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Creationism, Evolution, and Orthodoxy

Do you believe that the acount of genesis in the Old testament should be taken literally?

  • Yes

    Votes: 75 17.0%
  • No

    Votes: 164 37.3%
  • both metaphorically and literally

    Votes: 201 45.7%

  • Total voters
    440

PeterTheAleut

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Christodoulos said:
I don't know if it breaks the forum rules, but it is funny to call others superficial when you are only concentrated on acclamation marks and some spelling mistakes and base your argumentation on these mistakes. Why didn't you tell me via PM that I made a mistake ?
Is it just me, or does anyone else see the hypocrisy of replying to a request from Νεκτάριος that you take your grievance with him to the PM system by telling him publicly that he should have told you of your spelling mistakes via PM?

Or was it only to discredite my post?
If what you preach here is true and Orthodox, why do you feel you have to fight so hard to defend your personal credibility?  Shouldn't your message stand or fall on its own merit and not depend on your own authority to teach it?
 
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God bless !

But why, why? What does the first have to do with the second? I don't imagine that there were literally the first two humans and no other humans, because that would be totally incompatible with the theory of biological evolution. So, do I HAVE to leap from that into the conclusion that Christ did not literally exist or was not literally God incarnate? I don't see any real logic, sorry, just a circular quasi-"logic" and forcing of the language of theology into the language of natural sciences.
That's exact the point, orthodox doctrine is totally incompatible with the theory of biological evolution ! It is VERY important how you understand the "first Adam" because it will affect your understanding of the second. And I think the Holy Fathers did not believe in poly-genism, but when there was poly-genism did all fell in committing the same sin ? Christ did come to save Adam - so it is important to know the first created one.

There are many other problems - how can evolution explain paradise, the immortal nature of Adam, the incorrupt state of Nature, of animals, plants, trees,....I think no one answered the questions how it is possible that Adam received his incorrupt state from lower creatures ? How can evolution explain plants and vegetation being first without the sun,

And also when evolution can explain the fallen state of Nature - how can it explain the state before ?

Creation is a mystery and we can not explain it with the laws of the fallen Nature !

I have given some quotes before, also St. John of Damascus wrote:

The body and the soul were formed together at the same time-not one before and the other afterwards, as the ravings of origenes would have it. ( it is a heresy )

From Blessed Seraphim Rose:

The idea of the "evolution" of man from a lower animal cannot be harmonized with the Patristic and Scriptural view of man's creation, but requires a sharp break with it: If man "evolves" solely according to the laws of nature, then his rational nature, his soul, the image of God, differs not qualitatively but only quantitatively from the beasts; he is then a creature only of the earth, and there is no room for the patristic view that he is partly of the earth and partly of heaven, a "mixture" of the two worlds, to use the phrase of St. Gregory the Theologian. But if, to escape such earthly thinking, a Christian evolutionist admits a Divine creation of man's soul - "when his body was ready for it," as some say- then he not only parts company with scientific thinkers, who will not admit "Divine" acts into their conceptual frameworks, but he also presents no consistent Christian outlook, mixing scientific speculations with "revealed" knowledge in a most haphazard way. In the Patristic-Scriptural view, the entire Six Days of Creation is a series of Divine acts; in the uniformitarian scientific view, the origins of things ( as far back scientists think they can be traced) are nothing but natural processes. These two views are as opposed as any two views can be, and any mixture of the two must be purely arbitrary and fanciful.

St. Basil the great:

"Let the earth bring forth herbs." And in the briefest moment of time the earth, beginning with germination in order that it might keep the laws of the Creator, passing through every form of increase, immediately brought the shoots to perfection. ........And every herb and every kind of vegetables and whatever shrubs and legumes there were, rose from the earth at that time in all profusion....
And the fruit tree that bears fruit containing seed of its own kind and of its own likeness on the earth.....all came into existence in a moment of time, although they were not previously upon the earth, each one with its own peculiar nature.

St. Ephraim

The herbs, at the time of their creation, were the production of a single instant, but in appearance they appeared the productions of months.Likewise the trees, at the time of their creation, were the productions of a single day, but in their perfection and fruits, which weighed down branches, they appeared the productions of years.

In CHRIST
 
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PeterTheAleut said:
Is it just me, or does anyone else see the hypocrisy of replying to a request from Νεκτάριος that you take your grievance with him to the PM system by telling him publicly that he should have told you of your spelling mistakes via PM?
If what you preach here is true and Orthodox, why do you feel you have to fight so hard to defend your personal credibility?  Shouldn't your message stand or fall on its own merit and not depend on your own authority to teach it?
God bless !

You really never gave up the "old style". It is not hypocrisy because he also told me publicly (it is nice to blame one for making a spelling mistake) that I made a mistake ! So I told him also publicly.

I do not "fight" but truth is truth.

In CHRIST
 

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Christodoulos said:
God Christodoulos bless !
Perhaps you know better ones in english - please tell me, I will try to get and read them !
Those are the most popular titles that I know of.  This whole appeal to other languages here is odd.  English is the main language for scientific publication.  Russian and German would probably be the only two other contenders.  As far as I can tell this debate simply doesn't exist in German and considering the ideological constraints under which so much Russian scientific material was published its value is questionable (i.e as has already been talked about in this thread is that many Soviet scientists were forbidden to publish about genetics).

I don't know if it breaks the forum rules, but it is funny to call others superficial when you are only concentrated on acclamation marks and some spelling mistakes and base your argumentation on these mistakes. Why didn't you tell me via PM that I made a mistake ? Or was it only to discredite my post ?
Since you won't give up on this... I pointed out that when you were using exclamation marks with verbs in the imperative mood it comes across as very rude.  IIRC, you had said "Tell me your jurisdiction!".  In Anglophone culture demanding for personal information like that is rather unusual.  I pointed this out because I assumed that you did not wish to appear rude.  But subsequent posts have shown otherwise.  I believe that that was one post out of many to you in which I have taken the time to actually discuss your methodology and approach to Orthodox theology.  If you are hung up over such a trivial matter that consists of such a minor amount of my total correspondence to you on this forum, that is your problem, not mine. 

In CHRIST
Maybe you should pick Buddha or somebody more on the mellow side.  Rastafarianism perhaps?
 

Heorhij

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Christodoulos said:
God bless !


That's exact the point, orthodox doctrine is totally incompatible with the theory of biological evolution !
If you are right, then I am not Orthodox.


Christodoulos said:
From Blessed Seraphim Rose:
From what I read of his ignorant meanderings re. evolution, he is a total idiot. Sorry. Hier stehe ich. Etc.

 

PeterTheAleut

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Christodoulos said:
There are many other problems - how can evolution explain paradise, the immortal nature of Adam, the incorrupt state of Nature, of animals, plants, trees,....I think no one answered the questions how it is possible that Adam received his incorrupt state from lower creatures ? How can evolution explain plants and vegetation being first without the sun,

And also when evolution can explain the fallen state of Nature - how can it explain the state before ?
Precisely because evolutionary theory is built on nature as we can observe and understand it now (since the fall?), any true proponent of evolution will tell you that the theory is not equipped to address such supernaturally revealed metaphysical "truths" as paradise, the immortal nature of Adam, or the incorrupt state of nature.  Nor does evolution have the frame of reference to be able to explain how Adam received his incorrupt state from lower creatures.  What is at issue is the boundaries of the scientific method and of scientific theory.  Based as science is on what we can observe in nature, science cannot speak on the realm of the supernatural.  This is not a failing of science in general, or of evolutionary theory in specific.  To expect evolutionary theory to explain the supernatural Logos within the laws of nature, or to discredit the theory because it cannot explain this Logos, is to misunderstand science altogether.
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
Precisely because evolutionary theory is built on nature as we can observe and understand it now (since the fall?), any true proponent of evolution will tell you that the theory is not equipped to address such supernaturally revealed metaphysical "truths" as paradise, the immortal nature of Adam, or the incorrupt state of nature.  Nor does evolution have the frame of reference to be able to explain how Adam received his incorrupt state from lower creatures.  What is at issue is the boundaries of the scientific method and of scientific theory.  Based as science is on what we can observe in nature, science cannot speak on the realm of the supernatural.  This is not a failing of science in general, or of evolutionary theory in specific.  To expect evolutionary theory to explain the supernatural Logos within the laws of nature, or to discredit the theory because it cannot explain this Logos, is to misunderstand science altogether.
And maybe also to misunderstand theology altogether...
 
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God bless !

I would never stroke the word God or refus his blessing. Do you not need God's blessing ?

Those are the most popular titles that I know of.  This whole appeal to other languages here is odd.  English is the main language for scientific publication.  Russian and German would probably be the only two other contenders.  As far as I can tell this debate simply doesn't exist in German and considering the ideological constraints under which so much Russian scientific material was published its value is questionable (i.e as has already been talked about in this thread is that many Soviet scientists were forbidden to publish about genetics)
.

And that was the reason I put them on the "little list", so you would present the same ? But there are others (also in English) and the four books can not answer all questions. It is more to start with ( I think). And I can tell you this debate exist in germany and this debate is increasing more and more ( and other european countries for example france).

Since you won't give up on this... I pointed out that when you were using exclamation marks with verbs in the imperative mood it comes across as very rude.  IIRC, you had said "Tell me your jurisdiction!".  In Anglophone culture demanding for personal information like that is rather unusual.  I pointed this out because I assumed that you did not wish to appear rude.  But subsequent posts have shown otherwise.  I believe that that was one post out of many to you in which I have taken the time to actually discuss your methodology and approach to Orthodox theology.  If you are hung up over such a trivial matter that consists of such a minor amount of my total correspondence to you on this forum, that is your problem, not mine.
 

Why are you so concerned if I appear rude, I think some of your posts are more rude than mine ( only think about anti-semitism,......) and why should it be unusual to ask you of your juristiction, when you call me and Vladyka Mark "Branch theorists" why should I not know yours ?

You discussed my methodology - I think you did not really discuss - you wrote some incorrect statements with some accusings -nothing more. You were more concerned on grammar than on orthodox theology.

Maybe you should pick Buddha or somebody more on the mellow side.  Rastafarianism perhaps?
Or perhpas Nektarianism ?

In CHRIST
 
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Heorhij said:
If you are right, then I am not Orthodox.

From what I read of his ignorant meanderings re. evolution, he is a total idiot. Sorry. Hier stehe ich. Etc.
God bless !

It is hard to read - but when you think about Blessed Seraphim this way - ok you are a modern biologist !

In CHRIST
 
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PeterTheAleut said:
Precisely because evolutionary theory is built on nature as we can observe and understand it now (since the fall?), any true proponent of evolution will tell you that the theory is not equipped to address such supernaturally revealed metaphysical "truths" as paradise, the immortal nature of Adam, or the incorrupt state of nature.  Nor does evolution have the frame of reference to be able to explain how Adam received his incorrupt state from lower creatures.  What is at issue is the boundaries of the scientific method and of scientific theory.  Based as science is on what we can observe in nature, science cannot speak on the realm of the supernatural.  This is not a failing of science in general, or of evolutionary theory in specific.  To expect evolutionary theory to explain the supernatural Logos within the laws of nature, or to discredit the theory because it cannot explain this Logos, is to misunderstand science altogether.
God bless !

That's exact my point-thank you ! You can not explain the Mystery of Creation by the Laws of fallen Nature.

But is this post not contradicting to your post before when you tried to interprete Genesis and creation with evolution ?

In CHRIST
 

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Christodoulos said:
God bless !

It is hard to read - but when you think about Blessed Seraphim this way - ok.

In CHRIST
No, dear Christodoulos, it's not OK. I do really, seriously believe that he is an idiot, and I do really, very seriously believe that I am Orthodox. So, there must be some arbitration betwen him and me.
 

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Heorhij said:
From what I read of his ignorant meanderings re. evolution, he is a total idiot. Sorry. Hier stehe ich. Etc.
Seeing as how Fr. Seraphim Rose will probably be glorified as a Saint in the not-so-distant future, I think some more respect is in order. Or at least refrain from such outbursts. "If you can't say anything nice..."
 

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Christodoulos said:
And that was the reason I put them on the "little list", so you present the same ? But there are others
(also in English) and the four books can not answer all questions. It is more to start with ( I think). And I can tell you this debate exist in germany and this debate is increasing more and more ( and other european countries for example france).
If you want to link some German and French sources, fine.  But, as far as I can tell the debate is nowhere near as mainstream as it is among religious zealots in the US.  So I highly doubt you are going to find many actual biologists dissenting in Europe. 

only think about anti-semitism
I posted about my own experiences during the few months I spent on Mt. Athos.  That is not rude.  Because of my experiences I am skeptical; I hope that your experiences have been more positive.  Honestly, if you want to discuss me please take it to the PM system.  Since you keep making public statements like this, I feel that I am justified in responding in public - but I'd appreciate it if you would not do so in the future.   

You were more concerned on grammar than on orthodox theology.
Most posters here seem to simply ignore you.  I have spent more time responding to your posts and their substance than many have.  You are the one who seems to constantly bring it back up apropos of nothing. 

Or perhpas Nektarianism ?
Don't temp me.
 

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Heorhij said:
From what I read of his ignorant meanderings re. evolution, he is a total idiot. Sorry. Hier stehe ich. Etc.
Hier stehen wir.  I don't know why Seraphim Rose is such a sacred cow.  Every single person or group that differed from his narrow opinions in the slightest manner were deemed by him to be in prelest or to be completely non-Orthodox.  He got it wrong on evolution.  He went too far on toll-houses.  He believed in UFOs.  He called a great many other Christians satanists.  Is that whom we should emulate? 

Here is a true hero of American Orthodoxy, rather than some eccentric holed up in the wilderness and babbling in paranoia:
 
 

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It seems that everybody's made the points that they wish to, and that some have come close to personal attacks (if they haven't already done so).  I'm going to temporarily lock the thread, and will unlock it after an amount of time has passed, to allow those who have become agitated to cool off, and allow those who haven't been agitated time to focus on other things.

- Cleveland, Global Moderator
 

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I merged the post above from a new thread in Faith Issues, pending moderatorial review.
Veniamin, FFA Moderator
 

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Dear members of the forum,

I am sorry for using a derogatory word when writing (yesterday evening) about Fr. Seraphim Rose. While I do absolutely and very passionately consider him dead wrong and harming many people by his writings on evolution, I still should not have used bad, rude, insulting language.

I am truly sorry, please forgive me. Please pray for me.

I hope the evolution thread will be re-opened soon (or maybe some other similar thread), and I will try to express my thoughts in a more charitable manner, whatever these thoughts are.

George
 

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George,

Your apology is very thoughtful.  My lock of the thread was only intended to be for about a day, to allow folks to cool if needed and give folks a bit of a break.  I have merged your post into this thread.
 

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I'm always intrigued by what the topic of Creation vs. Evolution seems to reveal about people.  The topic is normally driven by two camps, on the one hand, those that call themselves "creationists" who not only believe the creation story as written, but extrapolate on what is written to extremes in order to combat "evolution" and its consequences.  Then on the other hand, you have the "evolutionists" who consider anybody that doesn't believe in evolutionary science as ignorant at best, deceptive at worst of the facts.  I believe both sides get so heated because the discussion reveals deep seated conflicts of faith.  On the creationist side,  they want things of faith to be black and white, not up for discussion, ignoring the fact that issues of faith will always be debated because it is men who put God's word to paper so to speak and men who interpret.  That is why even the Holy Fathers never spoke alone, it was always under the guidance of the bible, the Church and tradition, etc.  On the "evolutionist" side, its seems that deep down their belief in evolution can often keep within them a deep crisis of faith, and when the topic comes up their own internal turmoil is revealed, thus nonbelievers of evolution are quickly labeled as "ignorant" or "deceptive" or "untruthful".

Personally, I think "creationists" read too much into Genesis and you end up with people like Creation Research Institute who really do teach blatantly unscientific teachings, and I think "evolutionists" often ignore huge questions in evolutionary logic because evolution is the only theory that fits what facts they do have, and also that science can never allow the supernatural or spiritual to enter into scientific theory, and rightfully so.

In my opinion, it all comes down to the moment of nothingness.  Whether you are a "creationist" or an "evolutionist" we all would agree there was time in the distant past where life was either "nothingness" or a mass of matter as close to "nothingness" as you can get.  You either believe some force outside nature "god" caused this nothingness to become life, or believe this nothingness due to some natural evolutionary process exploded and evolved into living, breathing human beings with free will and a conscious.  Everything that happened between then and the appearence of "Adam and Eve", while interesting, I'm not sure is important.

In my view, if God did turn nothingness into "life", however he did it is unimportant.  Interesting, but as far as my walk to deification, unimportant.  So in that spirit I would advise both "creationists" and "evolutionists" that when you let emotions dictate your reactions in this discussion, you have already lost the battle.

And finally, a bit of contradiction.  Done in an edifying way, I do really enjoy the whole creation vs. evolution discussion.  It's an interesting topic that a lot of believers struggle with, and done with some discretion and mutual respect, is probably worth discussing.
 

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livefreeordie said:
In my view, if God did turn nothingness into "life", however he did it is unimportant.  Interesting, but as far as my walk to deification, unimportant.  
I quite agree with you. None of us, nor any ECFs were there are the Beginning.  I don't know how God made everything. But here we are and it's all complicated and amazing and full of wonderful interesting things that God said were Very Good.
:)

And here is a quote that I've used in before:

"Any deity worthy of a graven image can cobble up a working universe complete with fake fossils in under a week - hey, if you're not omnipotent, there's no real point in being a god. But to start with a big ball of elementary particles and end up with the duckbill platypus without constant twiddling requires a degree of subtlety and the ability to Think Things Through: exactly the qualities I'm looking for when I'm shopping for a Supreme Being." ---  Lee DeRaud


Ebor
 

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Thank you, Cleveland.

I still think that whenever we think or talk or write about biological evolution, we need to have in our mind a clear notion about HOW we really KNOW things about our natural world.

I don't think that we can find even one sane person who would say, "oh, but it's just a theory that water consists of molecules, and each of these molecules has two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen bonded together with the help of polar covalent bonds. I don't see that when I look at water poured in a glass, and the Bible certainly does not teach that. Let's take a look at patristic sources and make sure, is the belief in these atoms and bonds really Orthodox."

The amazing thing, it REALLY IS "JUST" A THEORY that water consists of molecules, and each of these molecules has two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen bonded together with the help of polar covalent bonds. It is not a directly observable fact. But we know that it is true (as far as we know ANYTING about the natural world), because this statement, "water consists of molecules, and each of these molecules has two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen bonded together with the help of polar covalent bonds," is very consistent with numerous observations made by thousands of scientists working in many different laboratories all over the world independently of each other.

And so is the statement that populations evolve (i.e. change their genetic makeup over time) because of the effects of such factors as mutations in the DNA, natural selection, genetic drift, gene flow (migrations), and non-random sexual replication. And so is the statement that this biological evolution, under certain circumstances (as detailed in many contemporary biology textbooks) can result in speciation (emergence of new species), as well as in the extinction of existing species.

Attempts to "prove" that these above statements are not true are ridiculous, even if they come from mouths of people who claim to be educated or even "scientists." Hard evidence that supports these two statements (about the reality of evolution and about the reality of speciation/extinction) is as abundant and un-refutable as the evidence supporting the statement about water molecules made up by two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen.

Biological evolution is not an "opinion," and not a "belief," - again, exactly like structure of water molecules is not an "opinion" and not a "belief." Statements about evolution or structure of water are statements that are AS CLOSE TO REALITY AS WE CAN EVER GET (at least in this world, "to this side of heaven"). Making up alternative statements (for example, that all species were created ex nihilo at one single moment, and no more species will ever arrive; or that water consists of little grey moist corpuscules with little legs and tails) can be done, but this is just like making a "statement" that the Moon is made of green cheese. And to me personally, to a guy who grew up in a totaltarian regime where scientists used to be tortured and shot because their work led them to making statements contradicting a certain ideology, people's attempts to find certain "proof texts" in Scripture and in Fathers and say, "here, this chapter and verse, that's the evidence supporting the notion that the Moon is made of green cheese" - are just too much to bear.

Just like we know better than that the Moon is made of green cheese, WE ALSO *KNOW* (as far as we know things at all) that the situation where on the planet Earth existed only one "man" and one "woman" is biologically impossible. Biologically speaking, there simply cannot be something that can be called the "first" human or the "first" bear or the "first" oak tree or the "first" mushroom or the "first" amoeba. Biology simply does not work that way. How it DOES work, again, many modern biology textboks describe very well, in much detail.

Just how to syntethize this with theology, I really, really do not know. I have no idea how to combine the EXACT KNOWLEDGE that "Adam" could not possibly exist as one lone "first" man who sinned, with the texts of, say, Romans 5:12-21. But that lack of understanding can in no way serve as grounds for dismissal of the exact knowledge obtained by science. Again, that would be ridiculos, disgraceful, a mockery of thousands and thousands of wonderful men and women who labored all their lives to gain knowledge in genetics, biochemistry, population biology, comparative anatomy, ecology, and other fields of biological sciences. I cannot participate in this mockery. So, if there is a consensus that I MUST "believe" in the literal Adam and Eve and therefore in Rom. 5:12-21 according to some exegesis made by some Holy Father of the Church, or else I am not Orthodox - then I really am not Orthodox.

I do believe that Christ, the Son of the Living God, became incarnate of the Holy Spirit and Virgin Mary, and came down to our earth from heaven to save sinners, of whom I am chief. That I do believe, and know. Please pray for me, and I will certainly pray for you all this evening.

George
 

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The question shouldn't be "do Oxygen molecules exist" any more than it is "do monkees exist".  The question is how they came into existence.  One thing I've never understood about strict, atheist evolutionists is that they see the simaliarity in nature and go "that proves we all evolved from the same thing." And when I don't get all the jumps and unbelievably mutations that must have happened for that to occur they think I'm stupid(let me add here, I'm not stupid.  Math Major from Vanderbilt University among other things, visit www.silouan.com for more).  But when I see the similarities I only go, "if we all came from the same maker and were made to exist in the same environment, of course there are similarities. The surprising thing would be if there weren't." 

I truly appreciate your passion and scientific contributions to this topic George, but how do you answer the fervent evolutionist who would say your belief in Christ is as "ignorant" and "stupid" as the most hardcore creationist.


Heorhij said:
Thank you, Cleveland.

I still think that whenever we think or talk or write about biological evolution, we need to have in our mind a clear notion about HOW we really KNOW things about our natural world.

I don't think that we can find even one sane person who would say, "oh, but it's just a theory that water consists of molecules, and each of these molecules has two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen bonded together with the help of polar covalent bonds. I don't see that when I look at water poured in a glass, and the Bible certainly does not teach that. Let's take a look at patristic sources and make sure, is the belief in these atoms and bonds really Orthodox."

The amazing thing, it REALLY IS "JUST" A THEORY that water consists of molecules, and each of these molecules has two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen bonded together with the help of polar covalent bonds. It is not a directly observable fact. But we know that it is true (as far as we know ANYTING about the natural world), because this statement, "water consists of molecules, and each of these molecules has two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen bonded together with the help of polar covalent bonds," is very consistent with numerous observations made by thousands of scientists working in many different laboratories all over the world independently of each other.

And so is the statement that populations evolve (i.e. change their genetic makeup over time) because of the effects of such factors as mutations in the DNA, natural selection, genetic drift, gene flow (migrations), and non-random sexual replication. And so is the statement that this biological evolution, under certain circumstances (as detailed in many contemporary biology textbooks) can result in speciation (emergence of new species), as well as in the extinction of existing species.

Attempts to "prove" that these above statements are not true are ridiculous, even if they come from mouths of people who claim to be educated or even "scientists." Hard evidence that supports these two statements (about the reality of evolution and about the reality of speciation/extinction) is as abundant and un-refutable as the evidence supporting the statement about water molecules made up by two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen.

Biological evolution is not an "opinion," and not a "belief," - again, exactly like structure of water molecules is not an "opinion" and not a "belief." Statements about evolution or structure of water are statements that are AS CLOSE TO REALITY AS WE CAN EVER GET (at least in this world, "to this side of heaven"). Making up alternative statements (for example, that all species were created ex nihilo at one single moment, and no more species will ever arrive; or that water consists of little grey moist corpuscules with little legs and tails) can be done, but this is just like making a "statement" that the Moon is made of green cheese. And to me personally, to a guy who grew up in a totaltarian regime where scientists used to be tortured and shot because their work led them to making statements contradicting a certain ideology, people's attempts to find certain "proof texts" in Scripture and in Fathers and say, "here, this chapter and verse, that's the evidence supporting the notion that the Moon is made of green cheese" - are just too much to bear.

Just like we know better than that the Moon is made of green cheese, WE ALSO *KNOW* (as far as we know things at all) that the situation where on the planet Earth existed only one "man" and one "woman" is biologically impossible. Biologically speaking, there simply cannot be something that can be called the "first" human or the "first" bear or the "first" oak tree or the "first" mushroom or the "first" amoeba. Biology simply does not work that way. How it DOES work, again, many modern biology textboks describe very well, in much detail.

Just how to syntethize this with theology, I really, really do not know. I have no idea how to combine the EXACT KNOWLEDGE that "Adam" could not possibly exist as one lone "first" man who sinned, with the texts of, say, Romans 5:12-21. But that lack of understanding can in no way serve as grounds for dismissal of the exact knowledge obtained by science. Again, that would be ridiculos, disgraceful, a mockery of thousands and thousands of wonderful men and women who labored all their lives to gain knowledge in genetics, biochemistry, population biology, comparative anatomy, ecology, and other fields of biological sciences. I cannot participate in this mockery. So, if there is a consensus that I MUST "believe" in the literal Adam and Eve and therefore in Rom. 5:12-21 according to some exegesis made by some Holy Father of the Church, or else I am not Orthodox - then I really am not Orthodox.

I do believe that Christ, the Son of the Living God, became incarnate of the Holy Spirit and Virgin Mary, and came down to our earth from heaven to save sinners, of whom I am chief. That I do believe, and know. Please pray for me, and I will certainly pray for you all this evening.

George
 

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livefreeordie said:
The question shouldn't be "do Oxygen molecules exist" any more than it is "do monkees exist".  The question is how they came into existence.  One thing I've never understood about strict, atheist evolutionists is that they see the simaliarity in nature and go "that proves we all evolved from the same thing." And when I don't get all the jumps and unbelievably mutations that must have happened for that to occur they think I'm stupid(let me add here, I'm not stupid.  Math Major from Vanderbilt University among other things, visit www.silouan.com for more).  But when I see the similarities I only go, "if we all came from the same maker and were made to exist in the same environment, of course there are similarities. The surprising thing would be if there weren't." 

I truly appreciate your passion and scientific contributions to this topic George, but how do you answer the fervent evolutionist who would say your belief in Christ is as "ignorant" and "stupid" as the most hardcore creationist.
Dear Livefreeordie,

The theory of biological evolution (TBE) DOES NOT address the question of origins. It never intended to do that. So, the question, "where did we come from" is BEYOND this theory. All the TBE addresses is HOW DOES THE ALREADY EXISTING LIFE DIVERSIFY. And the answer to this question is, it diversifies through DNA mutations, natural selection, genetic drift, gene flow and non-random sexual replication. These factors, acting on populations of living systems (organisms), make these populations evolve, continuously evolve.

I am not implying tat people who do not understand TBE are "stupid." All I am saying is that they need to take serious biology classes. Studying TBE on your own, using books and the Internet, is very difficult, most likely impossible, very non-productive. You need teachers, their lectures, and you need time (at least one full semester, better two).

If someone says tha my beliefs in Christ are stupid - fine, I won't argue, I'll just keep believing what I believe. But what I have written about TBE has nothing to do with my beliefs, ANY of my beliefs. TBE is NOT A BELIEF SYSTEM. It is not possible to believe or not believe in it. One can either know it or not.
 

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What exactly is the ORIGIN of the "The ORIGIN of the SPECIES" if your stated intentions of TBE are correct, i.e. that it never intended to address origins? 

But hey, we do agree completely on this, "TBE only addresses how existing life diversify."  Of course, what is "already exisiting life."  Is it simple cells, or is it already existing creatures?  Is it a mass of matter moments before the Big Bang, or is it a pool of water that fish crawled out of?  This of course seems to be the problem with current evolutionary theory as possited in popular culture as I see it, an honest belief in it really does seem to either rule out the creator at worst or leave him on the sidelines at best.  Plenty of evolutionists who are Christians try to argue otherwise such as Francis Collins in his book "The Language of God", but even his arguments get leveled by leading atheist evolutionists, in my opinion. Leaving the evolutionist who believes saying, "I believe because I believe"  Which of course leaves all of believers in the same place!

Oh, since it seems to be a concern of yours in discussing this matter, I've taken at least 4 semesters of Biology that I can remember, 2 in high school, 2 at Vanderbilt.  :)  Since I remember little of it, it seems it also did me little good!

Heorhij said:
Dear Livefreeordie,

The theory of biological evolution (TBE) DOES NOT address the question of origins. It never intended to do that. So, the question, "where did we come from" is BEYOND this theory. All the TBE addresses is HOW DOES THE ALREADY EXISTING LIFE DIVERSIFY. And the answer to this question is, it diversifies through DNA mutations, natural selection, genetic drift, gene flow and non-random sexual replication. These factors, acting on populations of living systems (organisms), make these populations evolve, continuously evolve.

I am not implying tat people who do not understand TBE are "stupid." All I am saying is that they need to take serious biology classes. Studying TBE on your own, using books and the Internet, is very difficult, most likely impossible, very non-productive. You need teachers, their lectures, and you need time (at least one full semester, better two).

If someone says tha my beliefs in Christ are stupid - fine, I won't argue, I'll just keep believing what I believe. But what I have written about TBE has nothing to do with my beliefs, ANY of my beliefs. TBE is NOT A BELIEF SYSTEM. It is not possible to believe or not believe in it. One can either know it or not.
 

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livefreeordie said:
What exactly is the ORIGIN of the "The ORIGIN of the SPECIES" if your stated intentions of TBE are correct, i.e. that it never intended to address origins? 

But hey, we do agree completely on this, "TBE only addresses how existing life diversify."  Of course, what is "already exisiting life."  Is it simple cells, or is it already existing creatures?  Is it a mass of matter moments before the Big Bang, or is it a pool of water that fish crawled out of?  This of course seems to be the problem with current evolutionary theory as possited in popular culture as I see it, an honest belief in it really does seem to either rule out the creator at worst or leave him on the sidelines at best.  Plenty of evolutionists who are Christians try to argue otherwise such as Francis Collins in his book "The Language of God", but even his arguments get leveled by leading atheist evolutionists, in my opinion. Leaving the evolutionist who believes saying, "I believe because I believe"  Which of course leaves all of believers in the same place!

Oh, since it seems to be a concern of yours in discussing this matter, I've taken at least 4 semesters of Biology that I can remember, 2 in high school, 2 at Vanderbilt.   :)  Since I remember little of it, it seems it also did me little good!
Well, there are definitely some people among those who call themselves "evolutionists" who in fact have no clue about what is science and what is religious belief. My take on it, - leave them alone. I can't argue with them, I don't argue with them and I won't. They ave a really RELIGIOUS agenda. Not my agenda. Moreover, something opposite to my religious agenda. As one saying goes, let them swim in their own pond.

But there IS science nonetheless, no matter who makes what of it. And this science says that populations evolve and, while evolving, can diverge into separate new species. Why would it matter, who makes what quasi-religious agenda of it? It's what science says, based on tons, tons, tons, megatons, mega-megatons of careful independent observations, questions, hypotheses, predictions, and tests. I, therefore, have but two choices (again, no matter what is anybody's religious agenda): one is, accept that it is true - just like H-two-O is true, or frivilously say that it is not true, just like H-two-O is not true and the Moon is made of green cheese because this and that Father of the 3-d or 4-th century Church wrote something to that effect...

Four semesters of biology should be fine... but do you really know genetics, population genetics and molecular genetics? When I started to teach at American universities, I was astonished by what junk people in this country call "biology..."
 

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Reading this thread has certainly been educating (sometimes entertaining, sometimes saddening.)  I intend to go over the early stages of the thread again so that I can get a better grasp of the situation.  But in reading this thread, while also being an admirer of Fr. Seraphim, something occured to me.  Fr. Seraphim spent the whole of his Orthodox life trying to acquire a Patristic mind-frame, that is, he tried to re-structure his way of thinking around the Fathers and Mothers rather than trying to find quotes from them to fit his frame of mind.  Now having said this, I realize that Fr. Seraphim was not entirely correct in all that he said and wrote, and he maybe went too far in some of his assertions.  Perhaps one of the reasons this is so is because the great leaps and bounds in scientific discoveries that we take for granted today simply could not have been even remotely understood by the Fathers (of whom Fr. Seraphim loved so much); they were, after all, a product of their times.  Our dear Fr. Seraphim was simply trying to acquire the 'mind-set' of the Fathers and Mothers (something very admirable and perhaps something we might all benefit from doing) while distancing himself from secular discoveries.  Fr. Seraphim was also a product of his time, or at least he was trying to distance himself from his 'time'.   He simply was in love with Jesus, and did all he could (speaking solely here of his books and lectures) for our benefit.  Again, I understand that he was probably incorrect on some of his understandings, but Fr. Seraphim is only one voice in the whole Ekklesian choir, as it were.

In Christ,
Gabriel
 

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You know, I was glad to see the other day that Cleveland locked this thread, simply because it was getting so heated.   Then I was glad to see that he unlocked it, in the hopes that some more fruitful discussion could continue.  I was really enjoying reading the posts, as I was learning so much about science and evolution, etc.  But I feel compelled to say that, at this point, I'm really tired of wading through all the muck of the personal attacks and arguments going on.  I haven't posted in several days to pretty much any thread because (and I'm sure a lot of this is just my perception) it just seems like everyone (and yes I know it is not everyone) is constantly jumping all over everyone else for the slightest little comment!

Though we all like to say that we aren't judging, it seems like you can't sling a dead cat around any of the threads these days without hitting a judgemental post- whether about "nitpicking" over some little detail of someone's post, "clarifying"- is that really what it is?, questioning meaning- when really we're challenging... I know I'm guilty of it too, lest someone hurry to reply to this post and point out that I, too, have done it.  

Anyway, I've just completely lost track of where this thread is going, having to skip over post after post of this stuff.  And funny, when I read over several threads with this kind of thing, there seems to be a common thread running through them, and that is someone (no implications here, so don't read them in, please) has decided themselves to be the authority.  

It seems that the only safe threads to post in, where one won't be attacked over the smallest little thing, are the random postings with the games and such!  I feel like I have had to eliminate my sense of humor from the few times that I do post (because I'm afraid I'll offend), and now I've gotten to the point that I don't want to post at all, for fear of being publicly taken to task over some little something that I absolutely did not mean.  Why is it that we all (lest I be attacked on this one too, I realize it's not ALL of us) look for the weak places to attack and challenge in eachother's posts, instead of just discussing like the loving Orthodox Christians that we're supposed to be?

I've posted my own personal opinions about evolution in this thread long ago.  I will reiterate that I think it's ridiculous to deny the existence of science, as some are essentially doing.  There is NO reason, whatsoever, that Orthodoxy should be afraid of science.  Science is nothing more than the process God uses to create and maintain our world.  The more we learn about science, the more we know about how God works.  This is, what I would say, the simplest form of the idea behind Theistic evolution.  That is, there is some form of evolution, and it is through that evolution that God works.  Denial of science, especially to such an extent as to call those who believe in science as God's handiwork heretics, smacks of little more than ignorance and fear.  If you don't understand the concepts or aren't up on the information, then just educate yourself before calling everyone else a heretic!  Part of the reason I've stayed out of the discussion, beyond what I originally said, is because I am learning a LOT more by reading, then by posting!  I'd rather learn from those who know than display my ignorance and *hear* (read?) the sound of my own voice!!!

All this being said, could we PLEASE take the personal attacks to the PM system???!!!!!  It has been suggested several times... Could somebody please be the hero here and either stop replying to the attacks or take them to the PM's?  I would, personally, love to get through at least one discussion on the threads that are devoid of attacks.  I'm tired of wading through the muck to try and find anything fruitful.  

Am I the only one that feels this way?

P.S.  I'd never heard of Fr. Seraphim Rose before I read this thread.  Call me unread if you like...
 

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Dear Presbytera Mari,

If in anything that I wrote there were personal attacks, I deeply apologize.

I am just a scientist and I am not "proud" of it any more than a shoemaker is "proud" that he is a shoemaker. But I am also as sure that biological science is true as this shoemaker is sure that his shoes are "true." And whether it is Fr. Seraphim Rose or anyone else who - based on something that does not convince me that he ever even saw my "shoes" - argues that these "shoes" are "not true" - I cannot agree with him, never will as long as I am in my trade, or even as long as I am alive.

If my trade is not compatible with what people judge to be Orthodox, then I am not Orthodox.

If you kindly do not judge my trade to be incompatible with being Orthodox, I thank you with all my heart and bow and pray that God bless and keep you and make all your paths prosperous.

Humbly, yours,

George
 

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Heorhij said:
Dear Presbytera Mari,

If in anything that I wrote there were personal attacks, I deeply apologize.

I am just a scientist and I am not "proud" of it any more than a shoemaker is "proud" that he is a shoemaker. But I am also as sure that biological science is true as this shoemaker is sure that his shoes are "true." And whether it is Fr. Seraphim Rose or anyone else who - based on something that does not convince me that he ever even saw my "shoes" - argues that these "shoes" are "not true" - I cannot agree with him, never will as long as I am in my trade, or even as long as I am alive.

If my trade is not compatible with what people judge to be Orthodox, then I am not Orthodox.

If you kindly do not judge my trade to be incompatible with being Orthodox, I thank you with all my heart and bow and pray that God bless and keep you and make all your paths prosperous.

Humbly, yours,

George
Please, please don't apologize.  That wasn't at all what I was looking for.  And I would not ever judge your trade to be incompatible with Orthodox, that was exactly my point.  Understanding science is understanding God's work.  Scientists help us understand.  My uncle is a scientist- a nuclear physicist retired from the army (he worked at Los Alamos years and years ago doing work that he still can't tell us about).  He is also a DEVOUT believer in God.  He is the one that originally told me that science is God's handiwork, and it's a phrase and belief that have stuck with me ever since I was a little girl.

Again, please don't apologize.  You have absolutely no reason to.  My saying that I've never heard of Fr. Seraphim Rose was just reiterating what you said- that not everyone has heard of him.

God bless you and the work you do!!!
Mari
 

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It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation.

Blessed Augustine – The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 1:19–20, Chapt. 19 [AD 408]
 

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We'll be opening this thread---having split several posts into a different thread---and I will again remind people:

An ad hominem attack is an attack against a person, and is not tolerated.
A debate is discussing information in a post, and is encouraged.

+Fr Chris
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GreekChef said:
You know, I was glad to see the other day that Cleveland locked this thread, simply because it was getting so heated.   Then I was glad to see that he unlocked it, in the hopes that some more fruitful discussion could continue.  I was really enjoying reading the posts, as I was learning so much about science and evolution, etc.  But I feel compelled to say that, at this point, I'm really tired of wading through all the muck of the personal attacks and arguments going on.  I haven't posted in several days to pretty much any thread because (and I'm sure a lot of this is just my perception) it just seems like everyone (and yes I know it is not everyone) is constantly jumping all over everyone else for the slightest little comment!

Though we all like to say that we aren't judging, it seems like you can't sling a dead cat around any of the threads these days without hitting a judgemental post- whether about "nitpicking" over some little detail of someone's post, "clarifying"- is that really what it is?, questioning meaning- when really we're challenging... I know I'm guilty of it too, lest someone hurry to reply to this post and point out that I, too, have done it.  

Anyway, I've just completely lost track of where this thread is going, having to skip over post after post of this stuff.  And funny, when I read over several threads with this kind of thing, there seems to be a common thread running through them, and that is someone (no implications here, so don't read them in, please) has decided themselves to be the authority.  

It seems that the only safe threads to post in, where one won't be attacked over the smallest little thing, are the random postings with the games and such!  I feel like I have had to eliminate my sense of humor from the few times that I do post (because I'm afraid I'll offend), and now I've gotten to the point that I don't want to post at all, for fear of being publicly taken to task over some little something that I absolutely did not mean.  Why is it that we all (lest I be attacked on this one too, I realize it's not ALL of us) look for the weak places to attack and challenge in eachother's posts, instead of just discussing like the loving Orthodox Christians that we're supposed to be?

I've posted my own personal opinions about evolution in this thread long ago.  I will reiterate that I think it's ridiculous to deny the existence of science, as some are essentially doing.  There is NO reason, whatsoever, that Orthodoxy should be afraid of science.  Science is nothing more than the process God uses to create and maintain our world.  The more we learn about science, the more we know about how God works.  This is, what I would say, the simplest form of the idea behind Theistic evolution.  That is, there is some form of evolution, and it is through that evolution that God works.  Denial of science, especially to such an extent as to call those who believe in science as God's handiwork heretics, smacks of little more than ignorance and fear.  If you don't understand the concepts or aren't up on the information, then just educate yourself before calling everyone else a heretic!  Part of the reason I've stayed out of the discussion, beyond what I originally said, is because I am learning a LOT more by reading, then by posting!  I'd rather learn from those who know than display my ignorance and *hear* (read?) the sound of my own voice!!!

All this being said, could we PLEASE take the personal attacks to the PM system???!!!!!  It has been suggested several times... Could somebody please be the hero here and either stop replying to the attacks or take them to the PM's?  I would, personally, love to get through at least one discussion on the threads that are devoid of attacks.  I'm tired of wading through the muck to try and find anything fruitful.  

Am I the only one that feels this way?

P.S.  I'd never heard of Fr. Seraphim Rose before I read this thread.  Call me unread if you like...
What a refreshing post, Presbytera Mari!  Thank you for it.

You are definitely not the only one who feels the way you do.

Earlier I bowed out of this "debate" for reasons I expressed in my post and for other, un-expressed, reasons, some of which you touched upon.

I will say this--I acknowledge that I am woefully under-educated in the sciences.  I also do not express myself very clearly sometimes, and this has occurred more than once here.  Some of the more recent postings by Herohij and others have been very useful and educational for me, without some of the pretty nasty polemics and ad-hominems that appeared earlier.  While I found myself being put off earlier by our resident biologist, I now see where he is coming from and, from the basis of my very little knowledge, find myself in agreement with him and with what you so clearly wrote above, as well as with Fr. Seraphim Rose, whom I would most heartily recommend to you.  This may seem contradictory, but in my old, mostly empty, little pea brain, I can see no "real" contradiction.  But then, that's just me  ;D ;D.

God bless you.

In Christ,
Jeff
 

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Heorhij said:
Dear Jeff (Ziggernaut),

I am so sorry that I, as you say, put you off (if it's me whom you refer to as resident biologist). Please forgive me. I really never knew how to debate, and it's perhaps too late for me to learn.

G.
You're doing great, the only thing you need to work on is not being so nice. Half of these creationists have opened themselves up to cutting and humiliating remarks and you never dealt the fatal blow. ;)

If you're too nice you may turn your enemies into allies and that would ruin everyone's fun. ;D
 

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greekischristian said:
You're doing great, the only thing you need to work on is not being so nice. Half of these creationists have opened themselves up to cutting and humiliating remarks and you never dealt the fatal blow. ;)

If you're too nice you may turn your enemies into allies and that would ruin everyone's fun. ;D
Well, as I said, I do not believe in the existence of creationists. They are fictional characters like Santa Claus or Ideal Man (not Ideal Woman, my wife is real.:)) There are simply people who have some knowledge about biology and others who do not. Within the second category, some are honest and want to learn, while others do not want to learn and pull illogical, irrational arguments (kind of like, speciation does not occur according to what the theory of biological evolution states because Fr. Whasshisname wrote this and said that). I do very sincerely want to help the people who are honest and want to learn. People who do not want to learn and pull irrational arguments make me desperate and sometimes angry, so I hurt everybody, including the honest and the willing to learn. :(
 

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Heorhij said:
Well, as I said, I do not believe in the existence of creationists. They are fictional characters like Santa Claus or Ideal Man (not Ideal Woman, my wife is real.:)) There are simply people who have some knowledge about biology and others who do not. Within the second category, some are honest and want to learn, while others do not want to learn and pull illogical, irrational arguments (kind of like, speciation does not occur according to what the theory of biological evolution states because Fr. Whasshisname wrote this and said that). I do very sincerely want to help the people who are honest and want to learn. People who do not want to learn and pull irrational arguments make me desperate and sometimes angry, so I hurt everybody, including the honest and the willing to learn. :(
I was just joking with you in my last post, I do hope that came across.

But I do think these creationists are real, in fact you described them: 'others [who] do not want to learn and pull illogical, irrational arguments.' And I can certainly sympathize with you they can make you desperate and anger you, I would personally use the term 'annoyed' to describe my reaction.

And, perhaps you are right, there may be those who honestly want to learn and simply do not understand the issue at hand, but I am skeptical. Perhaps it's because of the abrasive nature of my personality and my stubbornness (I get that from my German side ;)), but my experience as a creationist was that they are (or perhaps I should say 'we were') generally not interested in good science or sound research, it's a philosophical position based on ignorance and when ignorance is the foundation of your belief any presentation of knowledge is a threat.

No matter how well one presented the theory of evolution I would simply ignore it and retreat to cosmology, attempt to reduce the theory to absurdity by reducing principles it was philosophically dependent on to absurdity. Then, fortunately for me, I took Quantum Mechanics, I learned about the Uncertainty Principle and that matter (and anti-matter) can and does spontaneously generate itself from nothing: it has no need of creation. Reason forced me to dismiss the very arguments to which I would retreat and forced me to confront biological evolution head on. I eventually came to half heartedly accept it, though I had no understanding, then I decided that I had better learn something about biology, it was simply unacceptable to be completely ignorant of an entire scientific field. My studies eventually lead me to this paper http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v423/n6937/full/nature01644.html (abstract only), the methods used and the points made were irrefutable; they were not trying to prove evolution by any means, they all already knew that it was true, it was the basis of their research...but the implications of that assumption were remarkable, four yeast genomes tell you more than a million fossils and a million core samples could ever hope to. I had learned enought that I no longer had a reasonable choice of 'beliefs', there was only one acceptable belief, it is clear that theories opposed to common ancestry and natural selection are simply wrong. To those who think otherwise, read the paper, it's the best $30 you'll ever spend; or if you're too cheap to do that, go down to your local university, every university that's worth being called a school has a subscription to Nature.

But the point I was trying to get across through all this (and I doubt I did a very good job) is that while I now approach the subject with the zeal of a convert, this conversion required the overthrowing of deeply held philosophical and religious principles...it's not something you'll achieve by good education and reasonable arguments alone. It's something that can only be accomplished by the person in question, they have to have an honest desire to learn and advance their knowledge, even at the expense of that which they hold most dear, their very weltanschauung. It's only when I elevated the pursuit of knowledge above all else, as the ulimate good, that I could do as much.

Perhaps you have different experiences as a Professor of Biology, then again perhaps your students tend to be more open to the scientific method and reasonable discourse, but I am skeptical as to whether or not one can effectively educate those who do not wish to be educated (and I would argue today that creationists, by virtue of being creationists, do now wish to be educated).

Hence, I generally don't even try to teach, I have been content to score rhetorical points (the great thing about being right is that it makes this endeavour rather easy ;)). But I must concede that as you still seek to do as much, you are a more patient and optimistic man than I. :)
 

M

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cleveland said:
You know what, I don't want to get into this discussion... However, don't just throw out Origen because he was condemned - many of the Fathers (um, Saints) used and continue to use what is good that came from Origen, while rejecting the specific things that were bad.

And as for Clement, I think other Fathers quote Clement as well.  I don't have the time to research this now, however, so I understand if you disagree.
Actually, he was never officially condenmned.

Many of the Early Fathers sometimes had some wierd views.
 

Pravoslavbob

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M said:
Actually, he was never officially condenmned.
I beg to differ.  I do think that his condemnation was quite tragic, coming as it did well after his death, when he couldn't defend himself.  Some of what he did/wrote certainly was worthy of censure, but he was such an amazingly prolific pioneer too.  But that's a subject for another thread.
 
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