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

minasoliman

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jckstraw72 said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
ok - wait .... youre attributing dating methods to God, but the Fathers who wrote on Genesis were just writing personal opinions?! of course all of creation speaks of God ... but God directly speaks to us in the Church ...
If a Church father believed that the earth was flat (and there have been many), and evidence shows otherwise, I think it's okay to say the Church fathers weren't correct on their view of the world.  The Church fathers were infallible with spirituality, not science.  I think God speaks to what matters the most.  What's more important, teaching how the GI system absorbs nutrients, or feeding the poor?
 

Rufus

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jckstraw72 said:
Jetavan said:
Nigula Qian Zishi said:
The Church year will soon be 7519, showing exactly when orthodox Christianity teaches the beginning of creation was.
By "the beginning of creation", do you mean when God spoke "Let there be light"?
you can read about it here http://www.orthodoxwiki.org/Byzantine_Creation_Era
How did they know the world was created on September 1st?
 

nstanosheck

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Heorhij said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
I knew one US Evangelical fundamentalist who used to say, "OK folks, all I can say based on the assumption that these radio dating data are true is that God DELIBERATELTY created our planet, as well as the entire Universe, OLD. That was his plan. The alternative - to disbelieve the Bible - is not acceptable."

I am extremely sad that this fanatical, blind Biblical literalism penetrates into Orthodoxy as well...
No, what is sad is that people believe unproven theories over the Fathers, the Bible, and what the Church has always historically taught. Plenty of serious award-winning scientists are creationists and they have much more proof than any of the amateurs here who want to go with the flow of the World.
 

minasoliman

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Nigula Qian Zishi said:
Heorhij said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
I knew one US Evangelical fundamentalist who used to say, "OK folks, all I can say based on the assumption that these radio dating data are true is that God DELIBERATELTY created our planet, as well as the entire Universe, OLD. That was his plan. The alternative - to disbelieve the Bible - is not acceptable."

I am extremely sad that this fanatical, blind Biblical literalism penetrates into Orthodoxy as well...
No, what is sad is that people believe unproven theories over the Fathers, the Bible, and what the Church has always historically taught. Plenty of serious award-winning scientists are creationists and they have much more proof than any of the amateurs here who want to go with the flow of the World.
Who are these award-winning creationists you speak of?  Even the ID movement confess an old earth.
 

minasoliman

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Rufus said:
jckstraw72 said:
Jetavan said:
Nigula Qian Zishi said:
The Church year will soon be 7519, showing exactly when orthodox Christianity teaches the beginning of creation was.
By "the beginning of creation", do you mean when God spoke "Let there be light"?
you can read about it here http://www.orthodoxwiki.org/Byzantine_Creation_Era
How did they know the world was created on September 1st?
Or March 25th?  It looks like the EO's here contradict the Church fathers with the September 1 heresy.
 

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Nigula Qian Zishi said:
Heorhij said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
I knew one US Evangelical fundamentalist who used to say, "OK folks, all I can say based on the assumption that these radio dating data are true is that God DELIBERATELTY created our planet, as well as the entire Universe, OLD. That was his plan. The alternative - to disbelieve the Bible - is not acceptable."

I am extremely sad that this fanatical, blind Biblical literalism penetrates into Orthodoxy as well...
Plenty of serious award-winning scientists are creationists....
Examples?
 

Rufus

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Jetavan said:
Nigula Qian Zishi said:
Heorhij said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
I knew one US Evangelical fundamentalist who used to say, "OK folks, all I can say based on the assumption that these radio dating data are true is that God DELIBERATELTY created our planet, as well as the entire Universe, OLD. That was his plan. The alternative - to disbelieve the Bible - is not acceptable."

I am extremely sad that this fanatical, blind Biblical literalism penetrates into Orthodoxy as well...
Plenty of serious award-winning scientists are creationists....
Examples?
Yes. Who?
 

Ortho_cat

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Heorhij said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
I knew one US Evangelical fundamentalist who used to say, "OK folks, all I can say based on the assumption that these radio dating data are true is that God DELIBERATELTY created our planet, as well as the entire Universe, OLD. That was his plan. The alternative - to disbelieve the Bible - is not acceptable."

I am extremely sad that this fanatical, blind Biblical literalism penetrates into Orthodoxy as well...
I would also be willing to bet that this is largely a 'western' Orthodox phenomena as well...
 

jckstraw72

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Ortho_cat said:
Heorhij said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
I knew one US Evangelical fundamentalist who used to say, "OK folks, all I can say based on the assumption that these radio dating data are true is that God DELIBERATELTY created our planet, as well as the entire Universe, OLD. That was his plan. The alternative - to disbelieve the Bible - is not acceptable."

I am extremely sad that this fanatical, blind Biblical literalism penetrates into Orthodoxy as well...
I would also be willing to bet that this is largely a 'western' Orthodox phenomena as well...
St. John of Kronstadt, St. Barsanuphius of Optina, St. Nektarios, St. Justin Popovich, Elder Paisios, and Fr. George Calciu were all against the theory of evolution. which one of them is "western"?
 

jckstraw72

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minasoliman said:
jckstraw72 said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
ok - wait .... youre attributing dating methods to God, but the Fathers who wrote on Genesis were just writing personal opinions?! of course all of creation speaks of God ... but God directly speaks to us in the Church ...
If a Church father believed that the earth was flat (and there have been many), and evidence shows otherwise, I think it's okay to say the Church fathers weren't correct on their view of the world.  The Church fathers were infallible with spirituality, not science.  I think God speaks to what matters the most.  What's more important, teaching how the GI system absorbs nutrients, or feeding the poor?
your critique only works if the Fathers were intending to provide us with science, rather than divinely revealed truths. however, the first homily of St. Basil's Hexameron makes it quite clear what his intent is http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf208.viii.ii.html. thus your position would have to argue that not only is St. Basil wrong about science, but he can't even figure out what his true intent is!

the question of death belongs to theology, not science. no matter how many times people on this board try to insist that the interpretation of Genesis is a matter for science, it will in actuality remain a matter of theology.
 

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Ortho_cat said:
Heorhij said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
I knew one US Evangelical fundamentalist who used to say, "OK folks, all I can say based on the assumption that these radio dating data are true is that God DELIBERATELTY created our planet, as well as the entire Universe, OLD. That was his plan. The alternative - to disbelieve the Bible - is not acceptable."

I am extremely sad that this fanatical, blind Biblical literalism penetrates into Orthodoxy as well...
I would also be willing to bet that this is largely a 'western' Orthodox phenomena as well...
No more Western than adopting your epistemology from the West European "Enlightenment".

Can we stop using "Western" as a handy label for everything we don't agree with?
 

jckstraw72

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Sleeper said:
Indeed Heorhij, it is very sad.  The Baptist church I grew up in was extremely literal in its take on creationism and eventually it was just embarrassing. I don't understand why so many Christians think they need to turn their brains off.

It's quite clear to me that the Fathers were working within the framework they had at they time, as any human person would.  Further scientific discoveries do not negate the truth of what they taught.  It would be one thing if there were some extremely important truth that was totally riding on a young earth, the denial of which would be detrimental to our Faith and a shunning of the Church, but as far as I'm aware, no such thing exists.

The Fathers communicate to us spiritual truth, the truth of which does not necessitate the scientific framework they had available to them.
the most important question here is not the age of the earth. the important questions are anthropology, and most importantly (in my opinion), what is the origin of death?
 

jckstraw72

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i think its very odd that people think they can completely change the beginning of a story, and assume that the rest of the story will remain exactly the same, as if the beginning has no implications for everything that flows from it .... makes me think of the movie Butterfly Effect -- changing the past will change everything after it.
 

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Iconodule said:
Ortho_cat said:
Heorhij said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
I knew one US Evangelical fundamentalist who used to say, "OK folks, all I can say based on the assumption that these radio dating data are true is that God DELIBERATELTY created our planet, as well as the entire Universe, OLD. That was his plan. The alternative - to disbelieve the Bible - is not acceptable."

I am extremely sad that this fanatical, blind Biblical literalism penetrates into Orthodoxy as well...
I would also be willing to bet that this is largely a 'western' Orthodox phenomena as well...
No more Western than adopting your epistemology from the West European "Enlightenment".

Can we stop using "Western" as a handy label for everything we don't agree with?
That response is so western...
 

jckstraw72

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Iconodule said:
Ortho_cat said:
Heorhij said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
I knew one US Evangelical fundamentalist who used to say, "OK folks, all I can say based on the assumption that these radio dating data are true is that God DELIBERATELTY created our planet, as well as the entire Universe, OLD. That was his plan. The alternative - to disbelieve the Bible - is not acceptable."

I am extremely sad that this fanatical, blind Biblical literalism penetrates into Orthodoxy as well...
I would also be willing to bet that this is largely a 'western' Orthodox phenomena as well...
No more Western than adopting your epistemology from the West European "Enlightenment".

Can we stop using "Western" as a handy label for everything we don't agree with?
great post! but come on, we both know they wont even give it a second thought though ...
 

Jetavan

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jckstraw72 said:
St. John of Kronstadt, St. Barsanuphius of Optina, St. Nektarios, St. Justin Popovich, Elder Paisios, and Fr. George Calciu were all against the theory of evolution. which one of them is "western"?
Do you have the larger contexts for these quotes? For instance, you've posted this quote from Elder Paisios. I don't know if Fr. Seraphim Rose has accurately quoted Elder Paisios, but here goes:

Elder Paisios: "...And if one thinks that from a human being, the Most Holy Theotokos, Christ was born! Then what we are saying is that a monkey was an ancestor of Christ? What blasphemy!!" --Elder Paisios of Mount Athos --- from the forthcoming updated Genesis, Creation, and Early Man

I would like to know the larger context of Elder Paisios' comment
 

minasoliman

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jckstraw72 said:
minasoliman said:
jckstraw72 said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
ok - wait .... youre attributing dating methods to God, but the Fathers who wrote on Genesis were just writing personal opinions?! of course all of creation speaks of God ... but God directly speaks to us in the Church ...
If a Church father believed that the earth was flat (and there have been many), and evidence shows otherwise, I think it's okay to say the Church fathers weren't correct on their view of the world.  The Church fathers were infallible with spirituality, not science.  I think God speaks to what matters the most.  What's more important, teaching how the GI system absorbs nutrients, or feeding the poor?
your critique only works if the Fathers were intending to provide us with science, rather than divinely revealed truths. however, the first homily of St. Basil's Hexameron makes it quite clear what his intent is http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf208.viii.ii.html. thus your position would have to argue that not only is St. Basil wrong about science, but he can't even figure out what his true intent is!

the question of death belongs to theology, not science. no matter how many times people on this board try to insist that the interpretation of Genesis is a matter for science, it will in actuality remain a matter of theology.
At that time, science was studied more by speculation than by actual scientific observations.  They used math to confirm their speculations (sounds very similar to what Hawkings is doing today).  The math works, therefore it must be true for them.  However, as we have seen later on, the math works for other explanations as well.  St. Basil is doing nothing wrong.  He's using the science of his day and says that God was the one who created the world in that manner.  Look at this:

Do not then imagine, O man! that the visible world is without a beginning; and because the celestial bodies move in a circular course, and it is difficult for our senses to define the point where the circle begins, do not believe that bodies impelled by a circular movement are, from their nature, without a beginning.  Without doubt the circle (I mean the plane figure described by a single line) is beyond our perception, and it is impossible for us to find out where it begins or where it ends; but we ought not on this account to believe it to be without a beginning.
He concedes the circular motions of the "celestial bodies."  He also concedes the mystery of the geometric shape of the circle, but he refutes any idea that creation is eternal because of the shape.  And notice what exactly the science of his day was.  He believed as was popularly believed by most serious scientists, that the Earth is the center of the universe, and that the "celestial bodies" (sun, moon, stars, planets) revolve around it in circular motion (planets moving using circle within a circle).  Today, this science has now been refuted, but the idea St. Basil is conveying is still valid (unless you want to believe that the sun still revolves around us).  God created, and to take God out of creation is vanity.  I don't see anything wrong with that in light of evolution, and in fact, I fully agree with St. Basil with this, but I disagree with his Aristotelian science.
 

minasoliman

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Here are some more interesting quotes from the Church fathers.  St. Athanasius believed that the Sun moves and the Sun pulls with it the moon and the stars to help their orbit around the Earth.  He believed that whole earth floats on top of the waters, unmoveable, and is the center of the universe.  He also seems to believe that water and clouds are of different natures, not the same:

St. Athanasius' [i]Contra Gentes: Part 1--[url=http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf204.vi.ii.i.xxvii.html]Chapter 27[/url][/i] said:
But the proof of all this is not obscure, but is clear enough in all conscience to those the eyes of whose understanding are not wholly disabled. For if a man take the parts of Creation separately, and consider each by itself,—as for example the sun by itself alone, and the moon apart, and again earth and air, and heat and cold, and the essence of wet and of dry, separating them from their mutual conjunction,—he will certainly find that not one is sufficient for itself but all are in need of one another’s assistance, and subsist by their mutual help. For the Sun is carried round along with, and is contained in, the whole heaven, and can never go beyond his own orbit, while the moon and other stars testify to the assistance given them by the Sun: while the earth again evidently does not yield her crops without rains, which in their turn would not descend to earth without the assistance of the clouds; but not even would the clouds ever appear of themselves and subsist, without the air. And the air is warmed by the upper air, but illuminated and made bright by the sun, not by itself. 6. And wells, again, and rivers will never exist without the earth; but the earth is not supported upon itself, but is set upon the realm of the waters, while this again is kept in its place, being bound fast at the centre of the universe. And the sea, and the great ocean that flows outside round the whole earth, is moved and borne by winds wherever the force of the winds dashes it. And the winds in their turn originate, not in themselves, but according to those who have written on the subject, in the air, from the burning heat and high temperature of the upper as compared with the lower air, and blow everywhere through the latter. 7. For as to the four elements of which the nature of bodies is composed, heat, that is, and cold, wet and dry, who is so perverted in his understanding as not to know that these things exist indeed in combination, but if separated and taken alone they tend to destroy even one another according to the prevailing power of the more abundant element? For heat is destroyed by cold if it be present in greater quantity, and cold again is put away by the power of heat, and what is dry, again, is moistened by wet, and the latter dried by the former.
St. Athanasius' [i]Contra Gentes: Part 3--[url=http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf204.vi.ii.i.xxvii.html]Chapter 36[/url][/i] said:
Who that sees the clouds supported in air, and the weight of the waters bound up in the clouds, can but perceive Him that binds them up and has ordered these things so? Or who that sees the earth, heaviest of all things by nature, fixed upon the waters, and remaining unmoved upon what is by nature mobile, will fail to understand that there is One that has made and ordered it, even God? Who that sees the earth bringing forth fruits in due season, and the rains from heaven, and the flow of rivers, and springing up of wells, and the birth of animals from unlike parents, and that these things take place not at all times but at determinate seasons,—and in general, among things mutually unlike and contrary, the balanced and uniform order to which they conform,—can resist the inference that there is one Power which orders and administers them, ordaining things well as it thinks fit? 4. For left to themselves they could not subsist or ever be able to appear, on account of their mutual contrariety of nature. For water is by nature heavy, and tends to flow downwards, while the clouds are light and belong to the class of things which tend to soar and mount upwards. And yet we see water, heavy as it is, borne aloft in the clouds. And again, earth is very heavy, while water on the other hand is relatively light; and yet the heavier is supported upon the lighter, and the earth does not sink, but remains immoveable. And male and female are not the same, while yet they unite in one, and the result is the generation from both of an animal like them. And to cut the matter short, cold is opposite to heat, and wet fights with dry, and yet they come together and are not at variance, but they agree, and produce as their result a single body, and the birth of everything.
St. John Chrysostom believed earth floats on water, the sun and clouds occupy the same sky and even touch each other, and other interesting things that will be explained later:

St. John Chrysostom's [i]Homily IX on the Statues to the People of Antioch--[url=http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf109.xix.xi.html#fna_xix.xi-p30.1]7[/url][/i] said:
But I have yet somewhat more to say on this head. For not only, indeed, does the magnitude and beauty of the creation, but also the very manner of it, display a God who is the artificer of the universe. For since we were not present at the beginning, whilst he was engaged in the work of forming and creating all things; nor had we been present, could we have known how they came into being, the power that disposed them being invisible; He hath made the mode of this creation to become our best teacher, by compounding all things in a manner which transcends the course of nature.
Up to this point, St. John Chrysostom advocates the observation of nature as our best teacher of what nature entails.  This is good and I agree (as all scientists agree, they all use nature as their teacher), but also his intention is to use Scripturally that nature is what God inspired, which when judging by today's standards and observations, his perceptions were not correct.  Although valid in his days, his observations are invalid today.  And so he continues to prove his point:

St. John Chrysostom's [i]Homily IX on the Statues to the People of Antioch--[url=http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf109.xix.xi.html#fna_xix.xi-p30.1]7-8[/url][/i] said:
Perhaps what I have said, is not sufficiently clear. Therefore it is necessary that I should again repeat it in a clearer manner. All men, then, must admit that it is the course of nature for water to be supported on the earth, and not the earth on the waters. For the earth being a certain dense, hard, unyielding, and solid substance, is easily able to support the nature of water; but the water, which is fluid, and rare, and soft, and diffusive, and giving way to all it meets with, must be unable to support any solid body, though it were of the lightest kind. Often indeed when a small pebble fails upon it, it yields, and makes way, and sends it down to the bottom. When therefore thou beholdest not a small pebble, but the whole earth borne upon the waters, and not submerged, admire the power of Him who wrought these marvellous things in a supernatural manner! And whence does this appear, that the earth is borne upon the waters? The prophet declares this when he says, “He hath founded it upon the seas, and prepared it upon the floods.” And again: “To him who hath founded the earth upon the waters.” What sayest thou? The water is not able to support a small pebble on its surface, and yet bears up the earth, great as it is; and mountains, and hills, and cities, and plants, and men, and brutes; and it is not submerged! What do I say? Is not submerged? How comes it to pass, that since the water has been in close contact with it below, during so long a period, it has not been dissolved, and the whole of it become mud? For the substance of wood, when soaked in water but a little time, is rotted and dissolved; and why do I say of wood? What can be firmer than iron? yet often this is softened, when it remains a long time in water; and well it may. For it derives its substance from the earth. Therefore many run-away servants, when they make their escape, dragging their shackles and chains along with them, go to brooks of water, and thrust their shackled feet therein, and after making the iron softer by this means, they easily break it by striking it with a stone. Iron, forsooth, is softened, and wood is rotted, and stones are worn away by the nature of water; yet so great a mass as the earth hath remained such a length of time lying upon the waters, without being either submerged, or dissolved, and destroyed!

And who is there that must not feel astonished and amazed at these things; and confidently pronounce that they are not the works of nature, but of that Providence which is above nature? Therefore one speaks thus: “Who hangeth the earth upon nothing.” And another observes, “In His hands are the corners of the earth.” And again: “He hath laid the foundation of it upon the seas.” And these declarations, though they seem contrary to one another, have yet an entire agreement. For he that said, “He hath laid the foundation of it upon the seas,” meant the same thing as he did who declared, “He hath hung it upon nothing.” For its standing upon the waters is just the same thing as hanging upon nothing. Where then is it suspended and placed? Hear the same one saying, “In His hands are the corners of the earth.” Not that God hath hands, but that thou mayest know that His power it is, providing for all things which holds together and supports the body of the earth! But if thou believest not what I now say, believe what thou beholdest! for even in another element it is possible to find this admirable workmanship. For it is the nature of fire to tend upwards, and to be always mounting aloft; and although you force and constrain it never so much, it cannot submit to have its course directed downwards. For often, when we are carrying a lighted torch, although we incline its head downwards, we cannot compel the force of the flame to direct itself to the ground; but still it turns upward, and passes from below toward that which is above. But with respect to the sun, God hath made it quite the contrary. For He hath turned his beams toward the earth, and made his light to direct itself downward, all but saying to him by the very shape (of the heavens), “Look downward.—Shine upon men, for thou wert made for them!” The light, indeed, of a candle cannot be made to submit to this; but this star, great and marvellous as it is, bends downward, and looks toward the earth, which is contrary to the nature of fire; owing to the power of Him who hath commanded it. Wouldest thou have me speak of another thing of the like kind? Waters embrace the back of the visible heaven on all parts; and yet they neither flow down, nor are moved out of their place, although the nature of water is not of this kind. For it easily runs together into what is concave; but when the body is of a convex form, it glides away on all sides; and not even a small portion is capable of standing upon such a figure. But, lo! this wonder is found to exist in the heavens; and the prophet, again, to intimate this very circumstance, observes, “Praise the Lord, ye waters that are above the heavens.” Besides, the water hath not quenched the sun; nor hath the sun, which hath gone on his way beneath for so long a time, dried up the water that lies above.
The laws of nature that are contradictory is because the Lord commands it.  He commands water to flow in a concave pattern the earth, but convex in the sky.  He commands fire to go up, but the sun to shine down.  He commands the pebbles to sink in water, but the whole earth to float on water.  He commands fire and water to quench each other, but the sun and clouds to remain still even when they touch each other.  These "contradictions" are a proof of God's control of the world.  We can today explain these contradictions scientifically, but at the same time, as believers we can also say, God, the genius of a creator, put consistency in the Laws of nature to behave in manners that seemed contradictory to St. John Chrysostom.

Today, we know that the earth isn't the center of the universe.  The earth is not a vast flat surface that floats on waters, but a spherical body where the waters fill up the gaps of earth like it fills up a glass cup.  We know that water as in all matter, can exist in three states: solid, liquid, and gas, existing in ways depending on temperature and pressure which can explain why they float on air, and why they are liquefied on earth.  We can explain that it is not the heaviness that determines how something floats on water, but density.  We know that the earth revolves around the sun, and the moon revolves around the earth, and the stars do not revolve around us at all, and that the sun has nothing to do with the movement of the stars, and not directly to the moon.  I agree with St. John Chrysostom that nature can be our teacher both physically and spiritually.  Physically by the observations we make in science, and spiritually by acknowledging the unmeasurable greatness and genius of our Pantocrator.  I agree with all the Church fathers that I believe in God the Father, Pantrocrator, Who created all things, whatever I can sense and whatever I can't, here and everywhere.

It saddens me that I have to point out the scientific errors of the Fathers just to prove a point, because I do love these particular Church fathers regardless and use them in lessons concerning the Church faith and spirituality.  But to expose the Fathers is not what I intend to do, but rather show you that you are misusing the Church Fathers and not appreciating the times, the context, and the culture that they lived in and were influenced by.  My grandmother taught me many pious errors, but what she taught me about the Christian faith, morals, and the saints are infallible.  The Holy Spirit truly guided her.  I have no reason to think that my disagreements with the Church fathers on trivial matters that don't pertain to the faith means I deride or disrespect them.  Otherwise, I wouldn't call them "fathers."

I would be more inclined to say that St. Basil is the most scientifically minded of the three, because he accepted the science taught by the pagans, but added that God created us.  I personally believe based on this pattern St. Basil if he were to live today would be a theistic evolutionist.  He was also a practical Church father.  The quote escapes me, but I know it didn't matter to him dogmatically whether the earth floated on water or spherical.
 

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Iconodule said:
Ortho_cat said:
Heorhij said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
I knew one US Evangelical fundamentalist who used to say, "OK folks, all I can say based on the assumption that these radio dating data are true is that God DELIBERATELTY created our planet, as well as the entire Universe, OLD. That was his plan. The alternative - to disbelieve the Bible - is not acceptable."

I am extremely sad that this fanatical, blind Biblical literalism penetrates into Orthodoxy as well...
I would also be willing to bet that this is largely a 'western' Orthodox phenomena as well...
No more Western than adopting your epistemology from the West European "Enlightenment".

Can we stop using "Western" as a handy label for everything we don't agree with?
When I refer to western influence, I am referring to a particular brand of biblical literalism that causes people to espouse a literal historical view of the bible which in turn causes them to reject modern scientific advancement. The greeks of the old had no problem merging/blending current philosophy/scientific thought with their religious views. They did not see them as incompatible; rather complementary.
 

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minasoliman said:
It saddens me that I have to point out the scientific errors of the Fathers just to prove a point, because I do love these particular Church fathers regardless and use them in lessons concerning the Church faith and spirituality.  But to expose the Fathers is not what I intend to do, but rather show you that you are misusing the Church Fathers and not appreciating the times, the context, and the culture that they lived in and were influenced by.  My grandmother taught me many pious errors, but what she taught me about the Christian faith, morals, and the saints are infallible.  The Holy Spirit truly guided her.  I have no reason to think that my disagreements with the Church fathers on trivial matters that don't pertain to the faith means I deride or disrespect them.  Otherwise, I wouldn't call them "fathers."
Sad indeed. Would those on this thread who claim that the church fathers must be inerrant on both scientific and spiritual matters be willing to also espouse the scientific views held by the fathers in their time, (such as the earth floating on water etc.) as pointed out by minasoliman here? If no, then why not? How can you agree that they were incorrect with regards to scientific matters then, yet they must be infallible with respect to them now (particularly with respect to the ToE)?
 

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Nigula Qian Zishi said:
Heorhij said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
I knew one US Evangelical fundamentalist who used to say, "OK folks, all I can say based on the assumption that these radio dating data are true is that God DELIBERATELTY created our planet, as well as the entire Universe, OLD. That was his plan. The alternative - to disbelieve the Bible - is not acceptable."

I am extremely sad that this fanatical, blind Biblical literalism penetrates into Orthodoxy as well...
No, what is sad is that people believe unproven theories over the Fathers, the Bible, and what the Church has always historically taught. Plenty of serious award-winning scientists are creationists and they have much more proof than any of the amateurs here who want to go with the flow of the World.
links please.
 

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Ortho_cat said:
Iconodule said:
Ortho_cat said:
Heorhij said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
I knew one US Evangelical fundamentalist who used to say, "OK folks, all I can say based on the assumption that these radio dating data are true is that God DELIBERATELTY created our planet, as well as the entire Universe, OLD. That was his plan. The alternative - to disbelieve the Bible - is not acceptable."

I am extremely sad that this fanatical, blind Biblical literalism penetrates into Orthodoxy as well...
I would also be willing to bet that this is largely a 'western' Orthodox phenomena as well...
No more Western than adopting your epistemology from the West European "Enlightenment".

Can we stop using "Western" as a handy label for everything we don't agree with?
When I refer to western influence, I am referring to a particular brand of biblical literalism that causes people to espouse a literal historical view of the bible which in turn causes them to reject modern scientific advancement.
Then why say "Western" except to score cheap rhetorical points? 

The greeks of the old had no problem merging/blending current philosophy/scientific thought with their religious views. They did not see them as incompatible; rather complementary.
You do realize that the Greeks had different philosophical schools in competition? That they sometimes held mutually contradictory views? While the Fathers found value in some philosophers, such as Plato and Aristotle, others they rejected, including Epicurus and other materialists. Yet the methodology of modern science differs little from that of Epicurus' materialist natural philosophy.
 

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Iconodule said:
Yet the methodology of modern science differs little from that of Epicurus' materialist natural philosophy.
I'm not sure Epicurus had a specifically scientific methodology, as opposed to a materialist philosophy.
 

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Iconodule said:
Ortho_cat said:
Iconodule said:
Ortho_cat said:
Heorhij said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
I knew one US Evangelical fundamentalist who used to say, "OK folks, all I can say based on the assumption that these radio dating data are true is that God DELIBERATELTY created our planet, as well as the entire Universe, OLD. That was his plan. The alternative - to disbelieve the Bible - is not acceptable."

I am extremely sad that this fanatical, blind Biblical literalism penetrates into Orthodoxy as well...
I would also be willing to bet that this is largely a 'western' Orthodox phenomena as well...
No more Western than adopting your epistemology from the West European "Enlightenment".

Can we stop using "Western" as a handy label for everything we don't agree with?
When I refer to western influence, I am referring to a particular brand of biblical literalism that causes people to espouse a literal historical view of the bible which in turn causes them to reject modern scientific advancement.
Then why say "Western" except to score cheap rhetorical points?  

The greeks of the old had no problem merging/blending current philosophy/scientific thought with their religious views. They did not see them as incompatible; rather complementary.
You do realize that the Greeks had different philosophical schools in competition? That they sometimes held mutually contradictory views? While the Fathers found value in some philosophers, such as Plato and Aristotle, others they rejected, including Epicurus and other materialists. Yet the methodology of modern science differs little from that of Epicurus' materialist natural philosophy.
Again, I used 'west' here in reference to a particular type of fundamentalist evangelical biblical literalism which has much influence in the west, particularly the U.S.

Point taken with regards to greek philosophy, but I see no distinction here as to why modern science cannot complement the Christian belief system if the same was done historically with ancient philosophy.
 

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Nigula Qian Zishi said:
Heorhij said:
minasoliman said:
deusveritasest said:
One often overlooked fact here is that it is possible to acknowledge the current reality of biological evolution while denying that it was involved in God's Creation.
If that's true, God would not be so careless as to leave radioactive dating methods to fool us into thinking something was much much much much much more than 7500+ years old.
I knew one US Evangelical fundamentalist who used to say, "OK folks, all I can say based on the assumption that these radio dating data are true is that God DELIBERATELTY created our planet, as well as the entire Universe, OLD. That was his plan. The alternative - to disbelieve the Bible - is not acceptable."

I am extremely sad that this fanatical, blind Biblical literalism penetrates into Orthodoxy as well...
No, what is sad is that people believe unproven theories over the Fathers, the Bible, and what the Church has always historically taught. Plenty of serious award-winning scientists are creationists and they have much more proof than any of the amateurs here who want to go with the flow of the World.
As opposed to the professional scientists on this board who are ardent young-earth creationists?? There are a number of scientists and highly educated people here whom you are arguing against.

And we're still waiting for the names of these "scientists" you claim for your cause.
 

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@ minasoliman: I really enjoyed your last post. In this discussion I agree it is worth showing that the Fathers are not infallible in matters of science. In fact, my understanding is that traditional Orthodox theology has never insisted on holding to the scientific assumptions of the Fathers in the face of later scientific developments.

That being said, there are many distinguished Orthodox writers, some of them saints (e.g. St Ignatius Brianchaninov, St Nectarios of Aegina) who have explicitly opposed Darwinian evolutionary theory, despite the fact that evolution is (sometimes) claimed to be a scientific theory only, and not a philosophy to rival Christianity. As far as I know, no Orthodox writer or saint protested the discovery of the heliocentric solar system, the internal composition of the earth (which showed that the waters themselves rested on earth, which rests on molten rock), the modern periodic table of elements (as opposed to the traditional four or five elements of ancient natural philosophy), or most of the other discoveries of modern science. But a certain number of these modern "discoveries" have been subjected to scrutiny and opposed as incompatible with Orthodoxy.

Unfortunately for people like myself, who can't abide contradictions and want to even out all the wrinkles by rationalization, this means it is not good enough to say that science and faith deal with completely separate matters, and that we as Orthodox are free to accept whatever the scientists tell us and integrate their statements with the claims of our faith, no matter how glaring the contradiction. I can't escape the conclusion that some areas of science are truly "neutral" with respect to faith: if what scientists now say contradicts what the Fathers said, it is of no consequence, but only in those particular areas (e.g. astronomy). But in other areas, the contradiction between science and the Fathers is irreconcilable: we must choose one or the other. Evolution seems to me to be one of those, based on the evidence of the fierce reaction against it on the part of the most pious element of the Church. It has not escaped my notice that those Orthodox writers who have embraced Darwinism tend to come from the most theologically liberal parts of Orthodoxy, while those who reject it tend to come from the most traditional. There are exceptions, e.g. Dr Alexander Kalomiros and Fr Michael Azkoul (at least about 30 years ago) were firmly traditionalist and yet were willing to accept the scientific validity of Darwinism. Nevertheless, I can't ignore the even stronger witness of the saints I mentioned, and that the most traditionalist Orthodox churches (e.g. the Russian Church Abroad) have by and large completely opposed Darwinism.

This is not entirely surprising, because Orthodoxy is not an abstract philosophy. Much of our faith is tied in with concrete, empirical reality. We believe in the real Virgin birth of Christ, His real Resurrection and Ascension, the real transformation of bread and wine to the Body and Blood of Christ, the real miraculous birth of the Virgin, her real resurrection after her repose, and countless other real miracles. If we are willing to believe all this, it seems odd that we should be unwilling to believe in equally miraculous accounts of the Creation of the world.

Of course, the objection will be that the scientific evidence simply demands that we accept evolution. I myself have gone back and forth over this, and at the moment I would probably respond with this question: does the evidence COMPEL us to accept Darwinism, or does it merely SUGGEST Darwinism to us? By "compel", I am thinking of something along the lines of seeing it with our own eyes, which, of course, no one has yet experienced. By "suggest", I mean more or less what evolutionary biologists have already argued: there is a lot of circumstantial evidence that supports evolution, provided we are already inclined to believe in it.

If you still find this unconvincing, perhaps we should ponder for a while on the mystery of the Eucharist, and how our faith relates to the evidence of our senses in that respect.
 

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Famous creationist scientists who were not all even Christians:

Robert Boyle - scientist and chemist

Michael Faraday - physicist, formulated laws electromagnetic induction, did groundwork for making dynamos, electric motors and transformers

James Joule - science of thermodynamics

William Thompson  - thermodynamics

Johannes Kepler - laws of planetary motion

Carl Linnaeus - botanist, professor

Matthew Maury - leading scientist in oceanography and hydrography

James Clerk Maxwell - electromagnetic theory

Isaac Newton - laws of gravity, motion and calculus

Blaise Pascal - invented early calculator, helped discover the theory of probability

Louis Pasteur - invented vaccination, immunization and pasteurization

Sir Henry Rawlinson - archaeologist

George Stokes - physicist and mathematician

Joseph Lister, John Ambrose Fleming, Henri Fabre, John Ray, Nicolaus Steno, William Petty, Georges Cuvier, Louis Agassiz, Gregory Mendel, Bernhard Riemann, Joseph Henry Gilbert, Charles Lindbergh, Thomas Anderson, William Mitchell Ramsay, John Ambrose Fleming, Werner Von Braun, John Coach Adams, Johann Baptist Cysat, John Woodward, Humphrey Davy, George Biddle Airy, James Bradley, and Albert Einstein
 

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And here are more modern scientists who do not believe in the unproven theory macro-evolution:

* James Keener, Prof. of Mathematics & Adjunct of Bioengineering, U. of Utah
* Robert J. Marks, Prof. of Signal & Image Processing, U. of Washington
* Carl Poppe, Senior Fellow, Lawrence Livermore Laboratories
* Siegfried Scherer, Prof. of Microbial Ecology, Technische Universitôt München
* Gregory Shearer, Postdoc. Researcher Internal Medicine, U. C. Davis
* Joseph Atkinson, William P. Purcell, PhD Physical Chemistry-Princeton
* Wesley Allen, Prof. of Computational Quantum Chemistry, U. of Georgia
* Jeanne Drisko, Asst. Prof.,Kansas Medical Center, U. of Kansas
* Chris Grace, Assoc. Prof. of Psychology, Biola U.
* Wolfgang Smith, Prof. Emeritus of Mathematics-Oregon State
* Rosalind Picard, Assoc. Prof. Computer Science, M.I.T.
* Garrick Little, Senior Scientist, Li-Cor
* John L. Omdahl, Prof. of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, U. of New Mexico
* Martin Poenie, Assoc. Prof. of Molecular Cell & Developmental Biology, U. of Texas, Austin
* Russell W. Carlson, Prof. of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, U. of Georgia
* Hugh Nutley, Prof. Emeritus of Physics & Engineering, Seattle Pacific U.
* David Berlinski, PhD Philosophy-Princeton, Mathematician, Author
* Neil Broom, Assoc. Prof., Chemical & Materials Engineering, U. of Auckland
* John Bloom, Assoc. Prof., Physics, Biola U.
* James Graham, Professional Geologist, Sr. Program Manager, National Environmental Consulting Firm
* John Baumgardner, Technical Staff, Theoretical Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory
* Fred Skiff, Prof. of Physics, U. of Iowa
* Paul Kuld, Assoc. Prof., Biological Science,Biola U.
* Yongsoon Park, Senior Research Scientist,St. LukeÒs Hospital, Kansas City
* Moorad Alexanian, Prof. of Physics, U. of North Carolina, Wilmington
* Donald Ewert, Director of Research Administration, Wistar Institute
* Joseph W. Francis, Assoc. Prof. of Biology, Cedarville U.
* Thomas Saleska, Prof. of Biology, Concordia U.
* Ralph W. Seelke, Prof. & Chair of Dept. of Biology & Earth Sciences, U. of Wisconsin, Superior
* James G. Harman, Assoc. Chair, Dept. of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Texas Tech U.
* Lennart Moller, Prof. of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Inst., U. of Stockholm
* Raymond G. Bohlin, PhD Molecular & Cell Biology-U. of Texas
* Fazale R. Rana, PhD Chemistry-Ohio U.
* Michael Atchison, Prof. of Biochemistry, U. of Pennsylvania, Vet School
* William S. Harris, Prof. of Basic Medical Sciences, U. of Missouri
* Rebecca W. Keller, Research Prof., Dept. of Chemistry, U. of New Mexico
* Terry Morrison, PhD Chemistry-Syracuse U.
* Robert F. DeHaan, PhD Human Development-U. of Chicago
* Matti Leisola, Prof., Laboratory of Bioprocess Engineering, Helsinki U. of Technology
* Bruce Evans, Assoc. Prof. of Biology, Huntington College
* Jim Gibson, PhD Biology-Loma Linda U.
* David Ness, PhD Anthropology-Temple U.
* Bijan Nemati, PhD Physics, Senior Engineer, Jet Propulsion Lab (NASA)
* Edward T. Peltzer, Senior Research Specialist, Monterey Bay Research Institute
* Stan E. Lennard, Clinical Assoc. Prof. of Surgery, U. of Washington
* Rafe Payne, Prof. & Chair, Dept. of Biological Sciences, Biola U.
* Phillip Savage, Prof. of Chemical Engineering, U. of Michigan
* Pattle Pun, Prof. of Biology, Wheaton College
* Jed Macosko, Postdoc. Researcher Molecular Biology, U.C. Berkeley
* Daniel Dix, Assoc. Prof. of Mathematics, U. of South Carolina
* Ed Karlow, Chair, Dept. of Physics, LaSierra U.
* James Harbrecht, Clinical Assoc. Prof., U. of Kansas Medical Center
* Robert W. Smith, Prof. of Chemistry, U. of Nebraska
* Robert DiSilvestro, PhD Biochemistry-Texas A & M
* David Prentice, Prof.,Dept. of Life Sciences, Indiana State U.
* Walt Stangl, Assoc. Prof. of Mathematics, Biola U.
* Jonathan Wells, PhD Molecular & Cell Biology-U.C. Berkeley
* James Tour, Chao Prof. of Chemistry, Rice U.
* Todd Watson, Asst. Prof. of Urban & Community Forestry, Texas A & M
* Robert Waltzer, Assoc. Prof. of Biology, Belhaven College
* Vincente Villa, Prof. of Biology, Southwestern U.
* James Tumlin, Assoc. Prof. of Medicine, Emory U.
* Charles Thaxton, PhD Physical Chemistry-Iowa State U.
* Stephen C. Meyer, PhD Philosophy of Science-Cambridge
* Paul Nelson, PhD Philosophy of Biology-U. of Chicago
 

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I think we have to distinguish several ideas from each other:

1. Changes in allele/gene frequencies within a population: this idea is rather non-controversial

2. Changes in allele/gene frequencies to the extent of the appearance of a new, though still closely related population: non-controversial

3. Changes, perhaps radical ones, in allele/gene frequencies and in chromosomal structure, either gradually or via punctuation, over millennia and more, resulting in very different organisms (e.g., the appearance of feathered avians from non-feathered reptilians): non-controversial in modern science; but controversial among more conservative Christians

4. The changes described in #3, resulting primarily from the mechanism of natural selection: many scientists question whether natural selection is the sole, or main, mechanism, for evolution -- but these scientists generally do not question the idea of the type of changes described in #3; controversial among more conservative Christians

5. The changes described in #3, along with the idea that human consciousness/soul/spirit evolved solely from biophysiological activity: rejected by most Christian communities; accepted (from a scientific perspective) by many/most scienstists

6. The changes described in #3, along with the idea that (1) human consciousness/soul/spirit resulted from a divine action; and (2) the general trajectory of the changes either guided or 'attracted' by the divine Source:

I think that it would be useful to find out if the modern, 20th century Orthodox saints who seemed to have rejected evolution, would reject #6. Fr. Seraphim Rose, I think, would reject even #6, but did the others? St. Popovich? Etc.?

#6 is not properly a scientific interpretation of evolution, but many scientists who are also Christian (like Francis Collins), do accept some version of #6.
 

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Nigula Qian Zishi said:
Famous creationist scientists who were not all even Christians:

Robert Boyle - scientist and chemist

Michael Faraday - physicist, formulated laws electromagnetic induction, did groundwork for making dynamos, electric motors and transformers

James Joule - science of thermodynamics

William Thompson  - thermodynamics

Johannes Kepler - laws of planetary motion

Carl Linnaeus - botanist, professor

Matthew Maury - leading scientist in oceanography and hydrography

James Clerk Maxwell - electromagnetic theory

Isaac Newton - laws of gravity, motion and calculus

Blaise Pascal - invented early calculator, helped discover the theory of probability

Louis Pasteur - invented vaccination, immunization and pasteurization

Sir Henry Rawlinson - archaeologist

George Stokes - physicist and mathematician

Joseph Lister, John Ambrose Fleming, Henri Fabre, John Ray, Nicolaus Steno, William Petty, Georges Cuvier, Louis Agassiz, Gregory Mendel, Bernhard Riemann, Joseph Henry Gilbert, Charles Lindbergh, Thomas Anderson, William Mitchell Ramsay, John Ambrose Fleming, Werner Von Braun, John Coach Adams, Johann Baptist Cysat, John Woodward, Humphrey Davy, George Biddle Airy, James Bradley, and Albert Einstein
I doubt that Einstein was a "creationist".

Plus, many, if not most, of these scientists listed here flourished either before Darwin, or before the 1940s, when Darwinian natural selection became the most widely accepted idea of how evolution occurred.
 

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Nigula Qian Zishi said:
what is sad is that people believe unproven theories over the Fathers, the Bible, and what the Church has always historically taught. Plenty of serious award-winning scientists are creationists and they have much more proof than any of the amateurs here who want to go with the flow of the World.
That is a very incorrect statement. Scientific theories generally are never "proven," and they do not need to be "proven." The so-called scientists who are "creationists" are often people who either lost touch with real science because of some personal problems, or people who have no understanding of what the branch of science called "biology" is about (and yes, they may be quite famous for their achievements in other branches of science). They have no "proof" of anything, because what non-scientists may think to be "proof" is actualy a redundancy: by definition, natural sciences do not even address anything supernatural, so the act of divine creation is principally outside of the scope of science and outside of any discussion about biological evolution or, broader, biology. When two car mechanics are arguing about what exactly caused a malfunction in the car they are working on, they will simply ignore a third person who would approach them and declare that based on this or that, the true answer is that the malfunction was an act of God. The two mechanics will continue their business, and the "discovery" of this third person will have no impact on it whatsoever. Same thing with the so-called "creationists."
 

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Nigula Qian Zishi said:
And here are more modern scientists who do not believe in the unproven theory macro-evolution:

* James Keener, Prof. of Mathematics & Adjunct of Bioengineering, U. of Utah
* Robert J. Marks, Prof. of Signal & Image Processing, U. of Washington
* Carl Poppe, Senior Fellow, Lawrence Livermore Laboratories
* Siegfried Scherer, Prof. of Microbial Ecology, Technische Universitôt München
* Gregory Shearer, Postdoc. Researcher Internal Medicine, U. C. Davis
* Joseph Atkinson, William P. Purcell, PhD Physical Chemistry-Princeton
* Wesley Allen, Prof. of Computational Quantum Chemistry, U. of Georgia
* Jeanne Drisko, Asst. Prof.,Kansas Medical Center, U. of Kansas
* Chris Grace, Assoc. Prof. of Psychology, Biola U.
* Wolfgang Smith, Prof. Emeritus of Mathematics-Oregon State
* Rosalind Picard, Assoc. Prof. Computer Science, M.I.T.
* Garrick Little, Senior Scientist, Li-Cor
* John L. Omdahl, Prof. of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, U. of New Mexico
* Martin Poenie, Assoc. Prof. of Molecular Cell & Developmental Biology, U. of Texas, Austin
* Russell W. Carlson, Prof. of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, U. of Georgia
* Hugh Nutley, Prof. Emeritus of Physics & Engineering, Seattle Pacific U.
* David Berlinski, PhD Philosophy-Princeton, Mathematician, Author
* Neil Broom, Assoc. Prof., Chemical & Materials Engineering, U. of Auckland
* John Bloom, Assoc. Prof., Physics, Biola U.
* James Graham, Professional Geologist, Sr. Program Manager, National Environmental Consulting Firm
* John Baumgardner, Technical Staff, Theoretical Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory
* Fred Skiff, Prof. of Physics, U. of Iowa
* Paul Kuld, Assoc. Prof., Biological Science,Biola U.
* Yongsoon Park, Senior Research Scientist,St. LukeÒs Hospital, Kansas City
* Moorad Alexanian, Prof. of Physics, U. of North Carolina, Wilmington
* Donald Ewert, Director of Research Administration, Wistar Institute
* Joseph W. Francis, Assoc. Prof. of Biology, Cedarville U.
* Thomas Saleska, Prof. of Biology, Concordia U.
* Ralph W. Seelke, Prof. & Chair of Dept. of Biology & Earth Sciences, U. of Wisconsin, Superior
* James G. Harman, Assoc. Chair, Dept. of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Texas Tech U.
* Lennart Moller, Prof. of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Inst., U. of Stockholm
* Raymond G. Bohlin, PhD Molecular & Cell Biology-U. of Texas
* Fazale R. Rana, PhD Chemistry-Ohio U.
* Michael Atchison, Prof. of Biochemistry, U. of Pennsylvania, Vet School
* William S. Harris, Prof. of Basic Medical Sciences, U. of Missouri
* Rebecca W. Keller, Research Prof., Dept. of Chemistry, U. of New Mexico
* Terry Morrison, PhD Chemistry-Syracuse U.
* Robert F. DeHaan, PhD Human Development-U. of Chicago
* Matti Leisola, Prof., Laboratory of Bioprocess Engineering, Helsinki U. of Technology
* Bruce Evans, Assoc. Prof. of Biology, Huntington College
* Jim Gibson, PhD Biology-Loma Linda U.
* David Ness, PhD Anthropology-Temple U.
* Bijan Nemati, PhD Physics, Senior Engineer, Jet Propulsion Lab (NASA)
* Edward T. Peltzer, Senior Research Specialist, Monterey Bay Research Institute
* Stan E. Lennard, Clinical Assoc. Prof. of Surgery, U. of Washington
* Rafe Payne, Prof. & Chair, Dept. of Biological Sciences, Biola U.
* Phillip Savage, Prof. of Chemical Engineering, U. of Michigan
* Pattle Pun, Prof. of Biology, Wheaton College
* Jed Macosko, Postdoc. Researcher Molecular Biology, U.C. Berkeley
* Daniel Dix, Assoc. Prof. of Mathematics, U. of South Carolina
* Ed Karlow, Chair, Dept. of Physics, LaSierra U.
* James Harbrecht, Clinical Assoc. Prof., U. of Kansas Medical Center
* Robert W. Smith, Prof. of Chemistry, U. of Nebraska
* Robert DiSilvestro, PhD Biochemistry-Texas A & M
* David Prentice, Prof.,Dept. of Life Sciences, Indiana State U.
* Walt Stangl, Assoc. Prof. of Mathematics, Biola U.
* Jonathan Wells, PhD Molecular & Cell Biology-U.C. Berkeley
* James Tour, Chao Prof. of Chemistry, Rice U.
* Todd Watson, Asst. Prof. of Urban & Community Forestry, Texas A & M
* Robert Waltzer, Assoc. Prof. of Biology, Belhaven College
* Vincente Villa, Prof. of Biology, Southwestern U.
* James Tumlin, Assoc. Prof. of Medicine, Emory U.
* Charles Thaxton, PhD Physical Chemistry-Iowa State U.
* Stephen C. Meyer, PhD Philosophy of Science-Cambridge
* Paul Nelson, PhD Philosophy of Biology-U. of Chicago
Many, if not most, of these individuals are supporters of Intelligent Design.
 

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Jonathan Gress said:
@ minasoliman: I really enjoyed your last post. In this discussion I agree it is worth showing that the Fathers are not infallible in matters of science. In fact, my understanding is that traditional Orthodox theology has never insisted on holding to the scientific assumptions of the Fathers in the face of later scientific developments.

That being said, there are many distinguished Orthodox writers, some of them saints (e.g. St Ignatius Brianchaninov, St Nectarios of Aegina) who have explicitly opposed Darwinian evolutionary theory, despite the fact that evolution is (sometimes) claimed to be a scientific theory only, and not a philosophy to rival Christianity. As far as I know, no Orthodox writer or saint protested the discovery of the heliocentric solar system, the internal composition of the earth (which showed that the waters themselves rested on earth, which rests on molten rock), the modern periodic table of elements (as opposed to the traditional four or five elements of ancient natural philosophy), or most of the other discoveries of modern science. But a certain number of these modern "discoveries" have been subjected to scrutiny and opposed as incompatible with Orthodoxy.

Unfortunately for people like myself, who can't abide contradictions and want to even out all the wrinkles by rationalization, this means it is not good enough to say that science and faith deal with completely separate matters, and that we as Orthodox are free to accept whatever the scientists tell us and integrate their statements with the claims of our faith, no matter how glaring the contradiction. I can't escape the conclusion that some areas of science are truly "neutral" with respect to faith: if what scientists now say contradicts what the Fathers said, it is of no consequence, but only in those particular areas (e.g. astronomy). But in other areas, the contradiction between science and the Fathers is irreconcilable: we must choose one or the other. Evolution seems to me to be one of those, based on the evidence of the fierce reaction against it on the part of the most pious element of the Church. It has not escaped my notice that those Orthodox writers who have embraced Darwinism tend to come from the most theologically liberal parts of Orthodoxy, while those who reject it tend to come from the most traditional. There are exceptions, e.g. Dr Alexander Kalomiros and Fr Michael Azkoul (at least about 30 years ago) were firmly traditionalist and yet were willing to accept the scientific validity of Darwinism. Nevertheless, I can't ignore the even stronger witness of the saints I mentioned, and that the most traditionalist Orthodox churches (e.g. the Russian Church Abroad) have by and large completely opposed Darwinism.

This is not entirely surprising, because Orthodoxy is not an abstract philosophy. Much of our faith is tied in with concrete, empirical reality. We believe in the real Virgin birth of Christ, His real Resurrection and Ascension, the real transformation of bread and wine to the Body and Blood of Christ, the real miraculous birth of the Virgin, her real resurrection after her repose, and countless other real miracles. If we are willing to believe all this, it seems odd that we should be unwilling to believe in equally miraculous accounts of the Creation of the world.

Of course, the objection will be that the scientific evidence simply demands that we accept evolution. I myself have gone back and forth over this, and at the moment I would probably respond with this question: does the evidence COMPEL us to accept Darwinism, or does it merely SUGGEST Darwinism to us? By "compel", I am thinking of something along the lines of seeing it with our own eyes, which, of course, no one has yet experienced. By "suggest", I mean more or less what evolutionary biologists have already argued: there is a lot of circumstantial evidence that supports evolution, provided we are already inclined to believe in it.

If you still find this unconvincing, perhaps we should ponder for a while on the mystery of the Eucharist, and how our faith relates to the evidence of our senses in that respect.
I do not want to discredit these Church saints.  I can say the same about my own saints too, who probably if had to comment would comment on rejection.  The final nail on the coffin of rejecting evolution was the study of genetics.  Genetics is an extremely new field, and is opening a lot of doors to understanding more about the human condition as well as biological history.  The same methods used to verify direct or indirect relatives is also used to verify Darwin's predictions, which were mostly consistent.  So on evidence alone, evolution has become now a fact because of the understanding of biological DNA, the adding of information on DNA, the mutations of DNA, the mutation rates, etc.  This is what Darwin was looking for, the driving force of evolution.  A good evolutionist has to be a good geneticist.  Even Michael Behe, famous Intelligent Design advocate, does not reject common descent (i.e. the evolution that most people associate with).  So the genetic evidence is indeed compelling, unless we find proof that the method used for validating relatives is invalid in the first place.  It at least forced me to accept reality.

Now, I don't know much about the Church saints you are telling me.  I have to ask, what field of science were they in?  When did they pass?  What did they think evolution meant?  This last question is important.  Many people reject evolution because of an overwhelmingly growing number of closet atheists who use this as their driving force of their philosophy.  Right now, if I was a theologian in my Church who was listening to the media about the recent ramblings of Stephen Hawking, I would probably be inclined to reject the M theory because of his statement that God is unnecessary.  But I would be hesitant at this point to reject it because I personally don't even know what it is.  I have an idea of what it is, but I am still confused by it.  I think the Church saints reacted to the atheistic tendencies and to the tendencies of rejecting the Image of God in us and they called that "evolution".  I can say without a doubt that I am a theist and I believe I have a spirit, the Image of God, in me.  So, I am very sympathetic to the Church fathers, and I believe we should support their intentions while being wary of what they don't know, and I'm sure Dr. Kalomiros and Fr. Azkoul may probably tell you that (although I am not quite fond of those two for their virulently anti-Western rhetoric).  Another traditionalist:  the late Bishop Alexander (Mileant) is someone I like, and I will admit him to be influential on my understanding of Orthodoxy and evolution.

Also, we don't know whether there were Church fathers that had a strong reaction to the heliocentric model.  Of course we know of the Roman Catholic Church because of their direct involvement with the scientists, but as for us, we were in an Islamic world, so we had different priorities.  In addition, medieval Church fathers are one of the most under-researched area in Orthodoxy.  We know extensively about the first 5 or 6 centuries, and then our knowledge decreases as we move along the centuries.  Those who are closer to the medieval times, people like St. Photius was attacking the Filioque and Papalism.  St. Gregory Palamas was attacking Barlaamism.  The silence of the Church fathers to the Catholics saints Sts. Anselm and Aquinas at their times does not mean that they accepted them either.  We just don't have enough information to make such a sweeping statement about them.  

As for the miracles, let's understand something very clear.  When the Logos, the Creator of all things, unites hypostatically with His humanity, He shows us the important literal events that are necessary for our salvation.  The Virgin birth (because He has to be the first born of all new creation, and indeed from henceforth, we now call the Theotokos our mother as well), His resurrection and ascension (because this will also happen to us), and the Eucharist (because we are the Body of Christ, we reiterate and affirm our union with Him and the achievement of partaking of Divine Life through it).  The miraculous birth of the Virgin and her resurrection are not dogmas of the Church.  They are pious traditions that explain the importance of the Virgin since her birth, and her purity, but the Church does not demand a believer to accept them as dogma.  This makes us no different then with Catholics who dogmatize about the Immaculate Conception, what should be only a private opinion, not a public display of faith.  So there are miracles that have no bearing on the faith, and there are miracles that necessarily do.  It doesn't mean I don't believe these miracles happened, but what I do mean is that we shouldn't be miracle-worshippers, but God worshippers.

And certainly of course, just as a side note, anyone who is intelligent enough will not say stupid things like Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein would reject evolution, and I would question that person's credibility and understanding of what science is.  I'm not saying you say this, but some others just don't do the research before they waste their time discussing things here with us.  Instead they copy and paste a bunch of names they know nothing about.
 

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Another thing to consider is just what counts as evidence. The secular scientist will never accept scripture or revelation as evidence, but the Orthodox Christian does. So at least for us, the evidence that scientists bring to bear to support their theory of evolution must be weighed against the evidence of the Bible and the Fathers. I think we need to realize at the outset that we have different standards of proof than those who do not share our faith.

One way of looking at it is this: if we start by assuming that the account in Genesis is literally true, what facts do we know now which are incompatible with that account? To a large extent this seems to be how creationists approach the problem.

I don't think it's really that different from the approach of other sciences, including evolutionary biology. Scientists typically start from unproven assumptions. Thus, biologists start from the assumption that all species are genetically related and then proceed to work out the hierarchy of genetic relationships. If you didn't assume from the outset that they are related, then there would be nothing to search for. You could still do taxonomy, as Linnaeus did before the theory of natural selection, but you would not have an overall explanatory principle for the taxonomy, other than "God made it so".

You find a close analog in linguistics: generative linguists start from the assumption that grammar is universal, and then proceed to search for the concrete universal patterns, e.g. patterns of word-formation, word-order, sound systems etc, which are then added to our theory of universal grammar. If you did not assume universal grammar, there would be no universals to search for. You could certainly continue to study the structures of different languages, as the pre-generative structuralists did, but again, there would be no overarching explanatory principle for the resulting linguistic taxonomy, except perhaps some vague concept of a general system-learning algorithm.
 

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Jonathan Gress said:
Another thing to consider is just what counts as evidence. The secular scientist will never accept scripture or revelation as evidence, but the Orthodox Christian does. So at least for us, the evidence that scientists bring to bear to support their theory of evolution must be weighed against the evidence of the Bible and the Fathers. I think we need to realize at the outset that we have different standards of proof than those who do not share our faith.

One way of looking at it is this: if we start by assuming that the account in Genesis is literally true, what facts do we know now which are incompatible with that account? To a large extent this seems to be how creationists approach the problem.

I don't think it's really that different from the approach of other sciences, including evolutionary biology. Scientists typically start from unproven assumptions. Thus, biologists start from the assumption that all species are genetically related and then proceed to work out the hierarchy of genetic relationships. If you didn't assume from the outset that they are related, then there would be nothing to search for. You could still do taxonomy, as Linnaeus did before the theory of natural selection, but you would not have an overall explanatory principle for the taxonomy, other than "God made it so".

You find a close analog in linguistics: generative linguists start from the assumption that grammar is universal, and then proceed to search for the concrete universal patterns, e.g. patterns of word-formation, word-order, sound systems etc, which are then added to our theory of universal grammar. If you did not assume universal grammar, there would be no universals to search for. You could certainly continue to study the structures of different languages, as the pre-generative structuralists did, but again, there would be no overarching explanatory principle for the resulting linguistic taxonomy, except perhaps some vague concept of a general system-learning algorithm.
There are proof by actions and there are proofs by examining material evidence.  Science works by the latter.  Faith works by the former.  They both need not contradict each other.
 

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minasoliman said:
There are proof by actions and there are proofs by examining material evidence.  Science works by the latter.  Faith works by the former.  They both need not contradict each other.
What do you mean by "proof by actions"?
 

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Jonathan Gress said:
Scientists typically start from unproven assumptions.
This statement belies your complete misunderstanding of how science works.  It starts not with assumptions at all, proven or otherwise.  It starts with asking "what have we observed?", and then asks "what explanation is most consistent with each and every one of those observations?"

Why are you so quick to dismiss that which you so clearly don't understand?
 

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Jetavan said:
minasoliman said:
There are proof by actions and there are proofs by examining material evidence.  Science works by the latter.  Faith works by the former.  They both need not contradict each other.
What do you mean by "proof by actions"?
What God has done for us, and what we do for God and for others.

"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, that you love one another." John 13:35
 

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chrevbel said:
Jonathan Gress said:
Scientists typically start from unproven assumptions.
This statement belies your complete misunderstanding of how science works.  It starts not with assumptions at all, proven or otherwise.  It starts with asking "what have we observed?", and then asks "what explanation is most consistent with each and every one of those observations?"

Why are you so quick to dismiss that which you so clearly don't understand?
But surely you agree that modern Western science starts with the "assumption" that any explanation must be an explanation that is confirmable, verifiable, falsifiable, or in some sense testable (which would exclude most sorts of 'supernatural' explanations)?
 

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chrevbel said:
Jonathan Gress said:
Scientists typically start from unproven assumptions.
This statement belies your complete misunderstanding of how science works.  It starts not with assumptions at all, proven or otherwise.  It starts with asking "what have we observed?", and then asks "what explanation is most consistent with each and every one of those observations?"

Why are you so quick to dismiss that which you so clearly don't understand?
I'm afraid you are the one who is misunderstanding things here. By assumption, I mean some statement that is not proven. This statement may or may not be consistent with current observations, but scientists typically take as their assumptions those which are in fact consistent with current observations. Nevertheless, the assumption is not proven, because there may be other assumptions also consistent with our observations that the scientists choose not to take, not because they have or lack proof, but because they conflict with whatever principles of philosophy of science that are in fashion at the time.

Take linguistics again. No linguist has actually proved that there is a universal grammar, or that there is an innate language acquisition device. These assumptions are consistent with our linguistic observations, but so is the assumption that linguistic universals can be explained by a universal learning algorithm. Both the innate LAD and the universal learning algorithm are vague and undefined enough that all observations can be made to fit it if so desired. Linguists choose to operate under the assumptions of an innate LAD mainly because otherwise linguistics would have no reason to exist as a separate discipline from, say, psychology.

Evolutionism and creationism are quite similar concepts. All species seem to be adapted for their environments. The evolutionist says this is because of natural selection, the creationist because of design by the Creator. Neither assumption can really be falsified. The biologist chooses the former not because the latter assumption is inconsistent with our observations, but because it is inconsistent with his philosophical materialism.
 
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