Author Topic: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?  (Read 21017 times)

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Offline Jonathan Gress

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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #225 on: March 26, 2015, 01:04:43 AM »
Yeah the part about "many scientists deny the fact of evolution" really gets to me. There was this list of signatures by "Scientists against Darwinism" being circulated some years ago, then other scientists started a "Project Steve" petition in response, where scientists who happened to be named Steve signed a statement in support of Darwinism. The second list naturally was much longer than the first.

Maybe science is wrong about this, but at the very least don't try to pretend science is on the creationists' side.

Offline Pellegrino

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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #226 on: March 26, 2015, 03:11:26 PM »
@minasoliman  I can well believe that Fr. Seraphim made philosophical errors.  But, respectfully, since I just noticed you are a moderator, you are not addressing yourself directly to the two points that he is making, (1) that science and philosophy are two separate things, and (2) that they are commingled in the modern thinking about evolution.  You are being very gentle about it, but again, you are resorting to a philosophical fallacy, ad hominem, in seeking to rebut what Fr. Seraphim Rose has to say by discrediting him personally rather than seeking to engage the important points he is making.  As for Fr. Thomas Hopko, of blessed memory, whatever else he may have had to say on the subject of Fr. Seraphim Rose, he did recommend the reading of his book Genesis, Creation and Early Man.

@Jonathan  When evaluating the statement "many scientists deny the fact of evolution" you need to remember that Fr. Seraphim's letter to Dr. Kalomiros was written something like 40 years ago (Fr. Seraphim reposed in 1982), four decades to drive such scientists out of academia, in the manner described in Ben Stein's movie Expelled, if you remember.  Strangely enough, this is not the case in Russia, where Russian scientists can and do question evolutionary dogma without becoming outcasts and academic pariahs.

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« Last Edit: March 26, 2015, 03:12:50 PM by Pellegrino »
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #227 on: March 26, 2015, 03:18:55 PM »
I'm not sure how I as a moderator have anything to do with this.  Furthermore, I did not engage in ad hominem.  I simply criticized his position (which the part you quoted, he spoke in general terms and has nothing specific to which I can really rebut specifically), but I still affirmed his spiritual importance and saintliness.  If you think I engaged in an ad hominem, that is a violation of our rules in this site, and I encourage you to report it, and I'll let another moderator, maybe even one of the global moderators in charge of me to judge my case, since it is against me.

If you want me to stay out of this conversation because you are afraid of me as a moderator, then I will stay out, and let others do the talking.  I just so happened to take a passionate view about this, but I think I have said enough in this thread.  If you like to continue this discussion privately and ask me why or how I take the view I do, then by all means, I invite it as well.

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Offline Pellegrino

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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #228 on: March 26, 2015, 05:03:06 PM »
I did not use the term ad hominem in the sense that it is commonly used and as you appear to use it now, name calling or smearing, but in its strict rhetorical definition as a logical fallacy, an attempt to discredit a source personally without arguing directly against the ideas presented.  So no, I did not use ad hominem in the sense that it is a violation of the forum rules.  And I did say you were gentle about it.

You have had plenty to respond to, but you appear to be quite steadfast in your refusal to admit the possibility that evolution has a philosophical component.  Why you choose to do so, only you can explain.  Beyond that explanation, there would be little point in continuing this discussion in public or in private when there is no agreement on something so simple as exactly what it is that we are talking about.

For the record, I have a background in biology, and for most of my life believed that God created evolution.  But I now see many fundamental problems with that position.  I am not a fundamentalist creationist, and indeed believe that that is a very flawed approach.  I do not embrace a metaphysical view either, which more effectively argues against evolution than fundamentalism.   I have come to believe that Patristic teaching is the wisest and best approach.

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« Last Edit: March 26, 2015, 05:03:55 PM by Pellegrino »
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #229 on: March 26, 2015, 05:14:26 PM »
Well, I'm the exact opposite.  I used to be an anti-evolutionist when I began undergrad.  By the time I finished undergrad, and I read more of the Church fathers (it was a Greek Orthodox and an Indian Orthodox priests who helped me along rethinking my positions as well), I've been more open to evolution and found that any refutation of it is just a waste of time and irrelevant to our essential Orthodox faith. I have a BS in Life Sciences and now an MD.  Those who say evolution is a philosophy have failed to actually engage the science properly in my experience.  In my time during my studies, the most important courses that really convinced me was biochemistry and genetics, and it is these same sciences that can prove I am a descendent of my own parents, and can prove how many generations you and I are separated by and what common ancestor we both have and when.  This same approach when taken to an interspecies level that is consistent with the fossil data and predictions is something I cannot ignore, and I simply lose interest of anyone's credibility who says that evolution is a mere philosophy at that point.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2015, 05:15:18 PM by minasoliman »
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Offline Jonathan Gress

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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #230 on: March 26, 2015, 05:18:29 PM »
@minasoliman  I can well believe that Fr. Seraphim made philosophical errors.  But, respectfully, since I just noticed you are a moderator, you are not addressing yourself directly to the two points that he is making, (1) that science and philosophy are two separate things, and (2) that they are commingled in the modern thinking about evolution.  You are being very gentle about it, but again, you are resorting to a philosophical fallacy, ad hominem, in seeking to rebut what Fr. Seraphim Rose has to say by discrediting him personally rather than seeking to engage the important points he is making.  As for Fr. Thomas Hopko, of blessed memory, whatever else he may have had to say on the subject of Fr. Seraphim Rose, he did recommend the reading of his book Genesis, Creation and Early Man.

@Jonathan  When evaluating the statement "many scientists deny the fact of evolution" you need to remember that Fr. Seraphim's letter to Dr. Kalomiros was written something like 40 years ago (Fr. Seraphim reposed in 1982), four decades to drive such scientists out of academia, in the manner described in Ben Stein's movie Expelled, if you remember.  Strangely enough, this is not the case in Russia, where Russian scientists can and do question evolutionary dogma without becoming outcasts and academic pariahs.

Christ is in our midst.

I doubt it was true then that "many" scientists opposed evolution, but even if it is true that scientists support evolution even more now than before, that can also be explained by the fact that as evidence continues to accumulate, evolutionary theory continues to be strengthened.

Offline Pellegrino

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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #231 on: March 26, 2015, 09:45:02 PM »
Millions upon millions of years ago, when the continents were already formed and the principal features of the earth had been decided, there existed, then as now, one aspect of the world that dwarfed all others. It was a mighty ocean, resting uneasily to the east of the largest continent, a restless ever-changing, gigantic body of water that would later be described as pacific.

Post cut down in consonant with Fair Use regulations.  The rest can be read here:
http://www.msnucleus.org/membership/html/k-6/uc/earth/6/uce6_3d.html
-Mina



EVOLUTION AS ART...

Evolution as poetry, evolution as deep subjective feelings.  Evolution as beautiful philosophy.  This excerpt from James Michener's Hawaii is not the kind of thing one would ordinarily expect from a dispassionate scientific community that deals only scientific facts, or to hear read aloud with deep emotion to an undergraduate class in comparative anatomy by a renowned herpetologist and researcher in evolutionary theory...

But I did.  I was there.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2015, 12:35:17 AM by minasoliman »
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #232 on: March 26, 2015, 10:46:28 PM »
That's really nice, you can definitely tell a great passion of his science background put into art and poetry.  I seem to find this poem by a transplant surgeon very moving:

http://allpoetry.com/poem/6004944-Possessing-Your-Heart-by-Nisaba-M.

I suppose transplant surgery is not a science, but a philosophy and passion cloaked in science based on this simple passion-driven surgeon.

By the way, have you gotten Mr. Michener's permission to post more than 2 or 3 paragraphs of his work so that you don't break copyright laws of the Fair Use?
« Last Edit: March 26, 2015, 10:47:43 PM by minasoliman »
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline Jonathan Gress

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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #233 on: March 26, 2015, 10:58:10 PM »
That's really nice, you can definitely tell a great passion of his science background put into art and poetry.  I seem to find this poem by a transplant surgeon very moving:

http://allpoetry.com/poem/6004944-Possessing-Your-Heart-by-Nisaba-M.

I suppose transplant surgery is not a science, but a philosophy and passion cloaked in science based on this simple passion-driven surgeon.

By the way, have you gotten Mr. Michener's permission to post more than 2 or 3 paragraphs of his work so that you don't break copyright laws of the Fair Use?

Michener died almost 20 years ago, but I'm sure his estate would like to have a word...

Offline Pellegrino

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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #234 on: March 27, 2015, 12:13:05 AM »
It is all over the internet, and the punctuation exaggerates the number of paragraphs, so I don't think it technically violates the guidelines. But delete it by all means if you think it does.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2015, 12:18:21 AM by Pellegrino »
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #235 on: March 27, 2015, 12:21:24 AM »
Before I continue the discussion, I'm putting my mod hat on.  In the rules of the forum, which I invite you to read, it states:

* Quoting Other Articles, Websites, etc. -- When linking articles, news stories, etc., please only copy the first paragraph or at most two as an intro text, with a link to the original, so we can obviate any accusations of exceeding "fair use" allowances in terms of copyright.

Also I will need an online reference of the prose so that I can cut it down and guide others to read the rest if they so please.  For future reference, this is what should be done.  We do not take risks with federal guidelines.
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline Pellegrino

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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #236 on: March 27, 2015, 12:28:33 AM »
Fair enough.  One of the many places it can be found is here:

http://www.msnucleus.org/membership/html/k-6/uc/earth/6/uce6_3d.html

Sorry, inadvertent transgression.
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #237 on: March 27, 2015, 12:42:56 AM »
Thank you!

I don't know why you posted it to be quite honest.  I thought you were really continuing in the general theme of the discussion, that is evolution being a mere philosophy, and that the prose you quoted was somehow a proof of it.  That's why I quoted a poem by a transplant surgeon to reflect my confusion.  I'm sure you find many poems of those who are passionate in their field of work, whether it be perhaps an engineer's prose on building a bridge, an architect's poem on designing a mall, an astronomer's contemplation on the solar system.  Just because they show a certain passion does not falsify the truth of their field.
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline Pellegrino

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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #238 on: March 27, 2015, 01:44:08 AM »
It is very hard, when we discuss in writing and not face to face, to know the emotions of the other person, and I believe I may have been guilty of ascribing sarcasm to you where it was never intended.  If so, please forgive me. I am trying not to let my own passions get the best of me in this discussion.  Pray for me. I believe this is an important discussion for Christians to have, and I can appreciate both sides of the issue more than I have always shown.

Quote
Just because they show a certain passion does not falsify the truth of their field.

Correct.  The passion does not falsify the truth of the field. But the passion itself is not quantifiable or measurable by any ordinary means because it is subjective.

So, on the one hand, we have these things that you call truth of the field, and on the other hand, we have the passion for that field.  All that the Fr. Seraphim is saying is that these two things are different, which is what you are also saying; and, unfortunately in these discussions, they can easily be intermingled and used interchangeably. Seraphim called the two things science and philosophy, and in his letter he points out to Dr. Kalomiros that he is not making a clear separation between the two. Wolfgang Smith, published in physics and philosophy, calls them science and scientism.  It really doesn't matter what you call them.  When a well-respected, and actually a very fantastic, extremely interesting university professor reads what can only be described as a beautiful paean to evolution, it stirs subjective feelings.  It could almost be thought of as a sort of homily, and in fact all these years later it made such an impression on me that I have never forgotten it.  But this subjective paean to evolution is not in fact science.

All Fr. Seraphim is saying, that the facts about evolution are one thing, and the philosophy is another.  He says that the passions of evolution constitute a widely disseminated false religious system. His approach is to primarily direct his argument against the philosophy of evolution, and not primarily against the science of evolution.  If you do not understand that he is doing this, you will mis-read Fr. Seraphim.  Not that he thinks the pure science of evolution isn't problematic, but that is a separate topic that for the most part he sets aside.  What separates Fr. Seraphim's approach from fundamentalism, is that by and large fundamentalists have tended to focus on the pure science of evolution.  But Fr. Seraphim was no fundamentalist, he directed his energies to first of all show that there is such a thing as pure science, and then that there is a philosophy derived from that science. He then argued in Genesis, Creation and Early Man against that philosophy of evolution, or, as you might say, against the passion of evolution, refuting the philosophy of evolution with Patristic teaching.
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #239 on: March 27, 2015, 02:47:48 AM »
No, you are correct.  I tend to get sarcastic at times, but only to drive the point harder, but never to intend to get you riled up or angry.

I'm not denying there is a philosophy, but there is not "one unifying philosophy" all evolutionists, let alone atheist scientists, share.  Neither do all evolutionists derive a philosophy based on the science of evolution.  I personally at times allegorize evolution only for a Christian teaching.  Perhaps this may be an "evolution philosophy" being theologized on my part.  Some have taken the science of evolution and extends it in a hypothetical manner in all fields, including psychology, chemistry, astronomy, etc.  It's a very enticing belief, and a model that seems to have a huge impact on the thoughts of many today.  I must admit, it impacted my thought as well.

However, when it comes to Fr. Seraphim Rose, I get the impression he uses literal meanings of Genesis as is interpreted by the Church fathers to disprove not just the philosophy, but even the science of biological evolution itself.  The prose from Michener is not something that would be published in a scientific journal, or tested from by students in a classroom (on this latter part, ideally speaking).  What is tested is the basic knowledge of the science itself, and what is required is the methods and results of a hypothesis to see if it confirms a theory or weakens it so that it can be publishable in a peer-reviewed and well-respected journal.  It's not just passion Fr. Seraphim is against.  He is against science itself! 

Fr. Seraphim uses quotes from St. Basil to dogmatize the idea that there can never be any speciation, only a development within species.  Fr. Seraphim goes on to even reject geological data, not just evolution, but even "science which does not bind itself to the philosophical theory of evolution", commenting on how science, in general, does not support the idea that plants were not created before the revealing of the Sun.  Fr. Seraphim goes on to believe that we should never learn the "how" of creation, and rather take the Church fathers and the Scriptures' words for it, replacing whatever "other non-evolutionary" science there is.  This is a profound fundamentalist view.  I am not sure how it conforms with your interpretation that he is mostly against philosophy.  He then goes through pain quoting the Church fathers not just to disprove philosophy, but even the science.

If we are dealing strictly with science, it is on a peer-based review of challenges to a theory that could not debunk the theory.  And the more one is unable to disprove something, and make predictions with it that strengthens it, it solidifies the theory more and more into a fact of life.  And this goes with "probability" in that the probability it gets debunked becomes very small.  There is still that small probability, but it is still small.  This is how ANY science works, even the most non-controversial ones, like engineering.  You draw out plans of a model, you then test it out by creating it and seeing if it works, and if it does not, it either disproves your plan completely or perhaps you needed some tweaking of the plan.  If the plan did not fail, then you build upon that plan to see if the model can be stronger.  The lesser fails you have, the better and more tenable the model.  That model is a "theory", and that's how any theory is tested.

Genesis is not a model, but a contemplation, a spiritual truth of creation.  St. Basil when commenting on Genesis, he expanded with great beauty this contemplation, and with great passion wrote something similar to Michener's style, but his intention was not a passion of science, but a passion of spirituality, along with the understanding of the world as he knew it in the 4th century.  Fr. Seraphim didn't seem to get that, and this is where many Orthodox Christians disagree with Fr. Seraphim's approach. 
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #240 on: March 27, 2015, 02:48:40 AM »
This is what it sounds like you're saying, Pelligrino:

1. There is some relationship between a thing being quantifiable or measurable by ordinary (i.e. empirical?) means, and that thing being subjective or objective. 

2. There is (i) a science of evolution, (ii) a philosophy of evolution, (iii) poetry and prose of evolution, (iv) a religion of evolution, and (v) passions of evolution. Some of these terms are equivalent to one another, and some of these terms are constitutive of one or the other.

Do you see why we'd need a lot more explanation from you before we could begin to reconstruct your view?
« Last Edit: March 27, 2015, 02:49:19 AM by NicholasMyra »
Quote from: Fr. Thomas Hopko, dystopian parable of the prodigal son
...you can imagine so-called healing services of the pigpen. The books that could be written, you know: Life in the Pigpen. How to Cope in the Pigpen. Being Happy in the Pigpen. Surviving in the Pigpen. And then there could be counselling, for people who feel unhappy in the pigpen, to try to get them to come to terms with the pigpen, and to accept the pigpen.

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #241 on: March 27, 2015, 03:22:35 AM »
Fr. Seraphim uses quotes from St. Basil to dogmatize the idea that there can never be any speciation, only a development within species. 
St. Basil might mean this:

1. Rational animals (like us) are immortal as individuals, while irrational animals are immortal only insofar as the immanent universals (kinds) they instantiate are eternal a parte post from the six days onward "until the end of all things." Immanent universals are "dead" at a given time if they aren't instantiated by something at that time (although the ideas of them might remain somehow in the mind of God, or some such).
2. If animals are only immortal in this sense, then two things must follow: First, no new immanent animal kinds can be instantiated, because they would not have been immortal a parte post from the six days onward. Second, no kind can go extinct, as this likewise negates a parte post immortality.

'Let the earth bring forth thee living creature." Behold the word of God pervading creation, beginning even then the efficacy which is seen displayed to-day, and will be displayed to the end of the world! As a ball, which one pushes, if it meet a declivity, descends, carried by its form and the nature of the ground and does not stop until it has reached a level surface; so nature, once put in motion by the Divine command, traverses creation with an equal step, through birth and death, and keeps up the succession of kinds through resemblance, to the last. Nature always makes a horse succeed to a horse, a lion to a lion, an eagle to an eagle, and preserving each animal by these uninterrupted successions she transmits it to the end of all things. Animals do not see their peculiarities destroyed or effaced by any length of time; their nature, as though it had been just constituted, follows the course of ages, for ever young. "Let the earth bring forth the living creature." This command has continued and earth does not cease to obey the Creator. For, if there are creatures which are successively produced by their predecessors, there are others that even to-day we see born from the earth itself. In wet weather she brings forth grasshoppers and an immense number of insects which fly in the air and have no names because they are so small; she also produces mice and frogs. In the environs of Thebes in Egypt, after abundant rain in hot weather, the country is covered with field mice. We see mud alone produce eels; they do not proceed from an egg, nor in any other manner; it is the earth alone which gives them birth. Let the earth produce a living creature.' -St. Basil, Hexaemeron

« Last Edit: March 27, 2015, 03:35:58 AM by NicholasMyra »
Quote from: Fr. Thomas Hopko, dystopian parable of the prodigal son
...you can imagine so-called healing services of the pigpen. The books that could be written, you know: Life in the Pigpen. How to Cope in the Pigpen. Being Happy in the Pigpen. Surviving in the Pigpen. And then there could be counselling, for people who feel unhappy in the pigpen, to try to get them to come to terms with the pigpen, and to accept the pigpen.

Offline minasoliman

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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #242 on: March 27, 2015, 03:47:57 AM »
And this is a very very good example of "along with the understanding of the world as he knew it in the 4th century".  Because we can do one of two things with this quote (which Fr. Seraphim uses part of it as you bolded):  either you dignify his commentary in the spiritual manner it deserves to be treated or you turn his quote into some science that is either ridiculed or believed and result in the believer be ridiculed. 
Vain existence can never exist, for "unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain." (Psalm 127)

If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline Jonathan Gress

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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #243 on: March 27, 2015, 04:08:26 AM »
You nailed it, NicholasM. Like the Fathers, Fr Seraphim was sounder on philosophy and theology than on science. I don't think it could be any other way: science develops with every new empirical discovery, but these discoveries shed less new light on matters of eternal truth.

Another thing to contemplate: If evolution is true, then there are no actual species. There is just a vast spectrum of life.

Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #244 on: March 27, 2015, 04:50:05 AM »
Another thing to contemplate: If evolution is true, then there are no actual species. There is just a vast spectrum of life.
Not necessarily, although that might be a more elegant fit.
Quote from: Fr. Thomas Hopko, dystopian parable of the prodigal son
...you can imagine so-called healing services of the pigpen. The books that could be written, you know: Life in the Pigpen. How to Cope in the Pigpen. Being Happy in the Pigpen. Surviving in the Pigpen. And then there could be counselling, for people who feel unhappy in the pigpen, to try to get them to come to terms with the pigpen, and to accept the pigpen.

Offline minasoliman

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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #245 on: March 27, 2015, 10:23:30 AM »
Ya, there is a speciation that occurs due to a gradual genetic incompatibility for mating.  But a spectrum of life is in fact what it reveals. Evolutionists like to call it a "tree of life" at times, where they draw out the branches of species in different levels.
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If the faith is unchanged and rock solid, then the gates of Hades never prevailed in the end.

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #246 on: March 27, 2015, 09:35:47 PM »
Well, I'm the exact opposite.  I used to be an anti-evolutionist when I began undergrad.  By the time I finished undergrad, and I read more of the Church fathers (it was a Greek Orthodox and an Indian Orthodox priests who helped me along rethinking my positions as well), I've been more open to evolution and found that any refutation of it is just a waste of time and irrelevant to our essential Orthodox faith. I have a BS in Life Sciences and now an MD.  Those who say evolution is a philosophy have failed to actually engage the science properly in my experience.  In my time during my studies, the most important courses that really convinced me was biochemistry and genetics, and it is these same sciences that can prove I am a descendent of my own parents, and can prove how many generations you and I are separated by and what common ancestor we both have and when.  This same approach when taken to an interspecies level that is consistent with the fossil data and predictions is something I cannot ignore, and I simply lose interest of anyone's credibility who says that evolution is a mere philosophy at that point.
I'm no MD, but if you subtract out all the schooling, this is pretty much what happened to me.
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Offline Pellegrino

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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #247 on: March 28, 2015, 10:17:07 AM »
No, you are correct.  I tend to get sarcastic at times, but only to drive the point harder, but never to intend to get you riled up or angry.

I'm not denying there is a philosophy, but there is not "one unifying philosophy" all evolutionists, let alone atheist scientists, share.  Neither do all evolutionists derive a philosophy based on the science of evolution.  I personally at times allegorize evolution only for a Christian teaching.  Perhaps this may be an "evolution philosophy" being theologized on my part.  Some have taken the science of evolution and extends it in a hypothetical manner in all fields, including psychology, chemistry, astronomy, etc.  It's a very enticing belief, and a model that seems to have a huge impact on the thoughts of many today.  I must admit, it impacted my thought as well.

However, when it comes to Fr. Seraphim Rose, I get the impression he uses literal meanings of Genesis as is interpreted by the Church fathers to disprove not just the philosophy, but even the science of biological evolution itself.  The prose from Michener is not something that would be published in a scientific journal, or tested from by students in a classroom (on this latter part, ideally speaking).  What is tested is the basic knowledge of the science itself, and what is required is the methods and results of a hypothesis to see if it confirms a theory or weakens it so that it can be publishable in a peer-reviewed and well-respected journal.  It's not just passion Fr. Seraphim is against.  He is against science itself! 

Fr. Seraphim uses quotes from St. Basil to dogmatize the idea that there can never be any speciation, only a development within species.  Fr. Seraphim goes on to even reject geological data, not just evolution, but even "science which does not bind itself to the philosophical theory of evolution", commenting on how science, in general, does not support the idea that plants were not created before the revealing of the Sun.  Fr. Seraphim goes on to believe that we should never learn the "how" of creation, and rather take the Church fathers and the Scriptures' words for it, replacing whatever "other non-evolutionary" science there is.  This is a profound fundamentalist view.  I am not sure how it conforms with your interpretation that he is mostly against philosophy.  He then goes through pain quoting the Church fathers not just to disprove philosophy, but even the science.

If we are dealing strictly with science, it is on a peer-based review of challenges to a theory that could not debunk the theory.  And the more one is unable to disprove something, and make predictions with it that strengthens it, it solidifies the theory more and more into a fact of life.  And this goes with "probability" in that the probability it gets debunked becomes very small.  There is still that small probability, but it is still small.  This is how ANY science works, even the most non-controversial ones, like engineering.  You draw out plans of a model, you then test it out by creating it and seeing if it works, and if it does not, it either disproves your plan completely or perhaps you needed some tweaking of the plan.  If the plan did not fail, then you build upon that plan to see if the model can be stronger.  The lesser fails you have, the better and more tenable the model.  That model is a "theory", and that's how any theory is tested.

Genesis is not a model, but a contemplation, a spiritual truth of creation.  St. Basil when commenting on Genesis, he expanded with great beauty this contemplation, and with great passion wrote something similar to Michener's style, but his intention was not a passion of science, but a passion of spirituality, along with the understanding of the world as he knew it in the 4th century.  Fr. Seraphim didn't seem to get that, and this is where many Orthodox Christians disagree with Fr. Seraphim's approach.

This significant and well-thought out post raises several very important points.  I am not going to comment on it right now, but reflect and do further reading.  It may be some time before I get around to responding.
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Offline xariskai

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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #248 on: March 28, 2015, 11:24:12 AM »
"God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them" -Gen 1:27 

Humans are more than their bodies.

As to evolution of the latter, the strongest evidences are chromosomal fusions/inversions with telomere repositioning by comparison with other species. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC187548/

As to the former, whatever our views on the evolution of our species, we must still ask why until so very recently is there no evidence of human civilization, agriculture, art, language, symbolism, music, law, mathematics, in short, all of the things which make humanity unique and infinitely creative. What we are as human beings is surprisingly new in a historical sense, and astonishingly in excess of the basics which are required for our mere survival and reproduction. Something amazing happened to us and for us, as creatures similar to, but also vastly different from any other.

Even if the physical evidence is strong for evolution of the human body, to claim as per the classical Neo-Darwinian synthesis that survival as a function of differential reproduction alone and as such successfully accounts for fullness of what we understand and experience as being human borders on the preposterous. And insofar as such a case might even be made it must be made not on the basis of physical evidence (or sensa + tautology in the old classical positivistic sense), but solely on the basis of induction. http://www.princeton.edu/~grosen/puc/phi203/induction.html
« Last Edit: March 28, 2015, 11:56:43 AM by xariskai »

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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #249 on: March 28, 2015, 03:06:21 PM »
Like the Fathers, Fr Seraphim was sounder on philosophy
Where does Fr. Seraphim demonstrate philosophical understanding?

That's not a rhetorical question; I'm not as familiar with his work as most here.
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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #250 on: March 28, 2015, 04:49:51 PM »
"God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them" -Gen 1:27 

Humans are more than their bodies.

As to evolution of the latter, the strongest evidences are chromosomal fusions/inversions with telomere repositioning by comparison with other species. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC187548/

As to the former, whatever our views on the evolution of our species, we must still ask why until so very recently is there no evidence of human civilization, agriculture, art, language, symbolism, music, law, mathematics, in short, all of the things which make humanity unique and infinitely creative. What we are as human beings is surprisingly new in a historical sense, and astonishingly in excess of the basics which are required for our mere survival and reproduction. Something amazing happened to us and for us, as creatures similar to, but also vastly different from any other.

Even if the physical evidence is strong for evolution of the human body, to claim as per the classical Neo-Darwinian synthesis that survival as a function of differential reproduction alone and as such successfully accounts for fullness of what we understand and experience as being human borders on the preposterous. And insofar as such a case might even be made it must be made not on the basis of physical evidence (or sensa + tautology in the old classical positivistic sense), but solely on the basis of induction. http://www.princeton.edu/~grosen/puc/phi203/induction.html
Nicely said, xariskai. I bolded parts of it that I think are truly great points. This is exactly why I don't see how evolution is at all a threat to us, only to those I suspect want to cling on a variety of humanisms.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2015, 04:50:18 PM by nothing »
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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #251 on: March 28, 2015, 05:26:55 PM »
It is the use of patristic and Biblical writings to suggest that a scientific theory is "wrong" that I have a problem with.  Using spirituality to refute non-spiritual.  However, I never pretended that we can conform one to the other or make one consistent with the other.  When someone asks me how can you reconcile one and the other, I say, "I don't" and I go through this whole explanation that ends up being an elaborate description of "I don't know, only God knows."

But yes, I will disagree with any atheist that we are merely walking bones and tissue.
« Last Edit: March 28, 2015, 05:27:03 PM by minasoliman »
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Offline Pellegrino

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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #252 on: March 30, 2015, 11:01:47 AM »
@minasoliman

We have seen in this discussion how difficult it is to pry evolution from evolutionism, the science from the philosophy.  You are right in alluding to many philosophies that could be associated with evolution, but two you did not mention are positivism, only science can tell you all there is, and atheism.  Atheistic positivism has made a philosophical wasteland of modern life, and evolutionism is one of its most important constituent lines of thought.

Genesis is not a metaphor, but it is not overly-literal either, as the fundamentalist interpretation would have it.  If you take the view that the Six Days are metaphors of vast geologic ages, even a casual reading shows that there cannot be a logical progression (plants created several ages before the sun, moon and stars for instance). So Genesis is above all a mystery, and a prophecy into the past about which we are not told the how.  Genesis must be embraced with faith and wonder. 

We can speak of no orthodox theology of evolution, that is an innovation.  Leave Genesis and the Holy Fathers alone.  At best you risk wandering aimlessly in the ontological flatlands of modernity, and at worst you risk bowing at the feet of the Zeitgeist.
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Offline minasoliman

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Re: Do you believe in theory of human evolution?
« Reply #253 on: March 30, 2015, 02:24:58 PM »
Okay...forgive me for going line by line, but I need to make clear here:

Quote
We have seen in this discussion how difficult it is to pry evolution from evolutionism, the science from the philosophy.

No we haven't.  I mentioned it was enticing, but it is not difficult, unless you use the term "evolve" loosely.

Quote
You are right in alluding to many philosophies that could be associated with evolution, but two you did not mention

I did not mention any philosophy at all by name.  I only spoke in general terms.  So, you're right, I didn't mention "positivism" or "atheism", but I implied there are evolutionists who use evolution philosophically and there are those who don't.  That's all I was saying.

Quote
Genesis is not a metaphor, but it is not overly-literal either, as the fundamentalist interpretation would have it.

You already opened another thread on that.  Do you really want to discuss it here again?

Quote
If you take the view that the Six Days are metaphors of vast geologic ages

I have not advocated an approach that would make Genesis abstractly consistent with scientific evidence.  I think I have been clear there is very little agreement between science and those who take Genesis very very very literal.

Quote
So Genesis is above all a mystery, and a prophecy into the past about which we are not told the how.  Genesis must be embraced with faith and wonder.

I agree

Quote
We can speak of no orthodox theology of evolution, that is an innovation.  Leave Genesis and the Holy Fathers alone.  At best you risk wandering aimlessly in the ontological flatlands of modernity, and at worst you risk bowing at the feet of the Zeitgeist.

Ooooookay....sure...but you have yet to address anything I talked about earlier.  Fr. Seraphim Rose didn't seem content to leave Genesis and the Holy Fathers alone when wanting to discredit the science of evolution (and geology).  I'm not pretending to be at the forefront of theological genius when dealing with evolution.  As I mentioned earlier, while I may "spiritualize" evolution at times, in the grand scheme of things, my explanations are a big elaboration of "I don't know".
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