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Author Topic: God and Darwin - Washington Post Editorial  (Read 8297 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 They do no experiments and do not publish in recognized scientific journals.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 »

Quote
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.
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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.

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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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« Reply #45 on: January 29, 2005, 12:39:32 AM »

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?
That's funny, because I've know for a long time that Genesis 1 and 2 complement each other rather than contradict each other. As far as Cain's wife is concerned, assuming the general literalness of Genesis, that his parents Adam and Eve were created perfect without genetic defect, Cain probably married a sister. (Genesis 5 is clear that Cain, Able, and Seth weren't Adam and Eve's only children. Also Eve was called the "mother of all living".

Quote
You can look at the fact that DNA testing has proven Neanderthal to be an evolutionary dead-end, and not AMH.
I guess that depends on what you mean by that and who you read. It's still controversial. Many consider them a subspecies of Homo Sapien.

Quote
You can look at the Astralopithocines and wonder what they were.
Probably just a unique variety of extinct ape.
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You can look at the Homo erectus and wonder why they are so much like us and yet so different.
Again this is still somewhat controversial as well, especially given the history behind the findings of some of the more notorious representatives of this "species" (if they all can truly be lumped together...I'm a little surprised you didn't bring up Homo habilis)

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There are definite gaps in the fossil record but that is because evolutionary change occurs rather quickly in geological time.
Not according to "orthodox" neo-Darwinists. They assert change is too slow to observe.
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If an evolutionary change occurs within a few thousand years, a "jump" will appear in the record.
Which of course is asserted by advocates of punctuated equilibria to explain the nuisance that is the fossil record, but is certainly not empirically proven.
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Furthermore, the science of archeology is young enough that it is not surprising that all the available intermediate fossils have yet to be found.
That's amusing, since that's the excuse ol' Chuck Darwin gave about 150 years ago. What's even more amusing is that advocates of punctuated equilibria (which you seem to be using as a fall back position) have resigned themselves to the fact that the fossil record will continue to look much like it does today

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There are enough fossils to prove evolutionary history, even with the gaps.
Only if one assumes a priori the central tenet of Darwinism--the common decent of all life--but this is circular reasoning. The fossil record, starting with the Cambrian explosion, paints quite a different picture.

It appears you have a lot to learn (or perhaps "unlearn") young jedi. Again, I'll recommend Philip Johnson's Darwin on Trial so you can truly see how flimsy is the "evidence" by which Darwinism (both the gradualist and "punctuated" varieties) is allegedly "proven".

(Alas it is getting late and I must retire for the evening....forgive any typos)
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« Reply #46 on: January 29, 2005, 01:27:38 AM »

Philip Johnson was still an evolutionist, even with his doubts of Darwinist gradualism.

I read Creation Science books, and much of what they say is intentionally misleading. For example, in the book What Is Creation Science? (which I own) the author is either entirely ignorant of punctuated equilibrea or intends to purposely mislead the reader as to the true contentions of this theory.

Pre-cambrian fossils have been found, and Steven Jay Gould explains the Explosion rather well in Ever Since Darwin.

Deacon Gabriel is a nuclear physicist and when I asked him about Genesis, he said that Genesis 1 and 2 contradict each other and therefore are not meant to be taken literally. I knew this for a year before he told me this.

Gen.1:25-27
(Humans were created after the other animals.)
Gen.2:18-19
(Humans were created before the other animals.)
Gen.1:27
(The first man and woman were created simultaneously.)
Gen.2:18-22
(The man was created first, then the animals, then the woman from the man's rib.)

The word Adam means "man". He is the first man, in the sense that one must have a soul to truly be a man.
He was the first fully evolved AMH to have the soul breathed into him.

The Orthodox understanding of Genesis and evolution is not the same as the conservative Baptist understanding.


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« Reply #47 on: January 29, 2005, 01:39:28 AM »

I'm a little surprised you didn't bring up Homo habilis)

I'm a little surprised that you know what it is.
What do you think of it?
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« Reply #48 on: January 29, 2005, 10:06:02 AM »

Philip Johnson was still an evolutionist, even with his doubts of Darwinist gradualism.
Heh, heh--apparently you haven't read Mr. Johnson too carefully. Smiley
He "doubts" both Darwinist gradualism and "punctuated equilibria". Having read all of his books several times, it's safe to say he is not a "theistic evolutionist".


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I read Creation Science books, and much of what they say is intentionally misleading. For example, in the book What Is Creation Science? (which I own) the author is either entirely ignorant of punctuated equilibrea or intends to purposely mislead the reader as to the true contentions of this theory.
Sorry I haven't read that book. However, several of the books by Darwinists are also "intentionally misleading", particularly what passes for biology "textbooks" in the schools, using illustrations long since discredited as current established "proofs" for evolution.* (I know, since I still have my Biology textbook--along with my critical commentrary in the margins--from college)
(*This is thoroughly documented in Jonathan Well's book, Icons of Evolution)

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Pre-cambrian fossils have been found, and Steven Jay Gould explains the Explosion rather well in Ever Since Darwin.
I don't think some fossilized single celled organisms (and perhaps a few very simple mutl-celled ones) is going to solve the problem of the Cambrian explosion in which representatives of 50 new phyla appear fully formed without any trace of intermediates or transitional stages from those pre-Cambrian fossils.

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Deacon Gabriel is a nuclear physicist and when I asked him about Genesis, he said that Genesis 1 and 2 contradict each other and therefore are not meant to be taken literally. I knew this for a year before he told me this.
Well I can list off several folks with PhDs who disagree with Deacon Gabriel--so what?
I have known Genesis 1 and 2 were not contradictory for many, many years now. (I'm an MD, by the way, with an undergrad degree with Polymer and Textile Chemistry, if it makes any difference for you to know my educational background Smiley )
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Gen.1:25-27
(Humans were created after the other animals.)
Gen.2:18-19
(Humans were created before the other animals.)
Gen.1:27
(The first man and woman were created simultaneously.)
Gen.2:18-22
(The man was created first, then the animals, then the woman from the man's rib.)
That's pretty weak. Genesis 1 is the "overview" so to speak, Genesis 2 focuses a little more on the creation of Adam and Eve and gives additional info. Just because they mention things in a different order or with more or less detail doesn't make them contradictory. For instance, Gen 1:27 does not read that God made them "simultaneously"--that's a word you added. Also, in Genesis 2:18-19 it mentions that God made the animals after earlier in the chapter it mentions that God made man. It doesn't have the consecutive indicator "then" that's in Genesis 1:26. Therefore one cannot prove that the author of Genesis 2 (actually starting in verse 4) was trying to establish a particular chronological order of creation among man and beasts. (This order was established in chapter 1)

It's not out of the question that these were originally the work of two different sources that were compiled together by Moses. (Now here's where someone will tell me that Moses really didn't put Genesis together and that it was the work of the JEDP crowds..Nah, that's another ball of wax...)
 

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The Orthodox understanding of Genesis and evolution is not the same as the conservative Baptist understanding.
As many others have pointed out, you're being a bit presumptous when you attempt to speak for the Orthodox understanding of Genesis. Many here have pointed out that most (if not all) the Church Fathers would disagree with your understanding. I guess you're going to ignore the other poster's assertions and keep repeating the same mantra to me since I just happen to still be "Baptist" (in name only however). However, Father Seraphim Rose was not a conservative Baptist. He wrote a book on the subject which is in agreement with the Fathers. Are you going to tell me that he didn't have the Orthodox understanding of Genesis?

Regarding Homo habilis, I think it's ultimately another example of how arbitrary (and transitory) taxonomical classification can be. I personally think in all likelikhood H.habilis is probably an example of an australopithecine. Even my biology textbook in college suggested as much.

^^^The bottom line is that indeed whether or not Genesis can be interpreted in such and such a way, and whether neo-Darwinism can really be considered empirically verified science or not, are two separate questions. The fact is that many who have widely differing interpretations of the early chapters of Genesis nonetheless reject the proposition that neo-Darwinism is fact on scientific grounds.^^^

(Well, I've probably wasted more time than I've needed to. Now I'm going to enjoy the rest of this cold, icy, wintry day with my wife and son. If anyone else wants to take over for me today, feel free...)
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« Reply #49 on: January 29, 2005, 12:12:06 PM »

On a visit to the Brit Museum - Natural History Shrine, I saw they still had Piltdown Man going about his chores. This was 30 years after the exposed fraud. Must have paid a lot of money for the exhibit - I suppose.  Some of the reasoning of Evilutionists (as my kids called them) is along the lines that God does not exist and we will it prove it someday!
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« Reply #50 on: January 29, 2005, 01:30:27 PM »

Ultimatly, its a power play.  Humans are control freeks who have to have eveything under their beck and call, and thouhg we were given it all to begin with in creation, it wasn't enough.  My former Astronomy professor said tht the ultimate aim of science is to know it all.  that means that they are looking at it from this perspective:

"One day, we'll know how everything works.

After we know it, we can formualte ways to control it.

After we control it all, we will be God

We won't need God after that." Angry

Sad really.  They'll never succeed. and would rather hang on to their power trips than surrender to the true God.  May He turn their hearts.  Following a lie hurts after a while. :'( 


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« Reply #51 on: January 29, 2005, 09:37:00 PM »

The Orthodox position on evolution, as I understand it from what I have been taught, is that we are free to interpret Genesis as a literal or allegorical account, and that those who desire to hold the scientific standpoint, may.
There was not a universal consensus of the Church Fathers that Genesis is to be interpreted literally, and Augustine is one good example. If the Creation occured on one non-literal "day", as he postulated, then this would allow the course of evolutionary history to occur.

I actually own the video Icons of Evolution. For one thing, Intelligent Design theory does not intend to disprove evolution, but only to show that the course of evolutionary history would require a Designer. That does delve in to the realm of theology.
The point of science is to observe the natural world and find a natural explanation, through the best interpretation of the available evidence. Even though there are a few silly "proofs" for evolution in biology textbooks, that does not make the theory itself fraudulous. That would just be a strawman to assume so.

I believe that the Cambrian Explosion occured by the Divine Providence of God. To make this claim, though, is a theological one and not a scientific.

As for Genesis, how do you know that the Elehoists and the Yahwehists didn't write their accounts separately?



 

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« Reply #52 on: January 29, 2005, 09:59:15 PM »

My high school AP Biology teacher was a devout Roman Catholic, a very loving and moral family man, and an orthodox Darwinist.
His faith is not in conflict with his science, because he understands that the truth cannot contradict the truth.
He believes just as Darwin did concerning the theory: Evolutution occurs through the Blind Watchmaker, but the Blind Watchmaker itself is designed.

Evolution is the most important theory in all science, and if it were wrong, then all fields of science would be wrong. That would mean that either through ignorance or deception, all fields of science are misintrepetting the evidence to support the theory. That is highly unlikely.

Science and religion can best be understood as two related though separate domains. One seeks to understand the Creation, while the other seeks to attain a relationship with the Creator, whoever this may be.

I believe that for many theists, a problem that arises from the theory of evolution is the long history that occurred in the universe before the dawn of man. Perhaps they hold to young earth creationism because they are a little "jealous" that God would spend so much time tending to the development of other species before He created us. However, if God is infinite and eternal, and a "thousand years for God is but a day for man and a day for man is but a thousand years for God", then 4.5 billion years, the age of the earth according to modern science, would mean little to him in reference of time. 
           
Another objection to theistic evolution is that a loving God would not guide the development of species through the constant suffering and competition of the "survival of the fittest".  However, if God is all-good and all-knowing, as the monotheistic religions postulate, then He must foresee that there is a future good in allowing temporary suffering. Suffering is not necessarily a bad thing, but it helps the individual, the community, and even the species as a whole grow stronger, wiser, and more charitable.

           
Like Darwin, I believe that the mechanism for evolution itself is designed, but that the Designer lets evolutionary history take its course, knowing full well what the outcome will be. This sovereignty that God gives to the natural world does not make Him a distant and uncaring God, but a God who allows choice and free will in His creation.

I am sorry if my words sound too matter of fact. My mind is open to different possibilities, even ideas and beliefs that are in contradiction to my own. I just happen to have great respect for Charles Darwin and his revolutionary theory, and it would be hard for me to think of modern science as in conflict with my faith.

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« Reply #53 on: January 30, 2005, 10:12:24 PM »

Matthew,
I get the feeling from reading your posts that your thinking has been influenced more by naturalism and liberal protestantism (both spawned the Enlightenment) than by traditional Orthodox theology. Some of your comments are quite revealing.

There was not a universal consensus of the Church Fathers that Genesis is to be interpreted literally, and Augustine is one good example. If the Creation occured on one non-literal "day", as he postulated, then this would allow the course of evolutionary history to occur.
Disagreeing on the length of Genesis "days" is one thing. Suggesting that Orthodox Fathers thereby would endorse Darwinism, based as it is on philosophical naturalism, is quite a stretch.

Quote
I actually own the video Icons of Evolution. For one thing, Intelligent Design theory does not intend to disprove evolution, but only to show that the course of evolutionary history would require a Designer.
Actually, that's not quite correct. Icons of Evolution demonstrates that the evidence that supports Darwinism itself is false and misleading. Therefore there is no proven "evolutionary history" (at least in terms of macro-evolution) to speak of. I'm sure Jonathan Wells would be very surprised with your take on his work.


Quote
The point of science is to observe the natural world and find a natural explanation, through the best interpretation of the available evidence.
Actually that's wrong too. You're describing methodological naturalism and not science qua science. As philosopher J.P.Moreland puts it: "these [the claims that science must adopt methodological naturalism] are not first order claims of science about some scientific phenomenon. Rather, they are second order philosophical claims about science" (from The Creation Hypothesis p.43--italics his, bolding mine). You really ought to read his work which further delineates the difference and further describes how methodological naturalism is not a necessary corollary of science per se. A more neutral definition, therefore, might be:
"The point of science is to observe the natural world and find a logical explanation, through the best interpretation of available evidence."

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Even though there are a few silly "proofs" for evolution in biology textbooks, that does not make the theory itself fraudulous. That would just be a strawman to assume so.
Actually, minus these "silly proofs" macro-evolution (and thus neo-Darwinism) has no empirical evidence whatsoever and is based rather on circular reasoning.

Quote
I believe that the Cambrian Explosion occured by the Divine Providence of God. To make this claim, though, is a theological one and not a scientific.
Well, I'll take that as a concession of sorts. But let's be a little more specific. Yes, the claim that the "Cambrian Explosion occured by the Divine Providence of God" is a theological claim. However, that the Cambrian Explosion defies Darwinian explanations (based on how Darwinian mechanisms are supposed to work and on what one should find in the fossil record if Darwinism was true) is a scientific claim. An ID theorist would suggest that the massive infusion of information during the Cambrian Explosion points to an intelligent agent(s) since intelligence is what is necessary for new information. This would also be a scientfic claim. Only when you start looking into the identity of the intelligent agent do you move into the realms of philosophy and theology.

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As for Genesis, how do you know that the Elehoists and the Yahwehists didn't write their accounts separately?
(Ah...he took the bait) Because Moses was responsible for its compilation, and the so-called "Elohists" and "Yahwehists" didn't allegedly write their accounts until after the time of David at the earliest. Also, the whole Documentary Hypothesis has no real evidence except for the unproven assumptions of its proponents. (But again, that's a whole other ball of wax...now, do you also care to share your opinions of the findings of the Jesus Seminar?)

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He believes just as Darwin did concerning the theory: Evolutution occurs through the Blind Watchmaker, but the Blind Watchmaker itself is designed.
Try telling that to Richard Dawkins (the author of The Blind Watchmaker) who boasted that Darwinism made it possible to be an "intellectually fulfilled atheist"

Quote
Evolution is the most important theory in all science, and if it were wrong, then all fields of science would be wrong.
That's patently absurd. I realize that's the oft repeated mantra of Darwinists, but in actuality, science will continue on quite well once folks realize that neo-Darwinism cannot account for all biological phenomena.

Quote
That would mean that either through ignorance or deception, all fields of science are misintrepetting the evidence to support the theory. That is highly unlikely.
On the contrary, you're pretty naive if you don't think this is a strong possibility given the philosophical precommitments undergirding Darwinism, the politics that exists in the scientific "establishment", and fallen (and shall I say, rebellious) human nature in general.

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Science and religion can best be understood as two related though separate domains. One seeks to understand the Creation, while the other seeks to attain a relationship with the Creator, whoever this may be.
(It's evident that you are quite the Gould disciple at least) The problems with that are: (1)Christianity posits that the Creator has at various times in history intervened in His creation in recognizable ways, and (2)the philosophical naturalism that has been conflated with "science" as practiced by most of the scientific establishment rules out any meaningful knoweledge of such intervention and interaction from the get go. So despite such condescending lip service regarding two separate "realms" or "domains" from Gould, he and his crowd would in fact relegate religion to the world of subjectivity.

Quote
I believe that for many theists, a problem that arises from the theory of evolution is the long history that occurred in the universe before the dawn of man.
Actually the problem for many theists is that the theory of evolution (ie, Darwinism) is just plain false on scientific grounds, irrespective of how old they may think the universe is.
     
Quote
Like Darwin, I believe that the mechanism for evolution itself is designed, but that the Designer lets evolutionary history take its course, knowing full well what the outcome will be.

Where did you get the idea that Darwin wanted to leave room for a designer at all? From what I've read of Darwin, his goal was to eliminate the need for a designer period.

I will agree with you about one thing. Truth does not contradict the truth. However, while Orthodox Christianity is the Truth, neo-Darwinism is not.

Matthew, my friend, it has been interesting, but Monday is fast approaching and I'll probably be too busy with work and the family to make any further lengthy responses. God bless.
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« Reply #54 on: January 31, 2005, 07:12:59 PM »

I stand by my assertion that theistic evolution vs. young earth creationism is a non-issue in the Orthodox Church, given that the laity are free to take an allegorical or literal interpretation of Genesis, and are allowed to have an open mind to modern science.
This is what I have learned at Church, and the same is said in the Orthodox sources I provided.

"Thank you very much for your enquiry concerning the Orthodox Church's view on evolution.

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

(Ah...he took the bait) Because Moses was responsible for its compilation, and the so-called "Elohists" and "Yahwehists" didn't allegedly write their accounts until after the time of David at the earliest. Also, the whole Documentary Hypothesis has no real evidence except for the unproven assumptions of its proponents.

Who are the proponents? The Genesis commentary in the New American Bible comes to mind.

(But again, that's a whole other ball of wax...now, do you also care to share your opinions of the findings of the Jesus Seminar?)

Biblical "scholars" who wouldn't know good scholarship if it bit them in the pants.

Where did you get the idea that Darwin wanted to leave room for a designer at all?

Darwin's own words.

From what I've read of Darwin, his goal was to eliminate the need for a designer period.

Perhaps you have not read carefully enough:

"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 [larva] 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, 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. 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 [original italics] satisfies me. I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound for the human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton. Let each man hope and believe what he can. Certainly I agree with you that my views are not at all necessarily atheistical. The lightning kills a man, whether a good one or bad one, owing to the excessively complex action of natural laws. A child (who may turn out an idiot) is born by the action of even more complex laws, and I can see no reason why a man, or other animals, may not have been aboriginally produced by other laws, and that all these laws may have been expressly designed by an omniscient Creator, who foresaw every future event and consequence. But the more I think the more bewildered I become; as indeed I probably have shown by this letter. Most deeply do I feel your generous kindness and interest. Yours sincerely and cordially, Charles Darwin" (Darwin to Asa Gray, [a minister] May 22, 1860)


Furthermore, there is a chasm between atheistic naturalism and theistic evolutionism. To think of the two as being the same would be rash.
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« Reply #55 on: February 01, 2005, 07:30:20 PM »

Orthodoxy and Creationism
Fr. Deacon Andrey Kuraev
http://www.fatheralexander.org/booklets/english/evolution_kuraev.htm
Editor: Bishop Alexander of the Russian Orthodox Church Abroad, 466 Foothill Blvd Box 397, La Canada, California 91011, USA. Tel. 818 380-0830, Fax 510 217-4038

"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)."


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« Reply #56 on: February 03, 2005, 07:52:06 PM »

A scientist friend told me the other the day that evolution does exist at genetic level.  The origin of the species is an embarrassment to the scientific community and should be either dumped or moved to the religious studies faculty.  She add that some species have evolved, however at DNA level there's hardly any difference between a Man and a Mouse.  Also, with a smile, she said that there was not much differnce between human dna and yeast.  So what's the difference between a Man and a Glass of Beer? I suppose it depends on which beer. May be it's Guiness - the first beer?
My questions:
Why did the human brain develop beyond the monkey, when most of it is not used?  And why would God say, let's make man in our own image.  Was God ever Neanderthal? - Sorry just my humor..
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« Reply #57 on: February 04, 2005, 01:02:44 AM »

A scientist friend told me the other the day that evolution does exist at genetic level. The origin of the species is an embarrassment to the scientific community and should be either dumped or moved to the religious studies faculty. She add that some species have evolved, however at DNA level there's hardly any difference between a Man and a Mouse. Also, with a smile, she said that there was not much differnce between human dna and yeast.

Did this happen to be a creation "scientist"?

My questions:
Why did the human brain develop beyond the monkey, when most of it is not used? And why would God say, let's make man in our own image. Was God ever Neanderthal? - Sorry just my humor..

According to the theory of evolution, man did not evolve from monkeys, but we did share a common ancestor.
Is it the physical appearence of man or the spiritual that is made in God's image?
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« Reply #58 on: February 04, 2005, 08:44:30 AM »

Ape, not monkey, for one thing (ther IS a difference)



Is it the physical appearence of man or the spiritual that is made in God's image?
this seems to me to be the crux of the matter...and if we did evolve from whatever lineage, how can that be bad if God created everything?

*forgive me i am posting with only one cup of coffe in me, i have actually been interested and reading about evolutionary theory my whole life, it is just too plain early to get into details*
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« Reply #59 on: February 04, 2005, 11:15:57 AM »

observer,

You wrote:

Quote
Why did the human brain develop beyond the monkey, when most of it is not used?

This is actually not true. It's probably one of the most common neuropsychological fallacies I've seen bandied around as fact, the 'We only use 1 tenth of our brain' nonsense.

I'm a psychologist and used to work in a psychiatric hospital on a brain injuries unit, so I do think I know what I'm talking about here (I noticed people's qualifications being raised earlier in the thread). Pretty small brain lesions can make drastic changes to behaviour, proving the small areas damaged are used, and modern brain imaging techniques have shown pretty conclusively that we do, in fact, use our entire brain.

The origin of the 1/10 brain use idea was an experiment done on chickens where parts of the brain were removed until the chicken could no longer function. Obviously, extrapolating from chickens to humans is not justifiable, particularly when there's a very well documented case of a chicken surviving having almost it's entire head removed (it was fed using an eye dropper) for a considerable length of time. A human who lost almost their entire head would not survive.

Having said this, I'm not advocating Darwinism or any other evolutionary theory. I think young earth creationists are laughable, as are the likes of Richard Dawkins - extreme materialistic theories without adequate scientific evidence are every bit as religious as creationism (or perhaps anti-religious?). Personally, I find the ID theorists to be preferable to either extreme. For one thing, they admit that ID is a theory (which it is - even though I think it's a good one) rather than trying to pass it off a fact, like the Darwinists do with their theory.

I actually believe there is a place in school for the teaching of Darwinism in science, but only alongside ID, creationism and any other theory that can be used to interpret the evidence we currently have. None of them should be taught as if they were fact, though, and no false dichotomy between science and religion should be drawn. If (and I think this is very likely) my son is ever taught the theory of evolution (and not the data behind it) as fact then I shall take it upon myself to teach him to question these things. Luckily, as he's only two and a half, I have plenty of time to prepare for this.

James
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« Reply #60 on: February 04, 2005, 02:35:54 PM »

A few things...

a) It's been my observation that Orthodoxy doesn't have a "magisterium" as such; thus discerning the "official" Orthodox answer to anything (save perhaps looking to an extraordinary event like an Ecumencial Council; but even this is not as simple as it may seem) in a time of controversy requires one to set their sights on the "ages" and not upon the moment.  With that said, I think it can be pretty misleading to look at some modern authors and just assume that because they are the flavor of the day within academic circles, that their views are truly representative.  Right or wrong, I think Nektarios is quite correct in comparing modern "little fathers" like Bl.Justin of Serbia or Fr.Seraphim and their thought to that of the Church "throughout the ages", when it comes to this topic.

b) Personally, I have big problems with the way knowledge is typically divided by modern westerners; call it my rejection of "the cult of reason" and the revolution.  Right now, it seems these things are very fragmented, with some sciences being exalted above others (i.e. physical sciences exalted above metaphysics, etc.).  All of this leads (at best) to a very fragmented, incoherent world view.  It's also a very unnatural thing to do, because (as the predominance of atheistical/materialistic "scientists" makes very clear) you cannot help but involve yourself in a little "overlap" no matter what you do.  "Scientists" cannot help but find themselves in a position where conclusions affecting the moral and spiritual spheres are being touched.  Also, if we must learn anything from the subjectivist post-modern philosophies of the present age, it should be that there is no such thing as a completly detached/objective "observer" - his observations cannot help but be informed by what's already going on in his mind and heart.  There are all sorts of conclusions reached by scientists which are not at all necessary, but are the result of "gaps" being filled in by their own philosophies/biases.

c) Evolution, macro/micro, puncuated equilibrium/darwinism, it's all very complicated stuff.  My perspective is as follows...

i) There is some strong evidence that the universe (and this planet) is quite old.  However, some of that evidence (such as the use of red-shifting in cosmic rays as evidence of distances/time, big-bang, etc.) is already being contradicted within the "mainstream" of the scientific community.  Also, as a former poster on here once astutely mentioned (I think making reference to a sci-fi story about "planet builders") if you were going to actively, "rapidly" create a world and people it with all sorts of creatures, that world could not but look like it'd been around longer than it actually was.  In other words, a rapid "6 days" of creating, would leave a product which would probably look a lot like one which hypothetically formed (if such is even possible) due to "blind chance" over aeons.

ii) While I understand the argument behind "puncuated equilibrium" (a theory btw. which is not accepted by many evolutionary biologists - though it's been sold this way in the apologetical sphere because Gould's ideas were seen as a good way of shutting up naysayers), it still seems like a way of excusing a lack of evidence.  "We" were all told to accept Darwin's theory, which was apparently based on observation and the initial findings of the early excercise of paleontology - a theory whose whole rational rests on gradualism.  The only thing we can presently observe, is that when massive new pressures come upon the world scene, things do not "evolve" or become more varied - rather, species die out.  In other words, at best, such pressures constitute an ongoing series of "culls".  Of course, all of this gets muddied by throwing a bunch of zero digits behind the number of years; in which case then, what we have is a conjecture (at best).

iii) "Evolution" is only "inevitable" if one is a convinced materialist already.

iv) Though people talk about "missing links" I think many on both sides don't really understand (including many "intelligent design" folks) what evolution is about.  "Evolution" is not about a gradual progression from algae in some primordial swamp, to smart ole' us.  It's about adaptation, and that's it.  Hence, if one takes evolutionism for granted, there is absolutely no reason to believe we are the "end of the road" - conceivably what survives of our species will "evolve" into something different to meet new circumstances.  The same goes for the "missing links" people look for - what becomes very improbable about the whole affair, is that missing links (should they actually exist) are not simply "half way" points between say, some proto-human creature and homo-sapiens - it is rather a species in and of itself, a creature whose every quality came about (or was preserved from it's ancestors) precisely because they were more suited to their present environment than not.  Thus, when the dinosaurs allegedly became birds, there had to be a damned good reason for those scales to start fraying, and turning into feathers - unless we are to believe in an extremely radical version of "punctuated equilibrium" in which feathers just suddenly appeared on some poor scaly bohemoth millions of years ago.  The same goes for such incredible things as the eye - all of those stages leading up to the "fully formed" eye, had to be the bee's knees in it's given circumstance.  Oh, and keep in mind - all of this new genetic material came about via mutation - a phenomenon which in all of our observations is a bad thing...very bad actually (ex. cancer cells are mutants.)

v) Taking for granted all sorts of unprovable assumptions like uniformitarianism (the idea that the "basics" of how this universe works have always been uniform - it's an assumption, not a fact), materialism, etc... the "best" case that the scientific mainstream puts forward "contra scripture" is that the world (as I mentioned before) is pretty old, and that different species of animals have appeared and then disappeared, with nothing discernably linking them.

I do not claim to know what the exact answer is here.  There is enough doubt though in what the scientists say, and enough contradiction and never ending revision (as it ought to be with good material science), to make me think that an extremely literal understanding of the opening chapters of Genesis is really as demonstrable as the contrary.  It's not a fashionable view, but then again that's because those who are determining the "fashions" in this case have their own "religion" of sorts, whether they care to recognize it or not.

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« Reply #61 on: February 04, 2005, 05:07:35 PM »

Thank you James for your comment. Psychology is another matter and according to what i have read - Breggin et al, there is evidence that in some cases (in ferrets), when parts of the brain are destroyed, the neural networks are channelled elsewhere. Don't want to get into a discussion here about the physical evidence of the brain and psychology. This is the realm of the big drug companies and those psychiatrists who are concerned that their specialty has become non-scientific and non -medical over the past 20 years.

To M777:
Understanding the creation does not lead to knowledge of the Creator. This is basic Orthodox teaching, which I suspect your OCA sources will deny. The only way to acquire knowledge of the Creator is through purity of heart, which you can't learn in a university, nor it seems these days, in many Orthodox Theological Schools.
Nor can you learn about creation i.e. biology in a monastery. But if you combine the two...

My scientist friend is an Orthodox Christian and professor of mathematical modelling - Russian.
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« Reply #62 on: February 04, 2005, 05:55:16 PM »

Quote
Oh, and keep in mind - all of this new genetic material came about via mutation - a phenomenon which in all of our observations is a bad thing...very bad actually (ex. cancer cells are mutants.)

Actually, this is not quite true. There is increasing evidence that major evolutionary innovations may be spurred by symbiosis and transfer of genetic information, whether directly, or mediated by viruses. Obviously, this gives the potential for major influxes of new genetic information into an organism, as well as reorganizing of existing information.

As just one example, here is a recent article about the discovery of the placenta's dependence on retroviruses. Many biologists are coming to believe that the evolution of the placenta may have been the result of a viral infection in an early mammal. The retroviruses are still around today, and are necessary for the placenta to form -- kill them off with antivirals, and no placenta. Another example is that the components of eukaryotic cells (chloroplasts, mitrochondria, flagellae, nucleus, centriols, etc.) were once free-living microorganisms that joined together; most of these components still maintain their own DNA or RNA, and even reproduce themselves inside the cell. There are dozens of recent examples that have been discovered in recent years, and biologists are coming to realize that genetic information is shared across species much more often than previously thought.

Quote
Thus, when the dinosaurs allegedly became birds, there had to be a damned good reason for those scales to start fraying, and turning into feathers - unless we are to believe in an extremely radical version of "punctuated equilibrium" in which feathers just suddenly appeared on some poor scaly bohemoth millions of years ago.

Actually, a sudden fraying of scales, whether it happened because of random mutation or viral infection, may have been immediately advantageous -- frayed scales, even if no good for flying, would be much better insulators due to their increased capability to trap air. And the feathers wouldn't have appeared on a "behemoth" -- many of the therapod dinosaurs were small, quick, and built much like birds, and with a small body size, the insulating properties of proto-feathers would be all the more important.

Quote
The same goes for such incredible things as the eye - all of those stages leading up to the "fully formed" eye, had to be the bee's knees in it's given circumstance.

The question is, how do you define "fully-formed"? Eyes don't have to be as complex as humans' before they are useful. Planaria have fully-formed eyespots, capable of sensing between light and darkness. This is obviously more advantageous than having no eyespots at all, and being utterly blind. Snails have more advanced eyespots -- they can make out rough shapes. Again, better than simple eyespots, or no eyespots. Nautiluses have deep pits with a pinhole opening -- no lens, but certainly giving a much sharper image than either snails' or planaria's eyespots. And human eyes are demonstrably inferior in many ways to those of many other animals. We can focus on small areas, true, but we certainly can't see clearly in our entire field of vision, as can eagles, our night vision is pitiful compared to cats or owls, and we can't see in the ultraviolet spectrum like hummingbirds can.
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« Reply #63 on: February 04, 2005, 06:02:58 PM »


Understanding the creation does not lead to knowledge of the Creator.  This is basic Orthodox teaching, which I suspect your OCA sources will deny. The only way to acquire knowledge of the Creator is through purity of heart, which you can't learn in a university, nor it seems these days, in many Orthodox Theological Schools.
Nor can you learn about creation i.e. biology in a monastery.  But if you combine the two...

Can someone study the Creation with the purity of the heart in order to gain a better understanding of His creative work?
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« Reply #64 on: March 30, 2005, 09:04:09 PM »

Oh, man. This thread is the first time I ever started doubting evolution. Now, I'm a patristic creationist and cool with it.
"Punctuated equilibrea", my foot. Smiley

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