Creationism, Evolution, and Orthodoxy

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

  • Yes

    Votes: 73 16.8%
  • No

    Votes: 163 37.6%
  • both metaphorically and literally

    Votes: 198 45.6%

  • Total voters
    434

GOCTheophan

Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2006
Messages
147
Reaction score
0
Points
0
PeterTheAleut said:
Actually, Theophan, the Church DOES glorify Clement of Alexandria as a saint and Father.
Just because Origen was condemned by the Church for his universalist heresies doesn't mean that we should disregard EVERYTHING this man had to say.
If I were to tell you, you would then brand these named holy men and Fathers as heretics irrelevant to this discussion, thus making the circuit of your circular reasoning complete.  You can't say that no Holy Father has ever accepted Darwinism when you make rejection of Darwinism the very criterion by which you declare someone a Holy Father.
The Roman Catholic Church does accept Clement as a saint and a Father . The Orthodox Church does not. Anastasios was kind enough to correct me on this once.

Origen was not only condemned for his teaching on universal salvation but also for his teaching on other subjects, including the pre-existence of souls that was at the root of his rejection of a literal understanding of Genisis.

No righteous person of the 19 th or 20 th century accepted Darwinism. That is a fact that should tell us something. The fact that you cannot even come up with one even new calendarist or Sergianist illustrates my point.  

Theophan.
 

Aristocles

Merarches
Joined
Apr 23, 2003
Messages
10,031
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
Pittsburgh
Then I'm sure you GOC boys will love this:

http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article8038.asp

Authored by my own metropolitan.
 

minasoliman

Stratopedarches
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
20,198
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
NJ
You obviously completely ignored what I said:

Origen (and I'm going to qualify this because Sts. Basil and Gregory Nazienzen qualified this too) did not believe the Trees of life or Knowledge were literal plants with some sort of edible fruit that provided you Life or Knowledge.
I knew exactly that there will be people here who will just discount whatever Origen taught simply because he was "condemned."    That's why I wrote whatever was in the quotes.  Slow down and read; don't be quick to reply and judge.  If there's anything that is Orthodox and praised specifically by both these great Church fathers and saints, it's Origen's "Philocalia," which was an anthology of Basil and Gregory's favorite ORTHODOX parts of Origen, one of which was describing the proper way of interpreting the Bible.

And as far as I know, we seem to disagree on what "impermanent" means (you haven't even told me what you mean be it; you just simply denied it had anything to do with mortality).  St. Athanasius believed man was the ONLY one who received immortality, but because they sinned, the fell from Paradise and went back to Earth.  Obviously then, St. Athanasius specifically believed it was man who fell, not the whole world.  I suggest you read "On the Incarnation."

God bless.
 

Anastasios

Merarches
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
Oct 3, 2002
Messages
10,556
Reaction score
7
Points
38
Location
Reston, VA
Website
www.anastasioshudson.com
Αριστοκλής said:
Then I'm sure you GOC boys will love this:

http://www.goarch.org/en/ourfaith/articles/article8038.asp

Authored by my own metropolitan.
What part of that long article did you want us to look at? I don't feel like reading the whole thing right now.
 

minasoliman

Stratopedarches
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
20,198
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
NJ
Anastasios said:
Clement is not a saint. That was what I was taught at SVS.
That's news to me.  I had no idea.  We Orthodox seem to disagree even on pre-schism figures as saints, let alone post-schism.  Is he simply just not commemorated in a calendar, or he's simply being denied sainthood like how some try to do with Augustine?
 

Symeon

High Elder
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Messages
582
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Anastasios said:
Clement is not a saint. That was what I was taught at SVS.
On what basis? Clement was only denied his sainthood by Pope Clement VIII in the 16th century. Do we Orthodox accept his action?
 

Anastasios

Merarches
Staff member
Administrator
Joined
Oct 3, 2002
Messages
10,556
Reaction score
7
Points
38
Location
Reston, VA
Website
www.anastasioshudson.com
Symeon said:
On what basis? Clement was only denied his sainthood by Pope Clement VIII in the 16th century. Do we Orthodox accept his action?
I have no idea, it's been years since I was in that class.  It is my recollection that he was never entered into the Synaxarion. If he is, what day is his feast? Is there a service for him? Any churches named after him? I don't recall any of that.
 

minasoliman

Stratopedarches
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
May 24, 2004
Messages
20,198
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Location
NJ
Anastasios said:
I have no idea, it's been years since I was in that class.  It is my recollection that he was never entered into the Synaxarion. If he is, what day is his feast? Is there a service for him? Any churches named after him? I don't recall any of that.
We don't have Clement in the Coptic Synexarium, but there's a general consensus of calling him an honored Church father and saint.
 

PeterTheAleut

Hypatos
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 8, 2006
Messages
37,280
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
49
Location
Portland, Oregon
GOCTheophan said:
No righteous person of the 19 th or 20 th century accepted Darwinism. That is a fact that should tell us something. The fact that you cannot even come up with one even new calendarist or Sergianist illustrates my point. 
Actually, I didn't attempt to present a contrary saint to you not because I can't but because I just didn't see that doing so was germane to the counterpoint I tried to make.  My point, once again, is this: You cannot assert that no holy man of the 19th and 20th Centuries ever accepted Darwinism when you make acceptance of Darwinism the very reason for refusing to recognize someone as holy.  You essentially stack the deck precisely to support your pov, not to mention that this is also the very epitome of circular logic.
 

falafel333

Elder
Joined
Aug 18, 2005
Messages
337
Reaction score
0
Points
0
GOCTheophan said:
Falafell...Origien is an anathemised heretic. Do you also believe in the pre-existence of souls, the theory behind his refusal to believe what the Church teaches on this subject was based on? Clement of Alexandria also is not an Orthodox saint, not a Holy Father.

As regards the other quoates they can hardly be considered to be AGANIST the literal interputation. I have stated that other interputations- moral, mystical, symbolical are indeed possible but they do not negate the historical Truth of the God-seer Moses's narrative. They can hardly be said to be aganist what the Church teaches with the expection of Origien, who I repeat was a HERETIC.

Theophan.
All of these authors obviously offer a different theory to the literal six-day creation one. You also need to separate the age of Biblical human history which patristic authors give from the Genesis account from the age of the earth which many do not presume to know.

You need to be very careful here would you call these blasphemous as well. Quickly jumping to such judgments with the limited knowledge that we do have can have quite deleterious effects.

Furthermore, why is such a piont so important to you, whether what is mentioned is to be taken literally or allegorically? Would it contradict the doctrines of the church? Can you be so sure that God didn't decide to create in a certain way? What if He did create through evolution, what then?

I think the theology and doctrinal standpoint is much more important than a literal or allegorical sense to the passage. Where these exegetical methods are in conflict with Orthodox theology and dogma is where perhaps a problem may exist.

I have seen too much time wasted on debates and arguments over this issue, all of which is pure scepticism, when it could have been spent on much more fruitful things.

Last time I checked I can't ever remember seeing a literal six-day creation theory of the world being a mandatory dogma of the church.

That being said we should be content to accept that there are a diversity of opinions and that there are much more fruitful things that we should occupy our time, energy and effort with.
 

GOCTheophan

Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2006
Messages
147
Reaction score
0
Points
0
PeterTheAleut said:
Actually, I didn't attempt to present a contrary saint to you not because I can't but because I just didn't see that doing so was germane to the counterpoint I tried to make.  My point, once again, is this: You cannot assert that no holy man of the 19th and 20th Centuries ever accepted Darwinism when you make acceptance of Darwinism the very reason for refusing to recognize someone as holy.  You essentially stack the deck precisely to support your pov, not to mention that this is also the very epitome of circular logic.
Okay. Can you name a commonly recognised Saint of the 19 th century or even righteous one who accepted Darwinism?

I would probably reject those from the 20 th century you would bring up for other reasons, such as their allowing themselves to be pawns of Soviet power or even praising Joseph Stalin, showing gross disobediance to the canons, being heretical on other issues, etc. 

Theophan.
 

falafel333

Elder
Joined
Aug 18, 2005
Messages
337
Reaction score
0
Points
0
GOCTheophan said:
Okay. Can you name a commonly recognised Saint of the 19 th century or even righteous one who accepted Darwinism?

I would probably reject those from the 20 th century you would bring up for other reasons, such as their allowing themselves to be pawns of Soviet power or even praising Joseph Stalin, showing gross disobediance to the canons, being heretical on other issues, etc. 

Theophan.
This challenge is nonsensical in itself since Darwinism was not proposed till the late 19th century, and even then it was in a largely nonOrthodox country. And was really only then popularised in the 20th century.
 

Heorhij

Merarches
Joined
May 2, 2007
Messages
8,574
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
62
Location
Columbus, MS, USA (Originally from Ukraine)
Website
www.muw.edu
GOCTheophan said:
Okay. Can you name a commonly recognised Saint of the 19 th century or even righteous one who accepted Darwinism?


Theophan.
Dear Theophan,

There is no Darwinism, just like there is "Maxwellianism" or "Einsteinianism" or "Pasteurism." Darwin never intended to be the founder of any philosophical teaching, and those who think that there is one are simply misguided.

All Darwin did was explain the "mechanical," mechanistic side of the problem of diversification of life. To this sole end, he proposed a well-founded scientific theory of biological evolution (TBE). So far, TBE is not disproved, so, according to the conventional rules of the scientific method, it stands as valid. (Under "disproved" I, of course, mean purely scientific data, such as an observation that genes do not exist or do not mutate, or that frequencies of alleles and genotypes in populations remain constant regardless of the number of generations, etc. - not religious or other metaphysical objections.)

I believe we can simply choose to learn basic tenets of TBE, just like we can choose to learn basic tenets of other valid, sound scientific theories like the theory of electromagnetism, or the relativity theory, or the germ theory of disease. If we choose not to (which is tragic, IMHO), then we should not engage in debates about these theories, just like we should not engage in debates about the exact appearance of some animal that we never saw.

The dichotomy "choose Christ or choose Darwin (Maxwell, Tesla, Einstein, Bohr, Pasteur, Koch, ..., ..., ...)" is, IMHO, very false and, actually, cruel, unkind. I believe it is one of those false dichotomies that the evil one tries to sell us, to distract us from God and from what is really important in life.

George
 

ozgeorge

Hoplitarches
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 2, 2004
Messages
16,379
Reaction score
1
Points
0
Age
54
Location
Australia
Website
www.greekorthodox.org.au
Heorhij said:
The dichotomy "choose Christ or choose Darwin (Maxwell, Tesla, Einstein, Bohr, Pasteur, Koch, ..., ..., ...)" is, IMHO, very false and, actually, cruel, unkind. I believe it is one of those false dichotomies that the evil one tries to sell us, to distract us from God and from what is really important in life.
Hear hear!
You know, the only place I find Orthodox Christians discussing "Darwinism" is in internet forums. I have never once come across an Orthodox Christian book on the subject (perhaps there is one I don't know about). .I never hear it in our trapeza discussions after Liturgy or Q&A time with the Hegumen. Anything I have read or heard on the subject other than in online forums has come from either Evangelical Protestantism or Seventh Day Adventists.
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2004
Messages
2,743
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Dear Anastasius,

I have read St Basil's Hexameron and he seems to suggest we should leave science to the scientists, no?
It seems to me that St Basil's take on Genesis, at least on his own terms, was inspired by his understanding of the authoritative teaching of Scripture rather than science. In chapter six of his Hexameron he states:

We are proposing to examine the structure of the world and to contemplate the whole universe, not from the wisdom of the world, but from what God taught His servant when He spoke to him in person and without riddles.
I think there is a sense in which those who argue evolution are going to have to concede that many Fathers were plain wrong, not in their application of the science of their day as many claim, but simply in their understanding of the intention of the Scriptures, which those Fathers regarded as the sole authority upon which to base their ideas of creation.
 

DerekMK

Protokentarchos
Joined
Oct 4, 2002
Messages
5,437
Reaction score
0
Points
0
I have never once come across an Orthodox Christian book on the subject (perhaps there is one I don't know about). .I never hear it in our trapeza discussions after Liturgy or Q&A time with the Hegumen
Genesis, Creation and Early Man by Fr. Seraphim Rose.  

I'm fairly sure Cavarnos has a book out on the topic.  I remember seeing many little tract type publications at Athonite monasteries and other places in Greece.  Oddly enough I've even run across a Polish translation of Fr. Seraphim Rose's book.  
 

Keble

Protokentarchos
Joined
Mar 31, 2003
Messages
3,623
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
60
Location
Maryland
ozgeorge said:
You know, the only place I find Orthodox Christians discussing "Darwinism" is in internet forums. I have never once come across an Orthodox Christian book on the subject (perhaps there is one I don't know about). .I never hear it in our trapeza discussions after Liturgy or Q&A time with the Hegumen. Anything I have read or heard on the subject other than in online forums has come from either Evangelical Protestantism or Seventh Day Adventists.
As far as I know, creationism as we know it today is a product of the United States. In orthodoxy things seem to trace back to Seraphim Rose, who showed a characteristic American interest in this and in "new age" religion.
 

Heorhij

Merarches
Joined
May 2, 2007
Messages
8,574
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
62
Location
Columbus, MS, USA (Originally from Ukraine)
Website
www.muw.edu
Keble said:
As far as I know, creationism as we know it today is a product of the United States. In orthodoxy things seem to trace back to Seraphim Rose, who showed a characteristic American interest in this and in "new age" religion.
Well, on a Russian Orthodox forum "Sirota" ("An Orphan") (http://www.cirota.ru) somebody mentioned a while ago that a book written by some present-day Russian Orthodox Church cleric is being circulated among the faithful. In this book this Fr. argues that the six days of Genesis are actual 6 times 24 hours, that the Earth is 7,000 years old, that real Adam and real Eve indeed existed alone (with no other humans around), etc. etc. etc.

Also, a number of the Russian Orthodox clerics wrote letters to the Ministry of Education of Russia, where they claimed that the biology curriculum in Russian schools must be changed, because it does not include the Genesis creation story.

Having said that, I actually do not disagree that this idiotic "creationism" is a Western, Evangelical Protestant influence.
 

PeterTheAleut

Hypatos
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 8, 2006
Messages
37,280
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
49
Location
Portland, Oregon
GOCTheophan said:
Okay. Can you name a commonly recognised Saint of the 19 th century or even righteous one who accepted Darwinism?

I would probably reject those from the 20 th century you would bring up for other reasons, such as their allowing themselves to be pawns of Soviet power or even praising Joseph Stalin, showing gross disobediance to the canons, being heretical on other issues, etc. 

Theophan.
I'm sorry (speaking as a mere poster), I can't allow you to set the rules for the debate like that.  You can't ask for a commonly recognized saint from one century yet reject commonly recognized saints from the next merely because they don't meet your standards of saintliness.  You're trying to set up the game board in your favor so that you can't possibly lose this argument.  You need to be consistent.  If you want me to name a commonly recognized saint from the 19th century, then you must accept every commonly recognized saint of the 20th, even those who don't meet your personal standards.

Should I likewise mention that you're also setting yourself up to be the lone arbiter of truth?  I'm sorry, but the Church isn't named the Church of GOCTheophan, nor are you the vicar of Christ; she is the Church of Jesus Christ, Who needs no vicar.
 

ozgeorge

Hoplitarches
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 2, 2004
Messages
16,379
Reaction score
1
Points
0
Age
54
Location
Australia
Website
www.greekorthodox.org.au
Keble said:
As far as I know, creationism as we know it today is a product of the United States.
Brought to you by the same country which gave us religious fundamentalism.

Keble said:
In orthodoxy things seem to trace back to Seraphim Rose, who showed a characteristic American interest in this and in "new age" religion.
I wonder why. Perhaps, the Church in the US being much more of a missionary Church with many more converts (some parishes being composed mostly of adult converts- something which doesn't happen here) may be a major contributing factor as to why this debate is so prevalent there?  Or perhaps, existing in a land where this debate is so brought to the fore by Christian Fundamentalism, a response is needed. As I said, the only time I ever discuss this issue with Orthodox Christians is on internet forums.
 

Symeon

High Elder
Joined
Nov 10, 2006
Messages
582
Reaction score
0
Points
0
falafel333 said:
Last time I checked I can't ever remember seeing a literal six-day creation theory of the world being a mandatory dogma of the church.

That being said we should be content to accept that there are a diversity of opinions and that there are much more fruitful things that we should occupy our time, energy and effort with.
Yeah, although I tend to be a literalist, I agree with this sentiment. I don't think this needs to be a divisive issue.
 

greekischristian

Merarches
Site Supporter
Joined
Feb 4, 2005
Messages
9,487
Reaction score
0
Points
36
Symeon said:
Yeah, although I tend to be a literalist, I agree with this sentiment. I don't think this needs to be a divisive issue.
One is, of course, in our society free to hold whatever view they desire, no matter how absurd. However, if one is to advocate a completely and utterly absurd idea such as a ptolemaic universe, or a euclidean flat earth, or creationism they should expect a degree of public ridicule and rebuke. These things are not simply alternate or competing theories, they are plain wrong, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. We have simply advanced enough to know and understand enough of the truths of gravity, relativity, and evolution to know that these outdated models are simply incorrect. Science is not a matter of theology, religion, opnion, or rhetoric, it is a matter of fact...and until you can present and scientifically support an alternate theory to a degree surpassing current theories, there is simply no room for disagreement.
 

PeterTheAleut

Hypatos
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 8, 2006
Messages
37,280
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
49
Location
Portland, Oregon
greekischristian said:
One is, of course, in our society free to hold whatever view they desire, no matter how absurd. However, if one is to advocate a completely and utterly absurd idea such as a ptolemaic universe, or a euclidean flat earth, or creationism they should expect a degree of public ridicule and rebuke. These things are not simply alternate or competing theories, they are plain wrong, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. We have simply advanced enough to know and understand enough of the truths of gravity, relativity, and evolution to know that these outdated models are simply incorrect. Science is not a matter of theology, religion, opnion, or rhetoric, it is a matter of fact...and until you can present and scientifically support an alternate theory to a degree surpassing current theories, there is simply no room for disagreement.
There's science, and then there's scientolatry.
 

greekischristian

Merarches
Site Supporter
Joined
Feb 4, 2005
Messages
9,487
Reaction score
0
Points
36
PeterTheAleut said:
There's science, and then there's scientolatry.
There's religion, and then there's fundamentalism.

As science is true, true religion will not conflict with the same.
 

prodromas

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Jul 9, 2007
Messages
1,239
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
30
Location
Victoria, Australia
greekischristian said:
There's religion, and then there's fundamentalism.

As science is true, true religion will not conflict with the same.
GIC I think kuhn and popper would have a couple of things to say about your assertion that science is true (sorry to sound stupid I have a philosophy essay to do tomorrow on the authority of science on truth and have been excessively reading those two authors)
 

Keble

Protokentarchos
Joined
Mar 31, 2003
Messages
3,623
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
60
Location
Maryland
It's easy to trace out the development of this in the USA, because (ironically) the issue keeps impinging upon the public square, so the media keep it in public view. The American academic world has always had an inferiority complex, an attitude frequently resented in other social strata; at the same time, the lack of ecclesiastical establishment has inevitably led to extremely scattershot reactions. So when the heavily anti-clerical European academics jumped on the "Darwinism shows that religion is a crock", the mainline churches mostly ignored that and stuck with an attitude of a certain grudging accomodation; but in the midwest, which by that time had managed to set up its own academic and church establishments, the baptist-polity groups were free to (over-)react. This area was already smarting from New England elite condescension, so the whole thing has evolved into a class war which persists to this day.

From a greater historical perspective there is a parallel between this and the various late medieval heresy-revolts (such as the Dolcinians and the Apostolic Brethren). You see a lot of the same kind of paranoid semi-underground apocalyptic thinking, and the same realization of social division in philosophical processes. It's facilitated in the US, however, because the place is too large and too disrespectful of assumed authority to prevent the creation of these counter establishment sects like the SDAs and JWs; indeed, they develop into (or capture, in the case of the SBC) establishments of their own. I get the impression that a lot of foreign intellectual types have trouble conceiving of a country in which the Southern Baptists are many times larger than the Episcopalians and that both wield considerable public influence. (But then, I don't think anybody can conceive of Texas. ;D ) I get the impression that the current Russian situation is a lot like that late medieval situation: a lot of distress and a lot of corruption, and a sense of a fallen place in the world. So it isn't surprising that there is a similar grasp at eschatological visions for a solution to their sorrows, especially since they cannot do anything about the real problems.
 

ytterbiumanalyst

Merarches
Joined
Jun 3, 2007
Messages
8,785
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
35
Location
Springfield, MO
prodromas said:
GIC I think kuhn and popper would have a couple of things to say about your assertion that science is true (sorry to sound stupid I have a philosophy essay to do tomorrow on the authority of science on truth and have been excessively reading those two authors)
You are correct in that science is not truth; rather, it is our best observation to date. Humans are not, nor will they ever be, omniscient. In every theory there is room for error. Any good scientist is open to the idea that there may be another later who contradicts his theory. Any scientist who doesn't is simply arrogant.
 

Heorhij

Merarches
Joined
May 2, 2007
Messages
8,574
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
62
Location
Columbus, MS, USA (Originally from Ukraine)
Website
www.muw.edu
ytterbiumanalyst said:
You are correct in that science is not truth; rather, it is our best observation to date. Humans are not, nor will they ever be, omniscient. In every theory there is room for error. Any good scientist is open to the idea that there may be another later who contradicts his theory. Any scientist who doesn't is simply arrogant.
Yes, I agree. Besides, AFAIK Kuhn showed that science moves from a paradigm to a paradigm, in "leaps," paradigm shifts, rather than in "increments" of knowledge. Yet, a hypothesis, or a theory, or even a paradigm can always be disproved. That's why quite a number of hypotheses and theories/paradigms are no longer regarded as valid, sound, working. We do not teach them in schools, and we do not give them any credibility; they are just "archived" and are interesting only as steps in the history of science. Such are theory of phlogistone in chemistry, or theory of ether in physics, or the so-called "instructionist" theory in immunology. The latter, BTW, was proposed by one of the finest minds in immunology, Karl Landsteiner, the man who discovered blood types, explained the significance of the rhesus factor for the hemolytic disease of newborns, etc. Nonetheless, his theory was objectively, scientifically DISproved. Nothing of the kind has ever happened to Darwin's TBE, so it stands.
 

greekischristian

Merarches
Site Supporter
Joined
Feb 4, 2005
Messages
9,487
Reaction score
0
Points
36
ytterbiumanalyst said:
You are correct in that science is not truth; rather, it is our best observation to date. Humans are not, nor will they ever be, omniscient. In every theory there is room for error. Any good scientist is open to the idea that there may be another later who contradicts his theory. Any scientist who doesn't is simply arrogant.
You are, do a degree, correct. But I would argue that Mathematics (and Mathematics alone) is truth, and those few scientific areas that are firmly steeped in Mathematics to expound on truth. Off the top of my head the only two fields that I can think of where this is done are Mathematical Physics and Theoretical Computer Science. Beyond that, science expounds on facts; the distinction, however, is not because of some flaw in science but due to the limited abilities of those engaged in science...being only million year since we came down from the trees and all, this is certainly understandable. However, if we wish to expand a discussion of 'truth' beyond the realm of Theoretical Mathematics, and be able to speak of it in a meaningful way, as more than a mere linguistic construct, we must (as I recently said in another thread) base our discussion on fact, that is to say we must base it on science. Science is a minimum standard by which we must measure our understanding of the Universe; sure, it may not be perfect and it may not be complete, but the methods of science are the methods of discovering truth so if one wishes to dispute the truth of a theory or hypothesis they must dispute it in a manner consonant with science, they must present an alternate theory or hypothesis that explains everything current models do (and, generally speaking, explain even more observations) and this new theory or hypothesis must be supported by the scientific method and by scientific obervations. This is the problem with the so-called 'intelligent design' movement (to tie this discussion back into the OP), they have attempted to attack current scientific theories and they have even created their own theory. But until the proponents can offer direct scientific evidence for an intelligent designer, surpassing the current level of scientific evidence for evolution, what they are arguing is not science, is not fact, is not truth: it's merely misguided ideology.
 

PeterTheAleut

Hypatos
Site Supporter
Joined
Mar 8, 2006
Messages
37,280
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
49
Location
Portland, Oregon
greekischristian said:
You are, do a degree, correct. But I would argue that Mathematics (and Mathematics alone) is truth, and those few scientific areas that are firmly steeped in Mathematics to expound on truth. Off the top of my head the only two fields that I can think of where this is done are Mathematical Physics and Theoretical Computer Science. Beyond that, science expounds on facts; the distinction, however, is not because of some flaw in science but due to the limited abilities of those engaged in science...being only million year since we came down from the trees and all, this is certainly understandable. However, if we wish to expand a discussion of 'truth' beyond the realm of Theoretical Mathematics, and be able to speak of it in a meaningful way, as more than a mere linguistic construct, we must (as I recently said in another thread) base our discussion on fact, that is to say we must base it on science. Science is a minimum standard by which we must measure our understanding of the Universe; sure, it may not be perfect and it may not be complete, but the methods of science are the methods of discovering truth so if one wishes to dispute the truth of a theory or hypothesis they must dispute it in a manner consonant with science, they must present an alternate theory or hypothesis that explains everything current models do (and, generally speaking, explain even more observations) and this new theory or hypothesis must be supported by the scientific method and by scientific obervations. This is the problem with the so-called 'intelligent design' movement (to tie this discussion back into the OP), they have attempted to attack current scientific theories and they have even created their own theory. But until the proponents can offer direct scientific evidence for an intelligent designer, surpassing the current level of scientific evidence for evolution, what they are arguing is not science, is not fact, is not truth: it's merely misguided ideology.
Mathematics and science are both abstractions developed by the mind of man and his attempts to explain creation.  The creation they seek to explain lies outside of man, for it is the creative handiwork of God.  So how can you exalt mathematics and science to the level of truth when they fundamentally do not exist outside of our own minds?
 

greekischristian

Merarches
Site Supporter
Joined
Feb 4, 2005
Messages
9,487
Reaction score
0
Points
36
PeterTheAleut said:
Mathematics and science are both abstractions developed by the mind of man and his attempts to explain creation.  The creation they seek to explain lies outside of man, for it is the creative handiwork of God.  So how can you exalt mathematics and science to the level of truth when they fundamentally do not exist outside of our own minds?
Mathematics does not merely exist within our minds, Mathematics transcends us, transcends the universe, transcends existence itself...we merely uncover the truth of Mathematics with our minds. If a certain set of axioms are assumed theorems must flow from those axioms, if another set is assumed a different set of theorems must come forth. And from this, the closest thing man can ever know as absolute statements of the form 'If...then...' are uncovered, these statements are true and meaningful, as they are not, by necessity, a tautology. No man, no universe, no deity is necessary to make these things true, and no man or deity has the power to make them false...in its most absolute and purest form, this is truth.

Science, on the other hand, is truth insofar as it borrows from the field of Mathematics.

To quote the Mathematician Edward Everett: 'In the pure mathematics we contemplate absolute truths which existed in the divine mind before the morning stars sang together, and which will continue to exist there when the last of their radiant host shall have fallen from heaven.'
 

ytterbiumanalyst

Merarches
Joined
Jun 3, 2007
Messages
8,785
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
35
Location
Springfield, MO
greekischristian said:
No man, no universe, no deity is necessary to make these things true, and no man or deity has the power to make them false...in its most absolute and purest form, this is truth.
Here's a mathematical axiom: If no one can disprove a scientific theory, then it is not a scientific theory. Science is only capable of containing truth if it is also capable of containing falsehood. For example, the existence of the Loch Ness monster cannot be scientifically verified because it is not possible to prove that she does not exist, only that she was not in this place at this time. However, it is possible to prove that gravity exists, because it is also possible to prove by the same experiments that it has no effect on us whatsoever.

I owe a great deal of this argument to my colleague, a science teacher at the high school where I teach.
 

greekischristian

Merarches
Site Supporter
Joined
Feb 4, 2005
Messages
9,487
Reaction score
0
Points
36
ytterbiumanalyst said:
Here's a mathematical axiom: If no one can disprove a scientific theory, then it is not a scientific theory.
Close, but not quite, if it is not theoretically falsifiable then it is not a scientific theory. There are many scientific theories that while quite likely impossible to disprove (e.g. gravity, quantum mechanics, evolution) because they are correct, they are, on a theoretical level, falsifiable. Of course, Mathematics is exempt from this this, but is not truly a science, it is not based on observation or experiment, but on theoretical propositions.

Science is only capable of containing truth if it is also capable of containing falsehood. For example, the existence of the Loch Ness monster cannot be scientifically verified because it is not possible to prove that she does not exist, only that she was not in this place at this time. However, it is possible to prove that gravity exists, because it is also possible to prove by the same experiments that it has no effect on us whatsoever.

I owe a great deal of this argument to my colleague, a science teacher at the high school where I teach.
This is true speaking of the scientific method in general, but it does not imply that a particular scientific theory contains any falsehood.
 

prodromas

OC.Net Guru
Joined
Jul 9, 2007
Messages
1,239
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
30
Location
Victoria, Australia
greekischristian said:
Mathematics does not merely exist within our minds, Mathematics transcends us, transcends the universe, transcends existence itself...we merely uncover the truth of Mathematics with our minds. If a certain set of axioms are assumed theorems must flow from those axioms, if another set is assumed a different set of theorems must come forth. And from this, the closest thing man can ever know as absolute statements of the form 'If...then...' are uncovered, these statements are true and meaningful, as they are not, by necessity, a tautology. No man, no universe, no deity is necessary to make these things true, and no man or deity has the power to make them false...in its most absolute and purest form, this is truth.

Science, on the other hand, is truth insofar as it borrows from the field of Mathematics.

To quote the Mathematician Edward Everett: 'In the pure mathematics we contemplate absolute truths which existed in the divine mind before the morning stars sang together, and which will continue to exist there when the last of their radiant host shall have fallen from heaven.'
GIC is undoubtedly right about mathematics being truth and outside of our minds. an example of this is Blaise Pascal (famous for Pascal's wager) who was very sick as a child and was bed ridden for a large percentage of his youth and in the time he "found" a lot of the geometric truths without being told our taught the methods to reach them but he could not reach something like gravity or evolution purely through reason without evidence.
 

ytterbiumanalyst

Merarches
Joined
Jun 3, 2007
Messages
8,785
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Age
35
Location
Springfield, MO
greekischristian said:
This is true speaking of the scientific method in general, but it does not imply that a particular scientific theory contains any falsehood.
I believe that I said it must be capable of containing falsehood--which is quite different from actually containing falsehood.
 
Joined
Aug 8, 2004
Messages
2,743
Reaction score
0
Points
0
EkhristosAnesti said:
Dear Anastasius,


It seems to me that St Basil's take on Genesis, at least on his own terms, was inspired by his understanding of the authoritative teaching of Scripture rather than science. In chapter six of his Hexameron he states:

We are proposing to examine the structure of the world and to contemplate the whole universe, not from the wisdom of the world, but from what God taught His servant when He spoke to him in person and without riddles.

I think there is a sense in which those who argue evolution are going to have to concede that many Fathers were plain wrong, not in their application of the science of their day as many claim, but simply in their understanding of the intention of the Scriptures, which those Fathers regarded as the sole authority upon which to base their ideas of creation.
I would love to hear a response from anyone who seriously supports evolution on the one hand, and yet has a high regard for the Fathers on the other hand (which excludes GiC in that case  ;))

This is not a challenge, I am just genuinely interested in hearing how such persons would interpret the patristic testimony. FWIW, I personally do not have any position on the matter of creationism vs. evolution since it is a subject I have very superficially investigated.
 

ComingHome

Elder
Joined
Aug 17, 2006
Messages
302
Reaction score
0
Points
0
Coming from a fundamentalist Protestant background, I have a kneejerk reaction to any talk about evolution.  But I am interested in understanding.  How does one reconcile God as Creator (according to the Creed) with evolution?  How could there be other people who were not created as Genesis says Adam and Eve were?  If A & E are not literally the first humans, who or what are they and who or what do they signify?  Are there any resources which would be helpful to consult in relation to these things?

I am sorry for my abyssmal ignorance on this subject but until recently I thought I had all the answers and didn't seriously consider any other questions.
 
 
Top