. Conditions are the result of the evolution of nature, while that which is revealed comes from God."

Later on, evolutionary theory was not considered "anti-biblical" or "atheistic" by the philosopher I. N. Ilyin, (The Six Days of Creation. Paris), by the Serb theologians Fr. Stephan Lyashevsky and Prof. Lazar Milin, by the famous Romanian priest and theologian Dumitru Staniloae, and by Bishop Vasily (Rodzianko)."
http://www.sullivan-county.com/id4/ort_creation.htm
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« Reply #34 on: January 28, 2005, 06:16:25 PM »

Whatever you think is best, but consider that the modern day Othodox Fathers such as Saint Nektarios of Aegina, Elder Joseph the Hesychast and Fr. Seraphim Rose all rejected evolution.  I'll stick with them.
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« Reply #35 on: January 28, 2005, 07:04:24 PM »

Blessed Justin Popovich also spoke against evolution.  What's more he pointed out that evolution is not merely scientific but is to be found in all areas of thinking. I can't remember the name of the paper presented at a ROCOR conference in 1990s in Oregon, in which a priest (biologist) talked about evolution as a new fundamentalism, invading all our thinking.  Biggest  proponent in US was John Dewey in education.  Evolutionism has infected philosophy, politics (world government), literature and some Orthodox  academics.  The latter don't believe in the Virgin Birth and I suspect in miracles that don't fit the modern mindset.  But that could be the start of another thread..
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« Reply #36 on: January 28, 2005, 07:38:19 PM »

The reason why I provided you the Malankara Church's site of history is that it agrees with science's story of the development of early man.
Our Church teaches that Genesis may or may not be a literal account of the Creation, but what matters is the theological message and the fact that God created us. This is the position of many priests and teachers in all the Orthodox Churches.
We are allowed to hold to the theory of evolution, just as long as it does not rule out the creative activity of God and His active relationship with us.

I believe that the idea of evolution does apply to the Church, but not in the way the modernists assume.
Through spreading the Gospel, humans become illumined to the truth of God and become aware of their moral purpose as human beings.
Through the spreading of the Gospel, with more and more people accepting His call, humanity evolves in its relationship with God, so that He will be All in All.
Through sanctification and the performing of good works, the Church itself evolves in its deification and its dedication to God and humanity.

The Church is not an enemy to science.
As Teilhard de Chardin wrote in the Phenomenom of Man:
"Is evolution a theory, a system or a hypothesis? It is much more: it is a general condition to which all theories, all hypotheses, all systems must bow and which they must satisfy henceforward if they are to be thinkable and true. Evolution is a light illuminating all facts, a curve that all lines must follow."
We should be able to hold our faith and science as not only compatable but as complimentery.
One involves the revelation of God in His Word, the other studies the Work of His Creation.
The Gospel does not contradict science and neither do the revelations of science contradict the Gospel.
The truth cannot contradict the truth.

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« Reply #37 on: January 28, 2005, 07:46:46 PM »

The reason why I provided you the Malankara Church's site of history is that it agrees with science's story of the development of early man.

Again, that is not an official website of our Church.  As far as I can tell, it is one priest's website, and it doesn't even claim to represent our Church.   
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« Reply #38 on: January 28, 2005, 07:52:31 PM »

Either way, it agrees with what the clergy teaches at my church.
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« Reply #39 on: January 28, 2005, 08:25:27 PM »

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Is there anything in the Bible that gives reference to dinosaurs, because they have been proven to have existed? Isn't this troubling as we don't believe in the theory of evolution?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The second half of your question presumes that the answer to the first part is "No," while, in fact, the answer to the first half is "Yes!" Read Genesis 1:20-25 and you'll learn of God's creation of every sort of creature, whether of land or sea or air (and that, by definition, includes dinosaurs). That there may be physical indications that they existed before man came on the scene can be harmonized with the Genesis account which teaches us that Man (male and female) was the last of God's creation.

Concerning the concept of "time" in Genesis 1 and whether the Six Days of Creation must be understood as six periods of 24 hours each as we compute time: St Augustine of Hippo (+430) wrote in his famous work The City of God, "What kind of days these were (i.e., what the duration of a "day" was) is extremely difficult or perhaps impossible for us to conceive, and how much more for us to say!" (Book 11, chapter 76). In other words, since the rising and setting of the sun is used to compute time, and since the sun itself was not created until the third day of Creation, we cannot conceive what was the actual duration of each of those six days of Creation. After all, as we are reminded by the dogmatician Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky (+1989), "Time itself received its beginning at the creation of the world: until then there was only eternity."

Reread the entire first chapter of Genesis while keeping in mind the above quote from St. Augustine of Hippo and you will easily understand that there is nothing there about which you need be troubled.
www.antiochian.org/pword/1308

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« Reply #40 on: January 28, 2005, 08:48:41 PM »

Either way, it agrees with what the clergy teaches at my church.

But that doesn't prove anything. 
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« Reply #41 on: January 28, 2005, 08:55:54 PM »

The reason why I provided you the Malankara Church's site of history is that it agrees with science's story of the development of early man.
Rather, with neo-Darwinists' story of the development of early man.  (I emphasize "story"--fairy tale is more like it)

Quote
The Church is not an enemy to science.
True. But the Church does oppose metaphysical naturalism that poses as "science".

Quote
As Teilhard de Chardin wrote in the Phenomenom of Man:
"Is evolution a theory, a system or a hypothesis? It is much more: it is a general condition to which all theories, all hypotheses, all systems must bow and which they must satisfy henceforward if they are to be thinkable and true. Evolution is a light illuminating all facts, a curve that all lines must follow."
As if Teilhard de Chardin is the kind of fellow you want to quote as a source of orthodox thinking. Roll Eyes
 
Quote
We should be able to hold our faith and science as not only compatable but as complimentery.
One involves the revelation of God in His Word, the other studies the Work of His Creation.
The Gospel does not contradict science and neither do the revelations of science contradict the Gospel.
The truth cannot contradict the truth.
I would agree with this, except it doesn't apply to neo-Darwinism since that ideology is manifestly not the truth and is for the most part not empirical science.
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« Reply #42 on: January 28, 2005, 09:07:41 PM »

The Orthodox Christian sites I have provided show that the Creation account of Genesis is not meant to be treated literally, and thus leaves room for an Orthodox Christian to hold to the theory of evolution, as long as this does not rule out the creative action of God.

I have known for a long time that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 contradict each other, and this shows that it is not meant to be taken as a literal account. Furthermore, if Genesis provides a literal account of the Creation, where does Cane's wife come from?

I believe, just as many Orthodox Christians believe, that Adam and Eve were the first fully evolved homo sapians to have God breathe the soul into them.

You can look at the fact that DNA testing has proven Neanderthal to be an evolutionary dead-end, and not AMH.
You can look at the Astralopithocines and wonder what they were.
You can look at the Homo erectus and wonder why they are so much like us and yet so different.

There are definite gaps in the fossil record but that is because evolutionary change occurs rather quickly in geological time. If an evolutionary change occurs within a few thousand years, a "jump" will appear in the record.
Furthermore, the science of archeology is young enough that it is not surprising that all the available intermediate fossils have yet to be found.

There are enough fossils to prove evolutionary history, even with the gaps.

What think you of the fossils of prehistoric man?
What do you make of that?
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« Reply #43 on: January 28, 2005, 09:26:26 PM »

I found it in my archives. Here's an extract from the lecture.


The theory of evolution has become a part of our everyday thinking and behaviour. In most people’s minds, the word evolution is synonymous with progress and presupposes growth towards a better future. This progress is measured in terms of social, political, and religious growth or achievement and has become part of our everyday vocabulary - an integral part of how we act and think.
 
   All aspects of life are now modeled on evolution. For example, there is scientific evolution, a nihilistic philosophy which sees man as a piece of driftwood thrown up by time onto the shores of existence. There is social and political evolution that measures progress and human development in terms of the intellect and the amazing achievements of technology. And finally, there is religious evolution: religion that is evolving towards the “Omega Point” envisioned by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (d. 1955) or towards the “Age of the Spirit” anticipated in the works of Nikolay Beryayev (d. 1948). Currently there is ecumenism, with its roots in the Masonic movement, which promotes evolution towards universal brotherhood under a supreme deity.
 
   For many people, evolution is also synonymous with Charles Darwin and his theory of biological evolution. In fact for over a century Darwin’s theory has been a basic element of scientific and cultural thought. Life, according to his theory of evolution, is ever moving from a preexistent form to a more complex - and therefore better - form. Although the factual evidence to support this view is virtually nonexistent, scientists nevertheless accept evolution as a priori in scientific research.
 
   Oddly enough, Darwin was not the actual inventor of the theory of evolution; evolutionary ideas and interpretations were being discussed in the second half of the eighteenth and the first half of the nineteenth centuries by such scientists as Denis Diderot (1784), Benjamin Franklin (1790) and Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1829). I believe also that evolutionary ideas have been developing for much longer than we normally imagine and have, therefore, greatly influenced the development of western civilization.
 
   Blessed Justin (Popovich) of Serbia (1979), in his book Orthodox Faith and Life in Christ, identifies Darwin’s views with New Age Religion. To understand this, let us examine the historical perspective that preceded the emergence of Darwinism and in particular, the writings of the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer (1860) and the influence his philosophy exerted on other evolutionary thinkers...."

What concerns me is that the influence of evolutionary thinking in our lives is subtly hidden and thus taken for granted. It has gradually taken root in our collective subconscious. Thus, in schools it a “given” that man evolved from apes. Lax chronological interpretations and the assumption that things are improving all the time are handily used to gloss over the painfully evident deficiencies of the theory of evolution. For those who have accepted evolution - deficiencies or not-, God has become redundant. But it is precisely through the correct understanding of man that we come to know God. St. Gregory of Nyssa (395) confirms this when he says: “For it seems to me, the make-up of man is awesome and inexplicable, portraying many hidden mysteries of God in itself”.

   What are the implications of evolutionism for Orthodox Christians? Evolution has given rise to the dominance of the brain - the intellect. Paradoxically, one can be highly intelligent, yet stupid at the same time. But the evolutionists, man’s intelligence puts him at the pinnacle of creation. It is his brain that is important and not his heart, since the latter is only a pump! Technology is founded upon intelligence, not the heart. But as Orthodox Christians, we know that without the heart, there is no morality. When Antichrist comes, he will find a planet of spiritual morons, a highly intelligent species which is nonetheless spiritually ignorant. Intelligence, according to St. Anthony of Egypt (356) is the fear of God, not sophistry, clever argumentation, or learning (i.e. technology) per se.

   You may counter: “Did not God use evolution in His creation? I am willing, as a rational being and an Orthodox Christian, to accept theistic evolution, but not the ‘Big Bang’ theory of the atheists”. But in saying this, you are rejecting the miraculous creation of the universe. You are implying that suffering, sin and death are somehow intrinsic to God’s creation, thereby refuting the Christian doctrine that man originally fell and continually falls through the spiritually destructive exercise of his own will. Again, you may say that you do not support the theory of evolution, that in fact, you do not believe in it. If this is true, then why do you subscribe to liberal thinking in education, child-rearing and health? Why do you have a passion for comfort- to reach out for the pill of pleasure? If you fail to lead an ascetic life, you are not an Orthodox Christian, but a hedonist, a crypto-evolutionist! Evolution is setting us up for a takeover by demonic forces which will be able to exploit our spiritual ignorance. And do not think that a knowledge of the Fathers, of theology, will help us. If we succumb to the Zeitgeist, the spirit of the age, psychologically and intellectually, we will not be able to resist these forces."

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« Reply #44 on: January 28, 2005, 09:37:23 PM »

In fact, the Big Bang proves that the universe has a beginning and thus needs an uncaused First Cause for its existence.
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