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

PeterTheAleut

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Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
My repsonses are as follows in red:

PeterTheAleut said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
The issue of macro evolution is one of the many reasons why I am so grateful to belong to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. Our Fathers have taught that according to Scriptural chronology (derived most notably from the Book of Jubilees, which is part of our canon) the earth is only about 7,000 years old. This time frame precludes any possibility for the process of macro evolution. As an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian, I embrace the apostolic Faith and Teaching of my Church; and therefore I don't have to worry about being deceived by the vagaries and vicissitudes of secular science.
But why must we define science as something secular, oppose it to the "sacred" content of the Church, and thereby justify our efforts to dismiss the findings of scientific observation altogether?
I didn't and don't define science as "secular." I am careful to make a distinction between legitimate science and secular science.
But what is legitimate science, and why is it legitimate?

Legitimate science is that which adheres to the rigid criteria of the scientific method. If you want to know what the criteria of this method are, then I refer you to Karl Hempel's book, The Philosophy of Natural Science.

Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Secular science is capable of ascertaining truth about the laws and principles of creation; but when it arrogates to itself the sole authority to interpret and discover truth about the natural world, then it operates essentially like the leaders of a cult (i.e. the secular scientists are the "experts," and the rest of us ignorant sheep must blindly agree with whatever they tell us).
Do you see "secular" science arrogating to itself sole authority to discover truth about the natural world?  Even if it is, how are our "secular" scientists proclaiming themselves "experts" that we ignorant sheep must follow blindly?

By rejecting prima facie the possibility for the existence of God. By refusing to allow Intelligent Design into the debate. By posturing themselves as authorities on "facts" while relegating religion to the realm of "values."  

Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
There is no contradiction between legitimate science and Christian Truth; there is often contradiction between pseudo-science and Christian truth. I define "pseudo-science" as that which operates from an atheistic presuppostion.
So science must be based on a [Christian] theistic presupposition to be legitimate?  What is this "atheistic presupposition" you see as the foundation of what you call [illegitimate] "secular science"?
As I stated above, legitimate science is based on the rigid criteria of the scientific method.


Selam
As regards Intelligent Design, why should that be allowed into the debate?  I'm familiar with Michael Behe, having read his book, Darwin's Black Box, and heard him speak live.  I'm still not convinced that Intelligent Design should be accepted as science, though.  It might make for excellent philosophy, but I don't see how it can be truly recognized as consistent with the scientific method and therefore worthy of being called science.

Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
By posturing themselves as authorities on "facts" while relegating religion to the realm of "values."
This argument is in fact just a rephrasing of the very statement I asked you to explain.  It therefore does not answer my question.

PeterTheAleut said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
There is no contradiction between legitimate science and Christian Truth; there is often contradiction between pseudo-science and Christian truth. I define "pseudo-science" as that which operates from an atheistic presuppostion.
So science must be based on a [Christian] theistic presupposition to be legitimate?  What is this "atheistic presupposition" you see as the foundation of what you call [illegitimate] "secular science"?

As I stated above, legitimate science is based on the rigid criteria of the scientific method.
This doesn't answer the question immediately preceding, Gebre.  What is the "atheistic presupposition" you see as the foundation of illegitimate pseudo-science?

If this "atheistic presupposition" (whatever it is) is indeed the definition of pseudo-science, then it follows logically that the opposite, true science, is defined by a foundation that is not atheistic--that is to say, theistic.  I'm not aware that Carl Hempel's naturalistic philosophy and definition of the scientific method would permit such a theistic foundation.  How, then, can you say legitimate science is defined only by strict adherence to the scientific method defined by Hempel, if it must also have a theistic foundation?  It seems contradictory to me to assert (implicitly) that science must have a theistic foundation to be legit, even though Hempel's scientific method, which you assert to be the definition of legit science, doesn't make allowance for the existence of the metaphysical (i.e., God).
I won't discuss this further with you unless you stop making non sequiturs in regards to my statements. My statements are clear, and you need to interpret them at face value.
Do you still assume that disagreement with or criticism of your logic is a personal attack on you?  I asked questions solely of things you said, and this in an attempt to understand the underlying premises of your logic.  I based my statements on nothing but your responses to my questions.  If my responses are non sequiturs then tell me how they are non sequiturs.  You may think your words clear, but are you sure they accurately communicate what's really on your mind?

Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Do some more research on the concensus of the scientific community regarding atheistic evolution, and then get back to me.
How does that follow from anything you just posted?

FWIW, I think scrutiny of the foundational premises of your reasoning, even if you would rather discuss just the conclusions themselves, is perfectly on topic and appropriate to any discussion of your point of view.
 

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Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Ukiemeister said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
The burden of proof is on the macro evolutionists. I accept the teachings of my Church by Faith.

But my description of the scientific community regarding the issue is accurate. Just ask them whether or not they consider theistic evolution a viable theory. You will discover that they don't.

Macro evolution is essentially synonymous with Darwinian evolution, that's why I used the term.

Selam
Sometimes I think I'm the only who reads my posts.
Clarification please?

If you are making fun of me, at least let me know why. ???

Forgive me, but I really don't have time to read through 32 pages of this debate. As I've stated earlier, I accept the teachings of my Church by Faith. I have also pointed out the logical doubts I have about macro evolution, as well as the moral problems that the theory produces. But no one has addressed these things; so I really must move on now unless my points are fairly addressed. I'm not trying to be rude. Free will means feedom of belief, so believe whatever you want. You all are still my brothers and sisters. :)



Selam
Of course, Gebre.  We are your brothers and sisters in Satanic deception.

May my brothers and sisters in rational ignorance also be blessed.
 

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Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Ukiemeister said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
The burden of proof is on the macro evolutionists. I accept the teachings of my Church by Faith.

But my description of the scientific community regarding the issue is accurate. Just ask them whether or not they consider theistic evolution a viable theory. You will discover that they don't.

Macro evolution is essentially synonymous with Darwinian evolution, that's why I used the term.

Selam
Sometimes I think I'm the only who reads my posts.
Clarification please?

If you are making fun of me, at least let me know why. ???
Ukiemeister asked you for proof of the assertions you made, and you offered nothing in reply but mere restatements of your arguments and more assertions without proof.  I'm sorry, but when you make assertions in a debate such as this, you need to be prepared to back up your statements with citations from outside sources, not just pass us off to some vague, "ask the scientific community yourself, and you'll find that my words are accurate."  You did not engage any of the specific points Ukiemeister brought up; therefore, he's quite justified in complaining in a roundabout way that you didn't read his post.
 

minasoliman

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Oh yes, the "scientific community."  I don't know which "scientific community" Gebre is referring to, but where I am from, Gebre's "scientific community" is either really a "philosophical community" or non-existent.
 

Heorhij

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Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
As I stated above, legitimate science is based on the rigid criteria of the scientific method.
Unfortunately, modern explorers of science, both scientists (A.F. Chalmers - a physicist) and philosophers (K. Popper, T. Kuhn, I. Lakatos, P. Feyerabend and other) arrive to the conclusion that the "scientific method" as a universal set of rules simply does not exist. See A.F. Chalmers, "What Is This Thing Called Science?", Hackett Publishing Co., 1999 (3rd ed.), ISBN ISBN: 0-87220-452-9.
 

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On the Discovery Channel, "Discovering Ardi" (11 October, 2009, 9 pm).

Following publication in the journal Science on the discovery and study of a 4.4 million-year-old female partial skeleton nicknamed "Ardi," Discovery Channel will present a world premiere special, DISCOVERING ARDI, Sunday October 11 at 9 PM (ET/PT) documenting the sustained, intensive investigation leading up to this landmark publication of the Ardipithecus ramidus fossils.

UNDERSTANDING ARDI, a one-hour special produced in collaboration with CBS News will air at 11 PM (ET/PT) immediately following DISCOVERING ARDI. The special is moderated by former CBS and CNN anchor Paula Zahn and includes research team members Dr. Tim White, Dr. Yohannes Haile-Selassie, Dr. Giday WoldeGabriel, Dr. Owen Lovejoy, and science journalist Ann Gibbons

The scientific investigation began in the Ethiopian desert 17 years ago, and now opens a new chapter on human evolution, revealing the first evolutionary steps our ancestors took after we diverged from a common ancestor we once shared with living chimpanzees. "Ardi's" centerpiece skeleton, the other hominids she lived with, and the rocks, soils, plants and animals that made up her world were analyzed in laboratories around the world, and the scientists have now published their findings in the prestigious journal Science.

"Ardi" is now the oldest skeleton from our (hominid) branch of the primate family tree.
I wonder if Dr. Haile-Selassie is Orthodox?
 

minasoliman

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AlexanderOfBergamo said:
I think he means "environment" in its largest meaning as "environmental conditions", such as weather, geographical area, involved ecosystems cohabiting the same area, "social" life within a species and with other species, etc.
Then honestly, I'm having trouble understanding what he's asking.  Just because cars look similar through some sort of "environmental" processes, why shouldn't animals look similar?

I'm lost in the question there.  A rephrase may help me, or perhaps just getting to the point.
 

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Factor A+
Factor B+
Factor C=
------------
Result D

I think THIS is the problem for jnorm888. If the environmental conditions sum up as mathematical factors, the result should always be the same. Seen from the point of view of evolution: in a cold environment with ice there'd be only different races of bears. His idea is that in maths results are linear, i.e. to certain causes there are always the same consequences. So, if evolution is a linear - or better, a mathematical process - that wouldn't justify biodiversity. Now, what jnorm888 is probably missing is an essential element of evolution: convergent evolution, i.e. the fact that different creatures can adopt similar, if not identical, evolutionary solutions when sharing the same environmental conditions.

Convergent evolution describes the acquisition of the same biological trait in unrelated lineages.

The wing is a classic example of convergent evolution in action. Although their last common ancestor did not have wings, birds and bats do, and are capable of powered flight. The wings are similar in construction, due to the physical constraints imposed upon wing shape. Similarity can also be explained by shared ancestry, as evolution can only work with what is already there—thus wings were modified from limbs, as evidenced by their bone structure.[1]

Traits arising through convergent evolution are termed analogous structures, in contrast to homologous structures, which have a common origin. Bat and pterodactyl wings are an example of analogous structures, while the bat wing is homologous to human and other mammal forearms, sharing an ancestral state despite serving different functions. Similarity in species of different ancestry which is the result of convergent evolution, is called homoplasy. The opposite of convergent evolution is divergent evolution, whereby related species evolve different traits. On a molecular level, this can happen due to random mutation unrelated to adaptive changes; see long branch attraction. Convergent evolution is similar to, but distinguishable from, the phenomena of evolutionary relay and parallel evolution. Evolutionary relay describes how independent species acquire similar characteristics through their evolution in similar ecosystems, at different times: for example the dorsal fins of extinct ichthyosaurs and sharks. Parallel evolution occurs when two independent species evolve together at the same time in the same ecospace and acquire similar characteristics—for instance extinct browsing-horses and paleotheres. (from Wikipedia, "Convergent evolution"
.
Now I add something. The different forms of life developped under different environmental conditions (well, if the theory of evolution is correct, of course). Creatures adapted to water have developped certain characteristics, the earthly animals have developped some others, and birds even others. What strikes our knowledge is that every environment has developped thousands of species, nevertheless all possible combinations orbit around a limited list of evolutionary solution. For example: insects, pterodactyls, bats and birds have developped wings which are entirely different in nature, but whose mechanics are variations of the same "technology", so to say. Flippers for fish and cetaceous on one side and tentacles for octopuses on the other appear very different, yet they are developped following the same mechanics: moving water behind to proceed forward, naturally using a principle of physics.
So, on one side we could say that evolution is right in defining environmental conditions as factors of adaptation. Maybe, the only thing that evolution can't explain is the incredible FANTASY of evolution, i.e. the unbelievable number of variations that "nature" (and thus God) has brought in existence in the world. That's what makes creationists and intelligent design theorists see the hand of God directly at work in life creation more then in a deistic vision of a world initiated by God and programmed to evolve on its own.

Maybe this would answer to HIS question, I dunno. If not, then I'm wrong in the exegesis of jnorm888, so forget whatever I wrote LOL

In Christ,  Alex
 

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AlexanderOfBergamo said:
Maybe, the only thing that evolution can't explain is the incredible FANTASY of evolution, i.e. the unbelievable number of variations that "nature" (and thus God) has brought in existence in the world.
That's where mutations come in.
 

minasoliman

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Dear Alex,

If convergent evolution is what you're explaining, perhaps you're right.  I don't know.  I heard in a documentary once a parallel lineage of the evolution of fish in two different geographical regions but having similar environments in their area that turn out to be the same species.  This might indicate a "predictive" nature of evolution.  But we don't know anything of that sort yet, or at least I don't know any well-developed theory on that position yet, as I believe it's only hypothetical now.  We still have to consider predator/prey relationships, parasite/host relationships, mutations, weather changes, migrations, etc., which make prediction a very tedious calculation if anything.  Nevertheless, the driving force of evolution, which is mutations, can be measured alone, and that at least we know that we in constant mode of changing.  When different environments come along however, all of a sudden, these mutation rates start increasing.

I think one of the greatest ways to study evolution is to study our own immune system, how our white blood cells constantly change their genetic information to try to fight new parasites they encounter.  This gives us an idea of how environment can be factored into the genetic changes these cells make.  So T-cell and B-cell changes through mutations is God's way of allowing nature to be "creative."
 

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minasoliman said:
Dear Alex,

If convergent evolution is what you're explaining, perhaps you're right.  I don't know.  I heard in a documentary once a parallel lineage of the evolution of fish in two different geographical regions but having similar environments in their area that turn out to be the same species.  This might indicate a "predictive" nature of evolution.  But we don't know anything of that sort yet, or at least I don't know any well-developed theory on that position yet, as I believe it's only hypothetical now.  We still have to consider predator/prey relationships, parasite/host relationships, mutations, weather changes, migrations, etc., which make prediction a very tedious calculation if anything.  Nevertheless, the driving force of evolution, which is mutations, can be measured alone, and that at least we know that we in constant mode of changing.  When different environments come along however, all of a sudden, these mutation rates start increasing.

I think one of the greatest ways to study evolution is to study our own immune system, how our white blood cells constantly change their genetic information to try to fight new parasites they encounter.  This gives us an idea of how environment can be factored into the genetic changes these cells make.  So T-cell and B-cell changes through mutations is God's way of allowing nature to be "creative."
Some elements of convergent evolution - once supposed that evolution is real, since I think I'm not sure of it and I won't impose anybody that theory as I wouldn't impose creationism, btw - are clearly admissible because they can't be justified in another way. The fact that two species have adopted a common solution despite they're living in different areas of the world and despite their most recent common ancestor didn't have the same characteristic is really interesting.
For example, since all birds are supposed to have evolved from proto-birds some 150 mln years ago, it is natural and correct to explain this through their common ancestor Archaeopterix (even if this paternity is nowadays disputed). What strikes is that pterodactyls, which were not birds, have the first common ancestor with birds in wing-less dinosaurs of the Triassic period... in other words, birds and pterodactlys have adopted many characteristics of flight similar to each other but independently. There are in fact flying insects (e.g. butterflies), reptiles (pterosaurs), birds (pidgeons) and mammals (bats), animals which "invented" wings working with similar techniques because they responded to the same necessity (flight) but which developped in particular manner because of the particular nature of the animals themselves. Even in this case, though, while bird and insect wings are very particular, it must be said that bats and pterosaurs have almost identical wings, really amazing! The same can be said of flippers, which have been adopted in similar forms by fish and cetacei, even if the latter were mammals which, according to the opinion of scientists, came back from the dry land to the sea after million years of terrestrial life.

Everything in this phenomenon makes God's creative power show up in majesty, whatever you might understand by that "creative power". If God programmed DNA to evolve into a variety of animals, he created the best self-generating program of all time!

In Christ,  Alex
 

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Everything in this phenomenon makes God's creative power show up in majesty, whatever you might understand by that "creative power". If God programmed DNA to evolve into a variety of animals, he created the best self-generating program of all time!
I'm glad we seem to be reaching some sort of understanding.  You're coming very close to what I believe in  ;)
 

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Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Ukiemeister said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
PeterTheAleut said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
The issue of macro evolution is one of the many reasons why I am so grateful to belong to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church. Our Fathers have taught that according to Scriptural chronology (derived most notably from the Book of Jubilees, which is part of our canon) the earth is only about 7,000 years old. This time frame precludes any possibility for the process of macro evolution. As an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian, I embrace the apostolic Faith and Teaching of my Church; and therefore I don't have to worry about being deceived by the vagaries and vicissitudes of secular science.
But why must we define science as something secular, oppose it to the "sacred" content of the Church, and thereby justify our efforts to dismiss the findings of scientific observation altogether?
I didn't and don't define science as "secular." I am careful to make a distinction between legitimate science and secular science. Secular science is capable of ascertaining truth about the laws and principles of creation; but when it arrogates to itself the sole authority to interpret and discover truth about the natural world, then it operates essentially like the leaders of a cult (i.e. the secular scientists are the "experts," and the rest of us ignorant sheep must blindly agree with whatever they tell us).

There is no contradiction between legitimate science and Christian Truth; there is often contradiction between pseudo-science and Christian truth. I define "pseudo-science" as that which operates from an atheistic presuppostion.

Selam
"Atheistic presupposition." What about the presupposition that acknowledging the role of evolution in biological and other natural processes must necessarily be atheistic?
Theistic evolution is the most untenable position out of the three posssibilities of a) Creation/Intelligent Design, b) Atheistic Evolution, c) Theistic Evolution. This is because the ostensible evidence for macro evolution only has merit within the framework of atheism. To allow for the existence of God is to allow for the possibility of an alternative to macro evolution. Therefore, in the light of a competing theory, the proposed evidence for the theory of Darwinian evolution is found to be sorely lacking.
None of a, b or c are scientific positions. a) is particularly not science because it is based on an hypothesis that cannot be falsified. Whether the universe was created by the Judaic God, little green men in spaceships or the flying spaghetti monster cannot not be proved or disproved, thereby making creationist or id claims definitely not viable science. That anyone believes in an intelligent designer is theology/philosophy not science. Both b and c are positions that are held by individuals within or without the scientific community. "Atheist" and "theist" are not scientific stands.

Theistic evolution is a nice sounding compromise, but it is roundly rejected by leading proponents of macro evolution within the scientific community. Only by assuming an atheistic presupposition will their Darwinian theory have a chance of holding up in the light of intense scrutiny.
Whatever these unnamed leading proponents reject, scientists who accept theistic evolution would disagree with them.   

Christians are free to believe in theistic evolution if they want to. But it is a scientifically naive and ignorant position to hold.
The only scientifically naive and ignorant stand I can perceive is that one would imagine that science is concerned with investigating God rather than investigating nature. Individiual scientists might have axes to grind, and all are free to form their own opinions about God; whether they come down on the side of theism or atheism. The conclusions they come to in that regard having nothing to do with science.
 

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AlexanderOfBergamo said:
Everything in this phenomenon makes God's creative power show up in majesty, whatever you might understand by that "creative power". If God programmed DNA to evolve into a variety of animals, he created the best self-generating program of all time!

In Christ,   Alex
Therefore, mutation and creativity might not be mutally exclusive?
 

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AlexanderOfBergamo said:
Now I have a little question for you, brother...
you wrote in a previous post that the Ethiopian Orthodox say that the world was created 7000 years ago, due to the chronology of some of your Ethiopian-specific books (as the Book of Jubilees), so I wonder: which OT chronology does your Book of Genesis contain? Is it like the LXX (which puts creation further in the past) or as in the Massoretic Text (which would agree with Jubilees)? does your Genesis version list Cainan, son of Arphacsad and father of Selah, as the LXX, Jubilees and st. Luke do, or is he omitted? I know this risks to go a little bit off topic, but the matter of genealogies has always been interesting in my personal studies on the textual history of the Scriptures.

In Christ,   Alex
I must confess my ignorance about the details of these things. I know that someone posted an in depth explanation on this elsewhere (I think it was HaielAmanuel, AmdeTsion, or Hiywot). I'll try to find it if I can, and get back to you.

Selam
 

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PeterTheAleut said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
Ukiemeister said:
Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
The burden of proof is on the macro evolutionists. I accept the teachings of my Church by Faith.

But my description of the scientific community regarding the issue is accurate. Just ask them whether or not they consider theistic evolution a viable theory. You will discover that they don't.

Macro evolution is essentially synonymous with Darwinian evolution, that's why I used the term.

Selam
Sometimes I think I'm the only who reads my posts.
Clarification please?

If you are making fun of me, at least let me know why. ???
Ukiemeister asked you for proof of the assertions you made, and you offered nothing in reply but mere restatements of your arguments and more assertions without proof.  I'm sorry, but when you make assertions in a debate such as this, you need to be prepared to back up your statements with citations from outside sources, not just pass us off to some vague, "ask the scientific community yourself, and you'll find that my words are accurate."  You did not engage any of the specific points Ukiemeister brought up; therefore, he's quite justified in complaining in a roundabout way that you didn't read his post.
Again, the burden of proof is not on me. I won't allow the macro evolutionists to bias the debate by assuming they have nothing to prove and I do.

Again, you avoid the arguments I have previously stated and levy your own assertions.

Selam
 

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minasoliman said:
Oh yes, the "scientific community."  I don't know which "scientific community" Gebre is referring to, but where I am from, Gebre's "scientific community" is either really a "philosophical community" or non-existent.
I have clarified his earlier by explaining that what is defined as the "scientific community" in our society is secular science.

Selam 
 

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Gebre Menfes Kidus said:
minasoliman said:
Oh yes, the "scientific community."  I don't know which "scientific community" Gebre is referring to, but where I am from, Gebre's "scientific community" is either really a "philosophical community" or non-existent.
I have clarified his earlier by explaining that what is defined as the "scientific community" in our society is secular science.

Selam 
Again, either you met with "secular" philosophers or it is just a figment of your imagination.
 
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